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4.3 out of 5 stars298
4.3 out of 5 stars
Format: VinylChange
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on 15 September 2009
I've had the Beatles Stereo Box set for nearly a week now, and have listened to all the albums a number of times through and feel compelled to post my feedback to help anyone unsure about taking the £169.99 financial 'plunge'....

In fairness, I have to admit to being a dedicated Beatles fan (for the past 40 years) - so I'm not going to give an unbiased view on the music collected together here in one place...it's a true treasure trove.

However, I do back up the point a number of other reviewers have put forward that, whisper it, some of these remasters don't actually sound that good - they're better than the 1987 releases, without a shadow of a doubt - but let's face it, it would be difficult for them not to sound better after 22 years of CD development!

Now don't misunderstand me, several albums in this Box Set sound substantially better compared to the late 1980's digital releases:

ABBEY ROAD is now a very satisfying, detailed and dynamic listen - this is especially apparent when you hear the musical 'duel' of guitars and drums that make up the album closer 'The End' - in truth, every track on this remaster is far better than the muddy mix on the 1987 CD.

THE BEATLES (White Album) now delivers a fine stereo image with real 'studio depth' it relays intricate detail to vocals whilst projecting plenty of power to the lead guitars and well defined low end grunt to the bass guitar - all in all this new release beats the old 1987 2CD set quite easily.

SGT PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND is now a more balanced stereo experience, especially satisfying on Headphones - all the instruments and vocals now sound believable and crisp, with Paul's melodic Bass playing really jumping forward - it makes the 1987 CD version redundant.

RUBBER SOUL and REVOLVER have a number of highlights - as does the PAST MASTERS set.....but the earlier albums, from PLEASE PLEASE ME to HELP! and the final LET IT BE disc are (at times) not really in the same sonic ball-park.

Now, how could I possibly be so critical of the sound on this Box Set? - Well, I've no doubts that the Abbey Road team have done their best - but they have simply squeezed the maximum they can out of 40 to 47 year old Album Master Tapes.

In comparison, over the past 5 years or so we have been treated to the remastered back catalogue of a growing number of equally prominant Artists such as The Doors (on DMC), Elvis Presley (on FTD) and The Rolling Stones (on ABKO) who, after initial 'slap-dash' releases in the 1980's and 1990's have all finally done justice to their heritage by making every effort to trawl tape vaults and sound archives to find, wherever possible, the First Generation Session Multi-tracks to Remix fresh Album Masters - anyone owning any number of these CD's will bear witness to the fact that as a consequence of all this extra effort, they sound truly 'STUNNING' - sounding like they were recorded yesterday....

In fact this technique isn't anything new to the Beatles' Technical Team either, the very same work was done on the 'Yellow Submarine - Songtrack' Album as well as the 'Let it Be - Naked' release - which is why they both sound superior to their respective 2009 remasters.

As such, I feel an opportunity has been lost to make this release a truly definitive one, especially when the Technical Lead for the Remaster Project at Abbey Road (Allan Rouse) has been quoted as saying (in the latest October 2009 issue of The Record Collector Magazine) that the Remastering process for all the Albums only took around 3 months - not the 4 years that is so often quoted in many reviews...it seems there was plenty of time to provide Remixed Album Masters from the Original 2, 4 and 8 track Session Multi-tracks....but this fantastic opportunity wasn't taken - perhaps it was stopped by the surviving members of the Group - but it's a real shame it didn't happen.....

So, is it worth buying this Stereo Box Set? Well, yes it is.....each CD album is held within its own glossy digipack which includes informative liner notes in a booklet stored within...the outer box (with its outer slip-case and magnetic securing clasp) has been beautifully designed and manufactured - as a result, the whole package gives the owner plenty of user appeal...

Is this the best The Beatles' Albums have sounded on CD? Well, at the moment yes.....but if they'd been Remixed from the Original Session Multi-tracks they would have sounded even better!
2828 comments601 of 614 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 21 November 2012
I'm writing this just in case anybody else has a similar problem.

After discovering a fault with one track (quite deeply ingrained scratches, possibly non-fill) - Get back on Side 4 of Past Masters - I contacted Amazon about the possibility of replacing/exchanging just the Past Masters album.
The were very helpful and, once I had pointed out that Past Masters is also sold separately to the box set, agreed to replace it.
They asked me to purchase a copy of Past Masters from them; they then altered the total cost of the order to £0.00. They did not ask me to return the faulty copy.

