I spent a good part of the day with different versions of King Crimson on CD, and thought I'd offer up my findings for the forum... First of all, please note the following: I compared the first seven studio albums. Earthbound and USA were not compared given that they only exist in one form. Despite rumors and misinformation due to various releases throughout the world, Crimson can be dealt with quite simply in terms of masterings. 1. The original CDs. 2. The 1989 "Definitive Edition" remasters. 3. The 1999 "30th Anniversary" remasters. The following additional masterings are important: 1a: The West German Polydor remaster of In The Court. 3a: The 2005 "Original Master Edition" of In The Court. Also, to get this out of the way: Ttbomk, early Toshiba-EMI "black triangle" pressings have proven to be almost identical (if not identical) to the original EG CDs. Real or imagined differences between different pressings of the same remasterings were not considered. I used the DGM/WHD Japan mini lp CDs for my comparisons. These CDs use the 1999 30th Anniversary remasterings with the excpetion of In The Court, which used the 2005 OME mastering (noted above). I do not have any of the 1989 "Definitive Edition" remasters, and those who do can chime in. So... please especially note: When I refer to EG CDs, I am referring to the original discs issued on the EG label throughout the world and issed in the mid 80s, not the 1989 Defintive Edition EG releases. 1. In The Court of The Crimson King: Surprisingly, I found the original EG simply trounced the "Original Master Edition" here. I had thought the OME was probably done with little intervention, but actual A/B comparisons revealed this is clearly not the case. While I detected no compression, massive upper midrange boost was present and caused the CD to sound very bright. In contrast, the old EG CD was much warmer, had substantially better midrange and a much more natural sound. This CD is really a winner. I also listened to the old WG Polydor CD, and found this to be a fairly good sounding disc, but dynamically limited with strange EQ. The EG is far better and has tons of punch and power that the WG Polydor simply doesn't have. 2. In The Wake of Poseideon: I preferred the EG here. The 30th is not bad at all, but it has upper midrange boost that sounds processed and sterile. The EG is probably a better suited option for purists here, while the 30th would probably suffice for people who find themselves complaining about "dull" CDs. 3. Lizard: Pretty much the exact same report as #2. 4. Islands: This one gets interesting. Apparently, tapes for "Formentera Lady" were lost, so clean vinyl was used for the EG. It has been reported that in 1989, they tried to use some form of primitive no-noise to mask this, but that is not the case on this earlier disc. I believe that the vinyl rip was used for "Formentera Lady" through "The Sailors Tale," but starting with "The Letters," the CD is clearly from tape. For more natrual tonality, I found the EG to be superior, and even where the vinyl was used, it sounded more pleasing. The 30th clearly had what seems to have been a common technique used by Simon Heyworth and Fripp on the 30ths of the first four albums (open that baby up with some 3-6k). I think I would recommend the EG, because even with vinyl having been used for the first two tracks, the CD sounds consistent and the vinyl rip was actually very clean, with a few pops and clicks being a small price to pay for a presumably more faithful rendition of the tapes. 5. Larks' Tounges In Aspic: Here is gets tough. The EG CD appears to have a slight top end boost. The 30th cuts this, which is quite pleasing, but also sounds like they may have started experimenting with some light limiting and compression, a problem not found on the other 30ths I've compared. I think I lean towards the 30th just a bit here, but the EG disc would probably sound just about perfert if one were to roll off a touch of that top end. 6. Starless and Bible Black: Pretty much the same problem as #5. 7. Red: This one was easy. The EG disc eats the 30th alive. No comparison, whatsoever. The EG mastering is warm, full of midrange and pleasing to the ear. The 30th has massive upper midrange boost and is way too harsh in that respect. It also sounds like it might have been lightly compressed, but the bigger issue is the (IMO) odd decision to add so much EQ to the 30th. So, in conclusion, I would be interested in hearing the 1989 editions of Larks and Starless only, but for the rest of the albums, I feel I have gotten to the bottom of this by finally sitting down and running A/B listening tests. I avoided this mess for a long time.