Miles Davis: Kind of Blue

Miles Davis: Kind of Blue

SMEJ  SICP-10083

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid


"Kind of Blue"

Miles Davis

Japan original SACD Hybrid release of Miles Davis's legendary album featuring digital remastering (remastering same as that used in the popular 2006 cardboard sleeve version). SACD layer also includes 5.1ch surround version of the recording.

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Reviews (1)

Review by Mark Werlin - December 31, 2021

Sixty years after its release, "Kind of Blue" can be streamed instantaneously, anywhere with an Internet connection, in good fidelity. Yet jazz-loving audiophiles continue to acquire the album in each new iteration, eternally hopeful that THIS will be the best version, the one that justifies the high cost of our audio systems and the inordinate amount of time we spend reading (and writing) reviews and discussions.

For some collectors, the present SACD, Sony Japan (SMEJ) SICP-10083, will be THE version to own.

It was mastered a few dB louder than the US Sony SACD and the MoFi SACD. File conversion (DSF-DXD-DSF) with gain reduction facilitated an A/B comparison. The Sony Japan SACD is clearly better mastered than the original US Sony release; Bill Evans' piano on the US SACD sounds thin by comparison. Switching between the Sony Japan and MoFi SACDs reveals substantial differences in sonic signature: Paul Chambers' bass is firmer and Jimmy Cobbs' cymbals are brighter. The timings are also a little different from the other versions.

The differences in timings and sound quality suggest that Belden and Wilder's 1997 remixed master analogue tape was sourced by Sony Japan engineers, perhaps with EQ sweetening, to create a new DSD transfer for this SACD issue.

My personal preference among the three Kind of Blue SACDs in my collection remains the MoFi release, but the Sony Japan disc offers a more vivid sonic presentation. And unlike the MoFi disc, which is stereo-only, the Japan Sony disc contains an MCH program described on the label as "Multi-5.1 ch".

Is it in fact 5.1, 5.0, or 3.0? MCH listeners, please add your comments.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Werlin and


Sonics (Stereo):

stars stars
Comments (6)

Comment by Gilles Daugenet - December 25, 2021 (1 of 6)

SACD japonais au son extraordinaire. Il est vrai que je ne l’ai pas comparé avec le MFSL mais cette production est fantastique !
Japanese SACD with extraordinary sound. It is true that I have not compared it with the MFSL but this production is fantastic !

Comment by Mark Werlin - December 31, 2021 (2 of 6)

Je suis d'accord, Gilles. La qualité est supérieure au Sony SACD américain. D'autres membres ont discuté de cette version:

I agree with Gilles, and with comments by Claude on the old site about the superior sound quality of the 2007 Sony Japan SACD SICP-10083.

Comment by Ad Rhenum - June 10, 2022 (3 of 6)

In response to the call in the review: Is it in fact 5.1, 5.0, or 3.0? MCH listeners, please add your comments.

I hear music from all five speakers, FL, C, FR, RL, RR

The fronts and centre are discrete. But the rears sound allmost identical to the fronts with a about 5dB lower sound level. Some may call it ambience. But when switching from surround to stereo and back, I hear less difference than usually with ambience mixes.

There is a youtube video, explaining the fronts and center are from the original three master tape. And the rears are from a 21st century recording, recording the playback of the three original channel. With microphones placed in such a distance that an appropriate reverb effect is created/recorded. This is in accordance with the listening experience. So it could be true.

Comparing this SMEJ surround edition with the Columbia surround edition, I experience the Columbia edition as smoother, more involving.
My player indicates there is content on the subwoofer channel on the SMEJ edition, where there is none on the Columbia edition.
Liner notes to both editions suggest the same source and personel.

Basicly its three channel with abstracted ambience in the rears.

Comment by Mark Werlin - June 10, 2022 (4 of 6)

Ad Rhenum: thanks for answering the question and resolving the mystery. Using the available rear channels to add room ambiance seems like a good idea, but from your description, capturing live playback of the front channels doesn't seem to have worked very well. Perhaps the engineers didn't have a large enough soundstage to place the microphones far enough away from the loudspeakers to create a realistic room effect.

