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The U.S. Albums Box Set – A comparison with the original Capitol releases

See an update to this information here.

Last week I announced a few details about the upcoming 13-CD box set The U.S. Albums (full article here). I explained there how and why Apple has – at least for the most part – created each album by re-sequencing the remasters issued in 2009 instead of using the original Capitol master tapes that were used in the sixties. There are a few tracks that had unique edits and various overdub differences between the U.S. versions and the ones heard on the U.K. based 2009 remasters and for a handful of these, the Capitol remasters are used.

 

The Beatles US Albums 13-CD Box Set released on Jan. 20/21, 2014

The Beatles US Albums 13-CD Box Set released on Jan. 20/21, 2014

 

There’s been a lot of discussion and debate among Beatles fans with most of the opinion that it would have been much better to give it to us the way it originally was in sixties as the earlier two 4-CD Capitol box sets did. But just how different is the new set when compared to the original releases? Now that the set is on the shelves, so to speak, I am addressing that question in a brass tacks manner with an album-by-album, track-by-track series of comparison tests for 36 recordings that differed somehow between the U.S. and 2009 re-issued U.K. releases. If they match, it’s a pass and if they don’t, it’s a fail. Some of these differences you may call trivial (like fade out times, and minor mixing tweaks made over the years, etc.) but they provide a good reference point as to how close to the originals the new set is. Let’s take it one album at a time.

 

Meet The Beatles!

Meet The Beatles!

  1. “Little Child” – On the 2009 remasters the stereo version ends with the phrase “Baby take a chance with me – oh yeah!” repeated 4 times to the fade. On the mono it’s only 3 times and then the vocal stops and you hear only harmonica into the fade. Since the mono Meet The Beatles! album is a reduction of the stereo tracks to mono, both mono and stereo match the attributes of the stereo mix. Does it on the U.S. Albums box set? No it does not. Fail
  2. “Hold Me Tight” – On the 2009 remasters in the final “you-you-youoooo” there is a piece of harmony vocal that is on the stereo but not the mono mix. Again, the mono Meet The Beatles! album is a reduction of the stereo tracks to mono, so both mono and stereo match the attributes of the stereo mix. Does it on the U.S. Albums box set? No it does not. Fail

 

The Beatles Second Album

The Beatles Second Album

  1. “Thank You Girl” – There are additional harmonica edit pieces in the middle on the stereo but not mono (after “..for loving me the way that you do”) in the 2009 remasters. Also stereo has harmonica edit pieces on the ending not apparent in the mono. On original mono copies of The Beatles Second Album, “Thank You Girl” was the stereo mix reduced to mono and therefore the additional harmonica is heard in the mono album. Is it like this on the U.S. Albums box set? No it isn’t. Fail
  2. “Money (That’s What I Want)” – On the 2009 remasters the mono version has “tapping” in the intro that is missing in the stereo mix. The stereo mix has the guitar coming in to the mix earlier in the intro than it does in the mono mix. On original mono copies of The Beatles Second Album, “Money” was the stereo mix reduced to mono and therefore the intro matches the attributes of the stereo mix. Does it on the U.S. Albums box set? No it does not. Fail
  3. “Long Tall Sally” – The stereo mix on the 2009 remasters have the lead vocals centered. On original stereo copies of The Beatles Second Album, the vocals are in the right channel. Is it like this on the U.S. Albums box set? No it is not. Fail
  4. “I Call Your Name” – On original stereo copies of The Beatles Second Album the vocal and cowbell are to the right and the cowbell does not start until the vocal does. On the 2009 remasters the stereo mix has a centered vocal and the cowbell comes in later (i.e. AFTER the first line). Was the unique Capitol mix used on the U.S. Albums box set? No it was not. Fail

 

A Hard Day's Night

A Hard Day’s Night

In the sixties this was not a Capitol album but rather a United Artists release. Capitol bought the rights to it in 1980 and released their own version of the album which retained the mixes that United Artists had used. The stereo album was not really in true stereo with the exception of the four non-Beatles (film score) tracks. United Artists received the mono mixes for the tracks first and in a rush to release the album, did not wait for EMI to send the stereo mixes. Instead they panned the mono mixes from left to right (or vice-verse) in certain places to simulate stereo. Therefore any differences apparent between the true stereo mixes heard on the 2009 remasters and the mono mixes should take on the characteristics of the mono mixes on this album.

  1. “A Hard Day’s Night” – On the so-called “stereo” United Artists original mix, Paul’s vocal bridge pans left on “when I’m home…” and to the right during the guitar solo. Was this unique U.S. mix used on the U.S. Albums box set? No it was not. Fail
  2. “Tell Me Why” – On the “stereo” United Artist mix, the response lines in the verses are panned to the right. Otherwise it is mono. Was this unique U.S. mix used on the U.S. Albums box set? No it was not. Fail
  3. “I’ll Cry Instead” – Both the mono and stereo mixes of this song on the 2009 remasters clock in at around 1:44. The unique mix heard on the original stereo and mono copies of the A Hard Day’s Night album contain an extra (4th) verse that is a repeat of the first verse, making it clock in at around 2:06. Was this unique U.S. mix used on the U.S. Albums box set? Yes it was! Pass
  4. “I Should Have Known Better” – On the 2009 remasters the stereo mix of this song has a sudden drop out in the harmonica during the intro. This isn’t heard on the “stereo” mix on original copies of the stereo A Hard Day’s Night album which used the mono mix. Was the original (actually mono) mix used for the U.S. Albums box set? No it was not. Fail
  5. “If I Fell” – On the true stereo mix of the 2009 remasters, Paul misses the high note on the word “vain” the second time around (“our new love was in vain”) and there is a double-tracked John on the intro with a slight lag in one track at the first word “if” and at “and” in “and I’ve found.” Since the so-called “stereo” mix on original stereo copies of A Hard Day’s Night take on the attributes of the mono mix which was repaired (by edit), Paul’s missed high note isn’t heard and John’s intro vocal is only single-tracked. Are these mono mix attributes on the stereo mix in the U.S. Albums box set? No they are not. Fail
  6. “And I Love Her” (mono) – Unlike the 2009 remasters where both stereo and mono mixes have a double-tracked vocal by Paul McCartney most of the way through, the U.S. version has Paul’s vocals in the verses single-tracked (with harmonies) on both the stereo and mono album. Was this unique U.S. mix used on the U.S. Albums box set for the mono album? Yes, the single-tracked vocal is used. Pass
  7. “And I Love Her” (stereo) – Was the unique U.S. single-tracked vocal mix used on the stereo A Hard Day’s Night album included with the U.S. Albums box set? No. The double-tracked vocal is used. Fail
  8. “Can’t Buy Me Love” – This one is a similar comparison to “Tell Me Why” (above). On the “stereo” United Artist mix, the song bounces toward the right and then left channels at the vocal lines “(bounce) much for money (bounce) cause money can’t buy me love.” Was the unique U.S. mix used on the U.S. Albums box set? No it was not. Fail

