Beatles boxset

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Sam R. Aucoin, Dec 14, 2001.

  1. Sam R. Aucoin

    Sam R. Aucoin Stunt Coordinator

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    I recently purchased the Beatles boxset (the one in the black wooden case with all of the albums, plus two CDs of re-masters from 1988).

    When playing the CDs through my Denon AVR5700 receiver, should I set "Input" to "PCM" for the "best" sound (considering the PCM track would be uncompressed)?

    Thanks in advance for all responses.

    Regards,

    Sam
     
  2. Scooter

    Scooter Screenwriter

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    My suggestion is use your ear. Some CD's sound tinny to me when playing digitally as opposed to the analog inputs.
     
  3. MikeAW

    MikeAW Second Unit

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    To me no matter what you play it through, it's still garbage and a rip off of major proportions! And they knew it when they made them!
     
  4. Sam R. Aucoin

    Sam R. Aucoin Stunt Coordinator

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    Mike:

    I have listened to quite a few of the songs and I was quite impressed, especially with the fact that they took the trouble to remaster the initial albums in "mono" as they were originally recorded.

    Based on everything I read in the accompanying booklet and on the internet, the remaining Beatles, plus George Martin (the Beatles' original producer), played a role in producing this set.

    Why do you have such a low opinion of it? Do you have some "reference quality" source material that is accessible by the general public that allows one to reach the conclusion that you do after contrasting the two?
     
  5. Derek Miner

    Derek Miner Screenwriter

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  6. MikeAW

    MikeAW Second Unit

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    The whole Beatle CD release program has been frought with...what is that kind word..."misreprentations" from the start.

    It started when the first "Ultra Rare Trax" bootleg series were released, and EMI and the Beatles Parnership were found to be telling baldface lies, as to just was used and available for CD release, specifically the lack of stereo versions of songs and whole albums. Finally, the interested parties wisely just shut up, and over the years, let George Martin take the brunt of the general uproar for a while, and because of his generally good nature, everyone in the fan community calmed down and consumed, voraciously, the bootlegs that have been released. The result was that their own stupidity created this HUGE vinyl and CD bootleg market, that has plauged them for almost 16 years now.

    It's become a minefield and a fulltime hobby to some, to discern just what has been used as the basis of each of their various official CD and vinyl official releases...

    solo and group...but one thing is certain, and that's that, 1) they have engaged in deceptive trade practices, to a loyal, largly non-discerning consumer base, that's lapped it up as if EMI and the Beatles Partnership had a license to print money, 2) EMI and the Beatles just don't care about documenting their music releases as to sources used, 3) the original album releases have not been upgraded to the state of the art music reamastering technologies that have been developed in the past 16 years, utilizing the best sources available, and have NO intention to do so, 4)

    the bootleg market has provided a service to the fans, and alternatives to these lame official releases, that far surpass ANYTHING EMI/The Beatle Partnership has or can produce for release.

    Now don't get me wrong...EMI and the Beatle Partnership are not obligated to give us the best, and frankly they are NO better or worse than any other music company, in terms of providing product.

    What they have done, is let their loyal fan base down by passing off mediocre, low cost per unit releases as something to be grateful about. And that's something to be sad about.

    Just support the bootleggers, because if it wasn't for them, EMI wouldn't have even used jewel cases and color pictures!
     
  7. Sam R. Aucoin

    Sam R. Aucoin Stunt Coordinator

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    Mike, so that I can better appreciate your ENTIRE take on the Beatles boxset that I recently purchased, I respectfully request that you please respond to the following questions:

    1. Are ANY of the individual CDs in the boxset identical in terms of content, cover-art, song-order, and sound-reproduction (that is, mono or stereo) to the albums when they were originally released back in the 1960s and early 1970s?

    2. If you answer No. 2 above "yes", which ones qualify?

    3. If any of the individual CDs in the boxset do NOT qualify as I described above in No. 1, do any CDs (NOT bootlegs - I mean CDs that can be purchased by the general public from either a music store or online) exist that DO reproduce the original albums as they were originally released (which I can purchase and then "slide in" the slot in my boxset to replace the one you contend is inaccurate for whatever reason)?

