A great amount of time and thought was put into the construction of the Beatles Remastered Stereo Box Set CD packaging. This is a refreshing contrast to the minimalist packaging featured in the original CD releases from the late 1980s.
The Stereo Box set comes in a rectangular black box with a magnetic flap closure on the side. You can easily open it up to find two stacks of CDs. However, the CD cases are not exact replicas of the original albums. (The mono box set contains exact replica packaging.)
The cover photos are the same, but in some cases, the back cover photos are different. The front covers look slightly different from the original album covers since the cover photo does not cover the whole CD flap. Apple has added The Beatles logo vertically on the left side on the front of every CD.
All of the CD cases (except for The White Album) are a tri-fold which unfolds to the length of three CD flaps all covered with rare photos. The right flap contains the CD and the left flap contains an additional booklet. The booklet contains rare photos from the time period of the album and includes the original liner notes as well as new historical notes for each album.
The CD packaging features soft, glossy covers (not the usual hard plastic cases). Personally, I prefer plastic CD cases. They are easier to handle especially when you are in a hurry to grab a CD to listen to on your home stereo or in your car. With the soft cover cases, I am worried about possible damange just from day-to-day handling of the CD case with fingerprints and possible tears.
Before, I wondered if I should keep my original set of Beatle CDs. Now I know I should keep them for their plastic cases and maybe transfer the remastered CDs to the plastic cases for day-to-day use and keep the glossy new packaging safe in its attractive box.
The rare photos of The Beatles contained in each of the remastered CD cases are a definite plus. The Magical Mystery Tour CD even contains the original color booklet that was included with the original album. The White Album includes a mini version of the original poster that was included with the album release, although the four color photos of each Beatle are only featured directly on the CD case, and not as frameable pictures.
The booklet for Sgt. Pepper contains a page showcasing all the cutouts that were included in the original album. You could cut them out yourself, but I doubt you would want to ruin the CD booklet. Plus they are very tiny replicas of the original cutouts.
Many photos included in the CD packaging are alternate takes during the same photo shoot of the famous pictures we all recognize, like the back cover of The White Album features the four individual shots (from the original gatefold) of The Beatles but at slightly different angles.
For devoted collectors, the packaging alone justifies a reason to purchase the Stereo Box Set. One additional bonus is the DVD including all 13 mini-documentaries that were made for each Beatles album.
If you’re still unsure whether to try out the remasters, you can listen to a comparison of a sample of old CD versions compared to the new remasters in this CNN article.