Best sound ever! Just beware of bootlegs.
An awesome set, but if you are still on the fence about getting it because of individuals posting luke-warm or negative reviews, please read on.
Almost 5 years after it's release, there are still a whole host of wanna-be audio engineers that are still finding faults that do not exist. Or worse, there are knuckleheads posting negatives because they can't locate all of the songs in the set, or got stuck with a Chinese bootleg.
My point is, ignore these people and get this set! If the stereo versions of The Beatle's music is the definitive version to you, you need this set!
Compared to any vinyl versions, or even pre-recorded open reel versions, it becomes obvious that this is the best version of the catalog to date.
Audiophiles have posted little treatises as to why their old EMI or MFSL vinyl sounds better and Blah blah blah...fact is, the majority of audiophile opinions are subjective at best, based on a belief system rather than what a particular medium actually produces audio-wise.
Again, these sound great; totally analog sound on a good system.
Understand one thing: this is a re-master of the original two channel master tapes, not a remix. So the sound stage will not be different, but with better overall mastering you get broader dynamics, smoother mids and highs, reduced harmonic distortion and all around warmer sound, not to mention clarity.
And to the vinyl addicts; the LPs you are listening to have had heavier compression/limiting than what was employed on these CDs. The limiting applied on these CDs was very judiciously used to control transient peaks that would not have been audible in any event.
As a mastering engineer, I have to be open, neutral, and critical of my own preferences. I'll be the first to admit there are a lot of great sounding LPs out there, and I enjoy some coloring that high end systems provide, but these CDs smoke their analog counterparts!
The only way this will get better is if they, one day, remix the catalog, (the first two albums would not benefit from a remix, as they were recorded with a 2 track recorder, hence, there is nothing to remix).
My understanding is that Giles Martin has archived all of the pre production masters to digital, so much of the conversion labor is done. Remixing from these recordings would give us, for the first time, mixes from 1st generation sources. This has been done on Yellow Submarine Songtrack, The Anthology, and Love.
If this set sounds bad to you, you either have an over-optimized system (audiophiles tend to build systems that emphasize a particular instrument or vocal as opposed to overall sound and rarely have a decent CD player), a crap system, or you are in severe need of a Q-tip.
Bootlegs are the other problem. If the seller posts that the Box was Made in EU, it is most likely a bootleg!
I recommend looking up the set on Amazon, as there are photos posted showing the difference between a legitimate copy and a boot.
If you find the set and its well below the suggested retail price, proceed with extreme caution!
As a lifelong Beatle fan, audiophile, mastering engineer and musician, this has been an extremely thrilling listening experience, and I am still excited!
Just a side note, if you want to hear just how much better it could get, get a copy of the Yellow Submarine Songtrack CD, (not to be confused with the soundtrack album from the movie), or the Love album, and hear how remixing would affect your overall experience. Cheers!Read full review