The Beatles in Mono Vinyl Is Here

Picked up our copy today!Beatles Mono Box1BEatles Mono Box2

As you can see, The Beatles in Mono comes in a protective outer cardboard shipping box, similar to the one the Stereo LPs set was delivered in back in 2012. The sticker shows our Mono box was packed on June 18.

Like the Stereo box it comes delivered essentially as a box-within-a-box, providing very good protection and padding while the set is in transit:Beatles Mono Box3 Beatles Mono Box4 Beatles Mono Box6

In Australia The Beatles in Mono was actually available in store from last Thursday (September 4). The reason for the delay in posting these photos is that we couldn’t physically get to the shop we’d ordered ours from (the fab Redeye Records in Sydney) until today….a frustrating four-day wait!

Once removed from its protective packaging there’s a printed cardboard slip-cover which wraps around the box. Here’s the front:Beatles Mono Box7

And here’s the rear of the slip-cover:Beatles Mono Box8

Slip it off and here’s what you see on the front of the actual box itself:Beatles Mono Box9

FYI on the rear of the box is a sliced Apple logo: Beatles Mono Box10

The Mono box is exactly the same size as the Stereo box from 2012. If they are sitting side-by-side on a shelf they are pigeon pairs – one black, one white: Beatles Mono Box30Beatles Mono Box 31

No need to go into hugely great detail about this set as there has already been a very early “unboxing” video released by Pete Nash of the Beatles Fan Club Magazine. That video is comprehensive and well worth a look, but here are a few photos of some of the detail contained in the packaging you might be interested in seeing – things that Pete Nash doesn’t show up close:Beatles Mono Box11 Beatles Mono Box12

First this out is the beautiful, specially produced hard-cover book (still sealed in its heat- shrink):Beatles Mono Box13

Of course first album out is Please Please Me:Beatles Mono Box14Beatles Mono Box16

(Click on images to see a larger versions)

Each album (except the triple LP Mono Masters) is in a re-sealable clear plastic sleeve. This is different to the Stereo box where each LP was in heat-shrink plastic which has to be cut open to get to the cover and the record inside.

Here’s some of the detail in the printing and sleeve construction – all exactly faithful to the way this would have looked in 1963:Beatles Mono Box15

All printing and pressing of the box set is done by Optimal Media, based in the town of Robel in Germany. It has to be said that the quality and attention to detail is absolutely first-rate. The cardboard used for the covers is thick, and the 180g vinyl feels chunky and solid in your hands.

Each LP comes with individual 2014 insert cards, complete with mastering notes specific to each title:Beatles Mono Box17 Beatles Mono Box18 Beatles Mono Box19

All the labels are authentic reproductions of what the originals would have looked like at the time of release:Beatles Mono Box20 Beatles Mono Box21

Magical Mystery Tour has the original booklet pasted inside the gatefold cover; Sgt Pepper is a gatefold with the cut-out sheet and a replica of the psychedelic pink inner sleeve; and the White Album is a top-loader, with The BEATLES embossed on the front, a limited edition number stamp, poster, four photos, and black inner sleeves – just like the 1968 originals:
Beatles Mono Box22 Beatles Mono Box23

Beatles Mono Box24 Beatles Mono Box25Last album out of the box is the Mono Masters triple LP, containing all the singles and B-sides not captured on any of the original albums:Beatles Mono Box26 Beatles Mono Box27A reader has requested we publish some shots of the record spines. Here they are – and yes, that is the way that Sgt Pepper is printed. It looks upside down, but that’s also faithful to they way the original LPs were presented: Beatles Mono Box32

Beatles Mono Box33There are only two bar-codes to be seen. One on the rear of the Mono Masters, and one on the outer slipcase for the box set:

Beatles Mono Box28 Beatles Mono Box29

(Click on images to see larger versions)

There’s a very interesting Billboard magazine article in which it is clear that these LPs are not “sanitised” versions of the mono releases like the mono CDs were all the clicks and pops and studio mistakes removed:

‘Five years after the Beatles mono recordings were released on CD, Capitol Records and Universal Music are fostering the notion that to hear the Beatles music the way John, Paul, George and Ringo did in the 1960s, a mono LP is mandatory listening….The mono CDs, which were cleaned up and re-EQ’d in a way that did not occur with the new set of LPs, “was an attempt to give the history its day in the sun,” said project supervisor Guy Hayden. “There was no hurry and, in true Beatles fashion, if you can do it better, you do it again,” says Sean Magee, an Abbey Road-trained engineer who oversaw the mastering of the albums.’

