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IBnotRich
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Beatles CD Collection

This is my first post here and I thought I would ask some help of the forum members and Stereophile staff.

I am interested in getting the Beatles collection on CD. However, I know there have been good versions and bad versions of the originals put on CD. I thought I would see if I could get a list of the Beatles titles that you have found to be of the highesst quality (and which titles to avoid).

If you would be willing to list the title, date published, publisher, etc. of the CDs you find to have 'done it right' so to speak, I would greatly appreciate it.

Jeff Wong
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

Hi IBnotRich - Welcome to the forums. I thought someone far more knowledgeable would be sure to pipe in, so, I refrained from replying. Since no one has answered you, I'll pitch in my 2 cents.

I don't think the Beatles have been done sonic justice on CD for the most part. The unified Parlophone EMI CDs are, generally speaking, quite harsh sounding, having been mastered in the early days of digital before dithering and other algorithms came into wide use to ameliorate the hardened, brittle sound of most CDs pressed before 1995.

It's my understanding that the relatively recent soundtrack CD for Yellow Submarine was remastered from original tapes, and is supposed to sound good (I don't own it, so can't say.) The compilation, Beatles 1, featuring 27 #1 singles (remastered by Peter Mew) was also done from original masters as I recall. This set has its fans (and critics as well, complaining of compression;) these tracks are still an improvement over the regular catalogue. A lot of people like Ted Jensen's mastering job on The Beatles: The Capitol Albums Vol.1 - Mikey Fremer loved them:

http://www.musicangle.com/album.php?id=268

On my system, I find them a little thin & bright sounding. I'm in total agreement with Mikey on the idiotic packaging, though. I also have to say I'm thrilled to have the set because these are the versions that I grew up with, that I thought would never see the light of day when the catalogue became unified on CD.

I have a 30th Anniversary Limited Edition of The Beatles (The White Album) in a clear slipcase with miniature cardboard reproduction album sleeve (including serial number) and it seems to have a more relaxed presentation than the regular unified edition.

These are a handful of legitimate releases that will serve the music better than the current standard catalogue that is available. I suspect we won't see a total overhaul of the catalogue until a few years from now, when the rights naturally revert to Paul McCartney, unless there's any truth to a rumour for EMI reissues in 2006. I wouldn't hold my breath, but, you never know.

There are more dubious CD releases circulating, supposedly of excellent sound quality, done by someone called Dr. Ebbetts. These CDs are made from the out-of-print Mobile Fidelity LPs of the Beatles catalogue. There are fans that swear these are the best available versions on CD. Given the transfer process is not unlike Mikey's experiments with the Continuum turntable, this isn't terribly surprising:

http://forum.stereophile.com/forum/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=January&Number=3141&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&fpart=2

I'm not sure if that was helpful, but, I tried. I didn't provide catalogue numbers for the legitimate releases, but, they should be easy to locate.

IBnotRich
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

Above post was me. Forgot to log in.

Jeff Wong
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

You're most welcome. Thanks for letting me know my post was helpful. You might also want to check out the 3 Anthology sets. I disagree with their choice to "Frankenstein" various takes to make complete tracks (it upsets the purist in me), but, there's some fun material there.

IBnotRich
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

I have the Beatles 1 CD. I like it, but it doesn't have all the songs I like on it. I want to get the full catalog eventually. Knowing that the rights will eventually return to Sir Paul makes me wonder if I should wait to see if it will finally be done full justice, or just jump in and do the best I can.

Jeff Wong
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

Some interesting thoughts here on the Beatles on CD:

http://www.geocities.com/joelcrowservo/stereomono.html

JoeE SP9
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

Like Jeff, I have waited to respond. I'm not that big of a Beatles fan. I only have 2, both on LP. They are Abbey Road and Sargeant Peppers.

bengrbm
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

Their Master's have been tied up in a lawsuits with EMI forever (this is also behind the lack of many movies on DVD), but at their recent trademark trial with Apple Computers, Neil Aspinall (head of Apple Records) mentioned in testimony that the whole catalog is finally being remastered, along with new booklets that are more like the albums. No details have been released beyond this, as far as I know, the only statement of this was at the trial that I've heard sofar.

