Quad LP/Tape Poll Jackson 5, The: Jackson 5 Greatest Hits [CD-4]

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Rate 'J5 Greatest Hits'

  • 7

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 6

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 5: So-so

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 4

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 3

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 2

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 1: Bad Sound, Bad Mix, Bad Content

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    7

EMB

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Tamla-Motown CD4W-7990, from Japan.

Side 1:

1. I Want You Back
2. ABC
3. Never Can Say Goodbye
4. Sugar Daddy
5. I'll Be There
6. Maybe Tomorrow

Side 2:

1. The Love You Save
2. Who's Lovin' You
3. Mama's Pearl
4. Goin' Back To Indiana
5. I Found That Girl


ED :)
 

EMB

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Only got to listen to this one last night, and all I can say is: wow! Superb fidelity and wide, discreet mixes. This Lp has been called one of the Holy Grails of Quad, and once you hear it, you'll understand why! :D

First of all, some background. Motown did very little quad, but what they did do was, to say the least, fascinating and often mind-blowing. But to understand why, one must go back to Berry Gordy's original concept of the 'Motown Sound,' which was, at first, singles-oriented and monaural sound. Then, as Motown grew and his acts became immensely popular, he not only accelerated the company's Lp catalog, but over the years, issued many albums in stereo that had originally been mono only. One of these, the Marvelettes' PLAYBOY Lp, was a revelation in stereo: all of it very obviously mixed from session multitracks, since the clarity and fidelity was remarkable! Not only that, but the compression and 'grunge' that made Motown singles special was gone, revealing in truth very professional sound and more than adequate equipment. This was proof that the 'Motown Sound' was adjustable and not necessarily what the final (singles or Lp) sound would be.

As anyone familiar with Marvin Gaye's quad mixes is well aware, the Motown Sound can be very nice when well mixed and balanced. In the '70s, Motown also issued a Supremes quad hits collection, but it had a major drawback: a lot of alternate takes. Hell, just about everything on it includes at least a portion of a take not used for the single or Lp versions, whether that be instrumentation, vocals, or both. It was obvious whoever compiled the comp had no interest in using the master takes and just wanted to mix *something* for quad, and it didn't really matter what as long as there were a lot of hit titles.

Listening to this J5 collection, though, indicates that much more care was put into these mixes, possibly because an actual, previously released compilation was being referenced. Even so, due to the complexities of remixing multitrack tapes, it's understandable that it was difficult to replicate the previously issued stereo mixes for quad, let alone the punchy mono mixes that sold millions of copies in the early '70s. For that reason, what one hears are certain things mixed down (if not entirely out); and of course isolated vocals and instrumentals previously buried in the mono and/or stereo mixes that are up close and personal in quad. The definition and clarity are phenomenal, the experience delightful, but even so, if you know this stuff in and out in mono and stereo, the quad mixes still stand out for all the stuff going on that was often obscured before.

A few major differences: "Sugar Daddy" is faded way too early, much earlier than the previously issued mono 45 and stereo Lp mixes. Not the first time that's happened, of course, but rather depressing, since one is so used to it going on longer. The other is "The Love You Save": although the mix is faithful to the single in composition, and the fade is fairly close to being right, there are little instrumental fills heard between the vocals on the previously issued versions that aren't heard here. It's a little strange to hear Michael keep going from lyric to lyric without those string and guitar breaks.

Beyond that, though--and to my surprise--for the major hits, the master takes seem to have been used. There are some vocal differences to be heard, but I found this less in Michael's lead vocals and more in the group's background singing, which was so often buried or blended together even in the more detailed stereo mixes. Here, you really notice the bk vocals isolated, which can be disconcerting. Fortunately, MJ's leads are up front and prominent, so it's only occasionally distracting.

But the Supremes collection this ain't, because here, as noted, the master takes were at least referenced, and so far, I haven't heard anything so radically different as the average Supremes quad cut could be. What the listener will find, though, is that much more went on in the recording of these classic gems as one would assume from hearing the original mono and stereo mixes, and the quad mixes bring out a lot of that business.


ED :)
 

Q-Eight

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And now, for my take.... ;)

I'll admit, I've never been a big MJ fan. I think I only have two of their songs in mp3. Never liked him in the 80's, 90's and so on. I just never "got" him.

