'Elvis Reborn'

"New Mono to Stereo Mixes"

- CD Review by Piers Beagley -

Hear 30 classic Elvis songs like you've never heard them before... in STEREO!
Through a cutting-edge digital audio process called DES it is now possible to create new, authentic-sounding stereo mixes from original mono recordings.

This breakthrough technology allows fans to experience their favorite mono songs in a more lifelike way than ever before!

These are NOT "overdubs". No new instrumentation has been added. All of the sounds you hear are the original musicians backing Elvis, but with a clarity that exposes for the first time sounds you never heard before!

EIN's Piers Beagley is open to new ideas that might reveal something new and interesting about Elvis' classic recording sessions and so takes a detailed look into this new compilation...

The publicity promised ... Hear 30 classic Elvis songs like you've never heard them before... in STEREO!
Through a new, cutting-edge digital audio process called DES (Digitally Extracted Stereo), it is now possible to create new, authentic-sounding stereo mixes from original mono recordings.

Since instruments and vocals typically occupy fairly narrow frequency ranges, DES is able to isolate guitars, drums, piano, bass, singers, etc. and extract them into separate tracks that can be remixed just like multi-track stereo recordings. This breakthrough technology allows fans to experience their
favorite mono songs in a more lifelike way than ever before!

These are NOT "overdubs". No new instrumentation has been added. All of the sounds you hear are the original musicians backing Elvis, but with a clarity that exposes for the first time sounds you never heard before!
This exciting, trend-setting CD is as close as you will come to actually being present in the studio when these songs were recorded in the glory days of rock 'n' roll.

Now Updated - See EIN Readers comments below

The MONO vs STEREO debate is a fascinating discussion so we need to get some facts straight before investigating this new CD.

The earliest recordings of the sound era were recorded in MONO. The singer and orchestra would be carefully positioned around the one microphone and the sound directly recorded to shellac discs. The musicians and singer knew they were recording to the one mono space.

In was in the late 1940s in fact that it was Bing Crosby along with US studio pioneer Jack Mullin who truly advanced the way magnetic tape was used for sound recordings. This was mainly due to Bing Crosby demanding that his "Live Radio" shows be pre-taped. (and possibly so he could play golf!)

Even in Sun Studios Elvis never recorded to the one mono microphone, his mono recordings were always created by the studio engineer.

Some facts...
a) The sound of Classic Rock'n'Roll is MONO - there is no debate about this.
The sound of a needle playing an original fifties 45rpm or 78rpm bristles with that gorgeous power of MONO.  

b) However when Sam Phillips opened his control room door to see what Elvis, Scotty and Bill were playing that day in July 1954 the actual acoustic sound in the Sun Studio that day was stereo.
(To be pedantic it was the aural "surround sound" that we all actually hear) 

c) Elvis and the Blue Moon Boys were not playing "mono" nor were they recorded via one microphone. It was Sam who took the three or four microphone feeds and mixed them down to MONO. The mono sound was created by Sam Phillips, the genuine sound of rock'n'roll being played in the studio was stereo.  

d) The start of Elvis recording for RCA Stereo releases was his 'Elvis Is Back' sessions in 1960.

e) Every fifties recording of Elvis was MONO and that was how we experienced it.

f) In 1997 however RCA released 'Love Me Tender' as a genuine stereo recorded version! This was a shock to collectors and actually sounded very fine indeed.
So maybe every Elvis 50's recording doesn’t have to be MONO after all.

g) The MONO sound was the preferable mix as mass record sales in the 50s were primarily pushed via early mono car radios and mono jukeboxes.

h) The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson is deaf in one ear and so his Beach Boys mixes were rightfully mono - including the all-important 1966 'Pet Sounds' album.

i)  Stereo mixes can however reveal much more about the recordings by opening up the textures of individual instruments from their compressed-to-mono mix. 
'Pet Sounds' when finally released in stereo is a truly wonderful experience. 

j) Phil Spector created The Wall Of Sound, using Elvis' Wrecking Crew team, often with three basses and three pianos playing in unison plus a huge orchestras - but mixed it to MONO.

k) Over the years nearly every process to artificially create Stereo has sounded dreadful.
As for the qualitative aural differences, mono releases typically sound more direct and pack-more -punch, helping them make a huge impact out of those old car radios and jukeboxes. The mono sound has multiple instruments often “competing” for space, layered one on top of each other but with the BOOM of the bass / rhythm section blasting out across the whole mono left<>right spectrum.

