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Discussion with Thomas Mowrey

Lute

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#61
Yes, I am very famiiar with Phase 4, and have always been a fan. When I moved to London to produce for Decca in 1978, Decca had just stopped making new Phase 4 recordings, and the guy who had been the main moving force behind the series, Tony D'Amato, had just left London and moved back to New York, I believe. I got his office and his desk, and his secretary, Joyce, worked for me for a while, so I heard lots about Phase 4 and Tony from her, although I never met him.

There's a Wikipedia page which succinctly explains why Phase 4 recordings sound immersive when played through matrix decoders, here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase_4_Stereo

But now here's really good news: Universal has recently brought out a 41-CD package of Phase 4 recordings for about $145. You can order them and read a lot about them here:

http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Decca/4786769

... and you can also order them from Amazon, here:

http://www.amazon.com/Stereo-Concert-Series-Limited-Edition/dp/B00LP298NC
Here's a 1997 interview with Tony D'Amato... http://www.bernardherrmann.org/articles/interview-damato/
 

Mike the Fish

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#62
Great interview! Thanks for posting. A friend of mine has the Phase 4 Stokowski 1812, which I didn't particularly rate (it sounded a bit mechanical at one point to me, if I knew how to describe it I could tell you where.) I seem to remember the bells continuing past the end of the orchestral performance for a bit. I see there were at least two different 1812s on Phase 4 too!
 

Lute

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#63
What a memory Tony D'Amato has! I loved all those stories...Sean Connery, Stokowski, Herrmann, etc... "huh, California.’ He then absolutely blew his top." "He’d rather go dry than cheap." I guess the bottle was one of those screw cap jobs. LOL!

And, D'Amato's comments on mono, stereo, analogue, digital, and audio equipment were interesting.

I just picked up the 41-CD box set. It was on sale over here. It's quite a collection. So far I really enjoyed Swan Lake conducted by Fistoulari. And Stokowski's Wagner was fun if a little quirky. I am not sure if these Phase 4 stereo CDs will give us anything extra or discrete in surround, but I tried these 2 recordings in DPLII and they sounded pretty good.
 

0tto

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#64
What a memory Tony D'Amato has! I loved all those stories...Sean Connery, Stokowski, Herrmann, etc... "huh, California.’ He then absolutely blew his top." "He’d rather go dry than cheap." I guess the bottle was one of those screw cap jobs. LOL!

And, D'Amato's comments on mono, stereo, analogue, digital, and audio equipment were interesting.

I just picked up the 41-CD box set. It was on sale over here. It's quite a collection. So far I really enjoyed Swan Lake conducted by Fistoulari. And Stokowski's Wagner was fun if a little quirky. I am not sure if these Phase 4 stereo CDs will give us anything extra or discrete in surround, but I tried these 2 recordings in DPLII and they sounded pretty good.
i don't have any of Phase 4 Stereo CD and most likely won't buy, at least if they will not convert from tape into 96/24 but over 5-6 past years
i found about 30 LPs in exceptionally mint condition. must note they not only good in sound/mix but also was done on very good quality heavy vinyl.
among them i do have some produced by Tony D'Amato:
"Bolero" by London Festival Orch. and Stanley Black
"New World" by New Philharmonia Orch. and Antal Dorati
"1812" by London Festival Orch. and Robert Sharples


also have "Bach Transcriptions" by Stokowski, producer Raymond Few
 

Lute

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#65
i don't have any of Phase 4 Stereo CD and most likely won't buy, at least if they will not convert from tape into 96/24 but over 5-6 past years
i found about 30 LPs in exceptionally mint condition. must note they not only good in sound/mix but also was done on very good quality heavy vinyl.
among them i do have some produced by Tony D'Amato:
"Bolero" by London Festival Orch. and Stanley Black
"New World" by New Philharmonia Orch. and Antal Dorati
"1812" by London Festival Orch. and Robert Sharples


also have "Bach Transcriptions" by Stokowski, producer Raymond Few
How many times have we found ourselves saying that!?

