The Beatles - With The Beatles (1963) Stereo Remaster

Craig in Indy

Your cool Uncle
Oct 3, 2009
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Circle City
With the Beatles (1963)

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In general, the improvements are similar to PPM, but the stereo effect is a little more primitive-sounding on this album, and is considerably more like the old Capitol records stereo where all instruments were in one channel and all vocals were in the other. Here I hear a little more bleed-through on the drum tracks, but it’s still a pretty isolated setup for the most part. While it makes it easier to hear detail, it makes for a little less satisfactory musical listening experience.

As a side note, this album was their last one in which they were limited to using 2-track recorders, and the resultant generational losses that accompany multiple overdubs on such limited equipment.

Since many of the audible changes are similar from one track to the next, I’m only going to comment on things that really pop out at me this time.

1 – "It Won’t Be Long"
2 – "All I’ve Got to Do"
3 – "All My Loving"

It’s easier to hear the rapid-fire guitar strumming, and Paul’s vocal is stripped of what had sounded like an artificially boosted lower midrange bloom. The leaner vocal sound is much more natural, IMO.

4 – "Don’t Bother Me"

I always enjoy the textural differences between George's voice and the others, and they're evident on this song, which is also the first Harrison composition recorded by the group.

5 – "Little Child"
6 – "Till There Was You"
7 – "Please Mr. Postman"

This was one of my favorite tracks of theirs from back when I first heard it as a kid. On the remaster the kickdrum is much tighter and less boomy than before. In general, much cleaner sound.

8 – "Roll Over Beethoven"

The opening guitar solo has more body to it. The old one sounded a little tinny, lacking much of any midrange presence, making it sound almost like a toy. The new one has more mids and considerably better overall sound. Also the handclaps are now much more audible than they were before.

9 – "Hold Me Tight"

This will sound repetitive, but this track, like many, just allows for a more detailed hearing of the music, simply because the sounds aren’t all layered on top of one another in a single channel. Between that and a little more bottom end extension, the whole song has a much greater and almost visceral impact that the original CD lacked.

10 – "You Really Got a Hold on Me"

I had no idea that the opening bar’s theme was doubled – it’s played simultaneously on piano (by George Martin) and guitar and I had never heard that before. I think the right channel is a guitar - to be honest, I need to hear it on my stereo where I can play with the balance to isolate it from the piano to be sure. I can't do that on the computer.

11 – "I Wanna Be Your Man"
12 – "Devil in Her Heart"

This one is a good example of how much more real the drums can sound. I don’t think they were boosted in the mix, because their relative volume sounds about the same to me, but they’re more easily heard and sound more three-dimensional.

13 – "Not a Second Time"

This one’s really interesting. I had thought for many, many years that it was drums, bass and piano, and there were no guitars, but now I think I hear the shimmer of an acoustic being strummed in the background. Also, at the completion of the first verse, just before the piano solo begins, you can distinctly, if faintly, hear someone shout a “whoo!” I love finding that kind of thing. It happens at 0:48 if you want to listen for it.

14 – "Money (That’s What I Want)"

This one goes back to separation of instruments between the two tracks. The opening piano is in the right channel, while the low growl of the electric guitar is doubling it in the left. In the mono mix, at least as it was on the first CD issue, they get jumbled together so neither one can be heard well. Also, on this track John’s vocal is back in the center, where lead vocals tend to sound best.

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