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The U.S. Albums Box Set – A final word on mixes used

This past week as the new Beatles box set The U.S. Albums was coming out, I published a little comparison of 37 tracks and whether certain aspects matched up with the versions heard on the original U.S. releases (see here). After word got out that this collection of 13 U.S. Beatles albums would largely be sourced from the recent 2009 remasters instead of the Capitol master tapes where they were sourced originally, Beatles fans all over the Internet began to talk about whether these unique Americanisms in the mixes would still be there. I’m talking about things like the false starts in “I’m Looking Through You” or the extra verse in “I’ll Cry Instead.” These interesting anomalies were heard on the original American albums but missing on the U.K. versions that the 2009 remasters were previously prepared for. Unfortunately, a few people took my posted results in a way I did not intend and actually thought I was criticizing the way certain tracks did not match up. The truth of the matter is that I applaud the new set and feel it offers improved versions of the original U.S. albums.

 

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

 

For my 37 comparisons, I set up a Pass/Fail scoring where a “fail” meant that something in the track that was different originally in the U.S. was not heard in the new CD set and a “pass” meant, of course, that the original mix heard on the Capitol masters was used. It was brought to my attention that the word “fail” was too harsh of a word to use as it sounds like I’m dissing the upgraded version while I was really only saying that it was not the same as the original. While there were more “fails” than “passes” in the particular comparisons I made, there was always a good reason for them as I’ll explain now.

On many tracks on the U.S. Capitol records from the sixties, the mono versions matched up with the stereo versions because they were really the same other than the stereo had the right and left channels combined into mono. These are called mono Type B mixes. The majority of tracks on the U.S. mono Meet The Beatles!, The Beatles Second Album, The Early Beatles and Help! used these type B mono mixes. On the upgraded versions in The U.S. Albums box set the original EMI-prepared mono mixes (now part of the 2009 remasters) are used instead. But is that a bad thing when we already have the stereo mixes in real stereo? Why have them duplicated again reduced to mono? By replacing with the original mono, you get both. So how is that a bad thing?

This next case is the exact opposite of the above. Unlike the U.K. albums, many tracks that had been released as mono singles were also included on the original American albums. Since in many cases Capitol wanted to hurry up and get another album out and not wait for EMI to prepare a true stereo mix, they created the duophonic (i.e. “fake” stereo) mix to go on the stereo albums. These are really the mono mixes split into two channels with a little tweaking. But they sound nearly the same as the mono mixes. These duophonic mixes have been replaced with the real stereo mixes in the upgraded CDs for each album. This too is a good thing since the duophonic is made from the mono, which is already included in the set. So in this case you now get both the mono and real stereo. Again, how is this a bad thing? It sounds like an improvement to me since you now get both. After all, the real stereo mixes would have been used back then too had Capitol not been in such a greedy hurry to release the albums before receiving the stereo mixes from EMI.

The two reasons given above explain the majority of the “fails” in my earlier comparison. Instead of the stereo and mono matching each other you get two accounts, many of which have differences in them. In my book, two versions of a Beatles song is always better than one.

Except for a very few exceptions the Capitol mixes that were unique to the albums made for the U.S. market have been used in the new set. In cases where they were not, it is usually because of a good reason. For example, many sixties stereo mixes have the vocals way off in the right channel and most of the backing in the left. In the eighties before the U.K. Help! and Rubber Soul albums went on CD for the first time, Beatles producer George Martin remixed the tracks on these albums doing very minimal tweaking and centering up the vocals. These mixes later were included in the 2009 remasters and the songs from these U.K. albums ended up on different albums in the U.S. catalog. These improved mixes have replaced the original stereo mixes and sound largely the same, but better since the vocals are not off to the side of the stereo image. Again – an improvement.

Finally I want to point out that Beatles albums have been improved upon in the past and given wide acclaim by avid Beatles fans. This is no different now. Improvement is a good thing. Here are four examples of Beatles albums improved upon in the past.

  1. Yesterday And Today – When released in 1966, the stereo album had three tracks that were duophonic mixes: “I’m Only Sleeping,” “Doctor Robert” and “And Your Bird Can Sing.” In 1971, a new pressing came out that replaced those three tracks with true stereo versions. No one got up in arms about it being changed – because it was improved.
  2. Magical Mystery Tour – This is a similar story. When the U.S. Magical Mystery Tour album came out in 1967, the final three songs on it were duophonic mixes. These were “Penny Lane,” “Baby You’re A Rich Man” and “All You Need Is Love.” In 1971 the German Hörzu label released the first 100% true stereo version of the album and everyone was thrilled to finally get true stereo mixes of those three great songs. Now those same mixes are part of the 2009 remasters.
  3. Yellow Submarine – The U.S. album (only released in stereo) had a duophonic mix for “Only A Northern Song.” The album only contained six Beatles songs used in the movie with the rest of the album being the film score orchestrations. In 1999, all six of these songs were remixed and in addition nine more remixed Beatles songs were added that were featured in the Yellow Submarine film. Every track was now in dazzling stereo. With a slight title change as the Yellow Submarine Songtrack, it got rave reviews and was actually applauded for besting the original 1969 album.
  4. As mentioned earlier, when The Beatles’ U.K. catalog was first released to CD in 1987, the stereo Help! and Rubber Soul albums were completely remixed to better center the vocals, which were very off-center in the original stereo mixes. Even though it was already late in the eighties, altering the originals was applauded. Why? Because it sounded better.

Below is an album-by-album synopsis of the specific mixes selected in The U.S. Albums and why:

 

Meet The Beatles!

