From time to time, questions come up here at QQ when someone mentions a Columbia quad reel. We all know that Columbia did not release quad reels in the '70s, even though they sold stereo reels via their record clubs and in some cases at retail.
There was a quad collector named Mike Robin, who is no longer with us. He somehow made a connection with an "insider" at Columbia and was given access to about 45 quad masters of early Columbia quad releases. These masters were in some cases early discrete mixes of what would eventually be released on SQ and Q8 media, and in some cases they were the exact mix that got released.
What makes these tape desirable is that because of the limitations of the SQ encoders and decoders of the time, the only public way to hear the discrete mix of these titles was on the Q8 tape. We all know that even though Q8's can sound good at times, they in no way can compete with a 7 1/2ips reel created from the 4 channel master.
Anyway, allegedly Mike Robin made first generation reel copies of these 45 albums, some of which never got released officially, and proceeded to sell copies of these copies to quad collectors through quad publications and through word of mouth.
Unfortunately for me, I was somehow unaware of this effort, even though I had dealt with Mike Robin from time to time. I do not know how much he charged or when these were exactly offered by him.
There are members here who actually purchased these reels from him, but it's more of a code of honor to keep quiet about them, as their production and sale was highly illegal.
At any rate, 30 years later, these reels have been copied and copied and traded and shipped around the globe to quad collectors, but the prize first copy tapes that Mike made from his direct copy of the master are the true gems of those Columbia quad reels.
These are usually Maxell UD reels with an index card in the box with the title and a sequence number. If you don't have the index card, it's probably a copy of the copy (or the card simply got lost along the way)
I could probably come up with a list of titles if I looked through my emails over the years, and if anyone's interested, I will.
If any of you guys who have these reels feel like sharing the story, go ahead. Just be aware that if you "decloak", you are liable to get showered with PM's and emails from folks wanting copies, etc, so use your best judgment.
I would never out the people that I know that have these reels. It's not fair to them.
However, if anyone else knows more about this story, or feels like sharing some info, this thread is the place to do so.
It's been 30 years, Mike Robin is gone, and the reels are an artifact of a time gone by that even the label may not have at their beckon call. In that spirit, it's a tribute to Mike Robin and his source that some of us had the chance to hear these very rare and very special reels.
OK, let the comments begin.................
EDIT (9/2/2010): Thanks to a QQ member giving me an actual copy of the Mike Robin list, I have created a web page at QQ with the official list. The list contains 52 tapes (not 45 as indicated above). The above post was created before I obtained the list. You can check out the web page I created HERE