Foe Moody Blues, the more recent CD remaster with the bonus tracks is quite good, much superior to the initial release on CD from many years prior. The bonus tracks on this CD are particularly good. Two similar versions of "A Simple Game", which one of my favorites, and is quite hard to find otherwise. One version the one released to single with Pinder doing the vocals and the other quite similar except with Justin Hayward doing the vocals, which is a similarly strong version that I had never heard before.
I also have a standard issue CD copy of ITCOTCK also remastered within the last 10 years or so (date not at my fingertips) with no bonus tracks but also with good sound, as is true with most KC remasters I have heard (and Moodby Blues) from recent years. GDon't know if tehse are "the best" whatever that might entail, but they are quite good, as good sounding as most anything I have heard for these over the years or even better, and should satisfy most I would expect.
Good Luck. I am on my third version of the King Crimson disc, and I really don't see much improvement over the original. Sadly, although the music is great, I don't think they have been able to clear up the original murky recording.
That's not always the case though. The most recent remaster of Robin Trower's Bridge of Sighs was a very big improvement over the original, which also sounded like there was a blanket thrown over the speakers.
If I may interrupt the thread, do recent remasters of classic rock and prog rock suffer from over-compression in the way POP ROCK and recent commercial bands do? In other words, is a King Crimson or Moody Blues CD remastered LOUD?
Remember how shockingly bad these original CDs sounded in the 80s when we were scammed into switching from vinyl to CD?
"In other words, is a King Crimson or Moody Blues CD remastered LOUD?"
I have read that most CDs since mid 90's are "louder" overall compared to prior as I understand it due to advancements in the mastering technology and I think equalization curves applied, as I recall. Do not recall the details but I observe this to be the case in general with CDs I own (many).
That includes KC and MB remasters I have heard as well, however these are done well and not overly loud nor is waveform clipping or other forms of overt dynamic compression obvious. These are VERY good remasters/recordings overall that compare favorably to original vinyl I own in good quality and much superior to any similar CD issues of these I owned prior from the 80's, mainly the entire MB catalog.
Granted some louder mastered CDs in more recent years can approach ear bleed territory, but the vast majority I hear range from on par with most overall to some of the best sounding CD recordings I own.
See my agon reviews for a couple reviews I have done of MB CDs including some comparisons to vinyl. My ISOTLC remaster is newer though than the ones I have reviewed, and is at least as good or perhaps even better.
For the Moody Blues album it is hard to go past the Mobile Fidelity - MFSL UDCD 576 UDII. But I also like the Deram PolyGram MCPS 820 168-2 made in West Germany. Both are miles ahead of the remaster, in my opinion; and ahead of the SACD, which is not that flash.
For the King Crimson, my best is on E'G Records Virgin EGCD 1 (jem Records) made in the USA. As others have mentioned, this is not a stellar sounding album.
Thanks Mapman, you answered my question. Specifically in regard to clipping.
RE: In Search of the Lost Chord"
The song "The best way to travel" (I think it's this one)
This song has one of the highest notes I've ever heard on a recording. There is a passage where the instruments back down and some sort of extremly high pitched sound goes between the right and left speaker. Back and forth a couple times. My old hammered LP plays this sound supperbly. I used blow the tweeters on my Pioneer CX80's once a year on that passage. So much so, Pioneer ran out of spares.
Anyway, you know you have a great copy if this passage is extremely clear with no reverbrating except in your ears. We atre talking high pitched!
Good luck, John
I have the CD/SACD version of the Moodies album and the 40th Anniversary edition of the King Crimson and can recommend both of them. Neither album is overly compressed.
no matter what's being tried to re-master, very seldom i would like it vs. the first release. particularly in king crimson 'court of the...' it's never outperformed an original release.
Gave a quick listen to part of ITCOTCK last night just to refresh my memory regarding sound quality and to compare to other recordings for overall quality.
I think it is This One
I listen to everything these days from lossless file (.wav in this case) ripped to music server, not the CD live.
I would say the recording quality is very good to excellent and not overly loud or artificially compressed at all.
Caveat is that I detect a lot of variation in sound quality from recording element to recording element within the mix. The best elements are very good, some are not as dynamic or detailed as one might like.
So I think this is a very good quality recording overall, but there are sonic flaws in specific elements that went into the mix for whatever reason. The good news is that you can hear the really good (which is most of the CD) and the sonically flawed mix elements quite clearly. That's a sign that this product in particular is of very good quality, even if some of the musical elements that went into it in teh recording studio originally had flaws.
Note that the flaws are more just imperfections, nothing horrible. IT actually adds a certain "earthy" element to the proceedings, rather than the whole production shining clearly from start to finish.
All in all, this particular product is a huge success, 8 out of 10 stars minimum overall I would say, probably more.
Just listen to the closing mellotron passage of Epitaph. The mellotron was a analog keyboard that predated synthesizers that used tape loops to produce sounds. MEllotrons are revered almost as much for their quirkiness and difficultly to maintain as they are for teh lovely sounds they can produce. The details of that quirkiness are on display in this recording. Were they intentional given the overall nature of this beast, or just quirky artifacts that happened? Listen and hear and decide for yourself.
