Analogue Productions announces May 21st release of ultimate Kind Of Blue LP
What makes this version the ultimate Kind Of Blue?
- Source is the 3-track master tape.
- The three songs recorded at a slightly incorrect speed (the multi-track recorder, unbeknownst to the recording engineer, was running slow!) have been speed-corrected. The speed issue was not noticed until Classic Records did their release of the album, back in the 1990’s. All pressings prior to that have the three songs playing slightly out-of-tune!
- Mastering done by Bernie Grundman.
- Analogue productions owner Chad Kassem acquired the rights to the UHQR name and process from MoFi awhile back. This LP is manufactured in the UHQR fashion at QRP, each LP being 200 grams of Clarity vinyl. Clarity vinyl LP’s have a opaque milky white appearance, the vinyl being 100% free of the carbon element in non-Clarity vinyl. The quietest LP’s in the history of LP manufacturing. The LP pressing cycle is a very long (by LP manufacturing standards) 1.5-2 minutes, allowing the warm vinyl to cool before being removed from the press. That time minimizes the chance of warped LP's.
- The album is a single disc that plays at 33-1/3. Hallelujah! I think breaking up an LP side into two halves destroys the flow of the music as it was meant to be heard. I prefer to sacrifice the small increase in sound quality that 45 RPM affords to keep the music intact.
- The LP is packaged in a deluxe box (each copy numbered), with a booklet containing historical information about the album.
The album is limited to 25,000 copies worldwide. MoFi’s 1-Step pressing of Carole King’s Tapestry album, announced a coupla months ago at a retail price of $125.00, has sold out prior to release date. Kind Of Blue is a much more sacred album in the minds of many music lovers, so if you are interested in this new AP pressing of the album, I wouldn’t wait too long to order it. It is listed on the Acoustic Sounds and Music Direct websites, but not on Elusive Disc.
IMO: Music is a living, breathing art. This constant re-releasing of old stuff (no matter how good) is absurd fetishism. Instead of spending $125 on an LP of which one has multiple releases already, how about buying 10 CDs of jazz one hasn’t heard before? Or a YEAR of Qobuz, and explore what musicians have done since KoB?
Oh, wait, each copy is NUMBERED! In a DELUXE BOX? Too bad Miles is dead and can’t see that.
What's next? A collectible Thomas Kincaide print with each copy?
There's no reason one can't buy this LP, and as many other albums (on LP or CD) as one wishes. Since when is it one or the other?
Plus, some people don't have ANY copy of KOB, and want the version that will get them as close to the musicians as possible. Do they have your permission to buy this LP?
And, this LP is cheaper than a Better Records White Hot Stamper LP (look it up if you aren't familiar), and I'll make a wild guess than this version is superior to a WHS KOB.
Have you heard of The Electric Recording Company in England? They make limited-editions of extremely rare LP's, made using a completely valve (tube) system, and pressed in quantities of 100 or so. Priced at around $350 I believe, each release sells out in a matter of hours. The $350 price is a bargain, an original LP of the same title costing many thousands.
The KOB Classic Records issued in the 90's is an extremely sought after LP, fetching many times it's original price. Classic issued all the Led Zeppelin albums, and those LP's now command multiple thousands of dollars each. Their Zeppelin boxset (all the albums on single-sided LP's) trades hands for $30,000.
I guess you're just not a record collector, ay? It's okay, there's no shame in that ;-) .
I think they have already milked “Kind of Blue” to death
No, wait for the next reissue …. Which will be better, of course
The tapes are 60+ years old. I can’t imagine it hasn’t degraded to the point where the earlier pressings will sound better.
True Based on that fact, the first reissue is the one to go for (when done right… for example classic records first run 180gr) The originals get the ok from the artists when the mastering is done … so that one is authentic, all others are something else …. Shifting / boosting frequencies are not original … when you like that, go for CD and save a small fortune
The LP is now available from Elusive Disc. If you haven't bought from them before, orders over $99 ship free, and you pay no sales tax.
