A release of the Beatles’ catalogue on DVD-Audio has been the subject of much speculation and rumour in recent weeks, some of it sparked by a March 11th article by Kevin Elliott on the AudioWorld web site in which he broadly hints that engineer Elliot Scheiner (Grammy® award-winning producer and Surround Pioneer Award-winner) was soon to begin work on a surround re-mix of ‘Abbey Road’.
Obviously this would be hugely important news for high-resolution audio aficionados and would be another album sure to bring DVD-Audio closer to the general music buying public. High Fidelity Review readers and SMR Forums regulars such as John Serra asked if we could shed more light on the subject, but we held off publishing the rumours until we could get to the bottom of the story.
‘Abbey Road’, produced by George Martin (back in a fully hands-on role) and engineered by Geoff Emerick and Phillip McDonald, was originally released on October 1st 1969. Although the Beatles’ penultimate studio album, it remains their best-selling as it features the likes of ‘Something’, ‘Here Comes the Sun’ (both Harrison), ‘Octopus’s Garden’ (Starr), ‘Come Together’ (Lennon), ‘You Never Give Me Your Money’ and ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’, (both McCartney). ‘Abbey Road’ is considered by many to be the finest rock album ever produced and remains incredibly popular to this day.
There is no better source of information than the individual named in a rumour so I asked Elliot Scheiner himself whether there was anything to all the gossip and speculation. Elliot’s response (after suggesting that ‘Abbey Road’ was a great idea and asking if I had any influence I could bring to bear) was a little disappointing:
“…there were some discussions but that’s all it is at this point.”
After a little more probing, Elliot confirmed that the discussions were related to the idea of putting “…the music in 5.1”. Elliot did not comment as to the particular format, if any, under discussion.
I also asked Elliot whether he would expect any of the production team originally involved in the creation of the Beatles’ albums to be involved in the process. Elliot replied:
“I can’t imagine any surround mix being done on a Beatles record without the involvement of Geoff Emerick.”
Elliot expressed some surprise that to the best of his knowledge the multi-channel sound mixes available on the recently released DVD of ‘The Beatles Anthology’ did not involve Geoff.
So that’s all we know for now. We will keep you up to date as and when we learn anything more on this subject.