Beatles Mono Box Arrives!

The Beatles in Mono arrived today. This evening listening will begin but this afternoon editor Michael Fremer opened the box and physically inspected. He liked what he saw!

Here are the 3 videos:

Yovra's picture

Looking forward to your listening-adventures with this nice collection!

recordhead's picture

But if the cost of the single LPs keep dropping it will be cheaper to buy them separate. Can't wait to read the reviews.

Bix's picture

It's already cheaper that way. It comes down to how much the box, book, and collectible aspect mean to you.

bmilwee's picture

I hope this isn't a silly question, but will these records sound ok if played using a stereo cartridge? This question came to mind after reading your report on the "Beatles Tribute" mono cartridge in June.

Michael Fremer's picture
That's a good question not a silly one. They will sound fine through a stereo cartridge but much quieter and with more stable and solid images through a mono cartridge OR if you have a mono switch on your preamp or phono preamp or if "Y" the cables: plug the stereo pair into a "Y" cable, plug the male out into a female "Y" connector with a pair of male outputs. You might lose a bit through the multiple connectors but you'll hear the value of a mono switch and/or a mono cartridge.
Bigrasshopper's picture

The other box opening from what's his name (never heard of him, I'm from the U.S.) just seems so flat and 2 dimensional compared with what I just saw, you really got the records and your face right in there; but mostly your opinions. It felt like you were right in my living room, or me in yours? In any case, good show old man. Well, actually you look especially youthful or youthfully buoyant in stripes. Your enthusiasm is contagious, I must wait, for you as well as the box. The Beatles on vinyl saga continues..

Michael Fremer's picture
Having now compared the first two albums on multiple LPs on a few turntables and cartridges and then compared to the mono CD I remain enthusiastic! Anyone who owns the mono CD box and bought this box grudgingly or out of completist obligation will be glad they did.
AnalogJ's picture

I would assume you're comparing, using your usual modus operandi, originals with the reissues?

stretch35's picture

thanks for the info, look forward to mine coming soon and your upcoming reviews

Mistermuse1's picture

So ultimately, which do you prefer, or is it not that simple?

vinyl listener's picture

hope to see more in the future, complete with funny voices of course.

StonedBeatles1's picture

I'm telling your shrink that after all these years you're still looking at those White Album poster pubic hairs!

Cartel's picture

Yeah, typos just jump at you.
I know. I used to be a proofreader before I became a sub for the local rag.
Do you think the Euro version of the mono box is exactly the same as the US one?
Mine's pre-ordered from Music Direct.
Now, we're all waiting for the proper analog version of the two stereo LP's.

Michael Fremer's picture
There is only one version for worldwide distribution.
bill lettang's picture

After all the rigamarole on another site it's nice to have your affirmation as to the quality, (and record company's honesty concerning sources) of this box..looking forward to it..Particually loved the Harry Moss (H.M)...F.U. bit....

Paul Boudreau's picture

It's like Capone's vault!

Paul Boudreau's picture

Since MMT didn't come out as an LP in the UK until 1976, I believe, I assume there wasn't a mono version released at that time, meaning that the current reissue is of the US mono version. If it also has a Parlophone label, it would be the first mono one in that livery, so to speak. Right, guv?

AnalogJ's picture

The MMT in the box has the Capitol Rainbow label. Did you NOT see Pete Nash, the Beatles'fan video? :-)

Paul Boudreau's picture

I did not. I wasn't sure if people were joking or not!

AnalogJ's picture

Good job, Michael. Some funny bits! I actually didn't find Pete Nash's video all that bad. I mean, we're talking Brits, their stiff upper lips and all that.

Audiobill's picture

Mikey's videos were full of foolishness (his continued obsession with pubic hair and genitalia) and stupid political comments. Most of the time was spent comparing the packaging which may be important for collectors, but is secondary to me. I'm more interested in the musical content of each album. I really don't need another book about the Beatles, so which albums do I want to buy? Details provided by Pete about which albums contain no selections that were also released as singles is valuable information. I may buy the Mono Masters and supplement with Rubber Soul, Sgt. Pepper's and the White Album. The information about Mono Masters including four tracks from Yellow Submarine not on previous Past Masters releases is also of value to me. I have British pressings of the four late stereo albums. Three I bought while stationed in Germany in 1970-71 for $2.50 each. The White Album (BP) was bought in the US in the 80's, and is not a top-loader or numbered. Pubes and genitalia are included, however.

