Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Beatles in mono

Twenty-two years ago in 1987, the world finally got the Beatles on compact disc after  the issuing of the 60's Rolling Stones catalogue and it was that that in eyes of many marked the compact disc had come of age.
Although people who are more interested in how recordings sound have over  period criticized the sound of a good number of these, they've remained in print as the authorized Beatles selling well so rather like the originals while the Rolling Stones had their 70's albums reissued in much improved sound belatedly  Apple and EMI did the same for these in stereo and in Mono as a single box set.
I bought that Beatles in Mono box pictured above - the best part of GBP 199.98 - because it seemed to the only box of the two (there was a Stereo Box) that offered anything really essential and not otherwise available.

To start with the cds are all mono - the way many in the 1960's first heard them - and also the priority for mixing the separate tracks together by the record studios as most people bought mono records back then. Often the stereo versions had much less time spent on them so bits of the original mono mix just didn't make it into the stereo.
Most of these have been unavailable since the early 1980's (and then for a very limited time).

Then there's the packaging.
These cds have all been made in Japan with what is called a 'mini lp' form. That's to say they are made to resemble a miniature lp record sleeve using high quality card reproducing exactly the front and rear covers of the originals. There are replica inner sleeves with the designs used for each lp with the actual cd in a mylar wallet to keep it from getting scratched.
The individual cds have original period Parlophone, Capitol and Apple label designs featured for the centre labels of the lps.
The whole cd is then packed in archive quality acid free resealable see through envelope to protect it.

 The box has been carefully designed to store the discs with a slide in disc storage compartment to make getting them out to play easy.

The Discs:
Please Please Me
With The Beatles
A Hard Day's Night
Beatles For Sale
Help! *
Rubber Soul *
Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
Magical Mystery Tour
The Beatles (Also known as the "White Album" )
Mono Masters - a compilation of singles and EP tracks issued in mono that were not on any UK studio album which includes the prepared but unissued mono mixes of the Yellow Submarine film songs which one album I have no need to get.

* = These have the original stereo versions also on the same disc NOT the remixes done for the (stereo) cd.
The transfer to cd is extremely good - something that was a problem with the original cds issued in 1987.

I topped the set with the stereo only remastered Abbey Road and Let It Be which more open than the previous issue although the tri-fold unlined card cover isn't as attractive.

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