My only concern is that George Martin, being hard of hearing, will not be overseeing the process, so hopefully Paul or Emerick, etc will be monitoring the affair. Their CDs are a real shame. I still love them though, they were done well the first time in a great studio, and this shines through the remaster abrasions - they're the Beatles after all...

CECE
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

there was only one Pepper.....what album do you have?

Buddha
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Re: Beatles CD Collection


Quote:
Their Master's have been tied up in a lawsuits with EMI forever (this is also behind the lack of many movies on DVD), but at their recent trademark trial with Apple Computers, Neil Aspinall (head of Apple Records) mentioned in testimony that the whole catalog is finally being remastered, along with new booklets that are more like the albums. No details have been released beyond this, as far as I know, the only statement of this was at the trial that I've heard sofar.

My only concern is that George Martin, being hard of hearing, will not be overseeing the process, so hopefully Paul or Emerick, etc will be monitoring the affair. Their CDs are a real shame. I still love them though, they were done well the first time in a great studio, and this shines through the remaster abrasions - they're the Beatles after all...

I'm on the same page.

I like The Beatles just fine, but I have stuck with vinyl for, lo, these many years, until they do proper transfers.

I agree, wait until they get their affairs in order and then shop.

This may be a good excuse to do some vinyl hunting and get a nice turntable!

Maybe grab a set of the MFSL's for yourself and really enjoy! They are pretty nice versions.

bengrbm
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

Well I am currently in a discussion with live in girlfriend about adding a good record player to our apt, which is not large. She's afraid it will turn our home into a pile of records within weeks so I've held off. She's probably right but whenever I visit someone with a turntable and a good copy of the White Album I get depressed. Anyone know of a good, reasonably priced, aesthetically pleasing vinyl player?

ohfourohnine
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

I've heard the Japanese vinyl pressing of Beatles #1, Jeff, but wasn't aware it was also on CD. The vinyl is sonically pretty good. Have you heard the CD?

Jeff Wong
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

Clay - I picked up the Beatles 1 CD when it came out (haven't heard the Japanese vinyl) and find it's mastered a bit loud... perhaps, it's a bit compressed like some critics have said... but, it has a good sense of transparency and depth on a track like "Love Me Do". The bass is full and rounded on "The Ballad of John and Yoko" like it is on the same track on the Imagine soundtrack, but, 1 has a wider spatial presentation and some better inner detail on the strummed acoustic guitars on that song. On the whole, I like these remastered versions better than any of the unified Parlophone editions.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

I have 1 on Cd as well I find it good. I guess that I have always felt that Beatles recordings were not necessarily "audiophile" quality (If I could really define that clearly). I find the panning of some instruments hard left or right a little disconcerting at times. To say that recording technique has gotten better since the late 60's is an understatement, but that does not make the music less important, especially where the Beatles are concerned.

I like The Band and Blood, Sweat, and Tears, and I do not go there for the sonics. The Band Rock of Ages 2 lp set is nice for a live recording.

I was listening to an old Creedence Cleawater lp (Cosmos Factory) the other day where the recording was just OK. The music speaks for itself. I'm sure if I would ante up the $30 for the new virgin vinyl I would think differently.

I was importing into my computer some lps just to get a sense of what it would take to do my entire collection (It is not happening I have decided due to the time it would take, but I gave it a try). In doing the transfer of Carole King Tapestry I found easily discernable sonic differences from two different tt set ups I have. My Rega P3 which I believe is more accurate and my Old Dual 502 which plays well but is slightly fuller in the upper bass and lower midrange. It also has higher platter noise. I am not surprised. MF's Continuum would be a great choice here (LOL).

Beatles 1 is interesting for how many tracks they got on one CD. There is bound to be something there for us all to like.

ohfourohnine
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

It looks as though you and I might define "audiophile quality" in similar ways, and that we might also agree that some music is lots of fun even though it is the antithesis of audiophile quality. George Martin's Beatles stuff (bless his heart) is so heavily processed as to make any reference to its audiophile merit laughable. The music, on the other hand, is irresistable. We buy it, we play it, and we sing along because we know all the words and every nuance of the arrangements.

