Analogue Productions Launches 25,000 Copy UHQR Miles Davis Kind of Blue

It's the best selling jazz album ever, one of the most influential too, arguably the one that produced a shift from riffing on chord based tunes to modal excursions that gave musicians newfound improvisational freedom. Cynics and the selfish will react to yet another Kind of Blue reissue by claiming that "everyone" already owns a copy but of course that's not true. And no one owns a 200 gram UHQR Clarity vinyl copy pressed one at a time on a manual Finebuilt press.

This edition is the first since Classic Records' 2002 reissue to use the metal parts created using Bernie Grundman's mastering in which he cut lacquers directly from the 3 track master tapes. Grundman also corrected the quarter tone sharp reproduction of "So What", "Freddie The Freeloader" and "Blue in Green" created by the original 3 track recorder running slow during the first recording session. Grundman said at the time that the recording was ideal and needed no equalization whatsoever so what you will hear from this edition is as close to the master tape still in great condition as is possible, pressed as well as is currently possible on flat profile UHQR Clarity vinyl.

This is a limited to 25,000 copies $100 edition, maximum three to a customer. No doubt whatsoever that this will quickly sell out. To order, go to the Acoustic Sounds website.

Below is a YouTube video about the reissue:

COMMENTS
Anton D's picture

I have been somewhat meticulous about the releases of KOB and have both a Classic Clarity 33 and 45 RPM release from the 2002 sets. I wonder if I am duplicating my effort?

Either way, for whatever reason, I am always happy to add a different pressing of KOB to my world.

I would love to know the inside history of Classic Records...they had some amazing releases.

Analog Scott's picture

same parts, different vinyl.

garyalex's picture

Asking myself if I need yet another copy of this record. It's kind of like asking "how long is a piece of string?". Is it that much better than my MFSL copy? Or any of the four other copies I have? For that same $100 I could go to Discogs and buy a few albums of music that's new to me. At some point I have to wonder where love of a particular piece of music stops and obsession starts. For some this is probably a great purchase. For me, I don't know.

Analog Scott's picture

the hobby starts at obsession and goes down hill from there

Michael Fremer's picture
Be different than Mo-Fi's version, which was cut from Mark Wilder's final and more recent 3:2 mix.
garyalex's picture

I’ll wait until you’ve commented. If it’s gone by then it’s gone. I’ve clearly lost my mind but at least I’m in good company here.

wgb113's picture

Where’s the teaser from your test pressing? Surely your bud Chad’s gotten you one! Any word on timing of the 45 version?

This is the first UHQR (or any record of that type) that I’ve bitten on and for me it’s clearly obsession. I have the Classic 33 and the MoFi so I’m interested to hear how this one compares.

Bill

Michael Fremer's picture
Tomorrow (5/3)
shawnwes's picture

Some comparative thoughts regarding this new pressing. Save everyone $100 or watch the scramble...which is it?

shawnwes's picture

No sitting on the fence for me. :)

JMiller's picture
Elubow's picture

They’re using the metal parts from 2002. They’re not working off the original tape which they’d have to do to produce enough mother’s for a run of 25,000.

Michael Fremer's picture
That was my error. They're using metal parts from 1995 Classic reissue. The 3 track master is no longer usable
MrRom92's picture

This is the Classic 33. Put it on, listen, and now you know how it sounds

MrRom92's picture

For the record, I think this is fantastic and can’t wait for the 45

Michael Fremer's picture
If you don't think vinyl formulation and the hand press makes a difference, I'd say you are correct but they do make a difference. How much of one I'll soon know.
Analog Scott's picture

That difference mostly being noise levels. You are not going to get a difference in the waveforms cut into the lacquer from the vinyl formula. If hand pressing makes a difference I'd expect anything hand pressed to be inferior. It's just closing a mold! What will make a difference is "hand" inspections of the product. Once you get past the cut this is mostly about QC.

jazz's picture

to the 4 single sided 45 RPM from Classic. Will be interesting what makes more difference, the previous metal parts and the 4 sides vs. the Clarity vinyl and the “hand press” whatever this means for sound.

