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Topic ClosedThe Beatles Remasters: Mono or Stereo

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Poll Question: Which mixes do you prefer on the 10 albums mixed in mono AND stereo?
Poll Choice Votes Poll Statistics
13 [29.55%]
31 [70.45%]
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marktheshark View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Beatles Remasters: Mono or Stereo
    Posted: April 08 2009 at 21:36
As some of you may have read that the Beatles catalog has finally been re-mastered with more digital state-of-the-art technology that has advanced since the initial 1987 releases. Way overdue!

Here's the deal, aside from the individual releases, two box sets will be released. The first will be the complete catalog of the stereo mixes of all 12 albums along with the Past Master cuts. The second will be the mono mixes of ten of those albums with some of the Past Master cuts that were mixed as well. Only Let it Be and Abbey Road were never mixed in mono.

For a little history on this, throughout most of their reign, The Beatles always opt more for the mono mixing on their earlier albums. In fact, they were rarely present for the stereo mixing sessions when they were always attentive for mono mixing. George Martin has been quoted as saying "You've never really heard Sgt Pepper until you've heard it in mono." And this is somewhat true, you hear all sorts of little differences between the two mixes. Certain sound effects and instruments will jump out more on mono then on stereo. I had a mono copy of Pepper when it first came out and when my parents finally got rid of that old Magnavox hi-fi and got a stereo, the new stereo copy sounded quite different.

So what's your preference?

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 08 2009 at 22:07
I can't vote on this one.  I originally heard The Beatles (and many other bands of the era) on that marginal sound reproduction device known as the AM radio, which obviously was mono, and probably not very good mono at that.  I was also listening to the U.S. mixes, which were unmercifally tampered with by Capitol Records and their mindless engineers, though to their credit they did optimize the overall sound for the playback device of choice, i.e., the AM radio.  Those songs sounded huge coming out of a 3" speaker and drove an entire generation to near madness (in a good way, I should add).
 
So the enjoyment was not in the sound quality, it was hearing the songs and somehow saving enough money to buy the mono singles of  I Want To Hold Your Hand b/w I Saw Her Standing There, or Can't Buy Me Love b/w You Can't Do That, or I Feel Fine b/w She's A Woman, or even the funky VeeJay release of Do You Want To Know A Secret b/w Thank You Girl, and playing them on my parents' stereo (yeah, right) phonograph.
 
Now that I have something measurably better than an AM radio with a 3" speaker, my head tells me to go with the stereo recordings.  But my heart says perhaps the mono is the way to go.  Too early to tell, but assuming I still have disposableincome, I'd probably get both. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 09 2009 at 04:14
Analog and mono? Neil Young would explode with happiness. I, on the other hand, am happy with evil stereo.
I like the music of any era, regardless of when it was made.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 09 2009 at 07:19
The mono versions do have a few interesting differences but if we were meant to listen to mono recordings, God wouldn't have given us 2 ears.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 09 2009 at 07:22
Lilttle analog will be left.... I think Neil Young hates remasters.
I would go with stereo for the remasters and mono for the originals
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 09 2009 at 07:27
You're right when you say the mono sounds better than stereo at points due to certain sound effects being missing from the sterio version and whatnot, however, with this new mix, I have a feeling that the new stereo remasters are going to be done right this time, meaning that what was missing from them before will now become part of the stereo mix as well.
 
Even if that doesn't happen, I'm going with stereo. It's the version I listen to the most, therefore the version I am most familiar with. I am not paying for both boxsets, either. Especially in this economy.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 09 2009 at 09:52
Stereo...though it would be interesting to hear phenomenal mono recordings

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 09 2009 at 10:06
^ And phenominal they will be, indeed. No matter which version you end up purchasing.
 
I think my Dad is going to get the Mono recordings and I will get the Stereos
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 09 2009 at 14:32
I grew up listening to these albums on records, and I'm not sure that the remasters are going to be able to capture that dynamic, especially since I would be buying cds.  If they put them in some "lossless" manner I might be more willing to pony up the dollars.  Otherwise I think I'll just keep the discs I already own.  
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 09 2009 at 20:02
Mono Beatles is surprisingly awesome. It has so much punch.

I prefer mono generally, though the first four albums in stereo are great because the channels are so separated, you can listen to it instrumentally
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 09 2009 at 22:26
I preffer mono, Ringo's drums will be heard harder. I'll get both anyways
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 10 2009 at 10:19
Although the original albums were mixed in mono, except since the whie album, I prefer stereo because it sounds fuller and richer. But of course I hope the stereo mixes have been bettered this time and there's no sound effects missing like in the older mixes, and I also hope there's more punch in the drums like they had in the mono mixes.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 10 2009 at 20:30
Originally posted by SgtPepper67

Although the original albums were mixed in mono, except since the whie album, I prefer stereo because it sounds fuller and richer. But of course I hope the stereo mixes have been bettered this time and there's no sound effects missing like in the older mixes, and I also hope there's more punch in the drums like they had in the mono mixes.

