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The Beatles - The Beatles In Mono Box Set CD (album) cover

THE BEATLES IN MONO BOX SET

The Beatles

 

Proto-Prog

4.88 | 41 ratings

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Matthew T
Prog Reviewer
5 stars When it was announced early this year that EMI were releasing The Beatles catalogue entirely remastered in either stereo or mono and they were to be released in September 2009 I knew that I would be one of the many who would be purchasing one.Throughout the review I will not be discussing the albums but primarily the sound and presentation of the albums.

With the first Beatles release as most are aware the albums were not remastered but even though that was the case the volume levels were good but as usual for cds they were a little cold compared to the records and there was no choice in sound format which was apparent in hearing the original mono and stereo mixes that they used throughout the releases and subsequently suffered in quality as the stereo albums had a separation in sound and this is particulary noticeable in the early recordings up to and including the Seargent Peppers album. Daytripper is a prime example with the guitar only coming through one speaker.

The Mono Box Set was originally advertised for the collector but it quickly became apparent to everyone that this was not only for a collector but anyone who was after the original vibe of the music coming througfh a one speaker record player (mono) or an old radio as we heard them originally on scratchy singles, worn out albums etc. The majority would probably wince at how I describe the equipment that I had but beggars cannot be choosers when you are 10 years old and the one thing that I do remember is the sound was full, pops and all as everything was mono.

The stereo remasters have been done with the best that was available I believe but with the later albums there was a choice available for the format but mono was still the main format used up to The Magical Mystery Tour EPs. The reason that the recordings have been originally focussed in Mono as Stereo at the time was really considered for HiFi Buffs and that stereo record pleyers were not a common thing in most households and so mono was the preffered mix for pop as it was still really not considered as quality music by many in the industry and how wrong they have been proven over the years. When the original stereo mixes were done on these albums it could be months after the mono was done and occasionally little things were forgotten also different takes were used. Please Please me is one. With the remastering project Allan Rouse was the main man behind it all and has been a recording engineer since 1971 with EMI and since 1991 has only been working extensively on the Beatles Catalogue. He was behind the 5.1 Yellow Submarine,Let It Be (naked) Love and Lennon albums etc

The Stereo version of the White album is superior to the Mono but the stereo version of With the Beatles even though it has been remastered the noticable separation is there all you need to do is listen to the intro of Roll Over Beethoven to hear how apparent it is. The Magical Mystery Tour sounds good in mono or stereo very little of the above mentioned issue. Abbey Road, Let It Be and the terrible Yellow Submarine are only available in the stereo format and so do not come with this set. Neither do the later singles The Ballad of John and Yoko,Old Brown Shoe (flip) Let it Be and The Long and Winding Road but you do get the actual Beatles tunes from the Yellow Submarine album added to the 2nd disc of the Mono Masters. If you did buy the Yellow Submarine album in stereo all the extra you would be getting is the George Martin input on side 2 of the record.

I have not heard the stereo version of Revolver but I have heard the complaints about limiting and compression issues. I will say this that the mono is great and I do not have an issue with the album at all.There are subtle differences in the mixes which you can read about if you aquire the set,songs Eleanor Rigby,Tommorow never Knows.I'm Only Sleeping and Got To Get you into my Life which actually lasts a little longer are the ones. I hope down the track they release Sgt Peppers in Mono on its own so people can buy it to hear the difference with out having to buy this entire set. She's Leaving Home in Stereo actually runs a little slower and there are alot of differences with volumes on certain items in the album throughout songs. The Beatles were present in the studio for the mono mix and when that was done they left and the stereo was left to George Martin and his engineers at the time in the studio.

The Set also comes with the stripes,etc from Sgt Peppers and the poster with the photos of each Beatle comes with the White Album. All have been made to a miniscule size compared to the records but so is the way with cds. I remember the photos were a bit glossier and were on high quality photograhic paper. If this set was a limited collectors edition why did they not number the White Albums anyway. These though I will admit are nit picking on a fantastic Box Set

With the Help and Rubber Soul albums you have added the original stereo mixes. They are on the same disc as the mono and just follow after the mono version. You will listen to them most likely a bit as they just follow on but they are nothing special.

If you have the stereo set do not despair you still have the best music from the 20th century in your hand and a lot will think of these as minor issues and as everybody knows Stereo is the better format but this time the Mono has a slight edge.

My personel opinion is that John Lennon and Paul McCartney were the greatest song writers of the last century and this set to me is The Rossetta Stone in modern pop and rock

5 Stars more if possible

Matthew T | 5/5 |

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