Liberty / UA ( United Artists) / Blue Note - quad info/history

QuadraphonicQuad Home Audio Forum

Help Support QuadraphonicQuad Home Audio Forum:

steelydave

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Moderator
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Apr 21, 2002
Messages
2,703
Location
Toronto, ON
I've always been kind of intrigued by the UA family of quad releases - I think part of the reason is because they were almost all on Q8, so they had no credits or liner notes or anything. It's also interesting to me because they seemed to stop releasing quad almost as quickly as they started, unlike some of the other major labels like CBS or RCA who went at it for 5 years or more.

When I realised as well that Liberty (who released some early Q8's) and UA were in fact the same company I was even more interested because it meant there was a story there. UA didn't just pop up in 1973 and put out a bunch of Q8's, they actually had a few years of history previous to that as Liberty. It's actually kind of an ironic coincidence, because from what I can tell Liberty was actually the first label to release any Q8's, in November 1970, but at the same time they didn't seem very gung-ho about the idea. Vanguard had done some quad reels before that, and RCA started doing Q8's in December 1970, but Liberty beat them by a month.

In doing research for other things I stumbled across a bunch of Billboard articles about Liberty/UA's quad program, so I thought it might be interesting to reproduce them here along with a full list of their quad releases to give a fuller picture of what they did. I still don't have any real insight in to their motivations, but it's interesting nonetheless.


This is the original news item about the initial release of Liberty Q8's - the $9 price point seemed pretty steep so I plugged it in to an inflation calculator and it came up at about $55 in 2017 dollars. Audiophile market indeed!
1970-07-18-UA-Liberty-Q8-Billboard.jpg


By October 1970 (the tapes came out the following month they'd reduced the price to $7.98 ($50 in 2017 dollars). It's also interesting to note that it looks like they planned a further half-dozen tapes for Jan/Feb 1971 that never materialized.
1970-10-03-UA-Liberty-Q8-Billboard.jpg



Now called United Artists instead of Liberty/UA, their El Supremo David W. Picker (great name) already seems dubious about quad by January 1971. I guess that's why we didn't see any more Liberty Q8's.
1971-01-30-UA-Liberty-Q8-Billboard.jpg



This was just a chunk of another article from June '71 about Columbia getting in to quad, but the final paragraph is notable, calling the UA (Liberty) Q8's "simulated" quad. The only one of the Liberty tapes I ever had was Best of Buddy Rich and I remember it being kind of 'big stereo' but I assumed it was just because the music was sourced from 1960's material that was recorded on 4 or maybe 8 tracks at best. Are the other Liberty Q8's fake quad? If so, no wonder people weren't really buying them.
1971-06-19-ua_q_tapes_billboard_p16.jpg



UA still probably (rightly) on the fence about quad in late 1971, as things didn't really take off until CBS, Ampex and GRT got in to quad in 1972. It also explains why all the UA 2 tape sets are 'Vol. 1' and 'Vol. 2' - so they could sell them seperately for $7.98 a piece, rather than $9.98 as a double-pack. Greedy bastards!
1971-10-09-UA_tape_consolidation_billboard.jpg



The first hint of new UA quad tapes, from July 1973, and suggesting they took the Liberty Q8's out of print.
1973-07-14_UA_Q_Tapes_Billboard_pg_50.jpg



Finally by September 1973 UA are embracing real quad! This month seems like it was kind of 'ground zero' for quad releases - WEA put out their first 25 Quadradiscs, and Stax released the majority of their quad product. I don't know if this was just coincidence but talk about a busy month! This article is also notable because it mentions a Q8 release of the Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose's 'Big Time Lover' album, which never came out.
1973-09-23-UA_Q_Tapes_Billboard_pg_41.jpg



More info from October 1973 about UA's first tape release, along with plans to release 10 more (!) Q8's in January 1974. Also confirms the deletion of the Liberty Q8's, of which it says there are 5 which would seem to verify the fact that the Canned Heat Future Blues Q8 never came out.
1973-10-27-UA_Q_Tapes_Billboard_pg_41.jpg



This was UA's big advertising splash in January, 1974 (I know Jon posted this elsewhere previously, but I can't find it). Notable because it mentions Q8's Traffic's 'John Barleycorn Must Die' and Hawkwind's 'In Search Of Space' as being released the same month, which obviously never happened. You have to assume these mixes must have been either done or close to completion if they're mention them as coming in the same month as the advertisement.
1974-01-19-UA_quad_ad_Billboard-pg-52.jpg



...and then that was it. There were a few more UA Q8 releases in early 1974 (War 'Live', Bobby Womack 'Lookin' For A Love Again') but they seem to have completely given up talking about, advertising or releasing any more Q8 product. I have to assume it was a financial issue - the economic climate of the mid 70's seems to have been hard on some of the medium and smaller labels, like ABC and GRT who both went bankrupt. When UA was sold to EMI in 1979, they had $32 million in debt and that presumably wasn't just racked up in a month or a year.

