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What are the differences between stereo and mono?
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12 June 2013
7.22am
Funny Paper
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Thanks Inner Light! 

 

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12 June 2013
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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.

Exactly. As an example, the Beatles and George Martin spent almost 2 weeks mixing Sgt. Pepper in mono. George Martin's enigineers spent about 4-5 days mixing it in stereo afterwards (with no Beatles or George Martin even present). That's basically how it was, until Yellow Submarine, which was the first album mixed only in stereo.

 

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12 June 2013
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Funny Paper said
Thanks Inner Light! 

 

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12 June 2013
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DrBeatle 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.

Exactly. As an example, the Beatles and George Martin spent almost 2 weeks mixing Sgt. Pepper in mono. George Martin's enigineers spent about 4-5 days mixing it in stereo afterwards (with no Beatles or George Martin even present). That's basically how it was, until Yellow Submarine, which was the first album mixed only in stereo.

 

So the initial reel-to-reel tapes (I assume that's what they recorded the actual music and singing on) were used by both Beatles and George Martin mixing Sgt. Pepper in mono, and then by George Martin's engineers mixing it in stereo?

I.e., George Martin's engineers did not touch the mono in order to create the stereo, correct?

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12 June 2013
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Ron Nasty
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That's it, spot on, Funny Paper. The mono mixes were the best central "picture" from what were 2-track tapes in the beginning, moving up through 4-track, 8-track, etc. The stereo mixes were about placing those individual tracks within the "picture".

The reason there is no true stereo mixes of some songs, eg. She Loves You, is because the studio master was destroyed after the mono master was created, leading to all stereo mixes actually being "fake" stereo produced from the mono master - where, generally, they weight the high end to one channel and the low to the other. This is the case with several '62/'63 songs.

Another famous instance where there is no true full stereo mix is I Am The Walrus. That is because all of the twiddling through the radio dial during the second half of the song was done directly, as a live overdub, onto the mono mix during the mix session. This meant that when time came for the stereo mix the only thing to do, once John started twiddling with the radio dial, was to edit the stereo mix up to that point to a "fake" stereo of it from that point on.

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12 June 2013
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To clarify what mja said there is no true original stereo mix available due to how the song was constructed in the studio however one was finally made for the Anthology series, and is available on bootleg, and there is the remix on Love which i believe is also true stereo all the way thru.

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13 June 2013
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Interesting!

You learn something new here every day.

12 February 2015
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My wife and I have been collecting Beatles albums on vinyl for years. We both brought several albums into the marriage to begin with, plus everyone who knows us and knows that we love The Beatles always give us more vinyl when they happen upon it.

Every year, we have a record show that goes through our town, and we also go to it and look for more vinyl to add to our collection. Last year, however, we decided to purge our shelves and get rid of all the extra duplicates we'd collected: multiple copies of The White Album, multiple copies of Abbey Road, multiple copies of Sgt. Pepper, etc.

So we pared it down and kept the best, most pristine copies for ourselves, and sold all the duplicates at last year's record show.

Only we just realized -- because the record show is coming through town again -- that we'd inadvertently sold off our one copy of the original 1967 Parlophone version of Sgt. Pepper. The one we kept is a Capitol stereo edition that we held onto because the sleeve was in better condition, and it had the original cut-outs and so forth.

If I had known then what I know now about the different versions of UK/US mono/stereo albums, I would have paid more attention when we were trying to get rid of our duplicates.

So the moral of the story, kids, is study up on the history of the albums and their release history. You might just avoid accidentally selling a $75 original Parlophone for $5.

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12 February 2015
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ahdn_paul_06 @PeterWeatherby, I moved your post here to fit into the discussion about mono and stereo versions of the albums.

I wonder if your copy will be with one of the vendors when the show comes back to your town. I wonder how much they will be selling it for.

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12 February 2015
7.33pm
PeterWeatherby
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So here's a question I have (or rather, several questions):

The 2009 remasters -- those were done "from scratch," so to speak, correct? Meaning, they used the original master tapes from the Abbey Road vaults, digitized them, cleaned them up, and packaged the result on CD? As opposed to just taking the 1987 stereo mixes and cleaning those up?

Also, on the 2009 mono remasters, a couple of the albums also have bonus stereo tracks -- Rubber Soul, for instance, has all of the songs in the original mono, and then repeats them all as "Original 1965 Stereo Mix" tracks.

Is there any difference between these "Original 1965 Stereo Mix" tracks and the stereo tracks that are on the 2009 stereo remasters?

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12 February 2015
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PeterWeatherby
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Ahhh Girl said
ahdn_paul_06 @PeterWeatherby, I moved your post here to fit into the discussion about mono and stereo versions of the albums.

