June 16, 2014

BEATLES MONO LPS

There is a great flurry of excitement this morning with the announcement that The Beatles will release their original mono records in September on vinyl. The project has been many years in the making and fans are overjoyed to hear the LPs will be cut directly from the master tapes with no digital equipment. For the audiophiles, this means a return to the lush full range of analog- something we have been pleading Apple for for years. The group focused primarily on mono mixes of their records from Please Please Me through the White Album. I've always preferred them to the stereo mixes, which can often feature awkward separation between vocals and the instruments. If you were one of the people who struggled with poor pressings of the stereo box in 2012, I'm told the mono set will be pressed in Germany with superior quality control. The new records will be available separately as well as in a box set with a book, so fans will have a number of ways to enjoy The Beatles again as they were meant to be heard! See promo video and Apple press release below. Learn more at Michael Fremer's Analog Planet here. Also make sure to check out the new Blu-ray edition of A Hard Days Night from the Criterion Collection. Box set image from The Beatles. Record scans from The Beatles Collection.


"London – June 16, 2014 – The Beatles in mono: This is how most listeners first heard the group in the 1960s, when mono was the predominant audio format. Up until 1968, each Beatles album was given a unique mono and stereo mix, but the group always regarded the mono as primary. Newly mastered from the analogue master tapes, this limited 14-LP boxed edition, The Beatles In Mono, includes a 108-page hardbound book.


In an audiophile-minded undertaking, The Beatles’ acclaimed mono albums have been newly mastered for vinyl from quarter-inch master tapes at Abbey Road Studios by GRAMMY®-winning engineer Sean Magee and GRAMMY®-winning mastering supervisor Steve Berkowitz. While The Beatles In Mono CD boxed set released in 2009 was created from digital remasters, for this new vinyl project, Magee and Berkowitz cut the records without using any digital technology. Instead, they employed the same procedures used in the 1960s, guided by the original albums and by detailed transfer notes made by the original cutting engineers.


Working in the same room at Abbey Road where most of The Beatles’ albums were initially cut, the pair first dedicated weeks to concentrated listening, fastidiously comparing the master tapes with first pressings of the mono records made in the 1960s. Using a rigorously tested Studer A80 machine to play back the precious tapes, the new vinyl was cut on a 1980s-era VMS80 lathe.


Manufactured for the world at Optimal Media in Germany, The Beatles’ albums are presented in their original glory, both sonically and in their packaging. The boxed collection’s exclusive 12-inch by 12-inch hardbound book features new essays and a detailed history of the mastering process by award-winning radio producer and author Kevin Howlett. The book is illustrated with many rare studio photos of The Beatles, fascinating archive documents, and articles and advertisements sourced from 1960s publications."


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