Monday, January 17, 2011

1962, November 26: Sources: PLEASE PLEASE ME

“PLEASE PLEASE ME”

Versions. There are two versions, Mono and Stereo, which use different foundation takes (takes unknown, however).

Foundational Variations. UPDATE February 2, 2011: A “Foundational Variation” is any preceding base for a released recording which (with some exceptions) has no extra material. For this song, no original twin-track take is available for inspection, and we are anyway unsure which twin-track take formed the basis of the finished product. On the released Stereo recording, it is possible to isolate the guitar, bass, and drums (with bleed) in the Left channel, but this does not constitute a Foundational Variation, only a karaoke opportunity (this does not even include the concept of edits). Thus, we can go no further back than the released mixes.

Variations. There is only one Mono mix, designated Variation 1.0.

UPDATE February 2, 2011. The 1976 UK 7-inch 45 has arrived to my doorstep, and I have since discovered differences in reverberation which I now believe deserve Variation status. The first Variation, 1.0, regards the original UK 45 master. The second Variation, 1.0.1, found on most EP and LP releases, is derived from 1.0, and has more reverb than 1.0. Test at the first two instances of "Come on!" The third Variation, 1.0.2, found on VJ 581, is also derived from 1.0, and has, I think, a little more reverb than 1.0.1. The fourth Variation, 1.1, is actually a precursor to 1.0, having less reverb than 1.0, and is found on the 1976 UK 7-inch 45.

There is also only one Stereo mix, but several Variations (as well as a few "deviations").

The first Variation, 2.0, is designated to the first (“-1”) lacquer for the UK Please Please Me LP. On this lacquer, at about 1:18 into the recording for this song, in the midst of a riff, the Left channel guitar volume drops way down for a few seconds. This exact event occurs on not only my own “two-box” (label) album (ca. 1970) but also on the pbthal “Tube-Cut” two-box FLAC, which confirms the finding. It therefore earns a new Variation for being both noticeable and influencing a remaster. However, I think it prudent to say that I tested only the two-box, not the Yellow-and-Black or the “one-box” types (1963- ca. 1969).

The second Variation, 2.1, is the “fixed” master (the aforementioned remaster), on which the guitar volume at 1:18 remains “normal” (that is, fairly constant). This Variation is the common Stereo version found on most sources, including the second (“-2”) lacquer for the UK LP. Note, however, that many of these sources were issued between 1963 (release date for the first lacquer) and 1973 (approximate release date for the second lacquer), which may indicate that only the two-box first-lacquer Please Please Me LP included Variation 2.0. The solution is pending.

The third Variation, 2.1.1, is a derivative of 2.1. On The Early Beatles Stereo LP, “Please Please Me” has a little more reverberation than on the UK Please Please Me album, possibly by use of compression. I hear it mainly in the trail-offs to John’s vocal. Test the echo after the first lyric (“last night I said these words to my girl”). This more “cavernous” (if you will) quality earns it a Variation.

UPDATE February 28, 2011. Previously, due to its different Stereo image positioning, I counted "Please Please Me" on the US version of The Beatles 1962-1966 as Variation 2.1.2. However, I now think such small positional movements are "deviations" rather than Variations. Note also that, despite reports to the contrary, this is not the same master as on The Early Beatles.

Not Variations. Section UPDATE February 2, 2011.

(1) In testing* “Please Please Me” on the German Stereo Die Beatles LP, considered to have less processing than all other Stereo Please Please Me pressings (details: here), I heard a tiny (if any!) discrepancy in the reverberation quality on the vocal (Right) channel, but not enough to earn any new Variation.

* I tested using both vinyl (German Please Please Me) and needle-drop FLAC (Die Beatles), performing A-B tests against several other sources, including UK Please Please Me (vinyl and FLAC), Blue Box Please Please Me (vinyl and FLAC), MFSL Please Please Me (vinyl and FLAC), and the 2009 Please Please Me remaster.

(2) As noted above, any small differences in Stereo image positioning will not be designated as new Variations, but as deviations. Naturally, judgment has been used to differ between Variation and deviation.

(3) Discrepancies in channel loudness generally do not earn any new Variation.

(4) Concerning the “Mono Fold-Down” (Mono-from-Stereo) track on The Early Beatles Mono LP, it’s interesting from the standpoint that it proves this album to be filled with such fold-downs, but it can be replicated by simply summing to Mono while playing the Stereo track, and therefore earns no new Variation.

