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Beatles in Mono.

Discussion in 'Music' started by Ockeghem, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Yes, one of the really cool aspects of Anthology is seeing and hearing The Beatles themselves recount the particular song or instance or situation they are covering in that disc. I like the chronological way it's presented, so it's cool to hear them break down the touring situation of 1965 and how John went nuts, or the incident in Philippines, or how the Sgt Pepper project evolved.
     
  2. Paul D G

    Paul D G Screenwriter

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    Recordings of this broadcast have been floating around for years:

    http://www.bootlegzone.com/album.php?name=post&section=1
    http://www.bootlegzone.com/album.php?name=yd035&section=1

    And I've mentioned this before but I'll do so again now that everyone is enjoying their discs:
    Usenet Guide to Beatle Recording Variations - http://www.columbia.edu/~brennan/beatles/

    -paul
     
  3. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

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    Paul,

    Yes, I am aware of this. I wasn't comfortable with posting links from a bootleg site on this Board. Thank you for the information.
     
  4. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

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    Carlo,

    LOL. That seems like a perfectly plausible answer to me. ;)

    Joe,

    I was very busy in the 1990s, what with going to school almost the entire decade. My wife has been informed that this item is the first one on my wishlist. I am really looking forward to obtaining it. It seems too that waiting for the DVD release was worth it, as I've been reading about what is missing from the VHS release.
     
  5. Paul D G

    Paul D G Screenwriter

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    I hear you. I debated it myself but since it's only an informational site, and not selling/offering downloads I figured it's safe enough.

    (of course, if I'm wrong, I have no problem with the links being removed)
     
  6. MielR

    MielR Advanced Member

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    I'm working my way thru the mono set- I've listened to Mono Masters, Sgt. Pepper, Revolver, and am listening to Rubber Soul now.

    Sgt. Pepper was not the revelation I expected, but I think I prefer the mono version of 'she's leaving home' to the stereo version.
    When I got my first Sgt. Pepper LP back in the late 1980's, my first thought was that it was Ringo on lead vocals on that song- I soon realized it was Paul, but on the mono version there could be no mistaking the lead vocal for anyone but Paul.

    My general impression so far is that the vocals aren't quite as up front as on the stereo versions, the percussion seems to be more emphasized. I especially noticed this on 'taxman' (more cowbell!) ;-)
     
  7. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    As I said earlier, I'm very glad that I bought both the stereo and the mono set. With a some exceptions, with songs mostly in the Help! album and later, I prefer the mono mixes to the stereo "gimmicky" mixes. Don't get me wrong, some of the stereo mixes are done quite well, the only thing I refer to as gimmicky are those where they shoved instruments and vocals completely to either the left or right side.

    One thing I don't like about the mono mixes is how there is apparently a limitation with the mono source material as far as frequency response. There is almost no information above 16kHz, whereas there is on the stereo mixes of the exact same songs. I noticed it first via my ears, where I just felt the stereo mixes had more audible high-end information. I listened to quite a few tracks across all of the mono/stereo albums and perceived the same thing.

    So last night I used Apple's Soundtrack Pro (part of the new Logic Studio suite I bought last month) to look at the spectral information. Sure enough, on the stereo mixes when I analyze the sound spectrum, there is plenty of information present up to, and sometimes past 20kHz. The mono mixes frequency information in general stopped well short of that (some songs capped at 16-17kHz, some significantly lower, I think I recall seeing one that was capped at 13-14kHz!).

    Anyone hazard a guess as to why this phenomenon is occurring? A limitation of the mono master sources? I really wish they could go back to the original instrument/vocal stems and restore those, and then recreate both the stereo and mono mixes, preferably while Sir George Martin and Paul McCartney are still alive.

    I can try to screencap some of this tonight and post to this thread.
     
  8. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    Oh, just release the 27-minute Helter Skelter, already.
     
  9. Anthony Hom

    Anthony Hom Supporting Actor

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    While it would be a noble idea for both Paul and George Martin to go back into the studio and wade through hundreds of hours of recordings to create the exact takes and overdubs for every Beatles recording, I doubt that would happen. Paul is still a creative force in his mind, he is not at the point in his career where he can't do anything but relive past glories and pour over Beatles recordings when he is thinking of new songs to record. More power to him to have the drive to create new material. IMO, the Beatles recordings are good enough for him. He had almost nothing to do with Let It Be Naked except put his stamp of approval on it. George Martin is now retired, and is no longer an employee at Abbey Road Studios. EMI owns the recordings of the Beatles, Fab Four do not. It would be nice of EMI to invite them in to do something like that, but why mess up history? The existing mixes were created back in the 60s and that's how they did it. One can argue forever the merits of remixing an old recording by people who were not involved in the original process to make it "sound better", but the creative process of mixing their recordings, to create what they did with the limited technology they had in the studio is the magic of recordings. The story of Sgt. Pepper being created with 4 track tape machines will now go out the door, if you go back take every original track and put it on 128 track digital to recreate the same recordings? How much of it do you make the same? How much different? Center the vocals on all the songs? Frankly, knowing Paul, he would be glad to work on all of his songs, but won't bother with John or Geroge's songs. To keep things in balance, might as well listen to its warts and all as it was, and not try to revise history. Maybe when they have all died, EMI will go in and remix them for a new generation, like they did with "1". Sorry if this went on for so long, wanted to go over what are the pragmatic details of task such as remixing the entire Beatles catalog.
     
