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Thread: Mapleshade

  1. #1
    Forum Regular vr6ofpain's Avatar
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    Mapleshade

    Has anyone bought CD's from them? They seem to have a good deal, where if you purchase 4 CD's, the are only $9.60 each. I was interested in buying a few, and compared to the local record stores and amazon/cdnow that is cheap. Does Mapleshade have their own production, because the cover art they show in the catalogue is different from the covers shown on cdnow....

    anything positive or negative to say about them?
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  2. #2
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vr6ofpain
    Has anyone bought CD's from them? They seem to have a good deal, where if you purchase 4 CD's, the are only $9.60 each. I was interested in buying a few, and compared to the local record stores and amazon/cdnow that is cheap. Does Mapleshade have their own production, because the cover art they show in the catalogue is different from the covers shown on cdnow....

    anything positive or negative to say about them?
    I used to get their catalog, but I never ordered anything. The word I got was that the sound quality is excellent, but the selection of artists is limited. Although I haven't seen their catalog in a while, I didn't find much of interest to me. But I was curious about the sound quality and recording techniques. I almost got one of their samplers. Have they expanded their catalog to include more than their own recordings of obscure artists?

    P.S. I think I remember a discussion of Mapleshade over on the rave recs board.

  3. #3
    nightflier
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    Mapleshade

    I just ordered a four pack of CD's from them that I should be getting soon. A couple of notes:

    - The sampler cd's don't qualify for the discount
    - Their selection is very limitted, mostly blues and jazz (maybe 200 or so cd's)
    - Sound quality (although I haven't heard it yet) is described to be as close to the real thing as possible.
    - A tremendous amount of work and detail goes into each recording (most of them done in-house)
    - They also sell interconnects, speaker cables, power cords, as well as refurbished classic components.
    - Their philosophy is to simplify things as much as possible, a good philosophy IMO.
    - They have a ton of "free upgrades" or tips for improving sound. Most of these that I have tried have brought me a marginal improvement in sound.
    - The wording in the catalogs and on their website tends to exaggerate improvements but theoretically at least, their solutions (whether purchased or free) make a lot of sense.

    Most importantly:

    - The owner, Pierre Sprey is extremely knowledgeable and typically responds personally to emails. So go ahead and email him your questions...

  4. #4
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    The record company makes some of the best minimal miked straight gain recording in the business. There are very meticulous in making sure that they capture everything as naturally as possible, no processing, no downconverting, no mixers. All of their equipment is custom made and extremely expensive to make to their standards. Their production standards could never be used by most record companies as it would be too expensive and time consuming. They can get away with it because they use non mainstream artist, and the record company's owner does all of the recording himself. No union workers, no expensive hall or recording venue here, they use barns, living rooms, basements, and various other inexpensive off beat recording locations to record.

    I have two CD recordings of Shirly Horn by maple shade, and they sound so real I can hear Shirly taking breaths between phrases. Such detail!
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  5. #5
    Forum Regular vr6ofpain's Avatar
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    well their interconnects and speaker wire seem a bit ridiculous. also, I am not too sure about mounting bookshelves on the floor at an angle on $250 pieces of wood.

    though I did find 3 CD's i wanted, and I am deciding on a fourth, then I will make my order ($9.60 each). some of their 'free upgrades' sound intriguing. like the one where it says to:
    "snip off any plastic phase ring in front of the tweeter. you'll hear as much as 100% improvement in treble"
    I have some old Infinity's with the standard 0.5-0.75" polycarbonate tweeter (super commonly used on cheaper speakers) which has one of those rings. since i dont care about them, it would be interesting to listen to them, then compare them with the rings removed, see how the sound changed. they look like these:



    anyone tried this?
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  6. #6
    nightflier
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    It all seems very logical though...

    Quote Originally Posted by vr6ofpain
    some of their 'free upgrades' sound intriguing. like the one where it says to: "snip off any plastic phase ring in front of the tweeter. you'll hear as much as 100% improvement in treble"
    If you look at all the free upgrades, they all make sense in some logical way. While you're not likely to get 100% improvement (unless the tweeters were completely dead before), it does make sense that removing something from the front of driver (grille, plastic rings, or whatever) does make sense.

    Mr. Sprey applies the same logic to his interconnects. Aside from the plastic wrap, they are about as simple and minimal as they can be, and there is something to be said for that. He also does this with his speaker wire and power chords and aside from shielding, I doubt much else is needed (sometimes I wonder what Monster Cable puts inside their pricier cables). With Mapleshade, you know right away; no secrets.

    About the blocks, you have to also consider how much trial & error went into finding the right wood density, thickness, etc. I read somewhere about how much time and effort they spent on developping their original brass "heavyfoot" spikes, and although I can't afford them, they certainly seem to be worth the money.

    Mr. Sprey has spent 20+ years working on these upgrades comparing them with some of the top brands out there, so I'm going to guess he knows a thing or two about it. Most everything at mapleshade comes with a 30-day guarantee, so it couldn't hurt to try some of these out against your own reference equipment.

  7. #7
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    I have two CD recordings of Shirly Horn by maple shade, and they sound so real I can hear Shirly taking breaths between phrases. Such detail!
    That's awesome! How's her voice and what did you think of the selected material?

  8. #8
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    I just ordered a four pack of CD's from them that I should be getting soon.
    Hey nightflier, please report back when you've had a chance to listen to your new cds!

  9. #9
    Forum Regular vr6ofpain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    does make sense that removing something from the front of driver (grille, plastic rings, or whatever) does make sense.
    then why are they installed by the manufacturers? it would cost them less to not include such complications. the only thing I can think of is protection, but at the same time, many companies dont have covers, some spell speakers with tweeters with protectors and some without (though i guess that could be sourcing or drivers).