Meet The Beatles! – The mono album was all Type B mono mixes except “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and “This Boy” which are the EMI-prepared mono mixes that are also the 2009 remasters. Using the 2009 remasters for these two made them consistent with the way they were in the sixties. The other 10 songs have been replaced with the EMI-prepared mono mixes and are therefore not flattened accounts of the exact same mixes that appear on the stereo version of the album. After all, you get the stereo mix too, so why have it twice? The stereo album has duophonic mixes of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and “This Boy” which were made from the exact same mono mixes that are on the mono album. These are replaced on the upgraded Meet The Beatles! CD with the true stereo mix. So now you have both. The other tracks on the stereo Meet The Beatles! that were in true stereo then are in true stereo on the new CD too. While technically Capitol is on the books as re-mixing the EMI prepared stereo mixes, it’s hard to tell these two-track mixes apart from the U.K. counterparts. I cannot tell by listening if they used the 2009 remasters or the original Capitol master tapes for the stereo album because they sound the same – which makes it a moot point anyway.

 

The Beatles Second Album

The Beatles Second Album – On the mono album there are three Capitol-unique mixes not heard in the 2009 remasters. They are for “You Can’t Do That,” “Long Tall Sally” and “I Call Your Name.” All three are used on the upgraded CD. “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Thank You Girl,” “You Really Got A Hold On Me,” “Devil In Her Heart,” “Money” and “Please Mr. Postman” were all Type B mono mixes on the sixties mono album and are replaced here with the EMI-prepared original mono mixes (since you already have these Type B mixes in full stereo on the stereo tracks on the CD). “She Loves You” and “I’ll Get You” only exist in mono and that’s what you get here, which is the same mix that was there in the sixties and now available as part of the 2009 remasters. On the stereo album “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Thank You Girl,” “You Really Got A Hold On Me,” “Devil In Her Heart,” “Money” and “Please Mr. Postman” all come from the 2009 remasters and are the same mix that was on the album in the sixties (although additional echo formerly added by Capitol is no longer present). “Long Tall Sally” and “I Call Your Name” were unique U.S. stereo mixes that are not used on the upgraded CD because the vocals were off-center. These too were replaced with the stereo versions heard on the 2009 remasters. “You Can’t Do That” was duophonic on the original stereo album, but you already heard that version earlier on the upgraded CD in mono, so it has been replaced with real stereo version. Since “She Loves You” and “I’ll Get You” only exist in mono, the songs are repeated at the end of the CD so that the album sequence is preserved. The original album used duophonic mixes for these.

 

A Hard Day's Night

A Hard Day’s Night – On the original mono album there are unique U.S. mixes for “I’ll Cry Instead” (with an extra verse) and “And I Love Her” (with a single-tracked vocal on the verses). Both of these mixes were appropriately remastered for The U.S. Albums box set. The other six Beatles songs were taken from the 2009 remasters which have the same mixes that were used on the original mono album. The original “stereo” album was not stereo at all except for the four film score orchestrations. The eight Beatles songs are all duophonic mixes created by enhancing the mono mixes. In the case of “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Tell Me Why,” “If I Fell” and “Can’t Buy Me Love” the balance was panned to simulate stereo. This sounds the same as someone with their hand on the balance knob of an old amplifier turning the balance control back in forth while playing the record. This would just not do in 2014. How ridiculous would this sound on a high end stereo? All tracks therefore use the stereo versions from the 2009 remasters except “I’ll Cry Instead.” Since only the mono version has the extra verse, the mono version is repeated in the stereo section of the CD to preserve the sequence of the album and keep the same unique version of it heard on the original release.

 

Something New

Something New – The original mono album had four unique U.S. mixes for “I’ll Cry Instead” (the same one on the A Hard Day’s Night album listed previously), “Any Time At All,” “When I Get Home” and “And I Love Her” (the same one on the A Hard Day’s Night album listed previously). All four are used in The U.S. Albums box set. The others come from the 2009 remasters and are the same mixes heard on the original album. For the stereo album, almost all tracks were originally the same mixes that are now on the 2009 remasters, so again, those were used. The exception is “Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand.” There was an error in the original stereo mix where a voice saying the word “coming” can be heard in the right channel during the intro. This was cleaned out in an eighties remix in preparation for the first release of the Past Masters CD. Aside from the correction of that very minor anomaly, the mix sounds the same.

 

The Beatles Story

The Beatles’ Story – No difference noted from the originally released stereo Capitol 2-LP set. The mono mix of this album was not included for The U.S. Albums upgrade. This was a documentary so there was really no point.

 
 
 

 

Beatles '65

Beatles ’65 – The original mono album had three unique U.S. mixes for “I’ll Be Back,” “She’s A Woman” (with more echo and a shorter fade out) and “I Feel Fine” (with more echo). All three are used in the upgraded U.S. Albums box set upgrade. The others come from the 2009 remasters and are the same mixes heard on the original album. For the stereo album, almost all tracks were originally the same mixes that are now on the 2009 remasters and are used again for the upgrade. The exceptions are “I Feel Fine” and “She’s A Woman,” which were duophonic mixes that were replaced on The U.S. Albums version with the true stereo version.

 

The Early Beatles

The Early Beatles – This one is a similar story to Meet The Beatles! The mono album was entirely Type B mono mixes and since you can already hear those same versions as stereo mixes on the second half of The U.S. Albums CD version, the original EMI-prepared mono mixes are used for the new CD instead. Since “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You” only exist in mono, the mono mix is duplicated on the stereo section of the CD to preserve the original sequence. The original album used duophonic mixes for these. The other tracks on the stereo Early Beatles that were in true stereo then, are in true stereo on the new CD too. While technically Capitol is on the books as re-mixing the EMI-prepared stereo mixes (as with Meet The Beatles!) it’s hard to tell them apart from the U.K. counterparts on these two-track recordings. I cannot tell by listening if they used the 2009 remasters or the original Capitol master tapes for the stereo album because they sound the same.

 

Beatles VI

Beatles VI – There are no unique U.S. mixes on either the mono or stereo album so all tracks on the new CD come from the 2009 remasters which are the same mixes used on the original mono and most of the original stereo album. There are four exceptions. The stereo mixes of “You Like Me Too Much,” “Dizzy Miss Lizzie” and “Tell Me What You See” (all from the U.K. Help! album), as mentioned earlier were remixed in the eighties to better center the vocals. These newer mixes were used on the new CD. Other than a little more echo on “Dizzy Miss Lizzie,” these mixes sound the same here other than the vocals being centered much better. I have no problem with that improvement at all. “Yes It Is” was a duophonic mix on the original stereo album and has been replaced on the new CD with the true stereo version.