I agree... they missed an excellent opportunity to do these in hirez. I found this box set for about $85. At 2 bucks a disc I couldn't resist. Before you mentioned getting full sound out of your phase 4 stereo LPs.

"...it isn't quad but all LPs, i have, sounds very immersive and full when been played thru matrixed decoder and even PLII."

Just curious, but...Do you know if the LPs contain more information than these RBCDs? In DPLII these RBCDs have a full sound.
 

0tto

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#66
Just curious, but...Do you know if the LPs contain more information than these RBCDs? In DPLII these RBCDs have a full sound.
i guess mixes/mastering on those CDs still intact and should be in everything similar, except differences in sound coloration between vinyl and CD.
 

John Svensson

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Question, if I want to buy the Berlioz Fantastique....which one is it? SACD Net lists 3 of them from Pentatone being multichannel, which conductor's version are we talking about here?
 

Lute

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#68

John Svensson

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#69
Thanks, further inspection and I found that on page 1 again....impossible to tell from the SACD Net link though, how can one tell which of the Pentatone Mch-hybrid discs are sourced from quad recorded performances? My guess is by the recording dates, but perhaps a list would be helpful for the interested folks. John
 

Lute

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#70
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John Svensson

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Thanks Lute, good to know that list exists. I found the Berlioz on Ebay (I think importcds in fact as vendor....) for a mere $13.30. I don't have much in the way in classical surround discs, some of the DTS series and the Alpine Sym. on DVD-A. Several of the old Vox QS recordings but I haven't played those in ages. Have those ever been released in CD form with the encoding intact...who even has the Vox catalogue now?

John
 
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Lute

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#72
Mobile Fidelity seems to own the rights to Vox surround recordings, according to Brian Moura back in 2007. Maybe Brian could chime in if he has any up to date information on their status... Scroll down to the 4th post... https://www.quadraphonicquad.com/forums/showthread.php?8091-DBX-encoded-QS-Quad-record

MoFi has released a few 4.0 multichannel SACDs, for example Prokofiev's Ivan the Terrible soundtrack... http://www.mofi.com/product_p/udsacd4003.htm

I couldn't find much in the way of a complete list of Vox QS recordings on CD, but I did find this list of possible Quad encoded recordings on CD. Scroll down alphabetically to V for Vox... http://www.surrounddiscography.com/quaddisc/qonlycla.htm
 
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#73
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#74
Thanks, further inspection and I found that on page 1 again....impossible to tell from the SACD Net link though, how can one tell which of the Pentatone Mch-hybrid discs are sourced from quad recorded performances? My guess is by the recording dates, but perhaps a list would be helpful for the interested folks. John
At least thus far, all of the PentaTone Remastered Classics recordings are sourced from DG quad mixes, some of which were originally recorded in quad, and the rest were recorded in 8- or 16-track and then mixed down to quad (and, obviously, stereo).
 

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#75
I'm now listening to the Faust and enjoying it. My opera knowledge is limited at best, but this is interesting and the surrounds are used to good effect. In fact, the descent into Hell segment is downright startling.
 
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#76
I'm now listening to the Faust and enjoying it. My opera knowledge is limited at best, but this is interesting and the surrounds are used to good effect. In fact, the descent into Hell segment is downright startling.
Glad to hear that the descent into Hell provided some thrills and chills, Stormchaser. I worked on that for two or three days, as I remember. The biggest challenges were getting Faust's "AAAHHHHHH!" as he falls into the abyss to sound like exactly that, back in the days before digital reverb, and getting enough hiss on the sibilants in the Chorus of Demons. The latter was solved with a +10 db boost @ 10khz on the chorus tracks.
 

John Svensson

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Received the Symphony Fantastique and though I did not have the time yet to give it a critical listening, it sounded very good with interesting use of the surrounds. The packaging for the Remastered Classics series is also very nice. I recall when Conductor Ozawa was the new guy on the block.....hard to believe its been that long. Thumbs up for your work on these recordings.
 
