Mix differences between SQ lp and Quad 8-track versions of the same recording.

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Marcsten

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Play the Burton Cummings SQ. The rears on both the SQ a nether Q8 are full of heavy duty reverb on many songs. 'Scare' the opening track is really heavy,
URGH! Should say ...both the SQ and the Q8...
 

JonUrban

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Try the track "Night Game" from "Still Crazy After All These Years". IMHO they are two different mixes. I even created a post here about it way back when as I had the Q8 mix and a Surround Master SQ (First Version) decode. The Q8 has an absolutely silent rear channel for quite some time with the sounds perfectly placed in the other channels, while the SQ decode never has a silent channel at anytime and doesn't even try to.

I will see if I can find that post with the wav forms, etc. I am not speaking here with any authority, of course, just my own speculation. However, even in 1978 or whenever I got my Tate, I was never a fan of SQ. I still thought it was a poor system compared to tape and CD-4, so maybe my views are skewed.
 

JonUrban

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Here is my old post:

 

sjcorne

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Try the track "Night Game" from "Still Crazy After All These Years". IMHO they are two different mixes. I even created a post here about it way back when as I had the Q8 mix and a Surround Master SQ (First Version) decode. The Q8 has an absolutely silent rear channel for quite some time with the sounds perfectly placed in the other channels, while the SQ decode never has a silent channel at anytime and doesn't even try to.
I agree that the decoded LP sounds very different on this track, but--as @steelydave mentioned upthread--I think this is merely due to the SQ encode/decode process diminishing the channel separation. My Tate decoder goes nuts with 'pumping' artifacts in the left rear during this track, so it is trying to suppress the leakage that isn't supposed to be there.

I find that SQ can only do silent channels convincingly when one speaker is producing audio. Many of the CBS quad mixes show this off by pegging the intro lines into corners - Edgar Winter's "Free Ride", Chicago's "Beginnings", etc.
 

JonUrban

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I agree that the decoded LP sounds very different on this track, but--as @steelydave mentioned upthread--I think this is merely due to the SQ encode/decode process diminishing the channel separation. My Tate decoder goes nuts with 'pumping' artifacts in the left rear during this track, so it is trying to suppress the leakage that isn't supposed to be there.

I find that SQ can only do silent channels convincingly when one speaker is producing audio. Many of the CBS quad mixes show this off by pegging the intro lines into corners - Edgar Winter's "Free Ride", Chicago's "Beginnings", etc.
Could be. Like I said, I really have no clue. But, if it is indeed the exact same mix, then this track is a total indictment that SQ was an inadequate shitty system that was incapable of delivering a quad mix as it was originally created.
 

Eggplant

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This track is a total indictment that SQ was an inadequate shitty system that was incapable of delivering a quad mix as it was originally created.
^ That.

I now realize that CBS’s love and devotion to a doomed, shitty system was probably the primary culprit in quad’s demise. The most basic requirement for any tech “gimmick” is that it at least deliver the promised effect (a la 3D), even if at a lower standard of quality. SQ failed this utterly.

What was quad’s most successful format? The Q8, of course. Why is easily seen:

1. Completely delivered the promised effect (discrete four channel).
2. Largest and most quickly available catalog.
3. Inexpensive players.
4. Easily understood.

Again, SQ offered none of that.

Ever wonder why CBS had all those mysterious SQ-only releases? I now think I know why. Most came late in the game — post ‘75, when quad was dying. They didn’t want to sell Q8’s — which customers actually bought. They wanted to push their doomed, shitty system — the one they’d invested so much ad space and development dollars into. They kept flogging that dead horse right up until the decade’s end.
 

MidiMagic

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By 1975, the 8-track was dying. The cassette was already replacing it as a medium for automobiles. And many people disliked the 8-track because the tapes degraded with age. So why would anyone keep pushing Q8?

One interesting fact is that discrete reel-to reel tape redcorders were outselling everything else that was quadraphonic. But they were not going into quadraphonic audio systems. They were going into home recording systems as multitrack recorders. The only discrete reel tape machines I ever saw were being used to lay down tracks to make recordings. I own two discrete cassette multitracks. I have never used them for discrete quad. I have used them to encode matrix quad.

By 1976, most record companies had deleted or removed the major labeling on their quad offerings because they were not selling. Part of the problem was that record stores were putting the quad releases in a "quadraphonic" bin, rather than with the other titles the same artist released. This also made people think that they had to have a quadraphonic system to play the records.

In 1977, Dolby Stereo came out on films, with surround sound that blew everything else out of the water. This was the matrixed system without any logic. I got my first Dolby Stereo (later Dolby Surround) records later that year. I was playing them in QS and WOW! Later I got my hands on a real Dolby Surround decoder.

Quad didn't die, it transformed. Dolby Surround solved most of the problems:
- The side image problem was gone (with a Dolby Surround decoder).
- The major separations (LF-RF and F-B) people hear most have the largest separations in the recording.
- Front-center sources (the most important) are solidly in the front center - whether or not you have a dialog channel speaker.
 

Eggplant

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By 1975, the 8-track was dying. The cassette was already replacing it as a medium for automobiles.
If by “was replacing” you mean “began selling”. Pre-recorded 8-tracks were widely sold until 1982. For at least half that time, they continued to outsell cassettes.

But that’s not even the point. It’s not about “pushing” Q8 over SQ. Q8 was an established, practical format. SQ wasn’t and never would or even could be. All formats have a limited lifespan and get replaced. 8-track‘s run from 1970-1982 wasn’t bad. The smart corporate move is to go with whatever proves out in the marketplace, even if it’s not your baby. Even Sony had to give up on Beta.
 