 

Help!

Help! – The entire mono and stereo album use the remixes done in the eighties that better center the vocals on the new U.S. Albums upgrade CD. Otherwise the stereo mixes sound the same. The original mono album used Type B mono mixes, so using the EMI-prepared original mono mixes is arguably a nice improvement.

 
 
 

 

Rubber Soul

Rubber Soul – The original mono U.S. Rubber Soul album had one U.S. unique mix and it was for “Michelle.” This U.S. mix had louder percussion and a slightly longer fade out. The unique mix is used in The U.S. Albums CD upgrade. All other tracks on the new CD come from the 2009 remasters which are the same mixes used on the original mono album. There are two U.S. unique mixes on the stereo album. One is “The Word” (with a double-tracked vocal) and the other is “I’m Looking Through You” (which contains two false starts). These two unique Americanisms are included on the new U.S. Albums upgrade CD. The other stereo tracks use remixes made in the eighties that better center the vocals in comparison to the original stereo mixes. These remixes are part of the 2009 remasters. If I’m going to listen to Rubber Soul in stereo, it’s probably better to have the vocals centered.

 

Yesterday And Today

Yesterday And Today – The original mono Yesterday And Today album had three U.S. unique mixes. These are “I’m Only Sleeping,” “Doctor Robert” and “And Your Bird Can Sing.” All three are used on the new U.S. Albums upgraded CD. “Drive My Car” for reasons unknown was a Type B mono mix on the original album and is replaced on the new CD with the EMI-prepared original mono mix from the 2009 remasters. All other tracks on the new CD come from the 2009 remasters and are the same mixes used on the original mono album. The original stereo album, as mentioned earlier had duophonic mixes for “I’m Only Sleeping,” “Doctor Robert” and “And Your Bird Can Sing.” George Martin had made separate stereo mixes of “I’m Only Sleeping” and “Doctor Robert” for the U.S. but they were not used, maybe because they were not received by Capitol in time. Later editions of Yesterday And Today (beginning in the early seventies) had these stereo mixes with the same stereo mix of “And Your Bird Can Sing” that appears on U.K. stereo copies of Revolver. On the upgraded CD these three tracks were all replaced with the true stereo versions from the 2009 remasters. I’m not sure why the U.S. unique versions were not used for “I’m Only Sleeping” and “Doctor Robert” but, in any event, they sound very similar to the 2009 remasters anyway. If you want to hear the U.S. unique 1971 stereo remix of “I’m Only Sleeping,” it was featured as a Beatles Rarity of the Week here. “We Can Work It Out” and “Day Tripper” also had unique stereo U.S. mixes with “Day Tripper” sounding quite different than the U.K. mix in the 2009 remasters (due in part by the intro beginning with a single guitar in the left channel instead of one guitar in each channel). Both of these two unique U.S. mixes were used on the upgraded CD. The other stereo tracks use remixes made in the eighties that better center the vocals in comparison to the original stereo mixes. These remixes are part of the 2009 remasters.

 

Revolver

Revolver – Both the mono and stereo albums use the same mixes that were used in the U.K. that are now part of the 2009 remasters. So the upgraded mono and stereo albums are the same here as they were on albums released back in the day.

 
 
 

 

Hey Jude

Hey Jude – This album was released in 1970 after mono had been phased out and therefore was only released in stereo. “Paperback Writer” had the right and left channels reversed on the original LP (in comparison to the previously released U.K. stereo mix) and “The Ballad Of John And Yoko” has the final drumbeat faded low whereas it stays at the same level on the single. On the upgraded CD, the 2009 remasters were used for all ten tracks and aside from those two minor differences are the same mixes used on the original LP.

So, in summary, I hope you can see that between the type B mono mixes and the duophonic mixes there was a lot of duplication that is now presented with two distinct mixes (mono and stereo) for most of the tracks. Additionally, all but a few of the U.S. unique mixes were remastered and used. I think the only thing I dislike about the box set is the negative point of view towards the Capitol albums that Bill Flanagan gives in his essay included with the 64-page booklet. I’m hoping this will clear up a lot of the misconception and confusion about this set of CDs and why Apple/UM put it together the way they did. And let’s not forget, for those of you that still do not have them, the 2004 and 2006 Capitol Albums box sets that use the original Capitol master tapes are still available too. Happy listening!


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 64 Box: Capitol Albums 1 – 2004 4-CD box set containing mono and stereo versions of 4 Beatles albums from 1964 (Meet The Beatles!, The Beatles Second Album, Something New and Beatles ’65) all using the original Capitol master tapes.

3) The Capitol Albums Vol. 2 (Brick) – 2006 4-CD box set containing mono and stereo versions of 4 Beatles albums from 1965 (The Early Beatles, Beatles VI, Help! and Rubber Soul) all using the original Capitol master tapes.

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

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68 Comments

  • Michael K says:

    Nat..
    I believe you have now produced the definitive notes on this set!
    This should be included in future pressings of the box as it probably finally speaks the technical intentions which were lost in the inadequate Capitol press release for the set.

    Much Respect!

    • Happy Nat says:

      Thank you very much Michael. Aside from not using the 1971 re-issue Capitol-unique stereo mixes for “Dr. Robert” and “I’m Only Sleeping” (did these get lost or just forgotten about?) and the poorly written Bill Flanagan essay in the booklet (which, yes! needed way more info on the tracks selection), I’m happy with it.

  • Mick says:

    A nice overview. Great info, albeit with a few “error’s”, regarding the stereo mixes, that I hope you will accept I correct:

    * The Stereo “Long Tall Sally” and “I Call Your Name” from The Second Album were also unique mixes, most notably on the latter in which the cowbell comes in a different place than the UK mono and stereo mixes.

    * There is debate wether “Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand” is a unique mix, since session paperwork suggests that a different mix was sent to the U.S. than Germany.

