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The Beatles in Mono (The Complete Mono Recordings) Box set, Limited Edition, Original recording remastered

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Audio CD, Box set, Limited Edition, September 9, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Limited digitally remastered thirteen CD box set that contains the 10 albums originally released by The Beatles in mono (1963's Please Please Me up through 1968's The White Album) plus two further discs of mono singles masters. As an added bonus, the mono Help! and Rubber Soul discs also include the original 1965 stereo mixes, which have not been previously released on CD. These albums will be packaged in mini-vinyl CD replicas of the original sleeves with all original inserts and label designs retained. At the beginning of the '60s, stereophonic recordings were just coming into their own but many households didn't own stereophonic record players. In most cases, an album would originally be mixed in mono for mass consumption and then separately mixed in stereo for those with modern equipment. As the '60s wore on, mono mixes became secondary over stereo and then were eventually abandoned altogether. The Beatles' first 10 albums were mixed twice: once in mono and then in stereo. The mono mixes were sometimes strikingly different to the stereo mixes, which has ensured their collectability over the years. This box contains all the officially released Beatles mono mixes in one limited edition box set. Capitol.

The Beatles Mono Box Set was compiled as a special interest package for the hard-core fan. It presents the first ten albums in re-mastered mono (the final 3 albums made their debuts in stereo only), and a double album of singles and EPs, called "Mono Masters". At the time of writing, the mono albums are not available individually. Why would anyone want a newly minted mono collection? The final mono songs were sometimes different. Stereo mixes were usually done days, if not weeks after the original mono mix, and could include different takes when the engineers made the overdubs. Stereo mixes, particularly for the first five albums, did not include as much critical listening from George Martin, and almost none from the Fab' Four. Also, stereo in early 60's England was not broadcast over the air, and the format was largely the preserve of the hi-fi snob. For more than half The Beatles recorded repertoire, the most affordable "weapon of choice" for the twisting, shouting teenage market was the mono mix. Ironically - this box set is the best The Beatles have ever sounded. Like the stereo sibling these are re-mastered, not re-mixed, but unlike the stereo, they have not been clipped or limited to push levels closer to current music ingested through our MP3 players. These albums are cleaner than ever before and compared to the 1980s CD editions you're taken aback by how much dynamic range is on those original tapes. Nothing in this box sounds like a 45 year old recording. Each disc is presented as if it were a miniature "33", replete with plastic anti-scratch sleeve, inner paper sleeve, original album cover, inserts and all original text rendered frustratingly small for anyone old enough to have bought the LPs the first time around. -- Hugo Munday

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 9, 2009)
  • limited_edition edition
  • Number of Discs: 10
  • Format: Box set, Limited Edition, Original recording remastered
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: EMI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (412 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,367 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2,064 of 2,128 people found the following review helpful By James N. Perlman on September 10, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Introduction: The following is pretty much a full review of both the mono and stereo CD reissues from 2009 largely written in real time as a series of e-mails to an old friend who once owned a legendary record store here in Chicago. The story of the CD reissues really comes down to the technical limitations of two-track, four-track, eight-track, etc. recordings and the relative complexity of the music of the Beatles. Listening occurred on what would be considered an audiophile system with Quad 988's as the speakers. If following reading this review, you wish to read an expanded essay by me on the box sets, please visit The Beatles Wiki site by Hyperarts.

Please Please Me: The sound on the mono is just amazing. You can hear the echo in the room as John sings Anna. The vocals just soar. Ringo was just so good, even at this early stage and so was Paul. They supported and framed the songs so perfectly. And just think, in twenty-one minutes, or so, Twist And Shout! Stereo can't hold a candle to this, if for no other reason than the left/right "stereo" found later in With The Beatles, Rubber Soul and Revolver.

With The Beatles: As with Please Please Me, the mono sounds so, so, nice. As the stereo has that annoying left/right "stereo," no contest: mono hands down.