So hearing the songs on this LP is all new to me. I want to say there's alternate vocals on "ABC".... as that's the only song I'm somewhat familiar with. Instead of "... that's the way love should be" I could swear once Micheal was supposed to say "ABC...123.... baby, you and me girl"

I don't hear that in the Quad mixes. Haven't heard the stereo cut for years.

As for the mix? Incredible. The fact that this is from a CD-4 LP is even more astonishing. The seperation is amazing. Props to the person who set this up and converted it. It has to be the BEST CD-4 conversion there is. It's flawlessly discrete and suffers absolutely NO inner groove distortion.

(Rock & Roll SuperSession with Jerry Lee Lewis I think is pretty bad. You can actually HEAR the Radar Light go off during the last song of each side)

The only fault I would give this album is in regards to the mix. Sometimes the background vocals get lost. They're mixed way down or sometimes off to the left. If I had it my way, BK vocals would get centered in the rear. The drum kit I can live with tucked off to one channel but the BK vocals are an integral part of these songs and oft times are barely audible.

Other than that, it's fantastic! What the F%&* was wrong with Motown not willing to release this stuff over here? If I could have this stuff on a super-discrete Quad-8.... oooh baby! :banana:
 

EMB

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I'm not sure how much 'alt vocals' there are, but remember we're dealing with, at the least, the third mix of all these songs, so there is going to be discrepancies between the mono 45 versions (where applicable), the first stereo Lp mixes, and of course the quad's. Since one expects some differences between a mono and stereo mix, no surprise that the wider separation and discreet nature of quad would push things up or isolate them or, occasionally, some things get mixed down or aren't heard at all. But overall (and again, compared to the Supremes comp) at least *some* intelligence was used to make these mixes, and they really don't excessively stray from what was previously available.

On the other hand, I kinda like the 'rad' Supremes mixes and alts, and it's that 'alternate universe' aspect of that album that still fascinates me. But you're right, the sound is phenomenal here! I rated it a '9,' the only debit being the few anomalies noted above (early fade, missing pieces) that could and should have been fixed.

This is also Michael at his most endearing. His talent (way and above his brothers) was obvious right away, so it's little surprise he went on to even bigger (if not better) things.

ED :)
 

gvl_guy

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Not sure if this is the right spot to ask but.....
Has anyone checked out the "new" Jackson 5 Greatest Hits Quadraphonic Mix in stereo? Since you guys heard the quad album, does this sound like it? I'm curious. I've always been a minor J5 fan and I thought maybe this stereo album was worth a purchase.
 

quicksrt

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I'd like to know for sure. I had this stereo album when I was 12. I still love the track list and running order.

The quad mixed CD-4 does give it quite a fresh lease on life.

I'd say yes, the new quad mix in stereo is still worth checking out even if not in quad. A stunning set of songs no matter what.
 

humprof

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Well, at the risk of being an outlier, I have to say that my experience with the Motown quads is great--except for this one. The mix sparkles, and the cuts are killer. It's fidelity that's the deal-breaker. I'm cursed with being hypersensitive to even the most minuscule speed fluctuations, and the conversion I've got suffers from them, especially on Side 1 (which is where all the real "hits" are). Maybe the source LP it was stamped ever so slightly off center? That, together with that super-bright Motown sound (I love young Michael's ebullient voice, but after a few shouty tracks in a row it starts to sound shrill), colors my overall estimation. I want to say "7," but knowing there's a better-sounding version of this out there somewhere, I'll go "8."
 

quicksrt

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Well, at the risk of being an outlier, I have to say that my experience with the Motown quads is great--except for this one. The mix sparkles, and the cuts are killer. It's fidelity that's the deal-breaker. I'm cursed with being hypersensitive to even the most minuscule speed fluctuations, and the conversion I've got suffers from them, especially on Side 1 (which is where all the real "hits" are). Maybe the source LP it was stamped ever so slightly off center? That, together with that super-bright Motown sound (I love young Michael's ebullient voice, but after a few shouty tracks in a row it starts to sound shrill), colors my overall estimation. I want to say "7," but knowing there's a better-sounding version of this out there somewhere, I'll go "8."
I've noticed you've recently had unfavorable reactions to a Randy Newman album Good Old Boys, a Donny Hathaway double, and now a Jackson 5 Japanese CD-4.

Maybe you don't enjoy conversions from the consumer quads of the 70s? Maybe sticking with Audio Fidelity and DV quad on SACD and the occasional DTS CD would be more appealing to you.
 
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