    * The Stereo mixes used on Yesterday And Today of “I’m Only Sleeping” and “Dr. Robert”, that you suggests are re-mixes, were in fact created in 1966, prior to the stereo versions used on the U.K. “Revolver”. The proof of this, is that those stereo versions were used on the Reel-to-Reel copies, released in 1966. There are also some evidence that a different stereo mix was sent to the U.S. of “And Your Bird Can Sing”, albeit they sound the same.

    Hope you could use this information. Again, your essay is really nice written. Thanks.

    • Happy Nat says:

      Hello Mick and thank you for your observations. I meant to include the stereo “Long Tall Sally” and “I Call Your Name” and will add those. “Komm Gib Mire Deine Hand” based on listening, is the mix from the 2009 remasters, so I am going with that. If you are aware of something that differentiates it, please let me know. I’m not doubting you on when the Capitol stereo remixes for “I’m Only Sleeping” and “Doctor Robert” were made, but only know they came out in the early seventies vinyl pressings of Yesterday…And Today (though the duophonic mixes still showed up on some albums too). I wonder why these stereo mixes were not used. I’ve even heard rumors that they have been lost, but I don’t know.

    • Happy Nat says:

      Mick, double checked the Lewisohn book on “I’m Only Sleeping” and “Doctor Robert” and yeah…on May 20, 1966 George Martin did two mixes of each song – one for the UK and one for the US (I wonder why he thought they needed to be different). Anyway, as you say, I guess it would be more accurate to call those “different mixes” instead of “remixes.” Will incorporate this info into the posting. Thanks…

  • Mike says:

    Nat, you talked me off the ledge, great analysis. There’s been a lot of confusion about this set, and this is the most clear-headed take I’ve seen. Like you, I wish they’d used the two ’70s mixes from YAT, but otherwise, I’m OK about everything else. (The funny thing is, I think numerous people would be whining if Apple hadn’t used the 2009 masters and the ’87 remixes.)

    • Happy Nat says:

      Thx, Mike! I don’t doubt that for a minute!. I’m looking at it like this – there were things about those U.S. albums that needed improvement, and why not? The U.K. versions were improved. At least Help! and Rubber Soul were in the eighties. Why can’t the U.S. albums finally get the same courtesy?

  • Geo says:

    Nat, thanks for the analysis. I was suffering from a little buyers remorse for spending the money for the set. I just has some doubts about whether it would be worth it or not. The discs I’ve listened to just sound great! The tunes just seem to jump out of the speakers. Glad I went ahead and made the purchase.

  • Mick says:

    Hi Nat. You’re welcome regarding my info. Never understood why George Martin made two seperate mixes, either.

  • ODIrony says:

    Dear Nat:

    After loading the new US set onto my computer, I lined up the songs alphabetically and played them with the older US CD releases(where possible, and for the record, I have both versions of the older Capitol Albums Volume Two). I then played the doubled collection comparing each. I suggest it’s worth the comparison as a few of the differences are quite noticeable. For example, while the buyer does benefit from both the mono and stereo version of Money with the new set, the fact remains that the first time the mono mix of Money was heard in the US was the original CD release of With the Beatles. As a completest, I didn’t mind adding to poor ole Ringo and Paul’s coffers and rejoiced to have yet more differences to try to identify when a song comes on (a fun game: Is it UK, Mono, Stereo, or US 1 or US 2).

    :)

  • Jerry M says:

    I find this new box set depressing as they are none of the original US mixes that appear on the original Vinyl as well as on the other tow Capitol records box set of the first 8 US albums. Yesterday and today is missing all the US enhancements.
    I have wasted my money on this set and await the ORIGINAL US mixes as promised.

    • Happy Nat says:

      I am interested in two things Jerry. First, who made you this promise? Second, how can your box set be different than mine? You say NONE of the original mixes? Mine has many of the same mixes as described above. Many on mine are absolutely the same ones used on the original US releases (as I painstakingly described above). You must have picked up the wrong set somewhere. Mine has some that are different but certainly not all of them. How is the sound quality on yours? Terrible? Mine sounds great! You are right though. You should return it if you think it’s that bad.

  • Thommy says:

    Congratulations on what is surely the definitive essay on this subject. Well done! I was thoroughly satisfied that the truly unique US mixes were used and that all else was logically upgraded. Having been an obsessive Beatlemaniac in the late 70′s/early 80′s I prefer several of the US albums over their “proper” UK counterparts. This set was all I hoped for.
    (Incidentally I too was annoyed by the liner notes which I felt were unnecessarily negative…your essay can well replace the technical info there too!)

    • Happy Nat says:

      Thanks Thommy. Most people really feel strongly about this one way or another and for the most part I’m good with it. That’s not to say I’m not hanging on to my originals too though! It’s never too late to improve though.

      • Thommy says:

        Agreed – I have my old vinyl copies for the memories, and though I have the “Capitol Versions” from 10 years ago as well I must say I will not listen to them anymore, because the fold down mono and duophonic mixes don’t sound good! I think this new set is for the most part right on – I’m happy with it.

  • Follower says:

    Nat -

    Agreed with everyone on thanking you for these three posts. I agree with everything in all of them up until the final paragraph, where you bemoan Bill Flanagan’s dismissive attitude toward the U.S. albums — which is completely opposite my interpretation of them. As I recall, the very first words in the booklet are about how many American fans, including himself, felt that their cherished memories had been arbitrarily dismissed when the British catalogue became the world standard (kind of like how Star Wars fans reacted to George Lucas changing the original films). Later, Flanagan praises the track ordering of “The Beatles’ Second Album” as resulting in an awesome rock and roll record, even at one point using profanity (dutifully reproduced in official EMI product!) for emphasis about its greatness.

  • Happy Nat says:

    It just sounds like he’s implying Capitol’s configurations with the albums including putting the singles tracks on them was only to chart us ericans and make more money (he says that’s the American way!). There is way more to it than that skewed point of view. In America fans bought albums INSTEAD of the singles if it was a band they really liked and that is the reason singles were on the albums. Not to rip anyone off or force people to buy both. Anyway, it’s not that important and just my opinion.

