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Anything new in digitally recording & playback of 70's quad ??

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Lance7489

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I brought this topic up a couple of years ago & got a lot of suggestions, all involving purchasing & using complicated equipment along with my computer. What I was looking for then & still looking for today is a stand alone digital unit to replace my 4 channel reel to reel. .................. Is there anything new along those lines ???? Over the last 6 months, I've noticed this company in the UK (Vocalion) is making SACD's of a lot of the 70's stuff with a 4.0 layer. It's called "SACD Surround". Is there anyway to make these 4.0 sacd's (or even dvd audio) at home ? I also noticed recently that someone is selling CD-4 albums with a 4.0 "homemade" DVD Audio disc (of the same album) on ebay. ..... How is this done ???? ... Is it as easy as using a 4 channel reel to reel ?
 

John Svensson

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Umm, I'll leave it to others to reply on the recording aspect, let's just say to record anything you currently have digitally - you need to use software..... For commercial products multi-channel SACDs have been around now for at least 20 years, and Dutton Vocalion has been selling legacy quad releases now for at least 5 years, and before them Audio Fidelity did the same thing for several years. I take it you do not have a digital player for multi-channel SACD/DVD-Audio/BluRay? They are not very expensive and not very complicated. You'll need one, plus of course a multi-channel AV amplifier, which I imagine you already have for playing quad R2R tapes.
 

mlrocker

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"stand-alone" meaning like a multi-channel tape player = blu-ray player (ubiquitous)
"stand-alone" meaning like a multi-channel tape recorder = blu-ray recorder (writer) w/o computer connection (rare)
 

DuncanS

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Let us know how the Tascam is for you when you get a chance. I realize you’ve had far more important thoughts on your mind recently.
Unfortunately so :( . Plus work gets in the way (which OK does fund this madcap hobby!) means it is :eek: still in its box, and I'm flying to Texas on Monday next week for a meeting so it won't happen this coming weekend either o_O
 

jimfisheye

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I understand it may seem like a leap but the computer is actually the much easier path!
The stand-alone digital devices come with their own learning curve, complexity, and limitations. And at the end of that path, a computer assist is still required.

The computer based system is modular. The workflow is consistent and builds on previous knowledge. The bang for the buck factor is magnitudes higher. Actual compromise that would be detrimental to the actual audio can always be avoided with no loss of convenience. <- That's the big one.

Take control of your media!
Computer -> audio interface -> amps and speakers
Analog tech devices (tape and encoded vinyl) -> audio interface inputs -> computer

Tip: Make HDMI your last choice for connecting devices. There's copy protection gone wild crap going on that has infected that port on many devices. (And it's even worse on the stand-alone devices!) Thunderbolt, firewire, and lowly USB are your friends.
 

Lance7489

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Umm, I'll leave it to others to reply on the recording aspect, let's just say to record anything you currently have digitally - you need to use software..... For commercial products multi-channel SACDs have been around now for at least 20 years, and Dutton Vocalion has been selling legacy quad releases now for at least 5 years, and before them Audio Fidelity did the same thing for several years. I take it you do not have a digital player for multi-channel SACD/DVD-Audio/BluRay? They are not very expensive and not very complicated. You'll need one, plus of course a multi-channel AV amplifier, which I imagine you already have for playing quad R2R tapes.
I do have a Denon DVD player (plays sacd surround & dvd audio surround) that I got used on ebay for $120. It has RCA outputs for 5.1, so I just plug in the front left & right & the rear left & right into my Kenwood KR 9340 reciever. I don't do anything with the center channel or the sub outputs since they aren't used by the 4.0 cd's. It sounds fantastic !! Discreet 4 channel with none of the CD-4 noise !
 
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Lance7489

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I understand it may seem like a leap but the computer is actually the much easier path!
The stand-alone digital devices come with their own learning curve, complexity, and limitations. And at the end of that path, a computer assist is still required.

The computer based system is modular. The workflow is consistent and builds on previous knowledge. The bang for the buck factor is magnitudes higher. Actual compromise that would be detrimental to the actual audio can always be avoided with no loss of convenience. <- That's the big one.

Take control of your media!
Computer -> audio interface -> amps and speakers
Analog tech devices (tape and encoded vinyl) -> audio interface inputs -> computer

Tip: Make HDMI your last choice for connecting devices. There's copy protection gone wild crap going on that has infected that port on many devices. (And it's even worse on the stand-alone devices!) Thunderbolt, firewire, and lowly USB are your friends.
Unfortunately, While I consider myself knowledgable with vintage stereo & quad gear, I'm not at all very computer "literate". I need someone to explain it to me in very simple terms, which wasn't the case a couple of years ago when I tried.
 

