The Kinks 2018 digital (streaming/download) remasters

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mindgames, Mar 22, 2018.

  1. LarryT

    LarryT Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nowhere Man, USA
    Shangri-La 2019… Out Now!

    A new version of ‘Shangri-La’ has been released today, 50 years after its original release.

    The new mix is the second previously unreleased track from the forthcoming 50th Anniversary Edition of Arthur (Or The Decline and Fall of the British Empire) following the release of ’The Future’ last month.

    Click this link to check it out.
    The Kinks - Shangri-La (Digital Only)
     
    oldjollymon likes this.
  2. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    USA
    @Laservampire, since Matthew B. seems to have vanished you're pretty much the go-to Kinks guy. :) Can you offer any comments on this?

    Would you consider the K2 enough of an improvement over the new hi-res to be worth the extra expense?
    How do both Lola and Percy compare between the '98, 2014 two-fer, and hi-res downloads?
     
  3. damnit

    damnit Great Cd Mastering Only Please

    Location:
    usa
    What are the best masterings for the first 5 studio albums and related singles at this point on cd PRT?
    Kinks Kronikles on Reprise?
     
  4. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    USA
    Depends if you want mono or stereo. Me personally, I like mono up to and including Something Else, and stereo afterwards. If you want stereo for everything, go for the PRTs, or the Castle CLACD series, which is almost identical apart from swapped stereo channels on most of them. The only oddity is that Something Else has remixes of two tracks; the US Reprise CD sounds duller, but has the original mixes. You can Frankenstein together a CD-R with the full original stereo mix if you want.

    Now, if you want mono, it's tougher:

    Definitely get the PRTs/Castle CLACDs for the second and third albums. Kinda Kinks sounds incredible on the PRT, and Kink Kontroversy supposedly sounds even better. I only have Kinda Kinks on PRT at the moment (just cracked and ordered Kontroversy), but @Laservampire stated in this thread that both are flat transfers of the master tapes. I only had the deluxe editions, which I thought were loud but fine... but this is a dramatic improvement.

    For the debut in mono, I'm still waiting for an answer as to whether the 1998 or the hi-res sounds better. The 1998 doesn't have a lot of compression (if it has any, it's minor), but the EQ is not the most pleasing. There's barely any bass and there's a bit of what I would call "honking" in the upper midrange. It's definitely not an audiophile disc, but it's not the worst thing in the world. The hi-res supposedly has a lot more compression, but much better EQ.

    With Face To Face in mono, it seems the best option is the Japanese "K2" mini-LP remaster from 2000. Here's a Discogs link. Laservampire described the hi-res as sounding like a louder version of this CD. I can't offer any comments myself as I, embarrassingly, don't own any copy of this album at all. I shall don my dunce cap, sit in the time-out chair in the corner, and think about what I've done.

    Something Else is the worst of all. There are only two options for mono: 1998, and 2011 deluxe. The 2011 deluxe is pretty heavily compressed, and it's not even the kind of compression that a declipper will fix. The 1998 sure looks like it has nice DR values, but don't be fooled: this CD sounds TERRIBLE. Whoever mastered this isolated the frequency range that causes migraines and boosted it by about 10 dB. Every time you hear an 'S' sound, it's painful. "ThiSSS iSSS the maSSSter", "NiSSSe 'n' SSSmooSSS"... and that's the first three seconds of the disc! Something Else in mono is a "pick yer poison" scenario. I pick the deluxe edition, compression or not. The '98 haSSS no compreSSSion - or at leaSSSt very little - but it'SSS painful to liSSSten to.

    If you want Village Green and Arthur in mono, I think your only choices are the deluxe editions, which are pretty loud. I don't have the Arthur deluxe, so I can't comment, but the general consensus as I understand it is that the mono mix of Arthur is not very good at all. Village Green sounds fine to me in both mono and stereo - I go with stereo because it's easier to find a good-sounding version. The Castle CLACD 161 release is actually even better than the PRT - not only is this the one Castle that doesn't have swapped stereo channels, but it also doesn't fade the between-track tape hiss to digital silence, meaning it's pretty much a straight transfer of the master tape! If there was any EQ or compression or other mastering things done to it, then they're very minor.

