The Beatles Stereo Box Set
On September 9, 2009, at the same time The Beatles in Mono and The Beatles: Rock Band video game were released, Apple came out with The Beatles Stereo Box Set, a sixteen-disc collection of all the Beatles' original studio albums, plus discs with songs that were released as singles or EP's and not on LP's. The recordings were all digitally remastered to provide the best sound quality that technology could provide, nearly 40 years after the group had disbanded. This collection includes most or all of the material previously sold in the compilations called The Beatles Collection and The Beatles Box Set; however, many of the tracks on this release are noticeably crisper, cleaner and clearer than on the earlier re-mastered CD releases.
The first four studio albums are produced on CD in stereo, in their entirety, for the first time. Help! and Rubber Soul appear in this collection via the remixes George Martin made in 1987 when CD versions were first released. The North American version of Magical Mystery Tour was used in lieu of the British EP. Yellow Submarine reflects its original form, not the 1999 "Songtrack" re-issue. The remaining discs are from the Apple or Parlophone stereo mixes of the later albums as produced for the UK market. The Past Masters collection is included in the package. The lineup includes the twelve original studio albums (13 discs because The White Album was a double-disc release); the US version of Magical Mystery Tour, and the two-disc Past Masters collection.
True stereo mixes of certain early recordings do not exist. The original tapes were wiped, and the mono mix is all that survived. Even though "fake stereo" mixes have been made, the Past Masters collection in stereo stayed with the original mono versions of these songs. They are: Love Me Do / P.S. I Love You (1962) and She Loves You / I'll Get You (1963). Two other songs – Only A Northern Song and You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) – were not mixed in stereo at the time they were recorded and appear in mono in this collection. (A stereo mix of the first of these appeared in the 1999 release of Yellow Submarine Songtrack. Anthology 2 contains a stereo mix of the second song, but from a take and edit different from the original release.)
Apple added to this package a DVD compilation of the short documentary matter that came with each of the albums, together with additional materials, some of them previously unpublished, of interviews, video clips, photos, band patter and extracts from the films. The mono version of the collection does not have this DVD. Apple not only produced the package on CD/DVD, but also released, for the first time, a limited edition on a specially-designed USB flash drive. The format (in 44.1 kHz, 24-bit FLAC) provides audio and video quality superior to that of a CD. The flash drive version also contained all the graphic materials in the package as well as all the songs in MP3 format.