Remastered Beatles CD's

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The Lounge What is on Your Mind? Remastered Beatles CD's
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Old 11-01-2009
Remastered Beatles CD's

I assume that anyone who might care already knows that The Beatles catalog has been remastered and is currently available in two boxsets, one in Mono and the other in Stereo. I have both boxsets. I also have several other sets of Beatles CD's including the original official issues and several bootleg series. I even still have several vinyl albums.

I must give very high marks to the packaging. The mono's are like tiny replicas of the original vinyl releases including inserts for the white album and Sgt Pepper. The Stereo versions are mostly newly created trifolds with some new booklets. The Stereo boxset is twice the size of the Mono boxset. Some attention was paid to the labels on the actual CD's as well. The earlier albums have Parlophone labels, and the later albums have the green Apple label. One exception is Magical Mystery Tour which has the rainbow Capitol label. One fumble is with the Stereo Let It Be (there is no mono Let It Be). At least in the USA, Let It Be was released on vinyl with a red Apple label. The Russian bootlegs got this right. Too bad these official CD's did not. Still, as I said, very high marks for packaging.

Extra's? Well here we have a problem. A very few extras are present and this suggests that the folks who developed the sets must at least be acquainted with the concept. But the extras are pathetic. It would have been better to have no extras at all. The only real extras are some very short videos on the Stereo CD's. We need to use a computer to view them. But they have been all consolidated onto a DVD that is available with the Stereo boxset. The best extras I have encountered are on the Purple Chick bootlegs, but PC went too far with some of them. I am disappointed with the lack of extras on these new remasters

Nothing was remixed on these sets, they were simply remastered. The original official CD's had mono only versions of the first 4 albums. This decision was made by George Martin. Then Sir George made a second contribution to the original CD releases: he remixed Help and Rubber Soul. Opinions can vary, but my opinion is that he ruined the first 6 albums with this meddling. Here, the first 4 stereo CD's are the actual stereo. Help and Rubber Soul are still the stupid remixes. But the original Stereo mixes are on the Mono CD's. (Don't ask me why.) So by buying both boxsets, I now have great Stereo versions of the first 6 albums. The rest of the albums sound a little bit better than the original CD's, but is the first 6 that are really the reason to buy these sets. Even the remastering missed some opportunities though. Most high end CD players can display the song title if it is stored on the CD because CD's have a litle Table of Contents. These CD's only show up as "Track 1", etc. They couldn't be bothered to type in the name of the tracks during the mastering process. And why are they only on CD? Why not a special set on SACD or even Blu-Ray Audio? This would have been a great job in 1987, but in 2009, it is a pedestrian effort.

Overall I give the sets a C grade compared to the original set which gets an F. They took a step in the right direction but they still have a ways to go.

As I said this my opinion. I would be interested if anyone else has a different view.
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