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Chicago Quadio - 9 Quad Albums on Blu-ray Audio.

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drphibes

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Don't procrastinate. Word is there aren't many copies left out there.
I'm not even a huge Chicago fan, and I think everyone should buy this set. Tremendous value, and several of the albums are outstanding. Chicago VII might be a desert island disc for me.
 

ChristopherLees

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my favourite of the lot was chicago viii in quad...it sounds really good in quad and it was always a hard quad title to get..and I wasnt expecting it to sound as good as it does in the box set.
 

vinylguy4

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My replacement discs arrived today. Looks like importcds has some additional box sets currently available.

vinylguy4
 

Frogmort

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I made mkv's from the blu-rays when I originally got them, but today I figured I would downsample them from 192kHz to 96kHz and convert them all to flac. I compared them and cannot hear any difference whatsoever, and if my math is correct, look at the amazing size reduction for what sounds absolutely identical to me:

blu-rays - 72.6GB
mkvs - 45.2GB
flacs - 19.9GB

That's a savings of over 25GB over the mkvs and a whopping almost 53GB savings over the blu-rays! :yikes
 

rtbluray

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I was going to write a blog post this weekend, but I got busy and forgot, so I'll say it here:

This past weekend marked the one year anniversary of the release of the QUADIO box set!
Has there ever been a more phenomenal Quadraphonic release?
(I honestly don't think so, but feel free to disagree…) ;)

I've enjoyed revisiting this set recently, and I still have great hope that Warner Music and Rhino Records will issue more Quadraphonic mixes in due course, especially the 4 amazing Quadraphonic mixes for the Doobie Brothers!

Hope Springs Eternal!

:)
 

drphibes

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I will tell you that this has been my favorite release since 2010, when I finally embraced the surround scene.

I'm not even a huge Chicago fan, and it's worth every cent.
 

The Rang

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I'm embarrassed to admit that after all this time CTA is the only disc I've played.
Too awkward to drag the Blu-ray player out of the theatre room, then hook up on the stereo rig.
Plus that old Sony 550 doesn't sound that great. Need a better one.
 

Franklin

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I hope this project didn't lose money with the repressings and postage. I have no interest in a Doobies set, though.
 

knifeman

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FWIW, I received notice from Dr. Rhino that my replacement discs were mailed today. My original request was e-mailed on 4/23. I received a reply on 5/13 stating the issue would be resolved ASAP. Then.......nothing. I sent another reminder on 11/6 and finally got results. So I guess persistence pays off. I thought that maybe the corrected discs were no longer being pressed.
 

steelydave

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Listening to “Chicago VI” right now.

Not only tripping on how lucky we were to get this amazing box set, but just how great these quad mixes were!

Who mixed these anyway? These are so good! Enveloping and discreet and sometimes adventurous without being too much. The way the sax solo on “Just You n Me” swirls around the room?

Perfect!

My second favorite Chicago album after VII, BTW. The first one I owned.
The majority of them were mixed by Wayne Tarnowski, who was Chicago manager James William Guercio's in-house engineer after he set up Caribou Ranch studio in 1973. Guercio poached him from CBS' NY studio (where he'd worked on most of Chicago's albums, starting with II) and he engineered all of Chicago's Caribou-recorded albums starting with VI. I think CBS' head of quad Al Lawrence oversaw all of the Chicago quad remixing in 1974, and Guercio was involved as well. When Chicago and Guercio split up following Chicago XI, Tarnowski stopped working with them too - I think he was hurt that they didn't consider him as their next producer, given that he was pretty close with the band (he even plays some piano on VII) and so the next thing he worked on was engineering Ted Nugent's Cat Scratch Fever album in '77.

A couple of other engineers worked on the Chicago quad remixes as well, Don Young did II (with Harold. J Kleiner supervising) and Don Puluse (who'd engineered II, III and Carnegie Hall) assisted Tarnowski on the quad mix of Chicago V.

