The Beatles / Remixed Sgt. Pepper unveiled at Abbey Road Studios

SDE Editor Paul Sinclair bumps into some old friends outside Abbey Road Studios…

SDE listens to the new Sgt. Pepper stereo remix at Abbey Road and asks Giles Martin about ‘Carnival of Light’…

Apple Corps and Universal Music last night hosted a preview event for a hundred or so journalists from around the world in which Giles Martin discussed his work on the anniversary reissue of The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the new stereo remix of the album was played in full. SDE was there…

Sgt. Pepper invitation

Any visit to Abbey Road Studios is incredible, but to be in Studio 2, where the Fab Four recorded most of Sgt. Pepper, for this playback event was pretty special.

After a short introduction by Apple boss Jeff Jones, George’s son Giles Martin (who with Sam Okell remixed the tracks for the forthcoming reissue) was interviewed by BBC 6 Music broadcaster (and former Menswear drummer) Matt Everitt.

Here’s some highlights from Martin’s chat with Everitt and the Q&A at the end:

Goals for the project:

Giles Martin: Music’s a strange thing. You try to recreate, what you remember hearing, if that makes any sense? So the goal behind Sgt. Pepper is to say… ‘What does Sgt. Pepper sound like? We have the privilege of going back to the four-tracks… we can peel back the layers and rebuild it. So the goal.. well there’s two things. There’s the ‘socks and sandals’ brigade – they own every single note of Sgt. Pepper. There’s probably some people in the audience who would claim to be these people – and they are – they are the people I lean on. And then there’s the children and grandchildren of people who are told ‘you should listen to Sgt. Pepper – it’s the most amazing sounding album’ and they can put it on in this crazy world we live in, with all the other music in the world and it bursts out of the speakers as it should do. So that’s the intention, to tick both of those boxes.

On the mono / stereo mixes:

Giles Martin: The Beatles weren’t present for the [original] stereo mixes at all. The monos were to the band what Sgt. Pepper is. What happened is, when The Beatles recorded they’d make notes on the tape boxes, [but] because the speed and pressure with which they were working…  for example, before they finished the mixing – I think – they recorded Magical Mystery Tour, the song, and they recorded the All You Need Is Love broadcast as Pepper was coming out… so things like paying attention to notes on recordings just weren’t done. Our intention was to make a stereo of the mono. I worked with my dad since I was 15, so I know what he would have thought and I know the band well, so you just kind of respect what they think.

Peeling back the layers…

Giles Martin: My first Beatles exposure was on the Anthology project, I was 21, 22, and I went upstairs with my dad and he played me A Day In The Life from the four-track, and it was like they were in the room. The clarity, the tapes… we get credit for this, stuff they did years ago, but the tapes sound amazing. The Beatles don’t sound old and their records shouldn’t sound old. I’ll give you an example of what we can do by not using the bounces… so if you can imagine, if you record guitar, bass and drums and you bounce that down to one track… so [in stereo] you end up with music on one side and voice of the other.. So if you take Lovely Rita, the CD you all know is very heavily biased on the right hand side [plays a section of the original stereo song followed by some of the new stereo mix which is much more balanced]. In essence, what we do is peel back the layers… immersive is such an overused word for albums now, but Sgt. Pepper really is an album you can fall into… the mono of Sgt. Pepper is so technically brilliant.

Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds

Giles Martin: We wouldn’t be here listening to this now if they [Paul, Ringo, Olivia & Yoko] weren’t happy. It’s their record. I’ll play you Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. The mono has a lot of ADTing which where you varispeed the tape machine and with the record head and play head at the same time, it gives you this voice effect… This is what John Lennon wanted [plays some of the original mono mix.. followed by the new stereo mix, which has all the correct vocal effects in place]. Again, it’s a stereo of the mono.

“It’s the opposite of ice-cream brain freeze… “

Giles Martin: [This new mix is] about bringing them into the room, because they were so good. They made such a good noise. There’s very few things in life that make you feel better – especially right now – that just exist. And this is one of those things…. It’s the opposite of ice-cream brain freeze, this record. You know, why have When I’m Sixty Four after Within You Without You There’s so much innovation and ideas packed into it. I found while working on it – we didn’t mix in order, we just chose a song and mixed it – that it’s only as we put it together you realise that as an album the songs make more sense.

Putting Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields into the album…(or not)

Giles Martin: I’ve gotta be honest… it’s in the package. We thought a lot about where it should go in the album… but why change Sgt. Pepper’s Hearts Club Band? We’d probably be strung up…

5.1 mixes

Giles Martin: We were quite conservative with the 5.1 mixes on the ‘number ones’ album but with this the 5.1 mixes are much more immersive.

Question from SDE: Was Carnival of Light considered for the bonus material in the box?

Giles Martin: Yes, it was. As was It’s Only A Northern Song, as well, actually. But it wasn’t really part of Pepper. It wasn’t part of the Sgt. Pepper recording. It’s a very different thing. I hope we can do something interesting with that at some point…but it wasn’t really part of the Sgt. Pepper album.

Quad mix of Sgt. Pepper

Giles Martin: Did I reference the Quad Mix of Sgt. Pepper while making the new 5.1? No, I didn’t, is the answer! It wasn’t done by The Beatles… was it? Again, I go back to what they did and what they think. So no, I didn’t. Nor did I know that it existed, so that’s probably why [laughs].

What’s left that hasn’t been heard?