And let’s be honest “Stereo” mixes are also created by the studio engineer deciding where to pan the various instruments - they can never truly represent the band standing in the studio. 

As for those “vintage” mixes on Elvis' on-stage live albums, why on earth would you put the drums and bass panned to the left hand side when on stage the rhythm section is always dead-centre behind the singer!

Another point worth mentioning is that had the studio engineers been able to record in stereo back in the fifties, then Rock’n’Roll would have been recorded that way. As Bill Porter did for Elvis in the early 60s, he recorded in stereo but made mono single mixes for radio / jukebox release.

Elvis’ recordings have been “Reborn” multiple times over the decades. From RCA’s early “Electronically Reprocessed Stereo” albums of the sixties via the delicious idea of “Pure Elvis” on the Our Memories Of Elvis’ releases, the 'I Was the One’ LP with Scotty & DJ Fontana adding a stereo feel by playing on top of their original mixes, FTD releasing ‘Undubbed Masters’, David Bendeth’s wonderful 5.1 Surround-Sound version of Elvis’ multi-channel recordings, the fabulous JXL ‘ALLC’ remix and finally to the more recent and very dubious "Elvis with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra" overdub releases.

However if any of these give fans another reason to re-visit Elvis’ recordings and to investigate the wonder of Elvis in the studio can they be so bad?

Recently the invention of Digitally Extracted Stereo (DES) has meant that producers can more easily play with Elvis’ old recordings. For instance DES was used to isolate Elvis’ vocal for those 'Christmas Duets' releases. 

ERIC RECORDS have released compiles from "Hit Parade" CDs etc using DES similarly creating fifties classics in Stereo for the last couple of years.

If anything has made me jump at the excitement of DES it is their stereo versions of Bill Haley’s ‘Rock Around The Clock’ and Fats Domino’s ‘Blueberry Hill’. These two DES releases truly “open up” the original classic mono recordings.

You can now hear exactly what the bass, drums, cymbals, guitar and saxophone of ‘Rock Around The Clock’ were individually playing that when mixed together created one of the classic life-changing mono recordings of all time. Similarly the separated drums and orchestra of ‘Blueberry Hill’ brought a new understanding to producer / arranger Dave Bartholomew’s marvellous work.

However it has to be noted that these two Stereo DES versions do NOT in any way sound better than the original MONO singles. Truly fascinating, yes – better, no! This is mainly due to the rhythm section being removed from across the whole audio spectrum and so the BLAST and POWER of the original releases are just not there no matter how loud you turn up the hi-fi.

DES uses spectral editing plus clever software to follow the vocal and different instruments to separate them apart. These various tracks are then remixed together panned Left <> Right to create a stereo version. Using Elvis’ binaural recordings, where his voice was solo on the left channel, means that computer software can easily learn the sound of his voice to separate out Elvis' vocal. This is what was used for the “Duets” album and also means that Elvis’ vocal is always clearly dead-centre in these new stereo remixes.   

The DES system will obviously work better for a “non-cluttered” original recording. The simpler recording the better the DES version can be.

The 'Hit Parade' DES version of ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ is stunning! With the combination of only guitar, vocal, bass, piano in a very “open” recording, these can be easily separated. Listening on headphones you can truly believe that a stereo taped version of ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ had been found. Elvis’ vocal and Bill Black’s double-bass are dead-centre, with Scotty Moore’s guitar placed right while Floyd Cramer tinkles away on his piano on the left. Brilliant.

Now Japan’s Atushi Nakamura has tried his hand at creating STEREO versions of Elvis’ MONO recordings using DES as released on the 30 track compilation ‘ELVIS REBORN: New Mono to Stereo mixes’. The compilation's producer is noted as Larry Jordan.

Perhaps my 1200+ words above are all you need to know about these new “Stereo” versions. I am obviously not a “purist” and am willing to give “new” revisions a go - Hell, I even found a couple of Elvis / RPO tracks quite enjoyable! However you can guess that on this compilation some tracks are going to be interesting, some aren’t going to work and none will be as important as the original mono versions.

If the DES Stereo process really works you should be able to put headphones on and believe that a stereo taped version has been found. This is very rarely the case and, in general, these songs all sound better played through loud-speakers letting the room’s ambience also help play a part in the “stereo experience”.
For some crazy reason Atushi Nakamura has not included ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ on this release where it obviously should have been the opener.

