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Newbie with Some Q8 Tapes

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RGilmore

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Joined
Oct 23, 2019
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Vancouver, Canada
I've tried typing "Q8" and "convert" into the search function in order to find out how to convert some newly acquired Q8 tapes to a disc which I can then play back on my OPPO blu ray player. Unfortunately the results of this search weren't very fruitful.

I can get my hands on a quad 8-track player. Beyond that, I'm not sure what the "steps" are or what other hardware / software I will need to burn myself a MCH disc. Any suggestions / words of wisdom would be appreciated very much.
 

winopener

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In extreme synthesis these are the steps:
1) quad source (any 4-channel, be q8, cd4 or qr)
2) multichannel soundcard on pc/mac, or multichannel standalone recorder
3) digital audio workstation for recording the audio and clean up
4) formatting the final audio for the media, be a digital audio file (flac, mkv...) or a physical disc.

If it is a "fun" project, you're welcome to ask advice and experiment as you wish, BUT, if you mainly want to listen to the q8 tapes you have, my suggestion is first to check out if these quads have already found their way in a modern multichannel format, be dts-cd, dvd-a, dvd-v, sacd, bluray. It doesn't seems but many quads are enjoying a new digital life thank to various labels, some gone, some still on work.
Plenty of information on that on this site - or also, list your tapes and some will answer quickly.
 

RGilmore

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Oct 23, 2019
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Location
Vancouver, Canada
Thank you for the response, winopener.

Unfortunately I don't think it's likely that the Q8's in my collection will ever be released in a modern MCH format. So I think it's up to me to try to convert them to disc.

It appears that I will need to update my computer's soundcard. (I assume that's cheaper than purchasing a standalone MCH recorder.)

As for a digital audio workstation, do you mean software like Adobe Audition? Or perhaps there are some other alternative options I should consider.

And yes, I would definitely want to burn the songs onto some physical media. (I assume that the media I would use would be a CD-R. Maybe I'm wrong on that point. Perhaps the media needs to be a DVD-R to accommodate the multi-channel sound.) To be honest, I don't even know the format of the files that I would be burning. I've only burned .wav files to CD-R's in the past.

Like I said in the header for this thread, I'm a "Newbie" !
 

JonUrban

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So first you need a PC or Sound Card that does 5.1, even if you have only 4.0 sources, to monitor and preview your source and results.

You will also need a recording interface. There are many stand alone devices that will work. Many members here have equipment like this that is affordable, especially if you can find it used. I use a MOTU unit, but there are others out there.

On your PC, you will need multichannel recording software, like Adobe Audition, Sound Forge, Cyberlink Audio Director to get the audio to a file.

You connect your q8 player to the hardware interface (MOTU, etc), then set the PC to record in the audio from that device. Hopefully your software will allow you to adjust the incoming audio levels.

Once the audio has been recorded into the DAW software, you can save the files to .wav or .flac. Before you do, you can clean them up with noise reduction or eq, depending on how the source files sound. Once you save the files, you have another decision to make.

If you can play a file directly without a format, you're done. If you need a format, like DVD-A or DTS CD, you will need encoding software which is a lot harder to find and a bit more complex to get used to.

So basically the path is Q8 - - - > AUDIO INTERFACE - - > PC/DAW Software - - > Hard Drive

There are TONS of folks here who do this, some rookies, some as good as the professionals. Just ask your questions and people will respond. It's a fun thing to do.

Also, be sure to repair those Q8's before you start. Open them, clean them, replace the pads and splices, and make sure they are not bricked.
 

winopener

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Unfortunately I don't think it's likely that the Q8's in my collection will ever be released in a modern MCH format. So I think it's up to me to try to convert them to disc.
As unlikely as it may appear, even Ray Conniff quads had been released on multichannel sacd... I'm not trying to dismiss your desire, but having been there and done that i know, as many others here, how difficult - frustrating - timeconsuming etc etc etc the process can be, so if a given quad title had already a official release somewhere in the world in this forum you may know when and where. Someimes it can be expensive, sometimes it can be cheaper: for "the cheap side", the absolutely best bang for the bucks has been the Chicago Qaudio box, that includes in a marvellous box the replica of the original gatefold sleeves of every quad album done by Chicago and the blu-ray discs featured quad and stereo mixes. Normally Chicago Q8 goes for 40-50 bucks each, more for the doubles, and some are very pricey because very rare; i got the Qaudio box on Amazon for 70 euro, which is the price of 2 or 3 carts, no more.
 

RGilmore

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Oct 23, 2019
Messages
10
Location
Vancouver, Canada
I appreciate all the useful comments everyone has posted.

I've taken a look at the Behringer unit. The 4 inputs on the front look like they accept 1/4" plugs (as well as XLR inputs). So to hook this up to my Quad 8-track player, I assume I will need 4 connectors with an RCA plug at one end and a 1/4" plug at the other end. And then to connect the Behringer unit to my PC, I assume that I can use the USB cable that comes with the Behringer unit. If I've misunderstood how to connect the Quad 8-track player to my PC (via the Behringer), by all means let me know where I've gone astray.

