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Thread: The Beatles - 50th Anniversary Editions

  1. #1
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

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    I'm Oliver.

    Default The Beatles - 50th Anniversary Editions

    I've been an avid Beatles listener for 36 or my 39 years of life on this Earth. There isnt a song i don't know, there isnt an album i cant name the tracklist for and i thought i'd buying the 50th Anniversary editions of Sgt. Pepper, The White Album and now, Abbey Road, would enhance my enjoyment further. It hasn't.

    Here's why.

    The problem for me started with the first one, Sgt. Pepper

    I listened thoroughly to that album and every time i wanted a Sgt. Pepper fix, i'd reach for it. It had a great sense of 'modern' to the new mix and there can be no argument against the new levels of SQ they have managed to uncover via the wonder of digital processes.

    I couldn't wait for the White Album to land, and again i marvelled at it's shiny new veneer and cleanliness, but with both albums, i was bugged by the bass levels in the mix. I put it down to 180g being used or anything other than what it is. The real kicker happened a couple of days ago, whilst perusing Youtube. A rather strangely dressed fella presented a 20 min video about the various releases of Abbey road, and kind of compared the different pressings. His set up is far from "audiophile" but i loved the fact he'd gone to all of that effort.

    The glaring bass issue came across to me in that video when he compared the 80's pressing to the 2014 remastered and the 2019 pressing of the 50th anniversary edition. I knew it all along but didn't want to admit it.

    Video here for those interested:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhk2XgVPCIM

    I decided that i would try my own versions of Abbey Road. A 1960's pressing, 1980's pressing, 2014 pressing and the new 50th anniversary edition.

    I'm not going to rake over everything i heard or thought but to me, the only real representation of the Album has to be the 1960's version when they were all alive to hear it. Saying that, my favoured version was the 1980's pressing. The reason for this was largely down to the bass guitar. McCartney famously used flat wound strings and on the 2014 & 2019 editions that bass lacks any kind of detail of flatness. It's far too round and IMO far too high in the mix.

    I decided to try the same with Sgt. Pepper and guess what, i noticed the exact same thing. On to the White Album and yes, you guessed it. The bass sound is all wrong.

    I listened to all four versions of the three albums and i have to say, whilst there is a lot to like about the new mixes, like the lack of tape his, better channel balance and sq, listening to them now after reacquainting myself with the original pressings and the 80's pressings, i just don't like the new ones anymore. McCartney's bass was a real accompaniment to the main melodies and integral to the structures of the song. The way George Martin mixed it, made it so. Unfortunately, it sounds like Giles Martin has decided to mix The Beatles for a younger crowd, a crowd used to loud and brash.

    The new mixes have lost something,they've lost a part of the story and lost interplay between the musicians. Had these versions been the originals, i doubt McCartney would've spawned as many copycat bass players as he did.

    I'll not look at these LP's the same anymore but my love affair with the songs of The Beatles has been rekindled due to rediscovering the originals and 80's pressings.

    I'll be reaching for those from now on.
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  2. #2
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: London

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    I'm James.

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    Remastering and indeed modern mastering is a failing art. When you look at the resources available back then, and what's available now to even the best of the engineers it's no surprise that there's very few doozies out there.

    Sent from my BLA-L09 using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

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    I'm Oliver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazid View Post
    Remastering and indeed modern mastering is a failing art. When you look at the resources available back then, and what's available now to even the best of the engineers it's no surprise that there's very few doozies out there.

    Sent from my BLA-L09 using Tapatalk
    Very true
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  4. #4
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: Derbyshire

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    I'm Josie.

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    They just click the 'de-texturiser' button.

    And there is such a button, BTW.
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  5. #5
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

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    I'm Oliver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Black Adder View Post
    They just click the 'de-texturiser' button.

    And there is such a button, BTW.
    Urgh, makes me feel dirty
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  6. #6
    Join Date: Nov 2010

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    I'm AnDreW.

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    Hmmmm it could just be that your sensitised to your older pressings. You probably know every nuance of the older version and the newer mixes simply don't cut it (no pun intended). Ultimately it's what you prefer. I prefer the newer mixes, and yes I have 1st pressings of the originals for comparisons.
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  7. #7
    Join Date: Nov 2008

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    Those original albums were produced to sound good on the cheap and cheerful one box record players of the time.
    Which meant that in order to cut through warm and woolly (ie the basic valve amplifier and basic paper coned wideband(ish) speaker) a lot of the low end was shelved off, and the upper mids and up emphasized a touch.

    They (the entire EMI organisation technical staff) knew what they were playing with.
    They were not going to produce anything that sounded bad on commonly used kit.
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  8. #8
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

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    I'm Oliver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by REXTON View Post
    Hmmmm it could just be that your sensitised to your older pressings. You probably know every nuance of the older version and the newer mixes simply don't cut it (no pun intended). Ultimately it's what you prefer. I prefer the newer mixes, and yes I have 1st pressings of the originals for comparisons.
    It's not really a case of not enjoying the new mixes, because I do. I like the little nuggets of information that catch my attention and I love that they sound new and have a far better degree of fidelity. 'Something' has a greater degree of ballad about it and 'I Want You" really benefits from a larger degree of distortion on John Guitar but the problem is that the "sound signature" of the actual instruments is missing.

    Pauls bass is unrecognisable on some tracks. It could be literally anyone playing it. Like it's lost his identity. Same can be said for some of the drumming and yes, I realise there must be a trade-off when doing this kind of thing but the bass is simply a few db too high in a few places, becoming the overbearing instrument on a fair few tracks across the three albums.

    I wondered if it was a speaker issue here so tried the comparison on the headphones last night and had the same result. Done via FLAC it's slightly better and via the system the result was consistent with the headphones.
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  9. #9
    Join Date: Feb 2013

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    it wasnt too noticeable on cans but it is with new speakers.. it had things vibrating
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  10. #10
    Join Date: Nov 2015

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    I'm Oliver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by struth View Post
    it wasnt too noticeable on cans but it is with new speakers.. it had things vibrating
    Ha!

    Told ya.
    Analogue: Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 MK6 tonearm > Ortofon Kontrapunkt b > SIMaudio Moon LP5.3RS
    Digital: Orchard Audio PecanPi with JRiver
    Preamplifier: Neurochrome Differential Preamp
    Amplification: Neurochrome Modulus 686
    Speakers: Mordaunt Short Performance 880
    Cables: SPOTFIRE Speaker Cable & SPOTFIRE IC Cables & SPOTFIRE Tonearm cable

    Price List For SPOTFIRE Cables here:https://bit.ly/2Uxiv3j

    Alternative reading: http://www.audioaddictsforum.com

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