Giles Martin: The Beatles were very economical in terms of how they recorded. They did multiple takes of the same song. To give you an example, on the bonus disc [CD 2 in the super deluxe edition] is take 1 of Sgt. Pepper which has no vocal on it, no bass on it. It’s just the band working out the song. And then take 9 which is the take, without overdubs. Even I can work out that there’s takes 2, 3 , 4, 5, 6, 7  and 8 between those, but they’re pretty much the same, to be honest. Here’s the thing, from our point of view you have to charge money for this – that’s the way it works, because you’ve got to pay publishing and all these sorts of things. It gets to the stage where it’s money for old rope… and my job is to make sure we’re providing stuff that’s worth it. With Sgt. Pepper we’ve been really careful and have taken a long time and been really diligent, and giving people a real feeling of what it’s like to be part of the album…

SDE verdict: Paul Sinclair on the new stereo remix

During the evening, the new stereo mix of Sgt. Pepper’s Hearts Club Band was played in full. This was being driven directly via 96/24 files from Giles Martin’s laptop, to what are presumably hideously expensive speakers (see image above).

So how does it sound? It’s a difficult question to answer accurately since ANY version of Sgt. Pepper being blasted in Studio 2 of Abbey Road Studios would sound amazing and it’s very, VERY easy to get sucked into just enjoying the record and forget to listen out for tell-tale improvements (or otherwise). And you can’t say “stop, can I hear that bit again?”. That said, I thought Giles and Sam had done a great job and the best indications were earlier in the evening when Martin compared tracks side-by-side (Lovely Rita, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds). The goal – as stated – was to “make a stereo of the mono” and from what I heard, they seem to have fixed many/all of the limitations and/or mixing errors on the original stereo version. The new stereo remix is unquestionable superior to the original stereo mix. Whether that renders the original mono mix semi-redundant, is another, more interesting question.

Giles talks about ‘peeling back the layers’ but when you unglue everything in the original mixes in a digital domain and then try to ‘reseal’ for a 2017 remix do you lose something intangible? Does the dust in the air of 1967’s Abbey Road Studio 2 leave the room?

The positives are numerous, such as clarity, separation and depth of bass and drums in particular. But whether by accident or design recording Sgt. Pepper on a four-track and ‘bouncing down’ meant compromising on clarity and separation and the question is, do those compromises detract from or add to the magic of the album? Maybe it’s a moot point. The original mono album endures and indeed has a place at the table within the new super deluxe edition box set, although it’s worth noting, for all its accepted superiority, that Apple have never made it available separately on CD. I guess the nuances are too hard to communicate to a general audience. Why would I want to listen to something in mono?!

Technological advances have allowed Giles Martin to create a stereo mix his father simply couldn’t do in the 1960s, and I can see this new remix fairly quickly superseding the flawed original. As Giles pertinently pointed out, our children and grandchildren have a version of the album that ‘works’ in this new millennium and also honours the original mixing decisions of the mono version. Crucially, this means the general audience will now be listening to a mix of the album that is close to what the band wanted when they oversaw those mono mixing sessions. But that’s the general audience. I suspect purists will still gravitate to the ‘unpeeled’ mono version for the ultimate mix of authenticity and (in Giles’ own words) technical brilliance.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is reissued as a six-disc super deluxe edition (and other formats) on 26 May 2017. Read more about it here.

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Sgt. Pepper - 6-disc super deluxe box set


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Sgt. Pepper - 2CD Edition


Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band super deluxe edition box set

CD 1 / New Stereo Remix
1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
2. With A Little Help From My Friends
3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
4. Getting Better
5. Fixing A Hole
6. She’s Leaving Home
7. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!
8. Within You Without You
9. When I’m Sixty-Four
10. Lovely Rita
11. Good Morning Good Morning
12. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
13. A Day In The Life

CD 2 / Sgt. Pepper Sessions
1 Strawberry Fields Forever – Take 1
2 Strawberry Fields Forever – Take 4
3 Strawberry Fields Forever – Take 7
4 Strawberry Fields Forever – Take 26
5 Strawberry Fields Forever – Stereo/Giles Martin Mix 2015
6 When I’m Sixty-Four
7 Penny Lane – Take 6
8 Penny Lane – Vocal Overdubs and Speech
9 Penny Lane – Stereo / Giles Martin Mix 2017
10 A Day In The Lif e- Take 1
11 A Day In The Life – Take 2
12 A Day In The Life – Orchestra Overdub
13 A Day In The Life – Hummed Last Chord
14 A Day In The Life – The Last Chord
15 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – Take 1
16 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – Take 9
17 Good Morning Good Morning – Take 1
18 Good Morning Good Morning – Take 8

CD 3 / Sgt. Pepper Sessions
1 Fixing A Hole – Take 1
2 Fixing A Hole – Speech And Take 3
3 Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!
4 Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! – Take 7
5 Lively Rita – Speech and Take 9
6 Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds – Take 1 And Speech
7 Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds – Speech
8 Getting Better – Take 1
9 Getting Better – Take 12
10 Within You Without You – Take 1
11 Within You Without You – George Coaching The Musicians
12 She’s Leaving Home – Take 1
13 She’s Leaving Home – Take 6
14 With A Little Help From My Friends – Take 1
15 Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) Speech and Take 8

CD 4 – Sgt. Pepper in Mono
1. Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
2. With A Little Help From My Friends
3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
4. Getting Better
5. Fixing A Hole
6. She’s Leaving Home
7. Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!
8. Within You Without You
9. When I’m Sixty Four
10. Lovely Rita
11. Good Morning Good Morning
12. Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
13. A Day In The Life

Bonus tracks

14 Strawberry Fields Forever
15 Penny Lane
16 A Day In The Live – First Mono Mix
17 Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds – Original Mono Mix
18 She’s Leaving Home – First Mono Mix
19 Penny Lane – Capitol Records Mono Mix