Instead ‘Jailhouse Rock’ kicks off this CD and while the stereo is “OK” there is too much going on for it to truly work on headphones – i.e. Scotty Moore’s guitar solo is nicely placed on the right channel but otherwise tends to drift around in the spectrum. Elvis is dead centre, along with the drums, with piano solidly on the left channel. (The drums always separate well with DES). As with all these tracks it’s better to listen on loudspeakers and not to be too ‘picky”. If fans want more than "mono" then Elvis collectors also have the dual-channel binaural versions of the Jailhouse Rock soundtrack to enjoy. 

‘Blue Suede Shoes’ that follows actually works better with Bill Black’s bass nicely left and Elvis in the middle.

Unfortunately Follow That Dream’s ‘What A Wonderful Life’ from 1961 is next and it's a real 'wtf?' moment. There really is no reason to have a lesser sixties soundtrack song in this set when we have the genuine stereo, penultimate, ‘What A Wonderful’ take 6 already in our collections. Yes, the vocal on the master take was better but it is hardly an Elvis classic. Being able to compare a fake DES stereo version to a genuine stereo version from the same session is also dangerous!

Luckily the layered-with-echo ‘Baby, I Don’t Care’ follows and is one of the better DES versions here with drums nicely left and piano right.

‘Wear My Ring Around Your Neck’ however demonstrates the problem with DES separation when the original recording is a blend of all instruments and vocalists blasting-away-together in echo-y mono. DES has a real difficulty separating The Jordanaires away from everything else and so the sound has a feel of Elvis centre (done well as always), drums left but the rest of musicians / backing vocals a “stereo mess”. It also has a bad treble, sibilant, flanging sound that doesn’t help.   

The shock perhaps is how fascinating the SUN recordings sound. Being a far simpler sound mix DES works better in separating Elvis and The Blue Moon Boys into a fake stereo image.

I found ‘Good Rockin' Tonight’ quite enthralling being able to listen to Bill Black’s bass lines separated well apart from Scotty’s guitar. There’s moments where Bill Black is working so damn hard that he misses a few notes and with Elvis strumming hard away, I got an emotional feeling of pushing them along - “Cmon’ Boys you can make it, there’s a classic in here if you just get to the end!”

The other SUN recordings have similar fascination such as with ‘Mystery Train’ with Elvis’ acoustic work pushing that train along along and also Johnny Bernero’s drums being used on 'I Forgot To Remember To Forget. Better than mono? certainly not, but it does help reveal how Sam Phillips mixed down Elvis’ stunning studio session to create the classic mono cut.

‘Blue Moon Of Kentucky’ is similarly fascinating with Elvis’ acoustic guitar separated out front. It is intriguing to think that the “stereo sound” of this version would be much more like what Sam Phillips would have heard when he pushed open the control room door that day compared with the actual Sun records mono B-side that helped change the course of music.

Tracks that don’t work well are the “blasting-away-together” songs such as ‘I Need Your Love Tonight’ or ‘A Big Hunk O' Love’ or tracks like ‘A Fool Such As I’ which can place the guitar hard right but has no idea where The Jordanaires should fit in.

In general the simpler-arranged recordings such as ‘One Night’, ‘Rip It Up’ and ‘Doncha' Think It's Time’ work the best while others such as ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ and ‘One-Sided Love Affair’ sound more like that terrible “Electronically Reprocessed Stereo” from those old RCA releases.

In 1983 RCA released ‘I Was The One’, an album of stereo re-workings with D.J. Fontana, Scotty Moore and The Jordanaires adding new stereo overdubs to Elvis’ original recordings. Sadly DES did not exist in those days to help extract Elvis’ pure vocal and the results (apart from the exquisite ‘Don’t’) were very ordinary indeed. Interestingly the DES version of the title song ‘I Was the One’ featured here is a far better "stereo version" than on that old LP.

I really wanted the final track, the sensational ‘Trouble’ to reveal something new to me but sadly while Elvis is dead-centre the backing sounds all-over-the-place and not like a stereo recording.

So while not going through all the tracks individually - see tracklist below - I am sure you can get the overall picture.

‘Elvis Reborn: Mono to Stereo’ is rather strangely released via the ‘Good Music’ label which unfortunately has produced (imho) some of the very worst Elvis studio recording “Revisions” yet released in their ‘The New Sessions / New Recordings’ series.