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AUDIO SOURCES

Sonic Ratings. All recommended sources will receive a subjective sonic rating, either Excellent, Very Good, or Good. This subjective rating is based on various factors, including (1) clarity vs. murkiness, (2) smoothness vs. distortion (including harshness) or peaking, (3) balance vs. over-loud elements (for example, too much emphasis on bass), and (4) comparison to other sources under a particular category (for example, Mono). Any source not given a rating of at least Good will at least be provided explanatory notes (including whether or not I’ve heard that source).

Price Tags. Vinyl sources will include an estimated 2010 price tag in US dollars, taken mainly from completed eBay auctions.

Terminology. "Analog" refers only to vinyl. No tapes were tested.

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MONO

Mix Information. As previously noted (here), the Mono mix is differently constructed than the Stereo mix.

Mastering Issue #1: Concerning Edits. It is reported that the Mono mix used edits, and that these edits are audible on releases of this Variation, with some differences between sources. However, as previously noted (here), I think there are no edits, nor can I find any differences between sources for those sounds called “edits.”

Mastering Issue #2. UPDATE February 2, 2011: Concerning Speed Issues. Several Mono releases have speed constancy problems. The most noticeable is VJ 581. Testing two copies of the vinyl, I found that, two notes (about 1.6 seconds) into the song, the speed increased slightly. This mastering anomaly was copied to one version of Dr. Ebbetts’ US Singles Collection, but this was fixed for a later version. I also perceived some speed constancy issues with the vinyl EP, but it's different from and not as drastic as VJ 581. I think these are all minuscule and unimportant as it regards Variations.

Imbalance. “Please Please Me” in Mono has mastering imbalances of several varieties, differing from source to source. In cases where I was able to test for such imbalance, I provide details.

Terminology. "FLAC signature" and "Channel Duplication Solution" are terms under the subject of imbalance, discussed: here.

End of Song. UPDATE February 2, 2011. The fade is the same for all sources, but some are faded more quickly in order to avoid a clicking sound (console switch?) after the song proper. For example, the CD EP contains the entirety (about 5.35 seconds long) while the CD 45 is short one-half second (about 4.85 seconds long). This click can also be heard, at various fade volumes, on the 2009 Remaster and Introducing the Beatles.

VARIATION 1.0

General. According to expert Steve Hoffman, on the original master (UK 45) was applied "Altec limiter" compression 2:1, 5000 Hz +4 mid-range boost, filtered 50 Hz bass, and filtered 10,000 Hz top end. The result is supposedly a smoother sound.

UK 7-inch 45 (1963-1967)

UPDATE February 2, 2011

$50 up

General. There were apparently four pressings of this single (Parlophone R-4983), first on a red label and subsequently on a black label, manufactured until probably 1967. Photos and information: here and here. Lacquer “-1N.” Possibly four mothers.

My Source: None! Note. Dr. Ebbetts’ UK Singles Collection needle-drop FLAC (an exact copy is found on Purple Chick's bootleg Please Please Me Deluxe, disc 1, track 30) does not contain Variation 1.0, but 1.0.1. However, Ebbetts' US Singles Collection does contain Variation 1.0, from VJ 498. Since we know that VJ 498 is from the same master as Parlophone R-4983 (see below), something is amiss with the Ebbetts set (at least my copy of it).

Imbalance. Dr. Ebbetts, none.

Sonic Rating. Vinyl, pending.

Ebbetts (Variation 1.0.1), VERY GOOD. Good: Quite well-done. Bad: Gained just a tad high.

US 7-inch 45 (1963)

UPDATE February 2, 2011

$150 up

General. Tested as Variation 1.0. Spizer has at various times noted (for example, in The Beatles Are Coming!: The Birth of Beatlemania in America, p.227) that Vee-Jay Records issued “Please Please Me” (VJ 498) on February 7, 1963 (not February 25, as often reported), well before the UK Mono LP master was created. Beyond any doubt, therefore, the UK 45 master was the basis for VJ 498.

There is an ultra-rare misprint of VJ 498, which displays the band name as “Beattles.” Needless to say, this collector’s item is worth beaucoup bucks.

My Source: Dr. Ebbetts’ US Singles Collection needle-drop FLAC (which claims to have used VJ 498, pictured: here).

