The Beatles in Mono – a serious testing

comparing the original 1965 pressings of my Mono Collection Box No. 0622 (of 1000 units) with the newly remastered Beatles Mono Box I used the following system’s chain:

Turntable: EMT R 80, No. 62
Tonearms: Ortofon RMG 309, SME 3012 I-A (first series)
Cartridges: EMT TMD 25 M (Monaural), EMT OFD 25 (Monaural), EMT OFS 15 (Monaural)
Phono Cable: Crystal Cable Dream
Step Up Transformer: Fidelity Research AGT-5X (Silver Toroidol Coil Transformer), Ortofon SPU-T1, Western Electric 618B
Phono-Preamp: Kondo KSL M7 (MM)
Line Cable: Crystal Cable Dream
Preamplifier: Audio Research Reference 40 Anniversary
Line Cable: Crystal Cable Dream
Amplifier: 2 Monos WAVAC HE 833 MK II
Loudspeaker Cable: Stealth Dreamline
Loudspeakers: Bavarian Voice 88, 4 Way Horn System (Supravox field coil driver, TAD Beryllium drivers TD4001, TD2002, Pioneer Exclusive ET 703, Fostex attenuators) + Bavarian Voice 88 subwoofers

My previous experience with this Phono chain is that it provides a warm tube sound also transporting every detail and a full sound coming with a nicely supported bass. The combination of the quite exceptional FR-SUT (AGT 5X) with the Kondo M7 tube phono pre I do regard as a good matching combination.

beatles 007

The 1965 Mono Collection Box comes with the LPs:

Beatles for Sale
Help
Rubber Soul
Revolver
St. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
The White Album

all LPs are in near mint condition, I would rate them in an absolutely excellent condition, no surface issues, no clicks, nothing …
in addition the 2014 Mono Box comprises of:

Please Please Me
With The Beatles
A Hard Day`s Night
Magical Mystery Tour
The Beatles Mono Masters

these LPs are in excellent condition too. As mentioned by other audiophiles the quality of the pressings are nearly perfect, no surface issues, no clicks, nothing…

I also found a 1969 Yellow Submarine Mono LP in my record collection. As this LP as well as Let it Be and Abbey Road were produced in Stereo they are not packed in both Mono Boxes.

 

Anyway I used my two washing machines, Source Odyssey RCM MKV and the Ultrasonic Vinyl Cleaner. On top of it all LPs were demagnetisied by the Acoustic Revive RL-30 before playing.
All LPs had enough time “to cool down” after washings. Every record of the two versions was played with the same cartridge. I also used the OFS 15 with the older records to get a second opinion.

Beatles 006Beatles 008Beatles 009

Here are the results of my listening sessions:

Let me start with my impression of the 2014 Mono Box. This is a pretty well done mixing of the original tapes. The sound is tube like, soft, quiet. In comparison the Mono Collection of 1965 is more on the dynamic side, It seems as these old LPs are transporting a wider range but they are also a little on the bright side. Of course it is a matter of taste which mixing one prefers. In any case you can hear the difference in sound. Both versions are beautifulI and do attract the listener. The 2014 Box pressings do sound in a very relaxing way, maybe designed for “the oldtimers among us” – so to say we got old with the Beatles and keep it slowly. The 1965 LPs are for “the youngsters in us” still dancing around. In the end I wouldn`t go for one version only…

beatles 005

 

2 thoughts on “The Beatles in Mono – a serious testing

  1. Eckart,
    I have only recently been collecting The Beatles ‘mono’ versions from the 60’s. They are somewhat hard to find in excellent condition. Here in the states Capitol released everything in stereo and that is what I grew up listening too.
    I find the original ‘mono’ pressings to be wonderful and much better than the stereo counterparts.
    Your comparison is very interesting. I usually find that I don’t enjoy ‘remastered’ versions as much as the originals, especially when the artists are not involved in the remastering. The originals in most cases are what the artists wanted us to hear and often the remastering brings most every instrument ‘forward’. This is especially true of the horrible Beatles remastered CD’s from the 80’s. I am curious, on the remastered LPs, are the lower frequencies improved over the originals? I noticed that on some of the cuts the lower end is pretty weak when compared to the stereo version. Could this be a result of me using a stereo cartridge to play the mono versions? I don’t have any mono cartridges, and simply select ‘mono’ on my preamp when listening.
    I think the only current remastered works that I am enjoying are the fairly recent Led Zeppelin Lp’s remastered by Jimmy Page.
    On a side note, I have a dear friend who has all of The Beatles on ‘original’ 1/4 track tape. Those are outstanding!
    Norman

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  2. Norman,
    It is a different pleasure when playing the Monos with a Mono cartridge. As described in other Mono discussions it is best using a true Mono cart with a specially designed Mono SUT, in this way not being forced using the Mono button at your preamp. In your case I would try the Ortofon Cadenza (see other blog here) or an Audio Technica Mono cart. These Monos provide a nice mono sound by combining the channels in the headshell. You will see you are entering a different world.

    Regarding Re-issues I am very careful approaching those remasters having made serious changes. In the case of the Beatles Monos it lead to a good result.

    E.

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