A painting of me

The Beatles Box Sets

   9 September 2009, mid-afternoon

The entire Beatles catalogue has been re-released today. You can buy box sets of their catalogue remastered in stereo or in mono; well, in theory, anyway. As far as I can tell, the mono box set is sold out, and the stereo box set looks to be as well. You might be wondering why anyone would want the mono recordings. It turns out the Beatles would produce the mono mixes for their albums first. The stereo mixes were done second, and, by the sounds of things, without any real input from the Beatles themselves. Many people consider the mono mixes to be how the Beatles’ songs were meant to be heard. (This changes with the last two albums, which were mixed in stereo from the start.) Both box sets sound pretty awesome. These are apparently incredibly well done re-issues. I’m quite conflicted as to which box set to buy. I definitely want to get one.

Don’t know who the Beatles are? Chuck Klosterman explains.



  1. I think you’ve got to go mono. I’ve heard the re-mastered stereo copies and to be honest I can’t tell much difference from the initial 1988(?) CD release that was mono for the first 4 albums, than stereo for the rest (talking UK releases). The only good thing about the Stereo mix is the ability to turn the balance all the way to one side and do your own karaoke. Now having said that, the later mixes are a better balance (vocal wise) in stereo. Having said that mono was the way the Beatles wanted it done.

  2. It’s a bit annoying I couldn’t buy the box set like I wanted, but I can get 5 different rips of it. That seems like a record industry fuck up.

  3. The last three albums were mixed in stereo.

  4. I don’t count Yellow Submarine. Well, I don’t like it anyway.

  5. So the new stereo mixes still have vocals all in one channel? Yeah, I can see how that would get pretty annoying.

    Listening to St. Pepper in mono after only ever hearing it in stereo is kind of bizarre.

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