From the Feb. 15th 1975 issue of Billboard, an article about John Gregory's 'A Man For All Seasons' being UA UK's first (and presumably only) SQ quad release. Interesting that it was originally going to be a single-inventory quad but they changed their minds for quality reasons. Late '74/early '75 was a bit late in the day to be getting in to quad in the UK, it's no wonder no more releases followed.
Billboard-1975-02-15-UA_UK_Gregory_SQ_LP.jpg


and then in October 1976 there was this one US outlier, Paul Anka's 'The Painter' album, released on QS LP. I can't make any sense of where the impetus came from. The producer, engineers, studio, artist, etc. have no prior quad history. I'd love to know who put the idea in their head to put out a QS LP in late 1976. While it's not conclusive, the article also makes it pretty clear that this was most likely UA's first (and only) QS release, ruling out rumoured quads such as War's Greatest hits.
1976-10-16-UA_paul_anka-QS_Billboard_pg_8.jpg


(Updated July 11th, 2018)

LIBERTY Q8 RELEASES
CATALOG NUMBERRELEASE DATEARTISTTITLENOTES

A-8168

11/1970

Ferrante & Teicher

Midnight Cowboy

A-8173

11/1970

Leroy Holmes

Everybody's Talkin'

A-8948

11/1970

The Ventures

Hawaii Five-O

A-9007

11/1970

Vicki Carr

Nashville

A-9025

11/1970

Buddy Rich

Best Of

A-9060

11/1970

Canned Heat

Future Blues

*ANNOUNCED, NEVER RELEASED*

UNITED ARTISTS Q8 RELEASES
CATALOG NUMBERRELEASE DATEARTISTTITLENOTES

UA-DA043-H

22/10/1973

Bobby Womack

Facts Of Life

BN-DA047-H

22/10/1973

Donald Byrd

Black Byrd

BLUE NOTE

UA-DA055-H

??/01/1974

Shirley Bassey

Never, Never, Never

BN-DA109-H

??/01/1974

Lou Donaldson

Sassy Soul Strut

BLUE NOTE

UA-DA100-H

22/10/1973

Various Artists

Live & Let Die Soundtrack

UA-DA118-H

??/01/1974

Ferrante & Teicher

Killing Me Softly

UA-DA120-H

??/??/1974

Hawkwind

Space Ritual

ANNOUNCED, NEVER RELEASED

UA-DA121-H

22/10/1973

Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose

Big Time Lover

ANNOUNCED, NEVER RELEASED

UA-DA123-H

22/10/1973

Tommy Garrett

Down Mexico Way

UA-DA124-H

22/10/1973

Bobby Goldsboro

Summer (The First Time)

UA-DA128-H

22/10/1973

War

Deliver The Word

Unconfirmed QR: USTQ-128-QF

BN-DA140-H

??/??/1973

Donald Byrd

Street Lady

BLUE NOTE / 1973 (p) DATE

UA-DA178-H

22/10/1973

War

The World Is A Ghetto

Unconfirmed QR: USTQ-178-QF

UA-DA199-H

??/??/1974

Bobby Womack

Lookin' For A Love Again

UA-DA202-H

??/01/1974

Traffic

John Barleycorn Must Die

ANNOUNCED, NEVER RELEASED

UA-DA211-H

??/01/1974

Hawkwind

In Search Of Space

ANNOUNCED, NEVER RELEASED

UA-DA339-H

??/??/1974

Electric Light Orchestra

Eldorado

ANNOUNCED, NEVER RELEASED

UA-DA1111-H

22/10/1973

Shirley Bassey

Live at Carnegie Hall, Vol.1

UA-DA1110-P (2 TAPE SET)

