The Beatles Past Masters Volumes One & Two on 180g 2LP
Sourced from the Original Master Tapes
"Love Me Do" (Original Single Version), "She Loves You," "I'll Get You," and "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number" Presented in Mono
Cut at Abbey Road Studios by a First-Rate Team of Producers and Engineers: Stringent Procedures and Safeguards Ensure Optimum Sound
The Beatles were so prolific during their decade-long reign, full-length albums couldn’t contain all their music. In England, the Fab Four often released singles that never appeared on their British albums. Some of the quartet’s best-known material saw the light of day on EPs and 45s. We’re talking internationally recognized songs ranging from “I’m Down” to “Across the Universe.” These non-LP tracks are wondrously and seamlessly assembled on Past Masters. Once two separate releases, the anthologies are combined here on a double album for the enjoyment of fans everywhere.
Part of Capitol/Apple’s quintessential Beatles catalog masters series on LP, Past Masters has been remastered by a dedicated team of engineers that includes Guy Massey, Steve Rooke, and Sam Okell with Paul Hicks and Sean Magee. Proper care and a painstaking series of steps were taken to ensure that music lovers would hear the Fab Four in all their glory with premium clarity and transparency.
Want proof? Savor the rising harmonies on early classics such as “She Loves You” and “From Me To You,” and witness the edginess and palpable electricity flowing through raw, rock n’ roll numbers “Long Tall Sally” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” The second half of the collection, beginning in 1965, spotlights equally influential, timeless singles like the grandly distorted “Revolution” and poignant “Across the Universe.” Listening to the set in order also functions as a microcosm of the band’s evolution in the studio as, for the first time in analog, distinctions pertaining to equipment, recording techniques, and studio ambience can now fully be detected.
With EMI’s legendary Abbey Road Studios providing the backdrop, the four-year restoration process combined veteran expertise, state-of-the-art equipment, vintage studio gear, and rigorous testing to net what is without doubt the highest fidelity possible and authentic, jaw-dropping sound guaranteed to rival the original LPs. There is no longer any need to pay hundreds of dollars for Japanese pressings.
At the start of the restoration process, engineers conducted extensive tests before copying the analog master tapes into the digital realm using 24-bit/192 kHz resolution and a Prism A-D converter. Dust build-ups were removed from tape machine heads after the completion of each title. Artifacts such as electrical clicks, microphone vocal pops, excessive sibilance, and poor edits were improved upon as long as it was determined that doing so didn’t at all damage the integrity of the songs. Similarly, de-noising technology was applied in only a few necessary spots and on a sum total of less than five of the entire 525 minutes of Beatles music.
In cutting the digital masters to vinyl, stringent safeguards and procedures were employed. After
cutting to lacquer, determined to be warmer and consistent than cutting
to DMM, the next step was to use the Neumann VMS80 cutting lathe at
Abbey Road. Following thorough mechanical and electrical tests to ensure
it was operating in peak condition, engineer Sean Magee cut the LPs in chronological release order. He used the original 24-bit remasters rather than the 16-bit versions that were required for CD production. It was also decided to use the remasters that had not undergone ‘limiting,' a procedure to increase the sound level.
Having made initial test cuts, Magee pinpointed any sound
problems that can occur during playback of vinyl records. To rectify
them, changes were made to the remasters with a Digital Audio
Workstation. For example, each vinyl album was listened to for any
‘sibilant episodes.' vocal distortion that can occur on consonant sounds
such as S and T. These were corrected by reducing the level in the very
small portion of sound causing the undesired effect.
Similarly, any likelihood of inner-groove distortion was addressed. As
the stylus approaches the center of the record, it is liable to track
the groove less accurately. This can affect the high-middle frequencies,
producing a ‘mushy’ sound particularly noticeable on vocals. Using what
Magee has described as ‘surgical EQ,’ problem frequencies were identified and reduced in level to compensate for this.
The last phase of the vinyl mastering process began with the arrival of
the first batches of test pressings made from master lacquers that had
been sent to the two pressing plant factories. Stringent quality tests
identified any noise or click appearing on more than one test pressing
in the same place. If this happened, it was clear that the undesired
sounds had been introduced either during the cutting or the pressing
stage and so the test records were rejected. In the quest to achieve the
highest quality possible, the Abbey Road team worked closely with the
pressing factories and the manufacturers of the lacquer and cutting
For this project, there was no such thing as too many cooks in the kitchen. Yes, it took a village to get it right.
The Beatles Past Masters Track Listing:
1. Love Me Do
2. From Me To You
3. Thank You Girl
4. She Loves You
5. I'll Get You
6. I Want To Hold Your Hand
8. This Boy
8. Kom, Gib Mir Deine Hand
9. Sie Liebt Dich
10. Long Tall Sally
11. I Call Your Name
12. Slow Down
14. I Feel Fine
15. She's A Woman
16. Bad Boy
17. Yes It Is
18. I'm Down
19. Day Tripper
20. We Can Work It Out
23. Lady Madonna
24. The Inner Light
26. Get Back
27. Don't Let Me Down
28. The Ballad Of John and Yoko
29. Old Brown Shoe
30. Across The Universe
31. Let It Be
32. You Know My Name