Originally Posted by Milt99
The stereo mix was unraveled like the 5.1.
The 6 disc set went straight to #1
on Amazon's pre-order list.
I think the 6-disc set & this set collectively will sell a ton of copies, perhaps be the best-seller of the year.
BTW, there has been no mention of any of the sets being limited editions.
Apple made that fauxpas with the 2009 Remasters which of course caused epic hand wringing and of course was not true.
I've noticed the set's strong showing, too, and, like you, think it bodes well for doing superbly this year. I'm guessing a lot of these early sales are nutters/anoraks (like me!) and so the sales will slump some but with a televised documentary coming shortly and I'm sure a marketing push will keep the sales buoy bobbing. As you point out, it's also notable that this isn't a limited edition. By the time I bought the mono CD box set (used) it was already abundantly available but, yeah, many did feel rightly burned that it was re-pressed after being announced as limited. I think this'll help pay the heating bills at The Dakota and the lawncare at Friar Park for years to come.
Originally Posted by sworth
The problem is, if you are going to go back to the source elements, the taste of the person mixing is everything. The Rolling Stones remixes sound clean, but they don't sound like the original mix because they replaced 60s acoustic wire reverbs and slap backs (tape loop echo) with super smooth digital reverbs. They also replaced that distinctive 60s "telephone futz" equalization on the vocals with more natural sounding EQ. This resulted in a clean but less energetic sound.
Good points. George Harrison and John Lennon both favored the mono releases. Lennon apparently compared their mono albums (not Pepper specifically) as "ice cream" or somesuch. Online, it seems an even divide but the more "audiophile" and "historicist" fans prefer the mono because, as you point out, there's a more unified and "punchy" sound. Since my introduction was during the "it was twenty years ago" CD push in 1987, personally I'm partial to the stereo.
As to the digital artefacts and all, you're right. One of my favorite aspects of the mono CD set is that the original stereo Help! and Rubber Soul are available there in addition to the now-ubiquitous 1980s-reverb-drenched remixes by George Martin. Significant portions of the Anthology CDs are also futzed with (by Geoff Emerick, apparently) so I'm hoping that this set at least rectifies some of that with the 1966-1967 "sessions" material in this set.
There are a million places to go wrong in a Sgt Pepper remix. This is a case where the process had a lot to do with the way the album sounded. I'm sure there was a strategy how to prioritize the bounce downs. That analogue limitation surely affected the way the mix sounded. Just taking all the pieces and putting them back together while balancing the levels isn't going to get you the same album. That was proven with the Let It Be (Naked) CD. If you've heard the original Peter Sellers acetate of the Get Back sessions, you know that neither Let It Be nor Let It Be (Naked) sounded anything like the master the Beatles left behind on that album, even though Naked was billed as returning the album to the way it was intended. The mix can turn an apple into an orange, and trying to recreate 50 year old creative decisions is an exercise in futility.
I haven't heard the Sellers stuff, but I've got A/B Road, which compiles an insane amount of those sessions, much from the Nagras. It's rough. Let It Be... Naked is very, uh, "shiny." I think it was the digital echo added at the end of that remix's "Across the Universe" that turned my brain off. Let It Be... Airbrushed. Still, even that set has its moments, and since it is differentiated from the core canon I don't mind at all beyond it being a missed opportunity.
What surprises me about at least the one/two disc versions of this upcoming release is that (unless I'm misremembering) they each have only the new stereo mix of the album proper. In and of itself, that's not a surprise, but that they didn't do a riff on the cover (maybe an alternate photo from that shoot or maybe a close-up of the drumhead or a group shot in costume) to differentiate it, much like Let It Be... Naked's ugly but clearly separate cover. Not sure I like the idea since over time it may become the "official" mix just like the 1980s Help! and Rubber Soul. Of course, if the mix is actually faithful to the mono but with some of the spaciousness and balance of the original stereo then I suppose it can be argued it is more in line with original intent. Beatle nuts need more to argue about so that should ensure their vitality for another generation of kooks.
I thought the mixes for Love and Yellow Submarine were a whole lot of fun because they stayed true to the feel and basic ideas behind the music without slavishly trying to rebuild the pyramids from scratch stone by stone. I think of them as alternatives to the original albums, not a replacement for them. Whenever I hear engineers talk about precisely replicating original creative choices on a mix, I cringe because they aren't qualified to do that sort of thing, and they don't have the principle creative artists in the studio with them to make those choices. With a different technology and different techniques, the Beatles probably would have made different creative choices. Sgt Pepper is what it is because of the circumstances that it was created under.
I really like those mixes. YS benefits from the centering of vocals and more balanced spread of instruments (especially on headphones/earbuds, where I find much of the original stereo stuff uncomfortable listening). Some of the Love stuff is phenomenal, some pedestrian. ome natural, some shoehorned, and pretty thoroughly engaging. I have the Anthology DVD but have never watched it on my 7.1 system but I've read glowing reviews of those 5.1 mixes, incomplete though they are. Actually, I only watched them on a mono TV ages ago, so I can't even speak to the stereo mixes! I believe both may have been done by the same team as Yellow Submarine. Love, on the other hand was Giles Martin. As to artistic qualifications, that's not someplace I can delve. I mean, there's some serious sloppiness in the original mixes, too, and some artistic misdirection. The best that I hope for is a mix of deep knowledge of the material, feel for it, technical skill, among a small team that beyond competence, can debate where judgment calls need to be made.
I have hopes that this follows the lead of Love because trying to reinvent the wheel is a waste of time. It's like trying to recreate the Mona Lisa using the same brushes, canvas and paint Leonardo used and carefully matching all the colors. It can look very much like the original without the cracks and yellowing of age, but it can't improve on it. I almost think it's better to just envision it as a new painting instead. Maybe the fans wouldn't allow that.
Art restoration is actually pretty complicated, too, and without it, quite a few masterpieces would be lost to time. That can mean more tampering than people think. Despite my disappointment in 1+ and my mixed feelings on their work on Criterion's Hard Day's Night, I trust them to do a fine job. I certainly don't expect them to do what a well meaning amateur did to "restore" the al fresco on the left with what you see on the right: