Rolling Stones Mono Box Set (lp or cd)

I wanted to get the ball rolling. I thought that including both formats here would be beneficial to the entire discussion. I personally have little experience with the Rolling Stones. However, I think I can add an opinion in the form of having heard lots of music from this era and how this box relates to the Beatles Mono Box. I'm currently using my stereo cart. I've listened to the first 5 lps in chronological order.

One thing that has stood out to me is how consistent these 5 lps are in sound quality. ( "Out Of Our Heads", US has more pronounced bass, haven't listened to the UK yet.) This is kind of unusual in my listening experience. Compared to the Beatles Mono box which wasn't as consistent, album to album. I find the detail, the ambient retrieval, and the bass overall to be very good. What bothers me is I feel it is recorded too hot as well as I feel the overall sound seems somewhat very slightly artificial. ( I never felt this way listening to the Beatles Mono box). These last two issues may have to do with the re-mastering chain. It may be the quality of the mics, the recording venue, etc...I don't know. I don't have the originals to compare. There is the dimensional character of the soundstage that is very nice as was the Beatles. The vinyl itself is super quiet but I see that a few of these will need to be flattened. So far, there isn't an pressed "off-center" issue.

Showing 22 responses by astro58go

I was hoping that others might be brave enough to post some initial impressions before the Fremer review.

Ok.. I just put on "Please, please me" from the Beatles Mono box (lp).

I noticed a lack of volume in relation to the listener at normal levels. But, I want to turn it up! Listening to the RS, I find at normal listening levels, I think that turning the volume up would be not so great.

In comparison. there is a WIDE range to be considered.

The RS set is very vivid, yet, there is no perceived natural, analog nature.

The Beatles...there is the perceived feeling, one can turn up the volume and still be impressed. Not so with the RS.

The RS box, by comparison is in your face.The Beatles, by comparison is somewhat lacking in dynamics now. I'm finding that I'm doing a 180. While I wish the overall sonic character of the RS wasn't so VIVID, I now realize that one should just be glad for the sound that is currently in front of them is there in a very real way!

The Beatles is just there , the RS is kind of "in your face".
Hell... I'm going to just say it...I'm very disappointed so far! I'm disappointed because of the lack of any perceived analog nature!

There is no real analog sense going on here. I love the detail, I love the ambient info, I love the musical bass...

What I don't love is the lack of having to write this (very) post???

I can see myself listening to these first 5 lps again, but trying to imagine these lps in the same league as The Beatles Mono box is not valid... so far.

GIven these lps' consistency and (comparing them to the Beatles), so far, I'd be inclined to go for the CD box set.

How does my assessment so far, conform with your overall impressions of your RS experience?
jafant made reference to "Let It Bleed". I haven't listened that far into the mono box set yet. I do have the stereo (lp) "LIB" circa 2003 from the DSD remastering that I bought after hearing the SACD at a local dealer years ago through a Musical Fidelity SACD player, MF amp, Wilson speakers. I was very impressed then. That lp sounds very good. Wide soundstage, great separation, detailed without sounding too hot.
drsteve, I had the same suspicions as well. Since I had little to no reference, I chose not to make that statement.

(What low bass that is present on the previous lps is not very musical and artificial sounding.) ( There are a few live recordings peppered throughout, these are of very low SQ.)

I've now listened through December's Children  US/UK - Aftermath US/UK.

The DC sounded just like the previous lps.

"Aftermath"...what I'm now hearing is more pleasing and enjoyable. Wondering if the fact that this lp is the first to have only Jagger/Richards penned songs has anything to do with it. More control over the recording process...?? Better equipment, more knowledgeable in the studio?

There is no longer, the sense of the recording being "too hot". The midrange is more natural and integrated. The mid-bass through low bass is more musical, again better integrated and allows the listener to hear the whole sonic picture....
"Between The Buttons". After just hearing "Aftermath", "BTB" is a major disappointment! Partly because of the SQ, but mostly because, IMO, it is a step backwards from their previous effort. The songs are of little importance. This was the time when they were experimenting with overdubs and drugs...The overall effort is inconsequential. This could be considered, the lost RS lp, IMO. The sound is also quite "thin".

Listening to a set such as this in chronological order is very revealing. It gives one a window into what was happening without the benefit of being there.

(drsteve, When I wrote the sentence, "how consistent these 5lps are in sound quality",  I was hoping others would catch on.)

