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


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Another quad SQ album on United Artists was,

Nektar -Down To Earth....the UK version. UAG 29680 (1974 )

this disc had the U A # etched in the vinyl but additionally and surprisingly also had the Bellaphon Bacillus # stamped imprint .
They would have had access to the German metal masters no doubt .

But note.....side one had the stereo stamp # from Bacillus.(BLPS 19190 )...side two the quad record stamp !! (BLPS 19190 Q)

SO at least half of this record was quad .

Don't know if the same thing held true for Nektar -Remember The Future ., but perhaps a UK collector might know ?

Just FYI to anyone who's interested, thanks to Jon installing a new tables plugin and doing a great bit of behind the scenes work to port over the old data, the tables of all the Liberty/UA releases in post #1 are now available again. I also did some font formatting and stuff to make them a bit more readable, but if anything could use improvement feel free to chime in. I think this is now a pretty complete list of everything Liberty/UA put out in the US and internationally.

Fizzy, I decided against adding stuff like the Nektar LP because to me that's a Bacillus/Bellaphon quad that UA UK licensed, so if it belongs in any label discography, it's for a Bacillus/Bellaphon one - with this thread I wanted to focus on releases actually created by Liberty and UA.

I also added an article to the media chronology in the first post, it's a 1975 article from Billboard about John Gregory's 'A Man For All Seasons' being UA UK's first SQ LP release. No earth-shattering revelations or anything, but it adds a bit more colour to the overall picture.

It also appears that photobucket have re-enabled third-party image hosting for free accounts for the time being, so all the images in post #1 should be viewable at the moment. My long-term plan is to upload the pictures to QQ and update the inline links in post number 1, but I have enough stuff keeping me busy at the moment that I'll do that when photobucket finally goes kaput and I'm forced to do it.

And last but not least, over the years I've seen more than a few rumours that U/A did quad LPs and half-remembered memories from people who swore there were UA LPs with quad stickers on them. I managed to find a picture of one, and I think it finally puts this idea to bed - the sticker clearly indicates that the album is also 'Available on Quad Tape'.


Do you know if War -Greatest Hits is quad encoded ?

I know it was listed in the Quad Incorporated (QS) quad discography by Larry . It sounds ok in quad fwiw , but that could also be a " happy accident " re the stereo mixdown from Q4 sources .
Whilst on one of my deep dives into the Record World archives at, I came across this exchange in an interview with Don McLean in late 1973:


I did some digging and sure enough, McLean did release a 2LP set of live recordings from the 1973 Playin' Favorites European tour called Solo. Unfortunately, the album didn't end up being released until 1976, and it seems like it was mixed at a studio (Long View Farm Studios, North Brookfield, MA) by engineers Gil Markle and Jesse Henderson, produced by Herb Gart and John Peters, none of which to my knowledge have any quad credits or lineage to their name. So, most likely the album was recorded with quad in mind, but by the time it came out, the fad had passed and they just did it in stereo. Given that it's a solo performance with (judging from McLean's description) audience mics in the rear speakers, it would probably be tough to tell if the released album actually was QS encoded or something, because the mix would be pretty subtle.

Nevertheless, it's interesting that McLean (and United Artists) were considering this album for quad at the time - the late '73 timeline fits right in with U/A's big Q8 push. I also found it interesting that McLean regarded mixing in quad as an artistic decision (rather than just doing it because it was available) and that he felt his earlier studio LPs weren't "conducive to quad" - I'm sure there are lots here who would beg to differ!

Also, on a related note I've updated the image links to the articles in posts #1 and #12, replacing broken Photobucket versions with images hosted here at QQ. If you haven't seen this thread before and are interested in the quad history of the Liberty/United Artists label I think they're worth a read.
As to them being fake, I can confirm that they are not. The Ventures tape and the Leroy Holmes tape are very discrete. Ferrante & Teicher is also pretty passable, even with some instruments bopping across the front channels. Buddy Rich has some audience noise so I'm going to assume this is a live tape? Regardless, while it is discrete, the drum kit is split in a fashion I can't say I enjoy. I feel it has been done through EQ-tomfoolery as opposed to multiple mikes. The kit is mostly to the rear, with snare, toms & kicker mostly to the rear with the cymbals, highats and let's just say high frequencies to the front. There is almost a CornerPhonic kind of mix happening with other instruments say, the bass guitar appears in FL, it will also appear, to a lesser extent in the FR and BL channels. Saxophone in FR full strength, not so much in FL and BR. It's passable, but the way the drum kit has such heavy EQ on it makes for a tiring listen. The front channels with all their brilliance just grates on you after a while.

