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Beatles get back to mono vinyl with deluxe box set coming in September

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The Beatles' Apple Corps Ltd. officially announced June 16 that they'll release 10 Beatles vinyl albums in mono separately and in a limited edition vinyl box set Sept. 9 in North America and Sept. 8 in the rest of the world. The albums, pressed on 180-gram vinyl, will be newly mastered from analogue tapes, not digital, and feature the original reproduced artwork.

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Eight of the mono albums will be the albums as they were originally released in Britain. Those are “With the Beatles,” “Please Please Me,” “A Hard Day's Night,” “Beatles For Sale,” “Help!,” “Rubber Soul,” “Revolver” and “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

“Magical Mystery Tour,” also in mono, will be the single-disc 11-track American album version. Besides the songs from the movie as in the UK double-EP release, this version also included the added songs “Hello Goodbye,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Penny Lane,” “Baby, You're a Rich Man” and “All You Need Is Love.” Also released will be a three-disc collection called “Mono Masters” with non-album tracks.

According to Apple, the mono albums have been have been newly mastered for vinyl from quarter-inch master tapes at Abbey Road Studios. The project was coordinated by Grammy-winning engineer Sean Magee and Grammy-winning mastering supervisor Steve Berkowitz.

Berkowitz was involved in the recent "The U.S. Albums" release and reissues by many, including Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Johnny Cash. Magee has worked on several Beatles releases, including "The U.S. Albums," "The Apple Box Set," "The John Lennon Signature Box" and the Beatles mono and stereo box sets on CD.

Apple says that unlike for “The Beatles In Mono” CD boxed set released in 2009 that was created from digital remasters, Magee and Berkowitz cut the records for this new vinyl project using analogue tapes without any digital technology. They said the same procedures used in the 1960s were followed to make the new mono vinyl albums sound faithful to the originals. They said they were guided by the original albums and by detailed transfer notes made by the original cutting engineers.

“Working in the same room at Abbey Road where most of The Beatles’ albums were initially cut, the pair first dedicated weeks to concentrated listening, fastidiously comparing the master tapes with first pressings of the mono records made in the 1960s,” Apple said. “Using a rigorously tested Studer A80 machine to play back the precious tapes, the new vinyl was cut on a 1980s-era VMS80 lathe.” The new discs have been manufactured for the world at Optimal Media in Germany.

The 14-disc box set will also contain an exclusive 12” x 12” 108-page hardbound book with new essays and a detailed history of the mastering process by Beatles radio producer and author Kevin Howlett. Apple says the book is illustrated with rare studio photos of The Beatles, archive documents and articles and advertisements sourced from 1960s publications.

The release, also available at Amazon in Germany, comes five years to the day after the release of the Beatles' remastered albums on CD in mono and stereo. The Beatles released a stereo vinyl box in November, 2012. Variety had the first word of the mono vinyl release in an article in January.

“The Beatles in mono: This is how most listeners first heard the group in the 1960s, when mono was the predominant audio format. Up until 1968, each Beatles album was given a unique mono and stereo mix, but the group always regarded the mono as primary,” Apple's announcement, also printed on their website, said. And the mono Beatles on vinyl will return again in September.

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