Best box sets of 2012
Beatles, 'Stereo Vinyl Box Set' (Capitol, $319)
The Beatles' core 14 albums are repackaged again, this time with vinyl connoisseurs in mind. Each remastered LP is available individually, but the box contains a beautiful coffee-table book loaded with striking images and insightful text on the making of each album by Beatles historian Kevin Howlett. The original artwork is restored (the "white album" poster, the "Sgt. Pepper" cutouts), and the music brims with warmth, clarity and punch. The quartet's self-titled debut pops out of the speakers -- driving guitars, Ringo's walloping drums and syncopated hand-claps on the incandescent "I Saw Her Standing There." And the latter-day studio-as-instrument masterpieces still dazzle; even at a modest volume level, "Tomorrow Never Knows" sounds strange and terrifying.