UA-DA1112-H

22/10/1973

Shirley Bassey

Live at Carnegie Hall, Vol.2

UA-DA1110-P (2 TAPE SET)

UA-DA1471-H

22/10/1973

The Ventures

Only Hits, Vol.1

UA-DA1470-P (2 TAPE SET)

UA-DA1472-H

22/10/1973

The Ventures

Only Hits, Vol.2

UA-DA1470-P (2 TAPE SET)

UA-DA1871-H

22/10/1973

Ike & Tina Turner

Live at Carnegie Hall, Vol.1

UA-DA-1870-P (2 TAPE SET)

UA-DA1872-H

22/10/1973

Ike & Tina Turner

Live at Carnegie Hall, Vol.2

1974 (p) DATE, RELEASE MAY HAVE BEEN DELAYED

UA-DA1931-H

??/??/1974

War

Live, Vol.1

UA-DA1930-P (2 TAPE SET)

UA-DA1932-H

??/??/1974

War

Live, Vol.2

UA-DA1930-P (2 TAPE SET)

UA-DA2321-H

??/??/1974

John Williams/Isaac Stern

Fiddler On the Roof Soundtrack, Vol.1

UA-DA2320-P (2 TAPE SET)

UA-DA2322-H

??/??/1974

John Williams/Isaac Stern

Fiddler On the Roof Soundtrack, Vol.2

UA-DA2320-P (2 TAPE SET)


UNITED ARTISTS LP RELEASES
CATALOG NUMBERRELEASE DATEARTISTTITLENOTES

4CHA (U) 9

??/??/1972

Francis Lai

Live In Japan

JAPAN-ONLY QUAD REEL (KING RECORDS)

4D-28/29

??/??/1974

Shirley Bassey

Live In Japan

JAPAN-ONLY CD-4 (KING RECORDS)

QUAG 29546

??/??/1974

John Gregory

A Man For All Seasons

UK-ONLY SQ-ENCODED LP

LZ-90001

??/??/1971

The Ventures

On Stage '71

JAPAN-ONLY QS LP

LLZ-80003

??/??/1972

The Ventures

On Stage '72

JAPAN-ONLY QS LP

LLZ-93001B

??/??/1973

The Ventures

On Stage '73

JAPAN-ONLY QS LP

LLZ-82004

??/??/1974

The Ventures

On Stage '74

JAPAN-ONLY QS LP

LLZ-90008

??/??/1972

Classics '72

Renaissance Orchestral

JAPAN-ONLY QS LP

LLZ-90009

??/??/1972

Sunset Festival Orchestra

Non-Stop Bacharach

JAPAN-ONLY QS LP

UA-LA653-G

??/10/1976

Paul Anka

The Painter

QS-ENCODED SINGLE-INVENTORY LP


One last note about the UA Q8's: if you've heard them, you know how bad they sound. UA did it's own tape duplicating (as it says in one of the articles above) and it's not a patch on the quality of CBS, RCA, WEA, or even GRT. A decent non-Dolby Q8 should have frequency response up to (and over 10kHz) - the UA carts (both black and white) fall off a cliff after about 6kHz, and what's there is oversaturated almost to the point of distortion. I think this (aside from not doing any LP releases of their quad product) may be the biggest contributing factor to the failure of UA's quad product - it sounded like AM radio, only worse. QQ member Darrell Johnson (DarrellJ) did cut a CD-4 test pressing of one of War's UA quad albums while he was working at the JVC Cutting Center, so I guess they were looking in to LP releases at some point, but it never went anywhere.

However, there are good versions of the UA Q8 releases, but they're hard to find. In Canada, UA tapes were manufactured by RCA and they sound just as good as RCA's own quad product, which is amongst the best of the format. In fact, it appears that some time after 1975 (there are late '75 RCA Canada Q8's that are Dolby encoded as well) RCA Canada even Dolby encoded their UA Q8's, putting them on par with the Dolby encoded Columbia Q8's as the best sounding tapes of the format. Unfortunately these seem really tough to find - the non-Dolby ones turn up from time to time, but the Dolby ones seem exceedingly difficult to find. If anyone has any they want to sell/trade, I'm definitely interested!

