The Direct to Disc thread

DaveyF

Active Member
Aug 1, 2010
5,757
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La Jolla, Calif USA
this is a Toshiba Records ‎– LF series like Jun Fukamachi ‎– Jun Fukamachi At Steinway (Toshiba Records ‎– LF-95001) I mention first in my D2D recomendations here.. fantastic quality records..

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Thanks for posting. I will try and source this LP. One thing about most (all?) of these D2D's...is that the artists are certainly pretty obscure. How often did the Beatles or Zep or Adele or ?? make D2D records...??
Pity, as it would be nice to hear top rung artists recorded in this manner. Oops sorry, no insult to Lynn Stanley....;):D
 
May 7, 2016
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Jun Fukamachi..."meets"...Mike Levigne.

Perhaps at this juncture, it may be appropriate and of interest ( pedantic or otherwise ) for Mike to recount his experiences on the "experiment" initiated by Winston Ma of FIM with this particular recording as the "guinea pig". Furthermore, to make some comments on the sonic differences between the two different cartridges used in the "experiment", the differences between the three CD variants offered, and the differences between the original disc and the subsequent DXD versions.

I only have one version and thus no comparative data points; I can only judge the sound of the two cartridges only.

I listen always learning. Cheers, Kostas.
 
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Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,137
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Jun Fukamachi..."meets"...Mike Levigne.

Perhaps at this juncture, it may be appropriate and of interest ( pedantic or otherwise ) for Mike to recount his experiences on the "experiment" initiated by Winston Ma of FIM with this particular recording as the "guinea pig". Furthermore, to make some comments on the sonic differences between the two different cartridges used in the "experiment", the differences between the three CD variants offered, and the differences between the original disc and the subsequent DXD versions.

I only have one version and thus no comparative data points; I can only judge the sound of the two cartridges only.

I listen always learning. Cheers, Kostas.
thanks Kostas.

that session was back in May of 2008; now 10 years ago. my dear departed friend, Winston Ma, had asked to use my system and room to do this project. he felt my Rockport Sirius III tt would provide a top level platform to do the digital mastering for the Jun Fukamachi dtd pressing. there is lots of information out there (google is your friend) to read about regarding the session so I won't get into all the details here. and lots of liner notes and pictures to read if you buy a version of the FIM CD. Winston loved to tell us all about his projects with all the details.

link for FIM CD.

http://www.elusivedisc.com/Jun-Fukamachi-At-Steinway-Take-2-DXD-CD/productinfo/LIMDX038/

I think relevance to this thread might be that Winston choose the much more rare 'Take 2' version of this music, rather than the Jan Fukamachi 'At Steinway' Toshiba Records LF-95001 pressing described above. if you do a search for Jan Fukamachi, At Steinway, Take 2, Toshiba Records, LF-95022, you will find none for sale anywhere. but that was the pressing used for my session, and it was owned by Toshiba-EMI Japan and provided for the session by loan to Winston. I have the first one (a gift to me from Winston), and it is a very fine sounding pressing. I never did compare the two so I cannot say how they compare.

so if finding a 'unicorn' direct-to-disc pressing gets your blood running, that is one to pursue. other than my session with Winston, I have never heard one.

as far as listening recollections from the session not in the liner notes or out there to find; a few (maybe interesting) things stand out in my mind today.

--the two pro audio guys Winston brought in (in addition to my friend and WBF member Bruce Brown), Tim Marutani and John Greenham, both expected that the digital transfers made from the pressings would be audibly indistinguishable from the vinyl heard directly. both were stunned that the directly heard vinyl was so much better (surprise, surprise....the digital could not capture it all). this was a typical pro audio viewpoint easily debunked. how many pro audio guys hear top level vinyl?

to be completely fair, the digital playback was limited by the dacs on hand that day. today we have more capable digital playback choices. it would get us closer. but also being fair; the pro audio guys then still held their opinions based on dacs then, and they were wrong. they are simply some degree less wrong now. but still wrong.

--at the time of this session I had been playing around with a tourmaline gun (hair dryer with a screen with magnets and raw tourmaline crystal pellets). I would treat a side of vinyl and for about the first 15 minutes the sound would be noticeably more vivid with increased dynamic range. at the beginning of the sessions I demonstrated this effect to Winston, and we did end up using this process for the various takes. we did some test runs and the treated tracks sounded better. Winston did not want to disclose this in the notes as he thought it would cause too much anxiety with his customers. so each side we did was done twice at a track break so we could 're-treat' it to get the full effect.

