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The Beatles Discography Remastered, On Sale Sept. 9th

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Yesterday Apple Corps. Ltd and EMI announced that The Beatles' entire catalog has been remastered and will be re-released on CD on September 9, 2009.

Music lovers will have a variety of purchasing options when the albums are released in September.  There will be two box set editions and, of course, fans will be able to buy the albums separately.  Not yet resolved is the potential digital distribution of the music.  Negotiations between The Beatles' Apple Corps. and Apple Computers' iTunes Music Store have been ongoing, but thus far the most important catalog of the 20th century remains conspicuous in its absence. 

All CD packages will contain the original vinyl artwork and the original liner notes that accompanied each CD.  In addition, archival photos and additional historical and recording notes will be added to the packaging.  Each CD with the exception of Past Masters will have an embedded QuickTime mini-documentary about the album.  The Past Masters compilation, which was initially released as separate CDs, has been combined.  The Beatles catalog of 14 titles, spread across 16 CDs:

  • Please Please Me (CD debut in stereo)
  • With The Beatles (CD debut in stereo)
  • A Hard Day's Night (CD debut in stereo)
  • Beatles For Sale (CD debut in stereo)
  • Help!
  • Rubber Soul
  • Revolver
  • Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band* (also includes 1987 notes, updated, and new intro by Paul McCartney)
  • Magical Mystery Tour
  • The Beatles (aka The White Album)
  • Yellow Submarine (also includes original US liner notes)
  • Abbey Road
  • Let It Be
  • Past Masters (contains new liner notes written by Kevin Howlett)

These albums will be sold separately, but those opting to get them all at once will be able to buy a box set that will also include a DVD of documentary footage.  Audiophiles who long for the original mono mixes of the The Beatles catalog can buy a Mono Box Set, comprised of:

  • Please Please Me
  • With The Beatles
  • A Hard Day's Night
  • Beatles For Sale
  • Help! (CD also includes original 1965 stereo mix)+
  • Rubber Soul (CD also include original 1965 stereo mix)+
  • Revolver+
  • Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band+
  • Magical Mystery Tour+
  • The Beatles+
  • Mono Masters               
    + = mono mix CD debut

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About Josh Hathaway

  • http://donaldgibson.blogspot.com/ Donald Gibson

    Release date 9/9/09 ~~~ “number nine, number nine, number nine…….”

  • http://www.confessionsofafanboy.com Josh Hathaway

    The one after 9/09?

  • bill haywood

    Remastered? They were already remastered for digital release about 20 years ago. Do they mean “remixed” as was done with the “Let it Be Naked” tapes????

    Now that would be worth buying. Many of the original Beatles albums (even those recorded on two track machines) could benefit from a good re-mix….but the word “remastered” means absolutely nothing.

  • http://everythingisamess.wordpress.com Tom Johnson

    No, Bill, they are actually remastered. You know, they take the master tapes and re-master them. Hence the term. Doing anything to the versions that were released in 1987 would be re-remasters, see?

    Re-mastering the Beatles catalogue

    The re-mastering process commenced with an extensive period conducting tests before finally copying the analogue master tapes into the digital medium. When this was completed, the transfer was achieved using a Pro Tools workstation operating at 24 bit 192 kHz resolution via a Prism A-D converter. Transferring was a lengthy procedure done a track at a time. Although EMI tape does not suffer the oxide loss associated with some later analogue tapes, there was nevertheless a slight build up of dust, which was removed from the tape machine heads between each title.

    From the onset, considerable thought was given to what audio restorative processes were going to be allowed. It was agreed that electrical clicks, microphone vocal pops, excessive sibilance and bad edits should be improved where possible, so long as it didn’t impact on the original integrity of the songs.

    In addition, de-noising technology, which is often associated with re-mastering, was to be used, but subtly and sparingly. Eventually, less than five of the 525 minutes of Beatles music was subjected to this process. Finally, as is common with today’s music, overall limiting – to increase the volume level of the CD – has been used, but on the stereo versions only. However, it was unanimously agreed that because of the importance of The Beatles’ music, limiting would be used moderately, so as to retain the original dynamics of the recordings.

    When all of the albums had been transferred, each song was then listened to several times to locate any of the agreed imperfections. These were then addressed by Guy Massey, working with Audio Restoration engineer Simon Gibson.

    Mastering could now take place, once the earliest vinyl pressings, along with the existing CDs, were loaded into Pro Tools, thus allowing comparisons to be made with the original master tapes during the equalization process. When an album had been completed, it was auditioned the next day in studio three – a room familiar to the engineers, as all of the recent Beatles mixing projects had taken place in there – and any further alteration of EQ could be addressed back in the mastering room. Following the initial satisfaction of Guy and Steve, Allan Rouse and Mike Heatley then checked each new re-master in yet another location and offered any further suggestions. This continued until all 13 albums were completed to the team’s satisfaction.