Expensive LP reissues aren't for everyone, but neither is a high end audio system. Analogue Productions owner Chad Kassem has a massive record collection (his taste runs to Blues and Jazz), and goes to great lengths to make the best sounding version of every Analogue Productions release that has ever been offered to consumers. From the LP's of his I've bought, I can testify he has.
His Beach Boys albums are way, Way, WAY better than any others that have ever been available (I've heard and owned them all), and in making his Tea For The Tillerman reissue discovered that all previous LP pressings (including any White Hot Stamper) had been mastered from a tape those involved thought was Dolby-A encoded. It wasn't, and running it through the Dolby decoder reduced the level of high frequencies dramatically. And no one before Chad had noticed?!
I had for years been mystified by the praise the UK Island TFTT LP had received (especially from Michael Fremer and Harry Pearson), as I found the sound very odd: the cymbals sounded cheap (I know very well the sound of Zildjian and Paiste cymbals), and the kick drum thin and wimpy, lacking weight and punch. Now we know why! I sold my Island copy and got the Analogue Productions LP. Vastly better, in every way. My Island LP had been pressed when the tape was brand new, yet Chad's reissue absolutely kills it. So much for the argument that old tapes can't make LP's superior to original pressings. That is a myth.
An individually hand-made LP is a very different thing from a mass produced one. I appreciate holding in my hands an Artisan-quality product, and am (in specific cases) willing to pay for it. Pride of ownership, ya know? My main tastes in music are more rural than urban, and my interest in Jazz perhaps far less than most here. If you can believe it, I own no copy of Kind Of Blue. I always figured I'd get around to adding it to the library, and what better time than now, with this release?
To answer @lalitk, whose post has been removed (presumably by himself): Oh, I unashamedly did. I have of course heard the album many times, and can’t wait to hear this ultimate LP incarnation.
By the way, the tape source used may very well be the one Classic Records made in the 90’s: the mix and master produced by Bernie Grundman back then. In the video Analogue Productions/Acoustic Sounds made announcing the KOB release, that matter was not addressed. Kassem purchased Classic Records and all it’s assets, the KOB tape included, so that scenario is a plausible one. In an AP/AS promotional clip, the making of a KOB LP is shown.
A lot of Vinyl Community YouTube posters/members have been reviewing the new Classic series of Blue Note reissues being issued on LP, retailing for a very modest $25.00. They and many other reissues are covered regularly by Vinyl Community (VC for short) member/poster Michael, a German audiophile going by the YouTube handle 45 RPM Audiophile. He has a very nice Einstein system, front-to-back. Michael has also made a video of his visit to that German company’s showroom, where he speaks with the Einstein owner/designer.
@tablejockey, AP is doing it in Stereo. The mono vs. stereo issue is widely discussed amongst collectors of late-50’s to the late-60’s recordings. There are valid rationales for both, and if both are available I decide which way to go depending on the artist and the nature of the recording itself. In a few instances I have gone for both: The AP pressing of The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and Smiley Smile albums ($35 each), for instance.
But I love those albums to death, and the original Capitol LP’s are two of the worst sounding records I’ve ever heard: extremely veiled, muffled, and castrated. The AP reissues---mixed by Mark Linett and mastered by Kevin Gray from the original multi-track tapes---are a revelation! Michael Fremer graded the mono version 11/11, the only case of him doing that I recall.
Michael (45 RPM Audiophile) includes the stereo AP pressing of The Beach Boys’ Surfer Girl album (the only true stereo recording of theirs until the very-late 60’s) in his "The Ten Best Sounding LP’s Of All Time" list.
I just went onto YouTube, and the first video that popped up was a new one from earlier today: Michael (45 RPM Audiophile) interviewing Chad Kassem about yesterday's announcement of the May 21st release of the UHQR Kind Of Blue. Acoustic Sounds was bombarded with orders, selling out of the first pressing of 6,000 copies in one day! They were receiving one order for the LP every 5 seconds.