Disc: 5 / Blu-ray: Sgt. Pepper in 5.1 surround sound and hi-res stereo
1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
2. With A Little Help From My Friends
3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
4. Getting Better
5. Fixing A Hole
6. She’s Leaving Home
7. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!
8. Within You Without You
9. When I’m Sixty-Four
10. Lovely Rita
11. Good Morning Good Morning
12. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
13. A Day In The Life
14. Strawberry Fields Forever
15. Penny Lane
16. The Making Of Sgt. Pepper
17. A Day In The Life
18. Strawberry Fields Forever
19. Penny Lane
20. Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
21. Audio Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
22. Sgt. Pepper’s Audio Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
23. Strawberry Field Forever/ Penny Lane Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
24. Video Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
25. Making of Chapter 1 Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
26. Making of Chapter 2 Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
27. Video Setup Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Disc: 6 / DVD: Sgt. Pepper in 5.1 surround sound and hi-res stereo
1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
2. With A Little Help From My Friends
3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
4. Getting Better
5. Fixing A Hole
6. She’s Leaving Home
7. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!
8. Within You Without You
9. When I’m Sixty-Four
10. Lovely Rita
11. Good Morning Good Morning
12. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
13. A Day In The Life
14. Strawberry Fields Forever
15. Penny Lane
16. The Making Of Sgt. Pepper
17. A Day In The Life
18. Strawberry Fields Forever
19. Penny Lane
20. Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
21. Audio Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
22. Sgt. Pepper’s Audio Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
23. Strawberry Field Forever/ Penny Lane Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
24. Video Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
25. Making of Chapter 1 Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
26. Making of Chapter 2 Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
27. Video Setup Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 2LP vinyl

LP 1 – Sgt. Pepper – new stereo mix

Side 1

1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
2. With A Little Help From My Friends
3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
4. Getting Better
5. Fixing A Hole
6. She’s Leaving Home
7. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!

Side 2

1. Within You Without You
2. When I’m Sixty-Four
3. Lovely Rita
4. Good Morning Good Morning
5. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
6. A Day In The Life

LP 2 – ‘Alternative’ Sgt. Pepper (all previously unreleased)

Side 3

1 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band [Take 9 And Speech]
2 With A Little Help From My Friends [Take 1 – False Start And Take 2 – Instrumental]
3 Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds [Take 1]
4 Getting Better [Take 1 – Instrumental And Speech At The End]
5 Fixing A Hole [Speech And Take 3]
6 She’s Leaving Home [Take 1 – Instrumental]
7 Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! [Take 4]

Side 4

1 Within You Without You [Take 1 – Indian Instruments]
2 When I’m Sixty-Four [Take 2]
3 Lovely Rita [Speech And Take 9]
4 Good Morning Good Morning [Take 8]
5 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) [Take 8]
6 A Day In The Life [Take 1 With Hummed Last Chord]

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 2CD edition

CD 1 – Sgt Pepper – new stereo mix
1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
2. With A Little Help From My Friends
3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
4. Getting Better
5. Fixing A Hole
6. She’s Leaving Home
7. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!
8. Within You Without You
9. When I’m Sixty-Four
10. Lovely Rita
11. Good Morning Good Morning
12. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
13. A Day In The Life

CD 2 – Previously unreleased session takes
1 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band [Take 9]
2 With A Little Help From My Friends [Take 1 – False Start And Take 2
3 Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds [Take 1]
4 Getting Better [Take 1 – Instrumental And Speech At The End]
5 Fixing A Hole [Speech And Take 3]
6 She’s Leaving Home [Take 1 – Instrumental]
7 Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! [Take 4]
8 Within You Without You [Take 1 – Indian Instruments]
9 When I’m Sixty-Four [Take 2]
10 Lovely Rita [Speech And Take 9]
11 Good Morning Good Morning [Take 8]
12 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) [Take 8]
13 A Day In The Life [Take 1 With Hummed Last Chord]
14 Strawberry Fields Forever [Take 7]
15 Strawberry Fields Forever [Take 26]
16 Strawberry Fields Forever [Stereo Mix – 2015]
17 Penny Lane [Take 6 – Instrumental]

107 responses to The Beatles / Remixed Sgt. Pepper unveiled at Abbey Road Studios

  1. Sean says:

    Nicely summed up at the end. For me, the new stereo mix is an absolute revelation and a joy. I do appreciate many will want to hear it ‘as is’, but stereo was pretty much still in its infancy when this originally came out, & like its contemporaries suffered a bit from being a novelty. Listening to early stereo mixes tends to leave you listening to where the instruments are in your speakers as opposed to the music itself. There’s no doubt that we understand how stereo works better these days (as anyone who has mixed either at home or in a studio themselves can testify – less hard panning to emphasise the ‘hey, listen, this is stereo’ effect & more about creating a natural sound). It’s also much more natural sounding in headphones. In short, I love this mix & can’t wait to hear the new Abbey Road anniversary mix in September.

  2. david emerick says:

    Thanks for a very nice article. I personally wish they had put “Only A Northern Song ” in there. It was part of the sessions and should be there. While I prefer the mono mix, this new stereo mix is very nice : Giles did a great job with it. I wonder if we’ll ever get a definitive version of the “Get Back ” album : I would love to hear Giles tackle that, and well as remix George’s “All Things Must Pass”, and get rid of all Spector’s excessiveness. Thanks again

  3. Pingback:First listen: SDE on the 5.1 surround sound mix of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper | superdeluxeedition

  4. Steve Edwards says:

    Have a first pressing of Sgt Pepper in mono. Its on right now. My favourite way to listen to a, possibly THE, landmark in rock music. It never fails to surprise those of us who have had the stereo mix ingrained into our musical memory over the decades.
    Heard the interview with Giles Martin & Simon Mayo last night on radio 2. Preferring the mono, I was pretty sniffy about tinkering with a masterpiece. However, it sounds like they’ve done a most sympathetic job with the stereo mix. It sounds very “right” and fixes some of the problems with bass & drums that came with 60’s technology.
    I might now find it in my heart to forgive him just a bit, for the “Love” album.

