Beatles Remasters: Mono vs. Stereo

DackAttacDackAttac Road Warrior
edited April 2013 in The Beatles: Rock Band
(Possibly off topic, but since these remasters were launched along with the Rock Band title, I've always associated them with one another.)

I've recently acquired the Beatles' 2009 remasters, and am anxiously looking forward to swapping out the s****y 80's remasters in my iTunes for them. Problem, though: I have a choice between mono and stereo.

I've been told a number of times that since the mono is the only one that the Beatles themselves considered. As advanced as their studio innovation was, they only ever intended it for the one channel, and everything short of Abbey Road should be listened to in mono for optimal enjoyment.

But then I hear of things such as large differences on records like The White Album. Namely on Don't Pass Me By (played back at a different speed) and Helter Skelter, which never fades back in. (And it's just not the White Album if Mr. Starr doesn't lament his digits' vesicles.)

So, has anyone else made any judgement calls where they drew the line in the sand?


  • big_old_tombig_old_tom Rising Star
    edited April 2011
    Mono has less albums than the stereo releases. Some of their later albums weren't recorded in Mono, so i got stereo to make sure i got all their albums.
  • nascarfan19nascarfan19 Headliner
    edited April 2011
    It's kinda hard to choose. I mean in stereo you get the two channels, and that sounds pretty cool when you listen to it. However, I have heard that mono versions have tiny little differences in a few songs, and you don't have to worry about a faulty speaker/headphone.
  • edited April 2011
  • HubCAp_HubCAp_ Unsigned
    edited April 2011
    I have both the mono and stereo remasters and well both are great to have. There are differences in both versions as the mixes are different. Note some songs are different takes than others such as "Please Please Me"

    I feel that someone should have both. Some songs in albums are better in stereo, some are better in mono. Please Please Me, With the Beatles, A Hard Day's Night, and Beatles For Sale are better in mono although the stereo sounds a bit "cleaner." Help! is way better in Stereo except Ticket To Ride. Rubber Soul's Nowhere Man mono mix is way superior to the stereo IMO. The guitar parts are WAY to quiet in the stereo mix. Revolver is mixed. Sgt. Pepper is a lot different in mono than stereo. Magical Mystery Tour is mixed as well but I might side with the mono version. The white Album is also mixed as some songs are better in mono while others are better in Stereo.

    If you could only pick one, get the Stereo Masters since it includes all 13 albums plus Stereo singles instead of only 10 and Mono singles. If possible get the mono ones afterwords as they are both very enjoyable. There is no "winner" of Stereo vs Mono since they are all mixed. Also keep in mind you will find stereo better through speakers than headphones.
  • DackAttacDackAttac Road Warrior
    edited April 2011
    From my friends, I already have everything in mono, and then Revolver, the White Album, Yellow Submarine, Let It Be and Abbey Road in stereo. I know my mind's made up by default with the last two. I guess I was curious if there was a point where stereo became the preferable option before it became the only option, but it doesn't sound that cut-and-dry. Thanks, though, I'll definitely hang onto everything.
  • TaibakTaibak Unsigned
    edited April 2011
    Well, for the Beatles, they didn't start preferring stereo until Yellow Submarine. Before that, they greatly preferred mono, even though stereo was available. According to Paul, they thought the mono had a much richer, fuller sound (he said they thought stereo sounded 'naked') and only gradually came to appreciate the options stereo provided later. Even so, they always considered the mono mixes, where available, to be the definitive ones. I mean, they usually took a hands on role in mixing the mono versions of the albums, but had little to no interest in the stereo ones.
  • HotMangoChutneyHotMangoChutney Rising Star
    edited April 2011
    I did a comparison of all the songs in another thread a while back. Just to recap:

