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drowland3550
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Pet Sounds

I'm not sure why it took so long, but I finally got around to buying The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds on cd. To my surprise, the cd actually has both the original mono and the whole album remixed in stereo. According to the liner notes, "the stereo version was created, with Brian Wilson's approval, to give the listener a different aural experience, and it was originally presented in 1997 on The Pet Sounds Sessions Box Set."

Anyway, I've been listening to both versions tonight (on my spiffy new Grado SR 60s) and find that I much prefer the stereo remix. I'm curious to know if others have listened to both mixes, and what their opinions are.

lionelag
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Re: Pet Sounds


Quote:
I'm not sure why it took so long, but I finally got around to buying The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds on cd. To my surprise, the cd actually has both the original mono and the whole album remixed in stereo. According to the liner notes, "the stereo version was created, with Brian Wilson's approval, to give the listener a different aural experience, and it was originally presented in 1997 on The Pet Sounds Sessions Box Set."

Anyway, I've been listening to both versions tonight (on my spiffy new Grado SR 60s) and find that I much prefer the stereo remix. I'm curious to know if others have listened to both mixes, and what their opinions are.

I still prefer the mono. Whether it's because I'm used to it or whether it actually sounds better, I don't know. The fact that it's been in mono all these years is part of Beach Boys mythology (Brian Wilson is deaf in one ear, so he couldn't do a stereo mix easily or comfortably), and it was one of the first albums that opened my mind (in the late 80s) to the fact that stuff from the mono era can sound really good. In fact, a lot of classic rock from the late 60s sounds better in mono for the simple reason that it was the mix that engineers and musicians took seriously (since most playback equipment and radios out in the public were mono-- which occasionally caused problems when, as with Moby Grape's Omaha, a stereo mix was made without a separate mono mix, causing lots of phase cancellation and missing instrumentation when the track was played on the radio). Sgt. Pepper's, mid-60s Dylan, and Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow all sound better in mono (After Bathing at Baxters is another story, IMHO).

Elk
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Re: Pet Sounds

I tend to prefer the mono as well. Good mono has a wonderful solidity (making it "stereo" in the literal sense).

For me it may be a function of preferring the sound of acoustic recordings in real space. The more studio generated the recording is the lest compelling to me.

The early stereo pop recordings sound particularly artificial to me - especially the hard pan some instruments and vocals to the left; hard pan the others to the right.

dormston
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Re: Pet Sounds

I am about to show my stupidity here...impossible to resist...

I have Rubber Soul on vinyl mono (maybe 1965ish?) - I can understand that sound easy and love it. I think that was the spark that prompted Beach Boys / Wilson to go for the Pet Sounds (?) whilst in the meantime the Beatles were doing Revolver (?) and I have that in stereo for certain on vinyl as I seem to recall both mono and stereo issues were the same year almost to the month (I will check soon) and then came Pet Sounds around the same time as Revolver in 1966 (?) in mono for sure as the Beatles 'responded' soon after that with Sgt Pepper (?)

So, given all this on here, which seems very accurate, then what on earth is the 8 track tape of Pet Sounds from EMI I have which is most definitely 'stereo' on the box and in my ears??? This is from around the mid 1970's I recall...I will check tomorrow...but it is still in the clear plastic box and is definitely EMI genuine...(I cannot get to it tonight, otherwise I would)...

I am now very confused and must go do some research...did EMI release the mono version on tape and call it stereo...is it stereo...have I got one of the very first bootlegs before they were called bootlegs and more importantly (to me anyway!) am I loosing my mind...

rvance
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Re: Pet Sounds

Both the mono and stereo versions of this "remastered" cd sound absolutely horrible on any system I've played it. The more revealing the system, the more congested and underwater-in-a-cave it sounds. Am I expecting too much from the existing master tapes? It sounded way better in vinyl on a Sears Hi-Tone.

dormston
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Re: Pet Sounds

Greetings.

Okay, the stereo version of Pet Sounds from Capitol EMI in 1973 (8X-ST2458) and it is as real as the other couple of hundred 8 track tapes I have from them - when I say 'as real' it means the sound is what I would recognise as proper stereo from that era. Huge deep, wide soundstage, differing noises from two speakers at the same time, sounds moving across from left to right / right to left in a proper phased manner and balanced very well on the recording itself - rather than a pure mono sound which is just, well, almost over perfectly balanced because it cannot do anything else...eh...textbook stereo on Pet Sounds, methinks...or is it...HELP...(I agree that pure mono on pure original mono recordings sound fantastic...we might have two stereo ears to listen but only one mono brain to process the sounds...)

Nothing on the sleeve notes of Pet Sounds to indicate anything 'unusual' and, interestingly, I have many other Beach Boys tapes, including compilations with Pet Sounds music on them and they are all 'stereo' also...or are they...because on one (especially obvious on 20 Golden Greats) is a highlighted explanation which specifies that "The tracks marked (circle with a line) are mono recordings electronically reprocessed to give a stereo effect on stereo equipment." which is more or less the exact same wording on hundreds / thousands / millions of vinyl and tape recordings from the 'crossover years' (mid 1960's to mid 1970's I guess) when mostly everything went to 'stereo'?

Even today if I buy anything very old 'remastered' I usually find words offering explanations / disclaimers on the transfer from old original mono to the latest formats?

So, why would Capitol EMI issue tape as proper stereo with no disclaimers on Pet Sounds, and yet at the same time provide full information on compilation collections from the same years (and albums) on the exact same media? I can understand the pressures on artists from the marketing / techie folks and how those pressures can result in record companies often doing things without full involvement of the musicians and all that...but surely the industry does maintain certain standards they cannot go under...stereo is stereo...and modified mono to suit stereo machines is, well modified mono, I guess?

I have always assumed I knew what I was listening too with most of my original media...now I am not so sure...ho hum, more research required...help...maybe there are some variances between stereo forty years ago and now...maybe something on your latest disc which says...mmmmmm...digital stereo for the first time ever...or...stereo approved by the artist for the first time ever...or...first ever transfer direct from vinyl to stereo cd...the original vinyl is 100 percent definitely mono...

drowland3550
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Re: Pet Sounds

So this is interesting because while "congested and underwater-in-a-cave" is harsher than what I would say, it gets at what I don't like about the mono version on that cd. To me, it sounds pushed together, making it difficult to pick out individual elements of the music.

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