Remastered Beatles Box Sets: First Look

Here is a sneak peek at the Beatles’ remastered box set to be released on September 9th, 2009. The original Beatles catalog has been digitally remastered for the first time. Each of the CDs is packaged with replicated original UK album art, including expanded booklets containing original and newly written liner notes and rare photos. For a limited period, each CD will also be embedded with a brief documentary film about the album. The collection comprises all 12 Beatles albums in stereo, with track listings and artwork as originally released in the UK, and ‘Magical Mystery Tour,’ which became part of The Beatles’ core catalogue when the CDs were first released in 1987. In addition, the collections ‘Past Masters Vol. I and II’ are now combined as one title, for a total of 14 titles over 16 discs. This will mark the first time that the first four Beatles albums will be available in stereo in their entirety on compact disc. These 14 albums, along with a DVD collection of the documentaries, will be available for purchase together in a stereo boxed set. Within each CD’s new packaging, booklets include detailed historical notes along with informative recording notes. With the exception of the ‘Past Masters’ set, newly produced mini-documentaries on the making of each album, directed by Bob Smeaton, are included as QuickTime files on each album. The documentaries contain archival footage, rare photographs and never-before-heard studio chat from The Beatles, offering a unique and very personal insight into the studio atmosphere.  No US pricing has been established for the box set.

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8 thoughts on “Remastered Beatles Box Sets: First Look

  1. mmdanziger says:

    i have a feeling of excitement about the new sound quality combined with a nauseous anticipation for a budget-busting price. apple knows we’ll pay up, suckers that we are.

  2. Dave says:

    Looking forward to them coming out. But before I buy them, I will definitely check out some samples on the internet that people are bound to post on share sites. My main source of concern is this ominous quote from liner note writer Kevin Howlett: “They sound louder than previous CD reissues.” Louder = dynamically compressed. Everyone’s doing it, but I had higher hopes for the Abbey Road team to rise above the ‘louder is better’ philosophy. Still, time will tell.

  3. MYN says:

    I really can’t wait to hear what other nuances the remastering was able to bring out in the tracks.

  4. Tom says:

    I bought both the Mono box and the Stereo boxsets today, and what I can’t figure out is why the mono White Album says ‘Made in Japan” on the discs?? Everything is exactly as it was first issued in the UK, right down to the fragile all black inner sleeves, and top opening cover. When everything is exactly as it was 1st pressed in the UK, why would the discs say on the label, Made in Japan??

    The amount of detail put into the Mono box is incredible. Even leaving the cd out of the sleeve, in their own rice paper sleeve (as a true collector would do). And the silk screening being true to the UK originals (to a degree) on releases, why would the silk screened disc info say Made in Japan, and not the UK?

    Hmmm, I just checked all of the discs in the Mono set, and they all say Made in Japan, but true to the original UK release right down to the matte paper used on the White Album poster, and laminated covers on everything as the UK released it.

    Maybe Japan pressed the Mono boxes? I know all of my first day early Beatles cd’s say made in Japan, as the USA had not set up pressing plants here yet.

    I can say that the attention to detail is much better on the Mono box, but not down to the point of first pressing UK Mono label detail. The Stereo box I think is meant for a much more mass distribution, and lacks the subtle and appreciated, “nice touches” that the Mono set is abundant with. But this is certainly reflected in the price. Tom

  5. Simon in BC says:

    “But before I buy them, I will definitely check out some samples on the internet that people are bound to post on share sites.”

    Then you will be listening to a version that has been compressed in MP3 format and you will not be able to hear the true sound of the remastered version. Same applies to anyone without a decent sound system. IPods and computer speakers are not going to do it for you.

    “My main source of concern is this ominous quote from liner note writer Kevin Howlett: “They sound louder than previous CD reissues.” Louder = dynamically compressed.”

    I just in the last hour read that this is not the case though I forget where thought!

  6. psikofunkster says:

    Hi somebody in the Uk could please tell me where are the stereo boxes made? made in?

  7. Paul Griggs says:

    THE BEATLES REMASTERED STEREO 2009

    I have just purchased the Beatles stereo remastered box set. I cherry picked a few of my favourite tracks first of all and began with my all time favourite “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. Superb, sent shivers down my spine, I then went to another favourite “Hey Bulldog” comparing it to the remixed version from Yellow Submarine. Very good but the remixed version from a few years ago sounds better. They hadn’t changed a great deal on the remixed version but set the vocals more central and it has more punch.

    My immediate thought when I heard that it was to be a remastering and not a remixing project was that this is a missed opportunity especially with the stereo mixes. It is well documented that in the case of the Beatles much more time was spent on mixing in mono and many of the “rushed” stereo mixes were quite bizarre. As the Beatles went to four track recording from “Hard Days Night” many of these could have been improved drastically, particularly with regard to stereo imaging, without taking anything away from how the tracks should sound.

    I like listening on my ipod, with improved head phones as the originals are not good, so next I transferred the whole lot on to my ipod. The albums in general sounded superb with the exception of some tracks on Help and Rubber Soul. They just sound different and as they are the result of 1987 remixes I feel a little bit of eighties technology may have crept in. For example, the vocals on “No Where Man” sound a little thin and it could be that it had been treated with some 1980s digital reverb, another track that sounds better on the remixed “Yellow Submarine” album. With this in mind it seems a bit odd that the original sixties stereo mixes of these two albums have been included in the mono box set where in general the people who buy them would be more into mono than stereo. The stereo fans are missing out, and it seems they have been put in the wrong box set. I would like to have these original mixes so does this mean I have to buy the mono box set or are they available separately. I have tried to shy away from the exploitation argument but there are a few little niggles that have occurred with the project that maybe wouldn’t have happened if Neil Aspinal had still been alive.

    With regard to the first two albums which were recorded on two track, I think the only way to listen to “Please Please Me” is in mono. Although the hard right and left of the vocals and backing doesn’t seem to be a problem even on head phones, the trouble is that plate reverb from the vocals is fed to the instrument channel and is quite heavy and a little disconcerting. This doesn’t happen on “With The Beatles” as this album was recorded with the vocals much drier and even on headphones sounds great. Once again can you buy a mono “Please Please Me” on its own.

    Minor gripes aside I feel in general, it’s been money well spent as most of the tracks sound superb both on speakers and head phones. The Beatles have been an important part of my life since 1963. I was fortunate to see them live on stage 10 times between 1963 and 1966 (the restraining order has now been lifted) and at sixty five years of age still feel passionate about their music, which has stood and continues to stand the test of time.

    PAUL GRIGGS 19th September 2009

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