Wow - after waiting almost a month, I finally got the Beatles' Mono Box set. Nice. I originally ordered it from HMV (or more like HIV since their CD selection is pretty gaunt) and then from Amazon.ca since they listed it as "In Stock". Of course when you check the order status it shows up as back-ordered.
Anyways, Costco, bless them, got a few sets in. How they did it, I'll never know, but they did.
So how is it? Well worth the money. My Mom thought the mini-LP sleeves were cute. But EMI did spend a great deal of time putting the packaging together.
Here's what's in it: Please Please Me; With The Beatles; Hard Day's Night; Beatles For Sale; Help (with a bonus stereo mix); Rubber Soul (with a bonus stereo mix); Revolver; Sgt Pepper's; Magical Mystery Tour (complete with the book); The Beatles; and a Past Masters that's a little different. The Mono Masters is basically Past Masters only disc 2 has the Yellow Submarine songs instead of Old Brown Shoe and The Ballad of John and Yoko. Oh, and a nice little Mono Masters book.
That's a lot of stuff.
I wanted to start at the beginning. I did put on Please Please Me and With The Beatles at my parents' house when I was having dinner but that wasn't a intense listen. OK, so "intense" isn't the right word but it's early. When I got home, I put on the Mono Master CD and was loving two of my favourite all-times: Long Tall Sally and She's A Woman. Nice. From there I jumped right to Help. First big difference is that for most of the stereo songs, McCartney was super loud in the mix (not a bad thing at all) so the mono songs might sound that they lack bass when, really, it's at a good level. Not too many spot the differences from Help except the flange-y guitar at the end of It's Only Love.
Rubber Soul I was looking forward to. No more headaches listening to it though headphones. Anyways, it's way more listenable than a stereo version. Also, this would be the 1st CD where the drums are noticeably brought up in the mix.
Revolver was another treat. Taxman just sounds great (and I was never a big fan of the song). Here, There and Everywhere is a big improvement, as well as my two favourites, For No One and And Your Bird Can Sing.
Then it was to disc 2 of Past Masters, er, Mono Masters. The highlight? Hey Bulldog - by far.
That was a lot in one sitting. I did put on Sgt Pepper's, Magical Mystery Tour and The Beatles in the player and let them go but I had to do dishes, etc so I didn't get to sit in front of the speakers and listen but I did notice that Sgt Pepper's had crowd sounds on the reprise and She's Leaving Home is sped up a bit (or is it at its original speed?)
So that's my report. Money well spent. Although this means I won't be heading up to Toronto for Hallowe'en, you'll know where to find me - in my living room in front of the speakers.