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No. 159 August 2017

The Beatles: SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND - Anniversary Edition
50 years after premiere

n an interview for Mojo magazine, Giles Martin, son of George Martin, told an anecdote about his father. Asked if he ever thought he was not good at music, he replied: "No ... I always thought I was great." It is probably the magic surrounding the sixth Beatles that causes us not to treat his words as a sign of arrogance, but as an undisputed fact. Same goes for the Beatles themselves – one can say many things about them but one can not forget about their contribution to the development of popular music.

The most important element of their artistic legacy turned out to be their eighth studio album titled Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and we wanted to tell you about it, using the recently released, new, "anniversary" version with material remixed by Giles Martin as a pretext. We divided the article into two main parts: a historical overview and a description of the new release, primarily the sound quality on Compact Disc release. We decided to review the digital version because the remaster was done in this domain. The LP version is in this case a secondary carrier. The first part was prepared by Bartosz Pacuła, the editor-in-chief of the MusicToThePeople.pl magazine and the second one by Wojciech Pacuła, the chief of the "High Fidelity". Enjoy!

IT ALL STARTED WITH…
Text: Bartosz Pacuła

The released on June 1th 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band almost immediately changed the world's music scene, paving the way for the next generation of artists, from Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, through Metallica and Guns N 'Roses, to Maroon 5 and Coldplay. The grid of these connections is much broader and it would not be possible to present them all even in a separate article. No matter what we think of this album recorded by the Great Four from Liverpool, it's a milestone for pop and rock music, "the most influential Beatles album", as Paul McCartney called it.

Pro-Ject prepared a special edition of their turntable commemorating the Great Four.

However, nobody before the release of the Sgt. Pepper's ... could foresee the impact it would have not only on the music scene but also the pop culture in general. This album brought the Beatles to a higher level than ever and contributed to the legend of the best rock band of all time. Neither of their previous accomplishments nor the later ones had the same power, even the most musically maturely (and in my opinion, their best) Abbey Road. The eighth studio album of the Brits was something that happened once in a few dozen or even hundreds of years. A milestone. A breakthrough. Touch of God. Here is its story.

History

1966 brought a new quality for the Beatles. The John Lennon and Paul McCartney's group was no longer giving concerts, which - due to the increasingly hysterical crowds - became a challenge beyond their strength. This brought two key changes for the band. The first of them, how trivial, was much more free time that musicians could devote to either leisure, composing, or seeking spiritual guidance in Eastern religions and philosophies. Musicians used this time differently. For example, John Lennon in October of this year published two books: In His Own Write oraz A Spaniard in the Works.

The “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” Pro-Ject turntable.

More importantly they didn't have to compose music based on fans preferences. Finally, they could dump everything that limited them before, which forced them to create music suitable for live concerts. From that moment on, they could go to the studio and take full advantage of its capabilities, to treat this place as another - very complex and offering almost limitless possibilities - instrument. They could further tighten their relationship with George Martin, "the Fifth Beatles" and a person who had a great impact on their artistic development.

The first ripe fruit of this sudden volt in the British band's career was the album Revolver. Although today it does not make a big impression despite the fact it is a fantastic album, it came as a shock to fans. Clearly, the Beatles enjoyed exploring the new directions of music development. Lennon and the company also broke away from the requirement that force them to prepare their albums as a simple collections of hits. From that moment on, they had a unique opportunity to look at the album as a whole, a coherent piece, complete from A to Z. Even the cover of Revolver was different from almost everything available in music shops these days.

As the Beatles biographer Philip Norman rightly observes, the Beatles "were in a situation where they had to outdo the competitors they themselves had created." They competed not only with other artists who soon began copying their solutions but primarily with themselves. Their next work had to be bigger, better in every possible way, to go as far as no one else had gone before.

Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane single released on Record Store Day 2017 using the new remix.

There were two songs that eventually produced, possibly, the best single in the rock history: Strawberry Fields Forever by John Lennon and Paul McCartney's Penny Lane. They managed to fit two fantastic songs on a 7-inch disc that not only did great work themselves, especially in the case of John's compositions, but simultaneously moved the limits of studio techniques, and additionally corresponded with each other in a larger form. It is worth mentioning that both of these songs were originally intended as a part of a long-play, but that did not happen (I will get back to that in a moment).

