So, What is the Verdict on the Beatles Box Sets?

I see a WIDE variety of opinions on the new Beatles Box sets; both for the stereo and mono versions. Have you spent some quality time evaluating these? How good/bad are they? Should we run out and get both sets? What about releasing them on vinyl; is that going to happen?
There are already about twenty new Beatles threads over the past few weeks - on Audiogon alone. Do a search.
its the beatles..they sound great..the songs are great...they are available to purchase. next.
In case you don't want to search the archives or maybe looking for new members comments. I will answer with that I am not a huge Beatles fan and have very few of their titles till now. I am glad I waited as so far I think these are the best sounding. I do think that I should try some of the mono copies as it seems that the Beatles have never been well mixed for stereo. In the few titles I have they always seem to be mixed stronger left or right and don't image as well as I would want. My opinion, probably not fact. But if I was going to collect Beatles cd's I am glad I have waited. As far as vinyl I haven't seen any pre-order stuff on Music Direct etc., but I would be very suprised if they miss this opportunity to sell the vinyl copies and help pay for the investment they have already made.
The Beatles? Were they the group McCartney was in before Wings? Talk about obscure bands!
I'm sure the 48/192 downloads they'll be selling in a few years will smoke the current CDs. my cynical self sees this as marketing: the boomers, the biggest market for the Beatles, are good for one last milking (as in buying expensive box sets) before CDs are total history. don't get me wrong: this release was overdue, what with the earlier generation of Beatles CDs done over 20 years ago, and by all accounts, sound significantly better, but CDs are about to be supplanted by hi-rez downloads. check out the sales #s for CDs.

I can't say you're wrong but it won't be happening for me. Just a nasty old Luddite I suppose.
I;m always a bit puzzled by the many posters on various fora who complain about the music industry's desire to make money. Isn't that what they do? There is obviously a great desire among many (but not all) people for remasters that improve the sound of classic music -- recent sets by the Beatles and Neil Young (and many others) are examples of music that was readily available but that has been recently been redone with clearly improved sound. People who like this music and care about the sound quality will buy these as their budgets permit; those who don't won't and shouldn't. But why fault the music industry for supplying a product that LOTS of people want?

I'm far more critical of the music industry's decisions to market crap music to the masses and not give more adventurous bands a shot than I am about their occasional efforts to give those who care about sound a bit more quality in their old favorites.

Sure, in an ideal world, music would be free and the artists and those who produce the physical (or digital) product would be compensated in some other way. But we live in a world where money is exchanged for goods and that's not gonna change any time soon.

Re possible future hi-rez downloads, what's wrong with that? And why should the availability of a format that relatively few people are using now prevent people who currently like cds or vinyl from getting the music in the format they currently use? I would agree that it would be preferable for all the formats to come out at the same time. But at least as far as hi-rez downloads, the market for those might not yet be enough to make it worthwhile for the biz to put those out.
I can't wait for hi-re downloads. That'll make used cds cheap as dirt!
Untill ss hard drives have greater capacity and lower costs, I'll stick with CD's. I've just had another hard drive crash, that's 3 in the last 2 years.
SS drives also have a limited lifetime and a certain percentage will fail. There is no free lunch.

Hard drives continue to drop in price, currently around $100 for a Terabyte. I spend that much when I take my wife out to dinner. Personally I don't care if one crashes occasionally. I have backups and it is too cheap to worry about.
I agree with Herman. The cost is so low that putting together large HD's with Raid controlers for auto backup is easy.
These new releases are great-sounding. The stereo sounds artificial on the ones I've listened to so far, with instruments on one side and voices on the other. It's tempting to put my preamp in mono mode to listen to them.

But the clarity of the instrumental and voice lines is something to hear. Makes the Beatles sound like the fine musicians they were. Well worth it IMHO, it's a trip.
Yes, they sound better than the older 80's versions.
But, after listening to the Love DVD-A, I cant help wondering what they could have sounded like in Blu ray or SACD / DVD-A .
Hard drives might be cheap, but my time is too valuable to have to keep backing things up. Is it really too much to ask for some reliability these days?
Nothing is reliable in the sense that it will never break. Its really pretty amazing that they work at all if you ask me. You can get programs that back up your data automatically. The only time spent is setting it up so you would spend less time doing that than complaining about hard drives here :>)

The first hard drive I contemplated buying was around 1985 and it held 5 megabytes for about $500 which would be about $1,000 in today's money. That is $200 a megabyte versus .0001 dollars a megabyte today.
They sound real good. ANd I will take a CD over a download. WHen your downloads disappear you will be sorry!

