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April 2013 Issue
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Like many others, I was originally very excited by the release of the new Beatles box set by EMI. However, I to have those nagging reservations about the digital process that has been used to create these albums. In addition, the marketing literature explains that various methods have been employed to iron out what are considered to be certain undesirable sonics from the original recordings. 

Although I have not yet heard these new albums, I have little doubt that in the main, this iconic music has attained an extra warmth, body and a smoother top end. The question is: what price one sets on authenticity? 

Interestingly, I have yet to read any comparative comments made with the Mobile Fidelity Beatles box set of the early 1980s. I am fortunate to own a set of this limited edition release. Apart from half speed mastering, these albums were produced – in typical Mobile Fidelity tradition – from the original first generation tapes. They even show a photograph of each one on every album protective sleeve to prove it! 

To be fair, some of the Beatles earlier albums do sound a little thin with, at times, a rather ‘hot’ top end. Having said this, there is a tremendous vitality and presence to the sound that I doubt can be beaten. I often think when listening to them that this is almost certainly the best and most authentic way to hear the Beatles, not withstanding turning up at Abbey Road studios and asking to hear the original tapes. 

I believe it is your intention to review the new box set in your next edition. I for one would be fascinated if you were able to put your hands on a Mobile Fidelity box set for comparison and comment accordingly. In any event, I will not be parting with my set any time soon.

Clive Kerr



The Beatles Stereo box set, shown here, was released 2012. Due 2013

is the Mono box set, possessing all the definitive early mono mixes. 




Hopefully you have now read our full and in-depth review of The Beatles Stereo vinyl box set, in the February 2013 issue, which should have clarified matters for you on many of the points you have raised.

    I was unable to source a Mobile Fidelity set for the review. Such sets are very rare, I’m afraid; you are very lucky to own a copy. I have heard a set and, if memory serves me correctly, the Mobile Fidelity set is good but the new box set is better. 

   The Mobile Fidelity box is not perfect. Reportedly, there is a nagging fault within, namely a 120Hz saw tooth (almost B flat) buzz that intrudes on certain sides to a greater or lesser degree. The discs are half-speed mastered so the 60Hz (U.S.) mains buzz is transformed into a 120Hz buzz on playback. This fault was rigorously pooh-poohed by Mobile Fidelity until they finally admitted to hearing it themselves, blaming a possible ground or lighting fault. That said, some ears hear it more than others and there is word that not all pressings feature it. PR

Mobile Fidelity The Beatles box set. It was half-speed mastered from

the original tapes. So did the original tapes leave Abbey Road?

Or were they 'transfer masters'?



I require advice / recommendations for a new front end to use with my  ancient Linn Isobarik DMS loudspeakers. I was using  – wait for it !  –  a NAD 3240 receiver as a pre amp and a NAD 2100 power amp, both of which have finally bitten the dust, and a Denon 1520 CD player. “What?”, I hear the purists scream.  It’s a mismatch for such speakers I know.

I am considering using a NAD M3 Master Series integrated amplifier with a NAD M5 CD player. Budget is hopefully £5,000 but could be increased substantially if it would produce worthwhile improvements. I loathe the idea of changing the speakers because they still produce a wonderful, albeit coloured sound, but the bass weight is awesome. I listen to mainly rock / heavy metal music, and also any sound with a wide dynamic range particularly  live  recordings (try Genesis Live – the longs – old medley). I also play it loud – very loud! 

My other problem is that I want to home-audition the new front-end prior to purchase (back problems mean I cannot move the Isobariks !) Do you know any dealer/s who carry out such a service. Please advise.

Best Regards,

Chris O’Callaghan



The Linn Isobarik delivered mighty bass – and was mighty heavy too.

Chris O'Callaghan needs to home-demo suitable amplifiers. 


You need good, clean power and plenty of bass grip for the Isobariks. Sonically, a Roksan K2 stereo power amplifier (£650) suits, as does an Electrocompaniet Nemo but at much higher price. Musical Fidelity also specialise in high power amplifiers that sonically suit Isobariks and an M6PRX may be what you are looking for price wise. 

You don’t tell us where you live, which makes recommending a dealer difficult. However, an IP address look-up of your e-mail header suggests Wolverhampton, in which case Moorgate Acoustics offer home demo of the items you are interested in. I think you have Midland Hi-Fi Studio and Sevenoaks Sound and Vision close by too, and they may well offer a similar service. I suggest you phone these dealers. NK



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