Am I the only one who is going to avoid the stereo remasters and get the mono versions since the stereo ones are being compressed (volume leveled to sound louder, making the quiet bits louder and the whole song less dynamic) and the mono ones are actually going to retain the full dynamic range of the original mixes and releases? Surely the record companies have learned that with a band like the Beatles, messing with the mastering process is not a good idea.
I heard that the compression is really minimal. In fact only about five minutes of the complete catalog is getting this treatment. So I see no harm. I'll be getting the mono discs and you're right about these they are not being made to sound louder.
I have the two Capitol boxes that featured stereo and mono versions of the first eight American Beatles albums. Does anybody know why I should shell out dough to get mono versions again??? Wouldn't the new mono box sound pretty much the same???
The Capitol mixes are different from the UK mixes, which the remasters are. The US market added things like different reverb for example to some of the records,so they sound different. Listen to all versions of She's A Woman and you will see I mean. There is also a difference in HOW the mono is mixed. Simply taking the 2 stereo channels and mixing them to dead center is different than actually MIXING to mono which is what I understand the remasters are supposed to be.
In fact, some of mono versions of the Beatles UK albums are different from the stereo, especially The White Album. If EMI or Apple Records produced the exact version of LPs, that's good news. If they put it like two Capitol US albums box sets, then no point to buy the mono versions.
The Capitol Albums are a completely different project. What's coming are the original UK albums remastered with state of the art digital remastering equipment. In 1987 when the the original Beatles CD's came out there was no digital standard. They were just the analog masters put on CD. The new CD's will be much brighter. If you don't understand the reason for the MONO releases, you don't need them.
Reasons for Beatle fans to want mono versions of their albums, at least of Sgt. Pepper and The Beatles (the white album):
1) The Beatles themselves were present for, and participated in, the production of the mono versions of their albums - they were not very concerned with, and were usually not around when, George Martin and/or their engineers (Norman Smith, Geoff Emerick) produced the stereo masters. Presumably, for that reason, the mono versions are closest to what they wanted their music to sound like;
2) Having heard for myself mono versions of Sgt. Peppers and the white album, many of the tracks are quite different in balance, sound effects, even tempo and run time compared wiith their stereo counterparts.
3) Although since 1987 we've had mono versions of their first four albums, produced by George Martin to allegedly capture the sound of the original releases, the sound quality of those first CD versions left a lot to be desired - they were flat, almost tinny-sounding mixes (compare them with any decent quality British LP version and you'll hear the difference immediately). Hopefully there will be enough difference in the new versions of those first four albums to make buying them again worthwhile. I suspect that, because they're being "bundled" in a boxed set with the later albums that are more significantly different and therefore more desireable, there isn't going to be that much difference, but of course, we'll know that for certain on 9/9/09.
Look, it's THE BEATLES, buy it all and enjoy (no, I don't work for EMI or Apple Records). By far, there has never been any finer popular music produced on this planet.
I. Campos says: I heard that the compression is really minimal. In fact only about five minutes of the complete catalog is getting this treatment. So I see no harm. I'll be getting the mono discs and you're right about these they are not being made to sound louder. <<
Only about six minutes of the entire catalog is having digital noise reduction applied. The entire catalog has had peak limiting applied to it which means it WILL lose some of the dynamic range of the original recording. They also will be louder to sound "contemporary".
Wow-- that is a STRONG statement, and typical of the way EVERYONE in the media overrates everything for the sake of hype. I love the Beatles (especially EARLY) just like a lot of other people, but lets take it easy here. "Never been any finer music produced on this planet/ " ???? Come ON. May I direct you , to give just one example, to Milton Nascimento's "Clube Da Esquina", for MY money the finest pop album EVER produced ANYWHERE. And that INCLUDES the Beatles.
Someone could easily write a small book on the topic of mono Beatles albums. Why? Because, for poeple so used to stereo who are casual Beatles fans, it takes about a book to explain why the monos are better. To me, it is a song by song thing, to the point that you must have both version of each album. If I was to recommend one, I would have no choice but to recommend the mono box.
Here is a quick, albeit abbreviated, reason why... ALL The Beatles were present and oversaw the mixing and mastering of the mono tapes. They were either not present or one or two of them were present for the stereo mixing and mastering sessions. In the case of Sgt. Pepper's, there was great time elapsed between when the mono master was created and when the stereo master was created. Unfortunately, many of the adjustments and sound effect additions made to the mono master had been forgotten about by the time the stereo version was done. Stereo Pepper has suffered greatly as a result. The stereo version of the "White Album" suffers from various editing and speed errors that are not present at all in the mono version. Also, the mono versions were very well engineered and represent some of the finest layered mono masters in all of pop music. Allan Rouse, on the team of remastering engineers for the 9-9-09 remasters, has even stated that the mono layering was so good on The Beatles recordings that it often gives the impression that you are listening to a stereo recording. In other words, you can easily pick out each instrument, drums, bass, cymbals, horns, vocals, as you could in a proper modern stereo image.
The stereo versions were greatly hampered by the fact that studio equipment at the time, limited to four-track sources until the "White Album", made it impossible to place each component in the proper place in the stereo image. Therefore, in all the 1963-1967 Beatles albums you experience "hard-panning" of the instruments, and sometimes, the vocals. For instance, all the vocals come out of the right speaker while all the drums come out of the left speaker. This is particularly difficult to listen to on headphones. Thus, the mono versions in the Mono box set represent the best Beatles listening experience in my opinion.
Abbey Road was NEVER originally mixed for mono, when they were created in the 60s. They did not create mono masters for Abbey Road or Let It Be. By the time those albums were created, stereo had, finally, totally become mainstream.
Therefore, there is no way to compare it to anything else as no mono counterpart has ever existed in any format. Plus, by this time, they had the proper technology to create a stereo image without the hard panning, for the most part.
As a side note, there is a mono version of Yellow Submarine, but this was just a fold-down of the stereo mix, and not a true mono mix. Therefore, they have not included Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road, or Let It Be in the Mono Box. However, true mono mixes were made of the new Beatles songs appearing on the Yellow Submarine album (half the album was instrumentals created by George Martin). These mono mixes were slated for the Yellow Submarine EP, but it was never released. Subsequently, these true mono versions appear on the Mono Masters disc in the Mono Box, and we finally get the Yellow Submarine EP, in its authentic mono form after all these years.
Limiting and Compression are one in the same in the sense of studio techniques. Do not confuse this with bitrate compression, as in .mp3, .aac, .wma, etc. Bitrate compression and studio Limiting/Compression are NOT related in any way.
The ONLY difference between limiting and compression is the perceived effect, Limiting is a fast-attack method, Compression is not. Limiting and compression both refer to 'clipping' off the highs to increase perceived base volume or for effect. The Beatles used, sometimes heavy, compression on many of their mid-years recordings, right there in the studio, for effect.
to just put anything out in mono is not a good idea. I always like to have the original mono and on the same disc a stereo version. And few people like mono recordings the sound is just flatter. But I don't mind if I can get both versions.