From the singing of their childhood years (because that's what these both songs are about) to the concept of a fictional band whose boss was to be the Sgt. Pepper, there was still a long way to go. Everything, as it often happens in life, happened by pure chance. That's what Paul McCartney said about it: "I was on a board of a plane with Mal Evans when he asked me to give him salt and pepper and I heard him say 'Sgt. Pepper'. […] My imagination worked from this moment on till the end of this journey". This is how the Beatles changed their original concept that was supposed to be an answer to the Pet Sounds album by the Beach Boys and Freak-Out by The Mothers of Invention, based on the idea of recording a collection of some kind of musical postcards from childhood. From now on, only the Sgt. Pepper and his orchestra mattered.

Music

The scale of changes that occurred in the way the Beatles worked between 1963 and the release of Please Please Me and 1967 and Sgt. Pepper's ... is best shown by the amount of money involved in these projects. The debut LP of the Fabulous Four was recorded over one day, and the cost of the venture was £ 400; In turn the Beatles opus magnum required investing more than £ 25,000 (!) and spending more than four months at hard work. It was a unique period (still before the death of the Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein), when Lennon's, McCartney's and Harrison's collaboration was not only possible (which can not be said about period just two years later) but incredibly inspiring and fruitful. The whole band happily dived into creating process. The inspiration could be found in almost anything from 19th-century circus posters, through the music of the Catharines, to the LSD.

The most popular song from this album, the Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds is also associated with this drug. This piece is a sort of hippie hymn of the 1960s, when free love and experimentation with a wide range of stimulants were something normal. It is worth noting that Lennon consistently denied such an interpretation, pointing to his son Julian as the main source of inspiration. Young Julian Lennon supposedly showed him a drawing entitled Lucy-in the sky with diamonds . The girl in the drawing was his classmate, Lucy O'Donell, Julian fell in love with.

Where John was looking for "tangerine trees and marmalade skies", Paul saw the opportunity to do face, preferably in a joyful way as he usually did, the reality. It is no wonder that his pieces are definitely more mundane and they refer to more "every day" life. For example, in one of the most beautiful songs about old age (When I'm Sixty Four , of course), Paul is in dialogue with his other half, wondering what they would do when they hit this age.

Despite these differences - how can one compare the frivolous Lovely Rita with crazy Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite? - track by track, an album grew that turned out to be surprisingly coherent. Only Ringo Starr, demonstrating his typical lack orientation, was not quite aware of what was going on around him: "When we finished the original song about Sergeant Pepper, we abandoned the whole idea with the military orchestra. We just recorded more songs. "

The A Day in the Life deserves a separate paragraph. As noted by Philip Norman, this song "was a result of such close collaboration between John and Paul, which had not happened to them since the beginning of the band's popularity. Interestingly, this composition is actually a combination of two completely different songs. The first - a more gloomy one - should be attributed to John, the other - of course, with a cheerful tone – to Paul.

The most important part of this piece was, however, the coda, an epic culmination of the epic venture, "the sound rising from nothing to the end of the world" according to Lennon's idea. George Martin achieved this effect in a very simple but brilliant way: he ordered the symphony orchestra to play without any notes - they were to relay, accept for some small hints, on their intuition. The whole thing was supposed to end with a powerful piano chord, which was then recorded as long as possible. It is funny that the co-author of this piece, Paul McCartney, only when working on the anniversary reissue of the Sgt. Pepper's ... learned that this is the E, not C chord.

Artwork

However, since the Revolver for the Beatles, the album was not only music anymore but also the artwork. Hence no wonder that they decided to trump everything the pop and rock music had seen so far. The cover designed by Peter Blake and Jann Haworth based on McCartney's idea was to present the fictional Sgt. Pepper Orchestra (meaning the Beatles), behind which there was a crowd of people imitated by cardboard and wax figures. The main group of figures were chosen by the Beatles themselves, only Ringo, as usual, avoided the job, declaring that "he agrees with everything others shall choose". Some ideas came also from other people.

All this installation was then photographed by Michael Cooper (or - as reported by Mojo magazine in this year's June issue - Nigel Hartnup), ultimately becoming part of a strict canon of art-pop. Interestingly, initially the cover did not impress the decision-makers, ie the EMI bosses, who feared the multi-million-dollar lawsuits. Eventually, they accepted this bold step, ordering only to remove the Ghandi image from the collage.

