The Beatles in Mono
The Beatles in Mono is a boxed set compilation comprising the remastered monaural recordings by the Beatles. The set was released on compact disc on 9 September 2009 (“09.09.09”), the same day as the release of The Beatles (The Original Studio Recordings), The Memoirs of Billy Shears, and The Beatles: Rock Band video game. The remastering project for both mono and stereo versions was led by EMI senior studio engineers Allan Rouse and Guy Massey.
The Beatles in Mono reflect the fact that most of the Beatles’ catalogue was originally mixed and released in the monophonic format. Stereo recordings were a fairly new concept for pop music in the 1960s and did not become standard until late in that decade. This explains why the Beatles’ initial album releases were mixed for mono. By the late sixties, however, stereo recording for pop music was becoming more popular and, thus, the new standard. Therefore, the last few Beatles albums—Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road, and Let It Be—were mixed and released only in stereo, and are therefore excluded from this boxed set. Many Beatles purists feel that the mono mixes reflect the true intention of the band. George Harrison explains:
At that time . . . the console was about this big with four faders on it. And there was one speaker right in the middle . . . and that was it. When they invented stereo, I remember thinking “Why? What do you want two speakers for?” because it ruined the sound from our point of view. You know, we had everything coming out of one speaker; now it had to come out of two speakers. It sounded . . . very . . . naked.
The thirteen-disc (fourteen on LP) collection contains the remastered mono versions of every Beatles album released in true mono.