For sure your review will be very important for the business Chad will be making with various further redone versions from his Classic Records investment. But I’m willing to believe what”s the result (and check myself, too) ;-)

Anyway great this is rereleased for those who missed the Classic Records versions. The old 45 sounds really nice and has more atmosphere than the 33. The Grundman 45 and the Ryan K Smith mono are essential and the two Kevin Gray stereo versions a great addition.

Michael Fremer's picture
100% incorrect!
Jack Gilvey's picture

so I'm happy I got in on this pre-order. I'm very glad they're doing a 33.

Russo7516's picture

MOFI, just did a double 45 rpm version of this LP. Do we really need another version of Kind of Blue ?
Plus the UHQR brand was MOFI in the early 80's.
What gives Mike ?

Analog Scott's picture

It's not even the same mix as the MoFi

Analog Scott's picture

It isn't about need. It's about what the market wants. We will find out. 25K copies is a huge run. The audience will decide. Oh, UHQR? Chad bought the rights to that trade mark so he gets to use it on his line of records.

Michael Fremer's picture
Mo Fi's version was from a more recent 3:2 mix down done by Mark Wilder at Battery Studios. The 3 track master tape is no longer usable and Mark did his transfer as a "last gasp" effort. This reissue is from Bernie Grundman's 1995 mastering in which Sony send him the 3 track original tape, which was 20 years "fresher". Bernie cut directly from the 3 track tape. No mix down. The Mo-Fi is good. I'll compare when this arrives. Yes Mo-Fi owned the UHQR name but let the trademark lapse, or perhaps it never had it and Analogue Productions grabbed it. Like the old UHQR the new ones are "flat profile" records.
Analog Scott's picture

How does one cut a lacquer from three chanels without a "mixdown?" To cut from a three chanel recording a cutting engineer HAS to do a 3-2 mixdown on the fly.

AnalogJ's picture

Grundman mixed down to 2-channels on the fly to cut the lacquers. Wilder made a mix-down to a 2-channel tape, THEN cut the lacquers from that latter tape. The Classic is one generation closer to the master tapes.

Michael Fremer's picture
That is what Bernie did. He cut directly from the 3 track, mixing "live". He did the same thing with the "Time Out" Dave Brubeck that Classic and now Analogue Productions sells..
essmeier's picture

UHQR was a JVC product, and they pressed UHQR titles for other companies besides Mobile Fidelity, though not many. Acoustic Sounds now owns the rights to the UHQR process.

This version will definitely sound better than the Mobile Fidelity 45 RPM version, as this one will use stampers from Classic Records, and they used the original master tapes. Mobile Fidelity did not.

2_channel_ears's picture

OK, help me out. Bernie did the 2002 reissue and "also corrected the quarter tone sharp reproduction...". On Chad's site: "This speed issue...was only addressed in 1995 and on a CD reissue in the late '90s."

2002 or 1995 - What's the real story?

Analog Scott's picture
Michael Fremer's picture
My mistake. I used Discogs as a reference. That was wrong. I should have gone to my original copy, which says 1995. Thee metal parts are from 1995.
ankysoho's picture

Bernie cut the lacquers in 1994. Classic first issued KoB in 1995, then repressed from the Bernie plates several times over the next 15 years. At some point the back slick changed to a 2001 copyright (very possible the first release featuring that date was actually in 2002). Perhaps that 2001/2002 timeframe coincided with Classic switching to Stoughton gatefolds and generating new art, thus the new copyright.

In any case, this mastering is from 1994, and was first released in 1995. 2002 represents one of the many times it's been repressed. All of the single LP 33rpm pressings used lacquers C and B; C is the corrected speed version of the original LP side A (this was side 3 of the 1995 2LP release, thus "C"), and B being side B.

Grant M's picture

thanks, great info

firedog's picture

So this is being pressed a from metal source which was made in 1995?
Don't metal discs like these also wear out with use? Is this an issue here?