McCartney's group "before Wings". No, it was actually Lennon's group.
I got several of the stereo remixes today. Listened to part of Sgt Peppers. I was a bit put off actually and suprisingly so after the review I'd read saying how good they were. It's the same ole stuff - added treble emphasis, compression. I just didn't expect it to that degree. Even on my Mcintosh system it jumped right out. Yes, you can hear more detail, everything is cleaned up but they went too far with it. I'm kinda having buyer's remorse right now. I might buy a mono mix and see how it sounds. I'm havin' trouble getting my mind around the mono better than stereo concept but, man, the added boom and sparkle - ouch!
It's the same ole stuff - added treble emphasis, compression.

I agree - I heard it playing in HMV on a terrible system but I could easily hear the tell tale signs of modern compression. Of course, many people will be delighted with the "emphasis" that has been added and will no doubt be deceived into thinking this is better resolution...

It will ONLY be the monos for me
You can't just go get a have to buy the box set to the mono versions.
Totally agree with Wireless200 and Shadorne - way too much upper octave emphasis and severe lack of warmth on the remastered Sgt Peppers. I had really hoped for a much more audiophile-type sound. The "Love" mix by George Martin has MUCH better sound IMO.
I'm curious, how is it that there are mono versions? I know their early stuff was mono but was there ever a commercially released mono version of, say, Sgt Peppers or is it something that was done for the remasters? I mean you can't go out and buy Rumours in Mono. I'm assuming all the Beatles albums were mono in some sort of finished product and that later after the 60s it just wasn't done much. I'd like a little more insight into this aspect. If both mono and stereo were available for Sgt Pepper's at the time of original release, why did they do it? Was there any demand for mono back then?
too much compression and very bright is my verdict on abbey road.will listen to sgt. pepper today
It's not hard to make backups at all. Have your computer person get you a raid controler and set it up as raid 10. This will write to 2 seperate drives automaticly. If you loose one the file will be safe on the other drive. I also do not let any of my consumer drives get older than 5 years.
You can also get a network drive system from HP. It will auto backup your files from your computer to itself anywhere you put the HP system in the network..
The Beatles albums up to the white album were mixed with the Beatles in the room for mono only. They were not there for the stereo releases. Back in the day when they were release most people had mono sytems in their cars and at home or listened on transister radios.
Stereo was used for classical music for the most part back then.
If you read some of the reviews of the mono mixes it explains this in more detail.
Wireless, Shadorne, Dlcockrum, Alpass---Finally, someone agrees with me: The sound on the stereo re-masters has been altered, and for the worse: Thin and bright.

Has any of you listened to any of the new mono re-masters yet? I really like the sound of the 1987 monos (PPM, WTB, HDN, BFS). I'm worried that the sound of the monos has been changed just like the stereo versions.
I've listened to a couple of the monos today. Much better. Can't figure out what people are thinking when they like the stereo versions better. Even my 4 and 8 year old said they like the mono better and I wasn't quizzing them about it either. My 8 year old starting saying how good it sounds (mono) and she's pretty familiar with Sgt Pepper's. I didn't bring it up that it was a different version. They don't know anything about the versions. Honestly I listed to the first 10 seconds and was immediately struck by how much better they sounded. I thought my ears were playing tricks on me and so I started a-b'ing the first 10 seconds and could easily tell the difference.
my ears actually hurt while listening abby road yesterday.
Thanks Wireless. The real test, though, is to compare the four 1987 monos with their 2009 mono counterparts. Has anyone done that yet?
Alpass, funny you should mention that. While listening to monos and stereos back-to-back, I could hear the difference but equally importantly I could also *feel* the difference. It's a familiar but uncomfortable physical reaction I recognize from a lot of latter-day recordings. The interesting thing is, I believe my kids without consciously knowing it had the same reaction. Honestly I was proud of the rug-rats.
wireless take ur head out of. everything was avail in mono at time of release up until yellow sub, and i even found a mono abby in london in 89'. if u all are hard for the love lp so be it what could be more processed, but we all love it. listen either u love or u dont. bright compressed left right. these reiss. are the best your gunna get. like or not. any lp after this are cummin from these masters. look and see what org. brit. first press monos go for. now u can cry to your 8yr old.
Wireless200 - did you hear that man landed on the moon in 1969 or did that bypass you also. Wow....
I didn't say mono passed me, and in fact watched and remember the moon landing. But when I started buying albums heavily in the 70s, which included the Beatles collection, most of them were stereo. I seem to recall that Revolver and everything after was in stereo, even if it was inititally pretty basic (voice out of one speaker instruments out the other). There was no choice of mono that i recall and I was an avid collecter visting many record stores even up through the late 80s. Things were a little simpler then too. :) Although the 2000s have been a little complicated to recall.

