Beatles "Red" and "Blue" Album Reissues AAA All the Way!

The two upcoming Beatles compilations, the "Red" (1962-1966) and "Blue" (1967-1970) were cut from the original analog tapes used to produced the original LP sets—with a few exceptions, says Abbey Road mastering engineer Sean Magee.

Magee told me that the tapes originally used to produce the two double LP sets were again used with a few changes: mono versions using EQ from the mono box set replaced the few faux stereo tracks originally used. Only crazy die-hards might object to that.

Otherwise, whatever differences there were between those versions and the ones on the original albums remain (which we'll cover in the reviews). Magee said "The cutting notes made by Harry Moss were followed to the letter except for overall levels, which were a touch quieter, but cleaner. All analogue too.

These LPs will be pressed at QRP. So there you go! No more speculating, no more wanking! Just the facts.

Jack Gilvey's picture

Yes! We can't be far from Abbey Road!

azmoon's picture

This is good news.

Leave the wanking to the 'other' forums…..they are experts!!

Bigrasshopper's picture

Well that was cleared up in a jiffy. Those facts look pretty good, especially at $17.50 apiece. I can wait for the review, but it sounds like Sean was behind the wheel. I was afraid even all analog, these might have been cut at Capital in the US from a copy of a copy.

homersoddishe's picture


Michael Fremer's picture
That is not on my original UK edition so I would expect it to not be on the new reissue either. It will be interesting because the original British LP uses the true stereo mix of "I Feel Fine", while the US LP set used the drowning in reverb "Beatles '65" mono mix. I'm assuming this reissue will have the stereo mix. I'll have to bother Sean Magee again... I haven't played these records for some time so I pulled them out and was happy to see the "HTM" engraved in the lead out groove area ("Harry T. Moss").
sharris55's picture

I have vinyl copies of these from when they were originally released. And having just invested in: 1)the Stereo CD box, 2) the Mono CD box, and 3) the US album (stereo/mono) Cd box, along with 4) most of the stereo vinyl remasters, and 5) The complete MONO Vinyl Box Set (wonderful). Aside from the fond memory I have of the song sequence from these collections back in the day, is there anything else to recommend them? By the time I started collecting music, the Beatles were done and these were the newest and best way to get acquainted with what I missed at the time. So I need these?

Michael Fremer's picture
Of course it will have some of the stereo originals all analog including tracks from "Rubber Soul" and "Help" before Geo. Martin did a 44.1k/16 bit remix...
Jack Gilvey's picture

"Aside from the fond memory I have of the song sequence from these collections back in the day, is there anything else to recommend them?"

I have the same fond memories. I can't think of a better reason to purchase music. :) I bought these on 8-track at Two Guys in 7th grade.

wao62's picture

I have 7 to 8 copies of every Beatles album (British originals MFSL, Japanese pressings etc.) & none of them sound as good to me as The Mono Box!!! Now the Mono Box could serve as one's core Beatles collection, complementing it with the stereo releases such as this reissue of the Red & Black albums. Hopefully an AAA Abbey Road is forthcoming. It might come out as a 45rpm set like the Analog Productions Doors albums since both have recently been released @ 33rpm. There needs to be a hook to justify a re-release. It might have that master tape quality @ 45rpm, the question is how to divide side two!

markfig's picture

This is amazing news. I can't wait to buy these. The incredible mono box and now this!? It's been like Beatles Christmas all year.

Honestly, a true AAA Abbey Road would be too wonderful. Why are you guys speculating about this? Are there rumblings? Is it just speculation?

AAA Abbey Road sure does seem like the final missing piece, after all these amazing releases. (I mean unless we can ask for an AAA re-do of the stereo box. I promise to buy three copies if that'll help!)

But back on earth: AAA Abbey Road: If I get a vote, in this hypothetical release, I vote for 33, not 45, because, in answer to wao62, you simply can't break up side 2.

But 33, 45, both are wonderful. Whatever the studio gods decide, I'm in.

MF - thanks as always for the update.

wao62's picture

I also prefer side two as a single statement. I don't think Mobile Fidelity's Blonde on Blonde worked well as it was divided up (& I don't think that could be helped), but the resolution of the music was something to listen to @ 45rpm!

markfig's picture

Ah! I hear you. I haven't heard the MoFi Blonde on Blonde. In fact I must admit I keep avoiding 45rpm reissues of LPs. But on the other hand, that is also pretty appealing, what you're saying about the sound. I should expand my horizons when it comes to 45s. After all, we're already listening on vinyl. Trading away a little convenience for a lot more sound is one of the joys...!

