The Best Ever Kind of Blue?

Is it possible to now write anything that hasn’t already been written or said about this record? I haven’t any fresh insights to offer that might advance what you probably already know. A good Kind of Blue pressing puts you in the 30th Street studio to hear the performance. Ashley Kahn’s “Kind of Blue” book sets the pre-recording stage, offering both musical and technical details and puts you as much in the control room as in front of the band.

According to Kahn, engineer Fred Plaut “…favored the new Telefunken U-49 microphones, a workhorse of the recording industry. Their warm, rounded response especially in the mid to lower range of the dynamic spectrum made them a favorite for jazz and other acoustic music sessions.” (I think Kahn meant of the frequency not the dynamic spectrum).

Each instrument was single-mic’d, except for Jimmy Cobb’s drum kit, which got two (one aimed at the snare, the other at the cymbals), for a total of 7.

In addition to the 30th Street studio’s natural reverberation, a low ceilinged concrete basement room about 12 feet by 15 feet fitted with a loudspeaker and omnidirectional microphone served as a reverb chamber. The session sound played through the speaker and picked up by the microphone was fed to the center channel, which was also bassist Paul Chambers’ placement in the mix. That might explain the odd bass decay after one of Chambers’ plucks at the beginning of “So What”. Of course, even without the reverb chamber, there’s major microphone leakage, which produces this recording’s remarkable three-dimensionality as well as image solidity.

Do you also know that record presses sound different much as do cutting systems, cartridges, turntables, phono preamps and everything else in the analog recording, cutting and playback chain?

SMT, Lened, Toolex Alpha, Finebilt hand presses and others have not too difficult to discern sonic characteristics. So I have to laugh when I read comments like “if you have a Classic Records pressing of Kind of Blue “you are all set”.

Trust me, you are not “all set”, unless to you this record is of minor importance or you don’t care to own what is clearly and easily the best sounding Kind of Blue.

I compared this Finebilt, UHQR “flat profile” pressing sourced from metal parts made from Bernie Grundman’s 1997 lacquer cut (this record features the speed corrected version of side 1), produced from the original 3 track tape mixed “live” to two tracks to: two original Columbia “6-Eye” pressings, to Classic’s 33 !/3 double LP 180 gram side one speed corrected set, to the 45rpm single sided set and to Mobile Fidelity’s double 45rpm set sourced not from a “live 3:2 mix” but from Mark Wilder’s 3:2 tape dub.

Why mince words or meat for the that matter, a “live 3:2 mix” cut directly from the 3 track master has to sound more immediate and transparent than one cut from at least a generation down 2 track mixdown tape and even though the Mo-Fi was cut at 45rpm, the UHQR is far more transparent. Just compare Wynton Kelly’s piano solo on “Freddie Freeloader”. The Classic Records reissue was the first and only time the lacquers were cut “live” using the 3-Track master tape—and that includes the original pressing, which also was cut from a mixdown tape.

The “flat profile” record is not a gimmick. If you’ve seen the cross section of a standard LP, the stylus goes slightly “downhill” over the first half of the record and then “uphill” to the end. The flat profile eliminates the valley”. That matters. Not in a profound way, but consider that this is all happening in a microscopic miniature world where every variation from ideal produces some negative and often sonic effect.

The original pressing is of course the “document of record” (pun intended). It has a romantic transient blur to it that’s ear-pleasing but clearly not what’s on the tape. Add the era’s relatively noisy vinyl (even when it’s “quiet” as you’ll hear, compared to the Clarity vinyl, which is really quiet).

The two Classic Records reissues sound closest to the new UHQR and to suggest that the UHQR is a “must have” if you have either of those or the Quiex 200g version would be hyperbolic so I’m not going to suggest that, but were you to buy the UHQR and your turntable is sufficiently resolving, precise and quiet, the difference between the Classic and QRP UHQR is significant, almost like putting on 3D glasses or focusing an out of focus pair of binoculars—never mind the focus difference between the UHQR and the original pressing.