I agree though, the Chicago quad mixes are really some of the pinnacle of the format, even with the SQ mixing limitations they had to work with. It's a shame they didn't get these out until the spring of 1975, when quad was in the process of falling in to the abyss - not that one catalog would have changed the course of history, but if more bands had jumped in with both feet in say, 1973, things may have gone better.
 

keywhiz

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The majority of them were mixed by Wayne Tarnowski, who was Chicago manager James William Guercio's in-house engineer after he set up Caribou Ranch studio in 1973. Guercio poached him from CBS' NY studio (where he'd worked on most of Chicago's albums, starting with II) and he engineered all of Chicago's Caribou-recorded albums starting with VI. I think CBS' head of quad Al Lawrence oversaw all of the Chicago quad remixing in 1974, and Guercio was involved as well. When Chicago and Guercio split up following Chicago XI, Tarnowski stopped working with them too - I think he was hurt that they didn't consider him as their next producer, given that he was pretty close with the band (he even plays some piano on VII) and so the next thing he worked on was engineering Ted Nugent's Cat Scratch Fever album in '77.

A couple of other engineers worked on the Chicago quad remixes as well, Don Young did II (with Harold. J Kleiner supervising) and Don Puluse (who'd engineered II, III and Carnegie Hall) assisted Tarnowski on the quad mix of Chicago V.

I agree though, the Chicago quad mixes are really some of the pinnacle of the format, even with the SQ mixing limitations they had to work with. It's a shame they didn't get these out until the spring of 1975, when quad was in the process of falling in to the abyss - not that one catalog would have changed the course of history, but if more bands had jumped in with both feet in say, 1973, things may have gone better.
That’s some great information! Thanks!

So they released the bulk of the catalog on quad all at once? I didn’t know that. I always presumed they had just been coming out on quad along with the stereo versions.

That was quite a commitment from the band and label. Did they do that for anyone else’s entire back catalog?

I guess it shouldn’t be all THAT surprising then that we got this box set. Seems like the band had quite a commitment to the format.
 

steelydave

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That’s some great information! Thanks!

So they released the bulk of the catalog on quad all at once? I didn’t know that. I always presumed they had just been coming out on quad along with the stereo versions.

That was quite a commitment from the band and label. Did they do that for anyone else’s entire back catalog?

I guess it shouldn’t be all THAT surprising then that we got this box set. Seems like the band had quite a commitment to the format.
As far as I know Chicago was the only back catalog mixed 'en masse' for quad like that. The music industry moved at such a frantic pace back then, artists were putting out an album (or in Chicago's case, double albums) or even sometimes two albums a year - labels were more (or most) concerned with whatever the newest product was, which is why there are so many quad curios that make you think 'why did they mix the album AFTER the famous album for quad?' The answer is they hoped the next album would be as big as the hit one, and offering a quad version was part of that approach to making it a hit. Labels weren't concerned with 'deep catalog' like they are now - I think the Chicago quads were kind of a 'perfect storm' of events, the band was one of the label's big sellers, their manager owned his own (quad equipped) studio that had just opened, and it was right in the heyday of quad.

I think if quad had continued more strongly in to the mid/late 70's, instead of falling off a cliff after '75, you might have seen more of these back catalog type initiatives. For every CBS artist like Chicago or Santana that basically had their whole catalog done (Santana's were basically at the same time as the stereo versions, aside from the first 3, but you get my point), there are artists like Kansas, Boston, Bruce Springsteen and plenty of others that didn't even have a single quad release - I'm sure there are plenty of others like that too.

I'm including an article below that I must have posted somewhere else on QQ at some point about the release of the Chicago quads in early '75, it has some good info about the release as well as the other stuff CBS was working on at the time. Hard to believe that a year later quad was pretty much done, save for a handful of releases through '76 and early '77.

columbia_chicago.jpg
 

4-earredwonder

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As far as I know Chicago was the only back catalog mixed 'en masse' for quad like that. The music industry moved at such a frantic pace back then, artists were putting out an album (or in Chicago's case, double albums) or even sometimes two albums a year - labels were more (or most) concerned with whatever the newest product was, which is why there are so many quad curios that make you think 'why did they mix the album AFTER the famous album for quad?' The answer is they hoped the next album would be as big as the hit one, and offering a quad version was part of that approach to making it a hit. Labels weren't concerned with 'deep catalog' like they are now - I think the Chicago quads were kind of a 'perfect storm' of events, the band was one of the label's big sellers, their manager owned his own (quad equipped) studio that had just opened, and it was right in the heyday of quad.

