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4.4 out of 5 stars309
4.4 out of 5 stars
Format: Vinyl|Change
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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!
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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.
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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 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 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 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 9 September 2012
Music - 5 stars
The music speaks for itself.

Packaging - 4 stars
The big box that the cases come in isn't too bad, quite smart, however, the actual cases themselves are made of flimsy cardboard, not a huge problem for me, but if you want something that lasts, you may be a little disappointed.

Sound Quality - 5 stars
Now a lot of people have complained about the quality of the recordings when played through a laptop, now I'm not big on sound engineering, but am i right in assuming stereo recordings are made for two or more speakers where as a laptop only has one loudspeaker, i could be wrong, however, i use these cd's in my car and stereo system and personally i think they sound awesome! Maybe a little quite for some reason, but thats all the more reason to crank it up!

Price - 1 star
As amazing as the Beatles are, that price tag just can't be justified, especially as there aren't any extras that are worth having, so if you are serious about getting this box set, but don't want to pay the hefty price tag, i suggest buying a used copy, i did, snapped one up for £65 :D, now at that price i give the box set an overall of 6 stars.
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on 3 August 2009
I had the pleasure of hearing a few tracks from the white album and it sent shivers down my spine and made the hair on my arms stand up. The sound was more than I could ever have expected. I know we have all bought these Cd's before about 20 years ago but unlike the Stones, Bowie and Genesis,who have reissued there CD's three times already, the Beatles have waited till we would notice a real difference in the sound and technology has moved on. I know the stereo mixes were secondary to the mono mixes until Sgt Pepper, but the stereo mixes of ten of the albums are 100% better than the 1987 versions. Don't worry all the ep tracks singles are on the past masters as a double CD. I am sure if you only buy your favorite album you may return and but another.As for re mixing in 5.1 no no this is how the music was ment to be heard correct and clear. Having received the box set it is disappointing that Please Please me and With the Beatles are not presented in MONO only as there is no true stereo issue ever made, in fact the stereo version is just the two tracks un-mixed together with a little re-verb, and sounds pretty awful compared to the MONO version, for example listen to the MONO version of Twist and shout and compare it with the stereo version and you will know what I mean. A hard days night For sale sound and help fine vocals in the center and instruments balanced. Rubber Soul parts of revolver Magical Mystery Tour and Sgt Pepper are still Vocals one channel and instruments other, what a shame and a missed opportunity (see Beach Boys pet sounds to see what can be done). However the white album, Abbey road and let it be sound great and well worth it.
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on 27 March 2013
I did not buy the boxed set, I bought the albums separately just like I did when I bought the original LP albums either in mono or stereo when I was a teenager.

I do not intend to comment about the the quality of the recordings, other than to say that compared to the LP records that we bought in the 1960's and which we played on primitive equipment they sound fantastic.

The original Beatles Long Players are imprinted on my mind so I can make an instant comparison between these remasters and their original counterparts. Every time I listen I hear new detail. The remasters are revealing new subtle differences in the quality and depth of the music and the fact that I am playing them on a genuine HI-FI also helps enormously.

Do not hesitate to buy these versions.

On these pages there is a lot of debate about whether you should buy the mono versions as well. Perhaps, the mono versions give you the more authentic sound? It is more a matter of opinion than fact. If you can afford it then go ahead; I am sure that you will not be disappointed. I have listened to the Sgt. Pepper mono remaster. This sounds fantastic compared to what we were listening to in the sixties. I have always preferred "She's Leaving Home" in its stereo guise as the pitch sounds more natural than the mono version. When we were teenagers some of us had the stereo LP and some had the mono version so we were able to hear the difference in pitch. AM radio also played the different versions. Buying the mono versions will not get you back to how we listened in the past even if you listen to the recordings on a cheap mono CD player.

During the sixties, it is important to remember that hardly anyone had a stereo player as we were all using Dansettes, Bush, Ferguson and even HMV mono players, some of which were still equipped with valve amplification and of course single loudspeakers. There was no debate among teenagers about the merits and demerits of stereo. Most young people did not buy stereo equipment until the 1970's.

I had a stereo version of Sgt. Pepper in anticipation of my parents buying a stereo system. By the time they got round to it, a couple of years later, my copy of the album was ruined. It cost too much for me to buy another. To play a stereo LP record on a BSR turntable you had to change the needle on its ceramic cartridge; a mono needle would ruin the album almost immediately even if it could find the groove.