 

Something New

Something New

  1. “I’ll Cry Instead” – Mono copies of the original Capitol Something New album contained the “long version” of this track (see #9 above) but the mono version on the 2009 remasters is the “short version.” Was the unique U.S. mix used on the U.S. Albums box set? Yes it was. Pass
  2. “And I Love Her” – As with the A Hard Day’s Night soundtrack, the original mono copies of Something New have Paul’s vocal single-tracked in the verses instead of double-tracked. Was this unique U.S. mix used on the U.S. Albums box set? Yes it was. Pass

 

The Beatles Story

The Beatles Story (documentary)

  1. “Beatles Will Be Beatles” – This is just a noted error on the original release and not a comparison test with the 2009 remasters as this material was not released in the British market. I’ll score it anyway though. At about 2:45 in, the narrator says “Paul McCartney explains the origin” followed by a quote from George Harrison instead of Paul. Was this error left in on the U.S. Albums box set? Yes it was. Pass

 

Beatles '65

Beatles ’65

  1. “She’s A Woman” (mono) – The fade out on U.S. versions (both mono and stereo – but stereo is actually duophonic) are shorter on the original Beatles ’65 LPs. In the fade Paul can be heard singing “she’s a woman” only 3 times on Beatles ’65 vs. 5 on the stereo and mono 2009 remastered (U.K.) mixes. There is much more echo on U.S. versions vs. the drier U.K. mixes on the 2009 remasters. Was the unique U.S. mono mix used on the U.S. Albums box set? Yes it was. Pass
  2. “She’s A Woman” (stereo) – Was the unique U.S. duophonic mix used on the U.S. Albums box set? No, the fade out is the same as it is on the 2009 remasters and the echo is not as much as the original Beatles ’65 versions. Fail
  3. “I Feel Fine” (mono) – A lot of echo on U.S. versions vs. 2009 remasters. Is it the same amount of echo on the U.S. Albums box set? Yes! The same mix is used from the Capitol masters. Pass
  4. “I Feel Fine” (stereo) – A lot of echo on U.S. versions vs. 2009 remasters. Is it the same amount of echo on the U.S. Albums box set? No! The Capitol masters used a duophonic mix that was replaced. This version is enhanced with a little echo but not like the original stereo Beatles ’65 LPs. Fail

 

The Early Beatles

The Early Beatles

  1. “Please Please Me” – In the stereo version on the 2009 remasters we hear a “collision” in the vocals between John and Paul (“You know you never even try”/”Why do I never even try”). The mono mix used different edits and does not have this issue. Since the mono Early Beatles album is a reduction of the stereo tracks to mono, both mono and stereo match the attributes of the stereo mix and therefore the mono “Please Please Me” on original copies of this album have the “collision” in it. Is it there on the mono mix of the U.S. Albums box set? No it isn’t. The version without the “collision” is used this time. Fail

 

Beatles VI

Beatles VI

  1. “Yes it Is” – On original stereo copies of Beatles VI this track was a duophonic (i.e. “fake stereo”) mix made from the mono mix. On the real stereo mix that appears in the 2009 remasters, there is a tone pedal under the word “if” on “if I could forget her” on both the first and second time around . This is not heard in the duophonic mix. Is it also missing on the U.S. Albums box set? I wish I could say “Yes It Is” but the answer is “No It Isn’t.” Fail

 

Help!

Help!

Note: The original mono copies of the U.S. Capitol Help! album had 6 of the 7 stereo Beatles tracks reduced to mono, so all attributes of the stereo mixes should match up for the mono versions. The exception is “Ticket To Ride” which is the true mono mix from the single. The stereo copies of the Help! LP in the U.S. used a duophonic mix created from the mono mix.

  1. “Help!” – The most obvious difference between the U.S. and (U.K.) 2009 remasters is the James Bond styled intro. On the true mono mix heard on the 2009 remasters there is no tambourine heard in the chorus, but since the mono is a reduction from the stereo mix on the original American LP, the tambourine is heard. The lead vocals, for the same reason, match between the mono and stereo U.S. versions, whereas the mono 2009 remaster has a different lead vocal. In the true mono mix heard on the 2009 remasters, John sings “AND now these days are gone” in verse 1, but on the U.S. versions we instead hear “BUT now these days are gone.” Do we hear the James Bond intro and the “BUT” version on both the stereo and mono U.S. Help! in the U.S. Albums box set as it was on the original? Well, we do hear the James Bond intro but the same mono mix used on the 2009 remasters is used on the box set. Fail
  2. “Ticket To Ride” – The true stereo mix heard on the 2009 remasters has a longer fade out. “My baby don’t care” can be heard six times in the stereo mix and 5 in the mono mix. On the original mono and stereo U.S. Help! albums the line is only heard 4 times and then halfway through (“My baby…”) on the fifth line. Are the shorter fades on the U.S. Albums box set as it was on the original? No they are not. Fail
  3. “You’re Gonna Lose That Girl” – The U.K. title is “You’re Going To Lose That Girl.” There is a sound heard at the very beginning of this track that is heard on the U.S. mono and stereo that is trimmed out on the U.K. (2009 remasters) versions. It is possibly the extreme end of a count-in and maybe even the same one heard in the Help! film. Is this little anomaly apparent on the U.S. Albums box set? No it isn’t. Fail

 

