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  • Beatles in Mono CD Box Set Sound Quality

    So the other day I picked up the Beatles in Mono CD box set, for $29.00, a substantial discount. I picked it up mainly as a convenience and shouldn't have bothered.

    I pulled Sgt. Peppers first and immediately reached for the volume control to turn down the hideous sound. The sound across the entire album is entirely inconsistent. The opening Sgt. Peppers/Little Help is entirely to hot in the midrange/upper midrange which ruins the vocals, while the bass and kick drum are missing in action. Vocals and instruments are obviously pulled up and dropped down into the mix to the point of unnaturalness. The vocals and guitars are at times piercing. From song to song it's quite uneven, some cuts worse than others but none what I would call good. Sounds a bit like it was mastered for a tabletop radio.

    I pulled Magical Mystery Tour next and it was pretty much more of the same.

    Basically only bearable to listen to at background sound levels. This is the best they could do from the original master tapes? Whoever persons are that performed the CD transfer master, did the transfer, and approved it should be pimp slapped. It's not the $29.00, it is that it is so very bad.

  • #2
    First of all, $29 seems way too cheap. I have the collection too, and I don't like it either because its PCM 16/44.1, but I don't remember it being as bad as you described, but its been a very long time since I played any of the discs which says something. Sgt. Pepper in the mono LP collection is quite good, but they are straight analog.
    Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

    Comment


    • Rust
      Rust commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes, it was the entire Beatles in Mono box set in a bargain bin. I didn't ask questions and it rang out at the counter. Wasn't going to argue it was initially listed at four times the money (at full retail) when released.

      To my ear it is that bad. I have mentioned that I find overcooked midrange and upper midrange especially cringe worthy. I played a few other CDs of what I consider good sound quality to compare. A solid state system is sort of like a go/no go switch, it either works or it doesn't, and the system was fine.

      My understanding is that the mono LPs were mastered from a 24/192 digital source from the analog masters for ease of manipulation. I have the recent mono LP of Sgt. Peppers and it does sound better than the CD. Perhaps the golden glow of nostalgic memory that exists in my head expected perfection, at the very least better.

  • #3
    Personally, I have not been into the Mono mixes, so cant really comment on them. The best stereo digital is the USB version IMO which are 24 bit 44.1 kHz.
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    • Rust
      Rust commented
      Editing a comment
      I don't know about the Sgt. Peppers download but will note in regards to the LZ Celebration Day on Blu-Ray that the sound of the extra bit depth of the 24/44.1 is superior to the CD, even on a very inexpensive Blu-Ray player.

  • #4
    I've heard some of the mono LP's (all pre-Sgt Pepper's) from the new box compared to the CD's on 3 different systems with reasonably good LP playback. The differences heard were typical LP vs. CD differences; the mastering seemed virtually identical. So I'd say there is something "wrong" with either your CD's or your CD playback, or both.
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    • Rust
      Rust commented
      Editing a comment
      As noted above, other CDs were played for comparison so it's not the system.

  • #5
    I think there were also some Chinese pirated mono version floating around too.
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

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    Comment


    • rbbert
      rbbert commented
      Editing a comment
      And of the USB "Apple", thus my comment about something "wrong" with the CD's; Mark seemed to imply that as well with his comment about the price (with which I agree)

    • MylesBAstor
      MylesBAstor commented
      Editing a comment
      Agreed.

    • Metamatic
      Metamatic commented
      Editing a comment
      definately Chinese copy - if its too good to be true, it generally is. Even on CD the beatles mono is supposed to sound pretty good.

  • #6
    Based on the price you posted(paid) and the description of it's sound I can tell you with certainty you do not have the original 2009 release.
    Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

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    • #7
      FWIW, music direct has the genuine 14 Lp MONO box set on clearance for $275
      Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

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      • #8
        Guys, I've been looking at the packaging, artwork, booklet and everything else. If it's counterfeit it's the most perfect counterfeit I've ever seen. The inner sleeve, the printing on the cd, the sleeve and the plastic outer folding cover, the booklet and the box all look to be exactly correct. It was also purchased at a national chain bookstore.

        I think it may be me.

        Comment


        • #9
          How can it be real when Beatles CDs sell for $15 a piece?
          Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

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          • #10
            There are $3.99 , $4.99 and $7.99 bargains bin at a local national chain bookstore. While they added a number of LPs to inventory, the CD section has been shrinking thus the bargain bins, quite a bit of bargain bin. Picked up 5 CD sets of Little Feat and Emmy Lou Harris for $7.99. I guess if it sits in inventory long enough it gets marked down or put in a bargain bin, or maybe it was a mistake. I however did not make a mistake in quoting the price paid for the Beatles box set by leaving a "1" out of the price or whatever the first numeral would be at full retail price.

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            • rbbert
              rbbert commented
              Editing a comment
              I think those 5 CD set (the original album series) only list for $20-25 to begin with

          • #11
            beatles are never found in the bargain bin, they may have closeout prices however on overstock, but not at 1/5 the original price.
            Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

            Comment


            • #12
              Well, I'm not going to worry about the price or how the price got marked. Not the first time in pretty much fifty years of collecting music I've seen such things occur.

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            • #13
              Originally posted by Rust View Post
              Well, I'm not going to worry about the price or how the price got marked. Not the first time in pretty much fifty years of collecting music I've seen such things occur.
              Do you know anybody else that has the mono CD collection? If so, you could pay them a visit and compare some of your CDs with his and see if you hear the same thing.
              Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

              Comment


              • Rust
                Rust commented
                Editing a comment
                Unfortunately no, not in my area. Maybe if I make it up to Atlanta.
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