Michael Fremer's picture
I just thought it interesting that Capitol scoured the poster and "cleansed" it. I don't think that defines obsession. And I think it reflected America's prudish nature then and so was of interest. As for the fact that British albums omitted singles but included 14 rather than an average of 12 songs is very old news at this point. As for your having no interest in the book well that's understandable. Not everyone does but many do. That was an over the top complaint IMO. As for being at times childish and infantile I plead guilty and wouldn't have it any other way...with "at times" being the operative phrase. Try it! You might enjoy it....
Audiobill's picture

See "I'm a little older than you" posted today.

Michael Fremer's picture
I just thought it interesting that Capitol scoured the poster and "cleansed" it. I don't think that defines obsession. And I think it reflected America's prudish nature then and so was of interest. As for the fact that British albums omitted singles but included 14 rather than an average of 12 songs is very old news at this point. As for your having no interest in the book well that's understandable. Not everyone does but many do. That was an over the top complaint IMO. As for being at times childish and infantile I plead guilty and wouldn't have it any other way...with "at times" being the operative phrase. Try it! You might enjoy it....
Audiobill's picture

you have mentioned it. The last time was when you were reviewing the stereo vinyl.It was 46 years ago. Times have changed. It's interesting that you love the music and hate the era. You make assumptions that your audience knows about the singles, especially Yellow Submarine, but feel you have to inform them about the "prudishness" of the era. Twice.
I respect your opinion about all things analog, otherwise I wouldn't be reading your posts. However your political comments are totally inappropriate (in my humble opinion).

Michael Fremer's picture
Glad I grew up then actually. Some of it was great (interest in science and intellect) and some of it was not (Jim Crow, etc.). Like all periods of time, there's good and bad. Actually today you have millions of kids watching others play video games. Video games have become an arena spectator sport. Now that I regard as absolutely pathetic. Bring back the airbrushed pubes!
Audiobill's picture

I was a freshman in college when JFK was killed and The Beatles made their US debut, and I agree that there was much to love, and much to dislike about that era. I'd enjoy conversing with you about that era, but, as I have said, I don't believe this is the proper forum.

I value your opinion on analog audio, and I have gotten much great information from this site, particularly your music reviews. They have turned me on to several new artists that I had not been aware of (recently Lyn Stanley and Cecile Mclorin Salvant). Your tastes in music seem to be similar to mine, Jimi Hendrix notwithstanding.
I was wondering if you have an opinion on the CSNY 1972 Pure Audio Blu-Ray as well as the vinyl version. Produced by Joel Bernstein and Graham Nash and remastered from the actual live multi-track tapes recorded professionally at nine concerts around the world in 1974. Even the digital fanatics, like Mark Waldrep, are praising this effort due to the source material.

wao62's picture

Those Evil Genital Christians!

Audiobill's picture

I didn't mention the book because I thought you shouldn't have, I mentioned it because I will probably buy only a select few of these albums, rather than the box set. The information provided by the Brit could be helpful in determining which albums to buy in addition to Mono Masters. The 14 British vs. 12 US may be old news, but I was unaware of it. My British Abbey Road has 16 songs, Hey Jude has 9, all but two of which appear on my 1988 Past Masters CD set. Let It Be has 12. Using Amazon's listing of the 34 songs that appear on Mono Masters, I find the following differences when compared to Volume Two of my CD set (all 18 songs on Volume One appear on the Mono Masters list):

Titles Omitted from Mono Masters:
The Ballad of John and Yoko
Old Brown Shoe
Let It Be

Titles Added to Mono Masters:
Only a Northern Song
All Together Now
Hey Bulldog
It's All Too Much

Michael Fremer's picture
It wasn't that bad. I'm just an equal opportunity mocker and I can dish it and take it.
Superfuzz's picture

curious to hear sound reviews...

capri345's picture

Michael, I couldn't help but notice the copy of "Darklands" in the background. But back to the Beatles, very interested in your follow review. A review of Darklands would be nice too! Hopefully, you have the Demon reissue.


