CD-4 carriers aren't really all THAT fragile. What's usually wrong is dirt has plugged them up and so the stylus can't track them. I have bought used CD-4's that were virtually unplayable. I cleaned them very well and voila!
That is interesting, nice catch! All those vinyl sources were captured with the same cartridge, turntable, decoder, USB interface, etc - so I'm pretty confident the mistake isn't on my end.Want more confusion? On the FL channel of Marrakesh Express”, the phase looks reversed between EV-4 on the left and QS on the right.
I have some interesting findings on this front. I finally managed to acquire what appears to be a genuine QS pressing of Permissive Polyphonics, complete with the blue sticker (for some reason this is weirdly difficult to obtain - another bidder drove the price way higher than I wanted to go). However, after spending some time A/B’ing it with my other quad copies of this album (EV-4 LP, CD-4 LP, Quad Reel), I’m not convinced that it’s QS at all - I think it’s actually the EV-4 LP simply re-packaged as QS.
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Here’s screen-grabs of the first track, “Marrakesh Express”. EV-4 on the left, QS on the right. Both were decoded using the Surround Master’s “Involve” mode. I was originally planning to use my ElectroVoice EVX-4 to decode the EV pressing, but the SM gets much more separation out of it.
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They’re pretty much identical in terms of channel separation. The only real difference I could detect between the two is that the sound quality of the QS pressing is far superior. The EV-4 pressing appears to be missing quite a bit of top end by comparison. Samples of the first 30 seconds from each source are posted below:
EV-4 LP - First 30 Seconds
QS LP - First 30 Seconds
I also have the CD-4 LP and Quad Reel of Permissive Polyphonics, so I recorded that same track off those two sources to see how they fared. The reel is on the left, CD-4 LP on the right.
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What’s immediately evident here is that this is not the same quad mix as the EV-4/QS version. This 'alternate' mix is quite a bit more active and adventurous. On this version, the vocals suddenly jump to the left rear channel at around 2:30. This does not happen on the EV-4 and QS LPs. Another interesting difference is on the EV-4/QS mix, the synthesizer blasts at around 0:08 and 0:20 last slightly longer and pan/pulsate much faster.
To make things even more complicated, “Marrakesh Express” can also be found in quad on the Popular Science Test Record (PR401) and the 4-Channel Stereo sampler (PR-D700), both of which received multiple releases in different quad vinyl formats. In my collection, I happen to have all three versions of Popular Science (SQ, QS, CD-4) and the SQ pressing of 4-Channel Stereo. So I recorded in that same track off of all those sources into the same ProTools session, wondering whether which quad mix I’d get.
Top Left = Popular Science QS (Involve Decode)
Top Right = Popular Science CD-4
Bottom Left = Popular Science SQ (Involve SQ Decode)
Bottom Right = 4-Channel Stereo SQ (Involve SQ Decode)
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As it turns out, they all match the alternate, more adventurous mix found on the CD-4 and reel of Permissive Polyphonics. The QS decode from Popular Science is remarkably similar to the discrete reel - a testament to how good the SM's QS decoding ability is.
I guess the question going forward is: for all the Project 3 titles that were issued in EV-4 and QS, are any of them genuine QS? Or are they just re-packaged EV-4?
I have had similar results. I have been buying Japanese quad discs for a few years and found that they can often arrive with a strange smelling mold. They seem unplayable but a serious wet cleaning, sometimes twice really shows how tough the vinyl can really be. Some also came with heavy tobacco smells and coatings and wet scrubbing and vacuuming did the trick too. Now if I could figure out how to deal with "tea stains" on jackets and inserts.CD-4 carriers aren't really all THAT fragile. What's usually wrong is dirt has plugged them up and so the stylus can't track them. I have bought used CD-4's that were virtually unplayable. I cleaned them very well and voila!
One play wouldn't do it. It would take repeated plays with the wrong type of stylus, and at too heavy a tracking force, to do the damage. That said, I'd still tell people to be wary of used CD-4 records. You have no idea what they were played on by the previous owner. Even with the best CD-4 cartridge, the system is hard to get working correctly. Too many variables, and demodulators could be finicky to set up properly.I remember, back in the day, some matrix proponents and manufacturers claimed that even one playing of a CD-4 record on a turntable with a regular stereo cartridge would wipe out the carriers. Such were the competition and lies.
And that's how inferior systems get pushed to the forefront.
its a curious thing and no small wonder the variable quality of the domestic WEA CD-4 pressings because it seems they were pressed at so many different plants.. some Atlantic CD-4's were pressed at Presswell (PR in the matrix), some Warner CD-4 stuff i've seen pressed at CBS' Terre Haute facility (TH) and at least some of the Elektra CD-4's were pressed at PRC..The quality of the vinyl is important, too. Atlantic used less than stellar vinyl, most of which was recycled. It was pretty much the same they used for their stereo records. Arista was the worst for CD-4.
It seems that JVC had specified a particular type of vinyl for CD-4 records, but the American record companies claimed it wasn't available to them. That was one reason why MoFi did their record pressing in Japan. The Japanese-pressed CD-4 records were far more durable, and much quieter. They obviously took greater care there on all the records they sold over there. It would seem they were more concerned with quality over quantity.
I actually saw an album where a full label of another artist was embedded in the vinyl of a record. I worked for the record department at Crazy Eddie's in the NY area and it was a return. I guess someone didn't exactly do their job of getting all the labels off the old albums. LolI hear a lot of declarations about record companies using recycled vinyl during that period but I want to hear it from a source directly involved in record production and not just suppositions from we enthusiasts.
I am not saying it didn't happen as I have some records from around 1974 that are noisy, most notably Rolling Stone records made by Atlantic records, but claiming that as proof it was caused by recycled vinyl is a bit of a stretch. There are many variables in record production.
And, I have also heard about the "bits of paper" sticking up from record surfaces many times too but I never, ever saw it myself and that period of time was probably the time I bought the most new records in my life.