Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Beatles Mono or Stereo Set?

I recently received an email from Amazon informing me that the Beatles Mono Box set I ordered back in the middle of September has finally been shipped. I must admit to being slightly irritated by Apple creating this artificial demand for the mono box set by only pressing and shipping 10,000 copies in their initial release, but in any event it is on it's way.

Now I am excited to receive the mono set because there are some differences in some of the mixes that will be interesting to hear. However, for most listeners the first two Beatles albums; "Please Please Me", and "With The Beatles", are really the only reason for most people to buy the mono over stereo as they were recorded on primitive two track tape machines. The stereo separation is generally more annoying than enhancing the listening experience.

So, the mono set is primarily for collectors and Beatles completists who must have everything, which is pretty much where I fall in. Music snobs will point out that Beatles historians, George Martin, and The Beatles put the most care into the mono mixes, and that is what the Beatles intended for their fans to have. Well, that would be true forty years ago, but how many people today have a hi-fi system with only one speaker? You have two ears and at least two speakers to listen to your music today. Therefore, if you just want to own this great music for the first time, or don't want to spend a whole lot of money; definitely, buy the stereo CD's and enjoy.