Non-Dolby Canadian UA cart mfg. by RCA Canada:
ua-canada-quad-NOdolby-1.jpg


Dolby-encoded Canadian UA cart mfg. by RCA Canada:
ua-canada-quad-dolby-1_1.jpg

ua-canada-quad-dolby-2.jpg


If you made it this far, I hope you found this interesting and/or informative. If anyone has any further info about UA and their quad releases I'd love to hear it. For the most part their quad mixes are excellent (aside from maybe too much of the lead vocal in all 4 speakers mixing style) especially for a smaller label, and they really deserve to have more light shed on them!
 
Last edited:

willothewisp

Banned
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
107
there was one more released, but only in the UK and in SQ:

John Gregory And His Orchestra ‎– A Man For All Seasons
Label: United Artists Records ‎– QUAG 29546
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Quadraphonic
Country: UK
Released: 1974
 

winopener

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Mar 2, 2002
Messages
4,084
Thank you, a excellent summary of the whole story.

One small addition: Liberty did the Q8 duplication also for other labels and of course these do sucks big time sonically. Major victim was Stax, and Stax Q8 did not have a canadian counterpart.
 

JonUrban

Forum Curmudgeon
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Mar 2, 2002
Messages
17,191
Location
Connecticut
Excellent job Dave. This is the kind of stuff that makes this place seem worthwhile to me. I can't thank you enough, so I will say.............

"THANKS!!!"
 

vinylguy4

701 Club - QQ All-Star
Joined
Apr 5, 2004
Messages
713
Location
San Diego area
Many thanks for all this great info.
A couple questions, possibly answered elsewhere on QQ, is there any significant sound quality difference between the white and black cartridges?
White ones came first?

vinylguy4
 

steelydave

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Moderator
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Apr 21, 2002
Messages
2,703
Location
Toronto, ON
Winopener: good point about Liberty doing the Stax Q8's! It's funny, Stax (at that point) was distributed by CBS, and even did their quad mixes (the first ones anyway) at CBS New York studios. It's a shame they didn't employ CBS to do their tape manufacturing as well, as the CBS Q8's are the best in the US. You can only assume that Liberty/UA were offering Stax a better (cheaper) deal on manufacturing. It was apparently the CBS distro deal that was partially responsible for Stax going bankrupt in 1975, but maybe that's better saved for a thread dedicated to the Stax quads...

Vinylguy4: I looked in to this, and I can't find any specific information about the black and white shells. The labels on both are identical, and from my experience they sound the same as well. I think you're right that the white ones were first, and then the black ones came after - that's how they're shown in that UA Quadrasonic advertisement above, and again from my experience the black carts are way more common on eBay than the white ones which says to me they made the white ones more briefly at the beginning and then switched to black for the remainder.

And Jon, this place is a treasure - I'm glad when I can give back a little bit of knowledge after everything I've learned from being a member here. Long may it continue!
 

winopener

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Mar 2, 2002
Messages
4,084
Vinylguy4: I looked in to this, and I can't find any specific information about the black and white shells. The labels on both are identical, and from my experience they sound the same as well. I think you're right that the white ones were first, and then the black ones came after - that's how they're shown in that UA Quadrasonic advertisement above, and again from my experience the black carts are way more common on eBay than the white ones which says to me they made the white ones more briefly at the beginning and then switched to black for the remainder.

White first, Black later.
White were all the Liberty and the early UA.
Later UA switched to black, so the early UA listed (and released) in the full-colour poster above are found both in white or black.
Titles released AFTER the ones in the full-colour poster above are black only.
Both sucks.
If you see a canadian version, go for it. Gold cart, gold quality. Was able to see all three War carts on canadian gold, but went out of my possibilities (anyway Live was vol.1 only)

IIRC there was a QR for War - World is a ghetto.
 

Q-Eight

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Sep 30, 2003
Messages
3,554
Location
Castlegar, BC, Canada
Very cool posting, SteelyDave! (y)
Absolutely love stuff like this. That's crazy news about the unreleased Cornelius Bros. & Sister Rose Q8. That's a new one by me! I will definitely add that to the spreadsheet. Never fails though in the world of Quad - DON'T release the album with the million-selling hits on it, release the dud album that comes after! :confused:

It's posts like this that make me love this place. :music


Oh, and the early Liberty Q8's are not simulated. The Ventures tape is most definitely 4-corner discrete. The Ferrante & Teicher tape I believe comes from a 4-track master, so it's more of a four-side mix (front center, back center, left center, right center) akin to an early RCA release.
 

steelydave

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Moderator
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Apr 21, 2002
Messages
2,703
Location
Toronto, ON
Winopener: as far as I know there's never been a copy of any War quad reel actually verified. Jon probably remembers this, but 10+ years ago there was a supposed auction for one on eBay but there was no picture, or the auction was ended early or something. I'm in the camp of believing they never happened - Stereotape, who did all the WEA/RCA quad reels was UA's stereo reel manufacturer/distributor, so I think if they'd done UA QR's they would have shown up as even the 'rare' WEA/RCA QR's aren't impossible to find. I suspect UA got out of quad so quickly there was no chance for them to do QR's.

