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The Beatles in Mono LP Box Set
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    After Christmas 2012 Jeff Jones from Apple Corp listened and was impressed by the improvement in dynamics the new cut gave compared to earlier LPs.
    Sean Magee told me this cut “had a life to it” that impressed all those who heard it. So the decision was made to go ahead with a new set of mono LPs, the ones I am talking about here.

 

Sean Magee at Abbey Road 2014

 

At left of cutting engineer Sean Magee is the Neumann VMS80 lathe with SX-74 cutter head, used to cut the latest mono LPs. In front is the mixing desk and behind him a B&W 800D studio monitor.


    In most cases the original tapes were used but 'Please Please Me' was starting to shed oxide so a new analogue ‘transfer master’ had to be made for safety’s sake. A new tape was also made to compile the two 'Magical Mystery Tour' EPs and Mono Masters, because no LP masters for these titles existed. Magical Mystery Tour has only appeared on CD as an album in 2009, and Mono Masters was also created in 2009 for the mono CD box set; neither has been on vinyl before in this format.
    From these tapes and the originals, audio from the A80 was run through the mixing desk you can see in our studio shots. Equalisation was applied in real-time as the tapes ran, as done in the past. The signal was then cut to an acetate; Sean said they had not heard a metal master that sounded as natural as an acetate and, in any case, a DMM would destroy the authenticity of this release.
    And the LPs themselves? They are made by Optimal Media, based in Robel, in what was once East Germany (http://www.optimal-media.com/en/press/vinyl). Sean told me they produced a consistently high quality product – difficult with the LP where stampers become damaged as they wear out and vinyl quality can vary.

 

Please Please Me mono 2014

 

LP production at Optimal Media, Robel, Germany. Clean conditions are used to avoid dirt and finger marks.

 

Magical Mystery Tour mono 2014

 


    The vinyl used is virgin, not re-cycled, and the LPs are 180gms, with a lip, similar to the originals. Sean assured me the centre hole is always well aligned – so no ‘swingers’ – and the LP is flat, not dished, a problem caused by differential cooling when the LP is taken prematurely from the press. The sleeves and covers are identical to the originals; Optimal Media even used original folding machines!
   

A release date has been set as September 2014. A box set costing £288 and individual LPs will be made available. For more information go HERE. We will be reviewing this new box set in our forthcoming October 2014 issue.  Early review HERE.

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The information in this article comes directly from Universal Music and Abbey Road studios.  All facts have been checked by them for accuracy, so the article is an accurate and reliable record.



 

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