I was reluctant to exchange the complete box as I have had no other issue with any of the records.

So many thanks to Amazon for their exemplary customer service.
88 comments68 of 71 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 December 2012
I live in the U.S. and got the noisy pressings/distortion/no fill U.S. set pressed by Rainbo. I sent it back to Amazon for a refund and instead of taking the chance of getting another bad one based on a lot of people having similar complaints, I ordered the E.U. set.

To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive while waiting for this to come based on some folks saying their E.U. sets had warped records. I am very lucky and got flat, quiet, great sounding records. I never had original Parlophone, Blue Box, Japanese Red Box etc. versions, so I have no basis of comparison. To my ears, these sound great; certainly better than those U.S. Capitol versions I had in the 60s. Much better, in fact.

As far as the packaging goes, the outside Amazon box looked like the dog ate it. The inner cardboard box was perfect, as was the actual box set, including the slipcase.

The book is exquisite, there are some great pictures I've never seen before, and each album has its own essay. There is also an article about the mastering process.

The lp jackets are nicely done, not exact replicas of the originals, but nice sturdy laminated sleeves.

I feel for people on both sides of the Atlantic (and elsewhere) who got bad pressings. Some people have returned either sets or individual albums 2 or 3 times! I hope the folks at EMI are paying attention and will authorize a second batch of pressings, especially in the U.S.

Again, I consider myself extremely fortunate to get a good set. I'm dismayed by some reviewers especially on U.S. Amazon who think that because they got a good set the first time that complaints about quality are unwarranted. I experienced the good and the bad and complaints about the bad are not exaggerated.
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on 18 November 2012
Let's face it, anyone reading this product will be more than familiar with the music, and it goes without saying The Beatles music is up there with the best, so I won't go into any detail on that side. I will instead just concentrate on the package of the box itself and the sound quality of the remastering.

The box itself is sturdy and glossy with an outer box which slips over the thicker inside box. Inside, each LP is packaged as per the original UK release [E.G. 'Beatles For Sale' comes in a gatefold sleeve, 'Sgt Pepper's' has the cut out's and 'The Beatles' has the fold-out poster/photos]. 'Magical Mystery Tour' of course, was originally a US only compilation of the UK double EP and 1967 singles, and is included as the album has retrospectively slotted in between 'Pepper' and 'The White Album'. The box set includes the booklet from that issue, which is similar anyway to the booklet that came with the original UK EP.

The sound on the albums is fantastic and, for me, even tops the 2009 CD's for warmth, depth and consistency. The mastering engineer explains the process invloved and it's clear a lot of love and care went into this over the past few years.

The hard back book (which fits snugly in the box] is simply magnificant. Each page is satin with photos in gloss, telling The Beatles story, with a chapter dedicated to the making of each album. If you were to buy the book seperately, it would easily retail for £60.

Although the albums can be bought individually in this newly mastered form [for £20 single/ £35 double per album], you would actually end up paying more by doing this. Essentially, by buying the box set, you end up getting the book for free!

Although £300 is a lot of money, especially given most people already own these albums from previous issues, I would not hestiate to recommend it as the box set is such a lovely package, and I think good value for money to.
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on 9 September 2009
I have received my Beatles stereo box set today with eager anticipation of hearing The Beatles in the best quality today's technology can give us. I have to say that although I have heard these albums many times before the crisp, clear and almost new freshness to the records is beyond my expectation. I am very pleased to say the least. I don't have over the top expensive music equipment or the need to break each recorded layer of a song down to the finest detail, I just want to sit back and listen to one of the world's finest band in superb clarity....this box set does this!! Great packaging, great pictures, documentaries and information on each album...Fantastic. This is the best Beatles collection to date in my opinion.
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on 10 October 2015
WRITTEN OCT 10TH 2015.
In the 6 years plus since the mono/stereo boxed sets came out,I have seen many many people moan about the lack of "warmth" ..not sounding as good as the original vinyl albums etc etc..utter rubbish.
In Geoff Emericks excellent book "my life recording the Beatlles.." (or something like that) he points out that McCartney kept a small record player as used by the masse,(probably a Dansette) in the boot of his car so that he could play acetates of Beatles recordings to see how they sounded,and presumably to see whether the record players could cope with the recordings..By that I mean,would the needle jump at certain points due to heavy bass sounds..or some other reason..?? sounds strange now,but i'm old enough to remember when people used to put small coins or lumps of plastic.above where the stylus was to stop just that.
If this happened on the acetates,McCartney or George Martin/Other Beatles and Emerick would presumably then remix /reduce the heavy bass line or other offending noise..so that half a million people didn't have to do these tricks,or traipse back to their friendly record shops saying."It jumps.!."
Now that they have had the chance,the remasters are supposed to be as close to the SOUND THAT THEY,THE FABS WANTED..Not what they could get away with putting on vinyl..
So now these recordings can be heard a lot closer to the way they were intended..Me I'm waiting for the blu ray audio version if one ever arrives,supposedly lossless sound..
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on 13 November 2012
A superb set, the records Ive played so far sound wonderful. the packaging is a larger version of the cd stereo box with a fantastic book. I wish they had brought out the mono set out at the same time. they did with the cds but hopefully that won't be long coming.
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on 12 November 2012
My set arrived today, the long wait for these reissues is over. For a moment I thought - 'do I play them or keep them as an investment?' - It took all of 30 seconds to decide to slit open the protective sleeve on Sgt Pepper and be transported by to 1967. Yes I've got the original, and it's in pretty good condition - but it's been played a lot and particularly the end of each side is showing signs of wear. And I've got the CD - the one issued in 1987 and the recent re-mastered copy, but this beats them all for sound quality. If the rest of the albums are this good, they're worth every penny. If they're not, I'll post an update.