Q-Eight: Thanks for the info about the Liberty tapes - if you have any/all of them, it wouldn't hurt to add pictures of the tapes (front and back) to this thread as they're not easy to find.

I found a couple more articles today which I've added to the post at the top so they're in chronological order, but I'll post them below here too for people who've already been through the first post. Interesting that they say the Liberty tapes were deleted Jan 1st, 1973 so as not to create brand confusion with the upcoming UA branded quad tapes.

It also adds some more names to the UA story, namely Budd Dolinger (tape merchandising chief) and Charles P. Bratnober (director of tape operations). I'll have to do some more googling of their names and see if I can come up with any further UA quad info.

The first hint of new UA quad tapes, from July 1973, and suggesting they took the Liberty Q8's out of print.
1973-07-14_UA_Q_Tapes_Billboard_pg_50.jpg


More info from October 1973 about UA's first tape release, along with plans to release 10 more (!) Q8's in January 1974. Also confirms the deletion of the Liberty Q8's, of which it says there are 5 which would seem to verify the fact that the Canned Heat Future Blues Q8 never came out.

1973-10-27-UA_Q_Tapes_Billboard_pg_41.jpg
 

EMB

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Feb 8, 2004
Messages
4,102
Location
The Top 40 Radio of My Mind
A most fascinating compendium of articles, Dave! :smokin

And, a reminder of why quadraphonic ultimately failed commercially--i.e., most of all, a lack of label support or understanding (along with three competing decoding formats).

It should be noted that UA was never considered a 'major' label by other companies or consumers--the majors were Columbia, RCA Victor, Decca, Capitol, MGM, and Mercury, all with long, storied histories. UA, begun in 1958, was a successful late '50s upstart/offshoot of a movie studio (like MGM and the equally and far less successful upstart, 20th Century-Fox, also started in 1958). Warner Bros. came along around that time, too, and eventually became a major player (most of all after acquiring Reprise from Frank Sinatra). But UA was considered a notch below, although they would catch up as time went on (and as 20th never did in its first incarnation). It was originally a pop label for 45's, but its main Lp success at first was with (understandably) movie soundtracks, of which it would always specialize. UA did not make its movies the way most studios did--'in house'--instead optioning and helping to subsidize films made by independent companies.

Every label that succeeds on a mass scale seems to have one act that captures the public's imagination and remains a consistent seller over the years. For UA that act was Ferrante & Teicher, although it's hard to imagine (beyond London's Mantovani) a blander yet successful marquee artist. But UA also dabbled heavily in rock and soul, and by the time quad was beginning to garner notice as a viable medium had some mighty successful acts (including Traffic, War, the Cornelius Bros. & Sister Rose) from which to choose for releases. But, like Mercury their interest was tentative and limited (though that's better than, say, MGM or MCA, who put out no quad product whatsoever).

With such labels, what's interesting is as much what was NOT issued as what was. F&T, War, Ike & Tina, McCartney (LIVE AND LET DIE)--made perfect sense. But what about, say, a best seller like Don McLean's AMERICAN PIE? Beyond the title track and followup single "Vincent," it seemed a perfect quad choice: a few rockers, ballads, and enough lush orchestration to make decent (if not adventurous) quad mixes. Yet no McLean quad was ever issued. The lack of Traffic quad, though, made sense, since their masters were leased from Chris Blackwell's Island (also home to Cat Stevens, issued in the USA on A&M), and so multis from England would have been needed for quad remix, a situation problematic even if the band and Blackwell agreed to it.

Yet we can read, in the attitude of many label execs, a weary skepticism about 4-channel sound, which was at the time as uncertain a format as stereo when it began to trickle out in 1958. Like stereo, the labels charged (at least) a buck more for a quad Lp, which didn't help with its acceptance. But between format battles, the only 'universal' way to give quad to the masses was Q8 tape, since the owners of the (IMO, more practical in most ways) cassette refused to have any part of quad. And again, like Mercury, UA issued quad but mistrusted its commercial potential, which ironically was a key factor in its demise (otherwise known as a self-defeating attitude: believe something negative, and it might well come true if others agree with you).