Part of this is no doubt the vinyl formulation but more of it I think is the Finebilt handpress, which has a longer press time and which has had the chassis shaking hydraulics removed and placed on its own isolated platform. Especially if this record is seared into your brain from decades of exposure, you’ll immediately hear the improved focus, which does not come at the expense of the recording’s famous lush, rich and full warm instrumental sound and it’s upper frequency transient precision and clarity in front of the somewhat wet space.

Add to that the deluxe UHQR box, the Stoughton laminated “tip-on” gatefold jacket and a nicely presented nearly full sized booklet that includes session photographs you won’t want to not look at and the original 1997 Robert Palmer (the music critic and one time “Insect Trust” band member) essay as well as a new one from Ashley Kahn. Enough said!

That’s the end of the review. Now here’s the capsulized “audiophile press” review:
"Quite clearly and obviously this new UHQR Kind of Blue sourced from Bernie Grundman’s 1995 “live” mix from the 3 track master, directly to lacquer sounds best compared to two early “6-Eyes”, Classic’s own double 180g set and that label's single-sided 45rpm set, and Mobile Fidelity’s double 45 boxed edition, to which I compared the UHQR.

“Even the quietest original pressing creates a pleasing romantic blur over a soft bed of noise but compared to this issue the overall picture is distant and hazy (though the romanticized version still pulls). The UHQR offers the blackest, quietest backgrounds and unparalleled transparency, but more critically, the modified Finebuilt hand press produces unprecedented transient precision and instrumental focus and resolves low level details that will deliver surprises to even the most blasé KOB veteran, one of whom visited and exclaimed “I’ve never heard that before”. This pressing allows you to see further into the mix and transports you back in time and into the 30th Street studios. I don’t care what version you now have you’ve never heard Kind of Blue quite like this. And that’s not hyperbole!" OK it is hyperbole but hey! The thing is and add your own tired cliché here:

COMMENTS
Analog Scott's picture

Well let's take your arguments point by point and see about that.

''You assume too much about the status quo as the final, fixed and absolute state of knowledge."

I have not made any such assumptions. If there is new science on the subjects that would affect molding and casting please please please point them out!

"Scientific thinking requires openness, curiosity and detachment."

Indeed it does. I am quite open to any scientific data or principles that would run contrary to my argument. Do you have any to offer?

"You are too defensive of what you think you know and too dismissive of potentially disruptive new knowledge."

Nope, not even close. I am quite interested in potentially new knowledge. What did I miss? Where did someone post anything from any scientific study or any scientifically valid data that in anyway suggests my position on the subject is wrong? I absolutely would not be disissive of any actual science presented as an argument against my position. What did I miss? Where is the actual science or scientifically valid data that I apparently have dismissed? PLease please please cite it for me.

"And you try to use what you believe about science to bulldoze arguments that may challenge your implicit biases. All of that is antagonistic to science."

What valid arguments would you be refering to? Again please point out what I am missing here. Where are the science based arguments that challenge my assertions about the effects of vibrations on pressing and demolding a vinyl record?

"Peer review is a flawed process, this is not my original claim, it has been around for a long time and brought up periodically by scientists and researchers. And, as far as I can see, there is no scientific validation of the peer review process."

Yes, peer review is a flawed protocol. Anything humans do is subject to human error no matter what. It's the nature of being human. But science is also self correcting and the basic principle of falsifiability is the last defense against human error. An eroneous scientific study that gets by peer review is still always subject to further examination and falsifiability. Likewise an incorrectly rejected study does not shut the door on further investigation. With that said there absolutely IS massive validation for peer review. It_does_work. It does not work perfectly but it does work and does so better than anything else we have. And the process is always being re-examined and improved. That is how science works and that is why it works sooooooo much better than anything else. You know what doesn't work though? Anecdotal evidence, gut feelings, an appeal to common sense, an appeal to experience etc etc etc. Pretty much everything that has been used to attack my assertions. That and a whole shit load of ad hominem. Which I don't care about but it is a rather weak rebutal.

So again, if I have missed any new science related to mold making and casting please let me know. If I have missed any scientific data or science based arguments that actually contradict my assertion please point them out. I actually am quite open to a valid counterpoint to my assertion.

shawnwes's picture

And the renovated Finebilt sounded better. That and the fact that Michael, on his pretty much world's SOTA analogue system has listened to competitive pressings and pronounced it the winner is plenty good enough recommendation for me. Can't wait for it to arrive in a week or two and let my XV-1s take it for a spin!