I think if quad had continued more strongly in to the mid/late 70's, instead of falling off a cliff after '75, you might have seen more of these back catalog type initiatives. For every CBS artist like Chicago or Santana that basically had their whole catalog done (Santana's were basically at the same time as the stereo versions, aside from the first 3, but you get my point), there are artists like Kansas, Boston, Bruce Springsteen and plenty of others that didn't even have a single quad release - I'm sure there are plenty of others like that too.

I'm including an article below that I must have posted somewhere else on QQ at some point about the release of the Chicago quads in early '75, it has some good info about the release as well as the other stuff CBS was working on at the time. Hard to believe that a year later quad was pretty much done, save for a handful of releases through '76 and early '77.

View attachment 31995
Excellent post indeed, Dave, but it was Columbia's tenacity to hold on to their ridiculously ineffective SQ QUAD matrix system [via vinyl playback] which turned a lot of their in house artists off especially since even smaller labels like Vanguard Records were releasing QUAD Open Reels at the time. I was a struggling 'audiophile' at the time and even I knew that saving my hard earned pennies up for a QUAD Open Reel tape deck WAS THE WAY TO GO. I had an SQ/QS/CD~4 set up and it was nothing but problematic and while Warner/RCA/Vanguard/Command forged ahead with QUAD Open Reel releases, Columbia and its associated labels stubbornly held onto their "LOSSY" QUAD 8 tracks and inferior Vinyl matrix systems. Naturally, why bother remixing your albums into surround if the extra work and expense failed to translate well into the final product.

My question would be if Columbia had released Dolby b encoded Open Reels [instead of inferior 'clunky' dolby encoded 8 tracks], would Springsteen, Kansas, Boston, to name only a few and even the Motown Group have upped the ante by releasing in that discrete format?
 

sjcorne

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My question would be if Columbia had released Dolby b encoded Open Reels [instead of LOSSY dolby encoded 8 tracks], would Springsteen, Kansas, Boston, to name only a few and even the Motown Group have upped the ante by releasing in that discrete format?
Are "lossy" and "lossless" really the best terms to use when describing the fidelity of analog tape formats? You could capture a Q8 at 96/24 and it'll still have no top end.

I'm just glad Columbia actually did release discrete versions of their mixes to the public- can you imagine if there were only SQ LPs and no Q8s? We'd never know what anything was supposed to sound like.

In fact, there are several Columbia mixes that actually were SQ-only releases- Billy Joel's "Turnstiles, L&M's "Native Sons", Dylan's "Desire", and Dave Mason's "Split Coconut" to name a few. They deserve to be freed...

My opinion on what would've made a difference back in the 70s- Incorporating the Fosgate DES chip in all quad receivers (even the cheap ones) or somehow refining CD-4 to make it more user-friendly (working automatic carrier/seperation controls, Hi-Blend, Japanese-pressed vinyl, etc). Vinyl was the way to get it to the masses.
 

privateuniverse

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In fact, there are several Columbia mixes that actually were SQ-only releases- Billy Joel's "Turnstiles, L&M's "Native Sons", Dylan's "Desire", and Dave Mason's "Split Coconut" to name a few. They deserve to be freed...
I know. The decode that I have of Turnstiles sounds awkward in a lot of places. I've always wondered if that's the way the master tape sounds or if the decode is just making it sound that way. It's so annoying that MFSL had to do their stereo-only SACD on that one. Billy/Sony were clearly willing to play ball with AF. If MFSL hadn't gotten in the way we probably would have gotten the 4.0 mixes of Piano Man and Turnstiles on AF SACDs. :(
 

4-earredwonder

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Are "lossy" and "lossless" really the best terms to use when describing the fidelity of analog tape formats? You could capture a Q8 at 96/24 and it'll still have no top end.

