The Beatles: The Original Studio Recordings
Ltd Rmst ed.
Remastered, Box Set
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Digitally remastered 17 disc box set (16 CDs + DVD) containing all 14 original Beatles albums released between 1963 and 1970 plus the two CD Past Masters collection of non-album tracks and a bonus DVD containing all the mini documentaries that can be found as enhanced tracks on each of the individual CD releases. The documentaries contain archival footage, rare photographs and never-before-heard studio chat from The Beatles, offering a unique and very personal insight into the studio atmosphere. The albums have been remastered at Abbey Road Studios in London utilizing state of the art recording technology alongside vintage studio equipment, carefully maintaining the authenticity and integrity of the original analogue recordings. Within the CDs' new packaging, the booklet includes detailed historical notes along with informative recording notes. Capitol. Stereo Box Set
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-The digital files from which the records were made are high resolution. I know, the sampling frequency is 44.1 khz, but that's not the important factor in resolution. The critical number is the 24 bits (as opposed to the 16 bits reduction used for CD). That's what allows for more depth and nuances. Besides, not reducing to 16 bits means not having to use the dithering filters that may affect the sound.
-Another very important aspect: these records are not limited like the CDs were. The CDs were supposed to sound louder to please the younger buyers, so some peaks were clipped and softer passages were raised, transforming the original sound. These records, on the other hand, present the complete dynamic range of the original master tapes, crucial to the integrity of the music. But bear in mind, this means they are very quiet records compared to today's standars, so use your volume knob and crank it way up!
-As for the 44.1 khz: it's not as if the master tapes were digitized at that frequency, like the 1987 CDs were, you know? They were transfered at 192 khz, so the whole spectrum of sounds and (hypothetical) ultra sounds were captured in digital. Then it was downsampled to 44.1, but you get better results because the whole sound was already digital, it's only downsampled to the limits of huma hearing. There's nothing above that you can hear, And even if it were, it would be left out by the microphones and filters used in the recording sessions.
-People who talk about the original 60's records seem to forget something: in those days, pop records were made to be listened to in the crappy turntables teenagers used, so many compromises had to be made when cutting a record. For example, they could not allow deep bass sound, because it could make the stylus jump, while very pronounced highs could produce distortion. It's well known that in EMI they had a cheap turntable they used as a test: when they cut a record, they played it in that turntable. If the stylus jumped or if there was the slightest issue, the record had to be cut again, with further compromise for the original sound.
This is not the case with these releases: these are much more faithful to the sound of the original master tapes than the 60s records. The low and high frequencies are perfectly presented. In many aspects, these sound better than the originals. I should know, since I also have them all.
Apart from the music, you get an incredible book (really, I didn't know it was this good until I saw it for myself, it's probably the best Beatles book I have) and very nice reproduction of the original covers (I know they are not flip-back jackets like the originals were, but that would be stupid since these 180 g records are too thick for them, as it happens in the mono box).
I know there have been some issues with the US pressings of these records, but I am not referring to that, I am talking just about the product itself (I have an EU box set and all the pressings are perfect). In short: don't pay attention to the anti-digital crew, listen for yourself (remember, very LOUD) and enjoy the best presentation you will find of this incredible catalogue of music.
The set comes in a heavy duty case that seems like it will stand up well over time. The albums contained inside are: Please, Please Me, With The Beatles, A Hard Day's Night, Beatles For Sale, Help!, Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Magical Mystery Tour, The Beatles (White Album), Yellow Submarine, Let It Be, Abbey Road, Past Masters Vol.1 & 2, and a bonus DVD that has a short documentary for each of the albums.
Each album comes in a sort of mini LP sleeve that resembles the original album. These sleeves are made of sturdy cardstock with a glossy finish. The CDs slide unprotected into the cardboard sleeve which could potentially damage the CD with repeatedly taking it in and out. I solve this problem by just ripping the CDs to my computer and listening to them that way. Each album also comes with a decent booklet which offers rare or unseen photos from the time, new historical notes, and recording notes.
The sound quality of each album has been really improved in my opinion. The remastering has allowed me to hear many different things which I had never noticed before due to previous mixing of the albums. One thing that really stands out to me is that Paul's bass is brought further to the forefront. It allows you to appreciate just how talented of a bass player he is. Overall, I would say it is well worth the money to pick up this set. If you're as big a Beatles fan as me you are sure to not be disappointed in getting this set.