  • Jim Matherly says:

    Nat…I have to say that you have been a TREMENDOUS help to me when wading through these “remaster waters”. I own BOTH the Stereo and Mono 2009 UK reissues. I also own the 1987 original CD issues. No comparison there. In fact, I like the 09 MONO’s much better than the Stereos. Based on your report I went ahead a purchased the new box set. I absolutely love it. But now I’m wondering….should I also buy the 04 and 06 sets too? Or in your opinion is that truly overkill. My local store has both and I can get them at a good price. But if you’re convinced that I would gain nothing than just more debt, then I trust you! Again, thanks for the best insight on the net. Jim (Fairbanks, Alaska)

  • Sir George Martini says:

    Nat,

    In your previous post you mentioned that Artificial Double Tracking (ADT) was used on Day Tripper. ADT wasn’t used until Sgt Pepper and it is easy to identify by its doubling or flanged sound. Outtakes of Day Tripper have two guitars (one on the left and one on the right) on the intro, so it is a different mix or take. I hope this helps.

    • Happy Nat says:

      Thx George. Not to appear too defensive but I did use the words “could be.” Since it was 1965 though, you are correct that it was too early for that and I’ve updated the post accordingly. ADT was however used in the Revolver sessions.

  • Frank Miranda says:

    Hi Nat:
    I just recently discovered your website and am now spending many of my waking moments buried in it. What an awesome site and what a tremendously detailed effort! Thank you for one of the absolute best Beatles sites out there!
    Question: In your Jan 13 piece about the box set (“A More Deatiled Look”), you mention some of the original Capitol versions as being 2nd, 3rd, and even 4th generation. Is that info available anywhere? And do you know which ones are which?
    Keep up the excellent work, Nat! You rock!!!

    • Happy Nat says:

      Thank you Frank! Nothing specific on that though. The information shared there is included in the booklet that is packaged with the box set but without any further details. I wish there was more technical information included in the book.

  • Ed Turner says:

    Great work, Nat! The first time I heard the stereo mixes of “And Your Bird can Sing,’ “Dr. Robert,” and “I’m Only Sleeping” was on 8- track Capitol release from the early to mid 70′s. It was so unexpectedly overwhelming that I stayed in my car and listened to them so long that I almost ran down my battery! Thanks again for all you do for us Beatle people!

  • This article was so ‘reasoned’ that I have changed my mind and now will indeed purchase this boxed set. I already own the ‘elderly’ boxed sets from the noughties so can access the original fold-downs and re-channeled material (if only that of the first eight U.S. albums) at will – if indeed I actually ever have the will; it’s just a shame that the third set of the original series was never issued. A very readable read. Well done.

  • Herb klein says:

    It doesn’t matter which masters they use because us beatles fans will keep on buying no matter what. I’m sure once the hype dies down about the 50th aniversary Capitol will release something else. I wish they would release a collection of all the unique mixes from around the world. They are out there in bootleg form so make them official. But then again if they gave us everything we want we wouldn’t have to buy everything over and over.

  • Mike H says:

    Second album: I WANT THE DUOPHONIC
    Hard Days Night: Bullshit! There was a shitty stereo I’ll Cry Instead on the original Capitol Collection Something New; I want that!!!
    The Early Beatles: same as the Second album…

    • Happy Nat says:

      I want to know about this alleged duophonic A Hard Day’s Night too! I know the original United Artist album certainly wasn’t duophonic.

      • Frank Miranda says:

        According to Bruce Spizer, all Beatles tracks on the UA stereo soundtrack LP are in fake stereo. UA wanted its stereo LP to be released earlier than waiting for the stereo masters would allow, so they did their own fake stereo magic on the mono masters (along with some additional left-right panning). So, the original stereo UA soundtrack of AHDN was indeed duophonic (or, more accurately, fake stereo since “duophonic” was a term coined by Capitol).

        • Happy Nat says:

          The Beatles tracks on the “stereo” album were in mono with panning on four of the 8 tracks. Duophonic really means they duplicate the mono channel into two channels and increase bass in one, treble in the other and put them slightly out of sync (for an echo effect). What UA did (i.e. “panning”) was more the equivalent of playing with the balance knob. Not duophonic though. For this on CD you’ll need to go “off-market” and I can kind of see why Capitol/Apple would be a little embarrassed to put it out like that now.

          • Frank Miranda says:

            Spizer’s “The Beatles Swan Song” (page 32) says: “The fake stereo mixes were created by transferring the mono master of each song to two separate channels and then slightly boosting the low bass frequencies in the left channel and tweaking the high treble frequencies in the right channel. This was similar to the process used by Capitol for its fake stereo mixes. In addition, most of the songs also have a panning effect…”
            Not that Spizer can’t be wrong, but he’s the recognized guru on the Beatles’ American releases. So, if there’s a source that says different than what he’s published, please share.

          • Happy Nat says:

            That’s a good source Frank. I have Bruce’s books too and they are a very valuable source of information. I have a few other sources including Allen J. Weiner’s The Beatles – The Ultimate Recording Guide that explains only the orchestrations on the stereo record are in stereo. The Beatles tracks are in mono despite the stereo catalog number (pg. 267 in the book). I also have a “Dr. Ebbett’s transfer of the disc on CD that has The Beatles tracks as one channel. I’m not saying you (or Bruce) are wrong because it’s really splitting hairs anyway – as we probably both agree they “sound” the same. In fact “And I Love Her,” “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You,” “I’ll Cry Instead” and “I Should Have Known Better” sounds perfectly identical on the mono and stereo albums as they don’t even have the panning. Duophonic mixes at least sound a little bit different due to the treble/bass tweaking and putting the channels out of sync.