I'm just glad Columbia actually did release discrete versions of their mixes to the public- can you imagine if there were only SQ LPs and no Q8s? We'd never know what anything was supposed to sound like.

In fact, there are several Columbia mixes that actually were SQ-only releases- Billy Joel's "Turnstiles, L&M's "Native Sons", Dylan's "Desire", and Dave Mason's "Split Coconut" to name a few. They deserve to be freed...

My opinion on what would've made a difference back in the 70s- Incorporating the Fosgate DES chip in all quad receivers (even the cheap ones) or somehow refining CD-4 to make it more user-friendly (working automatic carrier/seperation controls, Hi-Blend, Japanese-pressed vinyl, etc). Vinyl was the way to get it to the masses.
I was just using 'lossy' as a figure of speech. And to be honest, even 7 1/2 ips Open Reel was a step down from the master tapes which were usually recorded at 15 ips and sometimes 30 ips.

Yes 8 tracks [recorded at 3 3/4 ips] did allow one to hear discretely but at what cost? I cannot in all conscience consider going from 30/15 ips to 3 3/4 high fidelity.

And the sad inverse is that today we have these wonderful high definition codecs and can now replicate multiple channels of vibrant sound and none of the artists/record labels today have any interest in utilizing these wonderful advances, SAVE FOR A MINUTE FEW!
 

sjcorne

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I know. The decode that I have of Turnstiles sounds awkward in a lot of places. I've always wondered if that's the way the master tape sounds or if the decode is just making it sound that way. It's so annoying that MFSL had to do their stereo-only SACD on that one. Billy/Sony were clearly willing to play ball with AF. If MFSL hadn't gotten in the way we probably would have gotten the 4.0 mixes of Piano Man and Turnstiles on AF SACDs. :(
I probably have the same decode ("Oblio98")- Absolutely blows away my SQ, so kudos to the converter. I agree it is kind of a strange mix. Some cuts decode really well while others seem to have vocals or instruments in all 4 speakers (which you would never see in a Columbia release). Also it has yet another alternate solo in "NY State Of Mind"...there have to be at least 3 different versions of that solo.

"Piano Man" is mixed pretty much the same way as "Streetlife Serenade"- Total 4 corner job. The problem is that it's overall a bit sparser in instrumentation- those who like modern mixing will find it super wonky, but I for one enjoy it. One major issue- "You're My Home" has the vocals so far potted down it's borderline karaoke.

Maybe Sony Japan can get these out. I do love that 7" packaging that mimics the SQ LP.

Too bad Sony didn't keep going with BJ's catalog in 5.1..."Innocent Man" in particular would have been awesome.
 

PodCat

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I know. The decode that I have of Turnstiles sounds awkward in a lot of places. I've always wondered if that's the way the master tape sounds or if the decode is just making it sound that way. It's so annoying that MFSL had to do their stereo-only SACD on that one. Billy/Sony were clearly willing to play ball with AF. If MFSL hadn't gotten in the way we probably would have gotten the 4.0 mixes of Piano Man and Turnstiles on AF SACDs. :(
You are absolutely right. Mobile Fidelity put out a pointless stereo release that just got in the way for AF.

But then, who's surprised? MFSL has been putting out pointless dreck for decades. Why do you people keep supporting this no-reason-to-exist label by buying them? Once upon a time -- like four decades ago -- they were the only place to get quality stampings directly from master tapes. Not ten years later, with CD mastering from original tapes standard, you'd think they'd have folded their tent and gone fishing. But no -- they just switched over to stamping out CD's instead at three times the price, and damn if the audiophools didn't buy 'em right up. They then moved on to greener fields with stereo SACD's. Never multichannel ones, of course. Because, you know. Those would take work.

Fuck Mobile Fidelity.

P.S. The Turnstiles mix is, unfortunately, a sloppy piece of garbage -- out of balance, no reverb, wrong take -- you name it. The coup de grace is missing piano on Angry Young Man. You read that right: missing accoustic piano. On a Billy Joel track.

Still be nice to have a discrete version.
 
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