UA also had the Liberty, Imperial and Minit catalogs, although most of it probably wasn't practical for quad remixing (most of all the soul label Minit). Even so, one can dream of a quad REALIZATION or L.A. REGGAE (Johnny Rivers) or Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, more Ike & Tina, etc. The company heads just didn't want to deeply commit, which pretty much tells the story of how so many human relationships (romantic or otherwise) go bad. Bad feelings are bad enough; but indifference and weariness can be just as debilitating and pernicious. So it was for quad and the '70s.


ED :)
 

steelydave

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Moderator
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Apr 21, 2002
Messages
2,703
Location
Toronto, ON
Great post Ed, I think the stuff you've said adds real context to what I posted.

I agree there are a lot of baffling decisions as to what was and wasn't released in quad - even moreso because we don't know what the internal dialogue was at these companies. I suppose there so many reasons a quad mix might not happen - artist doesn't want it, management doesn't want it, artist wants to use their own engineer but there's no time, the list goes on and on...and it only takes one of those happening for the quad mix not to happen. Speaking of unusual, during that first issue of Liberty Q8's in late 1970, aside from the non-appearance of the Canned Heat title, the other surprising omission is a quad mix of Sugarloaf's Green Eyed Lady, which was possibly Liberty's biggest chart success at the time.

I also think maybe the Ike & Tina Turner live release was one of the shelved 2nd wave of Liberty titles - it originally came out in 1971, but the quad version didn't come out until January '74. You'd think if UA was going to newly mix an Ike & Tina quad from that timeframe they'd do Nutbush City Limits, because a) it was released in 1973 b) it was a studio album and c) it had a big hit single on it. However if they had the quad mix of the live album in the can from a couple of years before, it was probably the cheapest way to get something out in quad. Interestingly, Ike Turner's Bolic sound studios were apparently quad equipped (see article below) and Frank Zappa recorded both of his quad albums (Apostrophe & Overnite Sensation) there. It makes you wonder if anything else was mixed for quad there.

In my reading of a lot of Billboard issues from 1970 to 1972 - the early years of quad - one thing that's really emerged is that the tape-only companies were really the driving force for quad during that period. Bear in mind that RCA only released quad on Q8's until their first Quadradisc until May '72, and the same with WEA until September '73. Not to mention other labels that released quad on tape only, like London (and subsidiaries). So it seems in the early days it was tape companies like GRT, Ampex and Stereotape - companies that licensed titles from, and manufactured tapes for the major labels - that were really instrumental in getting quad out there for labels who wouldn't have released any quad otherwise.

It's another article I don't have to hand right now, but when Ampex put out its first batch of Q8's in 1971 or 1972 it was about 20 titles or so, but their sales rep told Billboard "we'd put out 100 releases if we could get them from the labels". To me that says that those tape companies were hearing a pretty strong consumer demand for quad tapes, and I think it was a lesson that the record companies didn't really hear. The record labels were so obsessed with getting quad on to LP, no matter how much it compromised playback, that they didn't learn any of the lessons from the tape side. Namely that with both Q8 and quad reel decks, the playback quality was exactly the same as the stereo versions - no need for decoders or fancy needles for your record player or anything. It's a shame that labels and electronics companies didn't think a little more outside the box as far as some kind of mass-market hifi tape solution, be it a 7 1/2ips version of 8-track, or Philips licensing a quad version of the compact cassette, or something.

Getting back to UA on a related point, it seems that the reason for their brief flirtation with quad was directly related to their tape division. In contrast to the majors like Columbia and Warners where they'd release an album and manufacture it in whatever formats (LP or tape etc.), at UA, the part of the company that did tape releases was a seperate division. So I guess as such, they'd make decisions about which albums to release on tape, and presumably in the case of quad they'd foot the bill for remixes, promotion etc. since UA wasn't doing quad on LP. I believe I've discovered the reason there was no more UA quad after early 1974 - in August '74, the company organised and the tape division was folded in to one big 'Music and Records Division' along with all the LP production. With UA not doing quad on LP and no dedicated tape division, their little expermient with quad was over. Further research shows that the guys mentioned in the articles I linked previously were gone shortly thereafter too - by January 1975 Charles Bratnober was 'national training director' for Phonodisc, and by summer 1975 Budd Dolinger is listed as working for a company called Farr Music. Companies rarely restructure for any other reason aside from lowering costs, and if the guys from the tape division lost their jobs in the restructuring you can only assume it was the LP guys who kept theirs.

