Hi, I am getting back into Vinyl through my new Rega P6 and my wonderful SN2. It’s been great going through my old collection. I have some obvious holes I would like to fill but the versions available through Juno, for example, are very confusing. For example, there are 9 versions of Mingus’ Ah Um:
and 18 versions of Davis’ Kind of Blue
Which of these would you choose, and why…
Discogs is your friend here.The dead wax info is the key…
Thanks. I use Discogs but I was more after which versions would sound the best.
Some people have spent their record buying life answering that question. The Hoffman forum might be worth a try but generally they’ll tell you it’s the one that you can’t find or can’t afford.
Thanks AndyP. Do you have any recommendations from the two links I posted?
i have resisted going back to vinyl. It’s a big temptation with 300 vinyl albums in the loft including the two Miles and Mingus you mention. Plus a Rega Planar 3 gathering dust. Good luck in your search.
The Steve Hoffman forum is a good suggestion.
Mingus Ah Um: my favorite is the 45rpm ORG, though that may soon be superseded by the MOFI 1-step soon to be released.
Kind of Blue: It’s presently a toss-up between the Classic 200grms QUIEX-SVP and the 45rpm Mofi.
I’d suggest that when you start worrying about exactly which pressing sounds best, you may have lost sight of the music. It’s ok to a point but then it becomes weird.
Short of a mint original, the best versions of Kind of Blue are generally considered to be the Classic Records issue and the more recent Mobile Fidelity 2 LP 45rpm issue. The Classic is quite pricey, although the MoFi can still be picked up new for around £60-70 or so. If that’s too pricey then try tracking down the US Kevin Gray cut from 2010 - this can still be bought from eBay from US sellers for under £20 delivered. And if you want to take a bit of a punt, there’s a UK CBS yellow orange label out there that sounds fabulous (albeit not speed corrected) and is still my usual “go to” copy despite owning many others including the 45rpm Mofi. Whatever you do AVOID some of the recent dodgy European reissues, likely taken from CD masters.
KoB is a total minefield on vinyl, particularly with the proliferation of rather dodgy European reissues, so asking for some guidance is not just sensible, it’s pretty much essential.
One can get very anal about this, but there can be big differences between pressings/editions. I think it’s worth spending a bit of time investigating for titles that you really love. Of course, you can also get obsessive …
Generally (big generalization to be taken with a pinch of salt), releases by Analogue Productions (Acoustic Sounds), MoFi, Classic records (if you can find them), ORG, CISCO, Music Matters, to name a few specialized audiophiles labels, tend to be pretty good. Some of the MoFi ones are a bit of a miss, but they also have wonderful sounding ones.
Is “Music on Vinyl” any good as a label?
Can be good, can be not so good. The best thing about MoV is that the presentation is usually very good and the pressings usually immaculate. However, they are never that clear on the source of their masters and so it’s a bit hit & miss as to how the LPs will sound.
Same with a few other lables, like 4 Men With Beards and Simply Vinyl. Some of their records were cut from 16/44 files or even CDs. It was always a lottery as to what you were getting. Some Sundazed stuff sounds bad as well.
Generally I find Analog Productions, some MOFIs and Pure Pleasure are pretty good, along with DCC Compact Classics and Classic records, if you can find them. Speakers Corner reissues are often very good too.
Every post I’ve read on Hoffman about 4MWB makes me avoid any of their releases…
MOV can be quite to very good, as can Sundazed…they can also be not the best option, but you really have to take each release on an individual basis. I never buy from either label without genning up on reviews or other reports about the particular release I’m interested in.
One thing to bear in mind: searching for clean, excellent condition original pressings of older albums can be difficult/expensive/take a lot of time…whereas finding a mint/near mint reissue is generally MUCH easier and cheaper (barring the usual Classic, AP, Mofi etc). Whether the reissue sounds quite as good as an original…well, that’s part of the pleasure in the hunt! Your decision is, is that difference worth it to you. And some reissues can sound better…some…
I’ve had a couple of Sundazed duffers, but others have been excellent.
Oh I agree, Richard…some Sundazed are very, very good.
Same for MOV. And lovely pressings & covers as you said.
Indeed, some of the reissues are so far superior to the original, it’s not funny. Of course, they can be quite costly too and can be just as hard to find
I recommend staying with CDs…,