    Thanks in advance for your responses.

    Regards,

    Sam
     
  8. MikeAW

    MikeAW Second Unit

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    Sam, I believe the CD releases that are officially out there, mirror the the UK album releases, and these CD's are still using the same sources for their mastering and haven't been changed since their first issue, in terms of song running order.

    No, you can't buy a CD issue of the original albums that were actually released...I assume that you are meaning the Capitol-US issues...but the bootlegs have been mainly on the market for a number of years and mirror the vinyl, Mobile High Fidelity Lab box set issues issues, with the original covers in digipak form. You can even get the original Capitol US duophonic releases...that's if you really want to!

    Bear Family has just released a 2CD set of the Tony Sheridan-Bert Kampfert recordings in a gorgeous package with a hardback book with great photos!

    Let me do some research to see if my statements are correct, and if I can expand on this for you. I just got a copy of the two volume Bruce Spitzer books that documents the history of those Capitol US issues.
     
  9. RicP

    RicP Screenwriter

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    Sam,

    If I may...

    If you are happy with the sound quality in the "Official" EMI CD releases then that's all that matters isn't it?

    I, and many others are not. IMO, the sound quality of the "official" releases is horrible. You asked:

     
  10. John Tillman

    John Tillman Supporting Actor

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    When Yellow Sub was released I think the re-mixed CD was also released.

    If they ever release A Hard Days Night, I wonder if they'll also release the re-mixed CD? It would be nice to compare to the existing mono mix.
     
  11. Derek Miner

    Derek Miner Screenwriter

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    Sam,

    As Mike and Ric have pointed out, the CD issues of the Beatles albums are based on the UK releases, down to original track order and cover art.

    The one exception is Magical Mystery Tour, which was released as an EP in England initially with Capitol in the US making it a full LP by adding the tracks from the singles that came out on each side of Sgt. Pepper. The CD of this album does not include the 24 page booklet that came with the original EP and LP issues. The cover for this disc is the US art and not the UK cover.

    As for sound content, all the Beatles albums up to the White Album were released in BOTH stereo and mono versions. The first four CDs are pretty much the same versions you would find on a UK mono LP and the rest of the albums include the versions you would find on stereo LPs. There are minor exceptions to this, such as an audio adjustment George Martin made on "It's Only Love" on Help!

    The CDs which include songs that initially were only released as singles or EPs (Magical Mystery Tour and the 2 Past Masters discs) occasionally use alternate mixes that differ slightly from the first release. The most obvious one that I can think of is "Baby You're A Rich Man" which was the mono B-side to "All You Need Is Love" in 1967, and not remixed for stereo until sometime in the 1970s. The CD uses the stereo version, which does not have the same audio effect used on the original mono mix (neither does the remixed stereo version on the Yellow Submarine Songtrack).
     
  12. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    There are sites on the internet dealing with a lot of this. One of the major points I read was about the Mono versions of all the albums. I would stress that this is only as I understand it, but all the Beatles albums came out in MONO versions too. (I believe the original version of the White Album I saw at someone's house had one disc mono and one stereo, weirdly)

    The statements I read said that the group didn't believe in stereo and consequently didn't master the albums at all in that form, leaving it to a technician to do in a very hurried way, while they spent hours over the mono mastering.

    For this reason there are a lot of people crying out for EMI to release MONO versions of the albums.

    Now in 1992 (I think) there was talk of a proper SE of Sgt. Peppers to come out. One of the big things was that it would be Mono. It disappeared. The articles I read suggested that EMI had nothing to do with it but that their hands were tied by someone 'high up' vetoing the project.

    Have a Google search for this stuff.

    It's fair to say that the Beatles CDs don't sound great.
     
