It is well known that the 1959 Miles Davis Kind of Blue is the best-selling jazz album of all time and regarded by jazz musicians as the most influential work of the genre. In the 1990s it was revealed that side one of the revered recording had been released to the public at a minutely faster speed. Beginning with the 1992 Digital Audio Compact Disc, and subsequent multi-format releases, in which the speed was corrected and the recording remastered, we were treated to the authentic sound of the master jazzman. One such release, the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab remastered edition of the recording in the 45rpm vinyl format, is the subject of this review.
Remastered directly from the original tape and refined by the MOFI GAIN 2 process and Ultra Analog pressing for this release, the sound quality of the MOFI KOB 45rpm disk via my current reference system even at medium level is truly mind boggling. The instrument tonality contained in the groove of this fast-rotating disk is the most unabated and vibrant I’ve experienced in my system, with the instruments themselves breaking free of the speakers seemingly, translating into a most involving music listening experience albeit in processed stereo.
The top-end rendition of cymbals despite the mono relegation to the right channel was upward extending and the realness was arresting. Its background was one of the most eerily quiet among records and at 45rpm no less considering the vintage of the original format. Dynamically, the MOFI KOB 45rpm disk attained the Herculean feat of being right alongside some SACDs and JVC XRCDs, harnessing a realism that eclipses all 33 1/3rpm LPs in my collection.
Therefore, this MOFI 45rpm release is by far the ultimate expression of the landmark studio event and will provide readers that have been enjoying this music in the 33 1/3rpm all these years a new sonic experience.
Vinyl playback such as this as augmented by high-end cartridge, tonearm cable and phono preamp is expensive but epical, unique to the vinyl experience continuingly in this day and age. The playback quality of this 57-year-old, 2-track recording amazes and tantalizes me. But these are physical disks and they get worn down, especially with the frequency of use that I have in mind for them. I’ll just play them as they deteriorate in the next few years until they start sounding dull …
There’s only one thing to do and that is getting a second set for rainy days. I’m not doing this because I’m the greatest jazz fan this side of the coasts but because I am ushered into the mystical, nirvanic audiophile zone every time I play it. It didn’t hurt that the music is pleasant and not rowdy. For every five or six times I’ve played the first set for myself and visitors, I’ll take the second set out for a private spin just to check and compare. Fun!
MIT Cables Oracle Matrix SHD 120 speaker interface
MIT Cables Oracle MA-X SHD XLR
MIT Cables Oracle MA-X2 XLR
MIT Cables AC II power cables
MIT Cables Z-Powerbar
47 Laboratory Fuuga moving coil cartridge
Oracle SME 345 tonearm
Stage III Analord Prime Extreme Resolution tonearm/phono cable
Technics SP-10 MKIIA turntable with custom platter in panzerholz plinth
Pass Laboratories XP-25 phono preamp
Pass Labs Xs Preamp
Pass Labs XA-200.8 monoblocks
Quad 2812 electrostatic loudspeakers
Copy editor: Laurence A. Borden
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