    Please read all this with the caveat that I have not heard everything yet (I don't even own Face To Face at all), and this is just my understanding of the state of things. Members @Matthew B. and @Laservampire are much more knowledgeable than I am (though, sadly, Matthew seems to have quit the forum), and most of what I am saying comes from extensively reading their posts on the subject. But I trust their ears, and the amount of research they've done is astounding. Props to you guys! And I hope I didn't screw anything up in this post :laugh:

    So, in short: for stereo, get the PRTs/Castles - and the Reprise Something Else if you want the original out-of-phase mixes of "Tin Soldier Man" and "Situation Vacant". For mono, get the PRTs/Castles for the two 1965 albums (they were mono only), the Japanese "K2" series Face To Face, the deluxe editions for Something Else, VGPS, and Arthur, and sample the hi-res and the 1998 debut and decide which you prefer.
     
    Laservampire and Edmoney like this.
  5. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    USA
    I've just uploaded samples of "Beautiful Delilah" and "David Watts" from the 1998 mono remasters that you can use to sample or compare if you'd like. These are not level-adjusted - all I've done is remove 1 second of silence before the track starts and then cut the sample off after 30 seconds (from that point - so they're samples of 00:01 to 00:31 on the CD). I think these are downloadable, but I'm not sure - let me know if they're not.

    Kinks - Beautiful Delilah (1998 Essential ESM-CD-482) (30-Second Sample).wav
    Kinks - David Watts (1998 Essential ESM-CD-480) (30-Second Sample).wav

    I haven't yet purchased the hi-res for the debut - I'd like to, but I'm trying to save money right now. (And, since I just bought three more PRTs, I'm clearly failing.) So at some point I will get that and put up a sample - or if some good samaritan wants to buy it themselves and upload a sample, that would be helpful too.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
  6. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    USA
    And just to clarify for those who don't know the history of Something Else in stereo:

    The original stereo mix of the album had phasing issues with the vocals on "Tin Soldier Man" and "Situations Vacant". I don't know if it was two very similar vocal takes, or just the same take duplicated, but whatever happened, they hard-panned the vocals left and right, but they were out of phase with each other. As a result, when you play the song in mono (for instance, if you play it through a smartphone speaker, as happened to someone earlier in this thread), the vocals seem to "disappear". In reality, they're still there - you can hear them if you listen really closely - but they sound tinny and distant.

    Nobody's exactly sure when they got remixed - supposedly, some German copies of the album in '67 had remixes to correct the phase problem. However, there's also theories that the PRT and such have different remixes, but done to sound the same way. The original, out-of-phase, turns-instrumental-in-mono mixes were only available digitally on the Reprise Something Else CD (Discogs link) until 2011, when they were used on the deluxe edition, CD 2. That same original mix is also used on the 2018 hi-res download. Now, the latter two are compressed, and the Reprise CDs all seemed to use poor-quality tapes, so it's another "pick your poison" case. I don't have the Reprise CD to comment on the quality of those two tracks, nor do I have the Something Else PRT to compare.

    Those remixes, however, aren't identical to the album mixes other than the phased vocals corrected. "Situation Vacant" is missing a vocal overdub near the end of the song - a little descending "Ahhh-hhhhh" during the fade. Then, of course, after that fade, the song kicks right back up. On the original mix, that false ending/reprise is a separate performance, or at least a different mix, because it's clearly different; on the remix, they just copied and pasted the end of the song proper to use as that false ending/reprise. As for "Tin Soldier Man", it's more or less the same, just that the backing vocals are panned differently and the brass section isn't panned at all.

    Be aware that, on the PRT CD, both of these remixes were edited in mastering, for unknown reasons. "Tin Soldier Man" is missing the first two notes - now, they're missing on the mono mix as well (these are the two notes of the horn that come in before the hi-hat plays along), but they are there on the stereo mix. "Situation Vacant" is missing that entire false ending/reprise coda! Those same remixes, without the editing, can be found on the Japanese "K2" series CD - the same series that the recommended Face To Face mono CD comes from. Obviously, that then means that the K2 CD is in stereo rather than mono.

    I take no credit for anything in this post. Everything here I learned from @Matthew B.'s extremely informative posts.
     
  7. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    USA
    Here's a quick sample of the phase issue, using a 15-second sample from "Tin Soldier Man". The first sample is the original stereo mix, the second sample is that same excerpt folded down to mono. This is sourced from the 2011 deluxe edition. I decreased the volume on the first sample by 3 dB; if you want to hear what the deluxe edition sounds like, boost it by 3 dB.

    Kinks - Tin Soldier Man - Phase Issue Demonstration.wav

    The stereo mix of that album has phase issues everywhere - stereo was just coming into its element, and evidently they hadn't worked out all the bugs by this point. :) There's a thread posted by Steve Hoffman where he discusses phasing on the backing vocals of "Waterloo Sunset"; he says to position your speakers to the point when the phasing of the vocals makes them sound like they're coming from all around you, and that's the "sweet spot".

