The Beatles Mono vs. Stereo (Remastered CDs Coming Sept. 2009)

datetime posted by on April 26, 2009 at 9:32 pm | comments Comments (40)

Magical Mystery Tour by The Beatles (1967) - stereo vinyl record label

I’m a huge fan of The Beatles. I grew up listening to my parents’ old Beatles records, 45s, 8-tracks, and cassette tapes. They even bought me some of my own as I got a little older. Then, in 1987, they started upgrading to CD and by the late 1980s, we had almost every Beatles album in digital form. At that point, our records sat in crates untouched. We still used our tapes in the car, but at home, we enjoyed our crystal clear Beatles CDs.

All of the Beatles music my parents and I owned was in stereo. My parents owned a good stereo sound system, so why would they have bought the mono versions of Beatles albums? I didn’t even know Beatles albums were released in mono until my parents started buying the CDs. I remember being disappointed that the first four Beatles albums on CD were in mono. Why would Apple do that? As scratched and abused as our old records were, the stereo separation on those early recordings sounded great. I loved being able to “feel” the studio space in my headphones. Plus, I appreciated the fact that I could isolate the vocals and study the harmonies or isolate the instruments and focus on Paul’s bass lines, Ringo’s drumming, etc. Overall, the stereo versions sounded clearer, cleaner, and more powerful to me. Here’s an example:

“Anna (Go to Him)” 1963, short mono/stereo comparison clip:

Listen:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download:
24 second MP3 file – 0.9 MB (right-click to save)

In 2003, my old coworker Chris got me interested in the mono versions of later Beatles albums (Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, etc.), mainly so I could hear the recording and mixing variations that exist between the two versions. It may seem like a strange process today, but in the 1960s, EMI’s engineers mixed each Beatles album in mono first, then went back to the multitrack recordings, set up their effects processors all over again, and created the stereo edits and mixes from scratch – sometimes days later. That’s why the mono and stereo versions of later Beatles albums feature so many differences.

It would’ve been easier and faster to mix each album in stereo first and then simply create a mono reduction from the stereo mixes, but that’s not how it was done 45 years ago when mono was the dominant format.

Because the Beatles were present when the mono mixes were created – but supposedly not for the stereo mixes – some fans believe the mono mixes are automatically superior. According to Chris Carter, host of the weekly radio show Breakfast with the Beatles on KLOS-FM and Sirius/XM, “The mono mixes of those LPs is the way the Beatles themselves intended you to hear those albums. The stereo mixes were usually done as an afterthought by second engineers without any Beatles present.”

I strongly disagree. Just because John, Paul, George, and Ringo supposedly weren’t present for the stereo mixes, that doesn’t mean EMI’s engineers created them as an afterthought. In fact, the stereo mixes often featured improved editing and more refined special effects than the mono mixes. Here’s an example:

editing between “Good Morning Good Morning” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)” 1967, short stereo/mono comparison clip:

Listen:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download:
59 second MP3 file – 2.3 MB (right-click to save)

I enjoy being able to hear each instrument and vocal crisply and clearly in the stereo mixes, but some people are disoriented by the severe stereo separation/hard panning in many of the songs and prefer what they consider to be the less-jarring mono versions. No problem. It’s really a matter of personal preference, but to say the stereo albums were afterthoughts is silly.

During the last several years, the later mono albums have grown on me and I’m now at the point where I don’t consider them to be inferior, just…different. I listen to the mono version of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band one day and the stereo version the next. If I had to choose one set of Beatles albums to keep though, I’d still go for the stereo versions. The mono versions are interesting and new to my ears, but they always sound a bit muffled and cluttered by comparison, especially in the busier, more ambitious recordings. A relatively sparse song like “A Day in the Life” sounds fine in mono, but a song like “Good Morning Good Morning” sounds like a jumbled mess. There’s just too much going on.

That said, the entire Beatles catalog is being remastered for the first time since 1987. The new CDs are scheduled for release on September 9, 2009, and will include the mono and stereo versions of each album, except Abbey Road and Let It Be, which were only released in stereo. That means several Beatles albums will be officially available on CD in mono or stereo for the first time ever.

Part of me is skeptical because of today’s improper mastering techniques, known as the loudness war…but part of me is optimistic after reading this Guardian.co.uk article, which states, “engineers at EMI’s Abbey Road studios spent four years on the remasters, ‘utilising state-of-the-art recording technology alongside vintage studio equipment, carefully maintaining the authenticity and integrity of the original analogue recordings.'”