Analog Scott's picture

And it could be an issue

Michael Fremer's picture
Stampers wear out. Mothers are good for many, many stampers. The "father" is good for many, many mothers. This will not at all be an issue.
Analog Scott's picture

although "many many" is a bit vague, clearly these metal parts have limited life spans. Were that not the case why on earth would companies back in the day do many many cuts of the same title? And this was not limited to pop/rock multi platinum records. Decca and RCA used to cut dozens of lacquers for their classical titles. If the mothers lasted that long why would they have done that?

ankysoho's picture

Would become an issue eventually. Wear on the mothers or stampers will depend on how many copies are made from them. I don't know how many copies Classic pressed of the 33 KoB across 15 years and all of their vinyl formulations, but I'd believe it if you said the AP 25,000 exceeds it.

Lacquer creates the father, which creates mothers, which create stampers. Theoretically, 10 mothers can be made before the father is too worn and thus destroyed, and 10 stampers made from each mother before she too is destroyed. That's 100 stampers, and an audiophile label will never press more than 1000 records per stamper. Pressing every record they possibly could will yield 100,000 LPs.

However, if you're conservative and start to limit the copies, say 8 mothers per father, 8 stampers per mother, and 800 records per stamper, the yield falls rapidly (51,200). Reality is, I'm sure, all over the map, with different opinions from different producers and plating engineers, and different equipment creating different results.

There's probably still enough life in these metal parts, but, depending on mother and stamper yield (and if there was only one lacquer cut for each side), this 25,000 may realistically be the final run for them.

Michael Fremer's picture
The "mother" can be used to generate an almost indefinite number of stampers. They are pressing 500 records with each stamper.
Martin's picture

One more copy of Kind of Blue....
To go with all the others.....

azmoon's picture

..even after previously buying the Classic Records Bernie Grundman remaster (same remaster as the just announced release), and the MOFI 45rpm remaster, and the Ryan K Smith Mono remaster. All of these 3 sound really good With so many other good titles these resources could have been used for, we get this album again.

Michael Fremer's picture
It will sell out I'm sure and many buyers new to vinyl will get it for the first time.
Analog Scott's picture

I doubt it will be anytime soon. My understanding is that on the first day it was available for preorder to non subscribers AS got 500 orders. At that rate (assuming 5,000 subscribers issues nabbed already) it would take 40 days to sell out. But "that rate" isn't going to continue. Day one of availablity is a whole lot different than day 40. Ironically the lack of scarcity works against sales.

shawnwes's picture

Can you post a link?

Analog Scott's picture

When they called to place their order they asked about the online ordering shut downs and were told there had been 500 orders on the first day. I'll look for the original message.

Michael Fremer's picture
Does your "understanding" come?
Analog Scott's picture

But I can't find the original post on the facebook group. I don't see how it is worth looking for at this point. It's day two since it went on presale to the general public and it's still available for preorder. Anyone want to take bets on whether or not it's still available one month from now, June 4th? Somethings sell out! Somethings....eventually sell out. I'm betting this eventually sells out. 25K simply does not instill the fear of missing out in buyers. And IMO that's a great thing. Everyone who wants one should have the chance to get one. And they have that chance now. No excuses. It wasn't gone the moment it went on sale. Not even close

Michael Fremer's picture
"We've already sold 15,000 copies and the first 6000 will be shipped May 21st"
Analog Scott's picture

Then he said 16,000. Either way they are off to a fast start. Still, it's a week later and it's still up for pre-order. Which is great. Selling out is great but being available long enough for everyone to get a fair shot is also great.

Jack Gilvey's picture

and "pretty much spoken for", according to Chad here at about a minute in:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxUfUraQJcA

essmeier's picture

Acoustic Sounds bought a bunch of metal parts from Classic Records when they went out of business, though not the contractual right to press the records, which they had to acquire separately.

I'm not surprised that they want to use those parts.

Michael Fremer's picture
The 3 track master is no longer useable. It was last used by Mark Wilder to create a new and final 2 track mix down analog tape and multiple digital 2 track versions. He also made a 192/24 3 track copy. But what Analogue Productions is using are metal parts from when the 3 track was in far better condition and BG cut directly from it to lacquer. It does not get any better.
Tom L's picture

to complain about the number of times KOB has been issued. Analogue Productions, like any other company, is in the business to make money and stay solvent. They know for sure that this release will sell out and make them money, especially at the very reasonable price. If selling 25,000 copies of a stellar version of KOB allows them to issue more obscure and interesting titles in the future, I say good for them.
BTW, I only have one worn LP from 1960 and a CD, so I'll buy it for sure.

swimming1's picture

If A=B and B=C. then A=C

PeterPani's picture

they would not reissue that one again. But they did. And so I have to buy it (and I will). I have countless copies of KoB and I will buy this one again. It should be classified as crime to reissue KoB. At least US should ask for 80% taxes, each time an audiophile buys another copy.
I even have the 7,5 ips 2 track 1960 tape on reel - the sonic best version I have of KoB.
But I will buy this - how low can I go?