My top contenders for the label of audiophile recordings are those with the simplest and most elegant approach to miking and all the other elements of engineering and production. JA's stuff qualifies, lots of the stuff coming out of Mapleshade does too, Some of the Rudy Van Gelder stuff, and so on. Those kinds of recordings make you glad you spent what you did on a revealing system.

Even so, that system probably gets more hours playing Billie Holiday, Armstrongs Hot Five, and other wonderful stuff where the musicians are victims rather than beneficiaries of the original recording technology.

We audiophiles are a goofy lot, aren't we.

Incidentally, be careful writing off some of your old vinyl to CD. It is a quick way to wind up with a new TT and cart. Although, if an excuse to do that sounds attractive, stay with it.

Cheers,

CECE
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

Too bad there is no musical value on MapleShadey. I got a few of them years ago, unlistenable. How bout' those whacky wires they try to sell? Cellophane insulation? For 120V line cord? Huh? Is that stuff UL listed? And of course they sell wood blocks with all kinds of magical powers. Another entertaining very funny book. I just love those free tweaks....some absurd stuff for sure. Like sit on the floor, speakers are made too high...HUH? Ear level according to them is not right!!! I guess some speaker desingers got it all wrong.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

I was never one to get into the Phono stage merry-go-round, but once I bought the Monolithic Sound from UnderwoodHiFi I knew I had been missing much over the years.

I know it is not an Acoustech or better, but at least you begin to understand that in dealing with Millivolts you must take some care in how you handle very low voltage.

There is much more to agonize over with TTs that with most other components. I am looking forward to owning MF TT set up DVD. I'll bet it will be great fun.

Check out the TTs from Acoustic Solid off the web site below. I got this as an email link.

Music Sounds

CECE
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

No actually handling HIGH VOLTAGE is where you better be more careful....30mV ain't gonna kill ya. 125V (technically NOT HV, 600V above is) will do ya in. 50kV will reach out and grab ya', been there, seen it. 1000V finds ya ZAP ZAP ARC...mV don't hurt.

Monty
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

Dup, I think Jim is talking about not messing up the tiny signal of a cartridge.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

Yes, Monty, I was but you can always count on dup to take something, anything to the rediculous.

I do seminars on lightning strikes at cell sites and how you protect your gear inside the buildings at the base of the site. When I used to rep LittelFuse we used to take customers to the factory and show them a molded case breaker that could get more than the 20,000 AIC, more than it is "rated" to see and what happend to a "old school" cartridge fuse rated at 200,000 AIC, and why most industrial plants still use them. Yes, the breaker would explode and the fuse would quietly give its self up.

I worry much more about the sparks at this forum than off my phono cartridge. I need more friends...not less. Others must not need or want any.

CECE
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

Is it true that lightening never strikes twice? In that case, you don't need the second set of 200,000 AIC fuses, they can switch to ckt breakers at only 20,000 AIC or 10,000 AIC residential? After the first strike?

bengrbm
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

I don't know - that production is part of why a lot of people like their music, so it depends on what you mean by "audiophile" quality: is the term reserved for capturing live music as is? I think, from Revolver onward, there is portion of the Beatles devoted to studio exploration through multitrack, tape, loops, phasers, etc, some things invented on the fly.

That part of their catalog was, in part, about exploring the studio's nascent capabilities. Sometimes it sounds hokey (Rev # 9 maybe), but I like it nonetheless for its open-eyed quality and for what it does specifically with some tracks when it works, which for me is often. I don't think an audiophile version of "Helter Skelter" or "A Day in the Life" would be anywhere near as good, but if the effects make it that way to many, doesn't that make it "audiophile" in a way as well? This is probably a classic type of discussion on this board...

-Ben

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

If you protected your AC gear "THE RIGHT WAY" all of this goes away. Cell sites are hit repeatedly with lightning and the ones we protect do not go down. A 190 ft monopole is a great lightining rod.

Most people would be shocked to see what a proper cell site gound system looks like. It is not your high quality 8 ft ground rod!