  5. Auntie Sabrina says:

    BBC Radio 2 played an outake of the titke track at around 8.55am today, Thursday 27 April 2017. It should be on the iplayer thing…

  6. Andy B says:

    Oh, weird. It is in my shopping cart but the link for the item is down. Glad I preordered.

  7. Andy B says:

    Amazon Italy has the super deluxe for about 80 euros right now. Surprised the link isn’t here.

  8. gary dobbs (@garymartindobbs) says:

    Am I the only one who thinks this is EMI treating the Beatles as a cash cow – the 2009 re-mixes were welcome but this is just over the top.Weren’t there loads of Pepper outakes on Anthology?

    • Philip Cohen says:

      The 2009 Beatles CD’s weren’t remixed. They were “Remastered”(I.E. new analog to digital transfers of the original 1960’s stereo mixes).

  9. Russell says:

    Hello Paul. I would very much like to get your comments on the differences between this new stereo vinyl version vs. the new stereo CD version. I understand that the remix was done digitally which suggests that the new CD is closest to what was envisioned in the remix. The vinyl, while close, must have introduced other sonic anomalies unless they have been somehow removed or modified so that they are inaudible. Looking forward to your response and getting my hands on this timeless music, once again.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I think until we can hear both, it’s hard to say. Obviously the vinyl isn’t all analogue because the new stereo remix was done in the digital domain. But then the stereo vinyl reissues/remasters from a few years ago also came from digital. Therefore my guess is the difference will be similar to listening to the 2009 stereo CD versus the 2012 stereo vinyl.The ‘difference’ will probably come down to your preferred medium more than anything else. A good remix can still sound good on vinyl, as far as I’m concerned.

  10. Alex says:

    Thanks Paul, great report! I believe this is a great way to start a new era of The Beatles.
    I was born in the early 60’s and the Beatles have been part of my life forever, with each new remaster and remix, there is something new to discover and love all over again.
    Keep it coming.
    Ive ordered the whole shebang and I cant wait!

  11. Andrea says:

    I checked some sources (among which Lewisohn, The Source of all sources), and the Beatles were definitely present at some if not all of the mixing sessions for the stereo Pepper. In particular they were certainly there when A Day in the Life was mixed, and the vocal panning of John and Paul’s vocals was a band decision.
    So if they take that away from the new mix, they’re taking away an integral part of the recording.
    Just saying.
    What Giles Martin is doing is a clear example of post-truth: something one says because it’s instrumental to what they’re doing, hoping no one will check the facts. Then others reprint it, and it becomes the Truth. Only, it is not.

  12. Andrea says:

    There are a couple of things I don’t quite get. For instance, on the stereo mix of A Day in the Life, Lennon’s voice pans from right to left (and viceversa). Just as his guitar does on his Sun King, on Abbey Road, which was only mixed in stereo, and with the band’s involvement. And many other aspects/effects, on the stereo version of Pepper, such as with Good Morning Good Morning, are all, obviously, band choices or band input.
    A) it’s not true they were “stuck with the vocals on one channel”, because Pepper itself testifies they could move them as they pleased;
    B) it’s obvious that the band was involved in the stereo mix as well, at least on the level of giving precise input as to how they wanted the mix to sound.

    So I’d say it’s safe to guess that Giles Martin, Apple corps & C. are feeding us quite a lot of bull****, for obvious commercial reasons

  13. Philip Cohen says:

    We will note that the new mixes have been created at 96Khz/24-bit, though Abbey Road Studios has archived all of The Beatles’ original stereo and mono mixes at 192Khz/24-bit. Is it Giles Martin’s viewpoint that 192Khz isn’t audibly better than 96Khz?

  14. Nigel M says:

    Great article. Will we be able to purchase and download a high res version?

  15. Paul Nyman says:

    Thanks Paul for inviting “fans” along to Preview in your article, and asking at Q&A questions all of us are interested in!

    So how did it sound for 35+ minutes in Studio 2 through those “Big Expensive speakers” to your own ears? Does the album just “Pop” out at the listener now??

    Thank you again

    • 7 says:

      From the photograph taken in Abbey Road Studio 2, the monitor speakers used, look like https://pmc-speakers.com ? Giles’s laptop computer would have outputed the high resolution audio files digitally into a high-end professional digital to analogue converter & then on into the amplifiers.

  16. 7 says:

    The simple answer to the debate about the (2017) stereo remix is simple. If the Sgt. Pepper album had been recorded to say, a 48 track tape machine in 1967, then there would be no need to make this new mix. (Although this new mix will be of a higher fidelity, with less unwanted noise & distortion than the original, because it is passing through a modern mixing desk & recorded to a very high resolution digital audio file format.) In 1967, at the Pepper recording sessions they were using two 4-track tape machines!

    It’s worth noting that the (1967) Pepper mono mix is also much more subtle & sophisticated (despite only being mono) than the stereo one. A lot of audio affects used on the mono mix are not present on the (1967) stereo mix.

    • Michael Cuthbert says:

      Hi 7,

      I do understand the differences between 4 track in ’67 and the advances in recording technology today.
      My query/puzzlement is that both Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields were remixed for 1+ in 2015 by Giles. So how come Penny Lane has been remixed again. The 2015 remixes of both were superb.

      • Philip Cohen says:

        In the “1+” surround mixes, Giles Martin didn’t use the rear channels for much more than ambience, even when he had more than 4 individual tracks to mix from and could have been more adventurous.

  17. Michael Cuthbert says:

    What’s the difference between Penny Lane 2017 and 2015?
    What was changed or corrected between the two?