Billboard Aug 24, 1974 article about UA Restructuring
1974-08-24_UA_Restructuring.jpg



Billboard March 18th, 1972 article mentioning Bolic Studios being equipped for quad mixing and recording
1972-03-18-ike-turner-bolic-sound.jpg



Billboard August 25th, 1973 article mentioning Dino Lappas doing quad mixes for War and Bobby Womack - interesting because as far as I can tell he's never been credited for working with either act.
1973-08-25_war_womack_dino_lappas.jpg
 
Last edited:

bmoura

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Mar 2, 2003
Messages
9,519
Location
Redwood City, CA
I suppose there so many reasons a quad mix might not happen - artist doesn't want it, management doesn't want it, artist wants to use their own engineer but there's no time, the list goes on and on...and it only takes one of those happening for the quad mix not to happen.

Very true.
Those challenges are the reason why many albums announced for potential mix to 4 Channel Quad or 5.1 Surround Sound never made it to the mix stage, much less release.

Fans and the artist want - and sometimes insist on - a specific producer or engineer to do a Quad or Surround mix. But that person is popular and often booked up and unavailable for the next 6 months or longer.
Rather than hold up an entire album, or other surround remixes already scheduled, the announced album gets released in Stereo, the Surround mix is skipped and that's the ballgame.
 

rustyandi

800 Club - QQ All-Star
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Mar 19, 2002
Messages
871
Location
Australia
Great post Ed, I think the stuff you've said adds real context to what I posted.

I agree there are a lot of baffling decisions as to what was and wasn't released in quad - even moreso because we don't know what the internal dialogue was at these companies. I suppose there so many reasons a quad mix might not happen - artist doesn't want it, management doesn't want it, artist wants to use their own engineer but there's no time, the list goes on and on...and it only takes one of those happening for the quad mix not to happen. Speaking of unusual, during that first issue of Liberty Q8's in late 1970, aside from the non-appearance of the Canned Heat title, the other surprising omission is a quad mix of Sugarloaf's Green Eyed Lady, which was possibly Liberty's biggest chart success at the time.

I also think maybe the Ike & Tina Turner live release was one of the shelved 2nd wave of Liberty titles - it originally came out in 1971, but the quad version didn't come out until January '74. You'd think if UA was going to newly mix an Ike & Tina quad from that timeframe they'd do Nutbush City Limits, because a) it was released in 1973 b) it was a studio album and c) it had a big hit single on it. However if they had the quad mix of the live album in the can from a couple of years before, it was probably the cheapest way to get something out in quad. Interestingly, Ike Turner's Bolic sound studios were apparently quad equipped (see article below) and Frank Zappa recorded both of his quad albums (Apostrophe & Overnite Sensation) there. It makes you wonder if anything else was mixed for quad there.

In my reading of a lot of Billboard issues from 1970 to 1972 - the early years of quad - one thing that's really emerged is that the tape-only companies were really the driving force for quad during that period. Bear in mind that RCA only released quad on Q8's until their first Quadradisc until May '72, and the same with WEA until September '73. Not to mention other labels that released quad on tape only, like London (and subsidiaries). So it seems in the early days it was tape companies like GRT, Ampex and Stereotape - companies that licensed titles from, and manufactured tapes for the major labels - that were really instrumental in getting quad out there for labels who wouldn't have released any quad otherwise.

It's another article I don't have to hand right now, but when Ampex put out its first batch of Q8's in 1971 or 1972 it was about 20 titles or so, but their sales rep told Billboard "we'd put out 100 releases if we could get them from the labels". To me that says that those tape companies were hearing a pretty strong consumer demand for quad tapes, and I think it was a lesson that the record companies didn't really hear. The record labels were so obsessed with getting quad on to LP, no matter how much it compromised playback, that they didn't learn any of the lessons from the tape side. Namely that with both Q8 and quad reel decks, the playback quality was exactly the same as the stereo versions - no need for decoders or fancy needles for your record player or anything. It's a shame that labels and electronics companies didn't think a little more outside the box as far as some kind of mass-market hifi tape solution, be it a 7 1/2ips version of 8-track, or Philips licensing a quad version of the compact cassette, or something.