Glotz's picture

Do you regularly challenge to hear differences within any parameter of analog playback?

You're skeptical but is it you don't have method for challenging your knowledge with your own system?

If you haven't been to local dealers to audition new gear and systems or enjoyed a return policy with major online audio retailers, you can't say you've built a reasonable scientific method system to test your own theories...or to test your own skepticism.

"I don't know" doesn't validate your skeptical position. It challenges you.

DigitalIsDead's picture

NEVER get between an audiophile and their preconceived notions with science and math. We're living in the time of stupid ... I read in an earlier post 'why would Chad spend money?' ... simple, because scream special formulation blah blah blah and the masses will gobble it up and come back for more ... admitting its smoke and mirrors is a MUCH HARDER ask.

isaacrivera's picture

Though I went to college for hard sciences and subsequently moved to applied sciences, my graduate degree is in the arts. Professionally I have been in "computer science" for 21 years, though that is a misnomer, it's actually an engineering practice, not a science. I am not a scientist, but I understand the importance of studies and data and their validation and repeatability, etc. As a general rule, I do not go about misapprehending other people's opinions (I do all the time) AND insulting them. By the way, "stupid" is an adjective, as in: "We are living in a time full of stupid people." If you prefer the noun form: "We are living in the time of stupidity". But I can relate, on quick judgement, I came across to you as "science stupid" just as much as you come across as language retarded. These are the times we live in!

My point was that Chad, whom I know and is a straight arrow, could have achieved the same marketing effect WITHOUT the expense. This is specially true when you consider him and the superb talent he has surrounded himself with have been producing superior sounding LP editions for a couple of decades. However, he did to the investment and probably not just to market this edition, but because in his' and his team's testing, it is superior. Having been a consumer of his LPs for a while I suspect this is a far more realistic explanation than he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in upgrading his equipment and training his staff to market records. True, this is not a scientific argument.

As important as science is, we should understand that its role is to explain the world, not define it. We must also understand that studies and data are dependent on resources allocated. Lack of studies does not make something false and studies are not required to appreciate differences. I do not need to know the molecular composition of apples and pears to appreciate that they taste differently and cows were not floating about the field the day before Sir Isaac Newton formulated an explanation for gravity.

We do not need studies to listen and decide for ourselves. If studies and data come along we can welcome them and whatever they contribute to our collective wisdom, but we do not need to hold our breath. It is pretty safe to assume this will be the best KOB edition so far according to SOME parameters, the ones I favor. Other people will prefer warmer, softer, less transparent editions and that is great too. it is all about the hedonic pleasure of music reproduction which needs no justification.

Analog Scott's picture

Indeed we don't. But we do actually need them to determine the underlying cause of what we think we hear." And that is the ONLY aspect of the review with which I took issue. We don't need a scientific study to form subjective opinions. But we have plenty of science already that shows quite conclusively that our opinions are not purely formed on objective facts or objective sense perception.

If we stop at "I like this new version better" then there is nothing to argue about or consider. BUT...when objective testable physical causes are ascribed to the opinion then we move to the relm of testable assertions.

I do not for one minute doubt Chad's sincerity on this issue. I understand and appreciate that Chad may not have the resources to actually test the effectiveness of his vibration reduction on pressing records scientifically. But make no mistake about it, he and everyone else who is testifying to that specific cause and effect have not done any objective measurements or bias controlled comparisons. If they have then they are keepin it to themsleves. Knowing what we know about aural perception that is a big problem in validating this specific assertion of cause and effect.

But IMO the bigger problem is that an actual audible effect runs contrary to some pretty basic physical realities of pressing and demolding in general and with vinyl specifically. Issues I have brought up several times that no one seems interested in addressing. Very simple basic physics issues. *IF* vibrations are causing a physical deformation of the surface of the disc during the pressing and/or cool down period where is the displaced vinyl going and how does it get displaced given the viscosity of th vinyl from the start to the finish of the process? It's not a trivial issue and it is not an assumption.

ksulliva01's picture

that not only was Miles "in the room with me," - I actually became him and re-recorded an entirely different version of KOB, and that new version is what came out of my speakers. Talk about hearing a record for the first time all over again!

xtcfan80's picture

Have another outlet for your "informed" opinions?...The analogy that comes to mind is....any vehicle with more than 5 stickers is to be avoided.....any AP post with more than 300 characters might be considered excessive and trying to hard to make a point....We all admit it, you are brilliant!!!!!Now go away....

