Acoustic Sounds
By: Michael Fremer

September 16th, 2022



Giles Martin Introduces "Revolver" Newly Mixed and Expanded Special Edition

Plays examples of track separation technology and entire album in Dolby Atmos—original mono mix LP cut AAA from tape

Unlike Sgt. Pepper's… producer Giles Martin explained to an invited group at New York's Republic Studios, the Revolver recorded assets, despite all of the record's innovative studio trickery (mostly done on tech "shoe-string"), did not include pre-mix "stems" that he could use to create a better stereo spread. The album had been recorded to 4 tracks and elements were permanently "married”.

Director Peter Jackson's Beatles "Get Back" documentary, streaming in 3 parts on Disney+ utilized revolutionary technology developed by his sound team led by Emile de la Rey at his WingNut Films, Productions, Ltd. that could separate and isolate individual elements within a mono soundtrack to turn dialog jumble into separate voices. What if it could also be used on "Revolver" to separate the "married" mixes?

Martin admitted he didn't exactly know how it worked, but he discovered that it certainly did! First he played "Taxman"'s familiar left channel opening riff, which includes drums, bass and guitar. Then he played just Ringo's drum kit, which the Jackson-tech completely isolated. It does not affect sound quality, Martin averred. Then, he said, what if we could further dissect Ringo's drum kit and just play snare, or kick drum? He could, and he played it to a bedazzled audience. It was remarkable hearing elements fully separated with not a trace of what else was originally mixed to the track. It kind of makes you want to hear similar re-mixes of some classic jazz albums of that time also mixed in "separated mono".

Giles Martin with Tracking Angle editor Michael Fremer

It was a powerful demo of the process used throughout the remix, accomplished by Martin and engineer Sam Okell both in conventional stereo and "immersive Dolby Atmos. Martin also played for the group how "Yellow Submarine" came to be, beginning as a sad John Lennon acoustic-folk lament with a lyric that began "in the town, where I was born, no one cared." Martin went on, using musical clips to demonstrate how McCartney took the sad refrain and turned it into a happy children's song and perfect vehicle for Ringo. Martin also played "Eleanor Rigby"'s stark but rich string arrangement spiced with musician talk recorded during the session.

With the warm-up complete, Martin pushed a button on his computer and the assembled got to hear the complete album in Dolby Atmos followed by the single "Paperback Writer"/"Rain". About the actual recording, Martin said that though the tape was more than 50 years old, the sound quality was surely superior to what can be accomplished on a computer.

Following the playback, the relaxed, affable and often funny Martin, today far more comfortable than he was a few years ago in this host role, after having done it more than a few times, took questions from the audience.

I asked Martin if he now thinks about using the new separation technology to remix his remixes! Of course I was being facetious but more to the point, imagine using this technology to separate all of the instruments exiled to one track and voices to the other on the very early Beatles albums and re-mixing them in a more natural spread. Imagine using it so Art Pepper could actually meet the rhythm section on that famous Contemporary album!

How did it sound? Spatially the Atmos mix was "Cinemascopic" with a wrap-around quality that was truly immersive and free of "back channel" gimmickry. For instance on "Tomorrow Never Knows" the backward tape loops were on opposite sides of the room but still connected to the whole. Appropriately, it felt more like a movie soundtrack minus the visuals than it did a record album in the traditional sense, or more like a "headphone" listening experience. Not being familiar with the moderate-sized theater's sound system it would be impossible to assign what was heard to the mix, but in this space at least, timbrally, the sound was rather dark, thick and somewhat congested with excessive bass energy and on top a lack of air and sparkle. That could be more a room review than a reflection of the mix's timbral balance. There's also a traditional stereo mix available in various formats.

On the right is cover artist and bassist Klaus Voormann, pictured at a Munich High End show with long-time friend Ricardo Franassovici whose company Absolute Sounds is Europe's leading importer/distributor of high-performance audio gear.

As with previous Beatles remix presentations, this one's available in multiple packages available "everywhere" October 28, 2022 including:

Special Edition (Super Deluxe): 63 tracks

* Digital Audio Collection (stereo & hi res 96kHz/24-bit stereo + mono + Dolby Atmos)

* 5CD (stereo & mono audio) with 100-page hardbound book in a 12.56” x 12.36” slipcase

* 4LP+7-inch EP (stereo & mono audio) on half-speed mastered 180-gram vinyl with 100-page hardbound book in a 12.56” x 12.36” slipcase

DISC 1: Revolver (New stereo mix): 14 tracks

DISCS 2 & 3: Sessions (stereo & mono): 31 tracks

DISC 4: Revolver (Original mono master): 14 tracks

DISC 5: Revolver EP: 4 tracks

“Paperback Writer” & “Rain” (New stereo mixes & Original mono mixes remastered), “Paperback Writer” & “Rain” (New stereo mixes & Original mono mixes remastered)

TrackingAngle's "off the record" source tells us that the mono original mix LP was mastered all-analog from tape using the mastering notes produced by Steve Berkowitz and Sean Magee for the out of print mono box set, though the record was not pressed at Optimal and as of today where it was pressed has not been announced

Revolver Special Edition (Deluxe): 29 tracks

* 2CD in digipak with a 40-page booklet abridged from the Super Deluxe book

DISC 1: Revolver (New stereo mix): 14 tracks

DISC 2: Sessions highlights + “Paperback Writer” & “Rain” (New stereo mixes): 15 tracks

Revolver Special Edition (Standard): 14 tracks

* Digital (New album mix in stereo & hi res 96kHz/24-bit stereo + new Dolby Atmos mix)

* 1CD in digipak (New stereo mix)

* 1LP (New stereo mix) on half-speed mastered 180-gram vinyl

* Limited Edition 1LP vinyl picture disc (New stereo mix) illustrated with the album cover art

More details will be provided in the full Tracking Angle review coming as soon as possible

You can stream "Taxman" 2022 mix here

And pre-order/pre-save the Special Edition here

Watch the official trailer here