Oh my...there goes $239.99 (Beatles mono box) (1 Viewer)

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
I've been toying with the idea of getting the stereo box set as well, but I finally came to my senses. So today, I picked up a few single issues of the stereo remasters

Same here. I picked up, "A Hard Days Night", "Beatles For Sale" and "Sgt. Pepper".
I've compared the Sgt. Pepper remaster to the old CD version and the remaster is louder (I had to turn down the sound a bit compared to the old CD) than the old version. The sound sounds clearer too, but the vocals in some of the tracks sounds somewhat high pitched compared to the old version, I think. If one can use Sgt. Pepper as a measure, then I don't think it's worth the money to buy all the CD's once again (unless the money is no problem, of course). The difference is not THAT big. Not for me anyway, but maybe I've gotten used to the old CD versions.

I compared the booklet to the old booklet too. The new one has about five more pages but it's a bit smaller than the old one. The new one has some new texts, some historical notes and a short text by McCartney. The old text by Mark Lewison has been changed. Some sentences and expressions are missing and instead some new have been added in their place. Which text is the best, the new or the old, is probably a matter of taste.
There's some "new" photo's of the Fab Four too, although many of them are way too small. The color photo's of the Beatles in their Sgt. Pepper uniforms are still included but not so many as in the old booklet. On top of that, most of them are now in a much smaller size.
The photo of Peter Blake's original rough outline of the cover is way smaller than in the old booklet. The same goes for the photo of Ringo, Paul and John chatting with Robert Fraser. They even changed the text from, "Final adjustments. Ringo checks his buttons while Paul and John chat with Robert Fraser", to, "Paul, John, Robert Fraser and Ringo".
The pictures of Sgt. Pepper, the Sgt. stripes, the "badges" etc., which one originally was supposed to cut out from a piece of cardboard that came with the LP, has now been made much smaller so all of it could fit into one page. In the old CD booklet they used four pages so people could see the stuff in a reasonable size.

The music is of course what it's all about, I just wanted to mention the differences between the old and the new booklet too.
 
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mjp

Founding member
Hmm, I only picked up the three that aren't in the mono box. I don't listen to music on headphones, so that's not an issue. I would be interested in the mono/stereo differences if the stereo mixes were something that the band was concerned with, but it doesn't seem like they really cared about them (from what I've read it doesn't seem like they cared about mixes period, for the first half of their career), so to me it would just be listening to the work of some EMI engineers.

Plus Ringo and McCartney have my mono box money, and various other bits of my money over the years, so I don't think they need any more. ;) But money aside, I'm always looking for things as close to the original as I can find, so the stereo mixes aren't real high on my list.
 
I read a review on-line regarding several opinions of the mono vs. stereo. In general, the main difference was the "openness" of the stereo vs. the "wall of sound" of the mono. While I was less interested in which songs/albums they thought benefitted more or less from these two concepts, I figured the difference might be enough for my favorites.

I can envision Tomorrow Never Knows, Being for the Benefit..., Strawberry Fields..., I Am the Walrus et al. might be better in stereo. Hence, Revolver, Pepper and Abbey Road. If I can get MMT, I'll probably be good. Since Rubber Soul comes with the 1965 stereo, I figure I can live with that.

I've yet to listen to much of the stereo versions yet (maybe three or four tracks last night), but they're there when I'm ready.

And yes, it's true that the stereo is really more of an EMI engineering thing, but just studying the aural differences betwen mono and stereo intrigues me. Not to mention that different tracks were often used, so there's that too.
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
Now I still know basically dick about all of this stuff... is the mono in just one speaker? I've got plenty of other stupid questions, but I'll save them for a moment.
 

chronic

old and in the way
Mono is basically everything mixed down to a single track. If you play a mono track on a stereo player, you'll be hearing the same thing coming from each speaker.
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
OK. I was hoping that's the way it would be (and assumed that logically that was the case), but... well one never knows. Thanks, Mr. President.
 
Thing is, with the Beatles tracks, mono and stereo are different animals. Different tracks were used for the two on many songs. Other idiosyncrasies over the years include "fold-down" mono from the stereo mixes into a simpler mono mix; some stereo is really mock stereo, and later stereo is true stereo.

I ain't no audiophile, but there are a number of differences more complex than just "the same thing comes from both speakers" and "different things come from the two speakers" concept.

My overall conceptualization of the Beatles catalog is that the earlier albums, while not previously issued in stereo, do not benefit too much from the new stereo remasters, but if you use headphones, you may like it (or not; and this is true of all the CDs).

The other, post ...For Sale CDs may be worthy in both formats; especially tracks such as Tomorrow Never Knows. I prefer the mono mix, because it has elements not heard on the stereo version I've known since the early 70s, but the stereo mix sounds better (read: more trippy) in headphones.
 

chronic

old and in the way
Right, but still, at the most basic level mono will output the same audio from every speaker while stereo will have differences between the channels.