That’s a good sign, but just in case, I’m begging the mastering engineer: please don’t resort to brickwall limiting or hard clipping. Give me a chance to turn the volume up on my home sound system for a change.

I know this collection of CDs isn’t going to be cheap, so I’ve already begun setting aside money. I should have enough in my Beatles fund by September. In the meantime, listen to some more of my stereo/mono comparison samples and let me know which segments you think sound better, the mono or the stereo (listen to these clips in headphones for a more dramatic effect):

“Good Morning Good Morning” 1967, short stereo/mono comparison clip:

Listen:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download:
59 second MP3 file – 2.3 MB (right-click to save)

– – –

“I’m Only Sleeping” 1966, short stereo/mono comparison clip:

Listen:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download:
57 second MP3 file – 2.2 MB (right-click to save)

– – –

“Lovely Rita” 1967, short stereo/mono comparison clip:

Listen:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download:
56 second MP3 file – 2.2 MB (right-click to save)

– – –

“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” 1967, short stereo/mono comparison clip:

Listen:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download:
59 second MP3 file – 2.3 MB (right-click to save)

– – –

“Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” 1967, short stereo/mono comparison clip:

Listen:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download:
59 second MP3 file – 2.3 MB (right-click to save)

– – –

“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” 1967, short stereo/mono comparison clip:

Listen:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download:
56 second MP3 file – 2.2 MB (right-click to save)

– – –

“Yellow Submarine” 1966, short mono/stereo comparison clip:

Listen:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download:
54 second MP3 file – 2.1 MB (right-click to save)

– – –

UPDATE July 26, 2009: I just posted more Beatles mono/stereo comparison clips: The Beatles Mono vs. Stereo, Part 2. I hope you find them useful!


Rate this post:
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (26 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...Loading...

Reward this post with a little PayPal donation:

40 Comments

  • By JCT, June 20, 2009 @ 6:42 am

    I am so excited about this i’m planning on getting these and the beatles rock band in the same day cause i’ll have my financial aid money but i wanted to know something i have all of the 1987 cd’s including past masters vol. 1 and 2 so knowing that would you recommend me getting the stereo versions or the mono versions? also i read that only the stereo versions will be sold seperatly is that true? cause i really don’t want to buy both boxsets if i can help it

  • By Rob, June 23, 2009 @ 4:42 pm

    Hi JCT,

    If you could only afford one set of Beatles CDs, should you go with the mono or the stereo? That’s a tough question. You already own the Beatles CDs from 1987, most of which are in stereo. Looking at it that way, I’d say go with the upcoming remastered mono set. That way, you’ll get to hear the albums in a new way and you’ll still have your old stereo CDs.

    On the other hand, the stereo version of each album sounds better to me, so you might want to go with the upcoming remastered stereo set. If you do, you’ll have a bunch of duplicate CDs (1987 and 2009), but you’ll get to hear the first four Beatles albums in stereo, which sound awesome…way better than the mono versions. Listen to my “Anna (Go to Him)” comparison sample above.

    Really though, the only way to go is to get both sets. I know it’ll be expensive, but start saving up now!

    I’m looking forward to Beatles Rock Band as well, not because I want to play the game, but because I want to rip the multitrack files from the disc and listen to the isolated vocal and instrument tracks. :)

  • By jason, July 2, 2009 @ 3:46 pm

    I really hate having to choose. I like both mixes. There should only be ONE box set. But I just re-read Barry Miles’ book on Paul, and Paul talks of George Martin and the Beatles working with tape loops on “Tomorrow never Knows” and really paying careful attention to stereo fades on the effects. So I don’t think the old myth of the stereo mixes being slapped together at the end is quite right.

  • By Pete Hepple, July 14, 2009 @ 5:39 pm

    Good work putting those samples together! For me, they make a strong case for the mono mixes. OK, the stereo SOUNDS a little clearer, but that just exacerbates the disjointed FEEL of the mix for me, especially in headphones – they sound like unmixed multitrack stems that just don’t gel into a cohesive whole (most notably on Good Morning, Good Morning, where the effect is rather like a bad special effect from an 80s movie – it doesn’t ruin the whole thing as such, but somehow seeing how it was all put together and being aware of all the separate elements ruins the illusion). Obviously, the mono mixes don’t have that problem, and for me that gives them the immersiveness needed to really get lost in the music.