Vikki Carr I almost thought was fake. Very muddy mix, very low levels (which is also another wonderful feature of these tapes!) Some have strong signals on the tape, The Ventures and Vikki Carr rarely (if ever) get louder than -5db. Tape hiss, apparently, is your new best friend.

Nashville by Carr has probably the worst mix of all. Lead vocals Front Center and Back Right. Does it harmonize or create a spacial vocal echo? Nah, it's just there. Whatever appears in front corners also appears in the rear corners, just a lot murkier than you'd enjoy. Had it not been for the discrete drum placement in the rear channels on some songs, I would've proclaimed some Kung-Fu treachery on this cartridge. While it does have some discrete moments, it's not what I would call an engaging, engrossing or enjoyable mix.

The Ventures tape is a mixed bag. Some songs have a good mix. Bass front center, drums across the rears, lead guitar twangin' in all four. Horns FL, Strings FR, Organ BL and Tambourine BR. Balanced sound stages and something in every corner. I can confirm that this came from 8-track multis, so, they did the best they could with some songs.

Other songs.... oh, lordy. Bass in Back Right. Drums across the rear. I used to think this Q8 had a swapped channel as on some songs, you get bass in FL & BR and drums in FR and BL. Is it a swapped channel? NO, because the mix will change on the next song! Somebody had some pretty good Hashish at this mixing session. They really show off their mixing prowess on the Beach Boys cover "I Can Hear Music". Starts out great! Two kick stomps Back Left, three snare hits Back Right. Groovy! Drums in stereo!! and the front channels give you a nice, warm, room-filling sensation of the drums. Yeah man, I can dig this.

Yeah well, it's all downhill from that point.

We get a couple guitar riffs from FR, then FL, BL, back to FR, FL, BL, an audible CLICK as the engineer missed the part where he was supposed to swap channels.....
and then everything else gets into the groove with the drums moving around, the bass flipping between BL and FR and near the end of the song, most of the instruments are in Front Left and Back Right with nothing but empty echo in the other two channels. Don't get me wrong - Quad is a great medium for adding motion to the music. Moving items playfully around the room can be fun. There are many songs where I enjoy it! But this is a textbook example of how NOT to do it. Don't move the anchors. Drums and bass are your anchors and they keep focus. It's an interesting failure if you ask me.
The first three quads we got with our Zenith Allegro Quad system were the Ventures, Buddy Rich and Ferrante & Teicher. Got the whole shebang at Polk Brothers in Melrose Park IL. Fun times. I’ve always loved those Buddy and Ventures albums.
I wonder if there's a quad mix of Eldorado sitting in the vaults somewhere?
The first three quads we got with our Zenith Allegro Quad system were the Ventures, Buddy Rich and Ferrante & Teicher. Got the whole shebang at Polk Brothers in Melrose Park IL. Fun times. I’ve always loved those Buddy and Ventures albums.

Some of the mixes are GREAT on the Ventures tape. But then others, like the title track, are such a disappointment when you realize that the entire brass section was recorded to a single track! Then, rather than center it for full effect, they shove it off in a corner. It's not even mixed all that loud to have any impact. It's a really poor decision if you ask me. But then you have the song "Galveston", that has the bass back center, drums front center, lead guitar in all four, two tracks worth of brass (one in each corner) and then an acoustic guitar and organ each to their own corner. Great mix!

Other songs feature similar mixes to Galveston.
Found this article tonight from the April 27th, 1974 issue RPM, a Canadian trade magazine that was basically our equivalent of Billboard.


By "Cimran," I think they actually mean Cinram, which was a manufacturer of pre-recorded tapes in Canada at the time, it later went on to be one of the biggest duplicators of CDs, DVDs and BluRays in the country before finallly going out of business in 2010. If you own any amount of Canadian CDs, you most likely have one made by Cinram.