--a few months prior to the sessions Winston had loaned me a few cartridges he wanted me to try. he was considering becoming the distributor for these and he wanted to know what price point I thought they were, and type of sound they had and whether I liked them. it was very hush, hush (I don't feel I have to keep it secret any longer). I liked them both; one turned out to be a mono cartridge (he had not shared that fact with me). well.....turned out these were Miyajima Labs cartridges (I did not know that then). the FIM Black Ebony cartridge was the stereo one I tried. not sure the Miyajima model it was. a couple years later I did buy a Miyajima Mono Be cartridge which was maybe the same model Winston loaned me.

the 'Take 2' dtd pressing cover.
 

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Apr 26, 2017
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Well, Collections with Norvo and Pepper is not d2d so sorry for including it here.
The Carol Sloane disc has incredibly natural vocals, one of the best, it has a stciker on it saying this was a pioneer demonstration disc.
The Detroit Four has great dynamics and overall sound with quality playing.
Shelly Manne has great playing as expected but also good sonics and very good music
Susumu Arima - Supertouch is another great d2d piano recording
 
Feb 16, 2017
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Hello Everyone!

It's Mike Valentine from Chasing The Dragon. Just wanted to say hello and I thought some people might find it interesting that we are probably one of the few record labels in the world to be currently producing Direct Cut albums. Creating a direct cut disc is a real challenge, for you need the performers to be note perfect all the way through each side. You cannot lift the cutting head if there is a mistake you have to go right back to the beginning and start with anew acetate.

Of course the artists also have to give a great performance and I have found it has been best to choose musicians who give a lot of live concerts and are therefore capable of working under the pressure of the red light being on for a whole side! We have just finished working with Eleanor McEvoy for our new album "Forgotten Dreams". Ken Kessler has just voted it in this months issue of HiFi News and Record Review, as album of the month, which is great news for us.

As a matter of interest we also record via separate feeds from the Neve desk in Air Studios to High Res Digital and Tape so that we can also release CDs downloads and copy master tapes, without copying everything from one source. Obviously this is the best way of doing it, to maintain the individual quality of each medium.

Thanks very much for reading my blurb and happy listening!

Kind regards,

Mike Valentine

directcut.jpg
Our direct cut page from www.chasingthedragon.co.uk :)
 

Tango

VIP/Donor
Mar 12, 2017
1,947
149
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Bangkok
Hello Everyone!

It's Mike Valentine from Chasing The Dragon. Just wanted to say hello and I thought some people might find it interesting that we are probably one of the few record labels in the world to be currently producing Direct Cut albums. Creating a direct cut disc is a real challenge, for you need the performers to be note perfect all the way through each side. You cannot lift the cutting head if there is a mistake you have to go right back to the beginning and start with anew acetate.

Of course the artists also have to give a great performance and I have found it has been best to choose musicians who give a lot of live concerts and are therefore capable of working under the pressure of the red light being on for a whole side! We have just finished working with Eleanor McEvoy for our new album "Forgotten Dreams". Ken Kessler has just voted it in this months issue of HiFi News and Record Review, as album of the month, which is great news for us.

As a matter of interest we also record via separate feeds from the Neve desk in Air Studios to High Res Digital and Tape so that we can also release CDs downloads and copy master tapes, without copying everything from one source. Obviously this is the best way of doing it, to maintain the individual quality of each medium.

Thanks very much for reading my blurb and happy listening!

Kind regards,

Mike Valentine

Our direct cut page from www.chasingthedragon.co.uk:)
You forgot this one which is pretty good.

C1F67909-0B77-44A0-99EA-5A2D5B1D4E37.jpeg

Tang
 
Apr 26, 2017
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hey Mike! I am Hakan's friend from Antalya, Okan. We will hopefully meet at our small recording/listening gathering on April at my place.

I love the Syd Lawrence Orchestra album as a package. Having the direct cut, tape transfer and also the dvd on the process are all great. I got one of your tapes too, Clara sings Ella. Once I finish my ATR 102, I will be listening to that one too.

Great to have people like you who record direct to disc. For certain musical genres like Classical and Jazz, its great (if you have accomplished players) The sound is always better than transfers but good content is harder to come by.
 
Feb 16, 2017
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hey Mike! I am Hakan's friend from Antalya, Okan. We will hopefully meet at our small recording/listening gathering on April at my place.

I love the Syd Lawrence Orchestra album as a package. Having the direct cut, tape transfer and also the dvd on the process are all great. I got one of your tapes too, Clara sings Ella. Once I finish my ATR 102, I will be listening to that one too.