  • By Alex H, July 17, 2009 @ 2:31 am

    Hi Goodrob13,

    Thanks for posting these great comparisons! I’ve been looking all over the net to find some samples of Beatles mono versions and I’m glad I found your site. I’m only used to the older stereo version CDs, so hearing the comparisons helped me a lot!

    I listened to the above tracks and I’m still a little confused as to which is which.

    On “Sgt. Pepper” is the stereo mix the version that starts off where the guitar and vocals are coming out of the right channel/earphone and the mono is when the vocal sounds dead center? Or do I have those reversed?

    I wish I could buy both sets but that’s going to be too much money for me. Amazon lists the mono-set as limited edition, so I’m trying to decide which one to get. I already pre-ordered 5 of the CDs, but I think the stereo versions are the only ones that are available separately.

    Like JCT, I have most of the older Beatles stereo CDs.

  • By George Hook, July 17, 2009 @ 11:46 am

    Thanks for this great blog. Greatly appreciated. Yeah, the Sgt. Pepper excerpt sounds better in mono, you can hear the “asides” much clearer and it just has greater punch and presence. The separation distorts it. Stereo or mono, though, it’s still great music.

  • By Rob, July 17, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

    Jason, thanks for the info about “Tomorrow Never Knows.” So I guess I was correct: just as much care was put into the stereo mixes as the mono. Great song, by the way. One of my favorites.

    Pete, I completely understand your point that the mono mixes don’t reveal the separate elements of the recording. In a way, you’re right, the mono versions are more immersive and less distracting.

    However, I thoroughly enjoy being able to hear the separate elements and studying how the songs were constructed in the studio. It seems like we’re approaching the Beatles music from two different angles, which is great because it gets discussions like this going. :)

    Alex, you’re right, in the mono mixes, all of the vocals and instruments come out of the center. I didn’t realize Amazon is already taking pre-orders. I’ll have to go do that right now!

    George, this is why I’m glad both the mono and stereo versions are being remastered and released. No matter what our preference is, we get the best of both worlds. Only 54 more days… :)

  • By hugo, July 17, 2009 @ 1:50 pm

    Rob, – staggering post -thank you. Bottom line, no one is going to argue your love for this music, which I certainly share. Like Pete H., I find the samples strengthening the mono “argument”. Anna (Go to him) is a great example. In stereo, there is a clearer, less muffled quality – I agree, but John’s vocal track is h/phone right, while his vocal reverb is h/phone left, which has never made sense to me. More of a personal taste thing, in mono, Paul’s bass strong beats and Ringo’s pedal drum come from the same place, making for a (to my ears) stronger core beat. In stereo these two elements are sprinkled left, right, and a bit in the center, which thins things out for me.

    I’m on a budget too, so I’ve pre-ordered the mono set from Amazon. Can’t wait :)

  • By Alex H, July 18, 2009 @ 12:20 am

    See what you started! LOL. Thanks for answering, Rob and for putting up such a great site!

    Either way, we’re getting some of the greatest music ever made so I’m happy. :)

  • By Rob, July 20, 2009 @ 12:11 pm

    I pre-ordered the Beatles mono and the stereo boxed sets on Amazon. They set me back $448. Ouch! At least if the price goes down between now and September 9, I’ll pay the lower price, though I doubt that’ll happen.

    I really, really hope the sets are worth it, in terms of mastering quality. The first thing I’ll do when I receive them is rip some of the songs to my computer and analyze the waveforms. If there’s brickwall limiting and hard-clipping, I’m returning them. We’ll find out in seven or eight weeks.

  • By Tim L, July 26, 2009 @ 1:20 pm

    Amazing post- and yes I can almost say staggering. When I first discovered the Beatles as a kid I realized I was getting something of an education in “music arrangement” thanks to the Beatles Stereo mixes. Like Lovely Rita. You can hear each part and how it contributes to the whole. You hear that incredible Macca bass line and the vocal parts. But hearing it in mono I’m reminded of what a great SONG it is. Your soundbytes really made that case eloquently. I’ve ordered the Mono set. I’ll pick up the stereo ones ala carte over the next few years. Why rush it? Thanks for your good work.

