Monday, January 4, 2016

Stereo Beatles mini lps

 As a number of seasoned blog readers know I have had a liking for the Beatles for a long time so it was an important day in early March of 2015 and I had gotten some interesting cds by them plus a few more recently which I'll spend a few worms on discussing.

In the weird corporate World of Japan few things are more revered than the super limited edition gone to it's gone and put back out in slightly different form product and somebody at Apple and Universal Japan decided it was those Moptops time for this treatment on December 14, 2014 when all the UK stereo studio album titles and the 2010 versions of the evergreen RED and BLUE compilations got issued in the latest wonder cd material SHM.
It's meant to produce less errors when 'read' by your cd player and so sound better.

Before you could read reviews at various websites they sold out  being a very limited run with posters but were re-issued in the 'Encore' series without the promotional posters which I'm not so fussed over.
By the time reviews did emerge one could cue a howl from "zeroes and ones are same regardless" from digital theory purists and "Oh yes it does sound different" from others on certain sites.

Regardless of that debate, I much prefer the Mini lp style packaging these cds come in anyway replicating far better the feel of the parent lp records than the 2009 tri-fold digipak remasters we had and they match my much my much loved cd The Beatles in Mono box with its 11 mini lp mono cds and critically my set of albums issued for the US albums box set of 2014 which also used the mini lp style I got for the stereo versions (they also have mono versions some of which are US specific).
That set cut off with the US version of Revolver whose sound I much prefer over the 2009 stereo UK series cd although Capitol of course did issue all their output with Sgt Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour  on Capitol and everything else up to Let it Be on Apple labels.
I much prefer the mono mix of Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club although like most I grew up with the stereo, for me a purple Capitol Canada lp and the Capitol 8 track.
As you can see this has the cut outs and inner bag just like the mono from 2009's mono box does and a Japanese booklet but is the stereo edition.

When it comes to Magical Mystery Tour there are good reasons for liking the stereo which for the first side at least was pretty good, sometimes revealing more detail than the mono, although that has many unique features like the use of phasing on vocals so it's album worth  having  stereo copy of. The mono has the three singles a and b sides in the original mono mixes.
This stereo edition has the 24 page colour booklet, a Japanese leaflet and like the mono edition, being assembled by Capitol as a album (the UK had a set of two 45 rpm 7 inch extended play singles!) has a Capitol label.

Moving on to 1969's Abbey Road, this was only mixed into stereo although in some territories a simple folded down to mono edition was pressed for mono record players or used for mono tape records.

  The covers are much nicer, a booklet with a potted history of the album in English are tuck in the rear of the acid free plastic wallet the cover is in and there's another booklet in Japanese with English lyrics to every song so we can song along to Polythene Pam.
This fits the Mono box perfectly.
The rear shows the other cds in this series such as the RED, BLUE and Past Masters compilations.
Plus the Let It Be, the troubled  album recorded before Abbey Road but originally issued in conjunction with the motion picture afterward showing the band performing later initially in special box set with a book of pictures.
I never planned on getting the 2009 stereo cd of the Beatles For Sale UK album from December 1964 simply as the album never really figured much in my life until the cd era (its contents figure on Capitol's Beatles '65 and Beatles VI that I grew up with)  and then being so upset with the sound I got the UK stereo lp whose packaging was rather cool with a gatefold sleeve with two black and white  pictures for the centrefold and a short set of notes by Tony Barrow and the track listing.
I decided recently to treat myself to this the stereo shm edition in its full replica sleeve as many who did buy the 2009 stereo regarded it was one very best of the series and it sounds really good.
This is the third UK album released July 1964 which unlike its North American counterpart has 13 songs written and song by the Beatles and nobody else in its stereo form. The bulk of the second side was issued on the Capitol lp. Something New, including Things We Said Today  which didn't have much new  to offer as only four songs from that UK albums side were used and it shared five with the A Hard Day's Night soundtrack album!
That's one reason why it was the first UK album I bought on record, it simply is more complete flowing better and why I got this edition on cd which sounds more open compared to the 2009 edition.
This, 1966's Revolver (UK edition) was the second disappointment of the original 2009 issues sounding like it had ill defined bass and muted high notes, not that the 1987 first issue was much better but to my ears is is quite a bit more open and clearer although it's one of many of their albums I prefer the mono mix of.

Having played them through my all Rotel system they do sound a bit more open and less edgy compared to my European 2009 copies and I am inclinded to ditch the original clumsy tri-fold card issues. 

Beatles cd posts links: 
The US albums US albums cd re-issues
Beatles in Mono cd set Beatles in mono cd set
The Beatles EP cd set The beatles EP's on cd 

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