I wonder if your copy will be with one of the vendors when the show comes back to your town. I wonder how much they will be selling it for.

 

Like I mentioned, my wife originally paid $75 for it. I would imagine they'd be selling it for something close to that. Ugh, when I think what we could have sold it for, if we were going to sell it at all. I feel like I should turn in my "Beatles Fan" card.

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12 February 2015
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PeterWeatherby said
So here's a question I have (or rather, several questions):

The 2009 remasters -- those were done "from scratch," so to speak, correct? Meaning, they used the original master tapes from the Abbey Road vaults, digitized them, cleaned them up, and packaged the result on CD? As opposed to just taking the 1987 stereo mixes and cleaning those up?

Alos, on the 2009 mono remasters, a couple of the albums also have bonus stereo tracks -- Rubber Soul, for instance, has all of the songs in the original mono, and then repeats them all as "Original 1965 Stereo Mix" tracks.

Is there any difference between these "Original 1965 Stereo Mix" tracks and the stereo tracks that are on the 2009 stereo remasters?

George Martin remixed the 'Help!' and 'Rubber Soul' albums in 1987 for the first round of CD's as he didnt like the original '65 mixes and how the vocals and instruments were done. The 1987 mixes are now the main ones that you find on compilations like '1', and the Red and Blue albums.

Wogblog has an article on them and there is even a BB thread on the remixes here. I think its getting to the point where everything isn't covered at least once on this forum.

Interesting piece from the wogblog article

Giles Martin: Rubber Soul and Help! were remixed by my dad in 1988 or '87 for CD. And when we did "Love", we got to do Yesterday, and I couldn't understand why there were so much echo and reverb on the voice 'cause it was very non-Beatles. And it was only when I came back and I was listening to the remasters I asked "how come this is the case?" and they said "well we are remastering the eighties versions of [Rubber Soul and Help!]" and I said "why aren't we remastering the originals, we should remaster what came out then [in 1965]?"
---
And they said "Well, your father wouldn't be very happy with us not remastering the versions he did in the eighties."
So I spoke to my dad and I asked "Do you mind if they remaster the sixties version?" and he went "I don't even remember doing them in the eighties!"

So if the folk involved in the 2009 remasters had bothered to actually ask George Martin they wouldnt have needed to include the original 1965 mixes in the mono box. And i bet some people would have complained bitterly that the 1987 mixes weren't there at all.

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12 February 2015
7.57pm
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No, no, no. No turning in of your Beatles fan card, @PeterWeatherby. I will not allow it. Even if you take the name of The Beatles in vain, there is always a way to get back to where you belong.

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13 February 2015
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 Thanks, @meanmistermustard that explains why the 1965 stereo mixes were included with the mono box set. And that 1987 interview with George Martin -- I'd never seen that before, that was a fascinating read.

I found the answer to my other question about the source material used for the 2009 stereo remasters -- it's actually right in the liner notes, how silly of me. With the exception of Help! and Rubber Soul, the liner notes on all of those 2009 stereo CDs say "created from the original stereo analog master tapes." The liner notes for Help! and Rubber Soul both say "created from the original stereo digital master tapes from George Martin's CD mixes made in 1986."

Which is interesting, because, if I'm understanding this right, this means that the original stereo analog master tapes for Help! and Rubber Soul were not used in the 2009 remasters, and in fact have not been remastered since 1986/1987. Any bets on if/when Apple will finally update those two albums and put 'em on the market?

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13 February 2015
10.48am
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Wouldn't the original analogue tapes for Rubber Soul and Help! have been utilised for the remastered 1965 stereo mixes that are in the mono box?

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14 February 2015
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I still can't wrap my head around the fact that "I've Got Blisters On MY Fingers" isn't on the mono white LP...a-hard-days-night-ringo-14

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14 February 2015
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Ron Nasty
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PeterWeatherby said
 Thanks, meanmistermustard that explains why the 1965 stereo mixes were included with the mono box set. And that 1987 interview with George Martin -- I'd never seen that before, that was a fascinating read.

I found the answer to my other question about the source material used for the 2009 stereo remasters -- it's actually right in the liner notes, how silly of me. With the exception of Help! and Rubber Soul, the liner notes on all of those 2009 stereo CDs say "created from the original stereo analog master tapes." The liner notes for Help! and Rubber Soul both say "created from the original stereo digital master tapes from George Martin's CD mixes made in 1986."

Which is interesting, because, if I'm understanding this right, this means that the original stereo analog master tapes for Help! and Rubber Soul were not used in the 2009 remasters, and in fact have not been remastered since 1986/1987. Any bets on if/when Apple will finally update those two albums and put 'em on the market?

meanmistermustard said
Wouldn't the original analogue tapes for Rubber Soul and Help! have been utilised for the remastered 1965 stereo mixes that are in the mono box?