    EDIT: It's too late to go back and edit my previous post, but I forgot to put the Discogs link to the Reprise Something Else CD. Here it is: The Kinks - Something Else By The Kinks
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
  8. damnit

    damnit Great Cd Mastering Only Please

    Location:
    usa
    Thanks
    For the very informative reply
    I am basically interested in the first 5 studio albums and the non album tracks?
    What do recommend for the non album tracks?
    Kronikles?
    I did try to contact Matt as well
    Then I saw he hasn’t been online for awhile
    I do have 2 PRT discs at the moment
    And the 2004 remasters which really sound jacked up in the treble once I started comparing them to the PRT discs
    Almost forgot the BBC Sessions too
    I have the first remaster for that one
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
  9. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    USA
    The non-album tracks I don't have a concrete recommendation for. My Kinks Kollection is very small, so it's difficult to compare. But here's what I've read:

    Steve Hoffman and many others praise the "Ugly Pink" Greatest Hits CD on PRT. I don't know if that's stereo or mono - I know "Waterloo Sunset" is in mono, and "You Really Got Me" is the "dry" version without the reverb, but that's all I know. Also recommended are the PRT Hit Singles (make sure to get the UK version, as the German version has horrible EQ) and The Kinks Are Well-Respected Men, which seems to be the most comprehensive - although I don't know what the consensus is on sound quality of either of those two sets. I'm also not sure whether they're stereo or mono - I would guess stereo.

    The Kink Kronikles (which I do own) has great dynamics, but I believe it's taken from poor-quality tape copies. I don't know that for sure, but I do know that the other Reprise Kinks CDs are described as dull and muffled. But, Kronikles is absolutely worth buying - it can be had very cheap and it's a great album in its own right. There might be some tracks which weren't issued on any CDs around the time, and thus are the best-sounding versions - I do not know for certain. Kronikles is also missing a lot of early hits - I believe "Sunny Afternoon" from the fourth album is the earliest track on it.

    If you've got lots of money, I'd honestly recommend buying all four of those. Nobody has raised any complaints with the sound quality of them (just make sure you get the UK Hit Singles, NOT the West German with the blue line across the top of the insert).

    I am much less knowledgeable about the non-album tracks, unfortunately - all the information I was able to glean from this forum was about the albums. But, between those four CDs (well, six - two are double-CD sets), you should be able to get everything you want.
     
    Bill007 and KinkySmallFace1991 like this.
  10. damnit

    damnit Great Cd Mastering Only Please

    Location:
    usa
    Ok thanks very much for all of the info!!!!
    I did remember reading something about 2 tracks on Kronikles being inferior mixes or fold downs something to that effect as well?
    Any info for the BBC tracks ?
     
  11. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    USA
    "Victoria" on Kronikles comes from a very poor-quality tape, and there's a massive dropout within the first few seconds. I haven't listened to it with an audiophile's critical ears - just a Kinks fan enjoying the tunes - so there may be some fold-downs or fake stereo mixes in there somewhere. I don't know for sure. I do know that Reprise did not have very good tapes to work with, and some of them ("Shangri-La" being the most obvious) had analog compression baked on to the tape. Kronikles is a great komp, but I would advise you look at other CDs for sound quality before you go to that one. THAT SAID, if you find it for eight bucks, grab it! It really is a great set, tape quality notwithstanding. It can be found very easily (I've seen three copies in the used bin) and there's no brickwalling or painful EQ going on. Thin and muffled, maybe - but that's better than bloated and shrill, no?

    BBC, unfortunately, I know nothing about. I think there was a CD or 2CD set that compiled them, not sure when it came out or what's on it.
     
  12. damnit

    damnit Great Cd Mastering Only Please

    Location:
    usa
    Ok thanks
    Yes good advice for Kronikles
    The BBC discs I have is the 2 cd set
     
  13. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    USA
    I've just bought the "Ugly Pink" PRT CD - should have it by Friday at the latest. Once I get it, I'll compare it to my PRTs and Kronikles and deluxe/Essential Kinks sets. Someone on Discogs just listed a copy at about $15 - condition listed as VG, which is supposed to play without issues, so if anybody wants one at a good price, it might still be there.
     
  14. damnit

    damnit Great Cd Mastering Only Please

    Location:
    usa
    How do you like the Deluxe sets?
     
  15. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    USA
    The deluxe sets are absolutely essential for the content - they can be had very cheap (or, at least, they could - I haven't looked at prices in a while), and they're as komprehensive as you can get. They're the easiest place to get both the stereo and mono mixes, the wealth of bonus content is unbelievable, the liner notes and booklets are great (despite a handful of typos). They really are the ultimate Kinks kollection... in theory.

