The Beatles in Mono

July 10, 2014

Most of the time, my day job in the music industry feels like a regular job. Then I get to do something totally mind-blowing like listening to a remastering of The Beatles at Abbey Road!

This listening session was for the release of the new Beatles in Mono boxset. Abbey Road have recreated the very first mono vinyls which were released by the band in the ’60s. Stereo was around in the ’60s but it wasn’t widespread and because recording was limited to 4-tracks then Stereo mixes often just had the original master tracks hard-panned. You can spot this on old recordings where you can hear the drums coming out of one speaker and vocals from the other.

The Beatles in Mono

The playback took place in Studio 3 which is where the band originally recorded and the equipment used was a super high-end $85k McIntosh hi-fi. Suffice it to say that it sounded amazing. All the different musical parts sounded really alive and seemed to fit so well into the sonic space, without a stereo soundstage.

I left the session realising that this is something which is easy to forget when mixing tracks in a modern DAW. There are so many stereo tools available to us that it’s easy to get bogged down and forget that great music can sound completely awesome and make you dance or cry without a stereo mix.