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The best sounding Beatles album?
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9 March 2010
10.57pm
alexbunardzic
Vancouver
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I have finally completed my audio chain and now I can fully enjoy the amazing sound that the 2009 remastered catalog offers. My last purchase included a wireless WAV/AIFF/FLAC player, which truly manages to present the pristine audio signal without any of the annoying artifacts that even a high end CD players tend to introduce. Once you eliminate the spinning CD out of the picture, the sound quality becomes absolutely amazing. And so now I can truly hear what Abbey Road engineers have captured during all those Beatles recording sessions.

 

As I'm sailing through long listening sessions of the remasters, I'm becoming more and more aware that, from the sound quality point of view, I tend to return over and over again to Help. Something about the way they've captured the band during the Help period creates the sweetest and the warmest sound. As the songs keep playing, starting with Help and then The Night Before and so on, you really begin to melt as the sweet, sweet sound washes over you. The highlight, in terms of sound quality, is Ticket To Ride.

 

Yes, I enjoy tremendously all of their other albums, but Help somehow sounds the best to me. That's when they, as a band, have reached their sweet spot. The least satisfactory sounding album overall, for some reason, is Magical Mystery Tour.

 

Do you guys have any preferences in this regard?

Show me that I'm everywhere, and get me home for tea
9 March 2010
11.09pm
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skye
AZ
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So before you got the remastered albums, which was your favorite? Right now, the only remastered albums I have are Revolver (mono) and the White Album (stereo), and I can't really say which has the better sound.

Ad hoc, ad loc, and quid pro quo! So little time! So much to know!
9 March 2010
11.11pm
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mjb
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The thing I noticed about the Help! album is all the little bits of percussive work  that is going on. And I suppose the clarity we hear is aided by the fact it was the first issued in stereo when they did the first CD transfers, so the stereo separation allowed you to hear more.

One point I have always thought, and it'll be interesting to know your view here, is how 'out of place' Dizzy Miss Lizzy sounds in terms of production with the rest. It's as if it was a left-over song from a different period that was tagged on to fill up side 2!

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
9 March 2010
11.13pm
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mjb
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skye said:

So before you got the remastered albums, which was your favorite? Right now, the only remastered albums I have are Revolver (mono) and the White Album (stereo), and I can't really say which has the better sound.


 

You haven't got the entire set? You surprise me.........and how come you've got the Revolver mono when it's only released with the box set - or shouldn't I ask!

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
10 March 2010
5.41am
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mjb
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Riadradtastic said:

I really like the BBC recordings. I'm not sure whether to call it an album or not.a-hard-days-night-george-4 lolll


Not in the same vein as
Help! I suppose as the BBC album gathers together bits from all over the place. Plus there is no 'depth' to much of the recordings........
"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
11 March 2010
4.49am
iCaramba
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Ever since the remasters have been released, I have also taken new notice of the Help! album... but probably because I had only ever owned the American vinyl version, which, as you know, does not have the stellar song lineup that the Parlophone release has.

But I do agree that the sound is sweet indeed... the percussion and the harmonies really resonate.

To me, all the remasters are a revelation as far as sound quality... I just hear things I had never really taken much notice of before, especially in Rubber Soul, Revolver, and Sgt. Pepper.

11 March 2010
9.29pm
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Von Bontee
A Hole In The Road
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Maybe I've got faulty ears, but I gotta confess to being a bit underwhelmed with the mid-to-late-period remasters I've bought so far - I thought certain songs like "I Am The Walrus" and "All You Need Is Love" sounded lusher and better on the "Love" album.  And no matter what anyone says, or the creators' original intent, I STILL prefer stereo to mono, 99 times out of 100. (As long as the stereo mix isn't merely a strict "vocals left/instruments right" deal.) I'm a headphones enthusiast, I like to hear separation between the instruments, and mono to me remains a curio. (Not that I bought the mono masters anyways.)  So it follows that hearing the first four LPs in stereo for the first time was a joy. To finally hear that opening "Hard Day's Night" chord revealed - guitar on the left, piano strings on the right - was a revelation.

Best sounding album? I'll take the Sergeant for sheer swirling sonic detail and Rubber Soul for crystalline clarity.  Rubber Soul sounds like i'm right there in the studio; Sgt. Pepper's sounds like no place on earth.

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!" -- Paul McCartney
11 March 2010
10.40pm
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Joe
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Von Bontee said:

I thought certain songs like "I Am The Walrus" and "All You Need Is Love" sounded lusher and better on the "Love" album. 


I absolutely agree with you here. I thought Love sounded incredible, despite the bad press it got from some. If they ever remix The Beatles' back catalogue we'd be in for a real treat.

I think I probably enjoyed hearing the early stuff in stereo the most. A Hard Day's Night, probably my favourite Beatles album, really shouldn't have been available only on mono CD for all those years.

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12 March 2010
8.42am
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mjb
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skye said:

Amen to Love 2. Why didn't the critics like it? My only problem with it is that it's hard to listen to the songs individually.


 

You know when we all do these little polls of favourite albums etc, well I think if I had to pick a Beatle album to take to my Desert Island I'd choose Love. Why? Because not only it is a fine 'greatest hits' album but the songs are all new in differnet ways.  Even now I'm still listening to it hearing different bits. And there are parts that are bugging me becasue I don't know what outtake they're from!!

The biggest one is that guitar solo on Lady Madonna? Where did that come from? Anyone know?

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
12 March 2010
10.18am
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Joe
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I'm not sure critics hated it; I was thinking more about Beatles fans. I've heard quite a few people grumbling over the novelty aspect of it. This was before the remasters came out, though, so it might have been a question of "why are Apple bothering with this crap when we need decent-sounding CDs?"

I do like the sound collage aspect of Love, but I think my favourites are the songs they didn't touch (I Am The Walrus, Revolution etc), simply for the amazing sound quality.

No idea on the Lady Madonna solo, I'm afraid. I suspect it was an unused take of the song. It could even have been from a completely different song - The End comes to mind, for some reason. I bet there were different versions of the three-way guitar duel from which Giles Martin could have cobbled together a new solo.

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Can buy me love! Please consider using these links to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes

12 March 2010
11.16am
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skye
AZ
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That seems standard. They (we) won't be happy unless they (we) get the original recordings. But, whatever. I love it.

I'd say it's from Hey Bulldog. In fact, listening to them both now, I'm pretty sure. Haha how's that for wishy-washy?

Ad hoc, ad loc, and quid pro quo! So little time! So much to know!
12 March 2010
4.31pm
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mjb
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Could be from Hey Bulldog.....

I do love the untouched ones (as Joe mentioned) but I still think the medley of Drive My Car etc is so VERY cleverly done plus the amalgamation of Tomorrow Never Knows and Within You Within You.

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
12 March 2010
7.20pm
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skye
AZ
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Ok, I hear it now. The lead into it though is Hey Bulldog. Very clever.

Ad hoc, ad loc, and quid pro quo! So little time! So much to know!
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