    I started my Kinks journey with the deluxe sets (and with the Essential Kinks CD, which uses the same mastering for those tracks), so I kinda got used to the poor sound. I thought that they were just very rough recordings, with no hope of ever sounding good. The muffled sound of The Kink Kronikles confirmed that idea - I started thinking that the harshness on the deluxe sets was done to pull detail out of muffled recordings. But when I got the PRT of Kinda Kinks and Arthur the other day and put them on, I was genuinely shocked by how good they sounded to me. No longer were those beloved songs muffled or screechy. It was revelatory for me. So much so that I broke my promise to myself that I would stop buying CDs for a while!

    So, my opinion? If you love the Kinks, you should still pick up the deluxe editions. They are very loud, they are very compressed, they are very harsh, but they're still the best, cheapest, and easiest way to get a lot of these tracks and mixes. There's a lot of content that's exclusive to the deluxe editions, as well. (Also, as mentioned before, the mastering of Something Else in mono is actually better on the deluxe set than the 1998 CD - even though it's more compressed.) The sound quality is the only negative thing I have to say about the deluxe sets. They are done exceptionally well in every other aspect.

    But... the sound quality is a major issue. I didn't realize how harsh it was until I listened to the PRTs. If you really love the Kinks and you want to hear them in the best sound quality, the deluxe editions are to be avoided - or, at least, a different version is required to listen to them. I still think the deluxe sets are worth keeping just for their content. But the difference in sound quality is staggering. To be fair, the deluxe editions don't have the worst mastering ever - I have heard much, MUCH worse - but, after hearing what these albums should sound like, it's very hard for me to recommend them as the "one-stop shop" for all things Kinks.

    Plus, if you're interested in the mono mixes of the early albums (which are superior, in my opinion), you're going to need to get into comparisons, buy multiple CDs of the same album to Frankenstein together the best-sounding version... it becomes a never-ending rabbit hole. The big problem is that no series is perfect. Either content, sound quality, or even just having the complete tracks without intros or outros lopped off! There is no series that has all of those together.

    The PRT series is probably the best, with the Castle CLACD right behind it (due to the swapped stereo channels) - but that has every album in stereo except Kinda Kinks and The Kink Kontroversy. There's the 1998 series, which I believe is all mono up to Village Green, but the EQ on most of those is really sharp and painful. The deluxe sets have the perfect content, but the most compressed mastering. The 2018 hi-res sits somewhere in the middle: compressed, but with decent EQ... but, it doesn't have Something Else in mono, and "She's Bought A Hat Like Princess Marina" got its intro cut for some reason... you see where I'm going with this.

    If you want the stereo albums in good sound quality, buy the PRT series (or the Castle CLACD series, which is almost identical and much cheaper). If you want to upgrade from there, then start poking around posts made by @Matthew B. and @Laservampire and hopefully you'll be able to pick things up from there.

    If sound quality doesn't matter to you, grab the deluxe sets and you're all set! But, wait, which forum am I on?
     
    patient_ot and Dave Hoos like this.
  16. There's not much between the K2 and the HDtracks versions of Face to Face. The only real difference is there's more bass on the HDtracks version, which makes it seem a bit more compressed.

    Will do a more informative post on this stuff soon!
     
  17. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    USA
    Looking forward to it! With Matthew AWOL and you not popping into these threads, it's been difficult to get a firm grip on everything Klassik Kinks - as you can see by my posts, I've been trying, but I am definitely not an authority. These posts are mainly just collecting comments from both you and Matthew into one place. Little is based on my own experience - and that's probably not the best way to go about recommending things!!

    If you are going to do that, can you do me a favor and list which tracks are mono and which are stereo on the PRT Hit Singles and Well-Respected Men? Very interested in both, but I really can't afford them. (I just bought Ugly Pink - another disc I really couldn't afford - so I'll figure that out myself.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
  18. damnit

    damnit Great Cd Mastering Only Please

    Location:
    usa
    Ok then I will stick with PRT discs and the others that go with the stereo mixes
    Is the PRT "Kinks" cd stereo?
     
  19. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    USA
    Yes, except for "You Really Got Me", which never had a stereo mix. Original stereo copies of the album used a version of "You Really Got Me" where the finished song is covered with reverb - however, I don't think the PRT uses that one. (I don't know for sure, so don't quote me on it!)