  13. Rick_Brown

    Rick_Brown Second Unit

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    "Some CD's sound tinny to me when playing digitally as opposed to the analog inputs."
    Scooter, isn't it really a question of which DAC sounds best? If you use analogue inputs you are listening to your CD/DVD player's DAC's; if you use the digital inputs you are listening to your receiver's DAC's. Either way a digital-to-analogue conversion is still taking place, right?
    Also, here's a link on the never released Sgt Pepper boxset, which included the mono mix:
    http://abbeyrd.best.vwh.net/pepperbox.htm
     
  14. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Sam:
    My opinion: Enjoy your box set and don't sweat it. [​IMG] Buy the CD remasters when/if they ever come out.
     
  15. Anthony Hom

    Anthony Hom Supporting Actor

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    Finally, a coherent statement on this thread (Philip). The content on the boxset (I have both the CD box set and the LP box set) speaks for itself. I can hear the Beatles on a small AM radio and still enjoy it.
    As for the technical merits, what is written here is generally true. I have heard many of the "imports" that have made their way "not sold in stores". They prove that there is reference material out there that sounds better than what the 1987 releases sound like.
    I think what is so frustrating is to see groups like the Stones and Beach Boys get remastered (except for the Stones '60s albums) and not a peep from EMI to improve the sound on the Beatles catalog.
    One of the problems with remastering may have to do with re-licensing copyrights. EMI may not want to do it, or face a renewal of higher royalties. Also, with thefts of some of the master tapes of the Beatles, they may be reluctant to open the Beatles vault of master tapes. Seems like all the session tapes for From me to you, Thank You girl and first version of One after 909 are missing.
    Let me re-iterate - enjoy your boxset for the Beatles, and don't gripe over whether there is a better version, don't count on one anytime soon, just be happy with it. [​IMG]
     
  16. RicP

    RicP Screenwriter

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  17. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

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    Very well said, Ric. I love a learned Beatles fan. As for me, I wish I had my 8-tracks back. "1" is not what it could have been, and "Yellow Submarine" is still a cd, but doesn't get in the way of the music like the others do.

    Maybe they'll get Abbey Road on SACD while Sir George M. can still contribute. I really don't trust anyone else.
     
  18. Sam R. Aucoin

    Sam R. Aucoin Stunt Coordinator

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    Someone above said:
    "The statements I read said that the group didn't believe in stereo and consequently didn't master the albums at all in that form, leaving it to a technician to do in a very hurried way, while they spent hours over the mono mastering."
    Aren't we being a bit hypocritical (especially on a pro-OAR forum) when we want CDs in a format that is DIFFERENT from the format in which THE ARTISTS THEMSELVES WANTED THEM MASTERED?
    I would love to hear Mike Knapp's take on this one. [​IMG]
    But in the end, Philip is correct - I will enjoy my boxset of Beatles "albums" as they were originally (and first) released in the United Kingdom so many years ago. [​IMG]
     
  19. RicP

    RicP Screenwriter

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    Well, as I pointed out above, this isn't exactly true. The albums were released in both Mono and Stereo up until Abbey Road and that was simply a matter of economics -- there were far more Mono rigs than Stereo rigs in homes in 1964-1967. But just beacause the band spent more time on the albums that were released in mono doesn't mean that the stereo mixes aren't top notch...some of them are.
    I only prefer Mono on the first album. Otherwise I consider the Mono release inferior except for "Sgt. Pepper" and "The Beatles", in which I consider the Mono as a different mix of the same alum and almost treat it as a separate product. [​IMG]
     
  20. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    Ric, what you say about the Beatles 'lost' U.S. albums is true in reverse for the Stones, much to the dismay of my mum.
    You can now ONLY BUY the U.S. versions of each album, which usually included weird b-sides instead of strong a-sides and so forth. This is a shame, especially as the Stones are a British band.
    Incidentally, the Past Masters discs are incredibly good because they include all those singles. Volume 2 is one of the best single CDs you can buy of Beatles stuff.
    I have heard the Blue and Red and cannot tell any difference from the CDS but there you go.
    Personally I loathe a lot of the Stereo mixes - DAy tripper where the drums aren't even centrally panned!!![​IMG] I have made mono MD copies of my Beatles stuff. Apart from anything else I get four albums to each disc. [​IMG]
     

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