Analog Scott's picture

I can't help you. Can't say I had any physics books back in the day or technical papers on molding and casting that were limited to 300 characters or less. They must have been trying too hard as well.

Glotz's picture

Vinyl.

Talk about snobbish bullshit... Scott is just the thing he claims everyone else is.

Everyone is stupid compared him and his proof is his utter bullshit arguments.

shawnwes's picture

The internet, incl audio forums, is full of these armchair engineers. Someone who received alittle higher education and now believes they're brilliant contributors on every subject under discussion. I've thought it therefore it's true! He should stick to the false teeth forums where apparently he has some knowledge.

Glotz's picture

Another armchair engineer with no direct experience in the field.

He claims by theory and nothing else. No direct experience doing this work.

rich d's picture

Intwerweb people, particularly males, have a desperate need to be right even when they're not. When cornered, rather than say, "you make an excellent point Sir, perhaps I should re-examine my position, arm myself with some empirical knowledge and get back with you!" They will simply double- and triple-down with verbose poppycock. I sometimes take the bait but I do try to ignore these benighted souls.

For many years my livelihood required me to hear, measure and understand the sonic nuances which induce involuntary boners amongst audiophiles. I was forced on many occasions to re-think my views and admit that prejudice has a way of contaminating results (and confounding beliefs) which I believed were based on my education, experience and measurements. In the long run this made me a better listener and enhanced my technical understanding. I now know the wisdom of the old saying, "not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts".

Sorry for the long-winded post; my hope was to remind everyone that you simply can't reason with some people and to remind the know-it-alls that we all get caught with our pants down at some point so it's probably best not to be standing in the middle of the street shouting when it happens.

jazz's picture

and the argumentation about its importance here, I just remember some different arguments here when a Rega tonearm is being reviewed. Then it seems as if it’s somehow less relevant that such an arm has no adjustability for azimuth and by the way in my personal experience rarely a really parallel headshell milling anyway (aside of the fact that even if it was, the plane of the arm rarely exactly matches with the plane of the platter anyway, which also makes an adjustable arm plane essential imo).

Just for the records: I do think the flat pressing makes a difference and (not only as a consequence) I think non adjustable arms in azimuth like the Regas have a serious disadvantage and are overhyped.

I guess we will never read a raving Rega review combined with a statement like the one how important the flat profile is…would be just ridiculous. In separate reviews over time the contradiction will be forgotten ;-)

Leonthepro's picture

Point.

jazz's picture

to all the Classic Records releases (and I have all public ones except the old clarity version). So far my sequence of stereo releases was 45 RPM single sided by a clear margin, then blue one, then with a distance again the Quiex SVP.

Steelhead's picture

I ordered and looking forward to it. I only have a cd copy so am expecting this release to crush it.

I will add to the bitching about Clarity vinyl. I have the Tull Aqualung 45 boxset and it is full of tics and pops. My clarity Dusty Springfield is tic filled as well. Not a good track record in my experience.

I clean on a SOTA lp cleaner with mofi deep clan and rinse and then LAST it and put it a mofi sleeve. Works great on most of my purchases new and used but didn't help the Clarity at all.

Hoping Chad puts out a nice clean copy Fingers crossed!

jazz's picture

a bunch of the right innovations at the wrong time due to mainly the pressing problems of RTI at the time. His flat profile and SVP as well as clarity vinyl came at the peak of noisy pressings, his Living Stereo releases and some unlucky Grundman masterings as well as some overload/distortion problems of his Scully/Western tube setup didn’t convince the owners of the originals as much as other reissues of other mastering engineers later did (e.g. on Blue Note) and the repeating vinyl formula and record weight innovations with repeatedly rereleased albums didn’t live up to the hype for everyone. Chad now can perfectionize this, which is very welcome at least for the more lucky masterings of the Classic Records era. I really appreciate what Hobson did, I wished he had more luck on the mechanical side and more consistent EQ choices from Grundman who in my opinion did gorgeous masterings as well as baffling lemons for many audiophile labels.