    - "Thank You Girl" (mono version lacks some harmonica parts)
    - "What Goes On" (end guitar riff is virtually inaudible in mono)
    - "She Said She Said" (stereo version has a harder edge to it)
    - "She's Leaving Home" (as dreary as the stereo version sounds, the mono version sounds a little TOO sprightly given the lyrical content)
    - "Good Morning Good Morning" (again, harder edge in stereo)
    - "Sgt. Pepper Reprise"/"A Day in the Life" (the segue between the 2 tracks sounds more organic/less sudden in stereo IMO, though the former lacks the clearer sound of Paul's 'scatting' at the end)
    - "It's All Too Much" (mostly because the stereo fade is slightly longer)
    - "Blue Jay Way" (mono version lacks some of the flanged backing vocals)
    - "Your Mother Should Know" (stereo version sounds a little less 'quaint')
    - "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" (handclaps more audible in stereo version)
    - "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (Clapton's guitar has a STRANGE sound to it in the mono version)
    - "Don't Pass Me By" (or, the 'non-helium' version :p)
    - "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?" (again, handclaps more audible in stereo)
    - "I Will" (Paul's 'vocal bass line' more audible in stereo)
    - "Helter Skelter" (if the mono version had the 'fade-back-in' coda, I might've sided with that one, since you can better hear the honking sax and trumpet in that mix :()
    - "Don't Let Me Down" (not really any reason in particular)
    - every song from Abbey Road and Let It Be, plus "The Ballad of John and Yoko," "Old Brown Shoe," and the single version of "Let It Be" (no real choice there since none of those songs were ever properly mixed in mono :o)

    - every other song up through Revolver
    - "Penny Lane"
    - "Sgt. Pepper"/"With a Little Help from My Friends"
    - "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" (the flanged vocals really add to the song's trippiness)
    - "Getting Better"
    - "Within You, Without You" (why didn't they want us to hear the end laughter in stereo? :confused: )
    - "All Together Now"
    - "Magical Mystery Tour"
    - "The Fool on the Hill"
    - "Lady Madonna"
    - "The Inner Light"
    - "Hey Bulldog"
    - "Hey Jude"
    - "Revolution" (distorted guitars sound even more distorted in mono)
    - "Yer Blues" (slightly longer fade in mono)
    - "Revolution 1" (also slightly longer fade in mono)
    - "Honey Pie" (more guitar in mono version)

    The remaining songs are draws for me in terms of mono vs. stereo, including the original, mono-only version of "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)" vs. its re-edited stereo counterpart on Anthology 2, and "Only a Northern Song" vs. its first true stereo mix from Yellow Submarine Songtrack.
  • nascarfan19nascarfan19 Headliner
    edited April 2011
    ^ Recap? What's the full version!? 8|
  • Arsenal-LadArsenal-Lad Opening Act
    edited April 2011
    I do have the stereo cds. Not the mono (but I have heared quite of it anyway ^^)
    I think Please Please Me and With The Beatles are much much better in mono because in stereo it's like vocals right ear/speaker, and instruments on the left. Some of the songs on Revolver too are better in mono. The other records I prefer in stereo because it's much clearer. But of course there are some songs that are better in mono on those records too.
  • Shaun222Shaun222 Opening Act
    edited April 2011
    Go on youtube and listen to some Beatles songs in stereo and then the mono version to see what you prefer. I personally would get the Mono box set if possible. It seems to be more rare, and you can always get the individual stereo versions later on. You can't go wrong either way though.
  • justplainatomjustplainatom Unsigned
    edited April 2011
    Unless you have a hi-fi sound system at home the mono v. Stereo will inky sound a little different. Those who have a badass sound system will know what I mean.
  • JamesD1957JamesD1957 Unsigned
    edited April 2011
    Purchase the stereo set, and then purchase Sgt Peppers LHC mono on Ebay. If you have extra cash, also get the White.
  • thatdrummerguythatdrummerguy Rising Star
    edited May 2011
    I like both.

    The song I notice mono most is Revolution. One channel is the band, the other is John's guitar.
  • tangergtangerg Unsigned
    edited October 2012
    - "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (Clapton's guitar has a STRANGE sound to it in the mono version)

    On mono version it's like the lead guitar, had been mixed in slow motion. I mean deliberately during the remastered sessions. I wish I could hear a mono LP from 1968 to compare.
  • Arkham99Arkham99 Unsigned
    edited April 2013
    I remember Geoff Emerick (who engineered most of their work) saying how they struggled with the idea of stereo and how mono was still their preferred medium. He himself recommended the mono version of Sgt. Pepper as the superior version for they spent three weeks mixing it while the stereo version only took two days...:-)
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