Rubber Soul

Rubber Soul

  1. “Michelle” – Original mono copies of the U.S. Rubber Soul featured a slightly longer fade out than either the mono or stereo mix heard on the 2009 remasters. Does the mono version on the U.S. Albums box set have this longer fade out too? Yes it does. Pass
  2. “I’m Looking Through You” – The original stereo copies of Rubber Soul have two false starts at the intro of this song that are missing on the mono or stereo mixes heard on the 2009 remasters. Does the stereo version on the U.S. Albums box set have these false starts too? Yes it does. Pass
  3. “In My Life” – A barely audible intake of breath is heard just before the vocal starts up on the original U.S. stereo copies of Rubber Soul. It is also heard on the original sixties stereo U.K. Rubber Soul LPs, but was removed when George Martin did his remix of the album for CD in the eighties. The mono versions had this mixed out before the initial release in the sixties. On the 2009 remasters, the mono box set contains the original 1965 stereo mix of Rubber Soul and the breath can be heard there. Can it be heard on the stereo version presented with the U.S. Albums box set? No it can’t. Fail
  4. “Run For Your Life” – A thump is heard during the instrumental break at around 1:06 on all stereo and mono mixes prior to the 2009 remasters, where it was removed. Can it be heard on the stereo version presented with the U.S. Albums box set? No it can’t. Fail

 

Yesterday And Today

Yesterday And Today

  1. “Drive My Car” – The real mono mix of this song heard on the 2009 remasters has no cowbell in the fade out. On the original U.S. mono Yesterday And Today album another mix created by reducing the stereo mix (which does have a cowbell in the fade out) to mono was used and therefore the cowbell is heard. Can it be heard on the mono version presented with the U.S. Albums box set? No it can’t. Fail
  2. “I’m Only Sleeping” (mono) – Original mono copies of Yesterday And Today contained a unique mix of this song not heard on the 2009 remasters. Since it’s remained unreleased for so long I have featured it as a Beatles Rarity of the Week (BROW) here where I explain a little about what is unique about it. The U.S. mono mix differs from the 2009 remasters mainly in where the backwards guitar fades in and out of the mix (further details at the link above). Was the original U.S. mono mix used with the U.S. Albums box set? Yes. The mono mixed used on the U.S. Albums is the original one used on mono copies of Yesterday And Today from the sixties. Pass
  3. “I’m Only Sleeping” (stereo) – Original stereo copies of Yesterday And Today used a duophonic (“fake stereo”) mix of the song created from the same mono mix previously listed. By the early seventies an improved stereo version of this album was released in the U.S. which contained a U.S.-unique stereo mix of this song, which was also presented as a BROW here with still more details on the other mixes of this track. The U.S.-unique stereo mix differs from the 2009 remasters mainly in where the backwards guitar fades in and out of the mix (further details at the link above). Was the duophonic or U.S.-unique Capitol stereo mix used with the U.S. Albums box set? No. The same mix heard on the 2009 remasters is used instead. Fail
  4. “Dr. Robert” – Original mono copies of Yesterday And Today have this song with a longer fade out than anywhere else. If you listen closely you hear that the fade out reaches the true ending of the song where John can be heard saying something like “Okay, Herb!” The original stereo copies of Yesterday And Today had a dupohonic mix of this track made from the same mono mix but was faded earlier. Later copies of the album from the early seventies have a true stereo mix that is still different than the U.K. stereo mix. The main difference is that the middle parts (“Well, well, well, you’re feeling fine…”) are mixed differently. Are these differences including John’s statement and the longer fade out apparent on the mono version from the U.S. Albums box set? No they are not. Fail
  5. “Day Tripper” – Original stereo copies of Yesterday And Today as well as earlier stereo releases everywhere that contained this song will show it has a couple of spots where the lead guitar track cuts out suddenly. The most noticeable is at around 1:50 just after the line “tried to please her.” This problem was repaired for the 2009 remasters release. Also the stereo mix heard on Yesterday And Today has the guitar intro beginning in the left channel and then jumping to the right, whereas the U.K. mix heard on the 2009 remasters has the guitar heard in both channels at the beginning. Is the audio dropout and left-to-right guitar intro heard on the U.S. Albums box set? Yes it is. Pass

 

Revolver

Revolver

The mixes used for stereo and mono copies of Revolver are the same in the U.S. and the U.K. The only difference in the two albums is the absence of three songs on the U.S. edition. Those songs are “I’m Only Sleeping,” “Dr. Robert” and “And Your Bird Can Sing” all of which had already been released in the U.S. on Yesterday And Today (see above).

 

Hey Jude

Hey Jude

This album was only released as an import in the U.K. and was mainly for the U.S. market. It was designed to collect up singles tracks that had not yet been released on a Capitol album. Early pressings were titled The Beatles Again on the record labels instead of Hey Jude.

  1. “Paperback Writer” – As compared with the U.K. version heard on the 2009 remasters, the version on original copies of the Hey Jude LP have the right and left channels reversed. Does it appear this way on the U.S. Albums box set? No it does not. Fail
  2. “The Ballad Of John And Yoko” – On the original Hey Jude album issued in 1970, the final drumbeat heard in this song is faded down considerably, but it stays at the same level on the original single and the 2009 remasters. Is it also faded down on the U.S. Albums box set? No it is not. Fail

So there you have it. A black and white measure of how close the U.S. Albums box set comes to the original releases. Out of 37 comparison tests, 11 were passes and 26 were fails. “Fails” in this case doesn’t mean they are “bad” but only “failed” to be the same as the original U.S. releases. To sum this all up, what it really means is all duophonic (fake stereo) mixes that have a real stereo mix now is replaced with that and all “Type B” mono mixes (created from reduction from stereo) are replaced with the originally created mono mix and the duophonic mixes for those few songs (“She Loves You,” “P.S. I Love You” “I’ll Get You” and “Love Me Do”) that do not have a real stereo mix, the duophonic mixes will be replaced with mono – even on the stereo record. Most tracks that scored a “Pass” above such as “Day Tripper,” “I’m Looking Through You” and the mono versions of “And I Love Her” and “I’m Only Sleeping” are from the original Capitol masters.

This makes for a couple of odd cases of the same mono song repeated on the same disk. “She Loves You” and “I’ll Get You” are both on The Beatles Second Album twice (once in the mono section and once in the stereo section). The same is true for “I’ll Cry Instead” on the A Hard Day’s Night disk which had the U.S.-only long-edit version on the stereo and mono record in the sixties. The stereo record was not really in stereo. Both “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You” appear on The Early Beatles twice as the same mono recording.

