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Rubber soul, vinyl heart, ears of tin

It's a far from delicious irony that the lengthy, painstaking and incredibly effective work done by engineers Guy Massey, Simon Gibson, Alan Rouse and Mike Heatley on the Beatles remastering project might not be appreciated in its intended form more than once by the average listener.

That's because the majority of folks who purchase the discs -- individually, as part of the stereo box set, or even in the limited edition mono-version box set -- are likely to "dump" them onto their computers, and then transfer them via a program such as iTunes to their portable MP3 players.

What's the big deal? Well, in the process, something is always lost. Converting the tracks to MP3 files will compress them further. This can often result in a loss of low-end warmth, and a far less pleasing high-end, one that can become rather tinny at high volumes.

The only way to fully experience the depth of this remastered catalog is via a CD player, with a good stereo receiver and speakers capable of handling some serious bass. (A nice bottle of wine won't hurt, either.)

That said, I've already dumped the whole lot into my iPod -- taking care that my iTunes preferences were set to the "highest possible quality" setting -- and can report that, though there is a loss, these recordings still sound fantastic as MP3s.

One caveat -- you might want to turn the treble setting on your car stereo or MP3 speaker system to the "flat" setting, and crank the bass up significantly.

Then, just let it rip. But keep your eyes on the road...

jmiers@buffnews.com

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