LuvMyQuad

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I do have a Denon DVD player (plays sacd surround & dvd audio surround) that I got used on ebay for $120. It has RCA outputs for 5.1, so I just plug in the front left & right & the rear left & right into my Kenwood KR 9340 reciever. I don't do anything with the center channel or the sub outputs since they aren't used by the 4.0 cd's.
You should be able to set the Denon to disable the center channel (and LFE as well). That will allow you to play 5.1 as Quad (ie: 4.0) without any signal losses. Just in case you need to play something from the last 5 decades or so.

Most quad enthusiasts transfer their analog tracks to FLAC files and play them from a media player. Computers are involved because you need to digitize the signal to make a digital file.
 

Lance7489

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I did try some 5.1 dvd audio discs. I used a RCA Y adapter to run the center channel into 1 of the front channel & another Y adapter for the sub channel run to the other front channel. You say you can disable the center channel ? What about the sub channel ? Not sure what you mean by "LFE". I do have the manual for the Denon, so I'll check this out !! Thanks a lot ! ............ When you say that quad enthusiasts transfer to FLAC files, what you use to accomplish this would have to have RCA inputs for 4 channels. None of the equipment I looked at has 4 RCA inputs & 4 RCA Outputs. .....Then you go on to say they play thme from a "media player". What do you mean ? What would be a example of a media player ?
 

LuvMyQuad

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The sub channel and the LFE channel are the same thing. And yes, it and the center channel can typically be disabled in the player. Look in the "size" settings. There is typically a selection for "none" for the sides, rears, and center. For the LFE (Low Frequency Effects Channel... or sub channel as you call it) there is usually just a setting for if you have a subwoofer or not. Using Y adapters is not the best way to do that. In your case the center channel info isn't in the center anymore, and one front speaker is burdened with the LFE bass.

To digitize Quad into 4 discrete FLAC channels, you will need either a computer with a specialized audio sound card or something like the Tascam recorder shown above. There are plenty of folks on this forum that can do a better job of recommending this type of equipment than I can, so I'll leave it to them. The equipment won't need 4 RCA IN and 4 RCA OUT, just 4 RCA IN. The output will be written digitally to a file that can then be played. Sometimes the method for getting the analog signal into such a device isn't RCA jacks. Sometimes its 1/4" or 1/8" stereo jacks, like headphones and microphones use.

Here is a thread on the forum that discusses media players in depth. There are other more involved threads in the same section as well. A media player is a small computer with software made to play music and/or video. It reads file information from a connected storage device (like a disk drive) and then renders the digital stream for playback through a device than can accept a digital signal. The most common setup has a PC connected to a modern day AVR using an HDMI connection. The AVR then decodes the digital signal and sends it to its preamplifier and amplifier sections for further processing. There are lots of variations on this as well.
 

mlrocker

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Don't understand your response.
I think of a 4 channel reel to reel deck as a player and a recorder because I make quad tapes.
I was thinking if I had to replace my R2R deck with a stand-alone (no computer attached), then a blu-ray player/recorder would be the way to go.
 

Lance7489

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The sub channel and the LFE channel are the same thing. And yes, it and the center channel can typically be disabled in the player. Look in the "size" settings. There is typically a selection for "none" for the sides, rears, and center. For the LFE (Low Frequency Effects Channel... or sub channel as you call it) there is usually just a setting for if you have a subwoofer or not. Using Y adapters is not the best way to do that. In your case the center channel info isn't in the center anymore, and one front speaker is burdened with the LFE bass.

To digitize Quad into 4 discrete FLAC channels, you will need either a computer with a specialized audio sound card or something like the Tascam recorder shown above. There are plenty of folks on this forum that can do a better job of recommending this type of equipment than I can, so I'll leave it to them. The equipment won't need 4 RCA IN and 4 RCA OUT, just 4 RCA IN. The output will be written digitally to a file that can then be played. Sometimes the method for getting the analog signal into such a device isn't RCA jacks. Sometimes its 1/4" or 1/8" stereo jacks, like headphones and microphones use.

Here is a thread on the forum that discusses media players in depth. There are other more involved threads in the same section as well. A media player is a small computer with software made to play music and/or video. It reads file information from a connected storage device (like a disk drive) and then renders the digital stream for playback through a device than can accept a digital signal. The most common setup has a PC connected to a modern day AVR using an HDMI connection. The AVR then decodes the digital signal and sends it to its preamplifier and amplifier sections for further processing. There are lots of variations on this as well.
Thanks for your help. Since I don't have a "modern day AVR", I'd have to find some sort of media player set up with 4 channel analog outputs.
 