THe music in ITCOTCK speaks for itself in this release. That's all that is really needed, but yes, audiphiles will find much to enjoy in hear. It is after all in teh minds of many the first and still maybe the absolute quintessential progressive rock release of all time.
While listening to "Epitaph", listen to these dystopian lyrics, soak in the album cover enjoy the musicianship and artistry (including majestic and somber mellotron and lovely accompanying guitar work) and see what happens next.
The wall on which the prophets wrote
Is cracking at the seams
Upon the instruments of death
The sunlight brightly gleams
When every man is torn apart
With nightmares and with dreams,
Will no one lay the laurel wreath
As silence drowns the screams
Between the iron gates of fate,
The seeds of time were sown,
And watered by the deeds of those
Who know and who are known;
Knowledge is a deadly friend
When no one sets the rules
The fate of all mankind I see
Is in the hands of fools
Confusion will be my epitaph
As I crawl a cracked and broken path
If we make it we can all sit back and laugh,
But I fear tomorrow I'll be crying,
Yes I fear tomorrow I'll be crying
Thank you, Mapman, for those lyrics! I remember seeing ELP during their Brain Salad Surgery tour - BEST concert I have ever attended!! - and Greg Lake slipped in "Confusion will be my epitaph" during "Take A Pebble". The crowd went wild!!!
To the OP, I believe that most of the King Crimson and Moodie Blues albums are available as hi-res versions. I have most of the King Crimson albums that were re-mastered/mixed by Stephen Wilson and they sound *fabulous*. And, being multi-channel, they sound much better to me than the 2-channel CD versions...
On a side note neither King Crimson, nor The Moody Blues, have even been nominated I am pretty sure to be in the R&R hall of fame to date. No ELP either.
On a brighter note, Yes is nominated this year and will surely make it, FWIW.
Great art doesn't just go away though. Hopefully, each will get all the recognition they deserve.
-RW-: Thanks for reminding me of the "Cunfusion.." being slipped in. I totaly forgot about that. I think I have an ELP live LP (the one with 3 LP's?) that has it recorded.
Sheesh, hope we did'nt hijack this thread too much.
"particularly in king crimson 'court of the...' it's never outperformed an original release."
Are you talking about vinyl? As far as CDs, everyone is recommending the 40th Anniversary remaster above all other other versions.
Late to the game, but my comments ...
It is not even close when comes to King Crimson's Court. The 40th Anniversary edition not only sounds superior to all other CD editions, but also sounds the closest to the original vinyl from 1968. The 30th anniversary edition is positively raw sounding ... truly a strange mix.
The SACD version of the Moody's Lost Chord from 7 years ago is equally superior sounding to the original CD release.
Well I guess I missed the 40th Anniversary Edition. I will have to give it a try.
Isn't 40th anniversary edition a box set? I read it includes the 2004 remaster as well as a fresh mix by Stephen Wilson (of Porcupine Tree fame) whose recordings always sound fabulous.
Everything I read about that version would lead me to expect excellent results plus a lot of material to listen to in the box set. That mix scores slightly higher in dynamic range in the on line recording dynamic range database than the 2004 remaster, FWIW.
I also read the other day that there is a new box set version of the KC classic "Red" coming out. 20+ CDs of related material in that one is what I think I saw. That's a lot of KC material to absorb. Could keep one busy for awhile.
There is a cd + dvd-a version of King Crimson's 40th Anniversary edition. The cd has the 2009 mix plus 5 bonus tracks. The dvd-a has 2 surround formats plus the 2009 mix in 24/96 stereo and the 2004 mix in 24/48 stereo.
The reason for the remixing is that the album was originally recorded on 4 track tape and they had to "bounce down" the recording (rerecord two or more tracks to one track) to get more than 4 tracks worth of music. Therefore they couldn't change the mix on an individual instrument and they had to use second or third generation tapes for the mastering. For this edition they were able to go back to the first generation "slave masters" (pre "bounce down") that contained the one instrument per track original recording. Steven Wilson worked closely with Robert Fripp on the new mixes, according to the liner notes.
There is also a 5 cd + dvd-a version if you really love this album.
One correction, the first generation recordings were called "slaves" rather than "slave masters" as I stated in my post above.
Played my original release "In the Court of..." LP today and I'm ready to move up to the new remaster.
There's also a 30th anniversary single disk remaster of "Red," maybe I should wait to see if they release a new remaster.
Great info, Tomcy6. Those were the good old days of music recording; bouncing tracks and "ganging" the slaves together. I'm glad I got my start with 24 track decks.
This is great. I'm happy that this thread has reraised the consciences of you guys for the undeniable impact and beauty of TCOTCC. The lyrics bring full blown visuals especially the title tune. Thanks for your help you guys. The cover as well as the content make it one my of many all time greats. Listen on!