+ ￥350 配送料
ザ・ビートルズ・モノ・ボックス(アンコール・プレス) ボックスセット, オリジナルレコーディングのリマスター, 限定版
Seven and a half years ago when the remastered back catalogue was released, I recall driving to every supermarket and music retailer in town (there were still several of those in 2009) to find a stereo box set. I hadn't pre-ordered but I had to have it. Ending up in Borders (happy memories), they were sold out. The sales assistant offered me the smaller, white Mono box behind the counter. More expensive than the stereo set and two albums short, I naively declined and ordered in the stereo set. It arrived and I loved it, albeit I haven't listened to Please Please Me or With The Beatles on headphones for seven and a half years due to the extreme panning on the stereo release rendering them almost unlistenable.
Fast forward to 2017 and now decidedly less naïve regarding the consensus in Beatle circles that the mono mixes are far superior, I could wait no longer. Lacking sufficient funding or hi-fi equipment to justify purchasing the now-wonderfully tempting Beatles In Mono vinyl, analogue remasters, I opted to buy the CD set. The original limited edition run has been indefinitely extended and it's still relatively easy to find on Amazon (beware of counterfeit copies from third party sellers and Ebay). Although the noble compact disc is maligned as a dying format in the wake of online streaming and vinyl's resurgence, it cannot be disputed the package is a beautiful thing to behold. There are no jewel cases and folded lyric sheets here: 10 albums and the singles/b-sides collection each in a miniature reproduction of the original vinyl sleeve complete with protective covers in an attractive gloss card box. I was a CD hold out until relatively recently but even I now consume most of my music via streaming services and second hand vinyl; this may prove to be my big last hurrah CD purchase and if it is, it's certainly going out with a bang.
There is nothing I can say about the music that hasn't been said a thousand times already, other than to say if I listened to each song a thousand times, it couldn't be enough. But I'm hearing new things here. Songs I've consumed obsessively since I was in single figures sound different. Immediately gone is the notion that I have re-bought albums that I already owned. I've only listened to Please Please Me and With The Beatles once apiece and even compared to the stereo remasters, on first listen I can draw up a list of killer moments that sound like I've never heard them before. George's guitar chops on Boys, every Lennon 'come on' in Please Please Me's title track. McCartney's bass throughout. This is just the Hofner. I'm literally wetting myself excited to get to the Rickenbacker 4001 in the mid-sixties.
The only negative feedback I have seen relates to the fact that it's a cash in by Apple. Of course it is! Haven't we all been Beatles fans long enough to know that Apple knows how high demand still is for their product and that they charge accordingly? That's capitalism Beatle fans; they don't owe you a cheap mono remasters set because you bought the cassettes legally in the 80s. But had each stereo remaster included a mono bonus disc as some suggest it should have, the quality of this package should still tempt a lot of purchasers despite the price. This is the greatest pop music ever made, the way the band wanted it to be heard and sounding better than ever before. Don't resist it if you're at all tempted. These are not the albums you own already, they are better. And I haven't even listed to Revolver or Pepper yet.
Some of the tabs on two of the sleeves were coming apart when new, but not a major issue.
Overall these are probably the best new versions of the LPs I will see/hear in my life (!).
Having been weaned on original copies of Help and Hard Days Night, I can attest that the versions of those included in this set are totally faithful to their ancestors in sound to the extent that you think you are listening to (perfect copies of) the originals. Not something you could have said about any previous reissue.
From the moment the needle dropped onto Please Please Me I knew I had attained Beatles Nirvana.
Worth the money? I sold some collectable books in order to raise the cash for these, and three years on I still don't regret it.
Everything seems to sound louder and 'rougher' - in a good way!
Am pretty sure I don't need to buy any other Beatles' product...unless Gyles Martin remixes them all in proper stereo...watch this space, eh?
However, I did find a reasonably priced vinyl set, and I thought I'd give it a go. I'm glad I did. The sound is incomparable to the CD - particularly on a few stand-out albums like: Please Please Me, Revolver and as for Sgt Pepper - well, it was as if I was hearing it anew. I know, perhaps I am prone to exaggeration, but I am trying to avoid any sense of impending hyperbole. The level of detail that can be gleaned from these discs is quite something. The sheer tangible quality justifies that hefty price tag. Do you need more Beatles? Well, yes and no. I wasn't happy with the CDs, but I am very happy with the mono represses, and now I never buy them again. I had some stereo pressings (vinyl and CD), but never got along with them. Do you need this release?
I don't know. I am glad I own it, and I won't listen to The Beatles any other way at home now. I do like mono (and use a Y cable to get that sound), and I do prefer to hear albums as they were intended - or as close as possible. I think if you're a rational music fan who likes quality product, then you will want this. The discs themselves are flat, clean and heavy. Lovely attention to detail on the artwork too. They are really almost unbelievably dynamic. The sounds almost leap out of the grooves. Macca's bass work and Ringo's drums benefit most from this mono chain.
Ultimately, mono brings the band together - virtually. You may not ever feel like you were there watching them recording in Abbey Road, but these are some of the most exhilarating pop albums of their time. If the same care was taken over any reissues, you could almost kill off the need for audio streaming in one go.