As far as buying Love (Money can't buy me Love}... I don't really care for those kinds of latter day collections though I've read some reviews that it was good. It got all the digital "treatment" and all right? Ooops, not sure that's a plus... And the new stereo remasters got some good reviews.

Generally, I haven't heard a lot of remasters that improved much on the originals, including those Jimmy Page did with their stuff ("How the West was Won"). Sorry it's all about boosted highs and higher levels. Ridiculous and a sad what these brilliant muscisians must be thinking when people tell them they have to go the DSP route and make it louder with more bass and sparkle "so that people will listen."

I'm happy with the mono reissues that I've heard. I think it's one case where the purists won out. Still I bet it doesn't sell an inkling of the stereo remasters volume.

Yesterday I was buying a couple of speakers from a smart but relatively young Dentist. He was telling me he's an audiophile. His "audiophile" source was a modded ipod called the imod that plugged directly into the active speakers I bought. I guess I encountered the target audience for "remastered" music!
I also agree with Wireless200, Shadorne, and others re the stereo remasters. Until now, I thought I was only one.
Can anyone put up a link to graphs that show the compression and EQing of the remasters compared to the original vinyl?

While it ain't as bad as the kind of compressed crap that Butch Vig puts out - it ain't pretty...

The article tries to imply it judicious compression but you know ...a euphemism is a euphemism.
Those spectrograms look to be fully modulated, not compressed. If you've even seen one of a compressed file, it's unmistakeable.
Those spectrograms look to be fully modulated, not compressed. If you've even seen one of a compressed file, it's unmistakeable.

Yes and No. Depending on how hard you look.

Unfortunately, there are several forms of "limiting" used in compression.

"Hard Limiting" is when the signal bumps up against the max number of bits and the waveform flat tops and is truncated. (yes there are many examples of this on modern pop CD and fortunately no evidence of Hard limiting on the Beatles Stereo).

"Soft Limiting" is a more benign kind - here the waveforms are altered when they exceed a certain peak level at which point they are rounded off. This still creates lots of odd harmoincs and evil distortion but is is not as nearly as bad as hard limiting.

=> Judging by what people hear and by comparing the waveforms to the Mono in the article I linked to - it sure looks like they added compression....judisicously perhaps but in keeping with the punchy modern mastering "best" practices compression sound nevertheless.

Of course, a full post mortem will require someone with a PC to go through and compare the waveforms in more details but if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and poops like a probably is a duck. It sure looks like we got the prototypical duck poop modern mastering applied on the Stereo versions - restrained and carefully refined duck poop, perhaps, and certainly not nearly as bad as many modern recordings...but some may notice a distinct bad odor.
Upon closer inspection, enlarged, the right channel of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" does look clipped/compressed. There is no contour to the peaks that is seen on the 1987 version. It'd be interesting to compare with the original tapes, rather than the '87 CD.
I'm still looking for information comparing the four 1987 mono CDs to their 2009 counterparts. Is there any data comparing the compression for these releases?
I think this quote from the Pitchfork article pretty much says it all. I mean is anyone really gonna sit there and say someone else's version of the album is better than the artists'? By that logic why don't we have someone update and rewrite the _The Great Gatsy_, or _Tender is the Night_, or add some touchups to Monet's Water Lilies? After all technology's better now right? Add a little color saturation, a few ticks of brightness in Photoshop. Yeah that's the ticket. The thing is a lot of people would see these changes as improvements.

But I'll give Pitchfork credit. It's not the first publication I'd expect to give a someone even-handed treatment to the Beatles remasters.