For a more in-depth review from a sound quality perspective have a look at this article from the audiophile magazine The Absolute Sound. Reviewer Neil Gader steps through a listen to of each album. As he says, “Spoiler alert: Wow!”.

There is also a great set of reviews of the sound at Analog Planet.

And who could have resisted this invitation to hear the Mono LPs launched at a function held in the actual place where these masterpieces were recorded – Abbey Road’s famed Studio 2:beatles-mono-sidebar

Apple Records, Universal Music and Mojo magazine hosted a once-in-a-lifetime gathering for a select few at Abbey Road in London last week. Not only did the lucky audience get to listen to tracks from the new records in-situ on a £300,000 sound system (that’s A$522,000!), but also to hear a panel of distinguished guests discuss how the group recorded and mixed their songs. Read more here.

The Beatles Australian 20th Anniversary Singles Collection

It’s funny how Beatles records can end up wandering the earth. I just brought this thirty-four disc box set of Australian singles from a guy in France. It was made here in Australia – and now it has returned home after a long journey and a long time away…

It’s the 1982 release The Beatles Australian 20th Anniversary Singles Collection. They are all housed in a maroon coloured carboard box:

Beatles34 box1

As you can see, mine has been quite faded on the front and sides from exposure to the sun. It has the catalogue number AB34 stamped on the side:

Beatles34 box2

Here’s the rear of the box showing the deeper maroon colour which is closer to how it would have originally looked:

Beatles34 box3

The original box colour is more like this one:

Beatles34 BOX

Inside there are 34 singles, plus a six-page insert with the details of each single:

Beatles34 booklet1Beatles34 booklet3Beatles34 Booklet4Beatles34 booklet5

Despite the slightly beat-up outer box (it is faded, has a sticker mark on the front, and had some split seams on the lid – which I have repaired) the singles inside are in VG to EX condition. Each single comes in a unique (but quite flimsy) paper picture sleeve, and each one features different photographs (both front and rear) taken during the Beatles 1964 tour of Australia and New Zealand. I won’t show all thirty four (!) but here are just three favourites, front and back:

Beatles34 Please1Beatles34 Please2Beatles34 Komm1Beatles34 Komm2Beatles34 Ob-La1Beatles34 Ob-La2

To see the complete set of covers visit the wonderful beatlesaustralia.com and click on each catalogue number to view the cover plus the labels.

Each single in my box set is on the black and silver Parlophone label, except for two (Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da/While My Guitar Gently Weeps and The Ballad of John and Yoko/Old Brown Shoe), which are on the Apple label – green on one side and cut on the other:

Beatles 34 ParloBeatles34 Apple1Beatles34 Apple2

However, I notice on the beatlesaustralia.com site that all the singles they show, including the two I have on Apple (A8693 and A8793), are on the black and silver Parlophone label. An interesting variation….

Beatles34 BOX2

Beatles 2012 Remastered Vinyl – Released (First Pictures)

Is Australia the very first country to see the new Beatles Remastered Stereo Vinyl Box Set delivered?

