The Beatles Remastered:Are you Buying?

neil.gader -- Thu, 08/20/2009 - 09:54

Is anyone planning on purchasing the new remastered Beatles box sets when they arrive 09/09/09? Mono or Stereo? Is there a particular album you're esp. excited about? And finally is anyone going to be running direct A/B comparisons with the vintage vinyl? Looking forward to hearing from one and all.

Michael Scarpitti (not verified) -- Wed, 11/25/2009 - 14:05

Well where is that?

Mike Scarpitti (not verified) -- Wed, 10/07/2009 - 11:22

Well I just picked up the remastered Sgt. Peppers and it's horrid. Not mediocre mind you, HORRID! Over-exaggerated treble, no bass...sounds like RIAA equalization was omitted. I owned Parlophone and Dutch EMI pressings of the LP, so I know what it sounded like. It's a travesty...

MikeScarpitti (not verified) -- Wed, 10/07/2009 - 11:29

Well I just picked up the remastered Sgt. Peppers and it's horrid. Not mediocre mind you, HORRID! Over-exaggerated treble, no bass...sounds like RIAA equalization was omitted. I owned Parlophone and Dutch EMI pressings of the LP, so I know what it sounded like. It's a travesty...

mecolwell -- Wed, 10/07/2009 - 15:20

Hmmm, Mike...
This is not the impression I got when listening to it, at all.
I still own the original pressing Parlophone LP, and have compared them both, and I think the bass is more upfront on the CD, and sounds a bit more like Paul's Ric and Hofner.
The mono Pepper CD sounds a slight bit flat, like Neil stated, but overall they both sound quite good to me.
Hmmm? What are you listening on?


Michael Scarpitti (not verified) -- Wed, 11/25/2009 - 14:07

To VinylGuy:

No, something is dreadfully wrong with the Sgt. Peppers. I am deeply and bitterly disappointed, and extremely angry. It sounds nothing at all like the British Parlophone LP. It is shrill and piercing.

Michael Scarpitti (not verified) -- Wed, 11/25/2009 - 14:14


My equipment includes Sony 508 ESD player, Denon POA-1500 power amp, Stax Lambda headphones, Sony MDR-V-7 headphones, Yamaha NS-1000M speakers, Sony MZ-R50 minidisc player, Sony MDR-D77 portable headphones.

All good stuff, I think you'd agree.

Michael Scarpitti (not verified) -- Wed, 11/25/2009 - 14:22


What is "Paul's Ric and Hofner"?

prepress -- Fri, 11/27/2009 - 07:14

It's the brand of bass Paul plays, though I thought it was "Hofner." Maybe there's confusion with "Rickenbacker," which is the brand played by Chris Squire of Yes. That one has a more trebly sound.

firedog -- Wed, 11/04/2009 - 06:34

As we suspected, Beatles stereo remasters to be released in digital format on Apple usb device for Christmas.

And official confirmation that vinyl re-issues of the new 2009 stereo remasters are in the offing (with changes for vinyl).

The marketing machine rolls on!

neil.gader -- Wed, 11/04/2009 - 10:00

Wow, thanks for these links! and you're right, this is some kind of machine and we will never see its like again.

Neil Gader Associate Editor The Absolute Sound

firedog -- Wed, 11/04/2009 - 10:24

correct link for vinyl:

Michael Scarpitti (not verified) -- Mon, 11/23/2009 - 13:02

Sorry to say, I am extremely disappointed with Sgt. Pepper's remaster. It is shrill and piercing. I think they forgot to decode the Dolby-A. It's appallingly bad.
And before you ask, I have good equipment. Yamaha NS-1000M speakers, Denon POA-1500 Mk II power amp, Stax Lambda headphones, etc.

Sam -- Wed, 11/25/2009 - 14:27

Are most all recordings of old/new recorded in 176/24 or 192/24 High resolution or only some of them? What are master tapes? And any chance these old recordings like the Beatles may be released in high resolution downloads like the reference recordings HRx DVD or something more than CD resolution of 44.1/16? I understand the concept of HRx but how do you make something recorded 40 or 50 years ago and improve on it?

firedog -- Thu, 11/26/2009 - 02:30

The Beatles master track recordings were transferred to 192/24. You don't actually improve old recordings, but the high resolution of the transfer, and the high resolution of modern playback can reveal more of the sound of the master tape.