StonedBeatles1's picture

I know it's trivial, but at this point isn't everything Beatle related trivial?
I have these from a mid 80's German DMM pressing on colored vinyl as well as The White Album (in white DMM), with that copy of The White Album being my all time favorite pressing. I recall Day Tripper having the tambourine drop that was on every version up until the 1 compilation, but on I Feel Fine, on my German copy of this, it's in true stereo with a bit of talk and Ringo slapping the hi hats down as the first note begins. Trivial but I believe only on German pressings of the song..

flippyshark's picture

If this includes the single mix of Let It Be, then it will attain instant must-buy status. (I've never owned the Blue album. But it is the single mix, yes?)

My ardent hope for an AAA Abbey Road as well. (And just to supplement my recently purchased Mono box, a AAA release of Let It Be)

JJK1954's picture

I love the Beatles, but they are going a little too far with this release. How much do they want the public to purchase? I would rather see the US albums released on vinyl.

Martin's picture

All analogue, sure.
Despite good originals, the mono box was so good, I will certainly be getting these.

Luke's picture

It's very cool that they're doing these AAA. Shows that they're giving vinyl fans what they want rather than just fobbing us off with digital cuts. I see no grounds for complaints here, quite the opposite. Like everyone else here I'd most like to see Abbey Road re-done AAA (all of the stereo really, as far as I'm concerned), however, with the shops still full of the 2012 releases I can't see that happening anytime soon. The idea of 45rpm versions is interesting though. So how about a deluxe boxset containing all the original UK stereo mixes, in 45rpm..? I'm sure most of us would gladly get our credit cards out (again) for that.

Jack Gilvey's picture

It's pretty stunning that a band that recorded for about 8 years needs two double LP's just for "greatest hits". An album side a year! Only The Beatles. So awesome.

Martin's picture

As someone with a couple of minty original UK pressings of Abbey Road, I would buy a 45 rpm of Abbey Road immediately.
I would also get a 33 rpm done the way these recent reissues have been done.
Quite frankly, the White Album in the mono box is for me, the best sounding copy of the white album I have.
And the rest of the mono box is as good as or better than all the originals I have.

Inner_Groove's picture

Let It Be

Reddy Kilowatt's picture

I paid big bucks a few years ago for a very low number original
UK mono White Album, with original promo stickers on the labels, ie "not for sale". I was hopeful that it would sound better than the recent AAA reissue which does sound great. It clearly does. There is much more detail there, without a doubt. More presence as well. Not even close.
Seriously. Must be that the master tapes have deteriorated some, which is inevitable. That said- it is great to have the reissue
set- wonderful! Looking forward to hearing the RED and BLUE and
hopeful for the AAA Abbey Road and Let it Be- at both 33 and 45 rpm- your choice!

PeterPani's picture

but the use of transistored equipment as transfer chain. And surely, the cutter was all tubed and with mono cutter head in the 60's. That all together makes the difference.

tingly's picture

Acoustic Sounds, and therefore QRP, says their pressings will become available after Optimal's initial run of 10,000 sells, looking at the 2nd half of 2015. The only QRP vs. Optimal comparison I found is a casual one saying it's a tie.

JC1957's picture

Although I have excellent versions of both. My favorite "red album" is the 80's Dutch pressing from Holland (1A-184-05307) and the original Japanese "blue album" (EAP-9034B.) We'll see how these new versions stack up which should be very good and the all analog approach is more than welcome.

julio's picture

Optimal or QRP? Which pressing will be better? Do I buy the optimal version or weight 6 months and buy the QRP version? I don't know if I have the patience to wait.

tingly's picture

Amazon US is looking into an issue that customers are having with Optimal's Beatles mono box. It could be simply that its description is wrong on the webpage, but may be as bad a quality control issue from too many returns.

Jack Gilvey's picture

but, judging solely by the job Optimal did on the Beatle monos, I won't hesitate at all to buy their Red/Blue pressings. Every bit as good.

Moodeez1's picture

Many of you folks need to get lives. It seems you'll buy ANYTHING over and over and OVER again which has anything to do with the Beatles. No wonder they keep issuing and re-issuing so much stuff. They know there are a certain amount of couch potatoes out there who will keep lapping it up! May I suggest an exercise program? You won't believe how good the sun feels on your skin. Or how about another hobby? One where you won't get hosed every time a new version of the same flavor is made available.

thirtycenturyman's picture

Let's petition the record companies to never release another remastered album ever again!
I understand complaints about sub-par efforts such as vinyl being pressed from CD quality digital sources; however, I don't think anyone should complain about AAA vinyl being pressed at a top notch plant, sold for less than $20 a disc.
Being in my 30's, I never owned these when they were still in print on vinyl. I'm glad I have an opportunity to buy them at a reasonable price point now. Same goes for the mono set. I don't have thousands of dollars to spend on mint originals.
I for one will never complain about an abundance of superbly executed remasters. If I'm being fleeced then then all I have to say is use me until you use me up because I'm loving my new Beatles records.