One day they will - out of nowhere - release a 15 ips 2-track. I will buy that one too :-)

Arvo Palm-Leis's picture

Does the Clarity vinyl formulation have a different coefficient of friction? We'd have to adjust our antiskate accordingly. It would be handy if they'd offer a blank record or publish some numbers.

Also, having a flat record is cool, but don't stack it with the others in your changer!

Is anybody even making changers anymore?

rich d's picture

Your post intrigued me to the point where I did a by-no-means-definitive search of the interweb tubes. No seems to be offering a new record changer for sale. I'm sure the changer revival is just around the corner, though.

Used ones are plentiful of course but quite often one finds that the 8-track player in the front is either broken or has a Percy Faith tape permanently lodged in it.

Hope this helps.

Arvo Palm-Leis's picture

Thanks for digging into it! My dad's system from the very early 60s had a REK-O-KUT/ESL for serious listening and a Garard changer for parties. Maybe an RC80?

But he did not have a copy of Kind of Blue.

rich d's picture

I once had a Garrard changer. To be fair I've had a lot of turntables.

People get all wound up about VTA adjustment but that changer was way ahead of the game. Different VTA for every single record depending on how may you stacked up. I seem to recall six was the maximum.

And no record clamps unless you count the penny on the tonearm for skipping records.

Lastly, does anyone know when they stopped pressing two-record sets as side 1-3 and 2-4 to accommodate changers? I kinda miss it.

PeterPani's picture

of a working Thorens TD 224. (You should only buy one, if you are able and willing to repair an used one by yourself). The best thing is, to listen to a stack of classical pieces (e.g. Lili Kraus & Goldberg Mozart sonatas) without the need to change the shellacs. And the intimacy of the sound with an Ortofon Mono CG 78 mono tube amplified is singular.

Michael Fremer's picture
Are not useful for setting anti-skating.
Arvo Palm-Leis's picture

Blank records and antiskate are probably the last thing I wanna get in a discussion about with you when there are so many fun and agreeable topics!

The effective moment arm of a setup is purely geometric and very easy to measure.

The engineering parameter that's murkier is the friction between the stylus and record. That's what's yanking on the effective moment arm to torque the tonearm toward the middle.

The friction is a function of several factors, but is dominated by the coefficient of friction between the stylus and the vinyl. The geometry of the stylus also matters because it changes which direction the groove pushes on stylus.

When we're setting up antiskate, we assume we know how hard the vinyl is pulling on the diamond. And it's probably a very reasonable assumption. Using a blank record is an attempt to get around that assumption, but it does not properly account for the diamond geometry.

What would be fun to do is to straingage a tonearm mount and measure how hard the record is pulling.

My original remark was more about different vinyl compounds having different coefficients of friction, and that the antiskate would need to be different for those compounds. Probably not very much different, and I'm likely overthinking it. We're compromising anyway; the antiskate needs to vary across the record because the effective moment arm changes a bit, and the angle the record is pulling changes with tracking error.

But thanks for noticing, and thanks for the knuckle swat.

rich d's picture

...is the original mono. If memory serves (and sometimes it doesn't) Columbia ran three or four three track machines and one single track. As such, the stereo LPs were all mixed down in the normal fashion while the mono LPs were mastered from the, er, master.Mono copies were sold for several years and I believe they ran through quite a few stampers before the mono master was lost. My dream is that someone locates either the tape or uncorrupted metal parts. There was a mono pressing a few years back and though it wasn't a fold down it was a mix down so it's still a generation down from that dream.

Analog Scott's picture

while KOB was not a mega multitrack recording it still was a multitrack recording. Mono or stereo, whatever version you get is a mix.