PeterPani's picture

they should increase the tax on KOB, if an audiophile buys another copy

King Of Dirk's picture

they should lower the tax on music - both hardware and software - so more people can hear it. It would accomplish more for humanity than most governments have.

Tubemicrophone's picture

Ashley Kahn has the model number of the microphone wrong. It is a Neumann M-49 not a Telefunken U-49 (this model doesn’t exist). The microphones were distributed by Telefunken but always made by Neumann. So the actual mics may have been badged as Telefunken at 30th Street.

Eskisi's picture

Some middle eastern restaurants spell kebab that way, and constantly seeing KOB on these pages makes me hungry. I wonder which is a better use of money...another KOB or another K-BOB?

elmore244's picture

about what type of science proves this or that. I personally don’t believe the hand press is the reason why a record sounds better or not and quite honestly I don’t give a shit whether anyone believes it does. Bottom line, does it sound great? I don’t always agree on a lot of what Michael says about why things sound better, but I’ve bought enough records based on his opinion that they DO sound better and have never been disappointed. I placed my order and am looking forward to listening to this classic revisited. This is ultimately what it’s about, how it sounds. Period.

DrJB's picture

to reading the notes almost as much as hearing the recording. I assume that a 3 channel tape machine (Ampex 300?) was used, but I'm too lazy to look it up right now. The "live in the studio" approach worked great for mixing these recordings in stereo once the format started to catch on. I love the Sinatra albums from the 50's that were recorded on Ampex 300's where his voice was isolated in one channel leaving the other two for the orchestra--again we're talking live with no overdubs. Sinatra's albums weren't issued in stereo until the 60's, but they are quite spectacular considering the limitations. Studio mic technology was nearing its peak with those Neumann, Telefunken and AKG tube powered beauties giving the engineers plenty to work with above 5 kHz compared with the RCA ribbon mics of the 40's. Can't wait to hear a really good recording of this classic and to learn how they managed it in the days before Pro Tools.

JMiller's picture

Its starting to look a little like What's Best Forum. Help

WesHeadley's picture

...and sci-fi physics. I have seen countless examples in forums and blogs just like this one.

A Scott is right with respect to molds and vibrations (and yes, I also have experience with different types of castings).

Vinyl formulations do vary and products like Clarity and Quietex vinyl, IMO, when pressed clean and proper do exhibit lower noise levels-- but frustratingly, these pressing often have excessive levels of ticks and pops that come from the dirty environments these records are MOST OFTEN pressed in. That plays a bigger factor than vinyl formulations in my experience. And, yes, I have multiple turntables, cartridges, and a pretty high resolution setup that does reveal fine differences.

I have nothing on the scale of what Michael has, but that is beside the point as very very few people have such setups-- to say nothing of the proper rooms that these ultra-high-end rigs most certainly as a rule do need in order to shine.

My understanding of Michael's room is that he listens nearfield to try and minimize the room's contribution to what he actually hears. I do believe that such a rig is going to be extraordinarily revealing-- but revealing of what?

Audiophiles generally believe that the more expensive a product is the better it MUST sound. That is pure BS.

Nowhere is this faulty idea more true than in the area of power cables and interconnects. Reliably, as the crazy expensive versions of cables are reviewed, the review equates price with performance.

It's a huge lie based upon countless false claims. Beyond a certain level of materials and build quality about all any reasonably objective person can honestly say is that different cables sound different and it will vary from system to system for many reasons.

No different than if I setup a flight of excellent Cabernets that ranged in price from say $50 to $500 per bottle and asked a group of Sommeliers to rank them based upon price. You will get very mixed results because they are all good, but each has its own set of flavor profile and scent characteristics-- not better, not worse, just lots of subtle differences.

If I slipped in a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck to that test flight most everyone would call that one out easily as it is clearly not a well made, well blended wine compared to the $50-$500 candidates.