Speed. From comparison of the Ebbetts sources, it would appear that VJ 498 runs 2% faster than the UK 45. In my estimation, faster is better. Unlike VJ 581, there is no speed deviation at the start.

Imbalance. Dr. Ebbetts, none.

Sonic Rating. VERY GOOD. Good: Has a lively quality. Bad: A bit more ragged from brightness.

US LP Introducing the Beatles, et. al. (1964) - Mono, "Version 2"

UPDATE February 2, 2011

$100+ (Introducing the Beatles, if genuine)

General. This tested as dry as VJ 498. More evidence: "Ask Me Why" 1.0 was the B-side to VJ 498. "Ask Me Why" 1.0 also ended up on the second version of Introducing the Beatles, most likely from VJ 498.

The other Vee-Jay LP’s (The Beatles vs. the Four Seasons; Songs, Pictures, and Stories of the Fabulous Beatles; Jolly What! The Beatles and Frank Ifield on Stage) probably carry the same master.

My Sources: (1) Vinyl. (2) Dr. Ebbetts’ needle-drop FLAC.

Imbalance. Vinyl, untested. Dr. Ebbetts, none.

Sonic Rating. Vinyl, EXCELLENT Good: Wonderful bass. Smooth in all elements. I’m pretty much in love with it. Bad: A bit harsh.

Dr Ebbetts, EXCELLENT. Good: Close to the album. Bad: Slight peaking.

Variation 1.0, Notes

UPDATE February 2, 2011

(1) Concerning Canadian releases, the Capitol of Canada single (72090) is seemingly rarer and more expensive than an original Parlophone 45, and the LP Twist and Shout (Capitol of Canada T-6054) offers nothing new or improved. I assume both are Variation 1.0.

VARIATION 1.0.1: ANALOG

General. This is the UK 45 master, but with more compression.

UK LP Please Please Me (1963) - Mono

$20-1000.

General. Details for various incarnations of this album are: here.

My Sources:

Dr. Ebbetts needle-drop FLAC.

General. This FLAC is identical to that on Dr. Ebbetts’ Casualties.

Imbalance. Ebbetts FLAC hiss: link.

Sonic Rating. GOOD. Good: Good solid mid-range. Bad: A little light on low frequencies. Some peaking and harshness.

Pbthal needle-drop FLAC.

Imbalance. FLAC signature.

Sonic Rating. VERY GOOD. Good: Keeps an eye on the high end irritation by flattening the spectrum. Bass is smooth. Bad: It has a feeling of puniness, due to reduced gain, but this is more helpful than hurtful.

Millennium Remasters Red Wax Japan LP needle-drop 320 kbps mp3.

Imbalance. Millennium Remasters mp3 signature: link.

Sonic Rating. Though it tries hard and succeeds at removing harshness, every element is a bit muffled, though spectrum analysis indicates that it should sound better.

Pbthal Red Wax Japan LP (Toshiba EAS-70130) needle-drop FLAC.

Imbalance. FLAC signature.

Sonic Rating. This is a hair better than Millennium Remasters, but too similar for success, no fault of pbthal.

UK EP The Beatles' Hits (1963)

UPDATE February 2, 2011

$5-50, the lower price for the reissue from the vinyl box set

General. This (Parlophone GEP 8880) is also part of The Beatles EP Collection 1981 vinyl box set. Tested as Variation 1.0.1.

My Source: Vinyl box set.

Imbalance. Untested.

The CDEP is reportedly remastered differently (see below).

Sonic Rating. VERY GOOD. Good: In terms of dynamics, it kicks like Variation 1.0. Bad: Murkier from the added compression. Somewhat harsh. Speed variations noticable.

VARIATION 1.0.1: DIGITAL

CD Please Please Me (1987)

My Source. CD.

Imbalance. link.

Sonic Rating. Can’t recommend. Bright, with harshness, and an almost non-existent bass. Odd, since spectrum analysis does not confirm.

CD 45 (1988-89)

General. Also available on The Beatles Singles Collection CD box set (1992).

My Source. CD.

Imbalance. Popping: link.

Sonic Rating. Spectrum analysis shows this to be almost a replica of the CD LP track, with just a little more loudness and some extra high frequencies, and it sounds like it. I will describe this as "cranky" (to your interpretation).

CD EP The Beatles' Hits (1992)

General. This is from the CD EP box set, although it can also be found at auction as a separate CD.

