Five years to the day after the release of The Beatles in Mono, a box set of the group‘s monaurally mixed catalog through 1968, the band is issuing a vinyl version of the box set. Although the quartet put out stereo versions of their albums concurrent with the mono ones throughout most of their career, the Beatles considered the mono versions as definitive.
The limited-edition 14-LP Beatles in Mono vinyl box set includes the group’s first nine U.K. albums – from Please Please Me to The Beatles – the American-compiled Magical Mystery Tour and a collection of Mono Masters, which consist of non-album singles and tracks, all on 180-gram vinyl with artwork matching the original releases and a 108-page hardbound book. Each mono LP will also be available to purchase individually, outside of the box set.
Grammy-winning engineer Sean Magee and Grammy-winning mastering supervisor Steve Berkowitz remastered each record for vinyl in the same room at Abbey Road Studios where most of the group’s albums were recorded, using quarter-inch master tapes without the help of any digital technology. Instead, they opted for the mastering procedures used in the Sixties, even consulting notes used by the original engineers who cut the vinyl. Magee and Berkowitz spent weeks listening to the recordings, comparing the masters with first pressings of the vinyl albums from the 1960s.
The record cover–sized book accompanying the box set contains new essays and a detailed account of the mastering process by radio producer Kevin Howlett. It also contains rare photos of the Beatles in the studio, archive documents and articles and ads from publications in the Sixties.
The box set and the individual mono vinyl releases will be available September 9th.
The Beatles issued a vinyl box set of the stereo versions of the albums in 2012. Magee told Rolling Stone that while he spent less time working on the vinyl editions than he did on the CD versions of the box set, he did encounter some roadblocks, mostly concerning the letter “S,” which was coming out raspy and distorted on LP. This required him to reduce the volume on almost every “S.” “A good example is ‘She Said She Said,'” he said. “It’s time-consuming, but it’s the best thing to do – attention to detail, and being as fastidious as you can.”
Earlier this year, the Beatles put out a CD box set called The U.S. Albums, which contained the American versions of their LPs and their rearranged track lists. The release was meant to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the group’s arrival in the United States and coincided with the Beatles receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys and a TV program called The Night That Changed America. For the latter, Paul McCartney teamed with Ringo Starr for “Hey Jude,” among other performances.
Making-Of Video of Beatles in Mono