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73 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remastered version a vast improvement, September 14, 2009
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This review is from: Please Please Me (Audio CD)
There's only so much that audio engineers can do with material that was frankly rather sloppily recorded four and a half decades ago. Back in the 1970s, I owned a high-end audio store, and as familiar as I was with the Beatles' U.S. releases, I still purchased all the Beatles LPs on British Parlophone anticipating the "real thing." However, none of those LPs, including this album, were anything great in terms of fidelity. The sound was generally thin, brittle, weak, and lacking in detail. The U.S. versions, with all their weaknesses, were better. But keep in mind that high-quality audio systems were very rare in 1962, and the engineers did the mastering, equalization, etc., with "record players," not audio systems, in mind. It should not be surprising that the early Beatles' recordings didn't hold up so well on top-quality audio equipment.

Whatever else they have done to their manufacturing capability over the past few decades, the British have remained extremely important in terms of audio engineering. Bowers & Wilkins 801s are still damn fine speakers a quarter century after they first appeared. The British masterings of Frank Sinatra's 1950s output simply blow away the American versions. While the American engineers worried about removing hiss, the British engineers went after capturing the music, the comparison to modern digital recording be damned.

What the engineers have done with this album, and I assume the others, is dig as deep as they could into the master tapes and get us as close to the music as possible. Beware that this is not as close as possible to the sound that we heard from our GE or RCA portables. It is what we wish they could have sounded like back then. It is the Beatles reworked for the modern age and, to my mind, very successfully.

Compare this remastered version to the old LP or the early CDs. It's no contest. It's not a matter of whether the harmonica sounds squeaky or the voices on occasion sound hard. That's on the tape and can't be changed. It's a matter of detail, and balance, and definition, and capturing the music. Eight remastered CDs arrived today. I can't wait to hear the rest.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 16, 2009 10:18:06 AM PDT
Thanks for the review. Agree about the Brits re audio/speakers. One has to wonder exactly what record companies and their engineers are thinking when they decide to make classic albums sound "modern" (which is actually too kind a word). The recordings are redolent of an era and lose that very quality when they are fooled with. Wait until you hear Beatles for sale- probably my favorite so far.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2009 10:00:46 AM PDT
Maybe so, regarding any changes in the balance, but I, for one, wish the engineers HAD fooled a bit with this music. It's personal, but I'm sure I'm not alone: I do most of my listening out of necessity in headphones, and it's really irritating to hear the voices only coming out of the right channel. This music is wonderful to hear again, but I wish that the remastered mono versions were available individually. I don't really think it's fair to offer them only in a boxed set that costs well over $200, and that includes the later albums in mono, which, IMO, are superior in stereo. I'm quite disappointed with myself for picking up three of these early remastered albums without listening carefully to one of them first!
I hope the mono versions are eventually released again individually (for a reasonable price). I agree with you, incidentally, that BEATLES FOR SALE is the best from this early period; I think the album is underrated.

Posted on Oct 16, 2009 2:31:50 AM PDT
DSF says:
I think 'Please Please Me' (aside from packaging problems) might be my favorite of the 2009 remasters. As far as sonics, I'm hearing more previously "hidden" details than on any of the other remasters. What a treat.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2009 8:16:41 PM PDT
blue-59 says:
Mark, you're not the only one who wants the mono discs singly. I do, too. I suspect you'll see them before too long, but not until every penny is milked from the complete mono set.

Funny, I like a nice soundstage in classical music, but the binaural sound of the Beatles never bothered me as much as it did other people. Maybe it's because I think of classical music as something that exists live and should be recorded to capture the original as faithfully as possible, while the Beatles' music exists primarily (not exclusively) electronically and is whatever they want to make of it in the studio.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 18, 2010 1:54:29 PM PST
Music Luver says:
Some of you guys sound like this is the first time you ever heard the stereo albums. It has been wide separation stereo since day one. That was the way they were made. You don't want to paint a smile on the Mona Lisa do you?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2010 5:26:21 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 4, 2010 5:31:01 AM PDT
Reading all These comments I think what folks tend to forget Please Please me was the first true Modern Rock album, yea yea yea elvis & Little richard & Buddy holly all made albums But This was a bonafied Rock band & lets be real George Martin & Norman Smith were learning on The fly here, Noone was thinking what guys & gals Like us were going to Think in 2010. Noone was sure intrest in the beatles was going to last beyond 1963 & This album would be no more Than a footnote to a passing fad. so I am sure they were not thinking in The Long term. what is obvious That once they realized that the Beatles were'nt going to be some flash in The pan & That Thier music had staying power more & more care was put into each release from beatles for sale onwards. And when geoff emerick took over The engineering controls The beatles Music Leapt from the speakers Making albums Like Revolver ,Sgt pepper's & Abbey Road a Treat for The Ears. That being said I enjoy The split channel mixing for the early stereo mixes i will say I prefer the American mixes a touch more for thier Liberal use of eccho added after the fact of the recordings it gave songs Like Misery & ask me why & even a taste f Honey a almost haunting otherworldly quality. Thanks for giving me a reason to respond. anytime the beatles are a discussion it is beautiful how folks will interact. The beatles still Have the Power to inspire debate & Passion from thier listeners. Peace & Love to all The commenters & reviewers for all the beatles albums Joe Caravella from the Rock Band "Late Model Jesus"

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2014 7:06:28 PM PDT
I am just responding to the first post I read in respect to a man claiming the USA Capitol/Apple pressings are better than the UK first pressings. You have to be tone deaf if you believe that. The sonics on the UK mono and stereo original pressings with the yellow "L" logo on labels and first matrices are so much better than the junk Capitol released here in the states. I doubt you are aware of matrices and dates etc.
As example. I will start with Please Please Me mono or the stereo mixes. PMC-1202 matrix numbers for mono xex-421-1n side two xex-422-1n. Stereo matrices begin with yex. I won't get into the mothers and stampers that every audiophile already knows. Vee Jay actually released this in the states.
The point being ,the UK,Australia,Germany and Italy made the best pressings. Germany primarily stereo,albeit PPM also mono.
The weight of the records,the mixes ( before Capitol ruined almost all of them ) ,matrices etc. all loom large in the Beatles canon. How ANYONE could state that the UK pressings sound thin is beyond my ken.
I would suggest everyone to go to the STEVE HOFFMAN or for the GRAMOPHONE CO LTD. code and read about how vinyl records are made. The Beatles did not use solid state technology until Abbey Road and even at that,they sued a hybrid of tubes and transistors.
The analog UK pressings ( tube pre amp to cutting lathe ) are along with the other countries I have mentioned ,pressed a superior product. The original first generation tapes were used. Capitol got dubs and then just screwed most things up. Adding too much echo or reverb etc. They also truncated the albums. The vinyl on Capitol is thin compared to the UK and Italy etc. The Japanese also did tremendous first pressings,extremely clean.
I can't go on here. But if ANYONE has an interest in respect to pressed the best sounding Beatles on vinyl,go to ANY website that talks about vinyl Beatles pressings. Capitol is the bottom of the barrel on everyones list. That is not quite true. You have Mexico,So America ,Taiwan etc.Those are all real junk,the Capitol pressings are one notch above those. The only Capitol Beatles album that ever stood up was their mono pressing of MMT. The other issue. In England they pressed DEDICATED stereo mixes for the stereo market. In the USA Capitol did fold downs ( fake stereo,by putting EQ panned hard right or hard left of the mono mixes ) Capitol called this tactic DUOPHONIC ...What a disgrace to the Beatles music.
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