    You know, remastered.

  • JC Mosquito

    Greatgawda’mighty – Beatlemania is about to start all over again. Start saving your pennies, boys and girls.

  • http://confessionsofafanboy.com Josh Hathaway

    Tom has spoiled some of the surprise but I have a rough draft of an article talking about some of the process used to do this remastering. I’m already saving up.

  • http://donaldgibson.blogspot.com/ Donald Gibson

    Yes, but the Stones are reissuing remasters of their 14 most recent studio albums, which means you will have the opportunity to buy the remastered version of A Bigger Bang, which was originally released way back in 2005.

  • JC Mosquito

    Yeah, some of those Stones’ albums are gonna come with outtakes and half written songs….. whuzzat? Some of those albums ARE outtakes and half written songs?

  • http://everythingisamess.wordpress.com Tom Johnson

    (sorry Josh)

    This part was pretty exciting to read, however:

    Eventually, less than five of the 525 minutes of Beatles music was subjected to this process.

    No-noise is a very, very evil process perpetrated upon the buying public, much of it in the late 80s and early 90s, sapping the life out of some great albums. Why they needed to use it at all is beyond me, but needing to use it on 5 minutes of the entire collection just seems kind of pointless. Glad it’s only 5 minutes, however.

    The rest of the process sounds very promising – somewhere in the full piece they mention having some of the engineers involved with the recent remaster of George Harrison’s Living in the Material World, which was excellent, so that got my hopes up too. It sounds like a LOT of care was rightfully taken on this. Hopefully it sounds like it, too. If they can make this stuff sound as clear and clean as Love I’ll be thrilled. After four years of work, these things should be revelations, not mere cash-grabs.

  • http://www.confessionsofafanboy.com Josh Hathaway

    I can see where there might have been the need for a minimal amount of use considering the age of the tapes and the like, but I am extremely encouraged that they used so little of it and that they seem to have asked grownups to do this job. I thought all the Harrison remasters sounded pretty good, so I’m expecting big things from my Big Box ‘O Beatles.

  • JC Mosquito

    I dunno… after thinking about this for a couple of days – how much better can they be? Really? Will they sound significantly different? If so, is that tapering wit their legacy? And if they don’t sound much different – what’s the point?

  • http://confessionsofafanboy.com Josh Hathaway

    I think they can sound significantly better without tampering. Keep in mind: when The Beatles were brought to CD in the ’80s, there were a lot of people who didn’t know what the hell they were doing. The Beatles transfers were done in a rather haphazard way. From what I’ve read (see Tom’s comment) they have gone to painstaking trouble to present this music in a much more thoughtful, accurate way. It’s possible they fucked this up, but I have a good feeling about this. I think we’re going to hear more detail and nuance than we’ve ever heard from these songs since they were brought to CD. Vinyl purists will still probably piss on these but I think there is a real chance these will be great.

  • JC Mosquito

    I hope the mono Revolver is good at least – I took the current stereo copy and made my own mono version (adding the paperback writer/rain single from the same sessions) so I could listen to it without the annoying stereo separation.

    And what about those box sets with the American versions in stereo and mono (called the Capitol albums 1 & 2)? Or were those just cash cows? How about Love or Let It Be Naked?

    Oh well – by the time I get all these, it’ll be time for the 50th anniversary editions anyways.

  • MrNatural

    I wonder how these will compare to the Mobile Fidelity LP’s from the 80’s? They weren’t remastered but were from the original master tapes with just Sir George tweaking the knobs.

  • Joe

    Re-mastering and digitizing at 24 bit, 196kHz seems a “bit” pointless unless you intend to re-re-release the collection on SACD or DVD-A. (I’ll spend my cash when this comes true)

  • bojan Marsetic

    I am a fan for many years, and I have well lets say a little knowledge of music, which began with these 4 guys or better say 5, George Martin was defenitly one od them. But after i was reading one guy said ; I made my own Mono version… LOLLLLL, What are you writing for anyway?? Are you *****?
    Mono isnt just joining two channels toghether, write MONO mixing on Google and get a grip dude. Mono is a total diferrent kind of mixing. The goal is that STEREO an MONO get the same ‘point’ on the equipment you listen to.

    Well, I have nothong to say as long as these kind of comments show up.

    For the end, i’d like to say that u can hear the Better sound if u own a very good Hi-Fi only.