Why do Beatles CD's have such low fidelity?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by thenexte, May 6, 2005.

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  1. thenexte

    thenexte Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    One thing I've always wondered my whole life is why is it that all of the Beatles CD's have such low fidelity, when there are obviously examples of recordings from the same era that have been transferred to CD with much higher fidelity?

    Obviously the early Beatles albums were recorded with less sophisticated recording equipment but by the time the White Album or Abbey Road rolled around one would think that multitrack technology would yield a much better sound?!

    Considering the advances in CD mastering technology I still can't believe that Abbey Road cannot be upgraded to sound much better than it is now. I mean if DSD technology is able to restore the musicality of fifty year old Sun era tracks, why can't it be done for the Beatles?
     
  2. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
  3. thenexte

    thenexte Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Yes, I'm talking about the CD's, they all just sound flat to me, no musicality at all. Do the LP's sound any better?
     
  4. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    It is one of the favorite past times of this forum to trash the Beatles CD's. You will find an endless number of threads on this very topic. The short answer is that they are mastered poorly. There is another thread on the EP Compact Disc Collection in which there is discussion about why that set has such good fidelity. The short answer they are mastered properly.
     
  5. JWB

    JWB New Member

    Have you heard the first 4 UK albums in stereo? I don't think they have low fidelity at all. The CD's are very, very poor...so if you're judging based on those you have the wrong impression!

    I've always thought that the White Album sounded like crap. And it's no wonder. They were pushing 4-Track to the absolute limit, and then just warming up to the new 8-Track machines. The stereo version sounds like it was mixed in a day. I think "Abbey Road" sounds a lot better.
     
  6. JWB

    JWB New Member

    Well, the first four albums on CD are extremely poor. The next two are unpleasant digital remixes. The next two were transferred improperly. Magical Mystery Tour, White Album, and Let It Be are said to be the only good ones...they're pretty close to the LP's. Abbey Road isn't that hot.
     
  7. JWB

    JWB New Member

    Hell yes! Beatles CDR's made from vinyl are all the rage nowadays.
     
  8. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Location:
    Beaver Stadium
    I seem to recall it being said here that the Revolver CD is one of the better-sounding ones. I'm not a big fan of any of the '87 Beatles CDs, but I can't really say just how bad they are since I am not well versed in Beatles vinyl...yet. :)

    Now, the Japanese black-triangle CD of Abbey Road is excellent. Highly recommended. Just make sure you get an authentic copy. :)
     
  9. Joel Cairo

    Joel Cairo Media Doctor (& Video Gort) Staff

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    No, it's not Revolver, Keith... there were some serious deficiencies with that transfer. I think it's mentioned in a couple of threads, if you want to do a search.

    -Kevin
     
  10. Grant

    Grant Life is a rock, but the radio rolled meeeeee!

    Location:
    United States
    What I have always wondered is just what it is that all of you want from the Beatles? In other words, just what kind of sound do you want on their CDs? It seems like no one is happy with anything, and no one can agree on what sounds good/right.
     
  11. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Location:
    Beaver Stadium
    Kevin, O.K. I could have sworn that there were some positive comments about Revolver not too long ago.

    Ironically, I just bought a black and silver U.K. Parlophone LP of Revolver today and hope to do a shootout against the CD this weekend. The LP should win based on everyone's comments here, but my turntable is not as good as my digital front-end components. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.
     
  12. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Location:
    Beaver Stadium
    Grant, I am not a Beatles expert and have not ritualistically followed each and every Beatles thread here, but it seems to me that most people here would like digital versions of the Beatles albums (CD or preferably SACD) that sound like the black and yellow U.K. Parlophone LPs. People want master-tape-quality sound from their digital Beatles discs. The '87 CDs just don't cut it. 1 is an abomination. I don't have the CD box sets that get high marks here, but I guess those approach the sound that people want.
     
  13. JWB

    JWB New Member

    I want deluxe remixes made from all the synchronized mutli-tracks.