In short, you can hear detail/elements that were buried previously on CD/LP releases.

In addition, intelligent equalization can further improve the perceived sound by making it sound better for human ears. (And don't forget - the original recordings also underwent equalization for the LP format).

Finally the recordings could be remixed (that hasn't been done yet), which could further "improve" the sound.

We haven't heard of high resolution releases of the recordings yet. But since they are being released in FLAC and mp3 (only from Apple on flash drive format) and on LP (soon?), we can be pretty sure they will be released in hi-res as soon as Apple feels there is a way to maximize profit there.

The question then is: will the hi-res have a remix or not (I doubt it).

I think almost all transfers to digital these days are done in hi-res of some type. That doesn't necessarily mean that the transfer is done with care or that the end result sounds good. Hi-res and transfer to CD can also sound spectacularly bad.

prepress -- Fri, 11/27/2009 - 07:08

 i have all 13 British albums, some on LP and others on CD (the late-80s ones). But after reading some of this thread, I may go back and give my CDs a careful listen and perhaps replace them with LPs or the new CDs (which can be purchased individually also). Having upgraded my CD playback, they may sound different to me now, and not to my liking.

mecolwell -- Fri, 11/27/2009 - 13:49

Lots of stuff to discuss.
First, my reference to Paul's "Hofner" and "Ric": the "Ric" is his Rickenbacher, which he used as well as his Hofner, on the Pepper sessions. They both have distinctive sounds, apart from each other, the Ric(kenbacher) having a unique sound, more punchy and bright, while the Hofner a more "earthy", woody", and acoustic signature.
Michael: You are using great equipment for playback, so I can't understand the "shrill" of Pepper.
I have extensively compared it to my original Parlophone LP, and it sounds quite good on my Cambridge Audio 640cv2 CD player, with a tubed JoLida power amp, on my B&W CDM-7NT speakers. 
BTW, Dolby A was not used in 1967, on any of the 4 track recordings, or subsequent reductions of "Pepper".
The "eq for the LP format" was not applied to the original analog masters, only for transfer to LP. 196/24 should be a really good representation of the analog master tapes, if transferred correctly, and many pains were taken to insure that, (and 4 years, to boot), and I'd like to hear the high-res version, as we all know a "redbook" CD is not as good as that. We could only hope for a Blu-ray HD lossless presentation, but not too likely.
As always,


prepress -- Sat, 11/28/2009 - 07:03

I didn't know Paul used different basses on that album. Of course, I wasn't paying attention to details like that before, either. Thanks for the tidbit.

Mike Scarpitti (not verified) -- Mon, 11/30/2009 - 10:51


Nope, not even close. I am appalled, disgusted, and very, very angry. According to what I have read, Dolby A was used on Sgt. Pepper. It sounds like something was screwed up. If not that, perhaps the EQ of the playback system was different from that of the original. I know there are several EQ systems that have been used on tape recorders, IEC, etc.

Mike Scarpitti (not verified) -- Mon, 11/30/2009 - 11:08

According to this, Dolby A was used on Sgt. Pepper. I remember reading about it at the time too.


"James Guthrie: The first question was could all of the tapes be found? David (Gilmour) had told me that earlier generation multitrack tapes existed for each song. I was determined to use those tapes.

When recording the album, the band had used a similar technique to that used by The Beatles during the Sgt. Pepper sessions. Apparently The Beatles would fill a 4-track tape and then combine, or pre-mix those elements to one or two tracks of a second 4-track machine, giving themselves more free tracks to work on. This technique was applied to Dark Side but with two 16-track tape machines. The original, non-Dolby, recordings were made and then the drums were pre-mixed to a stereo pair, keyboards were combined, and vocals were bounced together to a new Dolby ‘A’ tape. The original stereo mix of the album came from this ‘dub’ reel, which contained a combination of first and second-generation elements. The drawback was that the album was recorded before the days of time code and multiple tape machine lock-ups. "