Whether you consider The U.S. Albums worth buying depends on what you want from it. Do you want a perfect replica of the way it sounded in the sixties? Some do and many prefer it since it’s what they grew up with. Some would prefer replacing (1) the duophonic mixes or (2) the mono flattened from stereo mixes or (3) the third or even fourth generation recordings, with an improved and revised version of history that gives it all a better sound quality? That’s the other side of the coin.

In the early and mid-sixties the stereo versions were not considered as important as the mono, and making duophonic mixes when necessary as a stereo substitute was standard practice at the time. Also Capitol seemed to believe for many releases that mono reduced from stereo created a sound that actually had more punch. Again, it’s a personal preference.

You may also say that if, outside of the re-sequencing and the packaging, it is too similar to what was already released in 2009, then what is the point in buying it? Or maybe you are a completist collector who wants to just get everything, regardless – if it’s The Beatles, it’s got to be worth it. Purist, revisionist, collector or whatever side of the fence you stand – that part is up to you. Regardless, the U.S. Beatles albums have now been re-born and the older versions will slip further into obscurity as time goes on.

See an update to this information here.


Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase music related to this post:

1) The U.S. Albums – 13-CD and detailed booklet box set containing revised accounts of 13 mono and stereo U.S. Beatles LP releases from the sixties.

2) Beatles/Beatles-related Music: The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

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70 Comments

  • Vinny Marino says:

    It is NOT a drop out! It’s an alternate take where John syncopates the harmonica line.

    10.“I Should Have Known Better” – On the 2009 remasters the stereo mix of this song has a sudden drop out in the harmonica during the intro. This isn’t heard on the “stereo” mix on original copies of the stereo A Hard Day’s Night album which used the mono mix. Was the original (actually mono) mix used for the U.S. Albums box set? No it was not. Fail

    • Happy Nat says:

      By “drop out” I only mean it drops out of earshot – that is it is “no longer heard” or maybe I should have said “interrupted.” Besides I really just think John ran out of breath.

  • Sherman Applegate says:

    On the “Reel Music” album there is a stereo version of ISHKB with the harmonica intro uninterrupted….but I’m sure you know that! :-)

    Thanks Nat for the observations. I have to admit while driving around listening to “Yesterday…and Today”, there was an emotional, nostalgic connection or remembrance of how I first heard these songs. It was quite satisfying and I realize my response Is simply based on the running order I’m hearing. But it works for me. I for one applaud the improved sonics over the originals. Of course I say that now because I already own the two Capitol Versions box sets now. If I didn’t have already have those two sets I think I would feel differently. Either way it doesn’t really matter (at least in this household)….there’s room for them all!

  • Stephen Bourassa says:

    Nice job Nat. Do you make a living doing this? :D

  • Roger Tomlin says:

    Outstanding breakdown of the differences Nat. So many folks depend on you for your continued excellent coverage of all things Beatles.

    I understand there are some who will say….”aww come on, you can’t hear John take a breath? Oh, that’s just terrible. Your life is ruined now.” Well, my life isn’t ruined. But, I sure appreciate getting the straight story from Happy Nat.

    I know to some people these points seem trivial. However, if you were there in the 1960′s and those albums were all you had and that is what you grew up with and that is what shaped your musical knowledge of The Beatles and it meant something to you in an important way and helped revolutionize the rest of your life, then it’s NOT trivial. It’s fairly obvious to me that this new box set has been manufactured for a different market. A market who is used to finer, modern sonic quality in it’s listening taste. That market is bigger than the purists. Therefore, more money will be made. Capitalism is served. (I transferred my original Capital albums to disc in the early 1990′s. Thank you very much.)

  • Gaz Hunter says:

    So I’m guessing that to have the 100% authentic USA mixes for AHDN, Y&T, Revolver & Hey Jude then we’d have to hunt them out on the Russian mini LP / DESS CDs ?

    • Happy Nat says:

      For Revolver you can take your 2009 remaster and remove “And Your Bird Can Sing,” “Dr. Robert” and “I’m Only Sleeping” and there you go – it’s now American (the mixes were the same). The others are different though. Hey Jude you could almost create yourself by reversing the channels in “Paperback Writer” and tweaking the balance a little and then fading down the final drumbeat in “The Ballad Of John and Yoko.”

      • Gaz Hunter says:

        Sorry Nat, all those albums from the booklet state ” 1st time on CD “, I didn’t click that Revolver was the same mixes as the UK version. Learning lots but also drowning in a flood of new facts! I think I might actually create a comp of these alternate US mixes just to make things clearer…

      • Stephen Cornish says:

        On The Ballad Of john and Yoko how much should the drum fade down? I have heard two so called US versions. On one the fade is so much that you can hardly hear the drum (even through headphones). The other is probably about 50% decrease. Interested to know what it should actually sound like. Thanks.

  • Darienzo says:

    Excellent review, Nat! It’s all i wanted to know about this reissue. Like you say in your reply to Gaz Hunter, there are a couple of US albums that you can create by yourself, just combining the different versions from the 2009 remasters.
    A little bit dissapointed with this new US albums…

  • ODIRony says:

    Thanks, Nat! I added the collection to my computer/ipod last night so I could have them ready for comparison today. You’ve really freed up my day (and attention to other things :) ).

    Althought it’s not exactly germane to this topic, I’d like to note (for the record – pun intended) the basic difference between the stereo and mono versions of Lady Madonna. In the mono, immediately after the first “see how they run” a very nice distorted guitar comes playing fills and paralleling the saxes. In the stereo mix it is almost entirely muted. It’s minor, but to my ear the difference gave the single a much meatier sound while the LP always sounded rather flat.

    Just my tuppence.

  • Thommy says:

    Weren’t there other unique mono mixes on Something New? When I Get Home has a distinctly different Lennon vocal on “Till I walk out that door” in mono – and it’s here, one of the first things I checked.

    • Happy Nat says:

      Good one Thommy! I have a note on that difference here (in the site’s track database). And yes, I’m happy to say the Capitol master was used on “When I Get Home.”

      • WS64 says:

        Same for mono “Any Time At All”.
        The US Albums mix is the one used on the old box set and not the 2009 UK mix.

        • Happy Nat says:

          There are a few I did not mention. I figured the article was almost too long to read already (lol). I just wanted a good sampling from each record. Glad these are getting added here in the thread though. Thanks!