  • By James King, July 26, 2009 @ 1:29 pm

    Interesting blog. I’m 55, had many earlier albums in mono, and loved listening to later stereo albums with headphones. I’m also someone who can’t understand the analog/vinyl revival or Neil Young’s dismissal of CD and MP3. I rip in 128 MP3 because it sounds great to my ears, works on all players. What I want to know: is there noticeable improvement in remasters enough to buy the new catalog?

  • By Rob, July 26, 2009 @ 3:37 pm

    Tim, you’re welcome! I agree, one of the reasons I prefer the stereo versions is because I can hear how the songs were constructed and recorded and I can study each instrument more clearly than in the mono versions. You’re right though, sometimes the hard panning can be distracting and awkward, especially in headphones.

    One of the Beatles songs I’ve never heard in mono is “Revolution.” I’m really looking forward to hearing the original mono mix as well as the White Album. “Yer Blues,” “Dear Prudence”…again, songs I’ve never heard in mono. I’m going to have to spend a week at home listening to these CDs on repeat, picking out the differences and making notes about which version of each song I like better. :)

    James, I definitely hear the difference between a CD and an MP3 encoded at 128 kbps. The data compression artifacts are especially noticeable in the high frequencies, like cymbals and hi-hats. That’s why I never bought music from iTunes and continued to stick with CDs. (Music is now available in the iTunes Store and on Amazon at 256 kbps, which is fantastic, but I already own almost all of the music I want on CD.)

    To my ears, MP3s sound natural at 224 kbps and higher, but if 128 kbps MP3s sound great to you, then go right ahead and keep on enjoying them!

    The vinyl vs. CD debate has been going on since the birth of CDs in the 1980s, but to me, the argument has only become relevant in the last decade or so. The dynamic range in modern music is being severely hard-limited by CD mastering engineers and it is my understanding that the music can not be played back on vinyl in that clipped, compressed form without causing the needle to jump from the grooves.

    So, vinyl enthusiasts might have a point that today’s music does sound better on vinyl because the vinyl mastering engineers have to preserve more of the music’s dynamic range. I don’t know first-hand though because I haven’t bought new music on CD and vinyl to compare. Perhaps that’s a project I can work on and write about in the near future.

    You asked a great quest though: “is there noticeable improvement in remasters enough to buy the new catalog.” According to the Guardian.co.uk article I quoted and linked to in my post, engineers at EMI’s Abbey Road studios are utilizing state-of-the-art recording technology alongside vintage studio equipment, carefully maintaining the authenticity and integrity of the original analog recordings.

    I don’t know what the remasters sound like yet, but for $448, I’m really hoping they sound the best they possibly can and that the mastering engineer didn’t clip the audio. I’ll find out once my boxed sets arrive in September and will post my impressions and waveform analyses.

  • By Rob, July 27, 2009 @ 12:58 am

    By the way, I just posted more Beatles mono/stereo comparison clips: The Beatles Mono vs. Stereo, Part 2

    If you’re only going to buy one of the upcoming boxed sets, I hope all of my clips help you decide which one.

  • By Elaine, July 31, 2009 @ 12:16 am

    Thanks so much for the comparisons. I had already preordered the mono box but am now thinking I need/want the stereo box as well! Ouch, I sure hope these prices come down at least a wee bit.

  • By ZoetMB, July 31, 2009 @ 11:17 am

    I for one am infuriated about the configuration of these sets. I personally think this is a big rip-off by Apple/EMI.

    On all the early albums, they could have easily given us both mono and stereo (although I personally mostly only care about mono on the earliest.) In fact, most are so short they could have given us mono, stereo and a few alternative edits or mixes that have showed up over the years.

    For the White Album, which clocks in about 47 minutes per disc, I feel it should have been stereo, which leaves about 32 minutes on each disc for mono mixes. They could have been slightly selective – for example, they could have provided the 8:15 Revolution #9 only in stereo.

    For Yellow Submarine, mono and stereo would have been a little tight, but they could have provided the soundtrack incidental music in only one format. I have no preference on that – it was originally mono, but mixed to stereo in later years.

    Abbey Road is almost 47 minutes, but by this time, I believe the stereo mixes got the preference, so I’m happy with this only in stereo or with selected mono mixes or instead – perhaps additional single edits on Come Together, Something and Here Comes The Sun.

    On Let It Be, instead of mono/stereo, I would have put both Let It Be and Let It Be Naked on the same disc.