And if I have only lately commented that Arjan Deelen’s ‘Inside Elvis’ featured one of the loveliest Elvis CD labels in recent years, then ‘Elvis Reborn: Mono to Stereo’ truly has one of the worst designed Elvis CD labels of all time! No wonder someone on Amazon posted that they thought it was a homemade CDR release. (it isn't)

SIDE-NOTE: Fifties rock’n’roll purists really need to listen to the ERIC Records DES stereo releases of Bill Haley’s ‘Rock Around The Clock’ along with their stunning version of ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ to see just how exciting this potential stereo-sound exploration of old Mono Classics can be. No, they can never beat the power and excitement of the original 45rpms but they can open up your ears and help reveal even more of that special studio magic that created the music we so love.

SIDE-NOTE 2: The same audio engineers responsible for the great sound of Eric CDs also do mono-to-stereo DES Elvis conversions for "Hit Parade" and "Complete 60s". (check out Eric Records shop)
To date the group have released six Elvis songs in DES - 'That's All Right', 'All Shook Up, 'Hound Dog', 'Don't Be Cruel', 'Wear My Ring Around Your Neck', 'Heartbreak Hotel' plus 'Jailhouse Rock' binaural mix.


Overall Verdict: Thinking positively, Elvis music enthusiasts can definitely get to learn something new about how some of these life-changing songs that Elvis recorded in the studio were created and then mixed down to those all-time classic mono releases. Leaving behind any prejudices I did find a lot of these new DES versions quite fascinating to explore. However trying to create something new and truly significant from an absolute classic fifties vinyl recording has to be comparable to colour-tinting a Black & While classic movie. The original feel and power can be so easily lost without revealing anything essentially new.  Personally I felt that this ‘Elvis Reborn: Mono to Stereo’ compilation would have benefitted by including only the twenty songs that work best using DES separation. Elvis “purists” will surely hate the concept while fans who just enjoying listening to Elvis’ wonderful recordings will probably have a blast playing these on a good Hi-Fi and just relishing the overall vibe.


Review by Piers Beagley.
-Copyright EIN May 2020
EIN Website content © Copyright the Elvis Information Network.

Click here to comment on this review and HAVE YOUR SAY!- Should MONO classics be left alone?

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01. Jailhouse Rock
02. Blue Suede Shoes
03. What A Wonderful Life
04. (You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care
05. Wear My Ring Around Your Neck
06. I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
07. Good Rockin' Tonight
08. I Love You Because
09. One-Sided Love Affair
10. I'll Be Home For Christmas
11. Blue Moon Of Kentucky
12. Mean Woman Blues
13. One Night
14. Young And Beautiful
15. Don't Be Cruel
16. (Now and Then There's) A Fool Such As I
17. Money Honey
18. I Was The One
19. A Big Hunk O' Love
20. Blue Christmas
21. Doncha' Think It's Time
22. Got A Lot O' Living To Do
23. I Beg Of You
24. I Need Your Love Tonight
25. Rip It Up
26. Is It So Strange
27. Mystery Train
28. I Forgot To Remember To Forget
29. Santa Claus Is Back In Town
30. Trouble


Anthony S
Absolutely perfect review.
When done right some of these DES versions (usually on Eric Records) are superb.
These new 'Reborn' versions are uneven and generally poor, they pale in comparison.
Heartbreak Hotel on Eric is superb !
One of the main things that some seem to forget is the placement we are all sub consciously familiar with: band to the left, Elvis in the centre, and backing vocals to the right.
The DES engineers can get away with playing around a little on some tracks, but the placement that we all know will always work better to those who listen but don't over think what they're actually listening to.

James B
I describe myself as a Student of the Music of The King.
Elvis Reborn is an album that I am glad I bought.
In relation to Mono to Stereo, I feel that as there were only a small amount of Instruments involved in the Mono Recording long ago, technically in these modern times the reinventing to Stereo seems to me to be an obvious thing to try.
Originally back in the 50s and 60, when we  only had cheap primitive Record Players with poor sound reproduction Static and all the rest. Now with superb Amps Speakers and Surround Sound, with Calibration, which can be adapted to ones particular taste.
My view is that we should try all these new possibilities if it gets us to understand more about Elvis' classic records.

Terry F
Some of the tracks do work better than others on this CD, and is of novelty interest to hear.
But for me, nothing can beat the Binaural sound of some of the tracks available elsewhere ,such as Jailhouse Rock,& Especially ,Is It so Strange, on the Stereo 57, CD, which is pure magic.