Very much like testing a group of excellent cables-- no one will be able to consistently arrange them in order of price. NO ONE. Unless I slipped in a dirt-cheap, worn-out, old cable-- then I would expect most (but not all) testers to notice. In fact, this is how these sorts or comparison tests usually go.

Removing vibrations from record pressing machines will not make better sounding vinyl pressings IMO-- but I would not say that there can be no improvement in the pressing quality-- there may well be-- but there will be no difference in audio quality assuming the pressings compared were done right.

Michael: you have the collection and the gear to test this out. Why not record us a set of samples, the ONLY variable being the records themselves, and lets listen to them and hear what we hear-- my guess is that we'll get very inconsistent mixed results from the listening panel.

I ordered two copies of KOB because of the process, the master tapes used, and because I know Chadd is always looking to make his releases as good as he possibly can, and that the UHQR process in general means that all materials are excellent and the process will be done with great care.

People believe all kinds of crazy sh!t and a lot of it boils down to that poster on Mulder's basement office wall in the X-Files-- "I Want to Believe".

When you want to hear something, your brain may well try to "make it so". There is always that...

jazz's picture

the other thing is, why exactly and by how much. We soon can judge for ourselves.

On the one hand there’s Michael‘s word (which I‘m willing to believe, as he also talks straightforward when things don’t sound) and Chad’s engagement (which I appreciate), on the other hand there’s a lot of marketing necessary among those fellows to make Chad’s Classic Records takeover business pay back, based on rereleasing the old masterings with the arguments of noticeable improvement. I guess, as always, the large group who already has all the old releases is an important factor to be convinced to buy once more. I have no guess about the magnitude of the Classic Records deal, but I could imagine, a goal is, to make it profitable with few first rereleases.

So there are enough commercial reasons why new and old buyers must be convinced how much better the new releases are (and certainly the community of manufacturers, reviewers and vloggers depend on that kind of activities), but the mainly positive thinking me says, all those guys strain themselves to make even better releases and they produce numbers, so that everyone can buy. This alone is a reason to look at it in a positive way and listen to what’s coming, at least for a first check. If it then sounds slightly better, it doesn’t really matter anymore what part of the technical or procedural influences were really relevant or not. The question then is: is the difference big enough to buy each release again for over 100$ each. For me it would be worth the investment for maybe 2-3 of the most important AND best sounding Classic Records releases.

Glotz's picture

So those materials experience you have don't apply here at all.

It's the material that matters the most. It affects every mold design and method.

You both make a ton of bold claims about science and the lack there of it.. But it's really you that is using far reaching bullshit.

"Removing vibrations from record pressing machines will not make better sounding vinyl pressings IMO".

An opinion formed from nothing. Theory vs actual knowledge.

"I have nothing on the scale of what Michael has, but that is beside the point as very very few people have such setups-- to say nothing of the proper rooms that these ultra-high-end rigs most certainly as a rule do need in order to shine."

And yes, you have nothing like Michael's system, but then state that money has nothing to do with the sound quality. And you assume it's all mostly room.

With statements like that, I see that both of you have old 1980's systems that you still think are as good as everyone else that spends real money on...

I thought you engineers had money to afford something at least in the $10k range. You might hear some of the pressing differences!

Leonthepro's picture

elitist.

Glotz's picture

Nice cop out.

Get real man. Technology costs money.

Better engineering costs more. Hence better products.

That's why audiophiles upgrade. All of us came from humble beginnings and work to better equipment.... for better sound and for a more immersive enjoyment of music.

Leonthepro's picture

not true. More money does not always = better.

Glotz's picture

Show me one comparison!

Just one.

Fool.

Analog Scott's picture

what do you actually know of my experience and education in mold making and casting?

And this business about "theory vs knowledge." Do you know what a "theory" actually is? When it comes to the physics and practical applications of mold making and casting those of us who actually do that as a part of our work are not dealing with "theories." OTOH it is interesting that you and everyone else who are claiming I don't know what i am talking about in the field of mold making and casting seem to be quite willing to take Fremer's word for it at face value. No one seems to be questioning his experience or understanding of the physics of mold making and casting. Go figure.

