I think pretty much the whole catalog sucks. Sound staging is bizarre, musicians must have played for free, good performances seem to been accidental. I try to avoid the label and it adds to the quality of my life.
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I have to say I agree Nilthepill. The recordings are not excessively processed. It seems odd that the Mapleshade line is consistently on almost every major recording or audiophile major publication list as the best of the best and someone could find them intolerable. Several major Jazz Publications also site the musicians great performance. Something seems off base here (e.g. see http://www.mapleshaderecords.com/main/WHAT'S~1.HTM and Stereophile's Records to Die For listings over the last 5-8 years among many others). When you read some people's comments on these threads you should probably screen for emotional content (you might try this" imagine if the person's blood pressure is at 62 or 110 when they write their comments, everyone should be allowed their opinion but no should be allowed to trash others (companies or people), even with that said the cyper (vapor) bullies on these threads are sure to step in and rip on me and others immediately following this comment. It really seems like the subjective audio field is some measure of greatest or compensation for not achieving in some other area of life. In my 20+ years in the audio field I have found no single person's opinion complete because everyone has their own idea of great sound that is true for them but not for everyone. Excellent hearing does not equate with the understanding of what makes good music or we could find the next Classic Artist in the hearing lab. This should be about having fun and tapping into the soul the way that good music can. I have seen nothing in these threads that does not seem like the venacular of audio publications. And to those that are uninitiated it may sound like expertise. But really it is about packaging an emotional plea using the tone and presentation of a audio pub to make it sound somehow scientific or real engineering understanding. It is often a veneer of technical depth robbed from people chatting with other or from reading pubs. Quantity of words does make a thoughtful review. Nor does calling someone else stupid etc if they do not agree with you.) I know far less than what I don't know about audio, music, and things in general. But I am a good listener to those who pose well formed arguments that can be scientifically tested and verified. I applaud Mapleshade for the what they are doing. I encourage all to use some of the Mapleshade recordings that Audio Research uses to test their equipment. Maybe Audio Research needs some help understanding what a great recording is. Not all Mapleshade recordings are great, some are so so. But give them a try, chances are you will agree with hundreds of pages of glowing reviews of their recordings the world over. Thanks!
nanderson: sorry, i don't get your point. are you saying that mapleshades are "good" becuz they can be emperically verified as being "superior recordings" in some way? becuz they are supposedly used by AR to voice their equipment? or what? for someone who distains quanity of words over quality of thought, your post seems more than a little verbose. i've been at this hobby even longer than you. i don't embrace it as a substitute for some other failed part of my life. what's your unfufilled need? your apparent call for civility in responsive posts on threads like this one is belied by the condescending tone of yours. this thread is supposed to be about your thoughts on mapleshade recordings. your meager views on the subject in question are pathetic. if you want to elevate the quality of discussions on these threads, then don't substitute your psuedo-philisophical/scientific mumbo-jumbo for what you lable as audio pub vernacular. BTW, i find virtually all of the mapleshade and ref rec stuff to be well-recorded but really boring. there's lot's of stuff out there just as well recorded, or better so, that i return to over and over. this ain't the case with audiophile favorites declared "important" by stereophile or tas. but, hey, that's just my opinion. if you wanna spend your listening time with the "artists" of these labels, you should by all means do so. you really don't need to justify your tastes by chatting on audiogon. despite what nanderson apparently suggests.
The title of my thread states my thoughts on quality of Mapleshade recordings. My point about mentioning the staggering amount of positive reviews and use world wide was to make the case that their are other completely opposite opinions (by those many pay for their opinions) from the total dismissal of the recordings posted else where. I don't get many of your points but we don't all think alike. I wrote as much as I did about the need for calm discourse because it has long caught my attention a similarity of thought process of those that I have seen since the early 1960s that use their opinions, expressed as absolute facts, on high end audio, cars, wine, etc as a perverse way to make themselves better by putting others down. I hoped that younger people would understand the source of such needs and try to avoid it themselves. Calm discourse is so important in all things. I love high end audio as a source of pleasure and hoped that others would not be turned off from the hobby by those that see a need to catapult themselves in front of others by their self proclaimed knowledge. Forgive me if I don't respond back to this thread but I am going to busy on other things over the next few weeks. Best wishes!
