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What are the differences between stereo and mono?
8 June 2013
11.43pm
Glass Onion
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Browsing Beatles songs through the Internet, I can see that some tracks are in stereo, and others in mono, and theorically, there's a difference between them. I know that stereo has the sound coming from two speakers, and mono from only one. But are there any more differences? And why some people prefer mono versions?

Earth - Beatles = A bad planet to live

9 June 2013
2.54am
TwoAfter908
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The mono mixes are different from stereo. For example, the mono mix of "She's Leaving Home" is sped up a bit faster than the stereo mix.

My favourite song is 'Stairway to Heaven' by Motley Crue on their 1876 album 'Yellow Submarine'.
9 June 2013
8.58am
meanmistermustard
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A couple of threads from elsewhere that discuss this

Mono v Stereo

mono v stereo albums and remasters (more about Past Masters tho)

There are a load of others on the forum.

 

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
9 June 2013
1.37pm
TwoAfter908
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Video explaining the differences:

Part 1: 

Part 2: 

My favourite song is 'Stairway to Heaven' by Motley Crue on their 1876 album 'Yellow Submarine'.
9 June 2013
3.00pm
Zig
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a-hard-days-night-ringo-8Which answers my nagging internal question, "how many differences can there possibly be?".

Thanks for posting those videos. They almost make me want to finally buy the mono mixes. 

To the fountain of perpetual mirth, Let it roll for all its worth.

Every Little Thing you buy from Amazon or iTunes will help the Beatles Bible if you use these links: Amazon | iTunes

9 June 2013
8.42pm
SatanHimself
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Zig said
a-hard-days-night-ringo-8Which answers my nagging internal question, "how many differences can there possibly be?".

Thanks for posting those videos. They almost make me want to finally buy the mono mixes. 

 Another solid reason to buy the mono mixes is the gorgeous packaging (which reproduces the original albums perfectly) and the beautiful booklet.

E is for 'Ergent'.
9 June 2013
9.46pm
meanmistermustard
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SatanHimself said

Zig said
a-hard-days-night-ringo-8Which answers my nagging internal question, "how many differences can there possibly be?".

Thanks for posting those videos. They almost make me want to finally buy the mono mixes. 

Another solid reason to buy the mono mixes is the gorgeous packaging (which reproduces the original albums perfectly) and the beautiful booklet.

And you get the original stereo mixes of Help! and Rubber Soul which i actually prefer to the '87 mixes that are on the widely available cd's. The mono box is far more attractive than the stereo.

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
10 June 2013
12.01am
SatanHimself
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+1

I forgot about the extra original mixes!

The slipcase box is beautiful, and the individual discs really have to be seen to believed.  Every detail, down to the record wipe adverts on the dust bags, are intact.

E is for 'Ergent'.
10 June 2013
7.39pm
Zig
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a-hard-days-night-ringo-8Damn both of you! I can feel the $$ slipping out of my account!

 

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Every Little Thing you buy from Amazon or iTunes will help the Beatles Bible if you use these links: Amazon | iTunes

10 June 2013
9.25pm
SatanHimself
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It's a purchase I made while drunk, but I have never regretted it.  Words can't convey the amazing feeling of unboxing the mono set.  It's made with so much love and care.

E is for 'Ergent'.
10 June 2013
11.36pm
meanmistermustard
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I asked for either the mono or stereo box for christmas from my family and got both. The delight in opening both was great but the mono was so much more a thrill than the stereo.

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
11 June 2013
1.15am
Glass Onion
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Thanks to you guys, for answering my question, and specially TwoAfter908 for posting those videos. That really helped me. But now I wonder: why  can't they make a stereo mix identical to the mono mix? You know, since mono is theorically the best.

Earth - Beatles = A bad planet to live

11 June 2013
12.56pm
Glass Onion
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And that reminds me some problems that Beatles songs in stereo caused to me:

-A long time ago, when I was younger, I had a MP3 player with a broken headphone. The right speaker wasn't working, so I couldn't hear the Beatles' voices.