The quality of the vinyl seems good too, with very quite surfaces. As reported by another reviewer, the packing is superb. I hate unnecessary packing, but with an investment like this, you want the packing to protect the box and its contents. It does that very well.

Clearly this box set won't be for everyone, but if you're thinking about buying it - but can't make up your mind, then go for it! Call it an investment if you must - but please play them - it's what the boys from Liverpool would want you to do!

Update 15 November 2012

Have listened to several other LPs now - all pretty good and very quiet surfaces, BUT, like other reviewers, some of the albums are warped. I have a turntable clamp that flattens them so it's not too much of an issue for me, but will be for others. The shrink wrapping on individual discs seems very tight and is strong, so I wonder if that's the problem. I recommend getting the LPs out of their shrink wrapping as soon as you can and then leave the whole box on its side (with the book at the top)and see if that cures the problem. If not, you'll need to decide whether it's worth sending discs back for exchange in the hope that the replacements are better. What a shame that something so long-awaited isn't quite as good as it should be.

Very reluctantly, I'm reducing the star rating by one for poor quality control. The music deserves the best and it's not quite there.
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on 24 July 2013
Obviously the first question was stereo or mono? But I just went for the stereo as I was not overly concerned between the 2, but the stereo set is amazing, I have always loved the beatles but was maybe a beatles fan who knew 'all the hits' and had sang them for years in a band, but had to get this box once i saw it, it has allowed me to completely rediscover the beatles and find out just how absolutely brilliant they were and just how many barriers they were breaking down in the 60's,

I was overwhelmed at how many genres and how many songs they absolutely nailed within such a short time span, their career may have seemed brief at around 8 years but what they achieved in that time was incredible, from please please me through to let it be it was an amazing journey of discovery into probably the best band there has ever been,

The writing and music changed at a wonderful pace as the albums progressed and there are still just so many songs that are so very current to today's music and continue to make me wonder of artists today have ever bother to take examples from bands like the beatles when it comes to keeping their music fresh and interesting,

With 4 guys like John, paul, George and ringo there was very little chance of them not succeeding but to achieve the levels they did and write that many good songs was just ridiculous, my favourite albums are a hard days night, rubber soul and abbey road, but there are an amazing amount of brilliant songs on every album with very few filler tracks,

This is a wonderful boxset to own and well worth the money, it's quality is brilliant, the packaging is great and the overall feel is great, you would not regret buying this set and delving into an amazing musical discovery or simply reliving what was one of the greatest times for British music when 4 lads from liverpool ruled the world, I've gone from a yeah course I love the beatles man, to a don't even get me started on the beatles, have you heard......and have you heard....?

To top of my review after I got this I bought the anthology DVD so I could get to know the characters within the band and just loved everything about it so I'd recommend that also to really complete a beatles set with sound and vision.
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on 19 November 2012
This is a must for every serious Beatles fan. The sound is very well balanced, extremely clean in terms of surface noise. I wish they had copied the old Emitex sleeves, but I can live without them. The book is another fantastic bonus.
No warped records in my box. Can't wait to order mono set... :-)
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