  • WS64 says:

    Hi Nat, sorry to say but you are wrong on the statement that just a few of the stereo Beatles songs on US AHDN are fake stereo and the rest are simply mono.
    Here’s a screenshot of the waveform of AILH: http://oi59.tinypic.com/212eal4.jpg
    You can see that at the beginning, the end and in the middle from around 1’20 to 1’50 the right channel is louder than the left. I guess this stereo effect should put the guitar-only parts more to the right. Same goes for 2 of the other 3 songs but not for IHJTDWY, here I really can’t “see” any panning at all.

    • Happy Nat says:

      The orchestrations are in true stereo. The others are mono and panned. There is also a track-by-track listing from Brennan here. If you look up songs from the soundtrack you will see that they are listed as mono. Other duophonic tracks are listed as “mock stereo” (see “Love Me Do [2]” as an example). I will see Bruce this weekend and if the opportunity arises, I will talk with him about this.

      • WS64 says:

        Yes, the orchestrations are true stereo, no doubt about that. But all (I am not sure about IHJTDWY) Beatles-”stereo” tracks are panned-mono. Your comment above stated that e.g. AILH was just pure mono (“sounds perfectly identical on the mono and stereo albums as they don’t even have the panning”), and this is wrong. The panning is there too (as you can see on the screenshot.)

      • Frank Miranda says:

        I’ll be very interested to hear what Bruce has to say about the UA stereo release. It seems the heavyweights disagree! Wiener & Brennan say mono; Spizer says fake stereo (as does the Wikipedia entry for AHDN — not that it’s the most reliable of sources!). But there’s also disagreement on the nature of songs on other American LPs.

        Spizer says that except for duophonic mixes and unique American mixes, all tracks on Meet The Beatles!, Second Album, and Early Beatles are the same UK stereo mixes used by EMI. Joe Brennan says they’re all Capitol-made remixes of the UK stereo mixes, while Frank Daniels agrees with Brennan on the first two albums, but with Spizer on the third! I mean, who can you believe?

        • Happy Nat says:

          Very well put Frank! My point yesterday is – if it sounds like mono it must be/might as well be mono. I’ll see him there but as you can guess – it’ll be a very busy and crazy weekend. Lewisohn will be there too.

          • Frank Miranda says:

            Thanks for the discussions, Nat! They’ve been very enlightening, to say the least! And maybe your last point says it best — if it sounds like mono, it might as well be mono.

            Back to The US Albums box set: It should be called The US Albums (Revised) because it does NOT represent the Capitol LPs as they were originally issued…period. So, for me, the box set misses the boat. If you’re looking for the LPs in their ORIGINAL form, get the Capitol Albums boxes Volumes 1 & 2 for the first 8 LPs and Ebbetts needle-drops for the LPs after that. (Or Ebbetts needle-drops for ALL the American LPs since the Capitol Albums boxes have apparently been loudified.) And even THEN, the experts (Spizer, Daniels, Brennan, Wiener,et al.) will disagree with what you have!!!

  • jaMesa says:

    I love your analysis. But I have a difference of opinion about some of your assumptions.

    Yes, improved sound quality is generally a good thing. But if it comes at the cost of accuracy, then it becomes less attractive [to me, anyway, and probably others].

    1. Yesterday And Today has caused lots of confusion amongst collectors, because there seems to be no accurate method to determine which version you’re buying. [Bruce might have a clue on that one]

    2. I love that the three duophonic tracks are now in full stereo. I hate that we lost the U.S. mix of Strawberry Fields Forever.

    3. The Yellow Submarine Songtrack is a much better value than the Soundtrack in terms of Beatles songs. And some of the mixes may be interesting as alternatives to the originals. [Although, I have to point out that the vocals on Eleanor Rigby are slightly out of sync, but that's beside the point I'm making here.] However, if this version were to replace the original, I [and is suspect lots of others] would be screaming unhappy things. Same with Let It Be Naked. Create as many alternates as you like, but don’t replace the originals with them. Which leads us to…

    4. The Rubber Soul and Help mixes from 1987 are not the versions that I grew up listening to and are not the versions that I prefer. The original mixes aound great in the mono box [and I am quite glad they were preserved there]. I think the off-center vocals are part of their charm.

    I love improved sound quality, but if it comes at the price of historical accuracy, I would prefer to have the best sound possible from the original masters. Yes, I would prefer the Capitol Albums vol 1 & 2 [and the non-existent 3] over this kind of mix-and-match revisionism. When I first got Volume 1, I played all the discs on my big living room CD sound system, in stereo and mono, and listened for the spot-the-difference moments from the British masters we’d been listening to for almost 20 years. Then later I put Something New in my little CD clock radio and as I drifted off to sleep, the realization hit me: “This is exactly what these songs sounded like coming out of my old bedroom radio back in the seventies.” That’s the kind of experience I would have loved from this set. Unfortunately, it has been sacrificed to the altar of “sound quality”.

    I can live with 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th generation masters. Heck sometimes I listen to music that was sourced from scratchy old 78s. [I know George Harrison did, too.] But I guess we will not get an “authentic” Yesterday And Today for a while, if ever. In the meantime, we have most of the different US mixes. Perhaps someday…

    PS. Not having heard this set yet [mostly for the reasons outlined above], I am curious about just how closely these mixes are to the 2009 masters. Here, you are saying they are basically the same. But in another article you reference the stereo I Feel Fine and She’s A Woman having some extra echo added to them. Have they “enhanced” the 2009 masters on this set, and if so, how much and how prevalent is it?

  • Whitcomb says:

    On the question of whether the 2009 remasters have been enhanced for this new collection, my gut tells me the answer is yes. Listen to the mono of “Yesterday and Today” — it has a warmth that the comparable recordings in the “Beatles In Mono” seem to lack.

    And it seems pretty obvious to me that echo has been added to the mono of “Beatles ’65″ — it has more than I remember, at least.

    On the other hand, it’s startling to listen to the stereo of “The Beatles Second Album” — the reverb and duophonic are gone.

    Overall, I think Apple has done a great job with this set. Let’s remember that not every Capitol mix was great — think “She’s A Woman” and “I Feel Fine,” where the vocals were buried deep in the speakers. The versions here are much better, although the stereo of “I Feel Fine” seems strangely punchless to me.

