Many people have asked me, "just what are the best sounding pressings of the three Canadian Capitol 6000 series LP's?"
For monophonic sound, the answer is simple and predictable. Get the finest original pressing you can find. This is especially true for "Beatlemania" T-6051. The original 1963 pressings will have XEX-447 (side 1) and XEX-448 (side 2) in the runouts. These original pressings of T-6051 have noticeably deeper grooves. You can actually feel them if you lightly rub your finger across the vinyl. These deeper groove pressings of T-6051 have a louder, and more dynamic sound.
For stereophonic sound, the answer is not so simple, and requires careful listening to all available versions. Well, I have the records, the headphones and the time, so I decided to try and seek out the answers.
Let us start with "Beatlemania" ST-6051 (ST prefix denoting stereo). The first copy to sport the ST prefix was the 3rd generation orange label Capitol of Canada pressing. The matrix numbers are XEX-447-1 and XEX-448- RE6. Though this record claims to be stereo, it certainly does not sound like it. It almost sounds monophonic to these ears.
The next copy I listened to was a 1st generation purple label copy, that appears to be an RCA dynaflex pressing. The matrix numbers on this version are ST 6051 A on side 1 and XEX-448 RE6 on side two. Side 1 of this record is a true stereo mix with good sound and very noticeable separation. This is what many collectors refer to as the "wide mix". Side 2, however reverts back to that mono sounding mix found on the orange label copy.
Next up was a 3rd generation purple label Capitol of Canada pressing. The matrix numbers are ST 6051 A on side one and ST.6051.2. on side two. Both sides of this vinyl have true stereo sound with noticeable separation.
Lastly, I checked out the final vinyl incarnation of this classic LP; the retro rainbow label. This LP appears to be a Cinram pressing because of the double impression rings left by the stamper. the matrix numbers are ST-6051-1- on side 1 and ST-6051-2- on side 2. Here's the kicker, folks. This final pressing has excellent sound and great separation throughout. This version is the clear winner, with a close second going to the 3rd generation purple Capitol pressing.
Now on to "Twist and Shout" ST-6054. I don't own a 3rd generation orange label copy, so I began with the 1st generation purple label that also appears to be an RCA Dynaflex pressing. The matrix numbers are ST-6054-A on side 1 and XEX 456 on side 2. All of side 1 is in true stereo, except for "Love Me Do" (track 6), which is a mono Andy White version. Side 2 is all in true stereo, except for "P.S. I Love You" (track 1) and "She Loves You" (track 7) which are mono. I'm not even sure if true stereo mixes for these three songs even exist.
The second version I listened to was the first retro rainbow label version, which is a Capitol of Canada pressing that features a larger title font. The matrix numbers are ST.6054.A. (side 1) and ST-6054-B (side 2). Well I'm not sure who prepared the master for side 1, but this version plays through entirely in mono! Side 2 is in true stereo, except for (again), tracks 1 and 7.
This leads us to the final vinyl version of this classic Canadian LP, a retro rainbow label that appears to be a Columbia pressing. The matrix numbers are ST-6054-A (Side 1) and ST-6054-B (side 2). This version has side 1 in true stereo, except for track 6. Side 2 is also in true stereo except for tracks 1 and 7. This pressing has excellent stereo sound throughout, except for the mentioned tracks, and surpasses the Capitol pressing in sound quality by quite a wide margin. The final pressing again is the clear winner.
Lastly, we move to "Long Tall Sally" ST-6063. The first pressing to boast the ST prefix is the 3rd generation orange label Capitol of Canada pressing. The matrix numbers are ST-6063-A (side 1) and ST-6063-B (side 2). On the label of side one, an asterisk appears beside "I Want To Hold Your Hand" which denotes that track as being on mono. Funny thing is, the entire side is in mono! On the label of side two, asterisks appear beside tracks 1,2,4 and 5 denoting those tracks as being monophonic. Again, the entire side is in mono! I'm not sure who they thought they were fooling here.
Moving on to my third generation purple label Capitol of Canada pressing, I found it to be identical in every way to the orange label version that I just described, so I won't go any further on this pressing.
Finally, I played my retro rainbow Capitol of Canada pressing with the larger title font on the label. The matrix numbers are ST.6063.A. (side 1) and ST.6063.B. (side 2). The labels also indicate track 1, side 1 and tracks 1,2,4 and 5, side 2 as being in mono, which they are. The good news; the rest of the tracks are in glorious stereophonic sound! Capitol finally got it right on this one. This is the version to seek out.
So, in conclusion; if it's mono sound you're after, seek out pristine original pressings. If you want the best stereo versions, seek out the last ones produced.
- May 2nd, 2013
Piers's Note May 6 2013 - "Well I don't have the last retro label ST-6051 (arrgh!), but I do have in my collection an orange label, second generation ST-6051 pressing with a hand-written YEA matrix on both sides which sounds like true stereo to my ears. But we'll let Fred listen to this album stereo mix so he can compare to his other stereo-tagged albums (May 2013).
Fred's NOTE: I have since come upon a copy of the 2nd generation orange label copy of ST-6051 mentioned in Piers' note of May 6. I stand corrected about the 3rd generation orange version as being the first incarnation to bare the ST prefix, as this 2nd generation copy would now fit that description.
The record is one of those RCA Dynaflex pressings, and the matrix numbers are as follows:
Side 1: 2YEA XEX (scribbled out) -447-2
Side 2: 2YEA XEX (scribbled out) -448-2 EXE (crossed out)
Obviously a novice inscriber!
Upon listening, it turns out to be the same fake stereo mix as the later 3rd generation orange version on both sides. Even the groove patterns are identical.
So, my conclusion remains unchanged on this one. Seek out the 3rd generation purple, or better yet, the retro rainbow Cinram pressing, for true stereo mixes.
May 26, 2013