  18. Jon C says:

    Personally I’d love to hear the new mix of A Day in the Life. I’ve always thought that was their crowning achievement in terms of songwriting as well as production.

  19. DennisK says:

    Does anyone know whether the unexpurgated “calliope SFX” tape collages are presented as a separate track? I’ve always wanted to hear them “in the clear”, and was very disappointed when, on Anthology 2, it looked like I was about to – and they faded it out early!!!!

  20. Mark Phillips says:

    Paul, do you have any idea whether they have been able to add some of the overdubs which are only heard on the mono mix, to the stereo remix?

    As I recall there are a lot of twiddly guitar bits that are simply missing from the stereo masters as they were added at such a late stage to the mono masters.

    I don’t think there’s a separate clean track of these bits so I’d love to find out if modern technology has managed to fix them.

    Without these bits the existing stereo versions always sounded “wrong”.

  21. Carolyn Hurwitz says:

    Excellent article. While I’m glad that they corrected the speed on She’s Leaving Home, I have to disagree with you about the inherent “inferiority” of the stereo mix. You know, even if the Beatles didn’t do it, George Martin did; and it contains a lot of great effects that I’d be sorry to lose. The animals going from side to side on Good Morning, Good Morning; the vocals drifting across the speakers on A Day In The Life; the sound effects coming from both sides on Mr. Kite–this is all great stuff. I’ve never had an issue with the stereo mix. So the vocal is coming from one side–so what? It was 1967, man! Psychedelia!

    I don’t ever want Apple to throw out the original mixes of the Beatles albums. They are a product of their time, and as such they are priceless. It may well be that in another 100 years, if we’re all around, people will look back on all this remixing with horror that later generations tampered with the original works of art. So fine, remix Sgt. Pepper. But don’t diss the original mix. It’s gorgeous in its own way.

  22. emstini says:

    I’m clutching at straws here, but if that’s the Giles Martin quote in full about “Carnival of Light”, he at least didn’t say that it WASN’T on the box somewhere. I’m still holding out that it may have been hidden away, un-menued, on the Blu-Ray; a bit like “Meddle” in 5.1 on the Pink Floyd Early Years set.


      first time i’ve seen this mentioned – how do you access the 5.1 Meddle on the blu-ray???

  23. andrew r says:

    I will buy it, but like all these so called improved sets
    what we all really want is to be back at the place we heard it
    first, with all four Beatles alive and young.
    Sgt Pepper was about youth and optimism as much as the music
    if Apple can build me a time machine in the future i’m buying
    I am betting i will listen once, twice then it goes on the shelf with all the others.
    Iam starting to feel over/underwhelmed by this constant rescrubbing up of music
    Anybody agree /disagree?

    • Richard Starkey says:

      @Andrew R; personally, no I’m not feeling over/underwhelmed by these releases. To me, born in 1960, all these SDEs are an enjoyable way to re-live the excitement I felt when buying my first run of Beatles LPs in 1972-73. (The APPLE label reissues). So from a purely nostalgic standpoint, it doesn’t get any better than this. From a completist or content standpoint, I don’t have, or try to buy, every single possible variation of all the Beatles’ major releases that have been offered up over the last 30+ years. Some I got, some I skipped, and some I was never aware of. So by periodically reissuing their works, they get a fresh chance to tease me with something I may not have ever heard before. I suspect many guys/gals like us have heard “some” of the rare bootlegs we talk about here, but I’ve never had them all together in one convenient package. So it may not be a case of constantly re-issuing the same old thing over & over again. It’s a hit & miss thing with the buying public. Since discovering this excellent blog, I have learned so much about making informed buying choices for the bands I love. I’ve bought all of Macca’s 2-CD reissues, just a few of his SDEs, and skipped some totally. I will definitely get this Sgt Pepper SDE at some point this summer for all of the reasons I’ve stated above. It fills the nostalgia urge, it fills the craving to hear this album as beautifully as possible, and it “fixes the hole” in my collection of oddities and rarities. Fellas, it’s like 1973 all over again!

    • Mic Smith says:

      By and large I agree. However there are SDE packages that I will buy (Tull’s Songs From the Wood) but in lots of cases I can live without having all the extra stuff that these things provide fans with.

      I’m in a quandary about Sgt Pepper. There’s part of me that wants it and part of me that thinks it simply won’t get played more than once other than the mono mix and the new stereo mix. Now I’m told the new stereo mix is effectively the mono mix in stereo I’m not sure I need anything other than the single remixed stereo disc.
      The law of diminishing returns applies every time a record company need to repackage stuff we’ve already bought 3 or 4 times.
      Songs From the Wood certainly feels like the exception to the rule but I bet even that only gets a few plays this year. Hopefully I’ll get to enjoy all of this stuff once I’m retired and have time on my hands but for now these things are bought, played once and put on the shelf.

  24. Mauro says:

    Great, Paul!
    Beautiful reportage.

  25. Paul W says:

    Thanks Paul, great read and I’m very jealous. I bet you really enjoyed it.

    On the mono v stereo debate, I always get a little confused. Yes, some of the stereo mixes of 60s tracks can be awful, with the vocals in one ear and the rest in the other (I think we have all had rubbish tape recorders at some point that only managed to tape the music channel, without the vocal!), but quite often (but not always, of course) the stereo version seems far superior to me than the mono version (I’m not necessarily talking about Sgt Pepper here).

    I read things where people say the mono version allows you to hear each instrument more clearly and so on, but I often find it the other way round, with parts getting buried in mono mixes, so I get a tad puzzled when people say this. When I read the comments about the mono version of a particular album being far superior to the stereo, I listen and relisten to each version, comparing the two, and ending up questioning whether my ears work properly, so often I just put it down to music snobbery!