    As I’ve said on other forums, Apple could have dealt with the Capitol mixes v. 2009 remasters controversy by including bonus tracks on each disc, featuring 3 to 5 of the most interesting Capitol variations. Would that have been so difficult? For example, the duophonic “She Loves You” is still great to listen to. Another bonus could have been the Capitol mix of “Help!” that was released as a single. And many others.

  • Wendy Carlos says:

    As an informed collector and fan, these glowing positive reviews for this sham of a box set have me scratching my head. I can’t help but think “there is a sucker born every minute”. All of this talk about the Capitol albums sounding “bad” and being from “4th generation tapes” is complete nonsense designed to glorify the UK mixes and sell more US box sets. I’m surprised that you cannot tell the difference between “Meet The Beatles” and “With The Beatles”. If that’s true, than what was the point of replacing the mixes in the first place? Who are they trying to impress? The truth is, the Capitol albums have much more compression, much brighter EQ, and a much louder vocal channel. The resulting effect is brash, loud and exciting. It has the energy that takes me right back to Beatlemania. The UK albums, although clearer, are limp and lifeless in comparison, with the music channel much louder than the vocals. What makes you think that “Long Tall Sally” and “I Call Your Name” were replaced because “the vocal is off center”? The reason those two mixes were rejected is because they only exist with added echo, and added echo is “BAD”. Speaking of which, what was the logic behind replacing the original “Rubber Soul” and “Help” mixes with digital reverb soaked remixes from 1987? I thought the whole “point” was to REMOVE the echo? Ha! It doesn’t make sense to me at all, but none of the positive reviewers seem to have a problem with it. You call it an “improvement” when in fact there was nothing wrong with the original mixes in the first place. They used the 1987 remixes not because they are better, but because they are the mixes that Apple likes. Giles Martin asked them to use the original 1965 mixes, but they refused! Where are the stereo “Revolver” tracks from “Yesterday & Today”? They couldn’t resist replacing those mixes either! It’s a complete and utter shambles. They should have replaced the duophonic stereo mixes and NOTHING else. In all but a handful of cases, the Capitol tapes are perfectly fine and should have been used here. The compression & reverb on the US mixes is an important part of the original sound. The UK mixes are the UK mixes and the US mixes are the US mixes. They each serve a purpose and they each have their fans and detractors. Calling this box set “The US Albums” is false advertising to the highest degree. You can imagine my disgust when I thought I was finally going to have a CD version of the original “Yesterday & Today”, only to discover that it’s just a re-done hodge-podge of US mixes, UK mixes and REMIXES from 1987! What a joke. I feel sorry for anybody who thinks that re-arranging the 2009 remasters into the US configuration is anything more than a scam to get you to buy the same thing twice.

    • Happy Nat says:

      Wendy, You have good points and all are well-informed and I have heard them from others as well and responded to many. Between that and writing the 3 articles about this controversial set, I am leaving further discussion toward what is right and wrong to whoever else chooses to discuss and comment on what I have already written – which I feel like is plenty. I see all of your points and they are all valid. Do I feel naming the set The U.S. Albums is a mis-representation? Yes, probably so. Do I see that it’s good to have the tracks by the same standard that the band and “EMI proper” intended all along. Yes I do. Do I think its BAD to improve history (i.e. improve earlier releases) with more sonically improved mixes? No. It’s been done all along and I give 4 examples of other occurrences above that did not cause such a furor from Beatles fans. Would I like a Yesterday And Today that was a digital account of the 1996 stereo and 1971 stereo releases? Absolutely (I actually already do though – just not from Apple/Capitol). So you have no argument from me as I see the “rightness” in what you say – but I see the other side too. Is it over-duplication? I already discussed that but the simple answer is yes – this set is more commemorative than it is satisfying for the get-every-mix completist. Most get-every-mix complete-ist though would already have all of that well before Jan. 2014 though. Was it an opportunity missed to put out the US unique mixes as they were? In some respects yes. It comes down to what you want out of this set. It can disappoint if you were after a perfect replica of how it sounded in the sixties (repeating myself from an earlier article about the set there) or it can be welcomed as a “hybrid” that gives us some of the old Capitol mixes and weeds out much of the other Type B mixes and duophonics that Apple apparently thinks don’t belong it 2014.

  • Carol says:

    Somone told me that the U.S. Albums CD set and The Beatles on Capitol Albums Vol. 1 & 2 were recorded from the same source but the U.S. Albums has more reverb. Anyone else hear this? I’ve done a little comparison but don’t hear the difference.

  • Rafael Hernandez says:

    Finally we some some light about the remixes exclusive to this set and the variations from the mono and stereo 2009 reissues. Congratulations. Just one question about the variations on the song Help!. Unterberger and other authors say that the mono mix contains a totally different vocal track than the one used on the stereo mix, and when you hear both mixes the different vocal is very clear. But on Lewinsohn’s Recording Sessions no mention is done. In fact it says that both mixes, although made on different days, come from the same take (take 12) which, apart from take 10, is the only with a vocal track. Are the vocals really different on both mixes and, if so, why was it decided to re-record them? Thanks for your answer!

    • Happy Nat says:

      The vocal tracks are indeed different on the stereo and mono mixes of “Help!.” The first vocal track and backing were recorded on April 13, 1965 but John redid his vocal to better sync up with his miming in the Help! film. This was recorded on May 24, 1965 and the newer vocal is what is used on the single, mono LP and movie soundtrack. The original vocal track recorded on April 13 was used on the stereo mix. If the first verse ends with the word “door” you are hearing the mono mix. If it ends with “doors,” it’s the stereo mix. There are several other differences such as the mono mix does not have Ringo’s tambourine in the chorus as is apparent on the stereo mix.

  • Wendy Carlos says:

    The vocals on the mono mix of “Help” were recorded at an outside studio where the band were doing touchups for the film soundtrack and the original multi-track masters were not available for Lewhison’s research. Only the original version as heard in the stereo mix is in Abbey Road’s vault. Some speculate that the tape might be somewhere else amongst film ephemera. If they do find it, all they would need to do is to sync the new vocal with the original Abbey Road backing track tape, and you would have a stereo mix of the mono vocal. But at the moment, this appears to be not possible.