A possible "stupid question" here - Will purchasing this Behringer unit allow me to forego getting an MCH type sound card for my PC? If so, then the 4 channels of sound will pass from the Behringer unit to my PC's DAW software via the USB cable. (I haven't got the DAW software yet, but I understand there are various options which will require some research on my part.)

Regarding winopener's caution about going to all this effort for something that might be available or might become available in the near future, I am quite certain that the mixes on these Q8 tapes will never be released again. Some time ago, I contacted Dutton / Vocalion to suggest that they consider licensing some of these recordings for SACD release; and to date nothing has happened. The good news is that Dutton / Vocalion continues to amaze me at the variety of material that they are able to release in MCH sound. I'm happy to report that my collection of Dutton / Vocalion MCH releases is growing. Mike Dutton should be very pleased !
 

fredblue

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I appreciate all the useful comments everyone has posted.

I've taken a look at the Behringer unit. The 4 inputs on the front look like they accept 1/4" plugs (as well as XLR inputs). So to hook this up to my Quad 8-track player, I assume I will need 4 connectors with an RCA plug at one end and a 1/4" plug at the other end. And then to connect the Behringer unit to my PC, I assume that I can use the USB cable that comes with the Behringer unit. If I've misunderstood how to connect the Quad 8-track player to my PC (via the Behringer), by all means let me know where I've gone astray.

A possible "stupid question" here - Will purchasing this Behringer unit allow me to forego getting an MCH type sound card for my PC? If so, then the 4 channels of sound will pass from the Behringer unit to my PC's DAW software via the USB cable. (I haven't got the DAW software yet, but I understand there are various options which will require some research on my part.)

Regarding winopener's caution about going to all this effort for something that might be available or might become available in the near future, I am quite certain that the mixes on these Q8 tapes will never be released again. Some time ago, I contacted Dutton / Vocalion to suggest that they consider licensing some of these recordings for SACD release; and to date nothing has happened. The good news is that Dutton / Vocalion continues to amaze me at the variety of material that they are able to release in MCH sound. I'm happy to report that my collection of Dutton / Vocalion MCH releases is growing. Mike Dutton should be very pleased !
not to deter you from the endeavour at all (doing the old Quad LP & tape transfers can be a very rewarding thing, not without its' challenges but when it all comes together its all worth it!) could you narrow it down to some titles, please?

there is always the chance some of us may have info or even already converted some of your tapes and be able to help at least ease the workload 🙂

ps. Welcome to QQ! 👍
 

fredblue

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Sure.

I'm partial to 70's vocalists, for example, recordings by JIm Croce and the Carpenters. I am aware of 4 Q8 releases by Croce and 6 Q8 releases by the Carpenters.
i'm pretty sure they're all doable. for several of The Carpenters Quads, there were CD-4 and Q4 transfers floating about that sounded better than my old Q8s.

just one thing, we are not at liberty to discuss sharing of/whereabouts etc of Quad enthusiasts' homemade conversions out on the public forum but i'm sure between us there will be some members who can help out somehow :)
 

RGilmore

Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2019
Messages
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Location
Vancouver, Canada
Yes, I have to admit I was reluctant to mention the specific artists. My main concern is that tape media can be fragile. I paid more than I care to admit for my 6 Carpenters Q8's and it would be devastating to have any of them get chewed up by a Quad 8-track player.:cry:
 

fredblue

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Yes, I have to admit I was reluctant to mention the specific artists. My main concern is that tape media can be fragile. I paid more than I care to admit for my 6 Carpenters Q8's and it would be devastating to have any of them get chewed up by a Quad 8-track player.:cry:
backups are your buddies! 🥳

i never got around to picking up the Q8 of "Close To You" before i hung up my hat but i did manage to sneak in duplicates of the other 5 Carpenters Quads 🤠

i don't recall now which ones i transferred for posterity but they played fine apart from one of the Horizon's which was kinda fluttery but still played through without self-destructing!
if i ever get back on the horse i'll gladly transfer them all 👍



 

winopener

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Since 2002/2003
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Messages
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You're not alone... many of us have the complete carpenters collection (and jim croce too).
 

winopener

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Mar 2, 2002
Messages
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RGilmore

Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2019
Messages
10
Location
Vancouver, Canada
I have a question regarding the DAW software to use for digitizing the 4 channels of sound coming from my Q8 tapes (via the Behringer audio interface previously recommended by sjcorne).

Someone I know who is a professional musician has suggested that I download the "free version" of Pro Tools, which - he says - can handle up to 8 channels of sound.

If you have any strong opinions on whether this free version would be appropriate for my needs, I would certainly appreciate hearing your thoughts. Thx in advance !
 
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