    I think i'll try it for the hell of it.
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  10. #10
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dean_martin
    That's awesome! How's her voice and what did you think of the selected material?
    Dean,
    She was in excellent voice, and the material on one of the CD is a little slow for me(too many slow songs on one CD), but the other had songs that were all over the map tempo wise. I listen to these recording quite a bit these days.
    Sir Terrence

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  11. #11
    Forum Regular gonefishin's Avatar
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    I just love Mapleshade recordings.

    The recordings are top notch, although I'm not sure that every audiophile out there would actually prefer their natural, dynamic and raw recordings. Their recordings do give a nice impression of music. Detail, dynamics, real-like tone from the lows...thru the mids (voices, brass and percussion are amazingly real sounding) on up to include some of the most life-like cymbals I've heard on recordings to the highs.

    They are nice. But...depending on the recording and event...you may get some worts in the event as well. But to me...that's music.


    Music wise...I also love many of the Mapleshade artists. Many are unknown and some are even unpolished in their performance. To me...they're exactly what I want out of an artist.

    You don't have to buy the 4 cd deal...they've always got that going. Just buy the sampler to get an idea of their music and their recording techniques. Then go from there.



    I will admit...I've been told many times that I've got a rather "odd" taste in music. So keep that in mind My favorite Mapleshade is the A La Carte Brass and Percussion - Boogeyin'! Swamprock, Salsa & 'Trane...the you've got the other brass and percussion recordings to go along with the blues, jazz and gospel music. hehe...I just love it




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    enjoy the music!

  12. #12
    Forum Regular vr6ofpain's Avatar
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    no but there are three CD's I already want, I like the artist, and listened to the 'previews' of each song on all 3 albums through cdnow. i want the CD's, just need to get a fourth so I end up paying the same, but getting one more disk!

    oh i cut off the tweeter covers on my cheapo infinity's. either it is all the beer I had this afternoon (the 'sampler' at a local brewery, 16 different brews, approx 3oz each, ~40oz give or take), or they do actually sound somewhat better. seems to be more 'aire' or upper end reach, maybe a little brighter, but good. either way I am happy. unfortunately the very sharp knife i was using to trip the tweeter covers off sliped and i put a large slice into my hand.



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    Forum Regular thepogue's Avatar
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    ok dude...rule # 47 from thePoguer...

    NO BEER TESTING THEN USING SHARP OBJECTS!!...

    just lucky you weren't removing the wax seal from your toilet bowl!!

    BTW very cool you did the free upgrade....I read that in my cat. and thought that was really weird..I do have the sampler and Mapleshade is awesome...plain and simple...I'll be doing the 4 for 10ish soon...I'd get the sampler for starts.

    good luck...and be careful!!

    Pogue


    Quote Originally Posted by vr6ofpain
    no but there are three CD's I already want, I like the artist, and listened to the 'previews' of each song on all 3 albums through cdnow. i want the CD's, just need to get a fourth so I end up paying the same, but getting one more disk!

    oh i cut off the tweeter covers on my cheapo infinity's. either it is all the beer I had this afternoon (the 'sampler' at a local brewery, 16 different brews, approx 3oz each, ~40oz give or take), or they do actually sound somewhat better. seems to be more 'aire' or upper end reach, maybe a little brighter, but good. either way I am happy. unfortunately the very sharp knife i was using to trip the tweeter covers off sliped and i put a large slice into my hand.



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  14. #14
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonefishin
    I just love Mapleshade recordings.

    The recordings are top notch, although I'm not sure that every audiophile out there would actually prefer their natural, dynamic and raw recordings.
    Actually I think that audiophiles would love this minimalist recording style. Where they would have a problem is with musician errors and slip ups, sometimes ragged playing, and in some cases musicians just moving a bit too much which may cause the instrument to come in and out of balance in the mix.


    Their recordings do give a nice impression of music. Detail, dynamics, real-like tone from the lows...thru the mids (voices, brass and percussion are amazingly real sounding) on up to include some of the most life-like cymbals I've heard on recordings to the highs.
    Mapleshade uses venues that are unconventional, but have very controlled acoustics. They usually do not record more than a few people in their recordings, so it might be a little easier placing mikes(and then on some level it may be harder) I have heard cymbals recorded close, and from a distance. I prefer the distant approach because it allows the air to mix with the upper harmonics of the cymbals giving them just a little more shimmer than a close up recording. All of his microphones are custom made for a wide frequency response, low noise, and VERY high dynamic range. All of his equipment is custom made to exact specifications. That is why the quality is so good. No mass produced pro gear here.

    They are nice. But...depending on the recording and event...you may get some worts in the event as well. But to me...that's music.
    I like the music, don't like the warts much


    Music wise...I also love many of the Mapleshade artists. Many are unknown and some are even unpolished in their performance. To me...they're exactly what I want out of an artist.
    Being a bit of a perfectionist musician, unpolished really would annoy me. Thank God himself Shirley Horn is a perfectionist also, so the recording I have of her sound absolutely wonderful.



    I will admit...I've been told many times that I've got a rather "odd" taste in music. So keep that in mind My favorite Mapleshade is the A La Carte Brass and Percussion - Boogeyin'! Swamprock, Salsa & 'Trane...the you've got the other brass and percussion recordings to go along with the blues, jazz and gospel music. hehe...I just love it


    have fun!
    I personally think rather highly of a person with a wide range in taste of music. It shows they are smart enough to expose themselves to a variety of music, rather than locking themselves into just one genre and being satisfied with that.
    Sir Terrence

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    6 custom CAL amps for subs
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