My Source. CD box set. Note. Dr. Ebbetts' UK EP Collection (2000 edition) used the CD EP, not vinyl, for this track (checked with Audacity).

Imbalance. None: link.

Sonic Rating. EXCELLENT. Good: Contrary to aspersions I previously laid, I think this is well-done. Bad: Could be considered too warm.

CD The Beatles 1962-1966 (1993)

My Source. 320 kbps mp3.

Imbalance. Stereo artifacts, peak about -6 db. Excellent candidate for Channel Duplication Solution.

Sonic Rating. EXCELLENT. Good: Close to the sound of the CD EP, and spectrum analysis backs that up. Bad: Not much! Too bland?

CD Please Please Me - Remaster (2009) - Mono

My Source. FLAC.

Imbalance. FLAC signature. Spectrum analysis of WAV file from CD showed same characteristics as FLAC signature.

Sonic Rating. EXCELLENT. Good: About as good as it’s gonna get. They even fixed the “plosive” at the line “I do all the pleasing” (about 1:10 into the song). Bad: If anything, the gain is a bit high.

2-CD The Beatles 1962-1966 (2010)

My Source. CD.

Imbalance. FLAC signature.

Sonic Rating. EXCELLENT. Good: Replica of the 2009 Remaster. Bad: Same as Remaster.

VARIATION 1.0.2

General. This tested a bit more cavernous than other sources. I don't know why.

US 7-inch 45 (1964)

$8-40



General. The same master is likely to be found on the singles Oldies OL 150 (Oldies a Vee-Jay subsidiary) and Starline 6063 (Starline, a subsidiary of Capitol, re-released the Vee-Jay masters). Photos of, and information on, the acetate for the Starline 45 can be viewed: here. More information and photos for Vee-Jay masters, mothers, and stampers are: here. More information on Vee-Jay releases and chart: here.

My Sources: (1) Vinyl, VJ 581 ("Gil Music"). (2) Vinyl, VJ 581 (no "Gil Music").

Imbalance. Vinyl, untested.

Sonic Rating. Per “Mastering Issue #2” above, VJ 581 has an opening flaw which spoils it, "Gil Music" 45 constantly experiencing speed issues. The sound is mediocre.

VARIATION 1.1

General. Super-dry. According to Steve Hoffman, this was a flat transfer (no compression or EQ tampering).

UK 7-inch 45 (1976)

UPDATE February 2, 2011

$5-10 single; $110-200 box set

General. This 45 (Parlophone R-4983) was also part of the "Green Sleeve" box set (aka "The Black Box"), released by World Records in 1977. The lacquer ("-2") was cut on a Neumann lathe.

My Source. Vinyl box set.

Imbalance. Untested.

Sonic Rating. EXCELLENT Good: Slick vocals. Harmonica the best I've heard it. Bad: Not much.

UK 7-inch 45 (1982)

UPDATE February 2, 2011

$5 or so single; $200-250 box set

General. This (Parlophone 45-R-4983) was a 20th-Anniversary issue , and also part of The Beatles Singles Collection (EMI BSCP1), released 1982. This is apparently the third lacquer (“-3”), although instances of -2 matrix are known. I leave this as Variation 1.1 for the time being.

Imbalance. Untested.

Sonic Rating. Pending.

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STEREO

Mix Information. The takes were recorded as twin-tracks, two tracks recorded simultaneously, instruments to one side, vocals to the other. The Stereo mix uses for its foundation a different take than the Mono.

Though the foundational takes are different, the harmonica overdubs are the same on all Mono and Stereo releases. In fact, for Stereo, the Mono mix itself was (for whatever reason) overdubbed onto the Stereo foundational take (details: here). Though Brennan was puzzled that the last harmonica dub in the Stereo mix is quieter than the other dub parts, it is the same in Mono, which explains all.

For Stereo mixing, the instrumental side of the twin track was sent hard (wide) to the Left channel, vocals and overdubs hard to the Right channel, with nothing (except bleed and occasional echo) Center, approximately thus (“I” = instrumental track, “V” = vocals/harmonica dub track):

Left _I_________________V_ Right

Stereo Image Deviations. There are at least two deviations known which I think do not approach the status of Variation.