In the 1960's we did not use headphones. CD was a twinkle in someone's eye and MP3 and FLAC music files were science fiction. Our only practical source of music was the LP or Single played on a primitive record player or listened to on a jukebox or AM radio. Reel to Reel Tapes were too expensive for most people. Despite all this the Beatles sounded really great.

I was listening to Revolver the other day through "cans" and noticed that the singing on Eleanor Rigby was moving all over the place and from one speaker to the other. I had not noticed this so much when playing the recording through speakers. I could not believe that I had not heard this before. But I confirmed it through my main H-FI. I also listened to an audio Cassette of Revolver, and through headphones the effect was still there but not as strong. None of us as teenagers would have heard any panning effects on the stereo album as we were all using mono players.

The mono remastered recordings, played through a decent HI-FI, sound as far removed from the sound we were hearing in the sixties as their stereo counterparts do. If you buy the mono set,as well, you are giving yourself a treat; there is no other justification apart from the fantastic sound and some mastering differences.

Quite often, whilst working at my desk, I play the stereo remasters through a small mono-active speaker. Low and behold, I am going some way back to the original sound - mono from a low powered single transducer. But, of course, the snap, crackle and pop is missing but at least Eleanor Rigby is sung from a single source.

There are other tricks you can play by converting the digital albums to mono WAV files in Audacity at 16/44.1 or ripping them to a mono file in dBpoweramp software or such like. You can then get mono playback via the computer or you can burn an audio CD. To get back somewhere near the old times then play back through a single speaker. The music will still sound fantastic if you use a decent HI-FI. You must take into account, however, that there are some differences between the stereo and mono masters. "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds", "She's Leaving Home" and "Eleanor Rigby" are cases in point.

If you really want to go back to the "good old days" then buy yourself a second hand sixties record player complete with a ceramic cartridge and a valve amplifier and of course only a single speaker. Buy an old second-hand Beatles mono LP if it is playable and have a go. Apart from the snap crackle and pop and the deck rumble the difference in sound will amaze you. Remember that the Beatles' music was mastered with this in mind, and especially albums from the earlier years.

Do not be tempted to put a re-mastered 180 gm vinyl LP Beatles on a sixties record player as you will ruin the record on its first play.The vinyl versions versus CD; now that is another story but I am not going to go there.
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on 10 April 2010
This is a mirror of my review on the mono version of this release, now that I have had time to go through both. It is less a review of the albums themselves, rather, which boxed set is best, particularly if you only can afford one, or even just don't want two copies of something that is almost, bot not quite the same.

Musically (pulled from the mono review):
The the music is amazingly, almost insidiously brilliant is beyond doubt. The sheer amount of songs on all of these albums that are recognizable is beyond doubt. The Beatles influence on modern music cannot, in my estimation, be underrated.
All of the albums have remarkable musical strengths.
On the stereo release, my favourite albums are Abbey Road, Magical Mystery Tour and the White album, which were all recorded with a bit more of a nod towards stereo imaging.

Boxed set specific (again some of this was pasted from my mono review, as appropriate)
The downside...
Nothing to do with the actual music, but rather, the apparent greed of the label. For the vast majority of the Beatles albums sound better on the mono release.
The latter albums sound better in stereo, and, the mono version does not contain the later releases that were stereo only (Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road, Let it Be, also the videos).
So you have three choices:
1) Buy the mono, and if you want the latter albums, buy them separately. Considering the mono version is more expensive to start with this is a frustrating option.
2) Buy the stereo version. You get all the albums, and thus some sense of completeness, with this method. But not all, or even the majority are in their optimal format.
3) Buy both. Maybe the only way to make sure you get your preferred version of each album. The obvious annoyance, is cost. And who really wants to buy two boxed sets for completeness sake, apart from those like me who want both optimal and completeness. It does annoy me that to get this I needed to have so much space taken up, but, such is life.

Comparatively, my review is not as good as many of the others here, that is obvious, but as a mainly metal fan I still have to admit to this bands genius and believe most collections are replete without at least one of these re-releases. It's just a shame about the purchasing options..
As per my mono boxed set review, it is a shame that the releases have come out like this, but I have to recommend this stereo boxed set over the mono, especially if you only wish to own one of the boxed sets for whatever reason you have.
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