  • YouKnowMyNameLookUpThe# says:

    Nat, I read the first two album track reviews here and I think FAIL is a harsh word. Maybe they should have been something more like are they the same as the US masters, yes or no? Something that gets lost is that you said the mono mixes for Meet the Beatles were in fact just a reduction (blending) of the 2 track master tapes into mono. So essentially, the mono mix heard on these ARE in fact, the mono mixes we hear on the mono box set, thus they should be an improvement over the US masters (from the mixing perspective only). So to me FAIL implies it’s crapola. But in fact, it just failed to meet the test of being a US master. Otherwise, you have the exact amount of detail needed to demonstrate the differences and non-differences of these CDs. Great job!

    If I read your instructions incorrectly, please straighten me out.

    • Happy Nat says:

      A good point, Leo but as I said over on Facebook, “fail” only means it “failed” to be identical to the original Capitol version. So many are interested in how different it is from what came out before so I wanted to address that question in as much detail as I could manage. I do bring up the point at the conclusion of my little list of benchmarks that if it’s worth buying depends on what you want. My point there is you may not care how much it’s like the originals at all and that’s okay. You may, for one example, just want what is going to sound the cleanest on high end equipment. But yeah, “yes” or “no” would’ve worked too with less of a negative connotation but that’s not how I meant it.

  • YouKnowMyNameLookUpThe# says:

    No problem. There has just been so many hard opinions on this one box set it very quickly came across that way. But I totally knew what you meant. lol It must be snowing down your way too if you managed to hear it all already. Or you got yours a day or two early. ;-)

    Outside of the 1960s this has been a great couple months to be a Beatles fan. But even then you had no idea what to expect. At least we have some ideas on what to expect. lol

  • YouKnowMyNameLookUpThe# says:

    “Regardless, the U.S. Beatles albums have now been re-born and the older versions will slip further into obscurity as time goes on.”

    THAT statement sums up this whole thing in one sentence. You did a commendable job comparing each of those tracks. Some great detail given without opinion. Not easy to do when you are a passionate fan like you are.

    • Happy Nat says:

      Thanks Leo. I did not list everything. There are a few others mentioned in this thread that would have been “Passes” above like “When I Get Home,” “Anytime At All,” “Long Tall Sally,” “I Call Your Name” and “I’ll Be Back.” The 2-track stereo and mono tracks on The Early Beatles might as well be the same because you can’t tell them apart. Then there are plenty that historically were the same in the UK and US already like say…the mono “I Want To Hold Your Hand” or “This Boy” or most of the tracks on Beatles ’65, Hey Jude and Beatles VI. This would include all the tracks (which are the same mixes) on Revolver. This is really just a little polish job on the original U.S. catalog.

      • YouKnowMyNameLookUpThe# says:

        I have not opened my set yet, but that’s what I contend. MOST of these tracks are EXACTLY the same masters as used in the UK at that time. So to upgrade those to a better sounding master is perfect! I do, however feel there could have been more US masters used. BUT I don’t mind replacing duophonic stereo tracks just because that was an awful practice. Although it’s a funny thing they still use that technique today. Take a “stereo” keyboard for instance. They are using some kind of matrixed sound created with EQ trickery to separate portions of the tones then send those to different speakers giving the illusion of a wider sound. If you just listen to the rear surround of standard Dolby surround sound, that’s based in the same arena as duophonic sound. Not the same thing, but the basic idea of frequencies being manipulated for an audible illusion of ambient sound. Same basic premise, different approach to get the result. Know what I mean?

        But yeah, I don’t miss many Duophonic tracks at all. As a kid when I was still discovering sound and records and stereo/mono I hadn’t realized I had a mono Y&T until I heard the “alternate” stereo versions of songs on a Beatles A-Z weekend on the radio. That was when I first became aware of alternate mixes being out there somewhere in the world. I was maybe 13/14 y.o.?

        • Happy Nat says:

          None of Help! is from the original Capitol tapes. The original mono LP was all fold down mixes – even “Ticket To Ride” which was actually a fold down of a duophonic (wow! – they took it one way then brought it back). So here they use the original 2009 remasters. For the stereo – which the original UK and Capitol masters had all the vocals over in the right channel, they used the 1987 George Martin remixes that centered it all up. These were used on the first Help! CDs in the eighties and the 2009 remasters and now here. Of course here they’ve tagged on the James Bond intro to the song “Help!.” I guess this was the way to go because now the vocals are centered and it sounds better that way. And for the 3 Beatles VI songs that were on the UK Help! album, the same 1987 George Martin remixes are used again there too – still good and for the same reason.

  • Stephen Cornish says:

    Just a thought. Won’t the 50 year rule which saw the iTunes release of the BBC material late 2013 impact on the Capitol/United Artists material? For instance will they have to release the US mixes from A Hard Day’s Night, that were not used in the US Albums Box set, before the end of 2014?

    • YouKnowMyNameLookUpThe# says:

      No. The rule (law) states a work must be published within 50 years of it’s initial recording. It WAS published. The iTunes tracks were specifically NOT published until Dec. 17, 2013 – 50 calendar years after they were recorded. If they had only issued those iTunes recordings in Australia let’s say, and pulled them after a couple hours and a few sales, that would have counted. So the fact they ever appeared published somewhere on this planet, is all that matters apparently.

      I obviously don’t know every detail of the law, but that’s the gist. What would be true is any take that was NOT released but was recorded as part of that process of making that final recording. Let’s say they have 3 pieces that combined could make a final take. They issue it. Those 3 source tapes that were used are now all copyrighted as well as the final combination (final master) tape. But take 4, 5, 6 & 12 were not issued in any forms. They are subject to becoming public domain. Very strange really. Now maybe the pieces are NOT eligible but a completed work would be? So maybe they would need to have completed a whole take in order to qualify? I really don’t know, but I will assume my theory is correct as stated about the pieces being protected.

  • Stephen Cornish says:

    PS interesting and thought provoking comments re this release. Still not sure how I feel about them not using the same mixes as the original US albums.

  • angel says:

    Nat, I think you forgot to mention the song I’ll Be Back in your analysis.

    • Happy Nat says:

      Angel, there are plenty I did not mention. Not because I forgot about them but I did not intend to cover every song. Just some of the key differences from each album.

    • Happy Nat says:

      Angel, I’m sorry but I should have also told you that the both the stereo and mono mixes of “I’ll Be Back” on the new set are from the Capitol master tapes.

