The Beatles: Stereo Box Set

As you probably know by now, the remastering of the Beatles catalog was carried out with the caution of translating the Dead Sea Scrolls. Happily, the results justify the obsessive care. These 14 stereo remasters — from Please Please Me (1963) to Let It Be (1970), witha two-disc Past Masters added for good measure — make the original recordings sound newly invigorated and alive, whether you're listening on standard earbuds or a high-end system.

An enormous effort was made tostay true to the original mixes, so there aren't going to be any easyrevelations for Beatles fans. Instead, these albums sound deeper, richer and fleshed-out. The buoyancy of "Something" becomes more comprehensible when you hear clearly Paul McCartney's nimble bass line. You knew that "Twist and Shout" featured one of John Lennon's most visceral performances, but here you can feel his vocal cords shred. The horns on"Good Morning Good Morning" roar, driving the song in a way you may not have noticed before. Lennon and George Harrison's guitars on "You Can't Do That" sharpen to a gleaming edge.

One tip for deep-pocketed fans: The12-CD The Beatles in Mono box set is more than a collector's indulgence.The warmth and punch of early albums With the Beatles and Beatles for Sale evoke the experience of first hearing songs like "All My Loving" onthe original vinyl. But in stereo or mono, these albums have finally received the treatment they deserve.

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