Mike Scarpitti (not verified) -- Mon, 11/30/2009 - 11:39

"The sounds, styles and visual art of Sergeant Pepper's ushered in the psychedelic era, with the debut of songs like "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" and the transcendental "A Day in the Life"… which everyone comparing notes (and passing around other things), searching for hidden meanings.
The combined musical craftsmanship of the Fab Four and George Martin was also painstakingly translated to vinyl. Over the three previous years, the Beatles totally dominated the 45 singles market… by putting the Devil in the details, they also carefully crafted together songs in a way that gave birth to a new market for albums amongst a younger audience. In ’67, Sergeant Pepper raised the bar on public expectations for concept albums that helped pave the way for future projects like “Dark Side of the Moon” and “The Alan Parsons Project”.
On June 1st, 1987, 20 years to the day after it originally came out, the remastered CD version of "Sergeant Pepper's" was released. It contained two bonus tracks - a two-second burst of laughter and gibberish that was only included on the album’s European version, as well as a final high frequency note that could only be heard by dogs.
Perhaps one of the more monumental influences of this event was its effect on the role of the musician in the studio. No longer content to stay on “the other side of the glass”, they no longer feared the white-coated “engineer” and began to experiment with how the studio’s technology and techniques can effect the outcome of a recording. In effect, the process of recording had become a musical instrument.
Bouncing tracks back and forth between two Studer J37s that were equipped with newly developed Dolby Noise Reduction® units, the Beatles and George Martin’s set the tone for an era in music and production that, even today, resonates in our public consciousness as one of the most influential popular music albums of all time."


mecolwell -- Tue, 12/08/2009 - 09:32

Mike: I e-mailed Abbey Road Studios and actually got a response from Alan Rouse, the engineer in charge of the remasters, and he states "Dolby A was not used on any Beatle recording, either on the multi-tracks, or on any subsequent mixdowns". Straight from the source!


firedog -- Tue, 12/08/2009 - 10:20

E-mailing Abbey Road studios - brilliant. That they took it seriously and gave you an authoritative answer - amazing!


neil.gader -- Tue, 12/08/2009 - 10:35

Fabulous! As my father's father would say, "that's using your head for something other than a hatrack" Way to go! Also, there may be a lot of opinions and issues to discuss regarding these remasters but in my view tonal abnormalities like those which would be incurred by ignoring Dolby processing would be huge. Clearly the tonal balance of these discs is quite faithful to previous releases.

Neil Gader Associate Editor The Absolute Sound

mecolwell -- Tue, 12/08/2009 - 15:54

Hi,Neil, Firedog.
Yes, I was quite surprised when I got the response. I'll forward it to you, Neil, when I find your e-mail address. I commented how I really appreciated the 4 year project. I agree with you, they do sound mostly like the Parlophones, to these old ears. I listened to "Run For Your Life" the other day, and heard the pop, at the end of the bridge, when someone bumped a stand, on the Parlophone, but it was gone on the Remaster, and sounded great.


mecolwell -- Sat, 11/28/2009 - 12:27

Reading Geoeff Emerick's book "Here There And Everywhere..My LIfe Recording The Beatles", tells us, that on "Pepper", Paul added his final bass lines last, usually sitting in the studio alone  all night getting the bass to sound like a real instrument, not just part of the rhythym section. He prides himself on that sound. I wasn't there (duh!), but sounds to me like  "With A Little Help From MY Friends" has the punch of the Ric, and most of the other tracks have that distinctive Hollow Body Hofner acoustic sound, like the "Getting Better", later, especially on the new CD.
I listened to both the new CD and the original Parlophone LP, yesterday, critically, and I like elements of both, but the CD is not harsh at all, and the bass has a punch elusive to the LP, maybe due to the slight compression (very slight). Maybe it's the audio chain on the original LP's path...master--electronics to the cutter,  vs the new chain: master--today's ADC's at 196/24---  ProTools----electronics to the final CD master. Whatever, both sound really great to me, and I like them both.
Hmmm, a real "high-res" vinyl from the new  digital 196/24 master rather than "Redbook" CD? That sounds interesting.


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