Best sounding Beatles albums

I'm looking for Beatles on vinyl to replace the original pressing records my aunt lent me some years ago (She wants 'em back, so to speak). I was going to go for some of the new Japanese pressings but after reading reviews from Fremer, etc. I am thinking this is not the best route.

Does anyone know what the best sounding pressings are (not the individual titles) and where to get them? Also if anyone has info on how much they should go for that would be helpful too.

As always, thanks fellow A'goners for any useful info. THis continues to be a great sight and forum.

First of all, good choice staying away from the new Japanese pressings. There has been alot written on this forum and on Steve Hoffman's forum of the pros and cons of the various pressings of the Beatles. A search will reveal a lot of information.

Overall, most seem in agreement that the UK Blue Box is the best sound to $$$, 14 stereo albums, reissued between 1978 and 1986. They go for around $200 in great shape on Ebay. Some people prefer the 70's Japanese repressings, EAS-50XXX or EAS-80XXX. The prices for these are all over the road on Ebay, but you can usually find them for $15-25 apiece in near mint condition, or the collection for $200-300.

If you prefer the Mono versions (I do), the UK Y/B reissues ('82) or Japanese Red Vinyl reissues ('82 or '86) run upward of $100+ apiece on Ebay.

The US pressings by Capitol get mostly bad reviews for sound quality, but still are liked by some because those are the records we grew up with here in the US. They are mastered differently than the rest of the world with added echo. When I hear them now, some I like, some I don't. Anyway, they are still pretty cheap. These have been reissued a few times, try to get the ones done prior to the mid '80s. Everything since then are digital remasters. (CD mix).

Some particular pressings that I like best are "Die Beatles" German Stereo Horzu pressing, Magical Mystery Tour German Stereo Horzu/Apple pressing, 70's German Stereo White Album, Canadian Capitol "Beatlemania" Stereo or Mono early 60's.

Original 60's UK pressings have generally been played to death, but there are a few good ones out there if you look carefully. Prices for those are all over the highway.

Ebay is probably your best bet to find these records, but be careful and ask lots of questions before you bid!

Have Fun!

Look for the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab Beatles albums. They are the best available at any price.
I have the MFSL version of Abbey Road and the Blue Box version too. In my system, which consists of all tube gear and a VPI Aries II Black Knight, the MFSL version sounds distant and is quite bloated in the bass. I prefer the Blue Box version by a large margin.
I'm not the biggest Beatles maven or vinyl junkie, but I would direct your attention to the Anthology sets, particularly Anthology II. These benefit from attentive remastering and the fact that the master tapes haven't been beaten to hell over the last 40 years. I only have them on CD, but they sound quite fresh.
I agree with Thaluza that "Abbey Road" wasn't the best of the MFSL recordings. The best of the MFSL, in my opinion, are the early albums. "Please Please Me" is absolutely fantastic. So is "Help". "With The Beatles" is also very fine, but extremely hard to find.
I am pretty sure that once you've heard a clean Stereo copy of Sgt Pepper on yellow/black Parlophone original/early UK Press, no other press will suffice. Some feel the MONO is better, but not for me.

I had (sold it) the white album (very clean) original UK MONO numbered in the lower 6000 (very early press) and while it sounded great I prefer the orig UK Stereo there as well (Apple).

Try better records ( Tom Port constantly reviews Beatles product and a great source for info.
I also prefer the Parlophone Blue Box. I have a number of the later Beatles on MFSL and initially they sound quite impressive. However I found that "the mix" seemed to differ a fair bit from the Parlophone set. The MFSL dynamics in particular are fairly spectacular and the bass and lower registers are a little too overpowering----great if you want to hear Ringo! Its almost like the engineer was "riding" the gain Also the vocals were noticeably different in not a pleasant way. A colleague of mine brought over original Parlophone (France) stereo LP's and these were unbelievably good. The good news is that the Blue Box Parlophone set was close---tonally very similar just not as resolute.

I would look for a good copy of the Beatles Blue Box.
Since I first posted this question (almost four years ago) I have experimented with a lot of different Beatles titles. IMHO the best sounding are the original (1st pressing if you can) mono Parlophone's from the UK...... They are hard to find (and even harder to find a deal on), but it's kinda fun to track them down. In the end, I really like these better than the MFSL or Japanese pressings I have.

The MSFL definitely tend to have a sort of "smiley" EQ. The bass (Especially on Abbey Road)" does tend to be over emphasized while lacking in the midrange. This really tends to hurt the vocals. I will say though, that I still think that some of the early recordings sound pretty good on MFSL, up to and including Rubber Soul. I have not got to hear all the Parlphone records (just don't have the money). But I do find that the MFSL sounds better then a lot of the capitol releases. Just my 2 cents.
I'm having a good laugh about all this. Everything and nothing is the best or not. Does anyone want to hear the original master tapes as they were originally done (mostly mono) without any crap added or subtracted, as the BEATLES intended, (warts and all as John said)??? Listen to the Stones sacd's. Can't we have the BEATLES like that ?? I'm 53 and counting. others are older than I !!!
I picked up a Parlophone special edition pressing on Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and love the depth and clarity. The bonus studio out-takes are mildly amusing, but the main course is to die for.