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The Beatles in Mono LP Box Set
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    To be authentically valuable re-masters, the new, definitive mono LPs had to be derived from the original analogue master tapes – and that’s what this new box set does. Yes, they got out the master tapes and re-ran them for these LPs – a heady thought. Also a dangerous one – what if an old tape breaks, sheds its oxide or whatever? Items like this are national treasures; Abbey Road is a listed building by the way (but the zebra crossing is not yet listed!).
    The new LPs are, therefore, about as close to the originals, or even closer, than any LPs before.
    How can they be closer than before? Because the replay signal chain is technically better and the final LPs are stamped into better vinyl from new stampers. What you get now, then, is of higher basic quality than was available in 1963.
    Intriguingly, because the music on these LPs has not been digitally processed it also has not been cleaned up: buyers get a ‘warts-and-all’ version as close to the masters as possible. This is not to say the LPs are unequalised from the master tapes; they have been equalised following the original studio notes and against copies of the digital masters, so the sound balance has not been altered.

 

Abbey Road Studios

 

Abbey Road Studios, London NW8, where The Beatles early albums were produced. Paul McCartney still owns a house close by, in St John's Wood.

Below is Studio 2 where they recorded.

 

Abbey Road Studio 2

 

How Abbey Road and Universal got to decide upon such an audiophile release is fascinating. In response to enthusiasts' insistence that digital could not come into it, Sean Magee re-cut 'Please Please Me' from the original analogue master tape to a lacquer acetate (not a metal master) just before Christmas 2012, using the Studer A80 tape recorder and Neumann VMS80 lathe with SX-74 cutter head seen in our pictures. The audio was not passed down a digital delay line to allow the lathe to adjust groove spacing; instead a 900mS pre-read head on the Studer was used to derive this control signal. What was cut into the acetate was pure analogue.

 

Studer A80 Mono

The Studer A80 tape recorder with mono replay head used to re-run the mix-down master tapes. Sean Magee fingers a specially fitted manual azimuth adjustment control to ensure the replay head aligns with the tape's recorded azimuth.



 

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