What is your favourite version of Miles Davis “Kind of blue”?

Decided to try and source an early version of Kind of blue to see what the differences might be between different cd versions.
Discogs yielded a European CBS version from 1986, so I pulled the trigger.
Differences noted;
A) speed - definitely a tad slower compared to the corrected modern remastered versions. Not really a problem because your hearing adjusts quickly.
B) the modern remasters definitely equalise the mix, boosting bass and especially in the upper mids and treble.
Initially this gives the impression of better clarity but there are issues. I have 4 versions now, all on cd or download. I’ll summarise them below but take it with a pinch of salt because they are my subjective opinion.

  1. Sony Legacy SBM edition on cd - this seems to be the one I come across now, whether new or in 2nd hand/charity shops. This is speed corrected and actually pretty good. The equalisation has brightened things up, giving a sense of clarity but at the expense of increased noise. A good buy with extra tracks.
  2. A downloaded 1988 Japanese remaster. Not sure of the validity of the source but excessively bright with lots of noise. Initially sounds ok but after hearing other versions I don’t play this anymore. Bass was bloated as well.
  3. A Pristine XR remaster copy where lots of work has been done to reduce noise and correct speed and wow and flutter problems using some kind of convolution remodelling. A good effort but after initial positive thoughts tends to sound over-processed.
  4. A European cd copy from 1986 on the CBS label. This hasn’t been speed adjusted or remastered and this is the first thing one notices. Your ears adjust quite quickly though and there is also a lack of hiss. If anything the top-end may even have been slightly rolled off to reduce noise. Despite that, once ones ears have adjusted and the volume tweaked upwards to compensate for the disc being quieter than modern versions, it has a lovely, natural feel, with great dynamics.

Without doubt in my mind, the original version sounds the most natural and dynamic, albeit a “< Semitone” out in pitch.
If it ain’t broke.

Your thought welcome.


I have a standard cd, a hi res copy and a Japanese cd all 3 have some kind of annoying distortion in different parts of the saxophone. I’ve never been able to work if it’s in the original recording or something wrong with my setup. Be interested to see if others have the same issue.

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I have it on my vinyl copy. Mainly in the right speaker. Some think it is the reed vibrating on the mouth piece but it sounds like distortion to me.


The ‘buzz’ is on each pressing I’ve ever owned (um… only three or so). I’ve always assumed it’s on the tape…reed or whatever.

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It’s an amazing album.

63 years old - so 5 years older than I am. :slightly_smiling_face:

I have a vinyl copy in a box somewhere that I’ve owned for over 30 years, and I think I bought it second hand.

Also a CD copy from the early days of CD.

I never compared them for SQ, and cannot easily do so now as I sold my TT and Naim CD player.

It would be good to know which version has the best SQ - there must be a lot of info and ideas about this on Discogs and Steve Hoffman.

In the end, I find that listening to different versions of an album to see which one has what SQ tends to alienate me from immersion in the mood and tone of the music.

After playing Kind of Blue over 100 times, I have hardly played it (or any of the earlier Miles stuff) since I discovered the amazing trove of delights from the 70s such as Pangaea, Agharta, Big Fun, Jack Johnson, etc.


I did forget to mention that while I wouldn’t say I was a huge fan of jazz I love this album. Think it says everything about modern jazz kinda like how St Peoper says everything about pop. It’s a masterpiece.


I like the Mobile Fidelity SACD


Bet you can guess what I’m going to play tonight! :smile:


Most of the classic jazz recordings from that era have some technical blemishes to their sound. However, there is something wonderful about how music just seems to flow in these early recordings and occasional distortion can be “tuned out” when it arrives on the scene, at least that’s what I find.


It’s a wonderful record, which I’ve had on CD for years. I’m not at home, so can’t check its provenance, but my memory is of a very decent transfer. The album must have been a sort of stepping stone to modern jazz for so many listeners. Am I right in thinking that it’s the highest selling jazz record of all time?

I have recently gone mad and ordered (at some expense) a blue vinyl copy from the USA, which hasn’t arrived yet. I’ll try to remember to post an update in due course, when I’ve given it a spin on the old LP12, if this thread is still open.

It would be interesting to start a thread along the lines of Top Five (or Ten) Jazz Releases For Beginners. I would certainly want to include ‘Kind Of Blue’, along with Dave Brubeck’s ‘Take Five’, plus some Horace Silver and Nancy Wilson, but I’m not a jazzer at heart, so I don’t feel able to start the thread. I think that it would be very useful and informative, so if anyone better informed than I wants to run with the idea, please go ahead!

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Good luck. The SH Forum has 184 threads with KoB in the title. :smiley:

(Pardon if this is improper post.)

When I perused the SHF in the 00s SH used to praise the Sony single layer SACD (sacd only) from 1999. I bought it and liked its ‘flow’ and perceived ‘warmth’. I like the hires DSD version also that I got from Acoustic Sounds (when they sold digital) but do not know whether they share the same source. This is not strictly an SQ preference but more the ‘enjoyable factor’ on my part/system.
I like the 2006 Sony Japan paper sleeve CD as well, SICP-1206 (which has 2006 DSD on the OBI). This was from their ‘Original Jacket’ series.
I have accumulated multiple versions of this album over several decades, vinyl & digital obviously but I find myself playing these most often.

That’s interesting. It’s something that I don’t do either, nor do I need to do it as I can quickly hear if something sounds better. There are some albums of which I have multiple copies (remasters etc.), but I only ever bother listening to the best sounding version. An exception might be the Beatles Let It Be vs. Let It Be… Naked, where I listen to both, but I regard those as different albums anyway.

I’ve multiple versions of KOB on vinyl, CD and Hi Res I’m not home so cannot list them all at the minute but my favourite is the Analogue Productions UHQR Vinyl copy though I do still listen to other copies too for different reasons like the RSD Mono version and also the 1963 stereo version again for different reasons.

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I’m with you on 4. I also have the :XR remaster which sucks the life out of the performance…

…and remember when they released a version with ‘bonus tracks’? Hahaahaha. No!



My favorite is a downloaded HiRes 192/24 FLAC file residing on my NAS and sounding sublime!


A DSD 256 version has just appeared on High Definition Tape Transfers website. I love their transfers. You can download a 24/96 sample free to try it out sound wise. https://www.highdeftapetransfers.ca/products/miles-davis-kind-of-blue-pure-dsd


That looks really interesting but is there any point in the DSD version for a Naim streamer?

Maybe yes if the 32-bit DSD files are converted into 32-bit WAV (with a tool like XLD) ?

There are other formats available so no need to convert just to be able to play back the download. I guess 24/352.8 PCM FLAC would be the highest resolution compatible with Naim (current gen) streamers. It would have been interesting to listen to KoB at full DSD256 resolution but I guess it’s not possible.