Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Beatles - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - Mono Vs Stereo Mixes

The Beatles - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - Mono Vs Stereo Mixes by Johnny Moon

Both Mono & Stereo Mixes Of Sgt. Pepper Were Released In 1967

When The Beatles groundbreaking album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released in 1967 it was available in both a mono and a stereo mix. At the time mono was considered the "standard" as a majority of people listened to their music with mono playback and stereo was still pretty new to the scene and considered sort of "experimental."

The Beatles Worked Primarily On The Mono Mix

The Beatles and their producers and engineers (namely George Martin and Geoff Emerick who are legends in their fields) worked very hard to get the mono mix of Sgt. Pepper perfect. In comparison they spent much less time working on the stereo version. Because of this many people feel that the mono version of the album is the way it's "intended to be heard."

Differences Between The Mono & Stereo Mixes

Besides the obvious difference that mono is mono and stereo is stereo, there are differences in the mixes which allow certain things to be heard in one version but not another. What follows are a few examples of the differences between the two versions:

  • The guitar at the end of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" is far more prominent in the mono mix.
  • The mono mix of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" includes a lot of echo on John Lennon's lead vocal which gives this version of the song a more "spacy" quality. It's also slightly slower.
  • "She's Leaving Home" sounds faster in the mono mix. Perhaps it was slowed down for some reason when they were mixing in stereo?
  • "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)" includes a drum intro that is four bars longer in the mono version. Also includes many other sounds that are inaudible in the stereo mix.

The Beatles Mono Box Set includes the mono version of Sgt. Pepper on CD for the first time. In all the Mono Box Set has the first 10 Beatles studio albums on mono (they stopped mixing in mono after The White Album) and a "Mono Masters" compilation which features all of their non-album songs in their original mono mixes (this includes huge hits like "Hey Jude" which were never included on an album).

The Mono Box Set is the only way to obtain the mono CD version of Sgt. Pepper because the individual CDs in the box set are not being released on their own, but only as a part of the set.

The Beatles Stereo Box Set includes the newly remastered stereo mixes of each of The Beatles albums.

When combined the Mono & Stereo Box Sets include every mix of a Beatles song originally released in the 1960s. They are the ultimate Beatles collections and serious Beatles fans will definitely be getting both of them.

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