Decca Phase 4, RCA Living Stereo, and Mercury Living presense played through the SurroundMaster.

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Sonik Wiz

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The mixing desk 'encoded' nothing.
If you really want to know how it worked, this ex-Decca engineer explains how Phase 4 Stereo was recorded and mixed. Odd that he forgets to mention anything about surround sound! Note that he does say that Decca deliberately chose a microphone technique that minimised any pick up from the rear and thus avoided any of that bloom (or ambience) they were actually desperate to strip out!! -
Decca
Good video, thanks! I also found the next vid in line was fun to listen to:

 

JimofMaine

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It always amuses me that periodically someone stumbles across the Decca Phase 4 Stereo stuff and thinks they’ve discovered an unknown ‘surround’ format. This forum is littered with such posts over the years. The magic of the words “phase” and “4” seems to convince some people it must have been a quad format even though those words were used for no reasons whatsoever connected with surround sound. It was just a multitrack recording technique used to spotlight certain instruments through volume adjustment and pan potting across the stereo width. There was no encoding. It is not a matrixed system. There is no ‘mono surround’ channel. It is just stereo done badly.
"There is no ‘mono surround’ channel. It is just stereo done badly."

I think there is a mono surround signal the (L+ and R +) in all stereo recordings. By definition it's part what makes it stereo vs. mono.

I assume Soundfield does not believe stereo is a surround format. Here's where we'll have to agree to disagree.
 

quadsearcher

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"I did not say the creators meant for it's use with rear speakers."

Than you for the clarification.

That is quite opposed to "It was a passive matrix" (taken out of context perhaps, but it is as readers will do now and in the future.)

A more accurate description used here at QQ (but with material that sounds good through a decoder) is "happy accident".

Newcomers to the hobby look for information, and it would be unfortunate to lead them down the wrong path.

I had the same thought at one time, but I did play a couple through a decoder and it was a real mess, seemed worse than stereo by far. As others have mentioned they had poor-to-no stereo imaging. I thought I had mentioned that here, at least I meant to do so.
Simulated quadraphonic generally works best with the best recordings.

Soundfield, I think I can venture a guess as to why this topic pops up now and again. Besides the obvious naming similarity (which could not refer to matrix encode/decode technology as that did not exist at the time), it is simply because in U.S. thrift stores these records are abundant.

Enoch Light, now that is a different topic altogether. He seemed to have such a sense of space in recordings, that even stereo versions "decode" well.
And there are poorly or un-labeled quad releases, etc.
 

Soundfield

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I assume Soundfield does not believe stereo is a surround format. Here's where we'll have to agree to disagree.
Not at all. A really good stereo recording, using simple microphone techniques (e.g. a single Blumlein pair) can create an excellent room filling illusion with precise imaging, space and atmosphere (and dare I utter it on this forum - far preferable to a poor, artificial sounding quad recording!). Interestingly it is those simple stereo microphone techniques (unlike those used by Decca P4) that are naturally rich in anti-phase content (is that what you mean by your reference to "+,+ signals"?) and thus reproduce most realistically over the Hafler system.
 
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jaybird100

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Hmmm. I think I fall in the camp thinking that Phase 4 was a catch phrase to sell stereo, which was by no means taking off at the time. Like Columbia describing their stereo records as having 360 degree sound. The claim was that stereo, unlike mono, was three dimensional. I don't buy it. Sure a Haffler arrangement will extract natural ambience, and maybe the Phase 4s have more than some others. I can't tell as I have never owned a Phase 4 album. Too 'mellow' for me. I used to pull them out of the quad section at record stores all the time back in the 1970s.
Phase 4 predated quad by at least 10 years. While the albums I have sound very nice through the Surround Master, it's purely synthesized quad. No more, no less.
 

JimofMaine

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The mixing desk 'encoded' nothing.
If you really want to know how it worked, this ex-Decca engineer explains how Phase 4 Stereo was recorded and mixed. Odd that he forgets to mention anything about surround sound! Note that he does say that Decca deliberately chose a microphone technique that minimised any pick up from the rear and thus avoided any of that bloom (or ambience) they were actually desperate to strip out!! -
Decca
By discussion Phase 4 what it is and isn't goes off topic. A 1960's recording technique isn't too interesting, except in the context of a historical perspective on sound reproduction. Awesome time to be alive and amazing some on this site are discussing first hand accounts!

"Decca deliberately chose a microphone technique that minimised any pick up from the rear and thus avoided any of that bloom (or ambience)"

That's not accurate. Encoded in the stereo signal is the difference between the L, R in-phase information. This is the +,+ signal. The terms the recording industry uses are: True Stereo and Pseudo Stereo to describe this SAME signal achieved by two distinct methods. Stereo mikes produce True Stereo and mixer boards produce pan-pot Pseudo Stereo. Decca did seem to favor Pseudo Stereo production. This is exactly what they were accused of "over doing."

Here is a quote from the Decca Phase 4 literature:
"Each channel has... echo facilities (switchable to electronic reverberation or chamber reverberation)."
 

quadsearcher

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I'll avoid this thread. That's a first.
One last comment: ALL RECORDING TECHNIQUES ARE INTERESTING TO SOMEONE WHO IS INTERESTED IN RECORDING TECHNIQUES!
Personal opinions are not applicable to the entirety of all humanity.
Like this one: Everybody knows about out of phase (difference) information in stereo.
But words have meaning. Encode: to put information in the form of a code on (something) This definition of "encode" describes a deliberate act.
 

MidiMagic

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+,+ is a misnomer.

It refers to any sound that is out of phase between the speakers, no matter what the relative amplitudes are.

I prefer to just call it S because it plays in the S channel of Dolby Surround.

It does not matter whether you have a mono S channel or the two LS and RS channels of Pro Logic, or LB and RB of QS. They all produce the same image to the listener.
 

gene_stl

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While digging through a large quantity of classical CDs this evening, I rediscovered the Deutsche Gramophone "4 Phase" label. The description referred to four "modern" (at the time I suppose) methods used to record the content. I don't know whether that was a trademark they acquired from Decca or whether it is commuted and so a totally different phrase legally. It did not mention nor imply anything about surround.

A google search brought up nothing. Except Phase 4 Decca

I guess the phrase tickles the imagination of the marketing guys.
The methods were short analog cables (A/D with the mics) 23 bit recording (something about dual A/Ds Remote control of the preamps and one other I can't remember.
 

JimofMaine

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The mixing desk 'encoded' nothing.
If you really want to know how it worked, this ex-Decca engineer explains how Phase 4 Stereo was recorded and mixed. Odd that he forgets to mention anything about surround sound! Note that he does say that Decca deliberately chose a microphone technique that minimised any pick up from the rear and thus avoided any of that bloom (or ambience) they were actually desperate to strip out!! -
Decca
You're incorrect. Simply read the attached Phase 4 brochure. They were doing left, right, front to back...with 4 channels. Yep ahead of their time.
 
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