    What’s more, I don’t always think music, or films for that matter, are superior if you listen to, or watch, the version that the artist intended, as the artist isn’t always right. Woody Allen dislikes Annie Hall, for example. Or the stories of the battles between Andy Partridge and Todf Rundgren, where it took quite some time before Partridge admitted that Rundgren was probably right. And I have an unofficial remixed version of KLF’s Chill Out album that I feel is far superior to the original album.

    • Mark Hanson says:

      The thing about mono mixes (Brian Wilson noted this) is that you have final control over the total experience. Speaker placement and such can strongly affect how different people hear the same stereo recording in the same room. If you’ve ever been in a music store where a stereo track is being played through two speakers 40 feet apart, you know what I mean.

      However, since most people listen through headphones now, speaker placement is no longer such an issue. For myself, I never listen to mono through headphones. Mono mixes go to my car stereo.

      • Paul W says:

        Yes, didn’t think about that with the speaker placements. I find myself listening through headphones a bit these days, whilst the missus watched her rubbish on TV, and some of the mono stuff sounds a bit rubbish. I’ll never forget when we got our first stereo record players in the 70s.

        There was this record called ‘Sounds Astounding’ which showed off stereo sound, by having the synth noises zapping from one speaker to the other. Can’t remember what else was on it, but I think the theme from 2001 (can’t remember how to spell its actual name!) was one of the tracks. The record seemed to get passed round as all the neighbours and friends bought stereo systems. Although I think the photo of two topless ladies on the cover also had something to do with it! But I do remember that having stereo sound in the living room was a massive novelty and something to show off with.

        • Mark Hanson says:

          I’ll bet “Sounds Astounding” would sound rather annoying through headphones, though. One thing with stereo mixes is that a certain balance is needed in vocal placement. Old Peter, Paul and Mary albums have the three singers placed left, right and center on the soundstage, and the voices balance beautifully through headphones. The original mix of “Revolver” has hard-left, hard-right mixes (the worst is “Yellow Submarine”, where there is sometimes NO sound in one ear), and I find it as intolerable as any mono album through ‘phones.

    • John W says:

      Where did you get the remixed “Chill Out”, out of interest? Is this the one from the Recovered And Remastered series called “This Is Not What Chill Out Is About” or something else? Got me all curious now ;)

  26. Eric says:

    I find it appalling that they wanted to present the album in all its glory and they played it off a laptop… How can you say you love all the Beatles were, which frankly was analog, and play it off a crap laptop. George Martin would have played a record.

    • Julian H says:

      Eh? This is a digital remix, so playing the uncompressed hi-res from a good digital soundcard is the closest you can get. Sure it’s being released on vinyl as well but that’s introducing some more steps.

  27. Paul Hersh says:

    Excellent report. Thanks for confirming that the mono CD in the deluxe package is not a remix. I have seen conflicting reports about this. Here’s hoping Apple releases “pre-bounce” stereo remixes of the rest of the catalog over the next few years.

  28. Daniel Wylie says:

    The new stereo mixes for songs on the Yellow Submarine Songtrack cd were excellent. If this album is as good then it’ll be a worthwhile project.

  29. Gary says:

    Great article, Paul. Thanks for asking about Carnival of Light also.

  30. Julian H says:

    Any notes on compression? 1 was pretty compressed…

  31. Rickylee369 says:

    I am not an expert on these matters, and though I look forward to hearing the outtakes (many of which I imagine have been doing the rounds for years) and hoping that there is something that genuinely hasn’t been heard before by fans, I think I am missing something.

    To pretend that this is anything other than a cash cow seems spurious. Older fans will pay through the nose, but will a new audience get anything out of this? Aside from croaky old geezers and born again hipsters, most people seem to listen to music exclusively through a crappy pair of headphones on a smartphone. How will this ‘remix’ do anything to compensate for this that hasn’t already been achieved?

    Like I say, I am not a sound engineer, so I am likely wrong. However, it seems to me that all this chat about what The Beatles intended their songs to sound like, which mix is proper or best, is a load of chin-stroking. Surely the record was designed to be played on an affordable 1960’s turntable, with half decent speakers (preferably in mono) which is what the vast majority of their fans would have owned.

    Music in the 1960’s was consumed and loved on nothing more technologically advanced than a Dansette. Isn’t that the way to hear music? Or on a wooden cabinet player through headphones that could have been the inspiration for Leias Star Wars hairdo? It seems quite recent that tracks have to be stripped and readjusted so it sounds like it has taken over the entire house, or better still, injected straight into the brain.

    Look forward to hearing this stuff though… It is a shame that Apple have waited so long to do any of this stuff officially. I do not relish the prospect of waiting yet another 9 years for them to do a proper anniversary box-set for Revolver.

    • Richard Starkey says:

      Well, THIS old geezer (56) will spend many weekends listening to this collection on my 5.1 system in the living room, or the one upstairs, and on my killer 9-speaker Pioneer system in the Malibu, and will sit back and read the 144-page book while doing so. Bring it on..!!

    • vinyllistener says:

      agreed Rickylee369,
      i’ve been completely unimpressed with g martin’s noodlings over the years and fear this will just be more of the same.
      was the vinyl cut from an analogue master or digital ?

  32. Steve says:

    Thank you, Paul for an excellent report on the upcoming Beatles Box Set and for asking the question about ‘Carnival of Light’ which led to Giles also answering about ‘Only a Northern Song’ !

  33. David Carrick says:

    A great article Paul!
    You have whetted my appetite for the SDE !!