(1) The US version of The Beatles 1962-1966 is approximately thus:

Left _I______________V____ Right

(2) The Beatles Box (“crate”) is approximately thus:

Left ___I____________V____ Right

Relative Channel Loudness. This is the relation of the Left channel to the Right channel. Each source has its own recipe, affecting the listening experience, especially under headphones.

Relative channel loudness differs from overall loudness. Whereas the former may cause a desire to rebalance the channels (by whatever method), the latter (which I will call “gain”) motivates to adjust the volume knob.

Sonic Rating and Mono Summing. The deviations to Wide Stereo are limited, those deviations being (1) channel placement (see “Mix Information” above), (2) relative channel loudness (already covered), and (3) equalization. Due to this minimalism, I decided to listen in Mono to determine the sonic rating (this also satisfied any curiosity concerning “how it would sound”). When I double-checked my findings in Stereo, I was pleased that they matched.

Terminology. "Meter" means the Audacity Output Level Meter.

End of Song. UPDATE February 2, 2011. Unlike the Mono, the Stereo fade lasts at most 4-4.5 seconds, and so the click is never heard. I think it's longest digitally on the 2009 Remaster, and in analog several times.

VARIATION 2.0

General. This Variation has a noticeable mastering flaw at 1:18.

UK LP Please Please Me (1963) - Stereo

$50-24,000

General. The mastering flaw applies apparently only to the first (“-1) lacquer (and possibly only the two-box label) of this particular album.

My Sources: (1) Vinyl “two-box” label, “2” mother, deep stamper (9th label, ca. 1970). (2) Pbthal “Tube Cut” two-box needle-drop FLAC.

Relative Channel Loudness. On both vinyl and FLAC, the vocal channel is much too loud. Even if the original intent, it’s irritating.

Sonic Rating by Mono Summing. I have included this Variation only for completeness. Besides the distracting volume drop, “Please Please Me” 2.0 is loud and somewhat harsh. NO RATING. Mono summing did not fix the harshness, but the guitar volume drop became buried. GOOD.

VARIATION 2.1: ANALOG

General. This Variation does not have the mastering flaw found on “Please Please Me” 2.0.

UK LP Please Please Me (1963?) – Stereo

$50 up

General. This Variation applies to the second lacquer (“-2”).

Details for various incarnations of this album are: here.

My Sources: (1) Vinyl UK LP Please Please Me from The Beatles Collection ("Blue Box"), two-box label, "-2" lacquer. (2) Dr. Ebbetts “Blue Box” needle-drop FLAC.

Relative Channel Loudness. Vinyl, compared to vinyl source for Variation 2.0, both channels have been lowered, the Right (vocal) a little more than the Left. This is an improvement. FLAC, compared to FLAC source for Variation 2.0, the Left (instrumental) track has been increased greatly, the Right increased slightly, and the overall gain lowered. This is an unauthorized improvement.

Sonic Rating by Mono Summing. Vinyl, VERY GOOD. Good. Pulsating bass. Bad. Vocal is still somewhat loud, and has some variable qualities.

Ebbetts, GOOD. Good. Mid-range is the best quality here, guitars and drums standing out. Bad. Vocals mediocre, bass has been obscured a little.

US LP Introducing the Beatles (1964) – Stereo, “Version 2”

$ expensive !

General: Vee-Jay album, catalog SR-1062. Definitely Variation 2.1.

My Source: Dr. Ebbetts needle-drop FLAC.

Relative Channel Loudness. Compared to Blue Box FLAC, both channels here have been increased exponentially, perhaps the Left (instrumental) channel a bit more. It is LOUD.

Sonic Rating by Mono Summing. VERY GOOD. Good. Despite its intensity, FLAC is dense and complex. Bass and drums stand out. Bad. A little ragtag is the price we pay for intensity/density. There is a bit of peaking, especially noticeable in the mid-section of the song.

German LP Die Beatles, or Please Please Me (1966-1977) - Stereo

$ 20-100

General. As noted above, “Please Please Me” here shows little or no difference with Variation 2.1 on any other source.

Details on the German sources for "Please Please Me" 2.1 are: here.

My Sources: (1) Vinyl, German Please Please Me (Apple Electrola 1C 062-04219), lacquer “SHZE-117-A2/-B2.” (2) Pbthal Die Beatles needle-drop FLAC. (3) Dr. Ebbetts was used to verify testing.

Relative Channel Loudness. Vinyl, compared to Blue Box vinyl, the same. FLAC, about the same as vinyl but gained lower. Vinyl and FLAC are both good.

