The peculiar nature of the Sgt. Pepper 50th anniversary mix and its consequences for The White Album

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Tyrell, Mar 30, 2018.

  1. Tyrell

    Tyrell Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I've been listening to the 50th anniversary mix of Sgt. Pepper and it's really made me wonder what it entails for the all but officially announced 50th anniversary mix of The White Album.

    I've listened to Pepper since I was a boy, it was part of your education in a sense growing up and ever since I've been listening to The Beatles through headphones, you can't get away from the harshness of the panning on their stereo albums. Instruments usually go hard left, right or centre with vocals wherever they land. Suddenly with Pepper 50th mix, the entire soundscape is wide open and used without harsh panning. The mix mostly conforms to the tried and tested modern mix of centre vocals, drums and bass with other instrumentation drifting off to the sides at varying percentages. It works well and I'm so happy Giles and the team went back to the original multitracks, before they were bounced down for the final 4 track mix and was able to sync them up and utilise them to their fullest.

    I cannot listen to the original '67 stereo mix anymore, it sounds dark and lost and empty next to the 50th anniversary mix. Take Lovely Rita, on the 50th mix, it thunders through with backing vocals coming in both channels, the drums and bass complimenting Paul's vocals and it sounds so full of life. After all, it's a joyous, celebrating a meter maid. On the '67 mix, because George and the band were working from the bounced 4-track tape, it sounds cavernous and empty and almost creepy. The instrumentation isn't sitting where it should and the instruments don't compliment each other because of the harsh panning and bouncing down of the multitracks.

    It's something I didn't really realise until I went to compare both mixes because to be honest, I didn't think there was going to be such a departure and difference, I wanted to compare the clarity of the instrumentation and equaliser choices and I seemed to forget how spaced out and empty the first stereo mix was through headphones.

    I ask you all to put on your headphones, put on Lovely Rita from both mixes and listen. It's not only a difference of choices in how George and Giles approached the mix but also on a technical level, you can really hear how going right back to the original tapes and utilising them as they couldn't before. Most importantly, the mix starts to affect the feeling you get from the album. The '67 mix doesn't do the songs justice and with the 50th anniversary mix, it feels like this big, joyous, technicolor album. In fact, as I listen to it, it almost sounds like a soundtrack to some lost Beatles Pepper film, it's cinematic.

    When it comes to The White Album, I get the distinct impression it's going to change how I perceive the album. I can almost hear songs like Happiness Is A Warm Gun and Glass Onion in my head as they will sound with a more modern mix and I cannot wait for it. It's a great album with some of the most peculiar and impressive instrumentation on a Beatles record and the new mix will really unleash that just as the 50th anniversary Pepper mix did.
    Pancat, hurple, MitchLT and 68 others like this.
  2. applebonkerz

    applebonkerz Forum Resident

    Sgt. Pepper 50th anniversary mix is indeed peculiar. :shh:
    Keith V, EricSwan, aoxomoxoa and 15 others like this.
  3. Psychedelic Good Trip

    Psychedelic Good Trip Forum Resident

    New York
    50th Anniversary SPLHCB. A new modern era in Pepper technology. :D
  4. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road

    i really like the pepper mix. i was surprised to see so many people dumping on it. i liked the 5.1 also ... i tend to feel if you like the old mix, there are a million copies out there and you probably already have it anyhow, i know i do
    jicerswine, Rne, fogalu and 18 others like this.
  5. Tyrell

    Tyrell Forum Resident Thread Starter

    A Day In The Life in 5.1 surround is astonishing. The '67 mix obliterates the strange quirks and overdubs that were recorded due to them being folded down. Suddenly on the new stereo and surround mix, they're right there, complimenting the vocals and piano most of all.
    joshm2286 likes this.
  6. telepicker97

    telepicker97 Got Any Gum?

    That 5.1 mix has too much bass. I do dig the vinyl set of 50Pep very much, great presentation.

    Bodes well for the new White Album mix, Just need to do the digital mastering with a bit more sympathy for the listener.
    enro99, D.B., Mr. Explorer and 5 others like this.
  7. Psychedelic Good Trip

    Psychedelic Good Trip Forum Resident

    New York
    Love the 50th Anniversary SPLHCB 2 lp vinyl set.
  8. correctodad

    correctodad Forum Resident

    I can't comment on the 5:1 surround mix but I love the 50th anniversary stereo mix. Previously I would always choose to listen to the mono mix but now I can fully appreciate the stereo.
    I've never had any problem with the White Album and have enjoyed it in stereo and mono. However, like the OP, I am intrigued to hear what they manage to do with that album.
    It could be even more awesome than it is now.
    angelo73, PDK, kronning and 10 others like this.
  9. Psychedelic Good Trip

    Psychedelic Good Trip Forum Resident

    New York

    The possibilities of the Whire Album 50th Anniversary release are an intriguing fun thought.
  10. Kundera the joke.