Great to have people like you who record direct to disc. For certain musical genres like Classical and Jazz, its great (if you have accomplished players) The sound is always better than transfers but good content is harder to come by.

Hi Okan,

Thank you for your kind words! I am very excited about meeting you next year!

Happy Listening

Mike
 
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DaveyF

Active Member
Aug 1, 2010
5,757
19
38
La Jolla, Calif USA
Does anyone have a favourite direct to disc label?

After all the d2d's I have, about 100 records in all, the "Toshiba Pro-Use Direct Cutting Series" seems to be the overall best of them. So, I tried to collect them all, just missing 3 records one of which I am not interested in. Here is a link to the releases if anyone else is interested: https://www.discogs.com/label/299515-Pro-Use-Direct-Cutting-Series
I think with D2D’s it is hard to have a favorite label. The problem with so many of these discs is that the music is so varied along with the artistry. For example, I doubt too many people would place The Sheffield Track record on their favorites list...for purely the music. While the recording is IMO stellar, the number of times you want to listen to the music...well that’s another matter. Same seems to apply to a number of other albums on other D2D labels. IMO.
 
Jan 29, 2012
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There are several Japanese D2D offerings available. CBS/Sony had several classical and jazz offerings in the 1980's that are worth checking out.
 
Apr 26, 2017
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There are several Japanese D2D offerings available. CBS/Sony had several classical and jazz offerings in the 1980's that are worth checking out.
I think that CBS/Sony direct to disks are called "Master Sound DD Direct Disk" I have the "Herbie Hancock - Directstep" from that series which is very good. As far as I know there are just a few titles. There was one more from Herbie called "The Piano".
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,137
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this past week I finally found (on ebay from Japan) and acquired a 'mint' copy of that Toshiba Direct Cut LF-95022 'unicorn' pressing of 'Jan Fukamachi, At Steinway (Take 2). this 'Take 2' version is also a direct to disc version recorded during that same session in 1976 as the more commonly found LF-95001 pressing of the same music (but not the same recording). see post #204 above on this page for more information about the recording session by Winston Ma of FIM in 2008 in my room where this pressing was transcribed to digital from my Rockport Sirius III tt.

first I listened to the Take 2 version, and now i'm listening to the regular LF-95001 pressing. really quite a bit of difference......'Take 2' being more clear and dynamically alive, scales more naturally, has greater ease, explosiveness and with a lower noise floor. I had heard that the 'Take 2' version was somehow more spectacular from Winston and others familiar with the two pressings.....but had never before had a chance to directly compare the two pressings. it is much more scarce (almost impossible to find.....i've looked for years and this was the first one I ran across) and 6x the price. they were both done at the same session.....maybe it's as simple as fewer copies pressed, or maybe they tried a different set-up in some ways? don't really know.

the 'Take 2' pressing might be the best piano recording I've yet heard. the regular Jan Fukamachi, At Steinway being more in the 'pretty good' category. a 'worth owning' $20 d-t-d pressing.....but not super dupper.

note that reviews i've seen of the FIM CD of this recording mistakenly use the regular LF-95001 pressing to compare to the CD and comment that the digital sounds the same as the Lp. hearing the actual 'Take 2' pressing on my current vinyl set-up (which I view as better than the one used for that digital transfer) the vinyl is in a different league.

here is a link to one review of the CD using the incorrect pressing to compare to the FIM CD.

http://dev.audaud.com/jun-fukamachi...oshiba-emi-direct-discfirst-impression-music/

these 2 recordings make for an interesting investigation in a pure audiophile sort of way......but hearing the 'Take 2' pressing is a special musical experience. more than just audiophile fireworks.
 
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Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,137
55
48
Does anyone have a favourite direct to disc label?

After all the d2d's I have, about 100 records in all, the "Toshiba Pro-Use Direct Cutting Series" seems to be the overall best of them. So, I tried to collect them all, just missing 3 records one of which I am not interested in. Here is a link to the releases if anyone else is interested: https://www.discogs.com/label/299515-Pro-Use-Direct-Cutting-Series
note that this list omits LF-95022, Jan Fukamachi, At Steinway (Take 2). spectacular sounding.....but rare.
 
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Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,137
55
48
I have the take 1 and looking for the take 2 forever but couldn’t find it. Still on the lookout!
assume you read my comments on version Take 2, which i received yesterday, in post #217 above (3 posts above this one).
 
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