  • Ernie says:

    Did anyone notice the different guitar part in the instrumental break on the mono version of “Any Time At All” in the new box set? There’s also a slightly different vocal about 1:30 into “When I Get Home” on the same cd.

    • Ernie says:

      I just checked out the mono “Any Time At All” on the first Capitol Albums box set and that guitar part I mentioned is there but it’s more noticable on the new set.

      • Happy Nat says:

        Ernie, both of these tunes are using the Capitol masters for the mono versions on the new sets. The stereo versions of these match the UK versions.

        • Ernie says:

          Hey Nat,

          The cd in the new box sounds clearer than the one in the older Capitol box set. I think the new box is really cool even though
          they tampered with the mixes. I have all of the Dr. Ebbetts cd’s
          so it’s not that big of a deal.

          • YouKnowMyNameLookUpThe# says:

            Ernie, they didn’t tamper with the mixes per se, but they did tamper with which mixes were used. Don’t mistake re-mastering with re-mixing. That’s one thing this box DOES NOT represent – a remixing.

            For all those who have complained, I would think many more would complain about a re-mixing of these albums. I am sure they’d say they should first issue the originals then if they want to re-mix them and release those, that would be ok by them. I for one would welcome a re-mixing. If you want REALLY clean sound, then a re-mixing is what would help that come about. You can minimize the tape noise on every individual track of a song rather than after it was all mixed together.

            If anyone recalls the John Lennon re-mixing project those sound terrific! But people complained and Yoko, who thought she had done good by cleaning up everything by re-mixing the albums the same way they remixed Yellow Submarine Songtrack, was trying to do good again by re-issuing the re-mastered John Lennon albums the way they were mixed by John. So you can see, you really can’t win in such things as this box. lol

  • Rick Kelly says:

    Hi Nat, thanks for putting this together. I would say if you have all the UK mixes and original US mixes, you don’t need this collection. It doesn’t sound like they re-mixed every song like I have heard they were going to do. Sounds to me you can just create your one play lists if you want to hear this new US collection.

    • YouKnowMyNameLookUpThe# says:

      Then you have missed the point. There ARE unique mixes ONLY on this set and the 2 volumes of Capitol Albums released in 2004 & 2006. Nobody ever claimed they were going to remix anything for this set. They only said they would us the 2009 re-masters to make this set PLUS the unique US masters where applicable.

      For instance, I’m Looking Through You has a false start on the stereo version that is NOT on the UK version.

      I’m Only Sleeping mono has backwards guitar loops playing at different spots than on the final UK mix. Stuff like that.

      Anybody can program an iTunes playlist to be whatever they want it to be, but they can’t get remixes from shuffling the deck. ;-)

  • Joel Glazier says:

    Thank you for the summation of these latest Capitol money making re-issues. Luckily I found the 2004 Capitol CD set at a used CD store and of course the fine 2009 UK version re issues have given me hours and hours of listening pleasure. I’ve been curious about what and why of this latest 2014 collection and this article makes me realize I need not don the new “Van Sneakers” to run to my local music store to buy this new set.

    • Happy Nat says:

      I really like mine and am glad they kept almost all of the unique mixes. The only ones Apple really replaced were the duophonic mixes and the type B mono mixes and some better stereo mix in cases like Help! and a few on Beatles VI and a few like “Long Tall Sally” and “I Call Your Name” where the vocals were way off in the right channel while most of the instrumental backing was in the left. I think of a few examples over the years where albums were improved upon and it was giving the highest acclaim. When Yesterday And Today came out in 1966 three tracks on the stereo LP were duophonic until around 1971 when it was re-issued with all tracks in true stereo. People were thrilled about that. And also around that time the German Horzu Magical Mystery Tour LP came out and replaced the duophonic mixes of three songs and made that album 100% true stereo too. That became the pressing to have then! Everyone loved it. That’s all they have done here. They’ve preserved the Capitol-unique mixes/edits and cleaned out the cases where the fake stereo and mono made from flattened stereo was used. All of those cool things that were on the originals like the single-tracked McCartney vocal on “And I Love Her,” the false starts on “I’m Looking Through You” and the extra verse in “I’ll Cry Instead,” etc. are still there on this new set and sound very good. I bought the 2004 set in 2004 and the 2006 set in 2006 (on the day they came out). I love them and am glad to have a digital account of how it was then, but on the other hand I see why Apple did this set the way they did. Overduplication? Perhaps. But did they ruin anything? No, I don’t think so.

  • Michael K says:

    It’s all very well and useful with this A/B but the advance information told everyone what would be on the set. From some of the elders’ hysteria you’d think that Apple/Capitol had used ‘Needledrop’ in their marketing.
    They didn’t so it’s a shut up and let us buy it (since you’re gonna buy it anyway).
    :P

    There is no FAIL in this set. It’s a success in a way that your imagination doesn’t understand.

    • Happy Nat says:

      Michael, the A/B’ing was necessary as people all over the web were asking about different U.S. unique characteristics of different songs. It certainly needed to be addressed. There’s a few more “passes” and a few more “fails” I could have mentioned but thought that was enough. It sounds like you got caught up on the word “fail” above and as already pointed out maybe I should have used a different term (like “yes” or “no”). The point is, it sounds like you have taken it the wrong way and think I’m “failing” the box set when if you would have read the whole article before commenting – including what I say at the end of it and the preceding comments in the thread, then you would understand that this is not the case at all. As I said in a previous comment above, I have this set and the ones before it, and love them both. It’s also true that the changes Apple did in this set were improvements. While I understand what you call “elders” wanting an exact representation of what was out before – I also very clearly understand why they did it the way they did and my imagination understands just fine, thank you.

      • Michael K says:

        Apols, Nat as the ‘your imagination’ wasn’t intended to come across as personal. What I’m saying is that the critics’ simplicity in reading these release configurations lacks the imagination and dare I say sophistication of the marketeers and in the case of this set, this is a very imaginative concept that leaves open a third Capitol Albums set (albeit on that will cos 4 albums to get maybe 3 tracks), brings on board kids who have been learning to love Beatles albums via illegal downloads or are brand new to the game and can afford a box that gives a lot of the combined stereo and mono boxes from 09 AND presents non-pernickity boomers with the best sounding versions of the albums they experienced on pre-hifi gear.