To keep some balance, as McCartney explained years later, a photo used inside the vinyl gatefold release was as simple as possible. The Beatles stare at it at the camera, as if they wanted to kill the photographer with eyes. Although they are sitting in their fancy clothes, but behind them there is a uniformly colored background. Even their poses are not particularly sophisticated. The Liverpool Four seem very relaxed, almost bored. Their only job is to reach the fan through the camera. A calculated choice of this photograph shows how perfectly the Beatles "designed" their most important work. There is no place for coincident, not even regarding the smallest elements.

On June 6, the Rolling Stone magazine reported on an auction where it was possible to purchase a part of the Beatles collage. It was the figure of Bobby Breen, a Canadian-born actor and singer, who was very successful as a child (see HERE). In the collage he was placed just above George Harrison's left shoulder. (Okay - I'll give you some time to reach for the cover and find it. Ready? - If so, then we can continue). Its organizers expect price to reach at least $70,000. This clearly proves how greatly appreciated the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is - the album that forever changed the face of rock.

Unfortunately, because of this reputation, people too often treat this album as a milestone of music, listening to it but not hearing it. Its anniversary edition prepared by Giles Martin is a great chance to change that. Because firstly the Sgt. Pepper's ... is a dose of brilliant and timeless music. Today we can sing "it was fifty years ago today", hoping that kids with equal pleasure will sing the same words, changing only the number of years for bigger and bigger ...

Further reading

  • Hunter Davies, The Beatles, Kraków 2013
  • Philip Norman, Szał! Prawdziwa historia Beatlesów, Bielsko-Biała 2013
  • Michael Seth Starr, Ringo, Kraków 2016
  • Steve Turner, Beatles ’66. The Revolutionary Year, New York 2016
  • „Mojo”, nr 283, June 2017

REMIX/REMASTER
Text: Wojciech Pacuła

Box from Japan, with Sgt. Pepper's… released as SHM-CD

Portal Discdogs.com lists 594 different editions in all available formats of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Even if some are repeated and some are unofficial releases, this number is still overwhelming. All this legacy can be divided into several smaller groups: LP issues, CD releases and others. The first ones are: original LP editions, analog LP re-releases and digital master re-releases. The CDs are: the first digital remasters from 1987 (I use the word 'remaster' in the context of this first CD release with caution, since it was simply a new digital master) and Remaster 2009 (09.09.2009) (Polish) - and now there is a new release, that we could call Remaster 2017, although it is actually something more.

Remaster/remix, what is it all about?

Let's start with 'REMASTER', i.e. what is it and how is it different from 'REMIX'. So let's actually talk about 'MASTER'. MASTER is the last stage of preparing music material before it is sent to the pressing plant. The sound engineer determines pauses between tracks, sets the songs in the correct order, and works on the sound trying to extract as much information of the material he received to work with as possible. Ultimately he converts the material to 44.1/16 format for the CD release, and if he works in the analog domain for LP release, he sends the master tape to the acetate cutting studio. In almost all cases mastering is performed on a stereo material.

It used to work differently in the past, ie mastering was part of the earlier stage of production, so-called MIX. And MIX for a stereo sound in converting a multi-channel multi-mono tape to two channels (stereo). Today, of all sound engineers I know, only Jacek Gawłowski simultaneously mixes and masters material. On the other hand RE-MASTER, remaster, remastering is a process of preparing a new master, i.e. of correcting an earlier one. Typically, this involves reducing noise, tonal, dynamics and phase correction, also correction of dropouts, etc. In this way, in 1987, almost the entire Beatles catalog was prepared for a CD release. Except for the two albums: Help and Rubber Soul.

Japanese release of 1998 using 1987 master.

It is known, that George Martin did not like the mixes prepared back then, as he believed that they were prepared too quickly, and therefore without proper care (the band and Martin considered the mono recordings as the model ones). For the first remaster, he remixed these two albums. He returned to the 4-track multi-mono master tapes and prepared a brand new mix. He took one more step back than he would for a remaster, as he did not work on the old master, but prepared a completely new one.