We learn one thing in the interview: my guess that the tape source for this AP reissue of KOB was the mix done in 1995 by Kevin Gray for Classic Records was indeed correct. The mastering was done at the same time. Chad says he has been asked why AP didn't do a new mastering, and the answer is simple: 1- Sony will never again let the 3-track master tape leave it's vault; and 2- There is no way to improve on the job Gray did in 1995. It's as good as it gets.
Michael is hosting a live stream on his YouTube channel this Saturday at 12 noon CST. Joining him will be Analogue Productions owner Chad Kassem, Michael Hobson of Classic Records, Kevin Gray, the guy in charge of LP pressing at QRP (Quality Record Production, AP's in-house LP manufacturing plant, one of the three best in the world), and Michael Fremer. Submitted questions will be answered by the assembled panel. Be there or be square.
Watched the Miles Davis Kind of Blue live panel today. Very interesting discussion about the source of the new UHQR. Michael Hobson spoke at length for the first hour or so and provided some insight on the origination of Classic Records production process and how Chad at Acoustic Sounds has taken it to another level with the UHQR pressings. It was engaging enough for me to stay on the entire session. I also ordered my copies a few days ago.
When the industry decides to do a "best" version of something, its always interesting to hear what they do. If nothing else, it gives one an idea of what can be done, and if it's worth it in the future to pursue getting "upgraded" versions of favourites if they get released.
And what is it with all the negativity??? Doesn't matter where you go on this forum. When something that is "better" gets discussed, all the cretins come out in full force spewing the all so predictable negativity. Why is it so inconceivable that someone will buy this because they can/will appreciate the SQ with which the music is being presented?
For what a bottle of wine will cost at dinner out, you can get something that you will be able to enjoy for the rest of your life.
@perkri: Amen, brother! Seems like there’s nothing a person can say that won’t elicit an argument from someone.
As audioquest4life says above, the panel discussion on YouTube today was just great. In it Chad Kassem was asked how many of the 25,000 copies of his KOB have already been purchased. The answer was 16,000, in two days! At this rate, they’ll all be gone in a few days. As Chad says, buy now or cry later.
The Clarity vinyl being used for all the UHQR releases is the way forward for audiophile pressings. If you watch the panel discussion video on YouTube (just do a search for "45 RPM Audiophile"), you’ll learn why. You'll also get the answer as to why standard original record company LP pressings vary so much sample-to-sample in sound quality. The guys on the panel are experts in the field, Bernie Grundman being a mastering engineer for over fifty years.
Look, I have several vinyl copies of KOB, including a 1959 OP with only several clicks and pops here and there. I get the idea of a re-release with better sonics, trust me. But this is nothing but a cash grab for a select audience. And yes, unfortunately, many of the audiophiles I’ve met have used music to show off their system rather than vice versa; The acquisition of gear trump’s the enjoyment of music on that gear.
I’m sorry to come across as negative, whenever I see another re-release with limited availability, packaged with artwork and more liner notes, etc, I cant help it think that this is geared towards a well healed niche audience.
And I get it, if that’s the case, then so be it. But now you see why this is a graying hobby. The people who can afford to shell out triple figures on such an audio experience tend to be older and more insular. No wonder the younger audience, millennials and below, dive toward streaming.
Anyhow, I'm sorry to come and crap in the corn flakes in this discussion. I mean no disrespect to people who are looking forward to this release. And maybe, if I ever got it, and heard it, I would feel differently.
When it comes to audiophile reissue pricing: some of the reissues sell for less than a mint copy of an original. The Electric Recording Company titles, though THE most limited (sometimes only one hindered copies of a title are produced), are often reissues of LP's that are all-but-impossible to find, and when you do find them their prices run into the thousands. OF COURSE premium audiophile reissues are not for the average person. Neither is a high end audio system.
@jafant: It was about two hours long, Mike Hobson, Bernie Grundman, and the plant manager at the QRP pressing facility doing most of the talking. In part of the show, there is a camera on the QRP employee actually running the manual LP pressing machine.
