The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Sourced from the original master tapes and cut at Abbey Road Studios

Pressed on 180-gram vinyl; Sgt. Pepper's North American LP debut in stereo

Optimum audiophile-quality sound from a first-rate team of producers and engineers

Packaging includes replica of the psychedelic inner sleeve, cardboard cutout sheet and additional insert


For years the most anticipated vinyl reissues have been from the one, the only Beatles catalog. Finally, after a delay due to the meticulousness of the remastering process and assorted other hurdles, that day has come.

Generally regarded as the finest psychedelic pop album ever recorded, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band stands as the Summer of Love's defining moment. It also remains many music lovers' pick as the greatest record in history. Merits of such debates aside, it's clearly a sonic tour de force-the byproduct of 700 hours spent in the studio, countless overdubs, imaginative production techniques, and full-on embrace of freedom, risk, and adventure. Hear it all like never before.

For its Beatles' Stereo Albums series on LP, Capitol/Apple turned to a crack team of engineers to remaster the entire studio catalog from the original sources. The team, including Guy Massey, Steve Rooke and Sam Okell with Paul Hicks and Sean Magee undertook a four-year restoration process for the LP versions, combining state-of-the-art equipment, vintage studio gear and rigorous testing to meet the highest fidelity standards and produce authentic unsurpassed sound rivaling the original LPs. There is no longer any need to pay hundreds of dollars for Japanese pressings! In 2013 the remastered albums will make their mono vinyl debuts.

Perhaps more so than any other Beatles album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band gains completely new life from the remastering efforts. The band pushes the limits on what's possible with phasing, flanging, chorusing, and four-track synching whereby four tracks were strictly used for instrumentation and then carried over to second (and sometimes, third) reduction mixes. This pioneering method of locking two four-track machines together in sync-never attempted before-now sounds glorious, as was originally intended in the studio.

The album's psychedelic feel has never come across so heavily or wholeheartedly. Chorus-like effects that grace so many songs, the result of wobbling the oscillator, transmit with unparalleled quality. In addition, the more open-sounding bass notes carry and decay, as do the myriad keyboard-dependent arrangements. And the return of reverb-the Beatles went back to utilizing echo chambers-dots the melodies, harmonies, and overwhelming scope of instrumentation. If you own a turntable, you need this pressing. It's that involving.

Extensive testing was done before engineers copied the analog master tapes into digital files 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 they were judged not to damage the integrity of the songs. The 24/192 transfers were done to produce an archival copy of the tapes and then those files were reduced to 24/44.1 kHz files for final mastering. 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.

The digital files were cut to lacquers at Abbey Road Studios. 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 decided to use the remasters that had not undergone "limiting," a procedure to increase the sound level.

Steps to eliminate vocal distortions and inner-groove distortions were addressed. The latter can affect high-middle frequencies, producing a "mushy" sound noticeable on vocals. Using what Magee has described as "surgical EQ," problem frequencies were identified and reduced in level to compensate for this.

Lastly, the first batches of test pressings made from the master lacquers that had been sent to two pressing plants were judged. Records with any noise or click appearing on more than one test pressing in the same place were rejected, on the grounds that undesired sound had been introduced either during the cutting or pressing stage. The remasters have the absolute best sound quality, producing the quietest vinyl lacquers.

For producer Rick Rubin, The Beatles' recorded achievements are akin to a miracle. The most popular bands in the world today typically produce an album every four years, Rubin told a 2009 radio audience. That's two albums as an eight-year cycle. "And think of the growth or change between those two albums. The idea that The Beatles made thirteen albums in seven years and went through that arc of change ... it can't be done. Truthfully, I think of it as proof of God, because it's beyond man's ability."

Side 1
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
With A Little Help From My Friends
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
Getting Better
Fixing A Hole
She's Leaving Home
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!

Side 2
Within You Without You
When I'm Sixty Four
Lovely Rita
Good Morning Good Morning
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
A Day In The Life

Customer Reviews (3.40 Stars) 5 person(s) rated this product.

Superior to original Capital (rainbow label) release

posted on 03/13/2013
5 Stars
I own both the CD version and a pristine copy of the original Capital pressing (rainbow label), and with due respect to "mmmmm's" review, after doing a side-by-side A/B comparison, I felt that the EMI 180 gram vinyl was the clear winner. Both vinyl copies had equal “analog warmth”, but the heavy vinyl version not only had more up-front presentation, but it also brought out Paul’s bass like I’ve never heard on this album before. Highly recommended.


posted on 01/04/2013
3 Stars
5 Stars because it's the Beatles...but sonically, it sounds like they copied it from the CD. My Original Capital copy sounds a lot less "Digital" in texture. If you want a NEW copy, why not...but look for an Original in MINT condition for the best fidelity.

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