DuncanS

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I understand it may seem like a leap but the computer is actually the much easier path!
The stand-alone digital devices come with their own learning curve, complexity, and limitations. And at the end of that path, a computer assist is still required.

The computer based system is modular. The workflow is consistent and builds on previous knowledge. The bang for the buck factor is magnitudes higher. Actual compromise that would be detrimental to the actual audio can always be avoided with no loss of convenience. <- That's the big one.

Take control of your media!
Computer -> audio interface -> amps and speakers
Analog tech devices (tape and encoded vinyl) -> audio interface inputs -> computer

Tip: Make HDMI your last choice for connecting devices. There's copy protection gone wild crap going on that has infected that port on many devices. (And it's even worse on the stand-alone devices!) Thunderbolt, firewire, and lowly USB are your friends.
I'll second that on HDMI, my 2013 expensive amp won't let my expensive NUC's Audio or Video through it as it can't handle HDCP 2.2 data sent by the NUC over HDMI :mad::poop:

I've got the Tascam for a couple of reasons, one is a project I'll fund via my company. I want something easily portable as I want to design a Bat monitor :geek: - there are quite a few rare ones that fly around this neck of the woods (well gardens) in summer, I've been fascinated watching them hunt for the ever fewer moths. We really need to conserve them (Bats & Moths) in the UK we're losing a lot. Mind you if I play too many SACDs maybe the HF noise will scare them away :LOL:
 

LuvMyQuad

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Thanks for your help. Since I don't have a "modern day AVR", I'd have to find some sort of media player set up with 4 channel analog outputs.
Nothing you buy today will offer only 4 analog outputs. 4 channel Quad is a dead format. Anything modern will have 6 or more channels. Nothing says you have to use all those channels though.

Below I am speaking only about the playback chain.

A typical media player will do what you are asking for stereo. Most are equipped with a stereo analog out jack where the device will convert the PCM signal to analog for use by your amplifier. One fellow I work with uses a system like this. I helped him set it up. A refurbed, fanless windows based media player cost him about $200. A 4TB HHD cost him another $100. A blue ray burner/reader was another $100. A Logitech wireless keyboard controls it all. With it, he can rip all is CDs, store them, and play them back through his vintage Macintosh tube gear. He uses JRiver Media Center (software) to do this. He loves it.

But a stereo output wont help you for quad playback. There are solutions however.

The easiest is to purchase an Oppo 103, 105, 203, or 205. These can only be had on the used market since Oppo is no longer manufacturing them. Your digital files would be stored on a small USB storage device that plugs directly into the Oppo. This could be a portable Hard Disc Drive (HHD) or Solid State Drive (SSD) for larger libraries, or a simple USB thumb drive for smaller libraries. The Oppo provides a rudimentary navigation routine for choosing files, does the digital to analog conversion, and outputs up to 8 channels of analog audio. Many forum members use this method. With a 103 or 105 you could also rip your own SACD disks for playback (very desirable). Oh yeah. It also plays optical disks of pretty much any flavor. The down sides are:
1) Used Oppos are not cheap, especially the X05 models. 103's aren't so bad and go for $350-$450. That's pretty close to their original cost when new.
2) The user interface is very basic compared to dedicated software for playing music, but it may suffice for you, especially if you have a smallish library.

Here is a another possible solution for you. This device accepts a PCM digital signal from a USB port of a media player and decodes it to analog. You'd still need a media player, a storage device (HDD), and some means to control it all (keyboard or remote). A setup like this allows you to use pretty much any player software you like such as Kodi, Foobar, JRiver, MusicBee, etc. All provide a quality user interface. This solution does nothing to allow you to copy recordings like SACD or blue ray disks, let alone your legacy reels. This is an inexpensive DAC solution @ about $250. More expensive units are available on the miniDSP site that include room correction via Dirac Live.

Both solutions require a video screen for control.

Most of these media players will work. There are many others. Many that use other operating systems beyond windows.
 

Owen Smith

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An Oppo 93 or 95 can also play files from hard disc to the multi channel outputs. Any reason you excluded those models?
 

LuvMyQuad

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An Oppo 93 or 95 can also play files from hard disc to the multi channel outputs. Any reason you excluded those models?
No. I didn't actually realize they were capable. Thank you for pointing it out. That is an even less expensive option for the OP. Though he does give up the capability of ripping SACDs, a characteristic exclusive to the 103/105.
 
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