The Beatles’ mono and stereo remasters are released

The full tracklisting of Mono Masters is as follows:

The Beatles stereo remasters box set

The remastering process

EMI staff, overseen by Allan Rouse, returned to the original mono and stereo mixes prepared in the 1960s by George Martin, Norman Smith, Geoff Emerick, Ken Scott, Phil McDonald, Glyn Johns and The Beatles. Improved technology allowed a more detailed digital transfer than was available when the CDs were first issued in 1987.

Staff at Abbey Road Studios began work on the project at the start of 2005, and the remasters were approved by Apple Corps and EMI in early 2009. All the remastering was done within Abbey Road Studios using state of the art recording technology alongside vintage studio equipment. The work was done chronologically, allowing the team to progress with The Beatles’ sound.

The re-mastering process began with the master tapes being copied onto digital, using a Pro Tools workstation operating at 24 bit 192 kHz resolution via a Prism A-D converter. Transferring was done one track at a time, and any build up of dust was removed from the tape machine heads between each title.

The early vinyl pressings and 1980s CD versions were also loaded into Pro Tools, to allow comparisons to be made at each stage. Upon completion of an album, it was replayed the following day in Abbey Road’s studio three, to allow any further EQ alterations.

Although the original 1960s master tapes were used, some technical faults in the recordings were removed, including bad edits and tape drop outs. It was agreed that electrical clicks, microphone vocal pops, excessive sibilance and bad edits should be improved where possible, so long as it didn’t impact on the original integrity of the songs.

Some equalisation was used where appropriate to enhance the sound, but the removal of tape hiss was used subtly and sparingly. Less than one percent – five minutes – of the stereo recordings was treated to noise reduction, and none of the mono remasters were affected.

Around 20 of the stereo tracks received no equalisation treatment after project staff decided they couldn’t be bettered after the initial transfer.

The stereo Help! And Rubber Soul CDs use the mixes made by George Martin in 1987. Martin was unhappy with the how the 1960s mixes sounded when they were originally remastered in the 1980s, and so prepared new versions from the four-track tapes. The 1965 stereo versions, however, are included in the mono box as bonus tracks.

Last updated: 23 March 2018
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