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#78
Received the Symphony Fantastique and though I did not have the time yet to give it a critical listening, it sounded very good with interesting use of the surrounds. The packaging for the Remastered Classics series is also very nice. I recall when Conductor Ozawa was the new guy on the block.....hard to believe its been that long. Thumbs up for your work on these recordings.
Thanks, John. Kind words much appreciated. When you return to listening to this, watch out for an attack from the back in the Marche au Supplice!
 

fizzywiggs41

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#79
Thomas, you mentioned that back in 1969 you had a percentage share of Peter Scheiber's matrix. When this quad matrix was being demonstrated for DGG (at that time) were the music selections taken from Columbia Records artists? Or were they from RCA catalogue artists or some other? I seem to remember reading an artitcle about Scheiber's demo tape selections and thought I had kept the magazine article, but alas can't find the reference so now I'm flumoxed!

And I have a second question.Did you ever have the opportunity to try the matrix on any DGG titles?

I know that Karlheinz Stockhausen recorded some of his work in quadraphonic discrete tape for later mix down to stereo.Anyway as a long time quad sleuth I'm always on the lookout for unknown quad titles, unreleaed or released but unannounced not to mention quad titles only now being issued for the quad collector and your a credit to your profession by supplying all this wonderful info on quad titles you've been involved with.

Thankyou, derek
 
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#80
Thomas, you mentioned that back in 1969 you had a percentage share of Peter Scheiber's matrix. When this quad matrix was being demonstrated for DGG (at that time) were the music selections taken from Columbia Records artists? Or were they from RCA catalogue artists or some other? I seem to remember reading an artitcle about Scheiber's demo tape selections and thought I had kept the magazine article, but alas can't find the reference so now I'm flumoxed!

And I have a second question.Did you ever have the opportunity to try the matrix on any DGG titles?

I know that Karlheinz Stockhausen recorded some of his work in quadraphonic discrete tape for later mix down to stereo.Anyway as a long time quad sleuth I'm always on the lookout for unknown quad titles, unreleaed or released but unannounced not to mention quad titles only now being issued for the quad collector and your a credit to your profession by supplying all this wonderful info on quad titles you've been involved with.

Thankyou, derek
Hi Derek,

You're right on several counts here. Firstly, yes, I owned 15% of Scheiber's invention when we originally formed Audiodata Company in September of 1969. That was reduced to 13% when several other partners came in. Then Peter bought all of us out a few years after the lawsuit against and settlement with Dolby — I think around 1988.

Secondly, when Peter and I did our original press blitz in the fall of '69, we were indeed using demo material supplied by (the late) John McClure at Columbia Records. I remember in particular "Mrs. Robinson" with Simon & Garfunkel, a ping-ping-pong-pong type track called "Popcorn" by Gershon Kingsley, and "Swan Lake" with Bernstein and the Philharmonic. Also some of Walter (later Wendy) Carlos's "Switched-On Bach" record and something by Carlos Santana. It was great material. We didn't have anything from RCA.

Concerning magazine articles about quad, I have a very nice collection of them from the 1969-73 period (I think about 7) in PDF form which I would be happy to post here if I only knew how to do that! They describe very clearly how the whole thing started and then evolved.

No, I never tried to put anything from DG through the matrix, and the reason for that was that, by the time DG actually had some quad material, DG had already made the decision not to go with matrixing. A couple months ago I posted somewhere on this site the reason DG's technical chief, Peter Burkowitz, gave me for that decision. His words were, "Why should we spend good money buying clouds to bring rain, when what we need is sunshine?" That was the end of the story as far as DG was concerned. However, Ray Dolby definitely figured out how to squeeze blood out of the matrixing stone, and eventually made himself a couple billion dollars in the process.

I know that Stockhausen was fooling around with quad around that time, and in fact I remember meeting him briefly in one of the DG post-production studios in Hannover, long about 1971, and then I went to a "Stockhausen Abend" in Hamburg a few years after that with his producer, Rudi Werner, when and where Der Meister held forth at great length about his latest creation. This was almost a seance being held by a cult with its guru at the center. Little bit creepy, actually, given the Germans' known tendency to bow before a powerful leader (auf Deutsch, Man sagt, "Führer")!

But I treasure the memories of those days. Thanks for bringing them back, Derek.
 
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