  • Rafael Hernandez says:

    Thank you Nat! I was wondering why Lewisohn’s recording sessions didn’t cover the May 24th overdubbing session, and it’s because it wasn’t done at EMI as an official session, but at CTS as postproduction activities were done for the Help! Film

  • Rod says:

    Concerning the 1987 stereo remixes of Help and Rubber Soul. I have found that the Help vocals have always been well centered on the original stereo mix, George Martin just seemed to add a very slight reverb to the vocals when he remixed them for the 1987 CD release. However Rubber Soul originally had the annoying feature of the lead vocal on the hard right channel, much like the binaural recordings on the first two albums did.

    With the 1987 remix of Rubber Soul Martin allowed for a slight panning to the left and you can hear the lead vocals quite faintly on the left channel, compared to the right channel where they are still overwhelmingly dominant! Whereas with the original stereo mix, most songs have no lead vocal coming out of the left channel at all.

    Some of the recordings after Rubber Soul also had lead vocals on one channel only (usually the right channel) Examples are Yellow Submarine, Eleanor Rigby and Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Band.

    The Yellow Submarine Songtrack from 1999 has mastering that centers the lead vocals on these songs (and others) with great success. It is too bad that ALL of the Rubber Soul album couldn’t have been mixed in the same manner as Yellow Submarine Songtrack, putting the lead vocal solidly dead center where they belong.

    Lead vocals should always be dead center on a stereo recording. The Beatles records started doing that consistently with A Hard Day’s Night and for some reason, did not with Rubber Soul (and few songs here and there on other albums). It is annoying as heck.

    • Rod says:

      Oh and the US stereo versions of I Call Your Name and Long Tall Sally have centered vocals too, just a lot more reverb than the UK versions.

  • Tom says:

    Over the years, I’ve detected a slight difference in the American mono (Beatles vi) version of BAD BOY. Toward the end of the guitar solo, John lets out a short scream, then a quick “whooh”, which is much more audible on that version. In stereo, you can just barely hear it, and on PAST MASTERS, almost not at all. In addition, Capitol’s 1965 box DID NOT include true mono mixes, but rather “Type B” mono..very disappointing!

    • Happy Nat says:

      Tom…to be fair Capitol did offer free corrections to those people who purchased the earlier 1965 (Capitol Albums Vol. 2) box sets with the Type B mono mixes on Beatles VI and Rubber Soul.I have an article that describes that fiasco in detail here. I sent in myself and got the corrected discs. Later issues contained the corrected discs.

    • Happy Nat says:

      Tom, I just checked out what you’re saying about “Bad Boy” and concur with what you are hearing. It isn’t a different mix, but it’s definitely EQ’d differently enough to tell a difference.

  • Rod says:

    To my ears ALL versions of Help album in stereo has the vocals in the center, and NONE of the stereo versions of Rubber Soul have the vocals in the center (except for the USA stereo version which has I’ve Just Seen A Face, and It’s Only Love with properly centered vocals, which are from the UK Help album anyway). The 87 mixes of Help and Rubber Soul just have added echo that pans both channels making the vocals sound fatter, whether they are centered as on Help or on the right channel as with Rubber Soul. Can anyone please explain?

    • Happy Nat says:

      Vocals are farthest right on the original stereo mixes of Rubber Soul.

      • Rod says:

        Yes, I agree. The part I do not understand is why some say the original stereo Help tracks are not centered. I have all three versions of the Help in stereo, US stereo, original UK stereo in the mono box and the UK stereo) and all three have the vocals centered (except for the US Duophonic Ticket To Ride of course).

        And while I am at it, why didn’t George Martin perfectly center the vocals on Rubber Soul when he remixed them back in 1987? It has been proven it can be done, ala’ Yellow Submarine Songtrack.

  • Rod says:

    Nostalgia notwithstanding, I MUCH prefer the more pristine sound of the UK versions over the echo laden and compressed US mixes. I do not listen to my music over the dashboard speaker of my 1962 Ford Falcon’s AM radio anymore. I listen on a $10,000 stereo these days. And to my ears the Yellow Submarine Songtrack has the best mixes ever.

    • YouKnowMyNameLookUpThe# says:

      Hey Rod, what do your ears know about sound? rofl I am ok with superior mixes as well. Especially since I have most of the inferior ones already from 2004 and of course a transfer of Y&T to CD.

      • Rod says:

        Heck, I think I have come to the conclusion, I do not know a damned thing.

        • YouKnowMyNameLookUpThe# says:

          Rod, you do realize I was only kidding, right? I don’t want my sarcasm (aimed as a little jab at those who want this box to be “authentic and true to the 1960s US releases” and not you) to be misconstrued. This box set made too many people lose their minds over minutiae. I get both sides of their arguments, but I agree with you. These new US Albums sound great! lol

  • Michael says:

    A poster in Amazon said that the original stereo LP (and 2004 CD)Something New sounds louder, a little faster and with slight added echo. I have compared my 2004 CD with the 2009 remasters (I haven’t bought the US Albums box yet) and I think he may be right.

    He also says that the Beatles for sale tracks in the orignal mono Beatles VI had echo added too, but I didn’t notice it.

  • YouKnowMyNameLookUpThe# says:

    Anyone still getting replies to this thread, I thought I’d give you a heads up.

    I found two reasonable deals on collectible CDs out there.

    First, is the Japanese box set edition for $118 on Amazon and The Canadian Amazon has the US Albums Box set for $99 Canadian, or about $91.05 US at the time of this post. Remember, the Japanese set has a 101 page booklet & it used the original 1965 stereo mixes for Help! If you don’t have the Mono box set, that might be useful to you? Otherwise, the artwork is cool and I am sure the price is dropping due to lack of interest, partly over price I’d imagine. So the $118 is half the price in Japan. It’s all collectible to me!

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