“Mono and Stereo Remasters” by The Beatles

I’ve been a Beatles-fanatic since I was a kid, growing up on their albums after being exposed through a set of tapes my parents left sitting out one day when I was probably just old enough to operate a tape player. So the recent Beatlemania revival has been both a nostalgia trip and an appreciated way of bringing the fab four back into the spotlight. Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that they changed the face of music forever. On top of the beautiful tribute video game The Beatles: Rock Band, the albums have been remastered to clean up the old tapes and give them a fresh sound since their last remastering some 20 years ago.

This review is not so much about the music individually, but rather about the differences between the Stereo and Mono remasters, which were released recently. It isn’t one album, but each major studio album of theirs separately. You can also buy box sets for both the mono and stereo remasters, but good luck finding those as collectors have scraped them up.

The mono remasters only go up to The White Album, which was the last album originally produced in mono. This doesn’t mean that the songs are only going to play sound out of one speaker. Rather, the mono remasters are the songs as they were originally produced, but cleaned up. There’s no stereo separation, no one sound will be stuck to one channel or the other. Both left and right channels produce the same sound. This does give the tracks a dated sound even with the cleanup job, but some fans may argue that these are the purest forms of the albums that were originally done in mono sound. It sounds denser for sure, but whether this is a good thing or not is all personal preference.

The stereo remasters span the entire discography, including those originally done in mono. These remasters contain a similar clean up job to the mono remasters. The main difference (and one that is almost instantly notable) is that different instruments and voices are hard panned to either the left or right channel. This gives the songs a more modern sound and feel, and it allows you to enjoy individual elements of a song somewhat better. However, the imbalance might drive some fans mad having certain instruments only coming out of one speaker and not the other.

Whichever remaster you prefer, this is the same music that caused an international sensation back in the 60s. Beatles fans have been given a choice, and newcomers are given multiple ways to be exposed to their timeless works.

Published in: on September 14, 2009 at 7:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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