I have no idea who you are quoting in your post. I never said "I have nothing on the scale of what Michael has, but that is beside the point as very very few people have such setups-- to say nothing of the proper rooms that these ultra-high-end rigs most certainly as a rule do need in order to shine."

and then you say "And yes, you have nothing like Michael's system, but then state that money has nothing to do with the sound quality. And you assume it's all mostly room."

I have no idea how to respond to this. I never said "money has nothing to do with sound quality" And I have not mentioned rooms at all in this entire thread. I think you need to go back and read what is actually being said and by whom.

"With statements like that, I see that both of you have old 1980's systems that you still think are as good as everyone else that spends real money on..."

This is just pathetic audiophile snobbery. But yeah, I actually am looking to upgrade to an actual modern speaker/amp/DSP system that is actually a real upgrade. since DSP is digital so that is bound to freak out a lot of true believers here. but that's a whole other argument to be had with irrational audiophiles.

With that said, I'd love to hear you tell me what are the technical short comings of my "old 80s" gear that would make any of it out dated by today's standards. Not saying it isn't the case but I'd love to hear your technical expertise on the subject. I wait with popcorn in hand.

Glotz's picture

It was to another poster that agreed with you with again, NO experience with those materials, doing the work, you know MAKING RECORDS.

This pussy trying to gaslight me yet again.

Jackass, you aint got nothing.

You've already admitted you didn't work in vinyl..

Are you gonna lie about that as well?

Stick you and me... Michael ain't got nothing to do with this at all.

Analog Scott's picture

"It was to another poster that agreed with you with again, NO experience with those materials, doing the work, you know MAKING RECORDS.

This pussy trying to gaslight me yet again.

Jackass, you aint got nothing.

You've already admitted you didn't work in vinyl..

Are you gonna lie about that as well?

Stick you and me... Michael ain't got nothing to do with this at all."

Good thing you keep your cool. ;-)

WesHeadley's picture

Michael's system is not better than every other system out there that costs half of what his costs period. Probably not better than every other system out there that cost a quarter of what his system cost. What he has is a tippy top quality high-end system-- measured in IN DOLLARS-- not in absolute sound quality.

More dollars, beyond a point, does not equal more sound quality and it never has. Just different flavors, different emphasis' on sonic details. A little more of this, a little less of that.

FWIW I have somewhere north of $70k in my setup and I make no claims that it's better than a system that cost double or even triple that-- or visa-versa.

It is foolish to believe that more money equals more quality above a given threshold of build and materials. The room, the unique combination of gear, power quality and delivery, and choice of interconnects will be more significant in most if not all cases.

Sometimes when people drop stupid money on a rip-off item-- like a $25k power cord (yes, a shameful rip-off) they look for and find differences that they mistake for "better" rather than just "different".

Anyway, Michael can use his multiple copies of KOB to demonstrate that vibration dampened presses make better pressings-- despite the fact that this makes no sense from a physics or from a manufacturing standpoint--other than it might improve equipment lifespan and reliability-- which is a good thing given the costs are not crazy in implementing this.

It is in the interests of reviewers of high-end anything to gush over the most expensive products and I believe there is a confirmation bias at work in many of those cases.

How many times have you read a review of a supremely expensive item in Stereophile that ended with a thumbs down? They all end about the same don't they?

Glotz's picture

You went on again speculating about a system that systems can't be better than yours, (just different flavors) but you've already spent $70k?

At what point did you say 'I'm done. I have the greatest'?

All of it smells like bullshit lies again.

Why wouldn't you tell yourself at $30k or $50k (instead of $70k) that it's all different flavors? (and it ain't.)

AND the kicker proof- with a $70k system, TELL US what is a GOOD PRICE for an aftermarket POWER CABLE???

I know you won't respond to THAT question!

Glotz's picture

You went on again speculating about a system that systems can't be better than yours, (just different flavors) but you've already spent $70k?

At what point did you say 'I'm done. I have the greatest'?

All of it smells like bullshit lies again.

Why wouldn't you tell yourself at $30k or $50k (instead of $70k) that it's all different flavors? (and it ain't.)

AND the kicker proof- with a $70k system, TELL US what is a GOOD PRICE for an aftermarket POWER CABLE???

