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The Beatles In Mono
6 November 2012
3.37am
RunForYourLife
Ed Sullivan Show
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Absolutely. I enjoy the stereo versions, but the mono versions are how they were intended to be heard. Certain songs (Help!) sound remarkably different.

29 November 2012
4.46pm
DrBeatle
Boston
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After a lifetime of only ever hearing the stereo mixes of all of the Beatles albums and singles (being in the USA), the Beatles in Mono box set blew my mind when I got it recently. Not only because of the different versions of some songs, but the fact that, especially on the later stuff where there were more overdubs, those overdubbed parts sounded more integrated and "natural" within the mix, instead of slapped on top (which used to slightly bother me about certain bits, like the great basslines in Hey Bulldog, for example, or the piano solo in In My Life).  And you can't beat the packaging, it's stunning! I only wish Abbey Road, Yellow Submarine, and Let it Be were included in the set (even though they're only in stereo) just so we could have ALL of the albums with the original packaging.

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22 December 2012
9.44pm
...ontherun
Massachusetts
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Just got this from my dad last night.  Mind blowning!    

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23 December 2012
2.40pm
DrBeatle
Boston
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Isn't it? Those are my go-to versions for all of the albums up to and including the White Album (although I still enjoy some of the differences in the stereo versions that I'm so used to). It's taking my brain a while to adapt since those stereo versions are all I've ever know for the first 32 years of my life!

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12 May 2014
11.07pm
IveJustSeenAFaceo
Somewhere other than where you are.
Apple rooftop
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So, as I once again perform necromancy.

I just discovered (after getting the Stereo Remaster Box), that I (before getting the remasters) had had mono versions of the first four CDs! I didn't even know there were mono CDs before 2009, but I checked, and Money, I Should Have Known Better, and I Don't Want To Spoil The Party are all assuredly the mono mixes (I know Please Please Me is too because it doesn't say stereo on the label like all the post Beatles For Sale albums do). That's why the remasters of those albums sounded so different, they were totally different mixes! I really thought the mono albums only first got released in 2009, but this is definitely not from the box, seeing as they're all in jewel cases and don't have the actual labels as the CD. Just interesting that I never noticed.

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13 May 2014
1.47am
meanmistermustard
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The first four UK albums (PPM -> BFS) were issued in mono in 1987 when the cds came out and the canon was standardised. Wogblog writes:

In 1987, as the Beatles catalog was due for their first CD release, producer George Martin wanted to go back and remix the sixties version of stereo to something a bit more updated for the modern ear. Because of a rushed release schedule, he couldn't do this for the first four albums, Please Please Me, With The Beatles, Beatles For Sale and A Hard Day's Night, as they were due for release in February 1987. So, as a compromise, they were released in mono, which were mixes the producer was satisfied with. 

 

George Martin also remixed Help! and Rubber Soul for the 1987 cd's and those mixes are on the 2009 individual cds (the ones you can pick up separately in the shops or online) as well as in the stereo box. You need to get the Mono Box for the original 1965 stereo mixes (or go elsewhere if you dont want to pay a fortune).

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IveJustSeenAFaceo
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13 May 2014
1.52am
Annadog40
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I like mono when I am trying to sing along or listen with one ear so that I don't only hear half the song

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13 May 2014
1.54am
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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Thanks, mmm. I didn't know that. I just got both remaster boxes (well, not really. I didn't get the box, just the audio contained within), and hearing those first four in stereo was fantastic. The stereo mix of Money is incredible.

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13 May 2014
1.56am
meanmistermustard
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Annadog40 said
I like mono when I am trying to sing along or listen with one ear so that I don't only hear half the song

Good luck with Please Please Me (LP) & With The Beatles. The instruments are on one side and the vocals on the other. 

He told us not to get overwhelmed by grief and whatever thoughts we have... to keep them happy, because any thoughts we have of him will travel to him wherever he is. (John Lennon - 27/8/67)
13 May 2014
1.59am
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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meanmistermustard said

Annadog40 said
I like mono when I am trying to sing along or listen with one ear so that I don't only hear half the song

Good luck with Please Please Me (LP) & With The Beatles. The instruments are on one side and the vocals on the other. 

I think that was her point, that she would use mono for those.

