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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

The Beatles Box Sets – the Packaging

I received my Beatles Box sets by FedEx today.  I haven’t had a chance to listen to them yet – and I only really care how they sound – but I did open them and want to share a few impressions on how they are packaged.

First some background.  There are two Beatles box sets (i.e., The Beatles Stereo Box Set and The Beatles Mono Box Set).  One contains the stereo mixes, and the other the mono.  Several people have asked me why I would want the mono recordings.  The mono mixes are interesting because they were the top priority back when these recordings were originally released.  Great care was taken to get these mono mixes right.  The stereo mixes took a backseat.  They got less attention, and the Beatles / George Martin weren’t always directly involved.  So does this only matter to audiophiles?  I don’t think so.  In many cases, the stereo mixes involve different source tracks – e.g., the vocal or guitar are just different.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, the mono set is way nicer than the stereo one.  Remember though, these are non-audio opinions – I’ll post those later. 

Stereo Set

I first opened the stereo set and was struck by a few things:

  1. The whole box is inside of a paper sleeve that looks just like the box.  My first thought was “am I supposed to put it back in that sleeve or throw the sleeve in the recycling?”  I’d rather there were no sleeve.
  2. Inside the box, the discs are stacked in two piles.  You can’t get any but the top one out without pulling out the whole stack.  Kind of lame.
  3. Each disc is in its own shrink-wrap.  Why?
  4. The covers have a white stripe and the Apple / The Beatles logo on them.
  5. No extra book, though there is a documentary disc.
  6. No Sgt. Pepper cutout sheet (though included as a page in the booklet).

All in all, I’m thinking they should have done better. 

Mono Set

  1. The sleeve is sturdy cardboard and slides off of the inner box.
  2. Once the sleeve is off, all of the discs’ spines are available to pull out the one you want.
  3. Each disc is in its own resealable wrapper. 
  4. The covers are replicas of the original releases.  No superfluous Apple logos on pre-Apple records.
  5. A nice book that talks about the mono recordings and goes into details on the “Mono Masters” disc that is included.
  6. The Sgt. Pepper cutout sheet.

Simple, yes, but much nicer than the Stereo.

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