With all due respect to Sir George Martin, we’ve played a number of mono pressings of this album in the past twenty or so years and have never been particularly impressed with any of them. The monos jam all the voices and instruments together in the middle, stacking them one in front of the other, and lots of musical information gets mashed together and simply disappears in the congestion.
But is Twin Track stereo any better? Yes, when you do it the way Norman Smith did on Please Please Me.
Twin Track stereo (which is actually not very much like two-track stereo, I’m sure Wikipedia must have a listing for it if you’re interested) is like two mono tracks running simultaneously. It allows the completely separate voices to occupy one channel and the completely separate instruments to occupy another with no leakage between them.
On some stereos it may seem as though the musicians and the singers are not playing together the way they would if one were hearing them in mono. They are in fact recorded on two separate mono tracks, the instruments appearing in the left channel and the singers in the right, separated as much as is physically possible.
Stuck in their individual stereo speakers, so far apart from one another, the members of the band don’t even seem to be playing together in the same room.
That’s on some stereos, and by some stereos I mean stereos that need improvement. Here’s why. (more…)