When the Beatles' catalog was first released on CD its sound quality was well below par even by 1987 standards. So the long-awaited 2009 release of high-quality remasters of all their albums and singles in stereo was enthusiastically received.

For me and many other fans, however, the ultimate treat of the 2009 remasters release was an additional box set of every track the Beatles released in mono. To my ears, many original mono recordings from the 1960s sound better than their stereo counterparts, a disposition I spell out in Mono Over Stereo? and Motown singles.

The Beatles are a unique case because, from the very beginning, their records featured especially good sound quality. Paul's bass always added something extra to a strong bottom end. Their vocal harmonies were distinctive and wonderful. Their individual sounds produced a coherent group blend. And as years went by they were spectacular innovators of how much could be done in a studio with recorded sound.

As originally recorded this excellent sound quality was in analog mono: rich, detailed, and full-bodied, with wide dynamic range, as heard over ordinary radios and one-speaker record players. The specific sound textures of their records really mattered, the precise timbres of their instruments and voices. These details were imprinted on millions of minds and hearts.

Prior to the release of The Beatles in Mono box set I rarely listened to official Beatles CDs. When I did, I could never get past grieving the loss of the original sound I loved so much and remembered so acutely. Besides all the other good things about it, The Beatles in Mono was the most emotionally satisfying release of the CD era because it liberated all that glorious music from the vise of the botched 1987 remasters.