        Again, I have no sympathy for bed-wetting completists as this level of pedantry is, in my view, ANTI-BEATLE

        • Happy Nat says:

          I think in the important aspects we are on the same side here Michael. I just am getting that I am putting this set down, when I’m not. I think it was a good idea. On the other hand, a good 3rd box set of the originals would have wrapped that whole idea up and been a good idea too, but I don’t believe that will happen now.

          • Michael K says:

            Again, Nat…apologies for coming across badly. I think at the time I might have had it up to here with the US Albums’ stevehoffman.tv thread (as have the site admins after 20,000 posts!) I think we are in agreement despite this. The fact that some people have noted space in the box for another album (suspected, of course, to be ‘Hollywood Bowl’) and the fact of the ‘spurious’ reasons for withdrawal and repricing of ‘Bootleg Recordings 1963′in Decemeber leads me to not-so-far-fetched suspicion that Capitol (Universal), as per 50 years ago, made its own moves that may (or may not) have wiggled around the Apple product concept. I also suspect that a new official Apple custom bootleg/rarity site is going to offer pretty much everything pretty soon and that one of those items will be the Vol.3 box.
            It’s too much to accept that the ‘errors’ in this set could have slipped past so many experts on the project team. It’s deliberate leaving open of gates, I am certain.

  • YouKnowMyNameLookUpThe# says:

    If people only knew who Dave Dexter, Jr. was they would not go around with the idea he “butchered” anything. Sure, it’s the popular story to say things like that. Sure, he didn’t care for their music when he first heard Love Me Do. Sure, he didn’t think there was anything special that would make him believe he could sell them after their first album since recent history showed that wasn’t an easy proposition to deal with – selling English bands to American audiences. Just because they came over a year and a half later to conquer the states with their music doesn’t mean he was wrong.

    VeeJay couldn’t sell their first album here either. The game changing song was I Want To Hold Your Hand. THAT one song changed music forever. THAT song made it impossible for Dexter to resist. If he wanted them to fail, he would not have added echo to their songs or punched up the volume. Use a little logic. He believed their “dry UK sound” would not go over well here. So had he WANTED to let them fail, he’d have done nothing to help them succeed to prove himself right. Instead , he felt that by adding some reverb and punching up the volume a bit with a little compression it would make the sound more accessible to American teenagers. So anyone who feels he wanted failure couldn’t be further from the truth.

    He also couldn’t use the first album’s songs as they were under control by VeeJay until litigation sorted that out. So, they needed product and fast. AND he was now competing with a whole album of songs on VeeJay plus She Loves You single on Swan so he had to stand out with his decisions. First decision, lead your album with a hit single! I Want To Hold Your Hand is the perfect lead to that album.

    As for “butchering albums” Dave Dexter did not do that as many claim for the cash. It’s a double edged sword on this fact. Fact is in the US at that time NOBODY put out albums with 14 songs on them. Not only by practice but because royalties were paid by the song not by the album. So instead of increasing the list prices for an LP, they kept the lost down. In the UK, they paid royalties on albums regardless of how many tracks they had. And they always led off with a hit single. So songs were eliminated. They showed up on the next album.

    Actually, if you think about all the EPs & singles and the b-sides that showed up on US albums, that’s actually a lot of additional purchases you didn’t have to make. AND Dave Dexter wasn’t always the person in charge of such decisions. For instance in 1966, Capitol’s then president, Alan Livingston, wanted a new album since it had been 6 months since Rubber Soul. So Dave orders up some tracks off Help!, off a single or two, and they get advance copies of three songs from their next album (coming mind you, in the next 5-6 weeks anyway) Revolver. He makes a great album called, Yesterday & Today and sells millions and it goes to number 1 for 5 weeks. But he wasn’t why that album happened. He just did what he was told. Oh and by then, he had only added reverb to a couple of albums, Not all of the ones he touched. Once they were a hit, he felt didn’t need to touch them.

    The butcher photo was also involved with the Paperback Writer video and the back image on Revolver. So it wasn’t some big message to Capitol Records. Although many wish to believe that old story, I am sure Nat has the sound bite of John speaking about what that photo was all about. I know I have it.

    Btw, Revolver comes out and it’s identical to the UK version sans the three tracks you already bought 2 months ago on Y&T. I’m sure there’d be upset folk had they bought the same tracks twice. And that was the last album that was any different from its UK counterpart. AND Capitol had finally caught up to the extra album & singles they waited a year to finally acquire from VeeJay to release. They caught up to their output of singles & EPs released in the UK. They caught up to the left over tracks caused by instrumental music being included as part of the soundtracks to two more albums. So the next time Capitol asked for something to release, was when they didn’t see anything new from August 1966 to May of 1967, Sgt. Pepper. The two songs taken from Pepper BEFORE it was a finished album were Strawberry Fields Forever & Penny Lane. and it was EMI that requested new Beatles product. They were getting worried people would forget them. 50 years later………..lol

    • Michael K says:

      Sorry to disagree but I think the most recent research has shown that ‘I wanna hold your hand’ did NOT make it impossible for Dave Dexter to resist it. He continued to resist it until he was forcefully overruled by Alan Livingstone after an intervention of the UK EMI chairman at Epstein’s request! Of course, I should give him a hearing via his autobiography one of these days but it would be a rare autobiography that didn’t airbrush history and the research holds water from multiple angles of view.

  • YouKnowMyNameLookUpThe# says:

    I agree with you Nat. This set rocks! Funny that the things the Beatles hated most were the different tracks on US albums and unique mixes were both preserved here in this fine box set. Now, they deleted crap duophonic stuff in favor of actual stereo mixes. In the end, people will love these albums again as they should have had the chance to since CDs. But I also understand Capitol had some screwy accounting probably based on so many extra titles to hide. lol So in retaliation not to the fans, but to Capitol in the US, they said no more! No more albums except the UK track line ups.

    BTW I read on another posting sight that UK fans have experienced plenty of alterations to their own catalogue that we US fans, don’t think about. Take Magical Mystery Tour. Over there they had an EP with different artwork and just the songs from the movie. They had A Collection of Beatles Oldies which was quite popular as it came out for Xmas 1966 and compiled new tracks only made for the US market & some singles that deserved another listen. I’d like to see that collection released since that is the equivalent of our Hey Jude album.