Visiting a record shop in HK I purchased (I was a Cassette Boy in those days) A Hard Day's Night and Help! Later, in PNG I bought the red and the blue albums. When I got back home I listened to my Mother's vinyl first pressing of With the Beatles (and which I still play to this day).
And so began one of my greatest love affairs. I had bought up most of the studio albuns by 1983, then aquired all the albums on CD (1987 release) and then the "Black Box" stereo remasters (2009). I had expected a huge improvement to the first 4 albums; surely these remasters would add depth to the sound expetience. I'd only ever heard Please, With, Day's Night and For Sale in mono up until then.
And....what a shock! With the Beatles sounded dreadful: hard panned to the 2 channels. Above all they sounded so THIN.
Then I listened to the Mono Box and the early albums sounded STUNNING. The remastering had worked a treat but the Mono albums, particularly the first four, were a revelation.
As for the packaging: well I think it's first rate. The attention to detail seems first class to me. The repro covers and inner sleeves, the outer plastic protective sleeves, a thorough book on high quality paper and the solid box make listening to these albums a great tactile experience, as well an outstanding listening one. You'll still need Let it Be and Abbey Road, as they were never mixed in mono, and I would also recommend Pepper, the White Album and perhaps Revolver, too, in stereo as well. But if you are a Beatles fan this box should be considered essential.
For more information on Beatles albums and related artists I wound not hesitate to recommend Mean Mr Meyo's UTube channel. He's hugely knowledgeable and his enthusiasm for all things Mop Top is infectious.
Having listened to both the 2009 Digital Mono CDs and the 2014 Analogue Mono Vinyl many times, I come down on the side of analogue. After all, The Beatles were an analogue band and there's something intangibly wonderful about listening to these recordings off vinyl, cut directly from the original analogue mono master tapes.
So where does this leave the 2009 Mono CD box set? I think it's still essential - the remastering has been done sympathetically, with an ear for authenticity. Even if you are (or plan to be) an owner of the Vinyl Box set, these digital re-masters do an outstanding job. They also 'fix' some minor problems experienced on the vinyl - namely sibilance on the vocals. There's no doubt that vinyl (cliché alert) sounds warmer, more live and less clinical. Some would go so far as to describe the Vinyl as being more musical - which infers that somehow the CDs are not. But the CD re-mastering team were sensitive to this, and the CDs give an excellent digital representation of The Beatles' sound. Contrary to many modern re-masters, the music has not been compressed to death or 'brickwalled'. If anything, you'll need to crank up the volume (always advisable for the proper enjoyment of this music) to let it breathe. In the end, it comes down to whether you want to experience the authenticity of listening to the Vinyl set, or sacrifice a little of that for the convenience and durability of the CDs.
One of the Mono CD box sets best achievements is to overcome one of CDs greatest creative limitations: the packaging. Anyone who enjoys album artwork will appreciate the effort made here - it brilliantly celebrates The Beatles' albums as an art form. Sliding open the robust outer white box is a joy - each CD is contained in a stunningly-reproduced miniature facsimile of the original UK record sleeve, protected by re-sealable cellophane outer sleeves. The attention to detail extends to the reproduction 1960s 'Emitex'-style inner record sleeves, complete with rice paper linings. Since these are pristine Japanese CD pressings (commonly regarded as the best), it invites you to treat them with the same care as you would vinyl records, further enhancing the experience and tactile qualities of owning the set.
Even if you already own the Mono Vinyl LP set, this will serve as a brilliant back-up for your precious vinyl versions and help reduce the amount of 'needle time' by playing the CDs instead. If you don't own a record player, The Beatles in Mono CD Box set will do very nicely, being a worthy celebration of The Beatles' musical legacy. It doesn't get much better than that.
Upon receiving the set it is a joy to behold, the original sleeves just gives it that extra touch. As for the music well what can I say...it's The Beatles for goodness sake.
Despite the music being pure gold I must admit that I was finding it a bit difficult to "get" the mono sound....it sounded great but I needed the stereo box to compare and finally appreciate the mono sound. Some reviewers have already said that you need to get both sets which intrigued me.
After forking out on this set there was no way I was in a position to get the stereo box set as well, so as I did with Abbey Road and Let It Be, I started to buy the stereo remasters one at a time, well two at a time really. I still haven't got the complete set but I'm halfway there already.
Now I can finally see what all the fuss is about with the mono set. For example on Revolver Paul's Here There and Everywhere sounds so different in mono with other instruments coming to the fore which you don't quite get with the stereo version and George's I Want To Tell You (one of my faves from George) just sounds amazing in mono.
This is not to say that the stereo versions are no good...they too sound fab, in fact the aforementioned Here There.....sounds warmer in stereo but having both the stereo and the mono versions sound so different from each other.
It's a bit like your favorite glass of red wine...sometimes you may like a shiraz other times you may prefer a chianti. They're both good and you like them both but they're different.
If you're able to....indulge yourself.
I even bought a mono cartridge, but the stereo cart works fine too.
Mono Masters is the best of the bunch, but the White album and Sgt Pepper blow the anaemic stereo versions away.
Also better than than the excellent mono CD box.