Owen Smith

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This discussion has so far ignored the London Box or Position Encoder used to encode some later SQ titles. This had 8 inputs for 8 positions or 16 inputs for 16 positions. So you couldn't put a 4 channel quad master through a London Box or Position Encoder. You needed to mix a separate 8 or even 16 channel master tape with all the sounds in the positions you wanted, and that would then be encoded through the London Box or Position Encoder to an SQ stereo master.

I have no idea how many SQ albums were mixed like this. But any that were are likely to be different quad mixes to any discrete or QS quad mixes available for the same album.
 

Doug G.

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I worked for Telex and we manufactured 8-track machines, stereo and quad, for Ford which they installed in their car radios until 1982 when they began to replace them with cassettes. The stereo machines were available in all Fords, the quad machines only in Lincolns and Thunderbirds.

Doug
 

Owen Smith

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Because we never heard of it.😸
Sounds like an early version of the Atmos concept.
Got any links with details?
I first heard about these from Disclord. In particular the last SQ album released in the early 1980s used a 16 position encoder and he was a big fan of it. I can't remember the name but it featured a percussionist as the main artist.

On the web I found this which is only slightly enlightening, but mentions both the Position Encoder and London Box:

 

fredblue

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I first heard about these from Disclord. In particular the last SQ album released in the early 1980s used a 16 position encoder and he was a big fan of it. I can't remember the name but it featured a percussionist as the main artist.

On the web I found this which is only slightly enlightening, but mentions both the Position Encoder and London Box:

i think the one Ty may have been talking about was a Buddy Rich concert? there was an LD of his in 1985 that was SQ encoded afaik.
 

gvl_guy

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If by “was replacing” you mean “began selling”. Pre-recorded 8-tracks were widely sold until 1982. For at least half that time, they continued to outsell cassettes.

But that’s not even the point. It’s not about “pushing” Q8 over SQ. Q8 was an established, practical format. SQ wasn’t and never would or even could be. All formats have a limited lifespan and get replaced. 8-track‘s run from 1970-1982 wasn’t bad. The smart corporate move is to go with whatever proves out in the marketplace, even if it’s not your baby. Even Sony had to give up on Beta.
I always wondered why, when CDs came out, they didn't automatically make them all stereo/quadraphonic compatible. Seems like a no-brainer.
 

DuncanS

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I always wondered why, when CDs came out, they didn't automatically make them all stereo/quadraphonic compatible. Seems like a no-brainer.
The head of Sony wanted it to hold a complete symphony (Beethoven?) in stereo with 16-bits, I did read that Quad/Surround was considered. But it was down to the disc size (had to fit into a car dashboard slot) and manufacture (stamped like vinyl! & single layer) and the laser technology at the time (not good enough or higher frequency light {so better resolution}).
 

par4ken

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By 1975, the 8-track was dying. The cassette was already replacing it as a medium for automobiles. And many people disliked the 8-track because the tapes degraded with age. So why would anyone keep pushing Q8?

One interesting fact is that discrete reel-to reel tape redcorders were outselling everything else that was quadraphonic. But they were not going into quadraphonic audio systems. They were going into home recording systems as multitrack recorders. The only discrete reel tape machines I ever saw were being used to lay down tracks to make recordings. I own two discrete cassette multitracks. I have never used them for discrete quad. I have used them to encode matrix quad.

By 1976, most record companies had deleted or removed the major labeling on their quad offerings because they were not selling. Part of the problem was that record stores were putting the quad releases in a "quadraphonic" bin, rather than with the other titles the same artist released. This also made people think that they had to have a quadraphonic system to play the records.

In 1977, Dolby Stereo came out on films, with surround sound that blew everything else out of the water. This was the matrixed system without any logic. I got my first Dolby Stereo (later Dolby Surround) records later that year. I was playing them in QS and WOW! Later I got my hands on a real Dolby Surround decoder.

Quad didn't die, it transformed. Dolby Surround solved most of the problems:
- The side image problem was gone (with a Dolby Surround decoder).
- The major separations (LF-RF and F-B) people hear most have the largest separations in the recording.
- Front-center sources (the most important) are solidly in the front center - whether or not you have a dialog channel speaker.
How did Dolby solve anything? They simply reinvented the wheel with vastly inferior results. At least their recordings decoded well via SQ or QS. Yes Q8's, 8-tracks in general were not the best format and I suppose deserved to die out as cassettes improved and dominated.
 

ar surround

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As noted earlier in this thread, the second unreleased quad mix of BS&T is an interesting animal. @sjcorne mentioned to me in a PM that this particular mix was not really suitable for the SQ format. [Edit: Jonathan actually said that the unreleased version would have been the better choice for SQ because of the harder panning and less blending of instruments. Rhetorical question: So why did they pick the version with the blended channels?] I wonder if it was an experiment that didn’t pass the clinical trials when encoded / decoded.

Also as he mentioned above, other than the missing horn section on YMMSVH, it is the better mix for my tastes.
 
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sjcorne

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As noted earlier in this thread, the second unreleased quad mix of BS&T is an interesting animal. @sjcorne mentioned to me in a PM that this particular mix was not really suitable for the SQ format. I wonder if it was an experiment that didn’t pass the clinical trials when encoded / decoded.
I think the mix that was released (on the AF SACD) is unsuitable for SQ, because there's so much 'blended' instrumentation. The '2nd unreleased' version on the Robin reel probably would've worked better as everything is hard-panned.
 
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