Even though it means much deeper interference in the sound, also into the artistic vision of music, still the "remaster" is often used in such cases. Let's add that both a new mixes for both albums were prepared by George Martin and Geoff Emert, the sound engineer responsible for the sound of some of the Big Four records (source: Sam Inglis, Remastering The Beatles. Guy Massey, Paul Hicks & Steve Rooke, soundonsound.com October 2009, (accessed: June 26th 2017)

Another chance to prepare a new mix came in 2006, on November 20th (in the USA on November 21st) with the release of the Love (Polish) album. It contained new mixes of 26 songs prepared by George Martin and his son Giles Martin. Martin was asked by two living quartet members, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, and two widows, Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison, to make experimental mixes of the band's recordings for Cirque du Soleil – a play presented in the Mirage theater in Las Vegas by this famous circus group.

However, when preparing material for Remaster 2009, it was decided to use stereo master-tapes, including the two new 1987 mixes I mentioned before. So they did not decide to face a challenge of remixing the entire band's catalog. As Paul Hicks, a member of the crew that prepared the new remaster at Abbey Road's studio, said: "we are generally talking about what George Martin, Norman Smith and Geoff Emerick considered masters and we tried to achieve the best possible sound with them". They did remix material for a soundtrack for the The Beatles: Rock Band computer game.

Remixing Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

As you can see, this is not the first Beatles album to be remixed. For the first time, however, such significant changes have been introduced. Even the Love album is treated as something additional, parallel to the proper legacy. The Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Anniversary Edition) is something completely different – the responsible for the new mix and thus mastering Giles Martin approach the material as if it were the first mix ever. In a number of reviews and feature articles this change of perspective has been at the center of the journalists' attention. And it was supposed to be so.

Japanese 2009 CD release with the new remaster.

We receive this material on a basic, one-disc CD release. But let's not forget that the aim was not only to present this album in a way that we today understand as "stereo", but also to clean the sound material, as well as to add some additional material. For those wanted to listen to this new material also the Deluxe version was prepared, the: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 2 Deluxe CD (Anniversary Edition). The second disc included 18 additional tracks, 13 of which were previously unpublished alternative versions of the songs from the album.

And finally, there is a release that collects everything that has been prepared on this occasion: the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 6 Disc Super Deluxe (Anniversary Edition). Below you will find its exact description, now let's just say that the Japanese version - and this is the one presented here – includes SHM-CD versions. There is a vinyl released cut from digital hi-res files.

Japanese SHM-CD version of 2014, with Remaster 2009.

The following section of this article consists of two parts: the UNBOXING of the six-disc, Japanese version of this release, and impressions from listening sessions with the Long Play and Compact Disc versions. During listening sessions with the CD version, we compared new Compact Disc and SHM-CD versions, as well as older European and Japanese CDs, using George Martin 2009 remaster. However, the most important was the comparison of the old (2009) and the new (2017) SHM-CD stereo versions. As a “control” release I decided to use the Japanese stereophonic version released by Toshiba-EMI Limited of March 11th 1998 (with the old digital remaster) to which – a fan fact – an introduction was written by (the!) Mark Lewinson. Discs were played on two CD players; my Ancient Audio Lektor AIR V-edition and two-box system, Chord Blu Mk II + DAVE. Before listening session each disc was first demagnetized using the Acoustic Revive Disc Demagnetizer RD-3.

Compared releases

• Remaster 1987:
- Apple | Parlophone/Toshiba-EMI TOCP-51118, CD (1967/1998)
• Remaster 2009:
- Apple | Parlophone 38241928, Enchanced CD (1967/2009)
- Apple | Parlophone/EMI Records Japan TOCP-71048, CD (1967/2009)
- Apple | Parlophone/USM Japan UICY-76973, SHM-CD (1967/2014)
• Remaster 2017
- Apple | Parlophone/Universal Music Group 5745530, „Anniversary Edition”, CD (1967/2017)
- Apple | Parlophone/Universal Music Group UICX-75226, „6 Disc Super Deluxe (Anniversary Edition)”, SHM-CD (1967/2017)

UNBOXING: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 6 Disc Super Deluxe (Anniversary Edition)

The box looks impressive. The cover was made using a three-dimensional technique, the individual figures on the picture seem to be alive, moving, they are not flat – which is different since fans are used to a flat image. The three-dimensional cover is glued onto the cardboard collar from which one takes out the proper box. Just like Rhino's re-released John Coltrane vinyl LPs, "Atlantic 45 RPM Master Series", this box is an adapted reprint of the box of an analog master-tape. It is much thicker than the original box, but the prints on the front and back cover are scans of the original packaging. There was even a scanned image of the tape used to fix a piece of paper with description to the box.