It takes about 2 minutes for him to make each LP, so that’s 30 per hour. They run the press 10 hours a day, so that’s 300 LP’s per day. Compare that with an automatic machine in a "normal" LP pressing plant! Chad Kassem said they have pressed about 7500 KOB LP’s so far (iirc), and are being held up on the rest of the 25,000 by the delay in getting the record jackets from Stouton. Acoustic Sounds has already sold more than twice that number, and the title will surely be sold out by the end of the week, if not sooner. I bought two copies.
The video is up for viewing on YouTube, on the 45 RPM Audiophile "channel". Just go to YouTube and do a search for "45 RPM Audiophile", and the video freeze frame will appear. Click on it and the video will start. I watch it on my TV rather than computer; I don’t think the two behave any differently.
Addendum: I just learned that when Bernie Grundman did the speed-corrected new mix and remaster of Kind Of Blue for Classic Records in 1997, he ran the 3-track 1/2" master tape right into the mastering console, bypassing the normal step of mixing the multi-track master and making a new 2-track production master, which is then send to the mastering console. That’s one reason why the ’97 Classic Records pressing of Kind Of Blue sounds as good as it does.
Add to that the fact that the upcoming Analogue Productions LP’s is being pressed with Clarity vinyl, and done at QRP---which produces LP’s superior to those made at RTI (where the Classic Records KOB was pressed), and there will soon be a new standard in KOB sound quality.
By the way: For those who always make the argument that an LP now pressed from a 60 year old tape cannot possibly sound as good as an original pressing made when the tape was new, know this: during the round table chat on YouTube, Grundman explains that most multi-track masters---including those of Kind Of Blue---have been run only once since the time they were recorded, and that was when they were played during the mixing of the 3 (or more) tracks onto a 2-track production master. After that, master tapes are stored and never again touched, the 2-track production master being used forever more for all purposes.
Grundman then goes on to explain that master tapes, stored properly (as Columbia Records and now Sony have)---do NOT deteriorate from the mere passage of time. Please re-read that sentence; the common wisdom that magnetic tape deteriorates with the passage of time is a MYTH! The only thing that causes magnetic tape deterioration, said Grundman, is replaying it on a tape machine. The KOB 3-track master tapes have sat untouched and unused their entire life, with the exception of when Sony brought the tapes to Grundman in ’97, when he did the mixing and mastering for the Classic Records reissue. There is no reason the upcoming Analogue Productions reissue of Kind Of Blue will not easily surpass not only all previous reissues, but also Mint original pressings.
If you don’t think an individually-handmade LP, mastered and plated by masters of the art and science, and manufactured out of Clarity vinyl pressed on a machine which has been lovingly optimized for ultimate sound quality, and separated from the Earth on vibration isolation products (discussed and explained in the video), if you don’t think such an LP can and most likely will sound better than a mass-produced LP, made out of garden-variety vinyl in a facility optimized for units-per-hour yield, then perhaps this LP is not for you.
Well gents, the Analogue Productions UHQR Kind Of Blue LP sold out yesterday. 25,000 copies in less than a month! 25,000 copies of a $100 record; AP generated 2.5 million dollars in sales with one release! If you wanted a copy of your own I hope you didn’t procrastinate too long; now that it’s sold out it’s gonna cost more than $100 to obtain one. I haven't yet received either of my two copies (one ordered at Acoustic Sounds, the other Music Direct), but it shouldn't be long now. Has anyone received a copy?
Got the email today that mine shipped and I can’t wait. I have an OG mono and stereo but both a bit noisy and also the Classic records version a friend bought for me in a used record store, because he was sick of my complaining about my noisy copies, which is excellent. I was recommending he buy it… but he handed it to me after he paid. Neither of us really knew what it was at the time and I think he secretly has always regretted it since.
So we will grill some steaks and play the new release and I bet he goes home with the second copy I bought “by accident”. An accident because the feeding frenzy on day of release caused me to log into two devices with the hope of securing at least one. I took no chances because I was burned three times with the Craft Yusef Lateef release and missed out. As Pete Townsend says… I think ‘21 is gonna be a good year.