The new records aren’t due for release in the UK and the USA until next week (12 and 13 November respectively). However, today I got a call from my local record store in Sydney saying “Come on in – your order for the Beatles box set is ready for collection today“.  (That’s Thursday, 8 November)

Naturally I high-tailed it down there – and here are the first pictures of it being unpacked. It comes in a big protective outer box:

The large sticker declaring the contents is placed on both sides of the box:

The two shipping labels on the side. Both say “Deliver Thursday”:

 

When you open the box you see what looks like another box-within-a-box:

It is held in place by two thick white foam inserts that you usually see in packaging for large electrical goods like TV’s, etc.  At this point I should say this package is incredibly heavy. You actually have to lie it on its side to slide it out:

What initially looked like an inner box is actually a thick brown cardboard wrap around the main package (above). Once you take it off you see this:

It’s just like the Beatles Remastered Stereo CD box released in 2009. There’s a thin cardboard outer sleeve around the record box itself. As you can see above it has “The Beatles” and an Apple logo printed on the front. This is what’s printed on the rear:

The outer sleeve slides off to reveal the main, lidded box:

Opening the lid – there are two pieces of black foam and two large moisture absorbing packs:

The book and all the LPs are completely sealed in heat-shrink plastic:

“Let It Be” (below) has the green Apple on the rear:

The book is really heavy and looks amazing – even in its heat-shrink wrap:

It has black-edged pages:

One side of the outer sleeve has the record and book edges printed on it. I guess that’s so it’ll look good when sitting on a shelf with that edge facing out:

Well, that’s about it for now. Hope you enjoyed this. Haven’t had time to open up any of the records or the book. Just wanted to get this up quickly for all to have sneak peek at the new Beatles Remastered Stereo Vinyl Box Set. 

(Click on images to see larger versions)

Beatles Vinyl Remasters – New Promo Video

Thanks to Beatles Blog  reader scub75 for sending in the link to a brand new promo video for the soon-to-be released Beatles vinyl remasters. He says:

“Finally they’ve released the video of the vinyl remasters. This was posted on the official YouTube page of Norway EMI. I cannot wait for the release date to have my box set!”

If you look closely it confirms a lot of new details – including that the record labels will be accurate to the original time at which they would have been released, and that the book will be quite lavish with special printing techniques used.

For more see the official Beatles site.  It all comes out on November 12.

Where “Made in the EU” Vinyl Might Be Pressed

These days a lot of Paul McCartney’s and the Beatles vinyl LP’s and CD’s have the term “Manufactured in the EU” or “Printed in the EU” on the back cover – even some that are for sale in the US. Here are just a couple of recent vinyl examples from my collection:

(Rear of LP cover – click to enlarge)

And titles in the McCartney Archive series including:

(Rear of LP cover – click to enlarge)

There are CD examples as well (though some of these do say “Manufactured in the USA”). This means these albums are being pressed (and probably in quite large quantities) somewhere in a European Union country. Many might think that means Britain, Germany, Holland, or maybe even France where they have a rich tradition of pressing good quality vinyl and are geared up to do so.

But then again, maybe not….

I’ve had an email from Russian Beatles collector Andrey. Remember back to Record Store Day earlier this year when Paul McCartney, as part of the publicity in the lead-up to the “Ram” Archives Series reissues, released a limited-edition 45 vinyl single of the song “Another Day“?

This was a collectors item reproduction single (including a nice picture sleeve) especially made for Record Store Day. “Another Day” was a song which was recorded during the “Ram” sessions. However it didn’t come out on the original “Ram” album . It was only ever issued as a single and was a huge worldwide hit.  The RSD release from earlier this year looks like this:

Well, Andrey bought that 2012 RSD “Another Day” single from a Russian internet shop.  The interesting thing is that while the small print on the rear of the paper sleeve states (as it does around the world) that the paper sleeve was “Printed in the USA”, one of the two stickers on the back of Andrey’s copy says that the vinyl record itself was actually manufactured in the Czech Republic by a company called GZ Digital Media.

The rear cover of Andrey’s copy looks like this:

And here’s a close up of that sticker:

(click on images to see larger versions)

If you go to the GZ Digital Media website you’ll discover that they’re a well-established and very professional outfit clearly geared up to do high-quality vinyl and CD pressing runs in large numbers if need be. The company’s vinyl “Products” page lists everything from mastering through to the production of 7″, 10″ and 12″ vinyl; shaped and coloured vinyl; and they even do the printing of covers and production of box sets if required.

