I have copies of the original The Beatles CDs from when they came out in around 1987, as the EMI press office kindly supplied them. I’ve never been a huge Beatles fan so, other than the first plays when I reviewed them back then, they have sat on my shelves unplayed.
With the massive amount of publicity (some would say hype) surrounding the new remastered Beatles CDs I thought it was time to dig out the old ones and compare them to a couple of the new editions.
I chose Revolver, my wife’s favourite and The White Album, the one that I dislike least. You will notice below the comparisons of the dynamics of two tracks.
Top two images: Yellow Submarine, Original and Remastered
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Bottom two images: Back in the U.S.S.R., original and remastered
Click on an image to open a larger version
As you can see there has been some work done. From what I’ve read they have talked about limiting to bring things up to date. From what I can see and what I can hear they have cleaned up the sound , firmed up the bottom end considerably and added a degree of compression that is unfortunately almost essential for any modern release. Compared to say the last Metallica released this is absolutely sonically fantastic dynamics wise. Compared to the originals, somehow while they have more presence and more punch they also sound a touch too loud in places. The vocals in Back in the U.S.S.R. just shout. Pity.
I know I’m biased, as I’m not a Beatles fan, but would I buy these new CDs for pleasure? No. Will I listen to any again in the next few weeks? Yes. However, as I’ve just learn’t that the new Prefab Sprout album is in the post the answer may now be No.