Beatles in Mono – Vinyl Releases Officially Announced

Beatles in Mono2The official Beatles site has today announced that, at long last, there will be a 14-LP box set of the mono vinyl releases.

This has been on the cards since the stereo and mono CD’s were remastered in 2009, and the stereo vinyl box set came out in 2012. Fans have been patiently waiting for the vinyl mono’s ever since…..Beatles in Mono

Here’s the official press release:

THE BEATLES GET BACK TO MONO 

The Beatles’ original mono studio albums, remastered at Abbey Road directly from the analogue masters for vinyl release on 180-Gram LPs will be available on September 8, individually and in a limited, 14-LP Boxed Edition with Hardbound Book.

London – June 12, 2014 – The Beatles in mono: This is how most listeners first heard the group in the 1960s, when mono was the predominant audio format. Up until 1968, each Beatles album was given a unique mono and stereo mix, but the group always regarded the mono as primary.

On September 8 (September 9 in North America), The Beatles’ nine U.K. albums, the American-compiled Magical Mystery Tour, and the Mono Masters collection of non-album tracks will be released in mono on 180-gram vinyl LPs with faithfully replicated artwork. Newly mastered from the analogue master tapes, each album will be available both individually and within a lavish, limited 14-LP boxed edition, The Beatles In Mono, which also includes a 108-page hardbound book.

In an audiophile-minded undertaking, The Beatles’ acclaimed mono albums have been newly mastered for vinyl from quarter-inch master tapes at Abbey Road Studios by GRAMMY®-winning engineer Sean Magee and GRAMMY®-winning mastering supervisor Steve Berkowitz. While The Beatles In Mono CD boxed set released in 2009 was created from digital remasters, for this new vinyl project, Magee and Berkowitz cut the records without using any digital technology. Instead, they employed the same procedures used in the 1960s, guided by the original albums and by detailed transfer notes made by the original cutting engineers.

Working in the same room at Abbey Road where most of The Beatles’ albums were initially cut, the pair first dedicated weeks to concentrated listening, fastidiously comparing the master tapes with first pressings of the mono records made in the 1960s. Using a rigorously tested Studer A80 machine to play back the precious tapes, the new vinyl was cut on a 1980s-era VMS80 lathe.

Manufactured for the world at Optimal Media in Germany, The Beatles’ albums are presented in their original glory, both sonically and in their packaging. The boxed collection’s exclusive 12-inch by 12-inch hardbound book features new essays and a detailed history of the mastering process by award-winning radio producer and author Kevin Howlett. The book is illustrated with many rare studio photos of The Beatles, fascinating archive documents, and articles and advertisements sourced from 1960s publications.Beatles in Mono covers

The Beatles In Mono: Available individually and collected in a limited 14-LP boxed edition, accompanied by an exclusive 108-page hardbound book.

Please Please Me
With The Beatles
A Hard Day’s Night
Beatles For Sale
Help!
Rubber Soul
Revolver
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Magical Mystery Tour
The Beatles (2-LP)
Mono Masters (3-LP)

Beatles Target Ltd Release Singles – Part 2

Here’s some more on the limited edition Beatles 45 and tee-shirt packs only available at Target stores in the US.

Some folks have been posting more information and pictures at the Steve Hoffman Music Forums – worth checking out for Beatles information and updates from time-to-time.

Someone put up a photo of the way the boxed sets are displayed in the store – usually at the end of an aisle like this:

As my copies are sealed and will probably stay that way I was interested to see some label images of the records inside:

Just a quick reminder about what we are talking about here:

And here are the copyright and other details on the bottom of one of the boxes – which I forgot to include on my earlier post. This one is for “Hello Goodbye”:

(If you’d like to see this slightly larger just click on the image above).

Beatles For Sale on Parlophone Records

For a leading tax attorney Bruce Spizer sure knows a lot about the Beatles.

He is something of a legend amongst Beatles collectors. His books about the record labels the band’s output has been released on are much sought-after and comprehensive. Now, there’s a new one. The New Orleans-based Spizer has just released “Beatles For Sale on Parlophone Records”:

In a cheeky collector-driven move the book is available in two different versions. You can order it with the Stereo version of “The Beatles For Sale” album on the cover, or you can get the Mono image. The contents of both books are the same inside though:

Here’s the rear cover:

When asked to compare this book to his previous titles, Spizer said, “This is by far the most comprehensive book I have ever done because it covers all of the songs released by the Beatles in the sixties. The U.K. singles, albums and EPs, all in one 444-page book. Like my other books, it is full of hundreds of images in either color or original black & white. It contains rarely seen British ads and promotional posters. Frank Daniels and I were able to track down tons of label variations that will please and frustrate the hard-core collectors.”

Surprisingly (according to Wikipedia), Bruce Spizer didn’t start collecting seriously until 1997 when he earned a large fee from the settlement of a lawsuit and decided to use some of the money to replace his childhood collection of Beatles LPs with a set of first edition albums. From that moment he was drawn into the world of collecting and has since written and self-published eight great books on the subject of the Beatles, their records and record labels.

In case you think you’ve never heard of him, you may already have some of his work in your collection if you own this CD box set:

Bruce wrote the essay contained in the booklet which came with “The Beatles Capitol Albums Volume 2”. The four-CD box set contains stereo and mono versions of the Beatles albums released by Capitol in 1965.  Spizer also served as a consultant to Capitol Records for both Volumes 1 and 2 in the series.