Sonic Rating by Mono Summing. Vinyl and FLAC, EXCELLENT. Good. Nice upper-middle, the guitar and vocal shining. Harmonica is just about right. Bad. Light on bass.

Sweden LP The Beatles’ Greatest (1967)

$10-20

General: EMI, catalog PMCS-306. Definitely Variation 2.1.

My Source: Vinyl, Parlophone catalog #7C 038 04207 (1978 reissue).

Relative Channel Loudness. About the same as the Blue Box vinyl, except each channel gained down a notch. Softness is niceness.

Sonic Rating by Mono Summing. EXCELLENT. Good. Solid. There seems to be somewhat less bleed in this press, resulting in a “cleaner” sound with great separation. Groovy, and quiet vinyl doesn’t hurt! Bad. The bass frequencies are light.

US 2-LP The Beatles 1962-1966 (1973)

$2-20

My Sources. (1) Vinyl, US issue (SKBO-3403). (2) Ebbetts' needle-drop FLAC.

The US version of this source has a different Stereo image, as noted above (deviation). The UK version of this release uses the normal wider Stereo image.

Relative Channel Loudness. Vinyl, in comparison to the Blue Box, has the Right (vocal) channel somewhat louder. FLAC, in comparison to Blue Box FLAC, has the Left channel elevated a little and the Right channel quieted a bit. Both are very good.

Sonic Rating by Mono Summing. Vinyl, EXCELLENT. Good. You’ll excuse me if I think this has great punch and vitality. Bass and vocals are terrific. Bad. The harmonica is a bit intrusive.

FLAC, VERY GOOD. Good. About the same as the vinyl. Bad. A little more piercing than the vinyl.

Japan (MFSL) LP Please Please Me (1986)

$50 up

General. This release (MFSL 1-101) was also part of a box set (the “Black Box”). Definitely Variation 2.1.

My Sources: (1) Vinyl, from The Black Box. (2) Dr. Ebbetts needle-drop FLAC.

Note that Dr. Ebbetts’ 2008 Upgrade was a remaster, not a needle-drop. I deal with this appropriately.

Relative Channel Loudness. Vinyl, compared to Blue Box vinyl, has the Left (instrumental) channel elevated, and the vocal channel a hair softer. The vocal channel seems less wild, due I think to this increased attention and further equalization. FLAC, about the same.

Sonic Rating by Mono Summing. Vinyl, EXCELLENT. Good. The bass is the defining element by far. More thrilling than the Blue Box, due to increased mid-range and decreased high end. Bad. Sometimes the vocals get lost, especially in the middle section (beginning about 1:02 into the song), the “fault” of elevated bass.

Ebbetts, GOOD. Good. Similar to the vinyl. Bad. Too much high end was sucked out, which somewhat muffles everything but the bass.

Dr. Ebbetts 2008 Upgrade. This is an entirely different animal than Ebbetts' previous MFSL version. First, the vocal channel has been elevated. Second, the trademark MFSL bass is gone, and instead we have a very clean sound, drums and vocals standing out. Still, though not original intent, from a listening standpoint, VERY GOOD.

Variation 2.1 Analog, Notes

(1) The Millennium Remasters red wax is quite similar to the Blue Box, but skinnier in the lows, and thus of less import.

(2) The 1980 8-LP The Beatles Box (World Records SM 701/8) includes an adequate rendition, with somewhat less bass.

Note that a certain circulating mp3 has reversed channels, and is consequently a fake.

VARIATION 2.1: DIGITAL

CD Please Please Me - Remaster (2009) – Stereo

My Source. FLAC.

Relative Channel Loudness. Compared to the Blue Box FLAC, the Left (instrumental) channel is about doubled. The Right channel is, however, a dead ringer (until the very end) for that of the Blue Box FLAC. Though loud, it’s not obnoxious.

Sonic Rating by Mono Summing. EXCELLENT. Good. Similar in quality to the MFSL, elevating low frequencies, which keeps the vocals mellow and the harmonica away from harshness. Unlike the MFSL, however, the drums and guitar are sharp. Bad. A bit of sterility!

VARIATION 2.1: BOOTLEG

Fabulous Sound Labs HDCD Please Please Me

My Source: 320 kbps mp3.

Relative Channel Loudness. Wavelength graph reveals a louder version of the Blue Box FLAC, more or less.