Box includes 6 discs: four CDs, one Blu-ray and DVD:

CD 1: New album's stereo mix.

CD 2&3: 33 additional tracks from studio sessions, most of them never released before and mixed for the first time from four-track tapes. They kept chronological order of tracks (as they were recorded). There is also a new mix of the Penny Lane and 2015 mix of the Strawberry Fields Forever.

CD 4: „Direct transfer” of the original mono mix, plus singles Penny Lane (promotional single released in USA) and Strawberry Fields Forever. There are also early mono mixes of the She’s Leaving Home, A Day In The Life and Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. The latter was deleted from the 1967 master-tape, but luckily it was found when preparing the anniversary edition.

Blu-ray & DVD: New multi-channel 5.1 mixes of the whole album and Penny Lane prepared by Giles Martina and Sam Okelle plus 2015 mix of the Strawberry Fields Forever (BD: DTS HD Master Audio & Dolby TrueHD, DVD: Dolby Digital & DTS). One can find there also a hi-res stereo version (PCM 24/96) plus Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever (2015).

Video section: a remastered promotional film for Strawberry Fields Forever, Penny Lane and A Day In The Life plus The Making of Sgt. Pepper - a restored, never previously released documentary including interviews with McCartney, Harrison and Starr and photographs made by George Martin during studio sessions, broadcast on TV in 1992.

The discs were placed in a cover identical to the folded vinyl one. Each CD features a slightly different mini LP cover - on three additional CDs it is a modified version, with other featured central characters. Two versions of the "band's" drum are included on the covers of the video discs. This is a Japanese edition, so the discs are inserted not directly into the cardboard envelopes, but first into anti-static transparent pouches.

Inside the box one finds also a black-and-white poster introducing concert of the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, a large, colorful poster with the same Beatles figures as the ones on the cover, cut-outs, a diorama included exclusively in the Japanese release and and art-book with the history of the album, many photos, including scans of song manuscripts and pictures of the original analogue tapes boxes.

SOUND

It will be very difficult to separate the aesthetic impressions associated with re-arranging the various elements on the stage in front of us from those related to sound quality. A good example of this is the opening title track. The audience in it is placed in front of us in a semicircle, not slightly shifted to the left as before. The drums now seem to be located on the left side with the rhythm guitar and the solo guitar is placed in the right speaker. Solo voices are located in front of us and only the chorus is spread over wider area of the stage.

Similar changes, ie belonging to the same category, will be heard in the next song, the With A Little Help With My Friend. The voice is located in the middle, the bass on the right and the solo guitar on the left. In the older version the vocal was on the left, and a bit further left, deep in the stage, the backing vocals. The instrument opening the Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds in the new version moves from channel to channel. And so on, and so forth. A meticulous description second by second of all the changes I shall leave to people more qualified than me, also because our goal is to evaluate the sound quality.

Before we move on, let's say, however, that the changes introduced by Giles are – at least for me – good and needed ones. The main areas on which he worked were the sound stage, tone and intensity (tangibility). As for the sound stage, we finally have a real stereo album, where one can finally hear the extent of arrangements and production work that one could read about before, but couldn't hear them when listening. The tonal balance is similar to the one we know from "Remaster 2009", ie sound is pretty bright, but not too bright, and the sound has a strong bass foundation. Which is related to tangibility - no earlier version offered such a close perspective and so full imaging of instruments and vocals as this one does. It's a full-blooded, rich performance.

Remaster 2009 vs Remaster 2017
SHM-CD vs SHM-CD & CD vs CD

And finally we arrived to the heart of this review. I think the 2017 Remaster is much better than the older one. It is richer and has a better tonal balance. Instruments have more three-dimensional bodies and are more distinctively presented in the mix. The biggest changes concern the quality of treble and bass. The band-extremes are very selective, but smoother and less one-dimensional than in '2009' version. The latter seems to focus more on a contour, forgetting sometimes that these have to be filled in. At the same time, the 1987 version that I also listened to (my release comes from 1998) with the old remaster was even smoother and even warmer, and - to be honest – I missed that with both new remasters.

