Remastered Beatles albums, did they get it right this time?

The Beatles twelve original albums are finally getting remastered for CD and MP3!

Will the new CDs sound better than the LPs? Steve Guttenberg

I read the news today, oh boy: The entire Beatles catalog has been remastered for CD and is coming September 9 of this year. Sounds like deja vu all over again; these rumors pop up all the time , but this time it's for real. Maybe.

That said, I'm happy no one's saying the phrase "Remastered for MP3." That's too scary a concept. MP3 sounds so awful, remastering hardly seems necessary.

Each CD will be packaged with replicated original UK album art, including expanded booklets containing original and newly written liner notes and rare photos. For a limited period, each CD will be embedded with a brief documentary film about the album. Two new Beatles boxed CD collections will also be released, one box features the mono mixes favored by some die-hard Beatles fans. Why, I have no idea.

The original (British) versions of the twelve albums were first released on CD in 1987; they sounded thin and bright, without a hint of the LPs' analog warmth. It was hardly an auspicious beginning for the digital Beatles music.

The "Let It Be... Naked" CD, released in 2003, was remixed and reedited, there was no attempt to be faithful to the original album. It sounded a bit better than the 1987 version, but just barely. So all we can do is hope the newly tweaked versions are worth waiting 22 years for.

I bought the two Capitol four-disc sets, "The Beatles: The Capitol Years Volumes 1 & 2," when they were released a few years ago. They sounded fine, though hardly revelatory. My original American, British, and Japanese mastered LPs sounded better.

Actually, the best sounding Beatles CDs so far are "The Beatles Anthology" releases from 1995. Those were cleaner, more dynamic, with more extended bass, and clearer treble than the earlier CDs.

Whatever, here's hoping the new CDs sound more like the Anthologies. No matter what, I'll buy 'em and see for myself.

Will you? Or are you more interested in the MP3 versions?

If both are the same price, would you be tempted to buy the CDs? Would the booklet and rumored video extras tempt you?

Or will you stick with whatever Beatles albums you already own?

Then again, isn't it a little late to redo the CDs?

The Beatles: Rock Band video game is also due on 9/9/09.

About the author

Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Home Theater, Inner Fidelity, Tone Audio, and Stereophile.

 

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