@meanmistermustard is totally right here, @PeterWeatherby.

When George Martin oversaw the 1987 initial CD releases, he created a set of new digitised "masters" to work from based on the UK analog master tapes. For the first four albums (Please Please Me through to Beatles For Sale) these were from the original mono master tapes. From 1965 onwards he switched to stereo versions, though finding himself unhappy with his original stereo mixes of Help! and Rubber Soul he remixed those, creating digital masters that differed from the analog masters.

There was no remastering* on the 1987 CD releases, but rather cleaning up of the sound digitally. With the exception of the 1986 remixes of Helpand Rubber Soul, the 1987 CD releases (mono 1963-1964, stereo 1966 onwards) are the original masters digitised with some cleaning. They are not remasters.

George Martin's remixes of Help! and Rubber Soul came in for a lot of criticism at the time, and since, for not presenting the albums in their original form.

The first remasters, if I remember correctly, were the Red and Blue albums, which also included some light-touch remixing.

The Yellow Submarine Songtrack, mentioned in another post above, was a full-blown remix (obviously taking in some remastering), after "Apple" had been impressed by the Red and Blue (as we know, things move slowly with official Beatles releases!).

Then the decision was made to actually remaster the whole catalogue for the first time, resulting in the 2009 stereo/mono boxes. The starting point for both sets were George's digitisations (which didn't include four stereo albums [1963-1964], the original 1965 mono/stereo mixes - as George remixed the stereo from the analog master and then digitised, or mono albums 1966 onwards). This led to digital copies of the original masters for all the missing albums, and the stray mono/stereo songs that hadn't appeared on albums.

They knew what to do with the stray mono tracks - Mono Masters. All the original mono and stereo mixes would be remastered for the first time, using George's original digitisations, trusting his '80s decisions, and digitising and the remastering the ones he hadn't to include them.

Which then opened the question of what to do with the original 1965 album mixes which George had decided to dump. A decision I remember him very strongly defending at the time. And so the decision was made to make them bonuses on their respective albums in the mono box, which was more aimed at the fans who wanted everything and understand mono, rather than those who'd only get the stereo.

Though, of course, the recent completely analog remastering of the mono albums throws up the question about the stereo being given an analog remaster as well...

I apologise if I've got a little too anal on the history, or made any errors...

[* Edit, oops!, I originally typed "stereo" here by mistake! Sorry to anyone who read that before corrected!]

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14 February 2015
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I'm glad the mono box set has the 1965 mixes...it's just one more variation to own which as far as I can tell is not available anywhere else but an original vinyl release :D

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16 February 2015
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meanmistermustard said
To clarify what mja said there is no true original stereo mix available due to how the song was constructed in the studio however one was finally made for the Anthology series, and is available on bootleg, and there is the remix on Love which i believe is also true stereo all the way thru.

The obstacle was the BBC broadcast of King Lear, which was a live radio feed added during the mono mix. They couldn't reproduce this when mixing for stereo, because they didn't have a recording of King Lear, so the stereo version switches to mono (or fake stereo*, I can't remember) at that point instead.

When they made Anthology, apparently they got hold of a recording of the BBC production, and were able to remix the full song in stereo for the first time. It's on the DVD I think, and they used it again for Love. It's very surprising the BBC still had a copy of the play, considering a lot of the stuff was wiped during the 60s.

*Fake stereo is when the bass is slashed from one channel, and treble from the other. The Beatles/EMI/Capitol did it a few times when true stereo mixes weren't available. A channel is the left or right output in a stereo system, ie one speaker or headphone.

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18 March 2015
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Joe said

meanmistermustard said
To clarify what mja said there is no true original stereo mix available due to how the song was constructed in the studio however one was finally made for the Anthology series, and is available on bootleg, and there is the remix on Love which i believe is also true stereo all the way thru.

The obstacle was the BBC broadcast of King Lear, which was a live radio feed added during the mono mix. They couldn't reproduce this when mixing for stereo, because they didn't have a recording of King Lear, so the stereo version switches to mono (or fake stereo*, I can't remember) at that point instead.

When they made Anthology, apparently they got hold of a recording of the BBC production, and were able to remix the full song in stereo for the first time. It's on the DVD I think, and they used it again for Love. It's very surprising the BBC still had a copy of the play, considering a lot of the stuff was wiped during the 60s.

*Fake stereo is when the bass is slashed from one channel, and treble from the other. The Beatles/EMI/Capitol did it a few times when true stereo mixes weren't available. A channel is the left or right output in a stereo system, ie one speaker or headphone.

I believe they used a transcription recording - an acetate which was prepared to be sent for broadcast in another country/market.  The BBC used to do this with a lot of their output because it was more easily transportable and usable than reel-to-reel.

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