And yes, it's true that these Beatles remasters have entirely different mixes between the stereo and mono versions. Have you listened to the mono Helter Skelter yet? Almost a different song.
 

mjp

Founding member
It should also be said that the mono versions are not flat or claustrophobic by any means. There is quite a surprising amount of sonic detail there, and you can tell that they were carefully crafted. At least the mid period and later stuff, after they got being a cover band out of their systems with those first few albums.

If you sat 10 feet from a couple of speakers playing the mono versions of any of those records I doubt that you would sense anything lacking about them. You wouldn't miss the stereo aspect.
 
Apparently chronic felt a need to make the same comment to both of us. Methinks on purpose, although perhaps not.

In any case, I have indeed listened to the mono Helter Skelter, and I liked it just fine. I do most of my listening in headphones (I prefer to study music rather than use it as incidental background noise, which is what it seems to inevitably become when played for everyone to hear), and even the mono versions sound stunning. But a few of the trippier tunes sound equally as good in stereo, even if the balls are reduced a bit; the stereo compensates for that.
 

chronic

old and in the way
Apparently chronic felt a need to make the same comment to both of us. Methinks on purpose, although perhaps not.

No, I was replying to your post and after I hit submit, it took a really long time to go through, somehow resulting in duplicate posts.

These new-fangled gadgets are always fucking with me.
 
i bought the mono set too. thank god for the visa card. the sgt pepper disc was worth the price i think.
if you are interested in docs, the film about the making of LOVE, worked for me.
i was a george-girl, so it made me a bit weepy, but the combination of beatles and cirque is a natural. guy lalibertie and harrison decided to do this well before george died. too bad he did not get a chance to see it. but seeing his son dhani watch the presentation made me feel as if harrison really was present and accounted for.
 
I thought the inclusion of a "Hey Jude" flowchart in the limited edition mono set was a nice touch.

Hey Jude flowchart.jpg
 

mjp

Founding member
Well, I am still listening to this. I thought I would be burned out on it by now, but there's just so much there. I have also been reading a couple of books that go through the Beatles music song by song, and it's interesting to read those and listen to the songs at the same time. You know, if you're borderline insane.

It's available on Amazon again, and the price has dropped, naturally.

Oh, and I threw away the god damned plastic sleeves that they put around each disc. They are great if you are saving the box for future generations and it has to be protected against nuclear fallout, but I just want to listen to them. Besides, I figure if I need to replace it in 20 years there is a hoarder somewhere who will be able to sell me a set in the factory shrinkwrap. I depend on those kinds of guys to do all my archiving.
 

mjp

Founding member
And by the way, is that Ska in the middle of I Call Your Name?! (disc 1 Mono Masters) That's a pretty obscure musical reference for 1963 or 4. Though I suppose they could have heard it, as there were/are plenty of Jamaicans in England...
 
I bought most of the stereo re-issues which have no sleeves, so I used the plastic sleeves for them. I'll have to check out I Call Your Name. The first "island" sort of sound I can really place is on Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da.
 

mjp

Founding member
I should have said, the plastic sleeves that they put around each cover. I got tired of taking them out and putting them in to those real quick. But the internal ones are a pain too. I just don't know how good paper is for the CD surface or I'd use the facsimile internal sleeves.
 
Think about those CD-ROM sleeves with the glassine window that shows the "non-business" side of the CD-ROM. They're paper on the other side where the info is at, so I wouldn't worry. I'm using the paper sleeves on my mono discs.
 

mjp

Founding member
Good point. Now I can throw those fragile, crinkly things out and use the paper with confidence and joy. Old school, as the kids say.
 

chronic

old and in the way
They're paper on the other side where the info is at, so I wouldn't worry.

Data is actually written on an undercoat of the top (label) side. Try scratching one and see (no, don't... you'll ruin the disc). In fact, the best way to repair a disc that is scratched on the bottom-side is to rub it with Brasso... sounds crazy, I know, but it works. On commercially issued CDs the top lacquer is usually pretty durable, so I wouldn't worry about paper sleeves scratching them.

The best way to protect the discs is to not use them at all other than to rip them (EAC for Windows is the best ripper there is) and make copies. Especially if you're going to be hauling them around in your car.
 

mjp

Founding member
I thought the data was encoded on the metal waffled between the plastic top and bottom? On a commercial disc.