julio's picture

I actually enjoy being fleeced

Porper's picture

While the original analog tapes might be used, and an analog chain in processing, the signal cut into the lacquer [and hence, pressed into vinyl] may actually be digital. The reason is that most plants use a digital preview [or computer] to control groove spacing. That means that the actual signal is in the digital domain. No longer analog. As I understand it, purely analog cutter head signal previews are extremely, extremely rare, and even then engineers hate working with them due to the guessing and manual work involved. A digital signal, controlled by an app, solves the whole issue. Furthermore, I gather than probably all of today's wonderfully produced and pressed re-issues are actually digitally previewed, making them actually digital LP's, or pseudo-CD's. I'm not stating anything dogmatic here, and if anyone has better information, or any information, please share. Thanks.

tzh21y's picture

thats the hard part and what truly make an analog record analog. I hear too many bass anomalies on reissues. its really too bad

Porper's picture

As Sharris55 asked above, what's the value of these releases? Do they contain alternate takes? Or, previoulsy unreleased material? If you already have the mono CD box, or the new vinyl mono box, what're you getting in the red/blues that you don't have? Very interested to know. Thanks.

tingly's picture

The main thing for me is being an alleged huge improvement over the 2012 stereo LP's. Love Me Do and She Loves You sound like they'll be from the new mono LP's to avoid the faked stereo versions.

JayTrez's picture

Please...a little insight...


Jack Gilvey's picture probably shouldn't. They are what they are. No outtakes or extras. If you really only have the monos, though, you're missing some stuff. Personally, these were among my first Beatles purchases back in the late 70's and I've had them on vinyl (lots of copies), cassette, 8-track, cd. Having grown up with them, the song sequence is quite familiar to me. I'll enjoy these for sure.

Overboard's picture

Obviously, it's not feasible to remove individual original masters from their reels, then return them to those reels, but as for the original compilation masters being used for "1962-66" & "1967-70", how many generations removed are they from the original mix down masters?

I've already got all of these tracks on numerous other vinyl releases, and I've got clean Japanese pressings of "1962-66" & "1967-70", so these new releases are not essential for me.

Granted, for people new to vinyl and new to the music of The Beatles, the new vinyl pressings of these greatest hits sets will be a fine introduction to Beatles music.

I am pleased to join your forum(this is my first post) after technical problems thwarted me in the past.

bill lettang's picture

If they didn't use the 1st generation tapes for the Beatles Mono Masters 3 disc set because of the task of compiling new reels, I would think they'd do the same for this new red and blue set and compile new reels from excellent 2nd generation copies.... I'm assuming most of the tracks are stereo and I'm bewildered that there's no comment about what this means to Stereo fans of the catalog. If Sean followed HM notes as he says, there gonna sound quite different from the 2012 lp's.VERY EXCITING!!!Please enlighten if I'm off base here...THANKS BILL

Bigrasshopper's picture

If you haven't already heard these by now, I can say, having just come off of the Blue album, that much of the presence of the monos is here also, with perhaps some foreword momentum and drive traded for a more spatial spread of stereo. I Definitely hear the improvement I was hoping for over the stero box. If there was one track that stunned, it had to be Come Together, I have not heard like this before. Ringo's "balls" remain fully intact with a subterranean thrust that made me appreciate anew the lower range of my speakers. If this is any indication of better things to come from the, as of yet unannounced stereo Abbey Road sourced from a master and not a compilation copy, then I think the analog community will have a compelling cause to come together over the Beatles again. I can't resist adding, that if "the label" really wanted to in-shrine that album with royal honors then they would offer up a limited edition 45rpm version as well. My pressing was suboptimal, both records were warped, though being thinner managed to self flatten somewhat, though there was a persistent tick throughout Fool On The Hill and elsewhere. If you get what you pay for, I would pay more.

JoeJoe1964's picture

Really enjoying the fabulous re-release pressings of both red and blue album. The label on side one of the first record indicates Love me do, Please Please me, From me to you and She loves you are all in mono, however only love me do and she loves you are in mono. With Please Please me and From me to you in that faux-stereo that I was weaned on. Any idea why?

bill lettang's picture

hello...Are there reviews coming for this new analog set and how do they stack up with past stereo masterings?

Bob Levin's picture

I've still got the sets from the late '70's with the red & blue Capitol "Six 'O' Clock" labels.
Traugott did an outstanding job on them. Upgrade? Probably not this time around.

YevX's picture

I picked up the two yesterday and they sound incredible, the EQ is perfect, the Vinyl is quiet, although my Strawberry fields foerver has a skip everything else on these albums is amazing, i never heard the original stereo mixes of help! and rubber soul, becuase i only had the rubber soul and help! vinyl in mono, from the in mono vinyl box set and the stereo vinyl box set (which i gave the store for the blue and red vinyl, the stereo sounds awful but i had to keep yellow submarine, abbey road, let it be and past masters now that they are not available in mono.

tzh21y's picture

love me do sounds digital.