    I think the expectation that people should spend $400 to get this material (which they’ve probably bought several times before) is ludicrous. IMO, Apple Records should be ashamed. They should have made these remasters the best and most comprehensive they could have been – the absolute definitive editions – not the least they could get away with.

    Back in the early days, the Beatles made a decision in the UK not to include hit singles on albums because they didn’t want the fans having to pay twice for the same material. This was quite the opposite of the practice at the time in which most albums comprised your last two hits plus a bunch of standards that you recorded in the studio as quickly as possible. The Beatles changed all that by putting tremendous effort into their albums and creating a concept new to rock – the idea of the concept album. And while the approach of not including singles on albums backfired a little in later years because some of the biggest songs weren’t on albums, necessitating the release of “A Collection of….” and “Rarities” on vinyl and Past Masters on CD, the original concept was quite ethical: not making people pay twice for the same material. They should have used that ethic with these releases.

  • By TonyS, July 31, 2009 @ 11:45 pm

    I’ve been listening to The Beatles since 1964 and enjoyed every minute of it. If you have to choose one set, buy the Stereo version, especially if you became a fan after 1969 or 1987. The Mono set is intended as a collectible for those who remember the songs released in that format and the completest who are into the subtle differences. The stereo set contains ALL songs and albums released by the group. The mono set does not. (Abbey Road was released in Stereo only). The argument over what is the better version is being fought mostly by completest collectors like me.

    That being said. I am a fan and a collector. I will buy both sets. The Mono set for the later albums which have not been available in mono on CD (especially Sgt Pepper and the White Album) and the Stereo set for the first 4 albums which have not been available in Stereo format on CD (unless you buy bootlegs). There is a difference in mix and sound that make the recordings unique (better is a matter of opinion).

    Again, if you want to listen to great music, buy the stereo version, sit back, relax and enjoy it. If you want to compare songs, mix and match versions, over spend, drive your self crazy listening for minor variations and then try to decide which is the better version on any given day, buy both sets (like I did).

  • By Juan, August 2, 2009 @ 5:23 pm

    Regarding the “loudness war”, I found a post about it: “Finally, as is common with today’s music, overall limiting – to increase the volume level of the CD – has been used, but on the stereo versions only. However, it was unanimously agreed that because of the importance of The Beatles’ music, limiting would be used moderately, so as to retain the original dynamics of the recordings.”
    (http://wogew.blogspot.com/2009/04/beatles-cd-remasters.html)

    I’m opting for the mono version; but as stated, it’s up to personal preference.

  • By Nick P, August 5, 2009 @ 4:02 am

    Suggestion that I may be panned for:
    1. Buy the new stereo mixes (or keep your old ’87 ones, it’s up to you).
    2. Rip them as WAV or FLAC or any type of lossless file.
    3. Use Audacity or some kind of mixer to merge both audio channels together for each song.
    4. Save the newly made mono mixes to lossless formats.
    5. Burn them to CD
    6. Enjoy/debate

    I have the original Sgt. Pepper mono mix on vinyl, and I can see where certain aspects of the mix become noticeable in comparison to the stereo mix (comparing 1967 mono to 1987 stereo here). I personally cannot make up my mind about which mix is more beneficiary. When listening to the albums on a nice set of speakers, it really doesn’t matter if the mix is in stereo or mono as long as the bass and treble balance and it sounds good at any volume. Listening with headphones is something different for me; I find mono to be dull this way. It’s boring to have all signals concentrated to both sides at the same time, and it’s too distracting for me. I usually listen to music with headphones, so it’s pretty safe to say that my choice here would be the stereo mix set. I feel that the mono mix I have of Sgt. Pepper sounds better than its CD counterpart, but only because of analog’s superiority, and it is still not the case for headphones. I understand that the mono mixes may have better balance and even have some nuances that the stereo mixes may not (and vice versa; listen to the Good Morning Good Morning/Sgt. Pepper Reprise intro embedded above to hear what I mean), but I’d rather go with what sounds better both ways.

    As for the above suggestion, make what you will of it and try it; I’ve folded down mixes just for fun before and they sounded fine to me. =)

  • By Rob, August 5, 2009 @ 4:39 pm

    Hi Nick, you posted the same comment on both of my Beatles mono vs. stereo posts, but I only responded to your comment on my second post.

  • By Darryl, August 8, 2009 @ 4:42 am

    I prefer the mono mixes over the stereo, but I enjoy both, and have pre-ordered both sets from B&N.

