The UK's leading big band, The Syd Lawrence Orchestra, were chosen by producer Mike Valentine for his exploration into the sound differences between direct cut vinyl and a multi-track analogue tape recording and mix done of exactly the same event. The album had to be recorded live so he had to choose a selection of music which would be of the perfect length.
Valentine chose a recording studio which not only had a superb sounding space, but also an engineer versed in the black art of cutting live vinyl. Ultimately, he chose Air Studios with engineers Jake Jackson and John Webber.
The Syd Lawrence Orchestra led by Chris Dean perform music consisting of eight pieces from the big band era, the creations of Glen Miller, Artie Shaw, and Benny Goodman played live at Air Studios. That recording is now available on CD - enjoy!
"Listening to the feed going to the cutting head, and then listening to it coming back through the SME arm and cartridge used to track the recording lacquer, the sound quality just got better. If you can tell me why, I don't know! It must be something to do with a sort of distortion that the human being seems to love. It just sounds warmer, nicer, more real." - Mike Valentine, producer Read more!
"Both discs sound extraordinarily vibrant, alive, and real, and if the comparison between tape and D2D wasn't so instantly available you would be more than happy with the tape based version that was cut from 24 track, two-inch tape mixed down to half inch tape at 30 IPS. But putting on the D2D reveals just how incredibly natural, warm and effortless vinyl can sound at its best. This pressing has a depth and richness of tone that's irresistible, and even seems to 'time' better than its tape-mastered counterpart. Given big bands were all about precise timing, that's saying a lot!" - Hi-Fi+ Magazine Read more!
"This album of tunes by Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, and Artie Shaw comes as close to being on the other side of the studio glass as I've heard from a recording in some time." - Michael Fremer, Stereophile Magazine Read more!
"The audiophile world involves a staggering amount of minutia. Everything leads, however, to an emotional payoff, as you're constantly reminded while rubbing shoulders with people devoted to good sound. So while, if you study the literature on, say, speaker placement or multichannel audio, you might expect everyone who cares about such matters to walk around with a pencil protector in his shirt pocket, instead you're much more likely to encounter someone whose passion for audio can hardly be contained and who has a lively sense of humor. Those points were underscored when I began correspoding with Mike Valentine, the owner of the UK audiophile label Chasing the Dragon...He isn't afraid to say something controversial (certainly his statement, "The sound quality here...is better than sex!" could spark a heated debate), and because he's filmed underwater sequences for over 90 films, including five James Bond movies, you quicky understand that he knows how to pursue lofty professional goals and have fun." - Jeff Wilson, The Absolute Sound Read more!