Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I, a-Hi Hi, a-Hi Hi, Dig a Box Set

Since I moved again (yes, if you've been following the Blog, this will make it the 4th place I lived at in one year - a personal record) and hopefully will be staying here for at least a year, I gifted my new home (and myself) with the Beatles Vinyl Box Set.

Happy House Warming to me.

I was going to pass on it but when I read there were only 50,000 being made, I promptly headed to Amazon (cheapest place I've seen it) and placed an order.  After I placed it, I thought, "Wait - I'll probably have the out-of-stock problems I had when the Mono box came out."  But no, it came the next day after being ordered.  I will say first that I'm so fucking angry with UPS for just leaving this $350 box on the front porch in broad daylight.  Thanks to the asshole who delivered it (LaSalle Ontario UPS location).  Too lazy to leave a sticker on the door or was it too heavy to bring back to the truck?  Do your job next time, asshole.

Anyways, anger dissipated to happiness when I got a look at what was in the box.  The foam on the top and front side was a nice touch.  Each LP and hard cover book was shrink wrapped.  The book was quite nice - nice paper too.  I only flipped though it though.  The last few pages of the book were about the mastering and cutting process which you can find online in any review.

Sound-wise, it's great.  Apparently they used the 24 bit resolution for the LPs instead of the 16 bit versions used for the CDs.  Not sure if I'm a huge fan of the 180 gram vinyl.  They're heavy and I did let them warm up a bit before putting them on (remember, they were out on a cold porch).  I've seen 78s break to pieces from not being so flexible.

I started with Please Please Me (Side 1); Help (Side 2); Revolver (Side 2 - had a two skips on Tomorrow Never Knows); Side 4 of the White Album (up until Revolution No 9) and Side 1 of Abbey Road.  I found myself being mesmerised my McCartney's bass lines in every song.

At the end of my Listening Session, I put on the 2009 Abbey Road CD.  There was a noticeable difference in overall tone.  I think you'd have to be deaf to not hear it.  Where as the LPs were bass heavy, or some people would call "warm", the CD, I found was to be even and focused.  For me, the first album (Please Please Me) was neat because I've only ever heard the mono version.  Even though I still prefer the mono versions in terms of a mix, I get a better idea of how the instruments sound being panned to one side.

Of course, now I can't wait for BluRay versions of these.  Imagine 24 bit resolution and no static.  Hoo Lordy.  Maybe those will come out in 2022 for some kind of Beatle anniversary.

Next for me is to rip them to the PC for my own enjoyment.  My sound card has RCA inputs and the best part is, since I recently purchased Samplitude, I can make 24 bit wavs.  Just for me.  I say that because when I got the Mono box set, someone asked me to burn me a copy for them.  In my head I thought, "Why don't you get off your ass and buy your own?"  Anyways, never did (say that out loud or burn the CDs).

So while being pricey, and me not being married and/or having kids, I could afford the box set and enjoy it.  If you're in that same boat as me, buy it.  Why not waste time in front of the stereo?  There are only a few things on the planet that could be better.

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