Comment by Ad Rhenum - June 12, 2022 (5 of 6)

Just for completeness: I found the info about the rear channels in a youtube video:, at 1 min 34 sec.
(link placed on, in a discussion about this title)

And as for the added room ambiance, preferences differ. Personally I prefer it, that remasters stays as close to the original as possible. In this case a 3-channel (FL+C+FR) edition might have been more appropriate.

Like Analogue Productions did on Miles Davis: Someday My Prince Will Come and on Seven Steps To Heaven

Comment by Dr. Claus-Peter Wirth - October 1, 2023 (6 of 6)

I compared my Japan-CD of 1982 in AAD to the Kind of Blue SACD version of MOFI/MFSL 2015 and an original Stereo-LP. Besides the tapes running 4% faster on the CD and LP (first side only), there is a great difference of the SACD to both the CD and the LP, which sound pretty much alike. The SACD is an improvement only on the high tones of the trumpet. Everything else sounds woody on the SACD, the piano, the hi-hat, and even at some places the trumpet. I wonder if I should get the Japan SACD?

Below is my full German review, entitled "Fatal decay of the Original Master makes it ridiculous"

Fatale Bandalterung macht Original Master zum Witz

Die MFSL-Versionen der vier Studio-Alben des zweiten groszen Miles Davis
Quintetts haben mich absolut fasziniert, insbesondere wegen der nur auf der
SACD hoerbaren Oberton-Variationen waehrend der langen Toene der Trompete.
Bei Kind of Blue ist aber leider das Band inzwischen extrem gealtert.
Das Klavier und die Becken des Schlagzeugs haben den typischen Holzklang,
der sich bei Bandalterung einstellt.
Ich habe neben einer Originalausgabe der LP auch noch die erste Ausgabe auf CD,
die 1982 in Japan hergestellt wurde. Dieses wunderbare AAD-Mastering ist nicht
zu vergleichen mit dem spaeteren, weltweit vertriebenen miserablen ADD-Mastering.
Das AAD-Mastering von 1982 schlaegt das MFSL-Mastering ganz klar.
Nur die Obertoene von Miles Trompete kommen auf der SACD besser zur Geltung,
was aber nicht so eindrucksvoll ist wie beim heftigerem Blasen beim zweiten
groszen Quintett. Aber MFSL klingt unnatuerlich und selbst die Trompete hat eine
leichte Holznote. Die Dynamik ist bei MFSL deutlich geringer und selbst das
Becken des Schlagzeugs klingt leicht nach Holz und ebenso wie das Klavier
irgendwie putzig. Kein Zweifel, MFSL hat das beste aus dem Masterband
herausgeholt, aber knapp sechzig Jahre nach der Aufnahme, ist da nicht mehr so
viel, wie 1982 noch da war. Ausnahmsweise ist das AAD-Erst-Mastering auf CD
der MFSL-SACD einmal weit ueberlegen und auch viel naeher an der originalen
Stereo-LP. Nur fuer absolutes Gehoer (eventuell gar noch mit Farb-Synaesthesie)
ist die CD von 1982, bei der das Zulangsamlaufen der Bandmaschine bei der ersten
Session wie auf der LP nicht korrigiert wurde, natuerlich von uebel.
Aber "So what" und "Freddy Freeloader" bekommt das hoere Tempo auf der CD sehr
gut, nur bei "Blue in Green" wirkt das hoehere Tempo unangenehm. So What hat auf
der MFSL SACD eine Laufzeit von 9:27, auf der CD von 1982 von 9:03.
Somit lief die Bandmaschine der ersten Session (erste Seite der LP)
bei der Aufnahme um gut 4% zu langsam, was die CD einen guten Viertelton zu hoch
macht (Halbtonschritt waere knapp 6%). Also koenen absolute Saenger bei der CD
nicht mitsingen!
Fuer CD und SACD genutzt: Denon's limitierter, absoluter top Player DCD-A110.