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POLL: Mono or Stereo
9 February 2015
4.35pm
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Joe
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On the White Album they purposefully made the mono and stereo mixes different, to let fans look for variations. It's not fair to say the stereo mix is the deviation - they're both perfectly valid. The stereo version sounds better IMO - it has the longer Helter Skelter , and Don't Pass Me By isn't sped up.

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9 February 2015
4.45pm
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Expert Textpert
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Joe said

On the White Album they purposefully made the mono and stereo mixes different, to let fans look for variations. It's not fair to say the stereo mix is the deviation - they're both perfectly valid. The stereo version sounds better IMO - it has the longer Helter Skelter , and Don't Pass Me By isn't sped up.

It's funny that you give those as your reasons, because those are the two reasons I prefer the mono mix. I don't like Ringo yelling at the end of Helter Skelter , and Don't Pass Me By is too slow in stereo.

"This Beatles talk bores me to death.” —John Lennon 

9 February 2015
5.19pm
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Ron Nasty
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I'm with @Joe, as I have said in other  threads, the White is the sound of The Beatles moving from mono to stereo, making both mixes essential. The mono mix is (largely) made up of the rough mixes made as they went along, while the stereo is the result of the mammoth 24-hour session at the end of recording. While they had occasionally been at stereo mix sessions before, the White was their first hands-on stereo mix, and their last mono.

It is a shame there isn't a choice for both in the poll. I am mono up until R Soul. I float between mono and stereo for R Soul through to the White. Then I'm stereo all the way to The End .

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10 February 2015
6.52am
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Matt Busby
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First I should say that I listen to mono the most because only my left front car speaker works :/

I like the first several and Revolver best in mono. Rubber Soul is about half and half.  Sgt. Pepper 's and Abbey Road are best in stereo (stereo is a necessity in Abbey Road ). I'd like to hear Let It Be ...Naked in mono, I think several songs are suited to it (One After 909 , Two of Us, The Long And Winding Road , I Me Mine , Dig It , Let it Be, For You Blue , and even I've Got A Feeling ).  The fact that the Naked songs are sparse makes the separation of vocals and instruments not just irritating but irrelevant. Across The Universe and Get Back are the only two I think should be in stereo.  Just mho of course...

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12 February 2015
6.58pm
ksargent
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I've had them all over the past 51 years - mono, stereo, UK, US, original CD, mono remasters, stereo remasters. For my money everything available in mono (that is everything up through "The Beatles") sounds better in mono. As Geoff Emerick pointed out multiple times in his book - the mono versions were the ones taken seriously by George Martin and the band. In the case of "The Beatles" - which was the first stereo Beatles LP I owned back in the day - it is especially interesting since the mono version was not made available in the U.S. When I first heard it in the remastered version, I was stunned at the difference. Like Pet Sounds, most of the Beatles' albums are meant to be heard in mono. I would argue that the stereo versions of the first few albums amounted to the equivalent of painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa.

 

ken

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17 February 2015
12.31am
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MONO!!!!!!!!!! paul-mccartney

Unfortunately, my personal collection is all in stereo, except for Please Please Me which is, thankfully, in mono. But if I had it my way, it'd be mono (except Abbey Road , of course).

Maybe one day, when I'm all grown up and making money of my own, I'll purchase the mono box set. a-hard-days-night-george-10

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17 February 2015
1.17am
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Bongo
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Expert Textpert said

Joe said

On the White Album they purposefully made the mono and stereo mixes different, to let fans look for variations. It's not fair to say the stereo mix is the deviation - they're both perfectly valid. The stereo version sounds better IMO - it has the longer Helter Skelter , and Don't Pass Me By isn't sped up.