Aw geez @jafant, your forcing me to admit in public I have never owned any copy of Kind Of Blue. ;-)
I don't relate much to Jazz, nor do I understand it. There, I said it! I mean, I DO like Mose Allison, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington, but that Jazz is still basically song-orientated, which is my main interest in non-Classical music. I have heard KOB, and want to see if repeated listens to it on my system changes that situation. And if you're going to have only one copy of KOB, THIS is the one to have.
I have a few more Jazz titles I intend to pickup shortly: Cannonball Adderley, Coleman Hawkins, and Bill Evans (the favorite pianist of The Band's organist Garth Hudson, a favorite musician of mine). I have owned albums by Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane, and found them quite foreign to my musical sensibilities.
like @pratorious, I ended up ordering two copies of the new Analogue Productions KOB because of it's limited-edition nature. On the day of it's availability, I went to all three audiophile LP websites: Acoustic Sounds, Elusive Disc, and Music Direct. KOB was not yet on the Elusive Disc site; Music Direct showed it, with free shipping; and Acoustic Sounds of course showed it, but was charging shipping.
So I placed an order for one copy with Music Direct, having no intention of getting a second. However, the next day I watched the 2-1/2 hour round-table discussion about the LP on the 45 RPM Audiophile YouTube channel, and heard Chad Kassem say they had so far pressed 6,000 copies of the LP, and had sold almost all 6,000 the day of release! He went on to say that they were not going to be able to supply the other online retailers (Elusive Disc and Music Direct) with any copies of the LP until they pressed the remaining 19,000 copies. I immediately went to the Acoustic Sounds site and placed an order there for the LP, wanting to insure I receive at least one copy.
So if I receive both copies I ordered, I'll have one to sell down the road if I choose to.
@jafant: Sounds like Kind Of Blue is to you what The Band’s s/t (brown) album is to me, or Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks’ Smile album---even in it’s uncompleted, aborted form. I have a half dozen copies of each, Smile on bootleg LP’s before the 2011 boxset was released.
Pet Sounds is another album whose multiple copies take up considerable space in the record rack. I found my first copy (mono) as a sealed/punched-hole cut-out in early ’68, in a drug store for 59 cents! After the success of Sgt. Pepper, all the record company's were dumping their mono LP’s.
"Well gents, the Analogue Productions UHQR Kind Of Blue LP sold out yesterday. 25,000 copies in less than a month! 25,000 copies of a $100 record; AP generated 2.5 million dollars in sales with one release!"
It would be interesting to see how the $ number break down. Who gets paid along the way, and the final net in C.K.'s wallet?
Also will be curious to see in the coming months listings the LP flippers will be posting.
@bdp24 I'm excited for this, but confused and a bit anxious over whether or not I'll be receiving a copy. I ordered from AS on 5/12. My order confirmation and online account list it as "BACKORDER". The page to order the album (as of right now) still says "PREORDER". So where does "Sold Out" fit in? Can anyone explain, how their new backorder policy applies to this situation? If I ordered on 5/12, paid $100, have a "BACKORDER" confirmation, and now shipments are going out, should I be expecting a shipping confirmation or an order cancellation soon? Cheers, Spencer
@sbank: Your anxiety is understandable! I just looked on the Acoustic Sounds website, and, sure enough, it is still possible to order a copy of KOB. If the album is sold out, why would they allow another copy to be ordered? Makes no sense!
However, as you ordered your copy on 5/12---way before the sold out announcement was made, I’m sure you’ll get a copy. You could give them a call tomorrow (Monday) and ask.
You (and I) won’t get a shipping notice until our copies actually go out. QRP continued pressing LP’s (about 300 per day), but what is holding things up is the delay in getting the covers in from Stoughton Printing, who are running a few months behind. I believe Acoustic Sounds ships in the order received, so first-day buyers will get their copies first. I ordered from AS on the second day, so it may be a few weeks or more ’til my copy is shipped. The copy coming from Music Direct will be even later, as I suspect AS is filling their direct customers’ orders before shipping to other retailers.