Michael Fremer's picture
Haven't got the reissues and because I have the originals I can't see buying them over again to hear how well they were done. Over the years I've found the Edsel/Demon reissues to be poor sounding... very "digital". Good titles, bad reissues but I haven't heard one in a long time I admit. I had the Dillard and Clark reissues and they were not great. Also had a Butterfield Blues Band reissue and on the spine it said "Butterflies Blues Band". Really? Yes, really.
rakalm's picture

Love the video and can't wait. Bought a new cartridge which I actually can wire for mono (AT150MLX) for my VPI traveler. Probably won't do this though. Couldn't I just have a Y cable made (Blue Jeans is my price range) with male ends at both sides of the cable and simply replace the stereo connects for mono playback? I guess it would be a double Y? This would eliminate the additional connection I believe.

Michael Fremer's picture
Yes if your turntable terminates in RCA jacks you could put an all male Y connector in and then connect it to a double female and then connect your original RCA cables to it.
Audiobill's picture

Mikey, you need to get some sleep. Your first "Y" explanation was confusing enough. Now you add another somewhat confusing post. There are many different types of Y adapters. Some have two connectors that are the same gender, others have three that are the same, using various combinations of male and female teminations. The bottom line is that one needs to have two completely opposite adapters to accomplish what you are suggesting. One to translate the signals from a stereo pickup to a single mono cable. The other to split that single mono signal into left/right components. Connecting an all male adapter to a double female is confusing terminology because double means two not three. Your first post is also confusing: "if 'Y' the cables: plug the stereo pair into a 'Y' cable, plug the male out into a female 'Y' connector with a pair of male outputs." "If 'Y' the cables...?" What type of "Y" cables/connectors are you describing. In most all cases that I can think of, having a 2-male/1-female connector and 2-female/1-male connector will work whether you plug into an existing female jack from your turntable, phono preamp, or preamp, or a male-terminated cable from your turntable (as my RP3/RB303 hard-wired cable.

Michael Fremer's picture
I thought what I wrote was pretty clear for his situation where he's got female jacks on his TT.
Audiobill's picture

And that " If 'Y' the cable " is unnatural speech.

WaltonGoggins's picture

My son is getting the box, but has no mono switch and could perhaps benefit from this trick. But I'm afraid that his dumb dad isn't comprehending this ""Y/male/female" stuff at all. (Thankfully I have a mono switch on my own phono preamp.) Or could someone post a link from monoprice, etc, showing what is needed?

Not from Seattle, but clueless. :)

Audiobill's picture

One that has two female and one male connector, the other should be the opposite, i.e. two male connectors and one female. Connect the single male and the single female connections. Now, depending on whatever type of jacks produce the signal you are converting, you will be able to replicate those same jacks with a mono signal in each channel.

MP3isforkids's picture

Far more interesting than Pete Nash video that wants to be funny, but it isn't.
Congratulations Michael.

jack65's picture

Would be really nice, if you could put up some sound samples, to get an idea of what to expect before buying.

Michael Fremer's picture
But I will try. I think 30 seconds is "fair use" and legally protected but let me find out...
Brother John's picture

road visit post a few months ago Mikey because when I learned they sought your advice for the project I knew we were In good hands this time around! These hilarious video updates are proof I and hopefully 1000's of other Beatles music lovers made the same decision.
Looking forward towards your witty critique on the mono box set.

I really love analog planet!

ctbarker32's picture

As I prepare for the arrival my Beatles Mono Vinyl box, I am pulling out my original Parlaphone Mono LPs bought when my family lived in London in the sixties. I also have a bunch of early Rolling Stones mono's and that's got me thinking about why someone hasn't mounted an effort to remaster the Rolling Stones mono records as well? Michael, have you heard any rumors? Except for the SACD remasters done long ago, there's not much public activity on this front?

Michael Fremer's picture
I'll ask ABKCO. But only worth doing in AAA not cut from DSD masters. I bet the sales of this box will be the determining factor.
Findog3103's picture

I also own a stereo cartridge for my vpi traveler. Does anyone have recommendations for a good but not expensive y-cables? Or, would I not hear too much of a difference? Any thoughts are appreciated. Very excited to hear the albums.

storym's picture

Just wondered where you got your box from. Elusive Disc isn't shipping until Sept. 9. I would also agree with ctbarker 32 . I stupidly did not order the first Rolling Stones box and would like a Rolling Stones Mono Box analogous to The Beatles box.

Roivas's picture

VERY excited about this release. Though I thought the Stereo Box was much better than you gave it credit for, Michael, I think there's value in holding EMI/Universal to a high standard.

As for the typo on MMT, well, at least we have our first way to distinguish these pressings from others when they start showing up in used record bins. I have a first-press White Album that misspells the word "Racoon" on Side 2, so the Beatles have a long, proud tradition of typos. And at least it's small type on the back cover rather than something important.