It's funny that you give those as your reasons, because those are the two reasons I prefer the mono mix. I don't like Ringo yelling at the end of Helter Skelter

Wow, I just can't believe anyone doesn't like that Ringo scream at the end???????? a-hard-days-night-ringo-6

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17 February 2015
1.27am
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Beatlebug
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My silly little sister doesn't. She's a Ringo girl, you know, so I suppose it sort of embarrasses her or something, like I used to cringe when Paul missed the high note on If I Fell

But I like to scream along. AH GAT BLISTAS AUMMAH FINGAHS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <ta-dump> 

This is what she does when we reach the end of Helter Skelter a-hard-days-night-ringo-13

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17 February 2015
1.45am
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Supposedly Paul doesnt miss the high note but in fact it was a mixing error so instead of Paul's voice cracking someone messed up whilst mixing. Cant remember who said it but it came out during the 50th anniversary release of the 'A Hard Days Night' film, maybe Giles Martin.

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17 February 2015
2.10pm
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Into the Sky with Diamonds
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Love 'em all.

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17 February 2015
2.28pm
thisbirdhasflown
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I grew up on stereo mixes but these days I prefer listening to mono. Especially like Matt Busby said. In my house, my left television speaker is dead. Whenever I'm playing classic rock on there and a Beatles song comes on, because it's in stereo, it sounds very weird. But I think you should listen to both, as they have different variations of each type (like the Helter Skelter screaming).

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18 February 2015
12.49am
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Bongo
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thisbirdhasflown said
I grew up on stereo mixes but these days I prefer listening to mono.  But I think you should listen to both, as they have different variations of each type (like the Helter Skelter screaming).

You know I try specifically listening to Mono lately but again find myself comparing an reverting back to Stereo.  

Other than the first 2 LPs where the separation is lousy in Stereo, it' so much more improved on "A Hard Day's Night " and again better in my ears in Stereo.

Honestly, I tried.....a-hard-days-night-ringo-13

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19 February 2015
1.47pm
thisbirdhasflown
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Of course, you've got to be an audiophile/Beatles fan to appreciate the differences in mono and stereo. I've heard people discussing this and members of the "normal" general public think we're crazy or something!

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4 March 2015
5.27pm
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PeterWeatherby
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I just, within the past couple of days, finally sat down and gave the mono version of "The White Album " my full album-as-an-event treatment. (Setting aside the time to listen, plugging in a set of headphones, and doing nothing but listening to the album with zero distractions. I even shut my phone off for these "events.")

I have to say, I was blown away. It was like discovering "The White Album " for the first time, like I'd never heard it before or something.

Two things that stood out in general, throughout the album: the vocals were crisp and very "in your face," like sitting nose-to-nose with the singer and catching every cracking consonant; and Paul's bass was absolutely ripping on most songs (the rockers, anyway, obviously not on songs like "Blackbird " or "Mother Nature's Son ").

Hearing "Long, Long, Long " in this format was stunning. I'm used to that song being very quiet and almost muddy or muffled, where George's vocal gets easily swallowed up in the droning organ notes. In the mono version, his vocal is still subdued, but it's much more warm and present, and every syllable is clear. His guitar strums, too, are more crisp and audible, so for the first time it really felt like the acoustic guitar was propelling the song forward.

I'd never been much a fan of "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey," but I am now. The on-going lead guitar riff that sits underneath the lead vocal during the verses sounded louder and more searing, more truly complementary. And again, Paul's bass just pops, and suddenly becomes an indispensable part of the song.

As for "Helter Skelter ," hearing it in mono was a revelation. The background vocals are much more prominent, and I could actually hear the screaming high "ahhhh" notes during lines like "tell me, tell me, tell me, come on tell me your answer." Spine-tingling. And at the line "you may be a lover, but you ain't no dancer," when the background vocals do that "da-da-da-da-da-da-DOW!" I could finally hear them do the final slide-like downward swoop. Made my hair stand on end.

I think the mono version just made me a much, much bigger fan of "The White Album " than I ever was in 25+ years of Beatle fandom.

