Miles Davis "Kind of Blue" drove me insane almost

I have K2 CD of Miles Davis "Kind Of Blue", that I've had for a while, but never actually carefully listened to.
Now, I put it on and almost immediately on track one, I hear pretty audible noise/distortion, when the trumpet comes in. Forward to track 4- same kind of noise. Sounds like a blown tweeter or a bad tube.
I actually had the same kind of experience when the output stage tubes in my Modwright Denon went bad.
So naturally, I'm going on a wild goose chase- switching ICs left to right, switching output tubes in my CD, preamp.
Swapped my Lamm monoblocks left to right- no change, noise is still there.
After ruling out CD, preamp and power amps, the only possible outcome is the blown tweeters (highly unlikely).
Three days later I decide to rule out the most unlikely cause.
I put the CD in the whole different system- new CD player, amp and speakers- and of course, the noise is still there.
All this time, I've been chasing system problem, it has been faulty recording!!!
Here is my questions- I'm probably the only one here, who hasn't heard "Kind Of Blue" in critical listening session.
It's been around for decades and heard by millions of people, likely by almost every member of this forum.
So you guys always knew this was a technically compromised recording with some obvious noises overlaying the music (it actually sounds like a combination of overdriven tubes and a vinyl surface noise, crackling)?
Has anyone not heard it? Has anyone been sent on a wild goose chase by it, like I had?
Until a Blu-Ray version of Blue is made we will never know the compromised issues. So, get on Sony's tail.
Before you started switching out amps etc.; why didn't you just put on a piece of music that you knew well and see if you heard the same kind of distortion? Seems obvious.
You are definitely not alone. In fact, welcome to the club!
I'd be willing to bet that Kind of Blue, regardless of the specific release, has led more people to question either their equipment, their hearing, or their sanity than any other jazz recording ever made. People tend to assume that Kind of Blue must have terrific sonics because the recording is so famous; however, it's the performance and the place of that performance in the history of jazz that make Kind of Blue so highly regarded. The sonics of the original recording (and consequently all subsequent releases) leave a lot to be desired. Ironically, Kind of Blue is a perfect example of an 'audiophile gotcha.'
It's one of those recordings that may actually sound better on less revealing, lower end equipment.
Well, it's not that obvious. I did put a different music on, and didn't hear the distortion
But, that was exactly the case when my CDP output stage tubes
went sour- I only heard it on one of the Tom Waits tracks.
It manifested itself only with a particular type of music, that I guess was more challenging for the failing tubes to amplify???
Do you have "Kind of Blue"?
Warrenh began a thread on 4/18/13 simply titled "Kind Of Blue" where he is searching for the best of all the different CD version offerings.
Many members gave their experiences of the differences including your K2.
Very interesting and insightful accounts.
I believe the distortion you heard was emanating from Tom's vocal cords.....
I do have it,(on cd) but seldom listen to it. It is not a favorite of mine personally.
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Thank you much for confirming I'm not hallucinating, really.
I guess, i have to work on my methodology, when faced with system- related "problems".
The second part of my question actually was about the other peoples experience with "Kind of Blue"- the noise/distortion is so obvious, I'm surprised, it hasn't attracted anyone's attention yet
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I did Google search on ""Kind of Blue" distortion"- and, of course, it is well documented. Exactly on the tracks I hear it. Could have saved myself some sanity, had I thought about it earlier. Oh, well.
I hear distortion, mainly in the form of piano overload, on lots and lots of older jazz recordings. Just the way it is.
hey, it is analog recording...there have to be noise, otherwise we would not like it!!!
Huh! I have that CD with that same distortion! Makes me wonder how many others...
piano overload isn't new for these years. it's the most difficult instrument for electronics to reproduce so recording of piano had never been perfect and in fact never will be.
So, it all comes down to the question of whether the 'noise/distortion' is on the master tapes. Come 'clean' Sony, say it is not so.
The thread by Warrenh, "Kind of Blue" you mentioned, really put things into a different perspective for me.
Everyone there seems to be ecstatic about this very version (K2 HDCD)sound quality, without any mention of the glaring distortion.
Just one example-"K2HD CD is really quite good and noticably better than any other version I've heard. The bite of the saxes is astonishing and all around very musical. I've not heard any SACD version."
They do "bite", alright.
Funny thread because I was just listening to "Kind of Blue" for the first time in years and really the first time on a good system. I put it on and my immediate observation was that it sounded just plain bad. That didn't lead me to the lengths your describing, Maril. I know my system is pretty good. My conclusion was that this 1959 was "compromised," as you well worded it.