I'm not really sure what the deal is on these. These are called REMASTERS, not REMIXES. Remastering doesn't always mean the engineers are tweeking the EQ controls on the multi-tracks. Boosting fidelity and dynamic range can be done without messing with the original mix.

Nothing has been said about whether Paul or Ringo were overseeing the project or at least listening in. And George Martin being over 80 and retired certainly had little to do with it. And what about Geoff Emerick? Was he there too?

I guess we'll find out with our ears coming this September.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 11 2009 at 09:08
Well, the stereo mixes from the 80's remasters aren't the original mixes cos the original were in mono and the members of the band had nothing to do with them, so I don't know what would be the problem with changing them a bit. They did it for the Yellow Submarine Soundtrack, although the mixes are too different there. Anyway, with just being remastered I think it's enough. The songs on the One albums sound a lot better than the versions on the albums

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 11 2009 at 20:16
Originally posted by SgtPepper67

Well, the stereo mixes from the 80's remasters aren't the original mixes cos the original were in mono and the members of the band had nothing to do with them, so I don't know what would be the problem with changing them a bit. They did it for the Yellow Submarine Soundtrack, although the mixes are too different there. Anyway, with just being remastered I think it's enough. The songs on the One albums sound a lot better than the versions on the albums

You're about half right. If memory serves me (I haven't read Lewisohn's book in years!), all but the first 2 albums were mixed for stereo at the time. But the Beatles didn't really have much interest in those mixes. So it's really a debate as to whether the initial stereo mixes are just as original as the monos. I guess I can go along with you that they're really not since the Beatles didn't give much of a stamp of approval on them.

The Beatles really didn't start to indulge in stereo until 8 track was coming around. They started on that around late '67 when they would go outside Abbey Road to Olympic studios which at the time was the only facility in England that had 8 track. The story goes that Abbey Road had an 8 track console sitting in the basement for over 6 months (maybe longer) and didn't get around to installing and testing it. The Beatles finally put their foot down and told the engineers to break it out and get it up and running.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 11 2009 at 20:48
I know there were stereo mixes made for each album, but like you said, the band had nothing to do with them,  maybe George Martin. At least that's what I read somewhere. What I actually mean is that if we're going to get a stereo version of the albums, what difference does it makes to listen to a mix made in the 60's in wich The Beatles weren't involved at all, or a better mix made recently for these new remasters in wich of course the band had nothing to do either.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 11 2009 at 22:04
Originally posted by SgtPepper67

I know there were stereo mixes made for each album, but like you said, the band had nothing to do with them,  maybe George Martin. At least that's what I read somewhere. What I actually mean is that if we're going to get a stereo version of the albums, what difference does it makes to listen to a mix made in the 60's in wich The Beatles weren't involved at all, or a better mix made recently for these new remasters in wich of course the band had nothing to do either.

Good point. That's why I'm curious as to what the liner notes will say on this. My guess is that Paul and Ringo didn't really get too involved. They're in their 60s now, and I can imagine they feel they've done enough with these recordings for the past 47 years! Just let it be, I guess.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 19 2009 at 13:50
Originally posted by chopper

The mono versions do have a few interesting differences but if we were meant to listen to mono recordings, God wouldn't have given us 2 ears.
 
And if he'd wanted us to listen to 5.1 he would have given us 5 ears. Wink Now i wonder what the Beatles would sound like in 5.1.


Edited by Nightfly - April 19 2009 at 13:52
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 19 2009 at 19:03
Originally posted by Nightfly

Originally posted by chopper

The mono versions do have a few interesting differences but if we were meant to listen to mono recordings, God wouldn't have given us 2 ears.

 

And if he'd wanted us to listen to 5.1 he would have given us 5 ears. Wink Now i wonder what the Beatles would sound like in 5.1.

The Yellow Submarine DVD that came out in 2001 (and is now out of print) had 5.1 mixes on all the songs in the film. And I have to tell you, they didn't sound all that great. You have to remember, the bulk of their recordings were done on 4 track and spreading 4 tracks over 5 channels along with a low frequency channel doesn't really work too good. The seperation is too chopped off and uneven, best I can describe it.

About the only way I can see Sgt Pepper done in 5.1 properly would be a complete re-construction of all the multi-tracks involved. The Pepper master is actually 4 seperate 4 track recordings compressed into one 4 track master. If Abbey Road preserved these 4 track recordings in their seperate form, then a 16 track digital master coud be constructed.

But who knows, maybe that's just what they did for these new releases. The details are pretty vaque at this point.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 20 2009 at 03:51
I prefer mono to stereo...as Phil Spector "Wall of Sound" or Brian Wilson said they had no need of stereo for music.
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