Sonic Rating by Mono Summing. VERY GOOD. Good. Like a double-size Blue Box with clearer vocals. Spectrum analysis shows the reason for this to be a slightly mounded mid-range. Bad. Just a bit loud.

Variation 2.1 Bootleg, Notes

(1) On Rarities 2: We Can Work it Out (detailed information: here), “Please Please Me” is presented as a "Dick James Stereo Remix from Rare US Promo." To me, it sounds exactly like the Blue Box FLAC (only gained lower), and thus earns no new Variation. If you like, it is a substitute for that FLAC (rated “Good”).

VARIATION 2.1.1

General. As noted above, this Variation adds a bit of reverberation.

US LP The Early Beatles (1965) – Stereo

$5-10

General: Capitol album, catalog ST-2309. It’s the familiar “American” sound, if you will.

My Sources: (1) Vinyl (orange label; also, Apple label). (2) Dr. Ebbetts needle-drop FLAC. (3) The Capitol Versions Vol. 2 FLAC (since this is actually digital, I cheated here).

Relative Channel Loudness. Vinyl, about the same as the Blue Box vinyl. Ebbetts, compared to the Blue Box FLAC, about double the gain. The Capitol Versions, even louder than Ebbetts (disqualified from further testing). I am not convinced that Ebbetts did not use the Capitol Versions CD as his foundation.

Sonic Rating by Mono Summing. Vinyl, VERY GOOD. Good. Vocals and drums stand out. Bad. The bass frequencies are softened up, probably by the extra ‘verb.

Ebbetts, VERY GOOD. Good. Close to the vinyl. Bad. It’s pretty loud!

OUTFAKES

General. An "outfake" is a fan-created mix or recording.

Bootleg, Every Little Thing Volume 2

On this bootleg, disc 1, track 23 (detailed information here), is presented "Please Please Me" 2.1 without John's lyrical mistake in the last verse.

It's fun to hear but is an unauthorized edit (you can hear a “swish” at 1:25, denoting this edit), and thus not a Variation.

Bootleg, Dr. Ebbetts' Please Please Me "Stereo Remix"

This release (details: here) puts the Right (vocal) channel very close to Center, approximately thus:

Left _I__________V_______ Right

This was accomplished by mixing the Right channel into the Left channel. Harmonica remains Right channel until the grand finale, when it's both Center and Right. The harmony vocals "in my heart..." are Right channel also. It's interesting, but not pleasing.

Naturally, being unauthorized, this is not a Variation.

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MONO FOLD-DOWN: ANALOG & DIGITAL

The 1965 Mono LP The Early Beatles (Capitol T 2309) used a Mono-from-Stereo fold-down, as did the 2006 CD set, The Capitol Albums, Volume 2. The giveaway comes when John sings “Why do I never even try, girl" (or whatever you think he's singing). This “mix” is not collectible nor a Variation, as you can “make” it yourself by pushing the “Mono” button on your amplifier. For a few more details on the original album, go: here.

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VIDEO SOURCES

Section updated February 16, 2011

PROMOTIONAL

In 1983, EMI produced two varieties of a promo film for "Please Please Me" to coincide with the 20th-anniversary single, both very similar to each other.

(1) The first variety features The Beatles playing Washington DC (February 11, 1964), with inter-cut footage from Abbey Road Studios, ca. 1963-64. This variety can be found on the boot DVD Chronology 1 in good transfer.

(2) The second variety is the same as the first, except that the inter-cut footage has become intermittently superimposed, using newer video technology. This can be found on the boot DVD Chronology 2 in very good transfer.

The sound on both varieties is Stereo, but will not satisfy for the sake of your audio collection.

CARTOON

(1) The Beatles cartoon series, Episode 23, includes an animated sing-a-long, depicting Paul serenading his recalcitrant love. The punchline appears below. The audio is a Mono fold-down from the Stereo mix.

(2) The Beatles cartoon series, Episode 25, includes an animated segment, depicting Ringo as a hapless bullfighter. A capture appears below. The audio is a Mono fold-down from the Stereo mix, with a few sound effects.

_______________________________________________________________________

Tom Wise
gengar843@msn.com

Although I use quotes from sources, or cited fact, much of the material on this and other pages of my blog is original, from my own pen. This is not cut-and-paste, it is a work of art. Copyright © 2010-11 Tom Wise.

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