on 1 December 2013
At the time of writing the only review of this box set is a one star review that is surely either a joke or the ramblings of a mad man. I leave you to decide.
Most of you looking at this box will only be wondering whether or not to shell out again for music you probably already own in its now traditional stereo form. The answer in my opinion is most definitely.
You get the original albums in very good quality miniature sleeves. It would have been nice to have had the discs in high quality plastic sleeves like the Beatles mono set but sadly this was not to be.
The mastering is sensational: clear and detailed . The booklet gives information as to how this was done and which masters were used but the bottom line is to my ears it all sounds fabulous. I much prefer the mono of recordings such as this as it sounds much more "real". I've always had difficulty with early stereo when things are heavily panned and although these albums aren't particularly lousy in stereo the mono is a revelation. I can't imaging many people feeling short changed after a few listens.
This box contains one of the greatest "hot streaks" of any musician in the era of recorded music. There are no extra tracks as on the stereo reissues but, quite frankly, why would you need them? This is genius at work. Show me another series of albums comparable in impact and I'll buy them as well.
You need this in your life.
on 27 July 2014
Regardless of Columbia's motivation for re-releasing these albums yet again (they're a record company, they want to make money - big surprise!) I am delighted to have these mono versions which sit happily next to my Beatles and Bob Dylan mono boxes. I was initially hesitant to buy this because of some of the reviews here (ok, one wasn't actually a review, we all know which one I'm talking about - Amazon, please remove it!). I saw the box set in a shop in Krakow exactly two weeks ago and it wasn't until I was leaving Krakow by overnight train on Friday night that I gave into temptation and spent the last of my zloty - it was my treat for having completed my CELTAYL. The first thing I did after I got home to my flat in Bratislava was to put "Miles Ahead" on my very cheap Philips mini hifi and listen with my headphones. The difference between the mono and stereo mix is incredible. The stereo mix, while laudable and admirable for its clarity and richness, now sounds overbearingly rich and bright. I'll probably still listen to it but not often. It reminds me of the fad for 5.1 surround sound mixes - I have two Grateful Dead albums, Workingman's Dead and American Beauty, on DVD-Audio and specially mixed for 5.1. Do you know how many times I've listened to them? Once. And that was just after I purchased them. If done properly, and they were, they sound fantastic - yes, you can hear things that were previously inaudible but at the end of the day it's a fad. Stereo started the same way - a fad for audiophiles with expensive equipment - and while improvements have been made over the years, albums that were originally mixed in mono remain better experienced that way. That goes for the 9 Miles Davis albums presented here.
Another point to make about "Miles Ahead" is that this mono edition is different to the mono CD edition released in 1994. We all know now, following the release of the Miles Davis/Gil Evans box set, that the early CD editions of "Miles Ahead", including the "authentic" mono CD of 1994, used alternate takes, something which the box set painstakingly proved. The mono "Miles Ahead" on this set is, finally, the correct mono version.
The next album I put on was "Kind Of Blue". Although the collection is proud to restate time and again that it has recreated the original mono albums as originally heard by the record buying public in the 50s, this is not entirely true. "Kind Of Blue" as presented in this box is in mono but using the corrected speed version, as originally unveiled for the Gold Master CD. Ok, big deal, I suppose we're used to the corrected speed version since that has been the standard CD version now for nearly 20 years. The mono mix is sensational and, for me, this will be the version I listen to forever. It is brilliant. I love "Freddie Freeloader", it sounds so warm and vibrant in mono. The stereo mix is nice but bright and echoey (I don't know but it's not as homey as the mono mix).
The third one I've heard so far is "Someday My Prince Will Come" which is an absolute joy. Brilliant, brilliant all round.
I hope record companies now begin to see the value of re-releasing older albums in remastered mono mixes. It seems to me that when stereo mixes were made, it was a bit like taking black and white films and colourising them. I suppose that stereo was inevitable but I do think that albums originally mixed in mono deserved to be heard that way, in the same way that a black and white films deserves to be seen in black and white and not colourised.
I've only mentioned a few of the highlights. Don't hesitate, buy with confidence, especially if the price remains under £40. I paid £41 or 58 Euros for the box set I bought in Poland. I don't care, it's worth every zloty! Headphones, no headphones, mono is the best.
on 28 January 2014
Have to agree with DawgHead on this....really rich warm sounding remasters....in glorious MONO... nice package , but a lot of you will probably have these tracks 4 or 5 times over anyway...so you pays your money...but overall i think it's worth shelling out...again!!..just....
on 5 January 2016
I agonised over buying this set for a long time. Did I really need more copies of these discs? After all, I have probably already purchased each recording 3 or 4 times over the years, all on different formats and different sound stages ( inc vinyl, cassette, CD, DVD and SACD ).