  • By Lee, August 14, 2009 @ 9:40 am

    Looks like the mono vs. stereo debate may be over for most consumers. Amazon is now sold out of the “limited edition” mono sets and is not taking any more orders. I ordered mine a few weeks ago and I have not heard from Amazon that they won’t be fulfilling orders made before the cutoff. The price of the stereo sets has dropped to $180 on Amazon.

  • By bradc, August 22, 2009 @ 1:43 pm

    It’s a tough call – stereo vs mono. I’ve listened to all you clips and they both have their charms. The mono version “push out” the vocals and bass more, which is always fun. But there’s this nice airy quality that only stereo can achieve and I think vocal and bass could be brought equivalent with a little push of the bass knob on your amp. Also interested is that on some recordings, you can hardly notice a difference (some tracks on Pt II of your postings). Probably because the recording is so good to begin with.

  • By Therese, September 7, 2009 @ 10:21 pm

    Thank you for helping me make my decision on mono versus stereo. I am no techie, simply a fan since I was 11 and the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan. Since my choice is limited to one factor, the emotion evoked by the sound, I will purchase the stereo version. Your clips made the decision for me.

  • By Daryl, September 9, 2009 @ 11:42 am

    I’d have to say the stereo mixes win hands down in this comparison. Thanks for the excellent demonstration.

  • By Alex, September 12, 2009 @ 3:54 pm

    I think the comparisons given here between the 87′ or prior stereo mixes/remixes with mono mixes may not be an accurate way to judge the difference between the 2 formats in relation to the current box set releases for the following reasons:
    1/ The 87′ stereo Cd’s used 1987 technology and basically just remastered the old mixes.
    2/ The hard panning found in those Cd’s where u may hear only 1 instrument left and something else on the right is not really used anymore.
    3/ I’m assuming that the current stereo boxed set has been remixed to reflect this modern approach to mixing.
    4/ So…in some ways the “new” stereo mixes should be the best of both worlds. A nice even sound but with subtle left & right effects and the “punch” of mono. Possibly something along the lines of some of the songs on the Love album.

  • By Rob, September 13, 2009 @ 12:53 pm

    Alex, the new Beatles remasters are *not* remixed. The stereo CDs feature the same hard-panned mixes we’ve been listening to for the past few decades.

    Maybe someday, the entire Beatles catalog will be remixed and available in a higher resolution format.

  • By Alex, September 13, 2009 @ 1:18 pm

    Hi Rob. Yes you’re right. After a bit of research I realised that this was the case. Unfortunately like many others I got caught up in the enthusiasm of it all and there seems to be SO MUCH conflicting info on the net that it gets confusing. Initially I was 100% into purchasing the stereo remasters but now I’m not so sure. I’m quite happy with my 1987 Cd’s and after listening to some samples on other sites the difference seems to be mainly in volume. I’ve heard the full version of the remastered Magical Mystery Tour and was not to impressed with All u need is love – can hardly hear the drums and they are severely panned right. Penny Lane sounded pretty much the same as the 87′ remaster as did SFF. IATW had some interesting effects with strings going from right to left. Seems to be a tough decision though I’m starting to think this may have been a money making decision on the part of EMI to capture the last remnants of a dying technology. BTW were the first 4 Beatle’s albums recorded & mastered only in Mono? I can’t seem to get a clear answer on this anywhere on the net. B’coz if this was the case I don’t see how they could’ve remastered these into stereo. Cheers

  • By Rob, September 13, 2009 @ 2:13 pm

    Alex, the first four albums were indeed recorded in stereo. When the Beatles CDs came out in the U.S. in 1987, the first four albums were released in mono only, but I grew up listening to the stereo versions on vinyl.

    The Capitol boxed sets that came out a few years ago include many of those early songs in stereo. The new remastered albums are also available in stereo. Listen to my clips in Part 2 to hear the difference between some of those early songs in mono vs. stereo (“Please Please Me,” “Long Tall Sally,” “If I Fell,” “I Should Have Known Better,” etc.). Scroll up to hear my clip of “Anna (Go to Him)” in this post, too.

  • By Alex, September 21, 2009 @ 10:35 pm

    Hi Rob…it’s been a while. I read your excellent review of the remastered Abbey Road , any opinions on the rest of the set? Unfortunately my local record store wasn’t able to get any boxed sets in. Seems the demand has been unrelenting and I guess from my area unexpected. I managed to download MMT and on the whole wasn’t what I expected. Cheers

  • By jins, October 1, 2009 @ 10:15 am

    Rob — This is an amazing post — extremely helpful & informative for Beatles fans who aren’t audiophiles…thank you so much!