Given their audience and the technology of the time, for much of the Beatles' run, the band themselves considered the mono mix as the "real" version of the record and devoted more of their attention to it. Mono mixes were prepared first with the involvement of the band, and in some cases, George Martin and EMI engineers completed stereo remixes of the albums later, after the group had left the studio. So mono, first off, presumably hews closer to the intentions of the Beatles themselves. It's what the Beatles had in mind, their vision of the records.
Wireless, I don't disagree with your conclusion about the the mono/stereo Beatles' mixes, but your logic is flawed. If it's not, then anybody listening to Mozart, Beethoven, Stravinsky, etc. on their home stereos have deviated from the artists' intent. They never envisioned their music not being played in proper concert halls.

The original artist's intent is not always the standard. Even Dylan admits Hendrix's version of "All Along the Watchtower" is THE version. Same with Aretha doing Otis' "Respect". For much of Miles Davis' recorded output the band played and left the studio while Teo Macero compiled and edited the tapes into finished songs. Besides, wasn't George Martin the 5th Beatle?
Don't you think there is a big differance between artists who were not even alive when recorded music was first introduced and a group who practicly set standards in how recordings are done.
The Beatles and George Martin as well say that the mono's are what they feel are the best recordings. Not the stereo version even for SPLHCB and The White Album, they still prefered mono. They have not to my recollection ever said anything differant. So I agree with Wireless the artist intent is the standard.
The living Beatles approved the remasterings.

I think they could have gotten them pressed on purple vinyl in mono if they felt that was the only proper way to hear them. They probably will be reissued on vinyl in mono at some point as well as other formats.

So, if the cd remasters sound good to you, they sound good to Paul and Ringo too, so go ahead and enjoy the hell out of them!
Approval doesn't necessarily mean they prefer them to the Mono versions. I'm sure they're being told the recordings need to be louder, punchier to compete with "modern" recordings (and to sell better to that target group). What do they know at their age what kids want? They don't want to be thought of as old fogeys out of touch with what's current. Besides the stereo remasters aren't *that* bad. They could've been a lot worse so it's not a case of total loss of artistic integrity.

With regard to the old classical masters, of course we'd all rather hear them as intended in the large concert hall. But we don't have the opportunity very often. OTOH we do have the opportunity to hear the Beatles mono masters anywhere and as they were intended to sound.

As far as intent goes, sure there are better remakes. I prefer Mannfred Mann's version of _Blinded by the Light_ and 3-Dog-Night's version of _Try a Little Tenderness_ over the originals. The difference is they reinterperated the orginal into something new. They didn't take the orignal and try to copy it but with improved recording techniques. I think there's a difference. The Beatles remasters weren't remastered to create something new, but only improve the sound quality. I think they did that with the Monos and remained faithful to the artists' vision of how it should sound. The stereo remasters have a different audience. They just don't know any better. :)
Wireless, I hope that making posts like yours give you great enjoyment because you seem to be missing the point of listening to music. It is to enjoy the music. Not because you own a "better" version than other people, but because the music moves you.

There is no one pressing or one playback system that is the only "right" one to listen to.

I'm also pretty sure that you never discussed with any of the Beatles which version of their albums they thought the best. I think that they would probably have different opinions about which was the best if they cared about such a thing at all.
I really thought that i would be able to keep my two cents out of this post, but I just couldn't. I have both the stereo versions and the mono versions. I've been listening to the Beatles for as long as I can remember. The mono and stereo versions are a definite improvement over the 87/88 CD's. For all the naysayers, maybe it's time for a new power cable or component. On my system, they are the closest thing to vinyl. Anyone want to move on to the Zeppelin remasters.
thats it.mooooooooove on
wireless = brainless
So Coffee, let me get this straight, you "spent thousands on [the Beatles rereleases] uk mono press lps" and you're castigating me for being an apologist for the new mono remasters? Not to mention you've decided to stop addressing any content and resorted to namecalling (right after posting to "mooooooove on." Can one's credibility drop any lower?
I have deep dived the mono box set and the stereo version of Abbey Road. I am very impressed with the remastering, end to end. The earlier work has never sounded better, IMHO. The mono mixes throw a wonderful soundstage, and really sound great on less than pristine playback systems like car stereos.

Most of the work up to the White album was mixed on tube-based gear. This sounds incredible. The stereo version of Abbey Road was recorded and mixed on solid state gear, and due to them personally needing more than 8 tracks, suffer with a little bit of compression that was a by-product of the mixing down. You can particularly this on the fade out of "I want you". Overall, you get more enhanced presence of Ringo and Paul and their special interplay. The deep basslines on the White Album are especially brilliant and I think the skins on "Carry That Weight" are as close to drumming perfection.