Hi, I just ordered 6 cds to enjoy. Of the two I opened so far "After Glow" and "Making Wopee", I very satified with the recording. High have a high res system (Talon spk, SACD, Bel Canto EVo, Nirvana ic and Silteck spk). They are on par with recordings from Michele Barber and some well recorded SACD but not the best SACD. I would characterize them as natural and fleshed out. Was wondering what are some of the favorite recordings of some memebers who enjoy Mapleshade.
One of the WORST CD's I have ever heard is that Doug McCleod (spelling?) blues CD, Come To Find. Forgive me if I don't have all the details correct, because the sound was so awful that I listened to only one song and then had to turn it off. I often listen to new CD's several times before forming an opinion of the sound and the performance. I tried liking that CD by giving it another chance later, but just couldn't get past the horrible mud and thud. Who cares if a signal is processed or not? If it sounds like crap, they SHOULD have processed it. Do you think that a real symphony orchestra would actually sound good in your living room? Probably not a blues combo, either, then. I don't care what all the critics in the audio press write...I can think for myself and form my own opinions. And I couldn't care less that ARC uses Mapleshade to voice their components, because most of their stuff sounds sterile and artificial anyway. If there are better Mapleshades, I would happily give them a try, if anyone cares to recommend one.
Mapleshade Recording? Great! Mapleshade Artistic Content? Not so great! I admire Mapleshade for their recording techniques and daring recordings, but of the 4 Mapleshade CD's I have auditioned I only like one of them. Kendra Shank's "Afterglow" is a pleasant female vocals CD that is quite good for checking speaker placement. "Live at Ethel's" is a neat live jazz CD that has a great live sound, but the jazz is sub-par IMHO. "Makin Whoopee" is a decent disk for Nat Cole fans except for one spoken word track that will drive you insane. Michal Carvin's "Drum Concerto at Dawn" is so terrible that even a professional drummer friend of mine can't bear it. I don't mean to bash Mapleshade. They cannot possibly have premier artists record for them on their budget. They do warrant a listen though. Their prices, accessories, and recording processes are qualities that other recording companies should take to heart.
Thank you all for the repsonses.Both good and bad ones!My note earlier said that the theire artist's roster is not one of the best ones but MOST recordings sound life like in my high resolution system. ( Dunlavy V'S driven by Classe CA-400 by a Classe Pre-amp CP-60). IMHO the CD'S sound more closer to life like than some of the CD's from JVC XRCD'S. For those interested in some of the exemplary titles-both recording and musicality poiint view-are:Clifford Jordan's 'Play what you feel' and 'live at Ethell's',C.I.William's 'When alto was King', Eddie Gale Quintet's ' A Minute with Miles', Raphe Malik Quintet's 'Sirens Sweet and Slow',Patience Higgins 'Live in Harlem', Hamiet Bluiet sextet's 'Young warrior,Old warrior', Bobby Battle Quartet with David Murray's 'The offering' and of course the ' making whoopie' mention in above posts. In newer ones, if like a little Reggae that rocks(!) try Midnite's 'Ras Mek Peace' , For rock sound try ' Fallen Angels ' Rain of fire', For blues try Big joe Maher Sextet's 'Mojo', Their first classical (I forget the title) is very good.In all they have some pretty good music across their Catalogue. I would rather listen to boring music that sound real than good music that sound crapy.But that's is my opinion. All I am saying is give them a try. Good percentage of their catalogue being on Stereophile's or TAS superdisc can not be a fluke. If it does sound like a thud and mud , may be it is time you upgrade your systems. Oh yes, let me make one thing clear: I don't work for Mapleshade.
My opinion is that if you don't like the sound of Mapleshades, then you probably don't like the sound of live music either. These are some of the most natural sounding, dynamic recordings I have ever heard. My only complaint is that they need to relese some of the catalog on lp so I can hear what I have been missing on the cd's! I have most of the catalog, but I still mostly listen to vinyl or reel to reel. Ken