Friday, September 18, 2009

Mono

After just over a week of living with Beatles remasters, my impressions are counter-intuitive, and I question them.


The mono mixes sound better to me, but the mono mastering sounds wrong.

By this, I mean that in comparison, I prefer the "mono" mixing decisions

[what sounds are given greater or lesser volume, and are treated with what effects, and when those decisions are implemented]

I made at the time (with help from the boys, of course; after '65 - '66, you couldn't really shut the fuckers up)over the short-order, couldn't-be-bothered stereo mixes (and trust me, with only four tracks and all of those voices, stereo is nigh impossible).

But the mastering, which was to be the real reason for this new release -- to capture to CD all of the presence and joy of the original master, and to enhance it by smart technology -- sounds off to me on a lot of the mono stuff.

I hear a harsh digital sound.

Which is the counter-intuitive part, since the mastering technology and skill should be the *constant* in the process, and shouldn't be affected by the stereo placement (or lack thereof). I know enough about some mastering decisions to know why there might be noticeable differences. If that's it, I wanna know.

I'm surprisingly coming out with some greater love for the stereo stuff. At least greater than I expected.

I also view A Hard Day's Night differently -- I hear it differently as a collection of songs. It diminishes.

3 comments:

¡barangus!™ said...

Correct me if I err but wasn't this project just going back to the mono master mix tape George Martin (I mean, you) made and then mastering to CD? And for the stereo set they went back to the 2-track stereo master that (probably) your pal Geoff Emerick made? I didn't get any impression that any remixes off the multi track were done for this project.

DeGaulle, Who Ain't Even IN This War! said...

You are correct, sirrah. No remixes.

The mono mixes from the Sixties differed markedly from the stereo mixes of the Sixties --

[what sounds are given greater or lesser volume, and are treated with what effects, and when those decisions are implemented]
.

George Martin's blogpost means, I think, that while he prefers the '60s mono mixes over the 60's stereo mixes, he prefers the 2007-2009 reMASTERING of the stereo mixes over the 2007-2009 reMASTERING of the mono..

Which, as he notes, is sorta nutty, since the mega-awesome mastering gear and ears of 2007-2009 were the same for both.

He just hears a difference in the mono mastering.


He knows why the ability to use stereo decisions in mastering could also affect the sound, but finds his conclusions a bit weird.

Marlon Brando said...

The mono packaging crushes the stereo, imho.

and the stereo is damned good!