    Most CDs use the "dry" mix that we're familiar with. A few of them, like the MFSL CD of the debut, use the reverb version. I think the PRT uses the non-reverb mix - but, if it does, one of the PRT compilations (Ugly Pink, Well-Respected Men, Hit Singles) will surely have the "dry" version in comparable sound quality.

    The stereo mixes really aren't that bad - they don't do the Beatles thing of putting the cowbell and harmony vocal in one channel and the rest of the song in the other. But, me personally, I prefer the mono mixes. If you don't mind early '60s stereo, you should be fine with those mixes.
     
  20. damnit

    damnit Great Cd Mastering Only Please

    Location:
    usa
    Ok
    I have the Kinks and Kontroversey PRT discs have to check the s/t for You Really Got Me mix
    they used
     
  21. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    USA
    I know the bonus tracks are different, but is there a difference in mastering between the 1998 and 2001 CDs? The packaging looks almost identical and the same engineer is credited, but I want to make sure they're the same.

    Kinks* - Kinks
    Kinks* - Kinks
     
  22. Flaming Torch

    Flaming Torch Forum Resident

    I had no idea there was a slimmed down in terms of bonus tracks for the debut in 2001. The Kinks sure do go to the well a lot.
     
    paulmccartneyistheman likes this.
  23. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    USA
    Just got the "ugly pink" PRT Greatest Hits. Man, you guys weren't kidding, this thing sounds great. These are pretty rough recordings, and this disc doesn't do anything to clean that up. Crank up the volume and these tracks just come roaring out of the speakers at you, warts and all... which, for a '60s recording, is better than trying to clean it up.

    All mono, too, except for "Victoria" (and then the two Lola tracks which are stereo only). My only complaint is that it's missing a bunch of great tracks that are tough to find in mono! "Stop Your Sobbing", "Village Green Preservation Society", "David Watts", "Death Of A Clown"... would have been cool to get those tracks in mono. Oh well. What we get is well worth the $25 or so you'll be spending on it.

    I'll have to compare this to my WG PRT discs and see how they stack up.
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  24. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    USA
    Compared "Tired Of Waiting For You" on the WG PRT. I have to say I prefer the album mastering - better detail on the drums. If Ugly Pink is a flat transfer, then the PRT has some high end added to it which pulls the drums out. There's great bass response on both, moreso on the Ugly Pink. "Victoria" also sounded a bit clearer on the WG PRT Arthur, but Pink isn't bad at all.

    Anyone remember what EQ moves Steve H. suggested to make this better? I remember he posted his recommended EQ somewhere, but I can't find that post anywhere now. I'm curious if his EQ will make this sound as good as or better than the PRT albums.

    EDIT: "Lola" on this CD is actually the mono single mix with "cherry cola" instead of "Coca-Cola". Interesting! I didn't check because I thought "Lola" was stereo only. "Apeman" and "Victoria" are definitely stereo, and all the others are definitely mono - I just skipped "Lola" because I didn't realize there was a mono mix of that song.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019 at 7:20 PM
    patient_ot likes this.
  25. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    USA
    Downloaded the hi-res for the debut. This actually sounds a bit better than I was expecting. It's still got some compression, but to my ears, it's only bringing down peaks above the zero mark - not squishing the whole thing the way the deluxe CD does. The EQ is much easier on the ears. (To clarify: the hi-res has "standard" compression, which just cuts off the peaks that would go above the zero mark, while the deluxe edition has a different kind which brings up the quieter parts.)

    That said, I compared "You Really Got Me" in hi-res to the ugly pink CD, and jeez, it sounds like two different songs. I'm not sure what instrument they're playing for the riff on the hi-res - they sound that different! Still, this is definitely a better choice for mono than the deluxe, and the compression isn't horrible, so the EQ gives it an edge over the '98 CD. It's the best of the bunch - not great, but your best option digitally.

    Of course, if you aren't averse to LPs, the Kevin Gray reissue is the way to go. I wish they'd released those digitally instead of this hi-res series. Oh well... it's the Kinks, nothing can be easy.

    EDIT: Worth mentioning that "You Really Got Me" is probably mastered louder than the other tracks, but you can substitute that for a version of your choice easily. "Stop Your Sobbing" has two little pops right around the first chorus, but they can be edited out relatively easily. They don't sound like digital errors, but they aren't there on the deluxe and Essential Kinks CDs (or, at least, I never noticed them if they are).

    These tracks also don't gain much back with the addition of a declipper, unfortunately - but, on the plus side, at least the compression resulted in shaved peaks rather than the "quasi-dynamics" of the deluxe series, so the declipper actually has a chance with these.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019 at 1:43 PM
    patient_ot likes this.

Share This Page