BEATLES Please Please Me LP
This is where it all begins. The album that ushered in rock n’ roll again and made it stay, the start of the British Invasion, the origination of Beatlemania and the culture-altering revolution that followed.
Part of Capitol/Apple’s quintessential Beatles catalog masters series on LP, Please Please Me has been remastered from the original sources by a dedicated team of engineers that includes Guy Massey, Steve Rooke, and Sam Okell with Paul Hicks and Sean Magee. Proper care and a painstaking series of steps were taken to ensure that music lovers would hear the Fab Four in all their glory with premium clarity and transparency.
A document designed to capture the Beatles’ live energy of the time, and recorded in one 10-hour session, Please Please Me is built upon a combination of direct and ambient sounds gathered from group microphones. For the first time, you can detect the “leakage” encouraged to flow between microphones as well as the results of the close-miking techniques intended to tighten up the sound and yet, leave it loose—hence, the explosive vocals, partially a consequence of few microphone screens or baffles.
“I Saw Her Standing There,” “Twist and Shout,” and “Love Me Do” have never been so dynamic. And the band’s influences—girl group pop, rockabilly, blues, and hard-driving R&B—come through in the form of songs that seem simple but contain myriad complexities. You can distinguish the Gretsch Country Gentlemen 6122 from the Rickenbacker 425 guitars. Lennon’s lose-control vocal blowout on “Twist and Shout” hits a new level of wow. It’s all thanks to Capitol’s meticulous mastering.
With EMI’s legendary Abbey Road Studios providing the backdrop, the four-year restoration process combined veteran expertise, state-of-the-art equipment, vintage studio gear, and rigorous testing to net what is without doubt the highest fidelity possible and authentic, jaw-dropping sound guaranteed to rival the original LPs. There is no longer any need to pay hundreds of dollars for Japanese pressings.
At the start of the restoration process, engineers conducted extensive tests before copying the analog master tapes into the digital realm using 24-bit/192 kHz resolution and a Prism A-D converter. Dust build-ups were removed from tape machine heads after the completion of each title. Artifacts such as electrical clicks, microphone vocal pops, excessive sibilance, and poor edits were improved upon as long as it was determined that doing so didn’t at all damage the integrity of the songs. Similarly, de-noising technology was applied in only a few necessary spots and on a sum total of less than five of the entire 525 minutes of Beatles music.
In cutting the digital masters to vinyl, stringent safeguards and procedures were employed. After cutting to lacquer, determined to be warmer and consistent than cutting to DMM, the next step was to use the Neumann VMS80 cutting lathe at Abbey Road. Following thorough mechanical and electrical tests to ensure it was operating in peak condition, engineer Sean Magee cut the LPs in chronological release order. He used the original 24-bit remasters rather than the 16-bit versions that were required for CD production. It was also decided to use the remasters that had not undergone ‘limiting,' a procedure to increase the sound level.
Having made initial test cuts, Magee pinpointed any sound problems that can occur during playback of vinyl records. To rectify them, changes were made to the remasters with a Digital Audio Workstation. For example, each vinyl album was listened to for any ‘sibilant episodes.' vocal distortion that can occur on consonant sounds such as S and T. These were corrected by reducing the level in the very small portion of sound causing the undesired effect.
Similarly, any likelihood of inner-groove distortion was addressed. As the stylus approaches the center of the record, it is liable to track the groove less accurately. This can affect the high-middle frequencies, producing a ‘mushy’ sound particularly noticeable on vocals. Using what Magee has described as ‘surgical EQ,’ problem frequencies were identified and reduced in level to compensate for this.
The last phase of the vinyl mastering process began with the arrival of the first batches of test pressings made from master lacquers that had been sent to the two pressing plant factories. Stringent quality tests identified any noise or click appearing on more than one test pressing in the same place. If this happened, it was clear that the undesired sounds had been introduced either during the cutting or the pressing stage and so the test records were rejected. In the quest to achieve the highest quality possible, the Abbey Road team worked closely with the pressing factories and the manufacturers of the lacquer and cutting styli.
For this project, there was no such thing as too many cooks in the kitchen. Yes, it took a village to get it right.
The Beatles Please Please Me Track Listing:
1. Taste Of Honey?
2. I Saw Her Standing There?
4. Anna (Go To Him)
7. Ask Me Why
8. Please Please Me?
9. Love Me Do?
10. P. S. I Love You?
11. Baby It's You
12. Do You Want To Know A Secret
13. There's A Place?
14. Twist And Shout