This news item is actually something of a revelation, because it's always been assumed amongst collectors (@winopener can attest to this) that these tapes were made by RCA Canada because they had the same shell design:

(U/A Canada tape left / RCA Canada tape right)

I wonder what other Q8 manufacturing in Canada Cinram did, and if in fact they manufactured RCA Canada's tapes for them as well?
Very LONG rant... :)

You have to consider the entire production chain for the duplication.
Basically you have these steps, after the creation of a full 8-track master tape for duplication (8TMfD):
1) continuous copy of the 8TMfD at high speed (variable from 10 to 20x due to evolution of the decks) to a large pancake of tape, with the pilot tone at some Hz in order to give a reference point for step 2
2) spooling and division of the pancake into single hubs for a single cartridge, various techniques for that.
3) insertion of a single hub with tape into a single cartridge, bottom part, already assembled with roller and pads (felt or spring)
4) application of sensing foil to close the tape ring and thread the tape into the guides
5) application of the top part of the cartridge and eventual marking (not all duplicators did that) of a serial number, linked in some ways to the catalog number of the release; may be rubber printed or iron-stamped.
6) Special ONLY for some kind of cart:
- RCA, USA, Canada, Italy, partial UK: closing of the cart with the aluminium rivet on the back
- Capitol-USA only, later WEA, JVC, and other Japanese: closing of the cart with a screw in the front
(Blank tapes varies and are not considered here)
- All others kind of cart, original LearJet design later licensed to Ampex, Columbia USA design etc etc etc use a form of snap-in closing for secure the cart, various design used depending on the year and patent used/applied for that specific cart style.
7) label application with thermal glue on the back of the paper label or other methods
8) packaging of the single cart into cardboard sleeve or only with a plastic tape protector, wrapping and packing into boxes for distribution.

Basically all steps are not only linked togheter, of course, but very specific one with the other: a production line of RCA-riveted cart CAN'T USE, unless reorganized on one or more steps, a Columbia snap-in cart, because all the machinery for the following steps are very strict in specs.
A) assembly the bottom part of cart have specific pieces: roller, plastic or rubber, roller size, pads, felt or spring, tape guides (common in early RCA carts) etc etc etc. These steps were automated, so you need a different tailored machine in order to use another cart design which has different specifics;
B) hubs spooling (with the recorded tape) are different between duplicators and have different grip point for the spooling seen in point 2), different sizes, different center holes etc; that's another automated process so it's very specific;
C) steps 3 (partially, later also this was automated) and 4 were done by humans, at least on the videos i've seen and other sources found during the years; don't think the steps 4 has ever been automated, too complicated and precise for a machine in the seventies (splicing tapes, applying sensing foil, running the tape thru the correct path and keep it tense)
D) Step 5 is closely linked to step 6 for the production lines that need a extra bit of thing (rivet or screw) or not; step 6 on Columbia/Ampex/etc duplication cart line is absent.
E) labelling was automated, so you need to have a specific kind of label in one single piece of two depending of the machine used for that; style can vary but is less problematic than the steps above
F) packaging also was automated, so the extact size of the cart was crucial for the whole assembly line to work properly. That's the reason that even when a BIG duplicator changed something on the cart, for example RCA went from the rivet for secure closing of the cart to thermal sealing on the borders, the exact size of the external cart were identical between the earlier and later model, so you won't need to change some producion line steps (bottom assembly, pack&wrap) that was still ok and modify just one (top assembly with the thermal glueing) and remove the unused one (riveting).

All that of course need a specific kind of machines, built-in for the bigger companies or bought from someone who did the things needed for the various steps. Once a BIG company has a proprietary reference-design for one production line of 8-track tapes cartridges it make economical sense to share it with their affiliates or delivering the entire set of machines to another country, or building in another country the same machine with the same parts.