But as usual, there is nothing for free. That's why I enjoyed the latest (2017) version because it is very consistent and tells the real story. If I remember correctly, it goes in the same direction as what I heard while listening to a copy of the master-tape at the Audio Video Show 2015. The analogue tape with the original mix and original master was incredibly organic and this feature could not be reproduced on any edition - neither of that period nor on new digital ones. But that's how it works - both LP and CD, files etc are just some approximation of what was recorded on original master-tape. And this applies to all releases, all albums, not just the Sgt. Pepper's …

The 2017 Remaster is also less “glassy” than 2009 Remaster. When, in September 2009, I received a sampler for review with newly released versions of the selected songs, initially I was overwhelmed with the amount of information. The versions from the 1998 Japanese edition, in comparison, seemed dark and insufficiently resolving. With time, when I got used to the new version, I started to appreciate the calm and organic nature of what George Martin prepared in the 1980s. Now I know why – the 2017 Remaster is as selective as the one from 2009, but it is in a way, soft in a very natural way. The '2009' version is in such a comparison pretty shallow, "thinned".

It's easy to observe listening to the bass. The amount of bass in both 20th century releases seems similar and in the 2009 it was an important, good change. It included, however, a slightly mechanical emphasis in the lower end, and now we are dealing with a stronger "presence". The effect might seem similar, but one perceives it completely differently. The new version is therefore more natural, "human". The older one, in contrast, more mechanical, shallow. This is also true for vocal renditions - now they are denser, more three-dimensional, and better combined with the rest of the instruments, in a way restoring the naturalness of the 1987 remaster.

Remaster 2017: CD vs SHM-CD

I was also curious about differences between the regular European release and the Japanese SHM-CD (Super High Material CD) edition. I would like to remind you that the SHM-CD is a Compact Disc, but prepared in a different way than a regular edition. Instead of plain polycarbonate (transparent plastic), it uses two layers - an outer one made of polycarbonate and an internal one made of the material used to make LCD screens. Because it has a liquid form, and after exposure, it rapidly solidifies, it better fills the pits in molded metal (aluminum). This results in fewer reading errors.

To confirm the fact that the CD production process is not "transparent" and has an influence on sound quality one can compare in a mastering studio the PCM 16 / 44.1 file and already produced (of it) compact disc. One can also compare Master CD-R with CD - the differences are significant, sometimes even shockingly big. Every way to improve the precision of the CD making is therefore worth attention. The SHM-CD is one of the best methods, but it is a shame we did not get the Platinum SHM-CD version, the refined version of the former.

It should come as surprise that the differences between the standard edition of the Sgt. Pepper's ... and its SHM-CD version are quite clear. I will name them in a moment, but first let me point out that for some reason these differences are smaller than the ones I observed when conducting the same comparison between the two versions of the 2009 Remaster. To the point - the European version is shallower and the tonal balance is shifted up. The SHM-CD seems deeper and richer. It has a more three-dimensional images, and so the sound stage in front of us is more palpable, there is more of everything. The SHM-CD presents treble with more harmonics, which in turn makes the bass sound better. The general conclusion of such a comparison is that: SHM-CD offers more organic sound and it delivers more information despite the fact that the sound is darker.

SUMMARY

The differences between the two releases of the new remaster are clear, and if I could choose, I would pick the SHM-CD without hesitation. But for some time, before I received the Japanese box, I listened to the European version and I enjoyed it too, there was nothing missing on it. The 2017 Remaster is incredibly satisfying and the older version of 2009 stands no chance against it. Only the oldest edition in this set, the 1998 Japanese edition, offers something that was not there anymore: coherence. The '2009' and '2017' versions are resolving, selective, clear, yet they go so far into that, that sometimes I needed an antidote in the form of the first digital remaster.

However, the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band with the new mix and master is fantastic! Not everything could be improved because the consecutive tracks were recorded and mixed during the recording sessions, and Gil Martin had access to the final, four-track work version. But I think he managed to extract a lot of music out of it, and that was the whole point. Bravo!

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Our reviewers regularly contribute to  “Enjoy the Music.com”, “Positive-Feedback.com”“HiFiStatement.net”  and “Hi-Fi Choice & Home Cinema. Edycja Polska” .

"High Fidelity" is a monthly magazine dedicated to high quality sound. It has been published since May 1st, 2004. Up until October 2008, the magazine was called "High Fidelity OnLine", but since November 2008 it has been registered under the new title.

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