  10. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    I certainly agree that if the parties involved don't want to do it, they shouldn't be made to do it.

    However just from what little I know of how the Beatles recording sessions went, I believe there are copious notes about which takes were used for the mix (as evidenced by the numerous notes saying "this was take 13, guitar solo from take 11, etc.), and I would wager there are probably good notes on how the mixing went.
    I certainly don't want to rewrite history, and if the notes aren't there no one should be made to go through the thousands of hours of recorded material to backward-engineer the original mixes. Simply stated, if the original stems exist, and the original mixing and mastering notes are still there, it would be cool to see someone go back (whether it's any of the surviving talent or some up-and-coming young bucks who want to make a name for themselves by taking on this project) and recreate the best possible sounding version of the original stereo and mono mixes.

    I did an interesting experiment last night using Soundtrack Pro and created my own mono mix from a stereo remaster. It sounded pretty darn good if I do say so myself.
     
  11. Dave Jessup

    Dave Jessup Stunt Coordinator

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    Just got around to listening to "Your Mother Should Know" off the new mono CD, and agreed, there are phasing problems which become progressively worse through the track. I too wasn't sure if it was originally intended as a "special effect" ("vintage music from Macca") or was a modern problem.

    Went digging through my holdings and found I had a mono MMT EP (Electrola, Germany pressing) from probably the late 1970s. Checked it, and it's clear of that phasing effect, so no, it wasn't an intentional effect.

    My best guess is that the mono master tape was transferred using a multi-track machine with the heads slightly out of alignment. When the tracks were reduced down to mono - voila, instant phasing that should have been caught by quality checkers doing comparison against other vintage sources. *But* that's only a guess.

     
  12. lukejosephchung

    lukejosephchung Screenwriter

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    According to Allan Rouse, EMI's supervisor for the Remasters project, the mono mixes were transferred off an analog tape machine using a dedicated mono playback head of original vintage, so your speculation regarding the phasing problems on "Your Mother Should Know" are incorrect, Dave!
     
  13. Dave Jessup

    Dave Jessup Stunt Coordinator

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    Ah, it's good to know we can eliminate that possibility.

    I'll welcome Allan Rouse's explanation for the quality of the transfer we hear now.
     
  14. Anthony Hom

    Anthony Hom Supporting Actor

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    Carlos,
    Oh, no problem I love discussing this situation and your points are clear and valid. You are at least having a civilized discussion of this which I appreciate. Not like others who find the need to threadcrap everything. I hope my points were not too harsh, I wanted to be articulate and practical and not say stupid things like "that sucks". Please continue with your points, glad to hear them!
     
  15. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    I am rather late to enter this thread, but my stereo box set arrived last week while I was out of town. I just had a chance to open up the packaging, make a copy for listening in my car (listened to some of Please Please Me on the way to work this morning), and watch the documentary DVD. I am quite pleased with the package so far. I probably will not have a chance to listen to any of the albums on my main system until this weekend, though.

    While I'm a big fan of The Beatles music, I am no where near as knowledgeable regarding the recording history as some of you in this thread. It has been very interesting to read all the comments here. Thanks everyone for the extra insight.

    Now, I am just waiting for the mono set to ship from Amazon. It's a Christmas present from my wife, though, and she's already put her foot down -- no listening until after the holiday.
     
  16. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

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    Scott,

    Although the mono and stereo boxed sets were supposed to be Christmas presents for me, I just couldn't wait until then. I had to plead with my wife to let me open them early. What this means, of course, is that the Anthology DVD set as well as a couple of their films on DVD are going to be under the tree instead. ;)
     
  17. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Lead Actor

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    To that end, I highly recommend The Beates Recording Sessions by Mark Lewisohn - probably the best book on the subject ever. Many long time Beatle fans learned a lot about their records 20 years after the fact because of this book (published around 1988 I think).
    http://www.amazon.com/Beatles-Recording-Sessions-Official-1962-1970/dp/0517581825
     
  18. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Originally Posted by Ockeghem

    Thanks for the book suggestion, Sam. Hmmm, maybe another Christmas present idea.
     
  19. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Wow Scott- So your Christmas present became a non Christmas present and now you get a new Christmas present for Christmas! Nice!
     
  20. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    Shop carefully, I noticed there are good copies of the hardcover priced LESS than the softcover.
     

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