Please release the other reviews soon.

vinyl_blues's picture

Fantastic video series! You should do more of these, Michael. I loved your humor and enthusiasm. You were exactly right to say "How can you not be a Beatles fan?!" Right on, that's exactly how I feel. And I totally agree that they should redo the stereo albums in AAA next.

By the way, do you prefer the Beatles in mono or stereo, assuming the best available pressing for each?

Again, great job on the video. You have a talent there and should do more of them.

Toddh76's picture

Hi, thanks for all the great reviews and time spent sharing the videos with us. I am going to be impatient next week when mine gets here, do I need to clean them. Did you clean yours before listening. I usually do.

Jack Gilvey's picture

Enjoyed the hell out of these, Michael, funny stuff. MY favorite recorded thing is Abbey Road, and a pristine AAA re-issue would certainly be wonderful. Please pester whomever you need to. Maybe a Kickstarter campaign. I did give the digital LP a try but sent it right back as it sounded like my USB apple version with added surface noise.

michaeltnorman's picture

This is from The Independent, a UK newspaoer

Interesting in the sense that it's in a mainstream paper

drummer808's picture

Hi, Michael! I've always wanted to ask you, do you run your new records through a cleaning machine prior to playing it for the first time? Just curious.

Michael Fremer's picture
Yes. CDs are manufactured in a "clean room", LPs in a "dirty room".
bongo-hifi's picture

I take it that a Y-adaptor is a cable that bridges 2 stereo RCA/Phono plugs into mono? I have a Naim system using DIN connections and no mono button on the pre-amp. Are there DIN cables available that will do the job of a Y-adaptor?

Cartridge is Dynavector D3 into Naim Prefix/HiCap and Naim 202pre-amp.

Very entertaining and love the impressions Mike, no I'm not offended!

bongo-hifi's picture

I am curious to know how flat you found the pressings to be. I have seen them described consensually as perfectly flat. I have just returned 2 different sets that had warping of Disc 2 White Album, Rubber Soul, Beatles For Sale.
The same LP's in both sets? Could there be some quality control issues?

Michael Fremer's picture
My set was commendably flat but some others have complained about warped and especially "dished" records. Were yours warped or "dished"?
bongo-hifi's picture

Hi Michael,
I have had issues with both dished and warped records, I have gone through 2 box sets and have ended up replacing the offending titles at my local store from stock sold individually. The titles affected have been Beatles For Sale, Hard Days Night, Rubbers Soul, White Album Disc 2 and Masters Disc 3. The worst has been the White Album and I am waiting a replacement copy that has been ordered, the shops copy's were all warped. The records came from a local reputable store where I rarely have any problems.
Someone on the NAIM forum posted a picture of their copy of disc 2 of WA that had a weird wedge like pressing defect on the outer edge as though it had been pressed thicker along one edge.

bongo-hifi's picture

I am not familiar with Optimal Media, what other notable records have they pressed?
Also Michael, although not appropriate to this thread so please forgive me but I was wondering if you've tested any of the 75th Anniversary Blue Note titles that are being released?

audiophile_101's picture

Hey guys, here's where you can purchase a decent Y-cord for the Mono box set.

Hope this helps.
Vince F.

smashadams's picture

Sorry to be so late to the party but with buying a house and moving during the Fall, I didn't get around to purchasing the new Mono Beatles set until a couple of weeks ago. Consistent with everything I've read here, my set is dead quiet and sonically the best I've ever heard.

What may or may not be consistent is the degree of flatness. All but three of my discs have some manner of warp. In every case it is extremely slight and the clamp on my VPI 'table easily addresses the issue. We're talking well under a millimeter and certainly no more than that in the extreme.

I still have the option of returning the box but it seems just as likely that the next set will be in similar condition given how slight the warps are in this one. I'm interested to know what others have experienced. How flat is flat, or acceptably warped in the case of a limited release set such as this?

Keith B.

DaK's picture

I love reading and hearing your reviews! I have a question regarding playing mono pressings. I thought that the stylus is more important than the cartridge itself for playing mono pressings, because the grooves are wider (is that also true for modern mono pressings?). So would it not be enough to just change the stylus? For example the Shure M91 has a more basic round stylus tip (the N91G)....

tobys's picture

The Beatles are great musicians! This music is the best before go to sleep. I use side sleeping pillow.