I am glad that I took the plunge - the clear sound on "Porgy & Bess" was a revelation after the miriad of muddy sound experiences that I have had in the past. The focused, crisp and dynamic drum sound on the track "Gone" was a revelation. Where was this on my previous copies? "Sketches of Spain" doesn't need the STEREO soundstage to give convincing depth to the proceedings. The fact that these discs are MONO was hardly noticed - the clarity of every instrument shines through - it is all here on these original reworked tape transfers. Packaging artwork also correct for the original issues. Congratulations to Mark Wilder and all the production team for a solid and worthwhile reissue. Now, how about giving this stellar treatment to the host of other Miles Davis albums that have been reissued and pushed out onto the market over the years without any real thought about the sonic end result.
on 13 January 2014
Classic Miles beautifully presented. Great remastering. Might be a little expensive but is well worth it to hear these classic albums as they were originally meant to be heard. WOW!!!!
on 1 March 2014
Was on my Christmas wish list but didn't appear. Was in my local record shop last week and found it on sale for a bargain £22. Only listened to Kind of Blue so far but not hesitating in giving it five stars. The mastering is remarkable and mono sound is a revelation.
My only complaint is that the packaging is a bit naff given the retail price and the importance of the set. It's difficult to get the discs out of the box, if you put the sleeves spine side out or I the discs come out of the sleeves and the glue on some of the sleeves is failing.
on 26 March 2016
Like many,I agonised over this.Buy the same recordings yet again?But I looked at the reviews,all praising the superior sound of the mono recordings,and wavered...just a little.I wanted to buy them after all,every instinct told me I should,so plunged.£20 isn't an amount to break the bank,I thought,but once played,the reviews proved that these,60 years old,did indeed sound better than ever before,in fact a revelation.Conversations can be seen as such,when melded in mono,the clarity is surprising-----no,shocking,that's the more appropriate term.Although jazz has become a marginalised form these days,those of us who love it,owe it to ourselves to hear these discs,and as for vinyl,these surpass that in every way.So,nicely packaged,notes,for those that want them(although we know those by now,us old hands,on the music,but those on the recording process are new,of course),and all in all,a fine replacement for your existing,inferior(yes,inferior) stereo sets. Never before have we heard these in quite this way,a backward step,but a leap forward to audiophile quality of outstanding worth.Buy it,you won't regret the duplication.Your existing sets will be dust gatherers,so perhaps duplication is incorrect---supplanting.Well worth it! My only question is this:Miles 1958.....surely this should have been included here?It could not possibly have been a stereo recording in'58,so why isn't it in the box? It's damn good,I have it already,in stereo,but still......
on 1 June 2015
These are some of the best recordings of Miles you will hear. If you're a vinyl fan, as I am, I think you will still enjoy these CD's. I've compared two of them to my mono vinyl recordings and in my opinion, there is just a bit more clarity with the CD's. Anyway, if you're a fan of Miles Davis, you can't go wrong with this box.
on 26 April 2016
Great value box set. All these Miles Davis albums for £25. As well as classics like Porgy And Bess and Milestones, there are some neglected gems in this set. There's a good argument for 1950s recordings being heard in mono – the primary format of the time. Either way, the sound quality on these discs is extremely good. Kind Of Blue is now one of those classic albums which can now be heard in two ways – both of which are essential. if you're a Miles fan, you really have to have this.
on 5 April 2015
The recordings seem to have been well enough remastered but the sound production on 'Kind of Blue', the only other Miles Davis album I have, is markedly less enjoyeable than the stereo recording I have of it. Although I cannot really say much about the other 8 albums, if there are stereo recordings of those on the market it would quite surprise me if the soundstage experience would be different from the album which I compared.
It's true that this set sounds well enough when played on a normal hifi stereo (although I do have upmarket material) but when I listened to Kind of Blue through my Audiotechnica M40x -whom it is more hard to fool- the difference in soundquality became immediately very clear. Soundstage is more cramped, the instruments become too entangled etc. In short: a typical mono recording of that time, and there are reasons why today music is no longer produced that way.
Unless you are a nostalgic fan of old sound production my advice is to leave those in the store.
I'm bringing them back first thing next week.