REVOLVER: Why was this so much more clear sounding and better mixed then any of their other albums?

AP writes:

I’m not sure you can say it’s much better mixed than their other albums, but it certainly sounds better than most contemporary albums and that’s largely down to Geoff Emerick. The Beatles changed engineer after Rubber Soul - Norman Smith left EMI and became the manager of Pink Floyd. Geoff Emerick replaced him as the Beatles’ engineer - he was very young and had great ears. He innovated a lot during Revolver; he close miked acoustic instruments - including the drums; he stuffed a big jumper into the bass drum.

He also closely miked the strings on Eleanor Rigby - so close that the players were backing away and had to be told to keep close.

Artificial Double Tracking was invented by EMI engineer Ken Townsend at the prompting of John Lennon and was used on several tracks. Geoff Emerick, also at the prompting of Lennon, put Lennon’s voice through a rotating speaker for Tomorrow Never Knows.


LL writes:

I disagree with the premise of the question.

I don't think it sounds much better than Rubber Soul or really any of their albums. It it well produced and well-engineered to be sure, though, and the sound is pretty good.

It has more effects, more varispeed and backwards tapes and so on and a slightly more liberal use of ADT on the vocals but the overall sound isn't better. Same studio, same players, some of the same engineers. (The songs, though, are uniformly excellent: the first time and maybe the last time that happened on a Beatles album in my opinion.)

The album that really stands out soundwise in the Beatles catalogue is Beatles For Sale: they used new tape heads when recording that album.

But Revolver also doesn't sound any better than, say Aftermath, Pet Sounds, Blonde On Blonde or Fifth Dimension or any number of pop songs from earlier in the year. (It does sound a lot better than A Quick One or Face To Face, though.)

Note; there is a new remix by Giles Martin, released on October 28th, 2022. Perhaps you are listening to that? Most modern listeners would probably prefer that. It is probably the best (and most necessary) of his remixes.

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