Miles Davis / In Person – Friday Night and the Sound of Tubes in 1961

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Allow me to transcribe my notes for a killer copy we played years ago:

Both Sides Are Killer

  • The right sound — big, rich, tubey and real.
  • Transparent. Rich, smooth, balanced.
  • Horn gets huge and loud the right way.
  • Piano is full. Solid bass.
  • No need to pick nits.

The Dog that Didn’t Bark in the Night

Normally our notes for the sound of the records we are shooting out against each other fall into two categories: what the record is doing right and what the record is doing wrong. You’ll note that in this case there was nothing wrong about the sound to write about.

I could have found fault somewhere, but when a specific pressing is so clearly superior to its competition, what’s the point?


There are some very good sounding reissues from the ’70s that will eventually make it to the site. Again and again my notes made it clear that on those reissue pressings, the sound could have used some tubes in the chain.

On this record, more than any other, the tubes potentially make all the difference.

Now keep in mind that we are only talking about 1961 tubes, not the stuff that engineers are using today to make “tube-mastered” records. Those modern records barely hint at the Tubey Magical sound of a record like this, if our experience with hundreds of them is any guide.

Unlike so many of the audiophile reviewers of today, we have a very hard time taking any of the new pressings seriously. We think our position is pretty clear in that regard.

If you’ve ever heard a pressing that sounds like this one, you know there hasn’t been a record manufactured in the last forty years or so that has its sound.

Right, wrong or otherwise, this sound is simply not part of the modern world we live in.

If you want to be transported back to San Francisco circa 1961, you will need a record like this to do it.