-This year, I wanted to show "Hey Bulldog" to a friend, then I put one phone in his ear while I put the other one in mine. But then he couldn't hear te instruments, and I couldn't hear the vocals…

-I have this friend who plays the violin, and one day I asked if he could play "Don't Pass Me By", and then I showed the song to him with one earphone, but all he could hear was the piano.

 

And curiously, that doesn't happen to all the songs, only the Beatles' songs… DAMN! Now I want to buy those mono CDs….

Earth - Beatles = A bad planet to live

11 June 2013
7.06pm
meanmistermustard
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Revolution 9 is a totally different experience in stereo thru earphones, veryweird and can mess up your head.

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
11 June 2013
7.35pm
DrBeatle
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^indeed

 

However, I had only ever known the stereo versions growing up. Having bought the mono box set last year, that's all I listen to for those first 10 albums and singles/B-sides. I prefer them for many, many reasons.

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11 June 2013
9.15pm
Linde
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Wow I never realised the mono and stereo versions were THAT different. I think that overall I prefer mono, but I have to say some songs sound better on stereo, some on mono. And it made me notice a lot of things, like the person coughing in Norwegian Wood and stuff like that. Oh and John's vocals being doubletracked on If I Fell in the stereoversion sound so terrible. 

I think that I've got the first 4 albums in mono on my iTunes, not sure about Help!, but I've got Rubber Soul til Abbey Road in stereo.

11 June 2013
10.37pm
Inner Light
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The bottom line is that the 'mono' versions from EMI in England are the original mixes that George Martin and The Beatles approved and were a part of during the mixing process. When they recorded their songs, they envisioned them in mono and not stereo. Stereo masters were done as an after thought because of the new 'at that time' technology that was surfacing and they wanted to be a part of this new format.

The further one travels, the less one knows
12 June 2013
12.05am
Funny Paper
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Inner Light said
The bottom line is that the 'mono' versions from EMI in England are the original mixes that George Martin and The Beatles approved and were a part of during the mixing process. When they recorded their songs, they envisioned them in mono and not stereo. Stereo masters were done as an after thought because of the new 'at that time' technology that was surfacing and they wanted to be a part of this new format.

I'm very ignorant of all this technical stuff.  When musicians like the Beatles at that time recorded in mono, could those mono tapes be converted into stereo, or did the musicians have to re-record?

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
12 June 2013
12.13am
Funny Paper
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As I intimated above, I'm no audiophile.  All I know about stereo is that it was used a lot (probably beginning in the late 60s, early 70s?) to separate different instruments and voices either to the left ear, or right ear -- and sometimes, for a cool effect, to have the sound go back and forth through your skull.  My most memorable experience of this latter effect was my first time listening to the Santana song "Batuka" on headphones.

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
12 June 2013
1.43am
Inner Light
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Funny Paper said

Inner Light said
The bottom line is that the 'mono' versions from EMI in England are the original mixes that George Martin and The Beatles approved and were a part of during the mixing process. When they recorded their songs, they envisioned them in mono and not stereo. Stereo masters were done as an after thought because of the new 'at that time' technology that was surfacing and they wanted to be a part of this new format.

I'm very ignorant of all this technical stuff.  When musicians like the Beatles at that time recorded in mono, could those mono tapes be converted into stereo, or did the musicians have to re-record?

During the recording process, a session tape is made. From there they mix and master the album and convert it to a mono or stereo. What George Martin would do once the mono mixes were complete is go back to the original source and convert into a stereo signal. In a lot of cases, the stereo mix was changed on many songs. He had to make the decision on where to make these changes. It's fun hearing the differences between the two sources. I like certain songs in mono more and then there are others in stereo that I prefer. If you can, you should try to get all the versions. If money is a problem, you can download all the mono and stereo 2009 remasters from http://www.mp3panda.com.

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