I'm glad you know in advance what the voltage and current is going to be for the second strike. I'm glad you are not my electrician protecting $100,000+ of gear in my building. A psychic electrtician. I can see all new classes popping up at Purdue. Boys, break out the Ouiga boards.

CECE
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

Sounds like a name for a new company. Physic electric. we know before, so call us now. Cell towers are exempt from NEC? like utilitys are?

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

If you are interested I checked with Georgia Power and they follow the letter of the law with NEC and require a inspection approval before they will "meter-up". Of course what the home owner or others do after that is another can or worms all together. This includes all their own internal work as well.

To them this also included cell sites, but I am also checking another reliable Wireless source to double verify that info as well. I do not want to give information in error.

We should all follow the NEC not becasue it is the law, but because it is just good science. At least that is my take on it.

Most power companies are also very concerned about people who hook up transfer switches to temporarily run generators during power outages. Not done right, this can be a dangerous thing.

Regards,

misterdecibel
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

The recent release "Let It Be - Naked" is quite good. Not only have all traces of Phil Spector been removed, but the mix and mastering, done on current gear, give some of the best sound quality in The Beatles' catalogue. And it also elevates an album that has mostly been regarded as their weakest effort, to become a fun set of tunes. I am still taken aback by "Let It Be" and "The Long And Winding Road" because for over 35 years I have cringed at the point where the strings and heavenly choir come in; now that those excesses have been excised, I still find myself preparing to cringe at certain moments, only to be relieved when it doesn't happen.

CECE
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

Local utilitys are not required to use NEC, right on up to the connection at the drop connection. They use their own systems. They of course will not connect up until a final is given on new wiring, that has nothing to do with their concern for your safety, it's to cover their ass in a lawsuit. Then the burden is shifted to the local inspector. Many states do not even require a license to do electrical contracting. Pa is one, but the city of Phila. has their own license requirements. NEC is NOT mandatory, unless the local juristicion ADOPTS it as required. Doesn't make any sense to not folow standards and codes, (NEMA,ETL,UL,CSA,DIN,VDE) but it is done often. Like advising people to run a separate grounding to their audio equipment!!! Dumb Dumb Dumb. Or floating a component to eliminate hum...Dumb Dumb Dumb..we wire for fire....

wgb113
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Re: Beatles CD Collection


Quote:
The recent release "Let It Be - Naked" is quite good. Not only have all traces of Phil Spector been removed, but the mix and mastering, done on current gear, give some of the best sound quality in The Beatles' catalogue. And it also elevates an album that has mostly been regarded as their weakest effort, to become a fun set of tunes. I am still taken aback by "Let It Be" and "The Long And Winding Road" because for over 35 years I have cringed at the point where the strings and heavenly choir come in; now that those excesses have been excised, I still find myself preparing to cringe at certain moments, only to be relieved when it doesn't happen.

I agree 100% that it's the best remaster we've gotten so far. Listening to over 20 hours of Let It Be/Abbey Road outtakes makes the original Spector version sound absolutely dreadful. As someone not tied to that original (I wasn't born until '76) I can appreciate one of my favorite albums at last.

The remastering for the Yellow Submarine DVD was good, though some question the remixing.

I'd love to see the UK catalog remastered and released on hybrid SACD's like they did with the Stones' catalog. If they could squeeze remixed versions on the discs as an option even better. Regardless of how it happens, anyone that's still alive that was associated with the originals needs to be down at 5 Abbey Road working on the remasters.

I refuse to buy the Capitol versions because they're not how the band intended the songs to be and I'd have to buy nearly twice the number of discs.

Bill

shokhead
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Re: Beatles CD Collection

I thought i read that George and his son was doing some kind of Beatle stage show of songs in LV and Apple gave them the go ahead to do some Beatle songs in surround and release it.

misterdecibel
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Re: Beatles CD Collection


Quote:
I thought i read that George and his son was doing some kind of Beatle stage show of songs in LV and Apple gave them the go ahead to do some Beatle songs in surround and release it.

I'm pretty sure that George is still dead.

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