Unbiased reviews of new vinyl releases, audiophile reissues, and more
Thursday, February 12, 2009
NEW: Click here to read the Review of the 2009 Remastered cd of Abbey Road
NEW:First Listen: The Beatles MONO Box Set (The White Album) Review and Comparison to U.K. Vinyl
Featured today in the Vintage Vinyl Spotlight is a collection that is essential for any fan of the Beatles who spins vinyl. Whether you're a long-suffering vinylphile, getting back into the hobby after a long layoff, or a exploring vinyl for the first time, you'll likely to want a good sounding Beatles collection.
What pressings sound the best? U.S.? U.K.? Japanese? Stereo or mono? For the Beatles fan wanting an easy, one-box solution, there is no better source than The Beatles Collection BC-13, also known as The Blue Box.
The Beatles catalog was originally released in the United States and the United Kingdom with slightly different track listings, covers, and packaging. A much more striking difference, however, was the sound. The U.K. releases used minimal processing and offered superior sound, both in the mono and stereo versions of each release. The U.S. versions on the other hand often used second or third generation tapes, and processed the recordings with excessive echo and reverb, particularly on the stereo versions, in an effort to make the records sound more modern--the result was simply inferior sound quality.
The Beatles Collection, catalog number BC-13, was first released as a U.K. import in 1978. A numbered U.S. edition, limited to 3,000 copies was also released. Also known as The Blue Box, this collection contained the stereo versions of all of the proper studio releases, as well as Rarities. The records are housed in a flip-top textured blue cardboard box, which has each of the band member's signatures embossed in gold on the front.
The following titles are included:
1 - Please Please Me
2 - With The Beatles
3 - A Hard Day's Night
4 - Beatles For Sale
5 - Help!
6 - Rubber Soul
7 - Revolver
8 - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
9 - The Beatles (White Album)
10 - Yellow Submarine
11 - Abbey Road
12 - Let It Be
13 - Rarities
Sound quality is universally excellent throughout this set. Although the deadwax information contained on most of the records in the collection represents later cuts of each title, the original analog tapes were used throughout and sound quality never suffers. These boxes were produced well into the early eighties and many are still out there and available for purchase, primarily on online auction sites such as Ebay. Many boxes were originally given as gifts, but have sat around unplayed for many years.
The going rate for a box in excellent conditon is around $200, which at less than $20 per record is still quite a bargain. Blue Boxes contain the last pressings of truly all-analog Beatles vinyl, as anything released during the past twenty years or so has been from the same digital sources as the 1987 compact discs.
Original U.K. Beatles pressings are now expensive, extremely difficult to come by in excellent condition, and often suffer from groove distortion caused by the heavy tracking forces employed by cartridges in the 1960s. If you haven't yet heard the U.K. vinyl versions of your Beatles favorites, you'll be in for a very pleasant surprise when you do. This box is the easiest and fastest way to have them all.
Posted by My Vinyl Review at Thursday, February 12, 2009