Michael Fremer's picture
The original mono version was sourced from a MONO tape made on a mono tape recorder. It was not mixed down from a 3 track tape.
Analog Scott's picture

even a dedicated mono recording is still a mix unless it came from a single microphone. A mix on the fly is still a mix.

mb's picture

Digital, for all of its flaws, has no generational loss - at least in the analog sense of the word. If was cut from digital there would no more “analog” generational loss going from the 3-track to digital to LP than sourcing from an original mono analog master.

shawnwes's picture
Michael Fremer's picture
Is correct.
rich d's picture

Previous experience does not leave me sanguine about the prospect, but in this instance I do hope you'll keep an open mind. Prior postings on this very site and elsewhere indicate that tape op used two or three three-track machines and a single (full) track machine for mono, all Ampex loaded with Scotch 190 (the good heavy stuff). I admit there is some dispute about this; if you read Ashley Kahn's book (and I have, several times) he only mentions the multi-track machines but his book is twenty years old and time has revealed several errors. It was not uncommon sixty years ago to run single and multi at the same time; I seem to recall that Rudy Van Gelder did this for a year or two during the transition to stereo. If by "mixing" you simply mean combining of mutliple mic feeds onto one track via the board, this was certainly done on Kind of Blue as the engineer used way more than three mics (six or seven, easily).

This is why the loss of the mono master is regarded as, um, Kind of Big. It is (or was) the first generation tape. You are correct that mono records are typically mixed down (in the case of the Beatles, for instance, they started with two track and eventually got as far as eight) but not always. sometimes the mic feeds were leveled/EQd/comped/limited/etc right at the board and sent to a mono deck.

Because everyone involved with the album is dead (the last, Jimmy Cobb, died recently) we can't know for sure. So you may be right about this particular album and the generally accepted version may be wrong. But I believe it's important to point out that when it comes to late 50s jazz records the mono is frequently the way to go because there are a lot of full track recordings out there and they are mighty fine.

rich d's picture

For over twenty years we've been hearing about the speed error on one side. Like the rest of you, I can hear it but I'm really not bothered by it - does it bug anyone else? I've read that it was intentional but I don't believe that - do you? I have never touched an old Ampex and I haven't done any reel-to-reel recording in years, but if memory serves the capstans were driven by AC synchronous motors so even a modest drop in line frequency could do this to a tape, which leads me to believe that other recordings have suffered a similar fate but gone un-noticed. I welcome your thoughts.

Michael Fremer's picture
The speed is off to one degree or another on many older records including "Beggar's Banquet"....
Tom L's picture

were covered by Analog Planet back in 2013 when the Sony/Legacy RSD mono version was released:
https://www.analogplanet.com/content/analogue-productions-launches-25000...

rich d's picture

I think you may have inadvertently pasted the link to the current thread rather than the one you intended. If you find the right one I'd be interested in reading it - thanks!

Tom L's picture
RLss's picture

Remixes from the original 3-track tapes by Mark Wilder are listed as the source for the KOB material in the 2000 Mosaic Davis/Trane Columbia set. They sound real good, in any case.

Rodan's picture

I already have more than a few pressings of Kind of Blue, accumulated since I bought my first copy 57 years ago, so I'm just not sure I need another. The real question is: has the music changed? I hope the answer is "no." It's music that's still interesting, important, and historic. And no matter which version I listen to it's the music that draws me in. Of course, it's great to hear a pressing that's sonically wonderful; it certainly enhances the experience. But I'm leaning to pass on this release and find LPs that feature music and performances that I don't know quite as well--or at all.

My hope is that new AP Kind of Blue pressing will find its way into the collections of enthusiasts who DON'T have a copy of KOB of any vintage. I'm sure they'll be in for a treat!