Getting back to UA on a related point, it seems that the reason for their brief flirtation with quad was directly related to their tape division. In contrast to the majors like Columbia and Warners where they'd release an album and manufacture it in whatever formats (LP or tape etc.), at UA, the part of the company that did tape releases was a seperate division. So I guess as such, they'd make decisions about which albums to release on tape, and presumably in the case of quad they'd foot the bill for remixes, promotion etc. since UA wasn't doing quad on LP. I believe I've discovered the reason there was no more UA quad after early 1974 - in August '74, the company organised and the tape division was folded in to one big 'Music and Records Division' along with all the LP production. With UA not doing quad on LP and no dedicated tape division, their little expermient with quad was over. Further research shows that the guys mentioned in the articles I linked previously were gone shortly thereafter too - by January 1975 Charles Bratnober was 'national training director' for Phonodisc, and by summer 1975 Budd Dolinger is listed as working for a company called Farr Music. Companies rarely restructure for any other reason aside from lowering costs, and if the guys from the tape division lost their jobs in the restructuring you can only assume it was the LP guys who kept theirs.

Billboard Aug 24, 1974 article about UA Restructuring

1974-08-24_UA_Restructuring.jpg



Billboard March 18th, 1972 article mentioning Bolic Studios being equipped for quad mixing and recording

1972-03-18-ike-turner-bolic-sound.jpg



Billboard August 25th, 1973 article mentioning Dino Lappas doing quad mixes for War and Bobby Womack - interesting because as far as I can tell he's never been credited for working with either act.

1973-08-25_war_womack_dino_lappas.jpg

I have a Bobby Womack LP
And a sticker on it said that there was a Quad reel release
 

Q-Eight

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Sep 30, 2003
Messages
3,554
Location
Castlegar, BC, Canada
Don't suppose we could get a re-do on the pictures in this thread? This was a really great thread as far as documenting the history of Quad. Hate to see all the photo's disappear.
 

steelydave

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Moderator
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Apr 21, 2002
Messages
2,703
Location
Toronto, ON
Don't suppose we could get a re-do on the pictures in this thread? This was a really great thread as far as documenting the history of Quad. Hate to see all the photo's disappear.

This is on my to-do list, but writing liner notes last year ate up all of my 'quad time' and energy. My plan was actually to contact the QQ 'powers that be' to see if I could get user permissions to edit old posts, so that I can just go and replace the links in the original post rather than post the whole thing again.

I'm also not sure where to put all the photos - I have them all still in my Photobucket account, as well as on my hard drive. I hosted them on Photobucket because of Jon's post about QQ running out of image hosting space, but I don't know what the situation with that is these days. So I could host them here, or use some other site - I thought of imgur, but there's no guarantee for how long pictures will last there, and being the cheapskate I am, I don't want to pay for an image hosting site. If anyone has any ideas, I'm happy to hear them...
 

britmarc

Well-known Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2007
Messages
137
Location
Niigata City; Japan
The UA British album release would have been in SQ as UA was manufactured and distributed by EMI at that time


see 2 above

John Gregory And His Orchestra ‎– A Man For All Seasons
Label: United Artists Records ‎– QUAG 29546
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Quadraphonic
Country: UK
Released: 1974


El Doraldo by ELO also came out from UA about that time....
 

JonUrban

Forum Curmudgeon
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Mar 2, 2002
Messages
17,191
Location
Connecticut
This is on my to-do list, but writing liner notes last year ate up all of my 'quad time' and energy. My plan was actually to contact the QQ 'powers that be' to see if I could get user permissions to edit old posts, so that I can just go and replace the links in the original post rather than post the whole thing again.

I'm also not sure where to put all the photos - I have them all still in my Photobucket account, as well as on my hard drive. I hosted them on Photobucket because of Jon's post about QQ running out of image hosting space, but I don't know what the situation with that is these days. So I could host them here, or use some other site - I thought of imgur, but there's no guarantee for how long pictures will last there, and being the cheapskate I am, I don't want to pay for an image hosting site. If anyone has any ideas, I'm happy to hear them...

Sit tight. Things are a foot (or is it afoot)? :confused:
 
Top