  • By claude, October 6, 2009 @ 6:47 am

    great stuff Rob. I purchased the mono collection after listening to both sets mono and stereo with looseless audio (flac).Im on a waiting list for the stereo set. Mid November Im told for delivery. thanks Claude

  • By minna hau, November 26, 2009 @ 10:58 am

    Thanks man!

  • By Modica, December 26, 2009 @ 5:53 pm

    Good job on this post! It’s nice to see somebody who knows what they’re writing about.

  • By jack nicholas, October 11, 2010 @ 7:28 am

    Wow! I’m glad I found this site! I am a Beatles fan my self. Keep sharing!

    Thanks and goodluck!

  • By RobGems.ca, December 28, 2012 @ 5:53 am

    Hearing The Beatles’ songs in true stereo is great, but caveat emptor exsists when collecting old U.S. releases on Capitol Records from the 1960’s-80’s; Not all of The Beatles’ songs were mixed and mastered into true stereo. Indeed, beginning in 1962, Capitol Records had an annoying fake stereo process called “Duophonic” stereo, and while none of The Beatles’ releases had the “Duophonic” brand name on the LP jackets, many of their songs were issued in the crummy “Duophonic “sound, and, thus are not in true stereo as EMI of England prepared them. A small list follows of Beatle songs in fake stereo:
    1)”Love Me Do”& “P.S.I Love You” from “The Early Beatles”
    2)”I Want To Hold Your Hand” & “This Boy” from “Meet the Beatles.”
    3)”You Can’t Do That”,”I’ll Get You” ,& “She Loves You” from “The Beatles’ Second Album”.
    4)”She’s A Woman” & “I Feel Fine” from “Beatles ’65”.
    5)Nearly all of The Beatles Songs on the “A Hard Days’ Night ” Soundtrack on United Artists LP, except for the four George Martin instrumentals, which are true stereo.
    6)”Yes It Is” from “Beatles IV”.
    7)”Ticket To Ride” from the “Help” Soundtrack.
    8)”I’m Only Sleeping”,”Doctor Robert” & “And Your Bird Can Sing” from “Yesterday & Today”.
    9)”Penny Lane”, “Baby You’re A Rich Man”, & “All You need Is Love” from “magical Mystery Tour”
    10)”Only A Northern Song” from The “Yellow Submarine” Soundtrack.
    Other than the above mentioned, all the rest of The Beatles’ output was issued in true stereo on the original LP’s, 8-Tracks, & Cassette Tapes. when Capitol resurrected the C.D. versions in 1987, “All you need Is Love”, “Baby You’re A Rich Man”, “Penny Lane”, “Doctor Robert”, “I’m Only Sleeping”, “And Your Bird Can Sing”, “Ticket To Ride”,etc. were placed on the C.D’s in true stereo. The others wern’t re-mixed in stereo until 1988, with the releases of “The Beatles Past Masters” collection. “Love Me Do”, “P.S. I Love You”, “She Loves You”, “I’ll Get You”, & “Only A Northern Song ” remain the only Beatle songs not mixed properly into “true” stereo, although over the years there have been many attempts to re-mix these five songs into stereo (usually with mixed results.) The original stereo master tapes for “Love Me Do”, “P.S. I Love You”, “She Loves You”, & “I’ll Get You” have been mentioned by both George Martin and various staff members of EMI Records as having been long erased, an annoying, but common practice in those days in England master recording.

Other Links to this Post

  1. The Bealtes - new Box set out for per-order now !!! - Page 6 - Head-Fi: Covering Headphones, Earphones and Portable Audio — July 18, 2009 @ 9:03 pm

  2. goodrob13.com - Rob’s video guitar lessons and music blog » The Beatles Mono vs. Stereo, Part 2 — July 26, 2009 @ 11:30 pm

  3. goodrob13.com - Rob’s video guitar lessons and music blog » Revealing Beatles Audio Clips — September 7, 2009 @ 10:09 pm

  4. The Beatles Remastered Box Set CD’s 2009 Mono vs Stereo « A Home Plate Weblog — September 11, 2009 @ 4:32 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

WordPress Themes