if you're one of those who likes to "let the music speak for itself", or rather, let the "score" speak for itself, maybe schnabel is not your choice. there's definately a lot of individualism in schnabel, mostly to bring out what's probably the major weights in the music. yes, there's definately a finger slips here and there (i've never heard schnabel being praised for his technics), but it is definately just a micro-microscopic price paid for one of the greatest beethoven interpretations there is.
the transfer job is done by Winner, probably the best you can get. unlike ALL the other transfers, Winner did his best to preserve the original sound, so it doesn't sound muffled or over-pedaled. however, buyers should be warned that it also comes with a lot of surface noises from the original LP.
if you find the price unreasonable, may i suggest the same complete schnabel's beethoven sonatas on Dante, with a slightly inferior transfer, but a lower price. to date, there's also a incomplete set still being released by naxos, probably the closest to the pearl set, recording-wise (transfer by obert-thorn), but at only half the price.
aly o salmon