    Kundera the joke. Senior Member

    United Kingdom

    I agree.

    It has taken me quite a few listens to adjust to the 50th remix. For my ears it has a few problems but the good and the great far outweigh the little niggles I have here and there.

    The clarity of the 50th is truly astounding, and, like you, I can no longer listen to the 67 stereo mix I have heard since I was a kid. The clarity of strings on A Day In The Life, for example, has my jaw on the floor. The 67’ mix has become far to muddy. This is no diss at the great George Martin, times and technology have advanced since the 4 track environment.

    The one area I do struggle with the 5oth is through headphones. I find it just too damn fatiguing on the old ears. It is as if each song has been mastered/levelled with one eye on individual downloads rather than as an album as a whole. Every time I have listened to the 50th through headphones I am constantly turning the sound down a touch from track to track. So much so that by the time A Day In The Life plays I find I have turned the volume down by almost a half from the start of the album. That’s a lot of turning down.

    That said, it sounds amazing through my speakers. The clearness of the backing vocals are to die for and overall it is vastly superior to the original mix.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
  11. jcoin

    jcoin Well-Known Member

    Absecon, NJ
    Please don't let Giles any where near the 5.1 mix for the White Album. Mr. Hoffman?
    formu_la, boggs, Keith V and 16 others like this.
  12. Psychedelic Good Trip

    Psychedelic Good Trip Forum Resident

    New York

    A hall like sound.
    Kundera the joke. likes this.
  13. Six Bachelors

    Six Bachelors Troublemaking enthusiast

    You seem not to be having much regard to the mono mix. I feel that it really does the album justice - big where it needs to be and small where it needs to be with the right amount of technicolour. Giles' stereo mix does big quite well but it is really difficult to find any small in there...and the colour? I need sunglasses.
  14. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    Since you have requested, I will try to listen to the stereo remix of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles on headphones (Sennheiser HD600s) again. Every other time I have tried I couldn't wait to rip them off my head and let the air out of my ears.
  15. malco49

    malco49 Forum Resident

    i grew up with sgt pepper and i never quite felt it was the masterpiece it was thought to be.
    the 2009 mono mix brought more out for me and the 50th (and i have only heard it on streaming) even more so.still not one of my favorite beatles records. "the white album" the mono mix floors me! i have several copies of the album already and imagine i will add one more once the 5oth is announced.
  16. Raf

    Raf Forum Resident

    Toronto, Ontario
    Steve Hoffman doesn't do surround mixes. And he wouldn't remix a classic album in the first place.
    D.B., Mr. Explorer, kiddo4 and 3 others like this.
  17. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road

    never say never lol
    Keith V likes this.
  18. marcb

    marcb Senior Member

    DC area
    He remixed Chuck Berry.

    And regretted it.

    (I actually like those remixes - and I usually don't like remixes)
  19. Somerset Scholar

    Somerset Scholar Forum Resident

    All these poor people on this forum who have had to put up with that awful original stereo mix of Pepper, one of the most lauded albums of all time. :shrug:
    Careful what you wish for. We got the 50th Pepper and it really sucks.
    formu_la, Hall Cat, gja586 and 11 others like this.
  20. cakeordeath

    cakeordeath Forum Resident

    I always loved how the WA could rock loud and also be very gentle. I can't help but feel that Gile's remix would have Julia, Long Long Long, Blackbird, etc. sound as loud as Birthday, Helter Skelter, etc.
  21. Lownotes

    Lownotes Forum Resident

    Denver, CO
    It really does not suck.
    Pancat, notgoblin, Ben Adams and 26 others like this.
  22. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    And it also is not the topic of this thread. Please start a new thread to discuss your opinions about the original stereo mix. Perhaps there is an existing thread around that you can add to.
  23. Kim Olesen

    Kim Olesen Gently weeping guitarist.

    Odense Denmark.
    The vinyl is really good. The digital versions not so much. But i hope the consequence of the general success of the Pepper box is that there will probably be a WA box.
  24. krisjay

    krisjay Psychedelic Wanderer

    I'm not into remixes. I'm just not. I might listen as a curiousity, but I just am not a remix guy. Obviously just a personal preference.
    andrewskyDE, no.nine, Bob Y and 3 others like this.
  25. PooreBoy

    PooreBoy ~Well Respected Man~

    East TN
    I first heard the original stereo version when it was re!eased, and I always loved it. But I had to get the 50th anniversary (2lp) reissue just to see if it was an improvement. And I have to say that SPLHCB never sounded so go good. To me it's perfectly balanced. And now I just don't care for the original stereo release.
    If they in fact do a 50th anniversary remix of the White album, I hope that it gets the same care and thought as Sgt. Pepper.

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