SorinB's picture

I think it is great to have this AP release on market now. My first introduction to jazz and my first purchased LP was, Kind of Blue album. That was 7 years ago. In the mean time, I've learnt a lot about importance of mastering, pressing and I've been looking for a AAA release. Now I have the mono version, mastered by Ryan K. Smith and released in 2013 (https://www.analogplanet.com/content/miles-davis-kind-blue-monophonic-re...) and I placed and order for UHQR release. So, people are discovering either too late about the releases (I've missed on MOFI) or they are new to vinyl and want to buy a AAA quality release.

shawnwes's picture

Sorry to scoop you Michael but just watched the video with Chad. Livestream on Saturday with Mikey, Chad, Bernie Grundman, Michael Hobson & the AP plant manager. 12 noon (PST)Saturday.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxUfUraQJcA

shawnwes's picture

It'll be on the Acoustic Sounds youtube channel

https://www.youtube.com/user/acousticsoundsks/videos

Jazzeum's picture

This record has been done to death (just look at Discogs) when other music is being neglected. have the MoFi 45 and that’s enough for me.

Analog Scott's picture

it is NOT because popular titles are being "done to death." And this IS a unique opportunity to get a version that has long been out of print and much sought after. It's not the same as the MoFi. If there are titles you feel are being neglected then I suggest you contact the various reissue companies and voice your opinion. It may or may not have any effect but the more people who do that the more awareness we raise with companies that do these ressues and actually do listen to their customers.

Russo7516's picture

Sketches of Spain

xtcfan80's picture

A changer and different coefficient of friction for a different formulation of vinyl??? As my wife would say "That's GEEKY Honey"

xtcfan80's picture

I'd be hornswogggled if the pitch problem on KOB was intentional....

cement_head's picture

I bought this version a few years ago (brand new for $21 USD), and I think it's pretty damn good: https://www.discogs.com/Miles-Davis-Kind-Of-Blue/release/5164493

It now sells for $400!

DinaMoe's picture

No it doesn't. More like $40.

jazz's picture

fortunately there’s also a cheaper non numbered non RSD version with the same mastering.

bwright's picture

As an aside, the 180g blue vinyl limited promo run that Classic did of KOB sounds distinctly different than the black vinyl releases in 180g and 200g. It sounds more like their vaunted 45 rpm release.

jazz's picture

The old 45 has clearly the most spherical, enveloping character, of which also the blue one has more than the black ones. It will be very interesting to hear if this characteristic is increased or reduced with the new clarity versions. In case it’s reduced, the old versions have a point (even if this is due to some production anomalies).
Well we know a good part of vinyl magic comes from whatever good vibrations not present on CD’s ;)
Will buy the new versions. If there’s a recording to have the presumably best version of, then KOB.

And I like Chad’s authenticity. Those guys honestly push the limits in quality for essential recordings with the best intention, so it’s ok if they also make some money with it.

Analog Scott's picture

The original Classics had the original speed and the corrected speed in their original 2LP release. Which version does the AP UHQR use?

jazz's picture

the only Classic Records (and UHQR) version with the false original speed covered was the 2 LP 33 RPM version of Classic Records to demonstrate the difference. All other versions based on those metal parts have the corrected speed.

Analog Scott's picture

since AP has the metal parts for both versions.

jazz's picture

I think they used the original speed metal parts just for the.one demo LP.

Only Bernie, Chad and Mile know.

Paul Boudreau's picture

I thought I’d look and see home many vinyl copies of KoB I had but I ony have seven. I could’ve sworn I had an original mono copy but I guess not; the only mono one I have is the numbered 2013 RSD one mentioned above. The rest include two different Classic Records, a MoFi box, a Legacy box and a Japanese copy (1980s?), plus a 2010 Newbury Comics exclusive on blue-splatter vinyl (couldn’t resist!). And, yes, I did pre-order the new one.

kwolfdds's picture

Mikey; It's 5/10; what are your first impressions?

ArizonaBob's picture

Sorry, it was 1-4 and 2-3, not 1-3 and 2-4. This way you could just flip both at once without shuffling. Michael, do you even read these posts??
JK, Bob in AZ (yeah, I'm old)

charliepress's picture

I saw on some Facebook forums that Acoustic Sounds confirmed (via Instagram, which I am not on) that this is coming. Is that accurate? And curious why acoustic sounds would do both? Supposedly the 45 rpm will retail for $125.

xtcfan80's picture

Charlie ....During the webinar, Chad says repeatedly something to the effect of; "Ya gotta give us a chance to get the 33 KOB out the door before bugging us for the 45...Ya gotta be patient, this is a handmade product and it takes time to do it right" So there WILL be a 45 AP version.

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