  34. Bill says:

    Paul, I’m confused. They released the mono box set of the Beatles which is what everyone wanted as a preference to the older stereo versions. Why are they going back to a stereo version again and as a confused consumer which version would you suggest as the premier version to listen to in the new box set?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      The mono box gathered all the original mono albums together. That’s a very specific collection. Nothing has changed about the mono, but the new stereo mix is a much improved stereo version and I’m sure many people are put off with the idea of mono and so will enjoy a really great stereo mix. I think the idea is to buy the box and decide for yourself… :)

  35. Bill says:

    It would have been nice to include a vinyl copy in mono. I know it was recently done, but still this is how they wanted it. For me I prefer the mono.

  36. Kenny says:

    Isn’t this getting a bit boring now?Anyone would think it was the second coming instead of an expensive marketing ploy! Wow can’t wait to hear take 9 of Lovely Rita.
    The Beatles were good, sometimes great but they have now just become an Apple money making machine. Who really needs a remix of Sgt Pepper. Just leave it as we all remember it. It’s the equivalent of having “A Hard Days Night” in colour.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      First time a Beatles album has been re-issued as an expansive box set and you think it’s ‘boring’? The Beatles reissuing stuff is no different to anyone else doing it. Also businesses need to ‘market’ products thqt they are selling to connect with the audience.

      • Phideaux Xavier says:

        Thank you! I think this is really exciting and I feel the Beatles catalogue has been handled with grace and concern for the music and listener. There are always new developments in “the industry” and when things become possible (like 5 disc versions of well known albums with every bloop and bleep) Apple doesn’t immediately jump on the wagon unless there is an upgrade that will benefit the legacy. I’m all for expansive box sets of every album… Bring ’em on.

    • Albert Tatlock says:

      Second Coming? That should get the SDE treatment too… It should include Paul Schroeder’s original mixes, ‘Driving South’ with Reni’s drums and ‘Breaking Into Heaven’ with Mani’s original ‘Can’t See Me’ bassline…

      It’ll do while we all grow old waiting for their new album (if it ever comes)…

      • Craig says:

        I’d love that, I’ve always loved the unfairly derided Second Coming. A cleaned up disc or three of the In The Studio boots plus Schroeder mixes would be an instant buy..but sadly I can’t see Geffen ever bothering.

      • Larry Davis says:

        Yeah, what IS up with the Stone Roses?? Haha!! They DID put out 2 singles on Columbia/Sony last year from the upcoming album…whenever it does come out…and “Second Coming”?? I thought it was great and underrated, being in the shadow of that debut record, and yeah, deserving of a SDE (hello Geffen??)…if you look at it objectively, it’s a great record on its own…sorry I missed their NYC show at Madison Square Garden. Now…back to the Beatles’ “Sgt Pepper”…and how many records were responsible for cover albums, not 1 but 2?? Cheap Trick doing “Sgt Pepper Live” and The Flaming Lips’ “With A Little Help From My Fwiends”??

    • SixtiesWereBest says:

      “It’s the equivalent of having “A Hard Days Night” in colour.”

      HEHEHE, well. I’d like that too…

    • Fat Old Bloke says:

      10,000s of Beatles fans and collectors would disagree with your statement including me.

  37. Matteo Leoni says:

    So I suppose that in this new stereo mix “She’s leaving home” is NOT slowed down like in the old stereo version, is it?

  38. Kevin says:

    For me, ‘it’s a stereo of the mono” raises questions. Though the band may have been present during the mixing to mono, the transitions between tracks (I’m thinking primarily of “Good Morning, Good Morning” into “Sgt. Pepper… (reprise)”) were actually smoother on the stereo version (on the mono version, it sounds like that initial guitar got snagged on a nail for a second); how do they sound in this new stereo mix?

    Also, did they restore “She’s Leaving Home” to its proper speed?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Yes, “She’s Leaving Home” is at the proper speed. Can’t really remember about that transition… think it sounded okay…

      • Pete Degan says:

        I think he is talking about the clucking chicken turning into a guitar. It flows much better in the stereo mix than the mono.

        • Paul Sinclair says:

          I do think they’ve sorted that out on the new stereo (ie transition is more like the stereo than mono.. )

  39. Jon says:

    Will the LP come from the digital source?

  40. adam shaw says:

    Glad you were there to hear about it from Giles mouth
    He talked about this peeling the layers and then rebuilding them on the Hollywood Bowl tapes , so this seems to be the way we are going to get remixed Beatles stereo records in the future.
    Just wondering how they did the Yellow Sub Songtrack a few years ago ?

  41. Neal says:

    So does the new stereo mix sound different to the remastered CD that came out a few years ago?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Very different.

    • Larry Davis says:

      If you read the interview with Giles, he explained the difference very simply & directly. The 2009 Stereo version is a remaster of the ORIGINAL Stereo version, no changes (bounced instrumentation in 1 channel and vocals in the other, separated)…from what I gather, the NEW 2017 Stereo REMIX is a newly mixed Stereo version of the original MONO, meaning everything is fuller and better balanced. I had the 2009 Stereo boxset and while good/great, I was disappointed by this separation, it was quite distracting to be honest. This new REMIX has me more excited because you get full music in BOTH channels!! I hope they do this for ALL Beatles albums as SDE’s in the future, espesh the White Album!!

  42. Keith says:

    “5.1 mixes

    Giles Martin: We were quite conservative with the 5.1 mixes on the ‘number ones’ album but with this the 5.1 mixes are much more immersive.”

    Now that sounds positive I hope it truely is a fully immersive affair it deserves to be.

  43. Steve says:

    Is this a different stereo mix to the one in the stereo boxset then?
    How many times does an album need remixing?
    Also the mono mix in the mono box…. did it all need doing again?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      The stereo ‘mix’ in the box isn’t a remix, it’s a remaster. This is a proper remix, so it’s massively different. The mono mix hasn’t been done again, but it’s a new transfer.