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4 March 2015
7.59pm
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Oudis
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After reading @PeterWeatherby‘s analysis I think we all should have two sets of Beatles CDs, one mono –the version they worked towards and lets us listen to what they intended us to hear– and one stereo –to discriminate each track, even if that means losing the sound as a whole. Why not?

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4 March 2015
8.18pm
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PeterWeatherby
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Oudis said
After reading @PeterWeatherby‘s analysis I think we all should have two sets of Beatles CDs, one mono –the version they worked towards and lets us listen to what they intended us to hear– and one stereo –to discriminate each track, even if that means losing the sound as a whole. Why not?

I've been seriously considering doing a full album-by-album write-up of the mono versions for my blog, if I ever get the time. I'm certainly not knocking the stereo mixes, because when I first heard the 2009 stereo remasters, it blew my hair back and I thought I'd reached nirvana. But there's something appealing to me about hearing what the production team (including the lads themselves) did to solve the nasty riddle of mixing in mono.

In stereo, you know, you can separate the instruments across the channels and have a bit more latitude, but with mono you really have to make some tough decisions: do I dial up the drums at the expense of losing some vocal presence, do I punch up the bass and pull back the guitars to keep the overall volume from red-lining into distortion, etc.?

And you can totally hear the end result of how they decided to piece the puzzle together, in things like "She Said She Said ," where the blaring guitar and crashing cymbals almost disappear in the mix as soon as the vocal comes up, only to dramatically re-appear when the vocal stops.

I'm just really impressed with how they made it all work out on "The White Album ," "Sgt. Pepper 's Lonely Hearts Club Band," and "Revolver ," to name three stand-outs.

I'm far less impressed with the end result on "Help !" and "The Beatles For Sale ." For whatever reason, the low/bassy end of the mix is usually too prominent, so most of those songs just sound muddy and ... I don't know, "throbby," for lack of a better word. And I would write it off to inferior recording equipment and having to deal with 4-track as opposed to 8-track, but then again, "Please Please Me " sounds absolutely amazing in mono, so I don't know.

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4 March 2015
9.01pm
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meanmistermustard
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Agree with 'Please Please Me ' in Mono being an amazing listen. Not an album i often listen to but was such a thrilling album when heard recently in mono. 'Boys ' really zips along becoming one of their very best rockers and Paul's bass is all over the place in a good way.

The 2009 remasters really did improve the album as well tho (as they did for all of them).

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5 March 2015
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Bongo
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meanmistermustard said
Agree with 'Please Please Me ' in Mono being an amazing listen. Not an album i often listen to but was such a thrilling album when heard recently in mono. 'Boys ' really zips along becoming one of their very best rockers and Paul's bass is all over the place in a good way.

The 2009 remasters really did improve the album as well tho (as they did for all of them).

I can see why the Beatles 1988 CD releases of their first 4 albums were done in Mono as the separation on those LPs just weren't as good until they started using better technology.

A little better technology was used in 2009 to make them sound a little better in Stereo, but ya overall "Please Please Me " & "With The Beatles " are probably better off in Mono. a-hard-days-night-ringo-14

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21 March 2015
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Bongo
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Oudis said
After reading @PeterWeatherby‘s analysis I think we all should have two sets of Beatles CDs, one mono –the version they worked towards and lets us listen to what they intended us to hear– and one stereo –to discriminate each track

I agree.  Everyone should also own the Capitol box sets from 2004-06 as these are nothing like the 2014 US boxset! apple01

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21 March 2015
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Joe said
On the White Album they purposefully made the mono and stereo mixes different, to let fans look for variations. It's not fair to say the stereo mix is the deviation - they're both perfectly valid. The stereo version sounds better IMO - it has the longer Helter Skelter , and Don't Pass Me By isn't sped up.

After much deliberation and only owning the original UK White in Stereo, I finally broke down and bought an original Mono for my set.  All my Parlophone LPs are Mono, but my Apple records were Stereo, until now............. apple02apple01Damn, just when I thought I was done buying records!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! a-hard-days-night-ringo-14

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