Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Beatles in Mono


The Beatles In Mono”

I recently found the 13CD boxed set “The Beatles In Mono” used, for right around $100. Thankfully, it still had it’s booklet and all 13 discs; manufactured by Toshiba in Japan. I am fortunate in that I do have original US and UK LP’s in mono, for most everything. The mono CD’s sound great, as is no surprise.

A small bit of stuff was tinkered with, however. As the sleeves for the box were printed in Japan, they look really good. The box does not feature “Abbey Road” or “Let It Be” albums, as they were never mixed for mono. “Past Masters” is now known as “The Beatles Mono Masters” – it includes real mono mixes of the ‘new’ songs found on the “Yellow Submarine” original soundtrack (“Only A Northern Song”, “All Together Now”, “Hey Bulldog” and “It’s All Too Much”). All discs clearly state “Digital Remaster, 2009”.

And in my box, there was no insert in “Sgt. Pepper” or the double white album, yet “Magical Mystery Tour” had it’s booklet. Odd that they used the template of the US version of MMT, albeit in mono – all other albums used the UK templates. The disc faces are that of the original labels of the British (or US) LP’s, all stating “Made In Japan” clearly. The CD sleeves – in little album cover format – are absolutely luscious. All that’s missing is the obi! I wonder aloud, “Did the $600 version come with obis?”

So, I guess really the only stuff I am sad to not see in the mono CD box are some songs that were never mixed to mono: “Old Brown Shoe”, for example. So, the stereo CD box is still on my shopping list, I guess. But the US manufactured digipaks don’t really look so good, I’m afraid. I have toyed with the idea of just buying “Abbey Road” and “Let It Be”…but I guess I have to include the stereo “Past Masters”, ostensibly to get “Old Brown Shoe” etc.

After getting all the Rolling Stones’ Decca UK albums as SA-CD’s, I guess it was time for me to go with the 2009 remasters of The Beatles. I think at some point, I managed to get all of the original CD releases by The Beatles, together with some of the more recent things that EMI issued – such as the Anthology sets, “Live at the BBC”, “Let It Be…Naked” etc.

And boy do I have a ton of Beatles LP’s, 45’s…I seriously doubt that I will be needing ANY new editions of the LP’s, when they come along shortly. After all, I bet they’re either manufactured in Europe or the US…and Japanese LP pressings will be surprisingly expensive, I bet.

So, what else can EMI do to get us to buy this stuff yet again? The mind boggles…

I’ve read that there were apparently bootlegged (Chinese?) versions being sold on the internet. The one I got looks to be 100% “Made In Japan”, the covers, disc faces all super clear, all with the ‘right’ IFPI numbers etc.


Anonymous said...

How can they get you to buy them again? With new 5.1 versions mixed in "surround sound," of course!

Ron Kane said...

Yes, but in what format? I will buy SA-CD's, but not DVD-Audio necessarily. I understand EMI US / UK are going to re-print LP's again soon, but those will still pale in comparison to original issues - I have originals of most Beatles LP's.

Perhaps they could do a set that is one disc per year, adding singles to the albums...?

chas_m said...

The mono box set is a little too extensive (and rich) for my blood, I'm kind of selective about the Beatles stuff I enjoy enough to spend money on.

For me though, it was kind of jarring to hear "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver" in stereo (sample tracks I listened to on Capitol's web site). They don't sound "right" somehow. Indeed, as I remember it was the IMPACT of stereo that really made Sgt Peppers so special.

I wish I could buy about a third of the mono box set and a third of the stereo box set, but the only way to do that is to buy the albums individually, which works out to be much more expensive.

Ron Kane said...

I bought the mono box because I found it inexpensively. BTW, it has the 'right' (from then) stereo versions of "Help" and "Rubber Soul" as a bonus feature. (I don't think it has the stereo "Revolver", too)