    These are tip of the iceberg changes. They’ve had others. But the point is this catalogue is still alive being updated and altered constantly. That’s a good thing but don’t be surprised when more changes occur that may not fit well with us when they do. Much like the Beatles lost fans as they changed over to folk rock then psychedelic rock etc., these changes may lose buyers but gain more buyers. The Beatles are now a commodity like any Disney franchise. They will milk that fact until they can’t. Until their kids’ kids’ kids have to go find work. lol

  • Ernie says:

    The bottom line in all of this is they should have used the original American Capitol versions. That’s what fans wanted. If they wanted to hear better quality versions of the songs they can listen to the 2009 sets. They would have sold a lot more of these sets had they done it right. It doesn’t matter that the new set sounds better, that’s not the point. Dr. Ebbetts has done it for us. I love the new set but I’ll listen to the two previous Capitol versions sets and the Ebbetts albums not included in them more than I’ll listen to the new one.

  • Jerry M says:

    It is depressing that they would spend time on using none of the US mixes. It is also depressing after I purchased this set to obtain the last 5 albums on CD. To me the US albums should have the original US mixes from the Capitol tapes as my vinyl and the first 8 CD’s of the Capitol albums.

  • Bernd says:

    Hi!
    Thanks for your great work!
    You write about “additional echo” that was (supposed to be) added to the 2009 remasters.
    I couldn’t really hear it.
    Can you give an example, please?
    It must be audible especially on the “Second Album”.

  • Joel Goldenberg says:

    Great summary. Just one thing, the fake stereo tracks on The Early Beatles were not Duophonic (a unique Capitol process involving delays and bass/treble splits), but the same “mock stereo” mixes as on the original UK Please Please Me stereo LP.

    • Happy Nat says:

      To me, “mock stereo” and duophonic are synonymous. A process of duplicating the mono channel and tweaking the higher (treble) frequencies in one and the lower (bass) frequencies in the other and then getting the two channels slightly out of sync (the more out of sync – the more of an echo effect). The degree out of sync can vary between very, very slight to a noticeable level of echo. How is “mock stereo” different?

  • mono_collector says:

    THE BEATLES SECOND ALBUM
    The mono, “Thank You Girl” is NOT a failure. The stereo IS a failure, both on The Beatles Second Album and Past Masters 2009.

    The mono is the single version. It should be like the single.

    • Happy Nat says:

      You’ve missed the point entirely MC. I like the mono “Thank You Girl” too. I love it, in fact. It “failed” to be like the US mono original copies of The Beatles Second Album which used a Type B mono mix made from the stereo mix. People that want this album the way it originally was will not have it that way from this box set.

      • mono_collector says:

        I have a third version of, Thank You Girl, from LimeWire.

        Someone told me its an outfake.

        Its stereo with no extra harmonica in the middle, but its there at the end. I understand this is labeled, Take 14.

        Have you heard this version? Its on YouTube, last time I checked.

  • Stav says:

    “The Word” on stereo “Rubber Soul” is a unique mix and is present on U.S. Album’s Box.

  • Carol says:

    Love this site! There is a wealth of information you can’t find anywhere else, at least all in one spot!

    I love the info regarding the comparison of the U.S. Album box set vs. the orginal Capitol releases. Now where does the Capitol Albums Volume 1 and 2 fit into all this? Are there differences between the Capitol Albums and the U.S. Album box set? I’ve heard they are exactly the same so you only need to buy individual CDs from the US Albums set (except for The Beatles Story which isn’t being sold seperately and wasn’t included in the Capitol Albums set). I’ve also heard there was more reverb added to the US Albums box set that wasn’t there in the Capitol Albums two volume set. I have both sets and have done just a little comparison on the two Meet The Beatles CDs and they sound the same to me.

    • Happy Nat says:

      Thanks Carol – the mono Meet The Beatles! have some minor differences since the original (heard on the older 4-CD box set) was a reduction from the stereo. Compare, for example, the fade-outs of the mono “Little Child” (the singing does not continue through the fade on the mono US Albums version because it is actually the original UK mono mix.

  • Stephen Cornish says:

    Interested in any comment on the following. I have done a comparison of the 2006 US Capitol Records Help cd against the 2014 issue. The stereo sound on the 2014 re-issue seems to me to be a bit “thin” compered to the Capitol cd especially on the songs. Mono tacks are superior on the re-issue. (Probably as they are true mono). Has anyone else noticed this?

    • YouKnowMyNameLookUpThe# says:

      Here is what I noticed. What I noticed is that any master tapes which were meant to be released initially on LP doesn’t have what you describe as “thin sound” in that they limited the sound at the top and bottom of those old masters. More-so the top end of the sounds as to keep them from being “tinny” sounding. But now, since 2009, the remasters were meant for CD and thus they retained their higher end of the sound spectrum for us to hear the sharp shrill sounds which accompany electric guitars and sitars. The sound may be a bit foreign as we are used to the “warmer” yet less full range sounds we heard for years.

      The whole mono mix thing definitely changes the entire sound anyway and is much superior to the old fold-downs they used on many an album to create mono.

      • Stephen Cornish says:

        Thanks for that response. It’s interesting listening to both versions. I also noticed that the score tracks on Help seem to have the left and right channels reversed. I noticed this while listening to “From me To You Fantasy Instrumental.”

  • Michael K says:

    What’s actually happened is that YES Apple wanted to undo Dave Dexter since he was the man who tried to prevent Beatles records coming out in America and proceeded to butcher everything they did for spurious reasons of (unrequired) marketing that enabled him to ‘keep himself busy’ when he should have been on welfare lines looking for the clue he didn’t have. :P

    What’s missed is that Apple handed this project over to Capitol in unfinished state (unlike other finished UK projects which they license on) because the expertise on the US albums doesn’t lie in the UK.

    So it’s a Capitol joint. Historically and contemporaneously.
    They have their logic for ‘errors’ and, guess what, it’s all about money since the ‘errors’ here seem to leave open a Capitol Albums Vol.3

  • Happy Nat says:

    There’s nothing on this set that I would call an “error.” This is it now – there will be no Capitol Albums Vol. 3.

  • Ernie says:

    It would be nice if Capitol/Apple would issue limited numbers of
    “Revolver”, “Yesterday…And Today” and “A Hard Day’s Night” using
    the correct American mixes. Fans would snap them up and Capitol/Apple would create yet another opportunity to rake in even more cash.

  • Happy Nat says:

    Revolver would be completely unnecessary Ernie. Read the write up on it above.

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