Your explanation of what you think may have been going on during this time in the recordings of these earlier lps is consistent with my own thoughts.
(I made the decision a long time ago to stick with vinyl.It is my only source. So far, in purchasing this set, I'm not too disappointed in knowing I haven't spent tons of money and time in trying to buy originals for a band I don't often listen to. Also, without naming the retailer I purchased from, I paid $312.00. That's under $20.00 per lp. Not too bad for all that's included plus the book and box.)

jafant, I was hoping you could comment on your cd/sacd experiences as they relate to my posts here.
In order to hopefully draw out more interest from any who have heard it, I moved to "Let It Bleed".

This one sounds very, very good! It has the punch, the weight, the complete package. The intro to "Monkey Man" is somewhat confusing. The piano keys, while clear and present, don't integrate pefectly with the midbass-bass region which sounds pretty convincing. (I may be splitting hairs here but something isn't quite natural). However, it is enjoyable if you aren't into evaluation mode. The midrange through bass is the most natural and complete sounding thus far.

"You Can't Always Get What You Want", has real energy. Similar to "MM", it does draw you in. The whole lp is very nice in spite of a few inconsistencies.

Overall, I would pick this version for listening pleasure to my DSD stereo lp. Still haven't listened with my mono cart.

"well they used digital in the mix, which is why I past on the set".... "Ho Hum".

If you have ever tried to just bring in a conversation on a compilation for those that knew ahead of time, your "statement", I would think that you would want those that had previously bought the set to just post their opinions in order to have a discussion. What purpose did your statement serve to this thread or the community?


Thanks for the input!

I listened to "Flowers" & "Their Satanic Majesties Request" this morning.

I have a US stereo "Flowers" pressed at Bell Labs. By comparison, there is no contest. The US stereo was so inconsistent and with electronically processed stereo, it was a big mess. The new mono is consistent (I talked about this earlier), but is actually not bad to listen to. SQ difference is night & day.

"TSMR"...admittedly, I've never heard this lp. From what I've read and from the obvious album cover art work, this was their answer to Sgt. Peppers. After listening, I don't feel like I've missed much at all. I'd say that given the nature of how this music was conceived and this new digital re-mastering, the artificial nature is amplified. SQ is mostly sterile and artificial sounding IMO. I found two songs on side two that I liked for content but overall, this one was a chore to listen to.

I'm still here and listened to the last lp..."Beggars Banquet" (I don't plan on remarking on the Stray Cats lp).

I bought an (abkco "digitally remastered from original master recording/ 100% virgin vinyl") around 25 years ago. There are no liner notes or production date anywhere to be found. This is all I have to compare.

First, I listened to the new lp. It has energy and drive and overall, is a fun listen. I am drawn into the music more now than I was 25 years ago. Probably more because I did not have an appreciation then. The bass is maybe the most consistent and natural so far?

I put on side one of the above mentioned stereo copy. (I noticed it needs flattening so I'll go back later to listen all the way through). It is really not a bad sounding lp. The stereo separation is wide and doesn't sound too unnatural. The soundstage height is noticeably lower. The SQ is more toward what I perceive as having an analog warmth. Having said this, it is not as transparent as the new lp. It does not reveal any of the ambience, nuance or as much tonal accuracy of the new lp.

I'll make another listen to my 25 year old, (flat) lp later this weekend. Later on, I'll install my Ortofon Cadenza mono to listen through them all again.

(I have read the Fremer review now. He went into the history of the RS very well. I think where I said consistency, he said uniformity, which in retrospect is a more appropriate term. Bob Ludwig's comment about the original's hiding the echo seemed to make my comment about hearing the ambience somewhat gratifying I was a little disappointed that he did not rate the sonics of an original to the new lps as he did with the Beatles.) 

One more item...I have made a platter mat that has increased my listening pleasure markedly. I used it for (this) post. If you care to read about it, go to "another listen" thread in Analog.

Are you in N.C.?

If so, are you going to the Audio Advice event on the16th?

I'm registered, but on the fence.

Listened to the now flat "BB" I mentioned earlier. It is a very, very good sounding lp.
Hi jafant,

I haven't listened to the set much more as I've had too many lps come in that took priority. I plan on listening again with my mono cart the next round.

I liked "Aftermath", "LIB" & "Beggars Banquet" initially for the better balanced SQ. This may change next time I tackle the box.