Bobby D
Mono is Great especially coming though a 6 inch Car Speaker in the Old Days.
I Always wished the 50’s  Elvis Recordings had been recorded in Stereo.  Stereo seems to me a Much Fuller sound and you can hear the Individual instruments Much Clearer to My Ears.
I Have heard this CD just once at Low Volume but will now give it a spin at Higher volume.
From what I heard I thought The Stereo Sound was accomplished very well and seemed a whole new Listening Experience.
Well Done for the Most Part
PS  I also enjoyed the Colorized JAILHOUSE Rock!

Martin R
I just listened to the entire CD and to be honest I am left feeling a bit baffled.
I partly enjoyed it because I love most of the songs included, but overall it sounded like a mix between the old "Electronically Reprocessed Stereo" disasters and the novelty "I Was The One" release from 1983.
The sound is all over the joint with too much echo for my liking. Basically, they sound fake and homemade. I did like "One Night" and it was nice to get an idea what a stereo version of the "What A Wonderful Life" master would sound like, but apart from that it's not something I would return to very often.
The original mono masters are just fine with me.
I guess many fans will love this sort of experimental release and good for them but for me I wont return to it. "Once Is Enough".

Chris F
I really enjoy this album.
Great job on most tracks.
The fascinating thing is you can hear musical parts (a guitar or piano lick here and there or the backing vocals) for the first time because they were always buried in the original mono mixes.
Some tracks become alive again. Good job

Barry S
Sorry, this was a big dissapointment.
I found the songs sounded very artificial and with too much highfrequency
I do like mono versions so maybe this was not for me but I hoped for better

'Our Memories of Elvis Vols 1,2 &3' FTD CD Review: Ernst Jorgensen originally said that FTD were unlikely to release this Joan Deary 1979 "Pure Elvis Sound" concept on CD stating, "I think we have more important things to do."
However FTD have discovered 18 Previously Unreleased "Pure Elvis Sound" tracks and have now issued a stunning 38 track compilation gathering up all the audio engineer Dick Bogert created "Pure Elvis Sound" masters. And what a great concept it is.
Most of the selected tracks were Elvis' Master versions with some but not all of the overdubs removed - and were unique. These tracks were almost never the "Undubbed Masters" that are now being released on FTD.
Go here as EIN's Piers Beagley digs deep, providing an incredibly in-depth review - examining every track in detail and discovers The Good and The Disappointing...
(FTD Reviews, Source;ElvisInformationNetwork)

'If I Can Dream' Elvis with the RPO - In-depth CD Review: It is forty years since Elvis Presley entered a recording studio and he seems very reluctant to record anything new. So in terms of releasing a "new" album of Elvis material the topic has always been a tricky one. Now in 2015 as the publicity notes "Elvis Is Back - with a Brand New Album" for the cleverly re-imagined "Elvis with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra" in the highly marketed ‘If I Can Dream’. In the UK and Australia it has made Number One in the album charts, an incredible achievement.
There is no doubt that the marketing has been very impressive - but do Elvis fans have to love everything about it?
EIN checks the facts and three Elvis fans of varying familiarity all provide their own opinions.

Both EIN's Piers Beagley and Bryan Gruszka take a very detailed listen to this new chart-topping release to discover what's good and bad... Go here for our 5,000 word review - Do you agree? Send us your Comments.
(CD Review, Source, Elvis Information Network)

Go here for other relevant EIN ELVIS articles;

'ELVIS' FTD Classic Album Review:

'G.I.Blues Vol.1' FTD Soundtrack - CD review:

'Jailhouse Rock' EIN in-depth FTD Soundtrack review:

'Blue Hawaii' FTD Soundtrack in-depth Review:

'Wild In the Country' FTD Soundtrack - review:

'The Complete Elvis Presley Masters' in-depth Review:


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Elvis CDs in 2007
Elvis DVDs in 2006
Elvis Film Guide
'2007 New Releases'
Elvis Presley In Concert "downunder" 2006
Elvis Online Virtual Library
Elvis Research Forum
Elvis Rules on Television
Graceland - The National Historic Landmark
How & where do I sell my Elvis collection?
Is Elvis the best selling artist?
Links to Elvis' family & friends
Links to other Elvis sites
Marty's Musings
Online Elvis Symposium
Parkes Elvis Festival 2009 (Australia)
Presley Law legal archives (Preslaw)
Presleys In The Press
Sale of EPE (Archives)
6th Annual Elvis Website Survey
Spotlight on The King
"Wikipedia" Elvis biography