That got me thinking about some other releases I have with “Printed in the EU” on the back.  The Beatles vinyl editions of “1” and “Love” for instance:

(Rear of LP cover – click to enlarge)

Is GZ Digital Media in the Czech Republic the plant where these were manufactured too?  Could be.

One of the articles I read about the forthcoming box set of re-mastered Beatles vinyl stated that one of the big logistical challenges Apple faced in planning the project was to find processing plant (or plants) that could physically cope with the sheer volume of discs needing to be pressed. They all have to be high quality and stockpiled in very big numbers for distribution. Perhaps the GZ  Digital Media plant is playing a part?

If you have any more info please join in the conversation.

Lots of Beatles Vinyl News – Part 1

Well the news is well and truly out, and as usual Wogblog had it pretty much ahead of of anybody else (see his posts here, here, here, here, and here). The guy is amazing.

Apple and EMI are about to formally announce that the entire digitally remastered Beatles stereo back-catalogue (released on CD back in 2009) is finally to be released on vinyl. The albums will be available individually, or collected in a limited edition (50,000 copies) box set:

Accompanying the box will be a new 252 page hardbound book written by Beatles historian Kevin Howlett, with dedicated chapters for every album a wealth of photos – many not used in the 2009 CD booklets:

The box set will contain all twelve studio albums, plus “Magical Mystery Tour” and “Past Masters – Volumes 1 & 2″, all sourced from the original master tapes:

Pressed using 180-gram, audiophile quality vinyl, the individual albums will also faithfully recreate the original artwork and come with the same extras as the original albums – for example the poster and four individual photographs with the “White Album”, and the cutout sheet and psychedelic inner sleave in “Sgt. Pepper”. As you can see below the labels (Parlophone and Apple) will be faithful to the originals too:

All-in-all this looks like it will have been worth the very long wait as a lot of time and effort has gone into preparing the vinyl for re-issue. Music Direct has some further technical information on the painstaking process of getting the vinyl properly and authentically pressed to an exacting standard.

The individual LPs and the box set and book will be released on November 12 in the UK and Europe, and on November 13 in the USA.

UPDATE:  The official Beatles page has just added an official announcement and a special Beatles vinyl page.

SEE ALSO:  Lots of Beatles Vinyl News – Part 2

Ltd Ed Beatles Target Singles Box Sets

I’ve got a feeling that these are set to become quite valuable Beatles collectors items.

Target stores in the USA recently sold an exclusive and official limited edition of four Beatles 45 rpm singles. Each record was packaged along with a Beatles t-shirt in a box. The four vinyl singles are newly-pressed and digitally remastered using the same mastertapes as the 2009 re-issues. This makes these four singles (along with the Record Store Day “Paperback Writer” single released last year) the only vinyl available so far from the recent Abbey Road Studios remasters of the Beatles back-catalogue.

They are “Can’t Buy Me Love/You Can’t Do That“:

Help!/I’m Down“:

Hello Goodbye/I Am The Walrus“:

And “Let It Be/You Know My Name Look Up The Number“:

According to sources only 10,000 copies of each single were pressed by Capitol Records – very small numbers by Beatles standards. And only ever sold in Target stores in the United States:

All the vinyl singles have Capitol Records labels, except for “Let It Be” which is on the Apple Records label – just as it would have been back in 1970 when it first came out. The singles look like the original issues except that Sony/ATV is listed as the music publisher. The picture sleeves are in a thicker cardboard than the paper ones that were originally were issued. The contents of each box, deatiling the cover, the labels, and the enclosed t-shirt design are pictured on the rear of each package:

You can see from the packaging that these releases are linked closely to the recent re-issue  of the Beatles “1” CD, which has been released in digitally remastered form. Hence the familiar red and yellow theme and the prominent “1” logos on each box.

What do you think? Valuable collectors item of the future?

See also Steve Marinucci’s Beatles Examiner and the Beatles Target Ltd Release Singles Part 2.