    Why not the original mixes? Because we have the original LP's, and the CDR's made from them, and Abbey Road will NEVER EVER give us a better mastering. Ever. So at least give us something different. Let me hear "Ob-La-Di, Ob-la-Da" with everything spread out...instead of bounced down to one track with stereo ADT on the vocals. I wanna hear that!

    Bonus tracks! Give us the singles and outtakes completely remixed as well...not the Anthology hatchet jobs!
     
  14. GMav

    GMav Senior Member

    Location:
    Salem, Oregon, USA
    I would like to have the catalog remastered, NOT remixed. Yes, a lot of us have the LP's (which don't play in CD players), and some of us don't have the ability to burn their own CD-R's. That being said, I would like to have the albums brought out as close to the master tapes as possible, in high definition (SACD perhaps?), with mono AND stereo mixes. As far as singles, EP's and bonus tracks go, I say leave them off and offer them more like the Past Masters did. I have a couple of word documents I made showing how I would like to see the catalog offered.

    Who knows what they are waiting for? The next big thing in technology? The surviving Beatles (and others) to "give in" to the pressure? It's anybody's guess.

    Greg
     
  15. RZangpo2

    RZangpo2 Forum Know-It-All

    Location:
    New York
    One word: proper mastering. :D
     
  16. Grant

    Grant Life is a rock, but the radio rolled meeeeee!

    Location:
    United States
    Ahh! But here's the thing: The issue of proper mastering may hold true up to REVOLVER, but what does it mean when the later CDs were basically straight transfers of the tapes? And, yes, I know SGT PEPPER was made from a copy, and some futzing was dont to ABBEY ROAD. But still, other than giving us mono, I don't think most of them are too bad, considering the state of digital in 1987.

    I don't like the digital remixes.
     
  17. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Easy. They didn't know how to record this stuff properly in the early 1960's at Abbey Road. We accept that fact and try to find the best sounding LP and 45 versions that we can. What else can we do?
     
  18. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Location:
    Beaver Stadium
    Steve, O.K., the recordings may not be the best, but the issue here is why the CDs don't sound like the original LPs (or the master tapes). Why hasn't Capitol/EMI released the best-sounding Beatles CDs (or SACDs) possible?
     
  19. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Cause they thought they did. What can I tell you? When I heard the CD of BEATLES FOR SALE back in 1986 or whatever year it was I WAS APPALLED. That's the way the cookie crumbles. Save your LP's.
     
  20. daveman

    daveman Forum All Star

    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Thing is, I'm willing to not be so harsh on them for not getting it perfect the first go-round -- no, they aren't very good, but most CDs from that era were not, excluding a few here and there. What is not forgivible is that nothing has been done to rectify it.
     
  21. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Not EMI's fault; Beatles Committee's fault. Don't blame the record company.
     
  22. daveman

    daveman Forum All Star

    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Right, that's what I mean. If it was only up to EMI we would have had remasters, for better or worse, a while ago.
     
  23. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    If it had been up to EMI we would have had HOLLYWOOD BOWL, R&R MUSIC, LOVE SONGS, etc. Shrugs.
     
  24. toobwacky

    toobwacky New Member

    I've got a Japanese import Titled: Beatles - The Best III (1967-1968) which is most of Sgt. Pepper's and Magical Mystery Tour along with some singles from the same time period.

    The label and disc both have "Jasrac" R-990067 and "TF" T-2004 on them. Most of the other information is in Japanese, except for "Digital Mastering" which is also printed on the disc.

    Does anyone know how this disc sonically compares to the US album releases?
     
  25. ACK!

    ACK! Senior Member

    Location:
    New Hampshire
    It's pretty bad when needle-drop CDs get raves for their sound quality over commercially released CDs.

    A friend of mine said back in the early '90s that mobile fidelity's Beatle LPs sounded better than the official CDs...I think I believe him now.
     
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