I know a record player stylus just makes noise when I put a CD on the turntable...I thought this shit was backward compatible? Fuck it. I'm going back to Edison cylinders.
 

nervas

more crickets than friends
Well how about this.... In the last 3 months I have spent close to a thousand dollars on adding to my vinyl collection...I have sold many a prized belonging during that time(I sold a pair of Air Jordan shoes that brought me $330.00, so I'm somehow trying to be money conscious) to add to that collection! I always feel like I'm going to bounce the rent check, and was actually late 2 weeks this month! Anyway, I still HAVE not opened my Beatles mono box set. I always look at it and say, ok, there's $250 bucks I can use, if the rent is going to be later than 2 weeks! I just thought I'd add that to this thread. I'm really never going to sell it, but just have been on quite the vinyl fetish lately.
 

mjp

Founding member
Rolling Stone article from 1968 - a take on mono into "fake" stereo at the time all the weirdness of the transition was happening.

RS68stereo.jpg
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Interesting article. So, all the "stereo" albums of the Beatles music up to and including, "Sgt. Pepper", are "fake" stereo versions, even the new ones?
 

chronic

old and in the way
No. The new ones were remixed and remastered from the original source tapes (I'm guessing that most were probably 4-track?). They're true stereo. All earlier stereo releases (except for the later albums that were originally issued in stereo) were "fake" stereo. That's why the mono mixes were (and still are) truer to the original intended sound of the recordings and also why so many people hated the earlier stereo releases.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
So, the new ones are true stereo (I bought a bunch of those), but what about the old CD's? Were they true stereo too?
I can't hear much difference between the old and the new CD's, except the new ones are louder and seems to have a "cleaner" sound.
 
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mjp

Founding member
Well, true stereo...fake stereo, I guess it's semantics when it comes to CD releases.

The stereo CDs are not always the same mixes between old CDs and new (or LPs). It gets very confusing, really.

George Martin remixed Help! and Rubber Soul when the albums were first released on CD in 1987. Even though Rubber Soul was recorded on a four-track machine, most of its songs have that unlistenable mid-60s STEREO separation with vocals on one side and instruments on the other. Martin remixed the album to bring the vocals down the center. The new stereo remasters use the 1987 George Martin stereo mixes rather than the original 1965 mixes (the original 1965 stereo mixes are in the mono box).

Confused?

From the always accurate and never wrong wikipedia:

The Mono Box Set was released to reflect the fact that the Beatles' catalogue (aside from Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road, and Let It Be) was originally released in mono, in addition to stereo. Many feel that the these mono mixes reflect the true intention of the band. For example, in the case of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, all the mono mixes were done together with the Beatles themselves, throughout the recording of the album, whereas the stereo mixes were done in only six days by George Martin, Geoff Emerick and Richard Lush after the album had been finished, with none of the Beatles attending. George Harrison commented:
"At that time [...] the console was about this big with four faders on it. And there was one speaker right in the middle [...] and that was it. When they invented stereo, I remember thinking 'Why? What do you want two speakers for?', because it ruined the sound from our point of view. You know, we had everything coming out of one speaker; now it had to come out of two speakers. It sounded like...very...naked."​

For me, that last quote there sums it all up. The Beatles, for the most part, are a pre-stereo band, and that's how they should be heard.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
The new stereo remasters use the 1987 George Martin stereo mixes rather than the original 1965 mixes (the original 1965 stereo mixes are in the mono box).

I see! So, the new remastered CD's are the same as the 1987 stereo mixes, only they have been remastered so they sound louder and "cleaner". So there's not a huge difference between the 1987 Cd's and the 2010 Cd's, I guess.

The Mono Box Set was released to reflect the fact that the Beatles' catalogue (aside from Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road, and Let It Be) was originally released in mono, in addition to stereo.

What about the "White Album"? wasn't that released in stereo too, just like Abbey Road and Let It Be?

For me, that last quote there sums it all up. The Beatles, for the most part, are a pre-stereo band, and that's how they should be heard.

I agree! I just wish they would sell the mono albums individually. I would love to hear Sgt. Pepper in mono!
 
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The distinction is that Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road and Let it Be have only been released in stereo. All of the rest were released in both mono and some bastardized form of stereo.
 

mjp

Founding member
What about the "White Album"? wasn't that released in stereo too, just like Abbey Road and Let It Be?
That album is interesting because it was originally released in mono in England and stereo in the U.S. Maybe there were more stereos in the U.S. at the time. I think most Brits were still using steam powered Victrolas up until the mid-80s...
 
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Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
That album is interesting because it was originally released in mono in England and stereo in the U.S. Maybe there were more stereos in the U.S. at the time. I think most Brits were still using steam powered Victrolas up until the mid-80s...

Mono in England and stereo in the U.S.? How weird! I wonder if it was released as mono or stereo, or both, in the rest of Europe at the time. I guess the new remastered stereo version is the the same as the 1987 stereo version then, except for the added loudness and "cleaner" sound.
 

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