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13 May 2014
2.07am
meanmistermustard
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IveJustSeenAFaceo said

meanmistermustard said

Annadog40 said
I like mono when I am trying to sing along or listen with one ear so that I don't only hear half the song

Good luck with Please Please Me (LP) & With The Beatles. The instruments are on one side and the vocals on the other. 

I think that was her point, that she would use mono for those.

So what about the others that aren't? 

 

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He told us not to get overwhelmed by grief and whatever thoughts we have... to keep them happy, because any thoughts we have of him will travel to him wherever he is. (John Lennon - 27/8/67)
13 May 2014
2.15am
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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Well, she said if I'm listening with one earphone. So I think she meant that she would just use the mono versions of those.

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13 May 2014
11.16pm
trcanberra
Canberra, ACT
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Duke_of_Kirkcaldy said

meanmistermustard said
If you can get it then definately yes. As Paulbass said the mono pepper and White Album are fantastic but there are enough differences in enough of the other songs to make it an excellent worthwhile purchase.

Indeed, when the reissues came out, I bought the mono box and my (now-former) roommate bought the stereo box.  I did a track-by-track comparison of both the mono and stereo versions of each song.  Everything prior to 1967 sounded undeniably better in mono... except "Thank You Girl" (mostly because John's harmonica parts during the bridge do not exist in the mono mix), "What Goes On" (for some reason, the end guitar riff is completely mixed out of the mono version; the '65 stereo version is the definitive version of this song, IMO), "She Said She Said," and "Tomorrow Never Knows" (both of which sound more hard-edged in stereo).  From there, it's a mixed bag, with most of Sgt. Pepper, Magical Mystery Tour and the non-album singles sounding better in mono and most of the White Album sounding better in stereo.

Ah my - an old post but sorry, I will deny that they are undeniably better in mono.  Interesting yes, better? - pure subjective opinion.  I will agree that I find the mono preferable where the stereo is one of those 'vocals all on one side, drums on the other' early mixes; but I generally prefer the stereo when a few minutes of effort has been put into the mix.

13 May 2014
11.49pm
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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Agreed. After With The BeatlesI far more prefer the stereo mix. And on With The Beatles the stereo Money is better.

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14 May 2014
12.00am
Father McCartney
Abbey Road
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I just prefer stereo - for the most part. I love the sensation of separation or isolation of elements (even if it is 'false' to some degree), particularly when listening with earphones. That's not to say the songs don't sound absolutely wonderful to me in mono too - they most certainly do.

14 May 2014
12.14am
Annadog40
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Ya  like I like Revolution 9 sounds better in stereo a-hard-days-night-ringo-8

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14 May 2014
10.47am
meanmistermustard
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The mono mixes up to Pepper (i think) were given most care, attention and time, the stereo ones were normally done quickly (at times 6 or 7 songs mixed in 30 minutes). Not sure about The Beatles, i think it was more equal then as stereo was becoming the standard.

He told us not to get overwhelmed by grief and whatever thoughts we have... to keep them happy, because any thoughts we have of him will travel to him wherever he is. (John Lennon - 27/8/67)
14 May 2014
9.41pm
trcanberra
Canberra, ACT
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meanmistermustard said
The mono mixes up to Pepper (i think) were given most care, attention and time, the stereo ones were normally done quickly (at times 6 or 7 songs mixed in 30 minutes). Not sure about The Beatles, i think it was more equal then as stereo was becoming the standard.

I think the time spent can be a little misleading.  Since they spent that much time on the mono they would have known each track on the tape backwards so the stereo would then take less time to produce.

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15 May 2014
1.22am
WETSRoosa
Mountains of East Tennessee
Apple rooftop
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The mono and stereo mixes on the U.S. Helpalbum are particularly striking. Especially on "Ticket To Ride," which sounds... I dunno, bare (for lack of anything better to say) on the stereo version, but in mono it's a glorious audio explosion.

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15 May 2014
1.39am
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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So, not Beatles in Mono, but I'm going to try to mix some of my other favorite artist's songs into a dedicatedly mono mix. I've decided to start with Green Day, seeing as I really like them and a lot of their discography is available as Rock Band multitracks, so I can customize it more. I'm planning to add some of the quirky differences the Beatles have as well. 

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