Giles Martin Talks About His New 50th Anniversary "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" Stereo Remix

Today at The World of McIntosh Townhouse Producer Giles Martin Introduced his new "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Band" 50th anniversary stereo mix. Apple Corp and UMe introduce the new 50th anniversary box.

The set includes multiple CDs and DVDs containing the new mix in stereo on CD plus alternative tracks plus DVD containing high resolution and surround sound versions. Also included: double vinyl and a hard cover book. The release date is May 2016.

What's been done is precisely what you'd expect from Mr. Martin and Apple Corp.: something that enhances the legacy of The Beatles rather than exploit it.

Martin and Apple Corp. decided to produce a stereo re-mix that was true to the mono original, which was the mix in which The Beatles participated. The stereo mix, produced by others, does not conform to what The Beatles intended in a number of ways, plus it takes creative liberties in areas like pans (the "fox hunt" for example)..

Martin re-created the record in the high resolution digital domain, using original first generation multitrack elements that on the original had been mixed down a few generations on their way to being included in the final mix from four tracks. Martin's goal was to center vocals while generally remaining true to the mono mix, though in stereo. He also gave the bottom end some serious "wallop' that he claims was on the tapes.

After listening, a cynic might say the enhanced drum and bass sound might have to do with who are the two living Beatles. I'm not that cynical. The mix sounds fantastic. I went to the afternoon session. Elvis Costello and Danny Bennett (Tony's son) attended the earlier one (damn).

The two "Sgt. Pepper's..." turntables were commissioned by Pro-Ject.

Please excuse the hand-held iPhone video. (The original video was blocked on YouTube because of copyright issues. Here it is again with music muted. Hopefully this will work.

firedog's picture

Apparently from all countries

Wimbo's picture

Its blocked in Australia.

thomoz's picture

Any chance you can edit out the music, keeping only the speech, and re-upload?

How about having some other site host your video? I'll bet LiveLeak won't censor you.

PeterPani's picture

Universal is blocking .

hi-fivinyljunkie's picture

Universal behaving like idiots. Guys it's good publicity!

IR Shane's picture

I loved the bass energy and pop on the (somewhat maligned) stereo remaster from a few years back, so I'm looking forward to this one big time!

I've not been in mastering sessions as long as Gilles or Mikey, but frequently there's much more bass "on the tapes" that was EQ'd out of original pressings. And often there are mastering notes in the tape boxes that show exactly how much and where in the frequency spectrum. My reissues of Stealers Wheel and Flying Burrito Bros. are examples; in both cases we actually trimmed the bass but not nearly so much as earlier pressings and of course we had no need of pushing the midrange and treble harder. I think this is how mastering engineers used to try to get things to pop for radio.

In any case, can't wait to hear this new and hopefully improved Sgt Pepper!

Ortofan's picture

... they were already telling "Elvis has left the building" jokes.

Grant M's picture

But i have to say that it's near sacrilege to mess with these mixes.
I grew up with the stereo Pepper, and that's MY version. Yes, i'm now an audiophile and I do care about quality and clarity, but ultimately - it's Pepper. It is was it was. There is something unique that gets lost when we revisit every decision that was made originally, because somehow it should be "better". I think this is essentially a misguided project.

Michael Fremer's picture
I'd agree if you were talking about the mono mix. THAT was "the" mix because that's the one in which The Beatles participated and the one they most cared about. The stereo was mixed by "others" without their input and the mixer(s) made some key mistakes in how certain things sounded, particularly in the vocals, about which both Paul and John were very particular... in addition, all of the panned stuff that as listeners at the time we found interesting was invented by whoever did the mix and was not part of the original "game plan". This new stereo mix essentially does make the stereo mix better comport with the mono mix in the key areas and manages to put vocals in the center where they were intended to be but couldn't because of technological not esthetic considerations. So yes, the original stereo is an "original document" but....
WaltonGoggins's picture

I can imagine John saying "Finally!" From what I've heard in the past, Giles inherited the old man's ears and good taste, and I'd love to shake his hand. I never want to hear a voice and guitar trapped together inside a 6.5" woofer and tweeter again.

AnalogJ's picture

I'm curious, is the new one re-mastered analog or digital? I'm guessing it was done digital with something like Pro-Tools??

J. Carter's picture

This was remixed digitally. it is hi res (24/96 I believe) but digital none the less.

57-Vinyl-is-Finyl-You-Boneheads-57's picture

Are you saying the 2014 Mono is a better sounding than the 50th Anniversary ?

Anton D's picture

Burned out on Sgt. Peppers.

There, I said it.

Can I keep my fan club card?

Paul Robertson's picture

Really interesting stuff, and no apology required for the video quality. You got us in the room Michael. Much appreciated!

Ben Elliott's picture

Just being able to conform the new stereo mixes to the original mono mixes by using the elements before being bounced should result in much greater clarity and frequency response. Can't wait to hear it. Thanks for posting the video too

StonedBeatles's picture

Will Somebody Please Break His Fingers & Leave Perfection Alone!?

