Question about U.S. release duophonic/stereo vs mono versions | Recording and musicology | Fab forum

Please consider registering
Guest

Log In Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —

  

— Match —

   

— Forum Options —

   

Wildcard usage:
*  matches any number of characters    %  matches exactly one character

Minimum search word length is 4 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

Question about U.S. release duophonic/stereo vs mono versions
22 December 2013
2.46am
bfollowell
A Beginning
Forum Posts: 8
Member Since:
16 December 2013
Offline

OK, I have some questions that just recently occurred to me. They're probably for those older than me that bought the U.S. Beatles albums when the originally came out but anyone can feel free to chime in.

Question #1:
OK, the whole deal with why there are different stereo, fake stereo, duophonic & mono releases in the U.S. is that, at the time, most average people listened to music on record players with one speaker, right? That's why The Beatles focused on their mono mixes, right? Well, if that's the case, why did Capitol spend so much time and energy on their pseudo-stereo/duophonic mixes? Who the heck were they making them for if most everyone listened on one speaker record players?

Question #2:
If most everyone listened to The Beatles on single speaker record players, and listened to them in mono, why is everyone always up in arms because this U.S. release package or that U.S. album package doesn't have the duophonic music they grew up with? If most everyone grew up listening to mono, isn't that what they should want to hear when reminiscing? Aren't the mono versions what the average listener grew up listening to?

Question #3:
If Capitol took the U.K. master tapes and tweaked them to create their pseudo-stereo for the U.S. market, wouldn't the mono versions be pretty much the same as the U.K. mono versions?

I'm sure there's a lot I'm missing here through over-simplification but I keep running this through my head and something just doesn't seem to add up. What am I missing?

- Byron

23 December 2013
2.52am
Inner Light
Friar Park
Shea Stadium
Forum Posts: 477
Member Since:
20 December 2010
Offline

I will try to answer your questions:

1) Stereo was a new process in the mid-sixties. Though the focus was on the mono mixes, stereo was becoming popular as well. I remember back when each American album came out the mono version sold for $2.99 ea. and the stereo version was $3.99. Capitol wanted to take part in this new format and since they were sent mono mixes from the UK for many songs, they felt that they wanted to create a stereo mix from a mono take and so 'Duophonic Stereo' was created or 'Re-Channeled Stereo' if you will. It's all about making money. Capitol always would include the hits to each album and kept the albums to 12 songs normally. The reverb was added by Dexter Jr. because he felt that the American public wanted reverb in the songs and I have to admit, some of them song great with that added reverb.

2) The American Beatles fans want to hear these US mixes the way they appeared here in the sixties without any tampering. The Capitol Albums Vol. 1 & 2 have these original stereo and mono mixes that were released in the US. The fact that EMI is remixing songs for this new set and leaving out the Duophonic Stereo and reverb added if wrong from a purist standpoint. 

3) Not necessarily. Some of the mono mixes that George Martin prepared for the American release are different from the mono mix issued in the UK. 

This all get confusing. One of my hobbies has been to collect all the different mixes from around the world. This has not been easy but my collection is pretty much complete. The mixes in the UK and US are the two countries that have the most changes. There are a few oddities from around the world that he unique mixes, countries such as Canada, Australia, Germany, Brazil and Argentina. There are also 'Fold Down Stereo' mixes that were done. Most fans do not count those as a different mix though. 

 

The further one travels, the less one knows
24 December 2013
3.26am
bfollowell
A Beginning
Forum Posts: 8
Member Since:
16 December 2013
Offline

Thanks Inner Light. That helps a little. I really appreciate your reply.

- Byron

 

27 December 2013
7.44pm
Porgy
A Beginning
Forum Posts: 7
Member Since:
20 December 2013
Offline

If I may, I will add this.

Stereo was a faster moving technology in the American market than in the UK which explains Capitol's interest in it. Especially if, as Inner Light says, they were charging a dollar for the stereo version (something I am not aware happened in the UK).

Stereo equipment was more affordable in America at that time than in the UK.

Another point, maybe of more interest, is that several of the mono mixes were unique. Not just in the way that George Martin would create American mixes, but that when Dexter remixed UK stereo mixes, those Dexter mixes would sometimes be folded to create the US mono.

The best place I have found to go through the various mixes, and how they differ is

http://www.columbia.edu/~brenn…..-1961.html

30 December 2013
1.40am
Into the Sky with Diamonds
New York
Apple rooftop
Forum Posts: 1264
Member Since:
10 August 2011
Offline

I was a New York city kid when these albums came out, and my first recollection of stereo was Sgt. Pepper. It was EXTREMELY exciting to hear the instruments come out of one speaker or the other. (I could be off by an album…)

All albums were then released in 'stereo' going all the way back to Meet the Beatles. The strangest thing Capitol ever did was to retroactively put the vocals on one speaker and the instruments on the other. You could turn off one speaker and sing Karaoke with the Beatles as your backing band. You had turn off the stereo on your receiver (there was a switch for that) to get the mono sound back.

I think one of my "Meet the Beatles" features this odd concoction.

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
2 January 2014
3.51pm
DrBeatle
Boston
Apple rooftop
Forum Posts: 1387
Member Since:
29 November 2012
Offline

^I can imagine how the stereo US version of Sgt. Pepper blew your mind…when I finally heard the UK mono Pepper last year after a lifetime of only hearing the US stereo version, it blew mine!

"I know you, you know me; one thing I can tell you is you got to be free!"

 

Please Visit My Website, The Rock and Roll Chemist

Twitter: @blackbookblur

 

Forum Timezone: Europe/London

Most Users Ever Online: 597

Currently Online: Johnny Rhythm
58 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Top Posters:

meanmistermustard: 9238

mr. Sun king coming together: 6916

parlance: 4908

mithveaen: 4651

Ahhh Girl: 4487

Zig: 3643

Annadog40: 3556

Mr. Kite: 3192

Ron Nasty: 2954

fabfouremily: 2927

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 87

Members: 2504

Moderators: 4

Admins: 2

Forum Stats:

Groups: 3

Forums: 34

Topics: 3187

Posts: 128976

Newest Members: Johnny Rhythm, 165721, Bibiana, Bibiana0709, Rendersen25

Moderators: Ahhh Girl (4487), meanmistermustard (9238), Zig (3643), Joe (3404)

Administrators: Joe (3404), Ellie (1)

Members Birthdays
Today: None
Upcoming: None