Bruce Spizer’s website is beatle.net and there is a lot more about all his books there.

Japanese Beatles EP Box Set

It must have been 27 years ago. It was a chance visit to a local record shop in Forestville, a northern suburb of Sydney, Australia.

Back then “record” stores were just that. They sold vinyl records. However, at the time many were in a state of transition. Compact Discs had just come out and the writing was very much on the wall for the humble vinyl record. At the time this record shop was in the process of getting rid of it’s vinyl, settling into the retailing of CD’s, and transitioning to become a video movie hire shop – on the way out of music all together.

I walked in for a look around and saw this small box set on one of the shelves:

Box set – The Beatles E.P.’s Collection

It was sitting alone. Catalogue number: Odeon Mono EAS-30013-26.

You had the definite feeling that it had been on that shelf quite some time….had not sold…and the owners were definitely keen to shift it. I took it down and noticed it didn’t have a price sticker on it. I also noticed that amongst the individual vinyl singles they still had displayed that they’d opened at least one other similar box set to break up the contents and sell the EP records it contained individually.

I walked up to the counter and asked “How much is this one?”, holding up the box set. “You can have it for A$25.00”, said the guy behind the counter. Now, back then it wasn’t dirt cheap, but it was cheap for the quality of this mint, red vinyl Japanese copy of the entire Beatles Extended Play vinyl discs. I bought it.

What you see here is that same box set from all those years ago.

Beatles E.P.’s Collection – box spine

This Japanese release is the same as the U.K. set, except that all fifteen records inside are pressed on red vinyl and the two-record Magical Mystery Tour is in mono instead of stereo. All discs in fact are mono – except The Inner Light, which is in stereo.

The Beatles E.P.’s Collection – lid opening

Each of the fifteen EP records inside come with plastic covers:

All the discs have plastic covers

Another interesting thing is that these discs play at 33 and 1/3 r.p.m, not the usual 45 r.p.m. There’s a paper sheet inside (in Japanese) with some information about the release:

Beatles E.P.’s – paper insert sheet

The famed 2-record EP Magical Mystery Tour comes complete with the gatefold and booklet just like the original, and as already mentioned, is in mono:

Mono Japanese Magical Mystery Tour

And all the discs come pressed in a delicious-looking transparent red vinyl, and all with the original cover artwork:

The lovely red vinyl “Nowhere Man” EP

 Note the “33and 1/3 r.p.m.” on the left-hand side of the label.

The red vinyl again – and each disc has plastic inner sleeves

Apparently this Japanese red vinyl edition also came out in a black vinyl edition.

Beatles Stereo Remasters and USB Unboxing

There seems to be a LOT of interest in the unboxing pictures I posted of me opening up the Beatles In Mono remasters.

There’s also been a steady stream of people looking at the pics of the packaging for the Beatles “Apple” USB posted a while back.

So that left the Beatles Stereo Remastered box set still to do as an “unboxing”.

Instead of me doing it in still photos, I thought I’d have a quick look around on YouTube to see if there was a decent video example of the Stereo Box set being opened so you can see what it contains, and also to see if there was anything on the little Beatles USB that contains all the CD remasters in both MP3 and FLAC 24-bit quality, plus all the mini documentaries and the artwork for each album.

Turns out there is one video that does both the Stereo Box and a really detailed look at the packaging for the USB and the little Apple USB itself. Two for the price of one:

In searching for these I also found a guy who shows the user interface for the USB once it is plugged into your computer. You get to see what he’s seeing as he moves around the menus:

Thanks to Ian C. Rogers and zenkenobi.

Stereo/Mono Remastered – Revisited

In an earlier post I included an audio extract from a US National Public Radio podcast featuring Beatles historian and writer Kevin Howlett. He was talking about some of the fascinating differences between the  Stereo and Mono versions of the Beatles Remastered CDs.

Then the  other day I stumbled across this website where a guy called Jake Brown has gone to a lot of trouble to detail a lot more.  He’s spent time cutting together actual audio examples and palcing them side-by-side so we can all quickly hear what differences are. He’s also detailed in text form some other variations.  Have a read and a listen.  Thanks Jake!

Beatles Remastering Process & Mono v Stereo – Discussion

In my last post I was bemoaning the fact that the official Beatles radio special released to promote the new Remastered discs didn’t go into very much detail at all about the actual process of remastering, nor the differences between the Stereo and the Mono box versions.

Well, just after that I discovered the sort of detail I was looking for in a podcast from America.

It’s a weekly show called All Songs Considered. Produced by the National Public Radio network (NPR), the program looks at all aspects of newly released music – and they have over the last few weeks (perhaps understandably) run a couple of shows about the latest Beatles releases.

One of them features a lengthy (22 mins 32 secs) and very interesting interview with Beatles historian and writer Kevin Howlett.

Howlett is the man responsible for all the words in the new booklets that accompany the new remastered stereo discs, and he wrote the essay that appears in the booklet that can be found in the Mono box set.

So, he’s an insider who knows what he’s talking about!  The All Songs Considered podcast goes into quite a lot of detail and gives frequent audio examples of the remastering process AND the difference between the stereo and mono versions.

Here’s Kevin Howlett talking specifically about the differences between mono and stereo in Sgt Pepper – an album he says was made to be heard in MONO:

Beatles historian Kevin Howlett there talking to NPR’s Bob Boilen.

If you’d like to hear the whole NPR podcast click here.