Koch Records continued their Super Audio CD releases this week with the first 4 in their series of remastered SACDs by the Kinks. The release follows Koch’s initial release earlier this month of two Remastered SACDs by County Music artists Robert Earl Keen.
The release is the beginning of what will be 15 Kinks Remastered SACDs in the months ahead. According to the liner notes in the series “In celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Kinks’ first album, all 15 original RCA and Arista Kinks albums have been remastered for release on Hybrid SACD. On SACD players, these discs reproduce these classic albums in the highest resolution ever. These Hybrid discs are also playable as standard CDs on any regular CD player.”
The First 4 Kinks Remastered SACDs
This week’s release includes the following albums in Remastered SACD Stereo:
A fifth album in the Kinks SACD Remastered Series, One For The Road (Konk/Velvel Records VEL-SC-79803), was originally slated for release this week. It has been bumped to September 7th for in store availability.
A Note About the Packaging and Labeling
The new Kinks Remastered SACDs come packaged in Digipaks, following the lead set by other major artist SACD Remastered Series discs by the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, the Animals, Sam Cooke and others. Unlike the two SACDs by Robert Earl Keen, the Kinks SACDs feature a grey sticker on the front that says “Newly remastered in SACD format. Hybrid Stereo Super Audio CD. Plays on All CD Players.”
Unfortunately the Kinks SACDs carry over from the Robert Earl Keen Super Audio CDs a labeling error on the back cover. If you look at the SACD Info Bar on the back, you’ll see an indication that the disc also includes a SACD Surround Sound track. This is incorrect. Hopefully this labeling error will be fixed in time for future releases in this series so that music buyers know that the discs are indeed Hybrid Stereo SACDs and not Hybrid Surround Sound SACDs.
Production of the Kinks SACD Remastered SACD Series
The new releases were produced for SACD by Bill Crowley, mastered for SACD by Alan Silverman and additional DSD Engineering by Dawn Frank from the SACD Project in Boulder, Colorado. As has been noted previously, an extensive tape search was done and the group’s original 2 channel analog master tapes were used whenever possible for the tracks from the original albums on the newly remastered SACDs. The SACDs were made by Sony DADC in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Prior to the release of the Kinks SACD Remasters, there were rumors on the Internet about DAT tapes being used in this series. This question was cleared up recently by a posting on the Steve Hoffman web forum. In that message, Kinks Remastered Series mastering engineer Alan Silverman states that some of the “bonus tracks” on the Kinks SACDs come from a set of DAT tapes from Kinks member Ray Davies personal collection. So the rumors had some truth to them. But it is clear that the use of these DAT tapes were the only way to add some of the bonus tracks to the series. I think Kinks fans would agree that is worth doing to get to hear this added material.
As to the quality of the SACD Remasters, I listened to the SACD Stereo track on the Muswell Hillbillies SACD. It was very well done, providing some good detail and definition – especially for a recording from 1971. Fans of the Kinks will definitely be interested in this series if the SACD I heard is representative of the balance of this group of SACD remastered albums.
The first 4 albums in the Kinks SACD Remastered Series are now available at music stores including Borders and Tower Records. They are also available on several web sites that carry SACDs including Acoustic Sounds, CD universe, Elusive Disc and Music Direct.