J. Carter's picture

I would hardly call the stereo mixes perfection. I love them and they are what I grew up with but lets get real here.

StonedBeatles's picture

With all due respect J Carter, IDONO? For me the original recordings were perfect and I don't feel a need to change history or to make their sound more modern per se. As it is, it's unbelievable how man different mixes of certain songs were released all over the world when they were initially released (the slight variations, etc.) and I truly find no reason to mess with it. For me it's all in the mastering and well enough should be left alone. I recall reading some time ago both George Harrison and George Martin saying that most outtakes fro the sessions are weak and that the mixes hold their own. Christ, the album was done on a 4-track (or 2 seperate 4-track machines, I forget?) with bouncing done galore. And look at the outcome? Magnificent. As for the hard panning, I always liked it cause that's what stereo was about in 1967 (and sometimes still).

I received an email from Allan Rouse some 7 years ago regarding the 2009 remasters and specifically talked about a milisecond tambourine drop out on Day Tripper and how they repaired it via cut and paste. Why?? What was wrong with the millisecond drop out and why repair it digitally? This is "Analog Planet" right? BTW-It wasn't repaired on the mono reissues.

Strawberry Fields now comes to mind with the edit of 2 takes at different speeds which resulted in different keys. How freaking magical is that song? It's a studio masterpiece. Does it really need a remix? If recorded today some nincompoop would push a button, speed it up and the 2 takes would be in exactly the same key without a fraction of the artistic creativity that the tune possesses. And it would most likely sound overly clinical and digital. (again, just my opinion).

Personally, I see this is only a money grab for the label and surviving Beatles which I find disheartening. I would much prefer the best possible transfers onto Vinyl or CD and leave well enough alone.

Rock n' Roll!


RG's picture

What was wrong with the Day Tripper drop out? It sounded bizarre and not intentional. For years I was convinced there was something wrong with my stereo and was quite relieved when the fix was finally made. It certainly is an improvement.

StonedBeatles's picture

Did I forget to mention that I can't stand Giles Martin!?

AJW's picture

I mean REALLY?(apologies to Seth and Amy)Brian Wilson mixed Pet Sounds to spacious mono and we lived with it for over 50 years(not counting the horrible stereo mix)but like those ridiculous 60's comps(Be My Baby remixed to true stereo!)if your going to center the vocals to sound like mono...leave it mono.

WaltonGoggins's picture

some 3rd stringer in 1967 said, "This is good enough. People will get a kick out of hearing disembodied sounds that sound nothing like an actual performance!"?

ukstrider's picture

Anyone know if the hi res 24/96 mix is available for download, I note that a digital version is included with the two disc set, my computers have not got blu ray drives in them and I don't think one should have to have these in order to be able to put on my dap player. This only encourages piracy which I don't want to support

Neward Thelman's picture

"After listening, a cynic might say the enhanced drum and bass sound might have to do with who are the two living Beatles".

As any scientist would say, anything's possible.

But, we also have to use our collective head. As a lark, let's try doing that now.

Were either of the "two living Beatles" present, or involved in Giles Martin's remastering work? If so, did they have any say on how the mix should sound, or was their input mostly general or informational?

More likely, Giles Martin's telling the truth about the extra bass and percussion energy being present on the original tapes. Until about 1980, nearly all pop records were highly compressed - especially with respect to bass and drums. Good digital remasterings of pre-1980 rock recordings have nearly always revealed deeper and more powerful bass and percussion. The Beatles record is hardly the first in that regard. That's been true for decades - I wonder why M. Fremer's so surprised by it?

Indeed, it's even been true for digitally remastered classical and jazz recordings. Somehow, M. Fremer's been innocent of all of that for all of these decades.

Finally, drums have been steadily getting louder and more present in rock recordings for many decades. There was even an NPR segment revealing a study that was conducted comparing the spectral energy of pop/rock recordings from the 1950's to the present. The noise spectra of percussion has decisively risen over time. It led the scientists to conclude that today rock music is "mostly noise". Of course, they meant in an energy spectrum sense.

Giles Martin may also simply wanted his new remaster to sound more contemporary, meaning it would have more bass and percussive energy.

Thus, we may see that there's no need to engage in conspiracy-theory speculation, accusing musicians of greedy and/or nefarious intentions and assigning blame to them.

bill lettang's picture

IMHO the mono mix is superior in that the band brought out parts they wanted you to NOTICE as opposed to "there's so much to hear", which seems to be, to me anyway, the case with the new stereo mix.It's too in your face and nowhere near as cohesive. (Ringo's famous fill on WALHFMF sounds like a pumped up overdub.

This really struck me more than ever when I played the mono (at the same volume) right after listening to the re-mix. It's not possible for this new mix to be my go-to.... I like the 3D cover though.....

bill lettang's picture

Hello Michael..anxiously awaiting your more in depth reviews of the CD and LP. I'm even more curious as to your opinion on the Stereo Hi-res Blu Ray version. Thanks.