      • Michael Feldmann says:

        Hi Paul, great article. What does that mean? A new transfer? Does it sound any different than the Pepper CD in the Mono box?

        • Paul Sinclair says:

          Actually Apple describe it as a “direct transfer”. I’m not expecting it to sound any different, to be honest, but I suppose it might do.

      • Steve says:

        Ah I see. I didn’t realise that. I haven’t even played any of the remasters, so I wouldn’t have even known lol! It’s just a nice big shiny box of records :-)

        I’m getting the new Pepper, even though I wish I was Revolver instead. Much better album.

    • OpusJeff says:

      Yes, this is a stereo and 5.1 remix from the original pre-reduction sessions tapes.

      This is the first time Sgt. Pepper has been remixed in it’s entirety. There were a few tracks remixed for the Yellow Submarine Songtrack and LOVE releases, but these will be even better.

      I think you may be confusing remixing with remastering.

  44. Kevin says:

    I have to imagine all the new work Giles is doing isn’t just limited to Pepper. I doubt highly he wasn’t commissioned to do more – even down to creating new mixes/newly mastered alternate takes for a larger Anthology Blu-Ray box down the line.

    Just a theory, mind you.

    • Kevin says:

      Further to the above post: Apple is testing the market with Pepper

      • Richard Starkey says:

        @Kevin; Then it’s every loyal American and Brit’s duty to buy one of these so they get the message that WE LOVE THIS STUFF.

        • Alex M says:

          @Richard Starkey
          Why just Americans and British???
          Pretty sure there are many other countries in the world that also enjoy The Beatles

  45. Albert Tatlock says:

    Excellent piece as always, Paul. Thanks…

    I reckon ‘Carnival Of Light’ was vetoed again. To say ‘Carnival’ and ‘Only A Northern Song’ weren’t part of Pepper doesn’t really work… ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and ‘Penny Lane’ weren’t part of Pepper either, but they’re still in this set… A final release of ‘Carnival’ would also shatter its ‘mythical’ status. Even if ‘Carnival’ is crap, there’d be no more bullshit about how ‘legendary’ and ‘epic’ it is… I also hope there’s ‘clean’ (ie: no ‘reprise’ bit) versions of the newly mixed ‘A Day In The Life’.

    Wonder if they’ll now do a ‘White Album’ project like this one?

  46. Mark says:

    Was there a Q&A portion of your visit in the studio? If be interested to know if there’s plans to do anything similar with the rest of their catalog. Or perhaps Let It Be on Blu-ray?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      There was a Q&A. This was touched on but Giles deflected by saying those were marketing decisions for the record company.

  47. OpusJeff says:

    Paul, did you happen to hear if the vinyl will be a single pressing for worldwide distribution(the norm lately) or will there be a US and EU pressings?

  48. Daniel Wylie says:

    So, the 2 cd version has the new stereo mix of Strawberry Fields Forever but doesn’t have the new stereo mix of Penny Lane. That’s a bummer.

    Great article, Paul.

  49. richie says:

    That was an enjoyable read Paul, I`m very envious however reading the piece makes the wait for the Box Set more expectant.

    In my honest opinion Beatles fans would be very disapointed if `Carnival Of Light` was included in the set or if it was ever released. There is a reason, that is because it is a load of shite.

  50. Stevie B says:

    Thanks Paul, excellent report.

  51. Tim says:

    awesome. Began to think there was nothing “new” out there re: The Beatles but this sounds like a treat.

  52. Mark Hanson says:

    Paul – Was there any sampling of the 5.1 version? Or was it just the stereo?

  53. Mark Jensen says:

    I’m pretty sure I own a copy of the mono mix on vinyl that Apple made available separately in 2014. And didn’t they also make this mix available seperately on vinyl in 1967? I’m not sure I’m understanding the inclusion of “or vinyl” in that sentence above.

  54. OpusJeff says:

    Great news! This is the first time I’ve seen official confirmation that they used pre-bounce (pre-reduction) session tapes and not just the 4-track master tape.

    Also great news that the 5.1 mix doesn’t just use ambiance for the rear channels like the 1+ mixes. This will be more like the 5.1 LOVE and MMT mixes with discreet content in the surround channels!

    One error in the article. The mono Sgt. Pepper mix HAS BEEN available separately on vinyl three times; original 1967 mono vinyl, 1982 mono vinyl and the recent 2012(or 2014?) mono vinyl. Yes, the mono CD was not available separately; only as part of the mono box set.

  55. Phil says:

    Great article Paul. I was in studio 2 in 1983 when they allowed the public in for a couple of months to see and hear a video presentation of The story of The Beatles. Sound was staggering then – I can only begin to guess how it sounded last night. Great idea to do a stereo version of the mono album. Let’s hope it’s the start of a series of Beatles SDEs.

    Giles Martin is the perfect heir to his father’s work – going to Las Vegas in June – tickets booked for Love!!

    Thanks again for a great report

  56. Mark says:

    Great article Paul….as always…and huge kudos points for asking about “Carnival of light”, I like that you ask the questions that a fan would ask rather than a journalist. Macca should get some tips on how to package and price a super deluxe box set from Apple! :D

  57. Ern says:

    Great report Paul. If the clarity on Sgt. Peppers is anything like the job that was done on The Doors Infinite set, your ears are in for a treat.

  58. Jason says:

    I’m a big fan of listening to Mono with headphones

    • Mark Hanson says:

      I’m exactly the opposite. I’ll only listen to mono in the car. Nothing but stereo in the headphones for me.

  59. Steven says:

    Lovely account of your trip to Abbey Road, number 2. Thank you for asking the Carnival of Light question.

  60. Auntie Sabrina says:

    Great article, hopefully the physical versions are as good as the digital ones.

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