A Hard Day's Night: Seems better and more enjoyable in stereo. I think the reason is that they now had four tracks so George Martin could do proper stereo mixes and still have a mostly fresh first generationish sound. Remember, there were only two track available for Please Please Me.
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304 of 317 people found the following review helpful By Michael Birman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 9, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Those of us old enough to have experienced the Beatles first hand will never forget the excitement of hearing their latest release being played for the very first time. Each record as the band matured was invariably a step forward in creativity. And each release in those early days of FM and the continuing dominance of the AM format was invariably heard in Mono. Stereo was mixed differently in those days. In order to promote the new Stereo recording method as a distinct sonic experience from Mono, engineers created the widest possible soundstage with music heavily separated into the left and right speakers. If you really want to hear a typical difference in mixes listen to Cream's I Feel Free in both Mono and Stereo. The Stereo mix seems equally divided into each speaker with almost nothing coming from the center. As a result the music sounds diffuse and oddly unreal in the Stereo version with barely any bass at the bottom. The Mono mixdown, on the other hand, is sonically powerful and beautifully focused with Jack Bruce's 6-string bass and Clapton's amazing guitar solo now full-throated and much punchier. The Mono version is preferable even after all of these years of remasterings.

The Beatles recordings were similarly constructed with their earliest Stereo albums attempting to showcase the new recording method by separating the music into the widest possible soundstage. This was meant to be more lifelike than Mono but to my ears it always seemed to dilute the music a bit. On the Stereo albums Paul's bass lost a bit of its punch and never really reproduced the 'fat bottom' that anchored those beautifully recorded Beatle records. The wide dispersion of the vocals had a similar effect.
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308 of 331 people found the following review helpful By D. Barger on September 9, 2009
Format: Audio CD
FIRST! Watch out for counterfeits. They are all over the place. The fakes have flexible boxes rather than firm, sturdy boxes. The artwork is fuzzy and not as sharp as originals. The CDs are lighter to hold (just a bit) than the originals This is especially true on many Japanese issues whch were actually made in China. In one incident, some of the CDs were not able to play music on a standard USA CD player. So, be careful!

FAST FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE! What is great about the original non-fake box set?

*Album (CD) covers are Exact replicas of those issued in the UK

*The CDs are replicas of the record labels issued in the UK

* The CD covers are larger than normal size making them very easy to handle and easier to read and enjoy!

* The booklet is large and full of info and photos

* Also, the "Help" and "Rubber Soul" CDs include the additional 1965 original stereo mixes on them so that is very cool.

* And please note that even though this is a USA Box set, ALL the CDs state that they were manufactured in Japan. That's actually a good thing.

* The four Beatles songs from YELLOW SUBMARINE album which were not previously issued in Mono on CD ARE included on the Mono Past Masters CD in this box set. They are "It's All Too Much", "All Together Now", "Hey Bulldog" and "It's Only A Northern Song".
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Topic From this Discussion
white album - stereo or mono?
I've listened to the White Album for the first time in mono and I'm not sure what to think about it. My favorite Ringo song, "Don't Pass Me By" is sped up to make him sound like a chipmunk! No blisters on his fingers either? I don't have the remastered stereo so I can only go by the... Read More
Jan 13, 2010 by SLO |  See all 13 posts
Beatles Remastered Mono Box Set COUNTERFIETS
Yeah, don't buy on ebay. Only buy from reputable online retailers; Bestbuy, Amazon, et al. If it looks too good to be true, then odds are it is.
Feb 11, 2010 by waxtomcat |  See all 70 posts
"Tomorrow Never Knows - XEX.606-1 - Shouldn't this be on Mono Masters
Are you sure it was no. 11? I could have swore it was Number 9 - at least that's what I heard Ringo say in an interview when he was promoting the film Cave Man. He did the drums in mono, and they they broke it out to two tracks for the stereo mix - but only for the Capitol album in the U.S..... Read More
Sep 13, 2009 by Graceld99 |  See all 15 posts
Bands that sounded like The Beatles (pls not Oasis)
The first specific SONG that came to mind (even though I know the question was about bands) that is the most "Beatle-cloned" I've ever heard is "Because" by the Dave Clark Five, 1964. I remember when I FIRST got into 60's pop music and before I had fully built up my Beatles... Read More
Oct 5, 2009 by Jeff "a reviewer" |  See all 104 posts
what's the difference between stereo and mono? what sounds better?
Agreed with much of Byron's comments but the wide stereo wasn't for novelty effect; it had to do with the limitations of the mixing boards at Abbey Road Studio at the time. Flexible panning was not fully available - hard left and hard right was all that was available technically until new mixing... Read More
Jul 23, 2009 by Andy Feldman |  See all 17 posts
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The Beatles in Mono (The Complete Mono Recordings)
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