Just don't put on Led Zeppelin IV. You'll wonder why you ever upgraded from a boombox.
It appears, that the problem is on the master tapes. People share similar experiences with different issues of the "Kind of Blue"- various CD re-issues and vinyl as well.
My Japanese CD version of KOB (SRCS 9701) doesn't have above mentioned distortions.
The world is full of noise. I go to a chamber music concert and have to focus my attention beyond all sorts of noise emanating from the audience. I'm learning to live with it.
Not that I like it, mind you.
I realize this is an old thread but I just got this album on cd and about flipped out of my chair when I thought I had blown a speaker. change to new system same sound.  Google search took me to this thread on trusty ole audiogon and.........    I see I join the crowd.   At least its not my sytem.  Its to bad I was looking forward to this album.   mine is a cd with a Columbia recording label.  
Folks should realize once and for all that we buy this album not for its sound quality, but its music. It's silly to complain about its recording weaknesses. Or go buy a Diana Krall album.

What's wrong with Diana Krall?

Anyway, is the same problem on the actual album? or is it only on the CD?


I've heard the standard Redbook CD on a super system and the sound is superb, sublime. I've also heard it on other systems when it sounds kind of blah.
@ minorI - nobody's complaining about her albums. Soundwise at least. She is who she is and has a dedicated audience. Personally I hate her though.

As for the KOB -  While the sound is surely system dependent I couldn't detect that distortion neither on the original vinyl nor on the CD versions I have.
Me as well, I own several cd versions except the K2 disc. I own several sacd versions too. I have not detected any major distortion issues.
It would be of interest to learn about the editions, other than K2, where this particular distortion is going down. Happy Listening!
This sounds like a DAC issue actually.

I have a DAC that sometimes doesn’t detect the new sample rate correctly, and plays at the previous sample rate. ODDLY, it still sounds OK, until voices and trumpets kick in, or you turn the volume up. Don’t know why.

This usually happens to me switching Internet radio stations.

Just double check. Turn off your DAC, turn it back on and play.


I just listened to KoB, 2013 remaster at 96/24

Horns sound fine.

Oops, I also listened at 192/24 (2 different DAC's here, one only does 96/24)

Both sound fine. 
Hi Erik,

Ya gotta admit that there is significant spittiness to the trumpets panned far left and right on "So What" and elsewhere. The higher the rez, the more pronounced it is IME.

I love this landmark jazz album but I always find that distracting. I’m not enough of a purist I guess...

It's only on the CD, which I believe is remastered or mixed.  The LP is clean.  I have a 180 gram version that sounds amazing. The original mono is likewise superb.

I heard that sound decades ago when I first heard he album. Thought it was mistracking then.... but , ever listen to a live horn player -- close up?  When spit gets into the pipes?   Yup.  It's not distortion, it was there live too.
This is a true story. Imagine that I just forked out over $40,000, some twenty five years ago for the stereo gear that I’d be saving up for over five years. Being in my young twenties, I wasn’t that familiar with jazz yet. I heard and read so many great things about Miles Davis’ ‘Kind Of Blue’ that I bought it to christen my new home stereo system. I’m as proud as any person could be as I set up my news components carefully, and positioned my speakers using a carpenter’s compass.

I am thinking, this will certainly bring more action with the young women in my life. I never have had a problem, but hey, young and adventurous isn’t a bad thing. I invited over a handful of close friends to show my new gear to them. I click play on my McIntosh amplifier. Within a half minute, there is all of this distortion. My friends are giving me the “WTF” look. I immediately put on the Magnolia soundtrack telling my friends to hang on, the vinyl has to be defective. I played ‘Save Me’ by Aimee Mann, and ‘Goodbye Stranger’ and The Logical Song’ by Supertramp off of the same soundtrack. Those three songs saved my life at that moment in time. Most of all, Aimee Mann. Very late in coming, but thank you Ms. Mann! 
Sure enough, I called my audio shop dealer the next morning to hear expected news. He laughed and said, “you aren’t the only one who has used ‘Kind Of Blue’ by Miles as their first reference album!” He told me if I had asked, he would have recommended Art Blakey’s ‘Moanin’ if I wanted the best recorded jazz album ever. If I was stuck on playing a Miles Davis album, you can’t go wrong, except for Kind Of Blue. I must admit at the moment, I was Kind Of Embarrassed, and Kind Of Pissed off. 

2022...I completed my Pandemic Project, a complete Linn LP12 build (I made my own walnut plinth to the latest specs), new Karousel bearing, the works. The very first vinyl album I played was "Kind of Blue." Exactly on cue, the distortion in the opening track threw me into a complete panic, wondering where I went wrong. Many hours were spent re-checking the cartridge alignment. Then I found another copy of the same album...and heard the exact same distortion. I went online to research known KOB issues, and here I am. This should be printed on the record sleeve as a sort of warning!