I know you won't respond to THAT question!

garyalex's picture

Sold out on Acoustic Sounds. Still available on Elusive Disc.

neubian's picture

Elusive Disc no longer has it.

Analog Scott's picture

I figured it would eventually sell out but not in 3 weeks. Fortunately it wss not one of those items that literally sold out before it was officially on sale. Everyone had their chance to get it so it's a win for everyone. 25K units sold in 3 weeks certainly does speak loudly to the state of the audiophile vinyl market right now. It's probably bigger and stronger than it has ever been in it's entire history.

Jack Gilvey's picture

that 25,000 records sold so quickly at $100 a pop. These are not kids and hipsters buying them for the jackets.

I'm heartened that it sends the message to Chad "If you press it, they will come". I missed out on the Classic Zeps and am hoping!

jazz's picture

but anywhere overseas the first batch is just about to arrive and not all preordered by customers yet.

garyalex's picture

If I hadn't preordered it would be at this point that I'd be saying I should have ordered it. Got my copy of the Verve/Ume Acoustic Sounds "Out of the Cool" yesterday. Excellent pressing.

vogelzang's picture

In all the back and forth, I would only remind folks that KOB has benefited from terrific remasterings that sound great on a lot of different systems to a lot of different ears who are not familiar with (or use) our audiophile argot.

Prime example is the Classic Records 45rpm edition. I can easily count 10 friends with a variety of stereos who, after listening to my copy on their system, have spontaneously raved about how fantastic it sounds. "Best I've ever heard/transcendent" etc etc. They are not dissecting the sound, just emotionally responding to the music.

So, this new pressing will hopefully expose others to the joy of a great pressing of a truly great album

essmeier's picture

I've heard:

The Classic 180 gram 45 RPM pressing
A circa 1969 UK pressing
The original stereo "6 eye"
The Mobile Fidelity 45 RPM pressing
A mid-1980s Japanese pressing
A mid-1970s Dutch pressing
A 1987 "digitally remastered" compact disc
An MP3 downloaded from YouTube

While my preference in sound is in the order above, and the one at the top of the list sounds a lot better than the one at the bottom, even that one sounds pretty good.

The Dutch one isn't particularly noteworthy, but it was the first version I'd ever heard, and I thought it sounded great. I had no idea that virtually ever other pressing was even better.

It's just a great recording. Some versions are definitely better than others, but I've yet to hear one that was horrible.

DigitalIsDead's picture

I'm an engineer but certainly not in the field of sound and electronics. I have all the noted pressings dissected in this thread. My system has north of $100,000 in it... Roughly a quarter of that expense was on cables and electricity purification, two areas that certainly qualify as voodoo. There are times when I really don't want to know the 'science' and my joy comes from by blind participation and visceral reaction to the music I am listening to. After reading EVERYTHING above, its clearly a draw between the 'scientists' and 'luddites'.

DrJB's picture

There are rare instances when technology, performance, composition, genius and serendipity align to create transcendent art. I agree that the best of these moments elicit a visceral reaction, and if you are focusing on your power conditioner or speaker cables, you might be missing the point. I try to forget about everything else and focus on the performance. If there is anything that is preventing me from enjoying it--frequently some kind of distortion--that's an opportunity to improve my listening environment. In my world, the only vinyl copy of Kind of Blue that I own is a 2010 Coherent/RTI pressing that sounds cool, but is there a better one out there? Absolutely. Are they readily available? Hmm.

This doesn't pertain to your post, but I'd like to add that the bigger issue is: Why do certain online retailers take money, promise a specific delivery date, and then without any notification stamp an order with a "backordered/awaiting repress" notice? They should have informed the consumer up front, or at the least emailed the poor schlub, that they took more orders than they could deliver. I assume that they don't want the consumer shopping elsewhere so they resort to nefarious business practices--not quite a bait and switch. More like Lucy teeing up the ball and then pulling it at the last second.

    Well...I for one will not be Charlie Browned!

Wait, everyone else is sold out? That's the very definition of being Charlie Browned. i'm gonna have to change my user name.

Analog Scott's picture

It's sold out! It's not sold out! WTF?

ermeyboy's picture

Listening to this right now and blissed out. Amazing. Can’t wait for this UHQR version!

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