This is why you can find RCA-style riveted carts in USA, Canada, Spain, Italy, part of UK, and some Brazilian too; they had basically the same production line, copied in various places.
For the record, RCA France didn't use the USA production line and RCA France-related titles on riveted carts were duplicated in Italy for export; same situation for RCA Germany. Spain used later the same production line of USA carts, earlier RCA ones have no resemblance with the RCA USA ones; UK too varied but on reverse, and you can see the difference even on quads, that EMI earlier ones were on black riveted carts (RCA style 100%) then switched to another production line. I have no idea IF all UK riveted-carts were done abroad or there was a production line that later RCA UK dismissed or retooled for other cart-specific design OR if the RCA UK production line for riveted carts were moved from UK to Spain (looking at the production years of the tapes on the two countries open this possibility, when UK stops this production line, soon Spain begin).

At the end, if the duplicator was named RCA Canada or Cinram Canada it is relative; what is clear is that the RCA-style production line was implemented and used there, because only THAT production line can work out THAT kind of cart. So, it's RCA in all, or just a rebranding of RCA.

On that video, at 29.54 and for only 10 second you can see the 8 track duplication facility of RCA Italiana at work. There should be another one showing the splicing but can't find it now.

BTW, if someone else know videos of this kind, please post information!
Excellent and informative post about Q8 duplication, thank you!

I agree with you that Cinram were definitely using the "RCA type" production line, that's in no doubt. What I was trying to emphasize is that it's new information that it wasn't RCA Canada themselves doing the duplication (unlike with LPs, where RCA definitely had their own pressing plant in Toronto), but an entirely different company that's never been associated with Q8's in Canada. A bit like how Ampex or GRT did Q8 manufacture for a variety of labels in the US, except Cinram didn't distribute or promote these tapes in Canada, that still fell to the original labels.

It's also worth considering that even if Cinram was using RCA's cartridge production line, that they weren't necessarily using their magnetic tape duplication hardware, since RCA's US operation never released a Dolby-encoded Q8. The Dolby-encoded U/A tapes are some of the best sounding Q8's ever released, right up there with the later-era Columbia Dolby tapes, and definitely better than RCA's US domestic releases.

It also makes me think that Cinram (rather than the previously-assumed RCA) probably manufactured Q8s for other labels in Canada including ABC and even A&M at some point.
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If someone has enjoyed all that blurb above, this is a must read; follow all the pages.
Thanks for those articles. Back in the 70's I drove my firebird to Elk Grove Village, parked in the Ampex employee's parking lot and walked into the factory to ask about the Caravan quad. The couple of people I talked to did not remember. I then toured the plant and watched them making tapes all over the place. Finally after about 45 minutes a security guard got hold of me and escorted me back to my car. It was fun while it lasted.

from 21:31 to 21:49 splicing and labeling at RCA italiana.
It also makes me think that Cinram (rather than the previously-assumed RCA) probably manufactured Q8s for other labels in Canada including ABC and even A&M at some point.

Like most things in the People's Republic, it probably all came down to cost. RCA Canada more than likely didn't want to have to change over any of their production for Quad, since it was such a small niche. But farming it out to a sub-contractor makes sense. Let them assume the responsibility and cost. Like with anything mass-produced, follow the dollar. Cinram probably cornered the market, too. Look at how many different labels they made tapes for! All of which were on the RCA style cartridge.
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Like most things in the People's Republic, it probably all came down to cost. RCA Canada more than likely didn't want to have to change over any of their production for Quad, since it was such a small niche. But farming it out to a sub-contractor makes sense. Let them assume the responsibility and cost. Like with anything mass-produced, follow the dollar. Cinram probably cornered the market, too. Look at how many different labels they made tapes for! All of which were on the RCA style cartridge.

Any 8-track duplication plant had no need to change anything for duping quad tapes instead of stereo ones other than use a different top cart, with notch for quad, without for stereo, since all the 8 tracks were recorded all at once; it was only down to the 8TMfD, quad or stereo, and that was a easy part and done just once, or for high-on-demand titles, up to 5 (see on the Ampex pages the Woodstock reference, and that was a double-cart).
What was common was the differentiation between record company and pressing/duplication plant: Ampex got the tape dup for a ton of labels, it was easier and cheaper for a lot of them to farming out than do a plant by themselves. Happened the same with the early CD years, when the pressing plants worldwide were 3 or 4 but all labels wanted cd in little numbers, since it was a new market.