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Official QQ "What's your Go-To Surround Demo Quality CD-4 LP"?

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JonUrban

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What CD-4 LP do you use when you want to dazzle your friends and family? I'll sticky this thread and it can be used as a reference for other members going forward. If you see a title already listed that you use, go ahead and mention it again. This will build up it's reputation.

NOTE: You can list more than one title, but put them in an order of preference. Keep your favorite show piece as #1.

Remember, the main point of the demo here is SURROUND! :banana:
 

Doug G.

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1. Gordon Lightfoot - Sundown
2. Doors - The Best of (particularly "Riders on the Storm", "Hello, I Love You", and "Moonlight Drive")
3. Aretha Franklin - The Best of

Doug
 

EMB

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I'll pick one at a time, it's really tough to choose in order, there are more than a few I'm very fond of...:)....however, to be true to the thread, overall, I'd pick this as #2...#1 I'll save for a little later.

One not mentioned yet is the cast album of HAIR, that huge 1968 success that spawned a few other chart albums (like "DisinHAIRited"), and many that didn't including very interesting variants from France (on Philips Lp, 1970) and Japan (RCA, 1971). THIS one, of course, was actually the second go at the show, since the first version (which was off-broadway) was issued in late 1967 (also on RCA Victor). Between then and the million-seller, a few songs were dropped, others moved around, and everything, of course, rerecorded.

What I like about the CD-4 is that the mix is very playful: instruments and sounds move around the room, and because there are many and varied voices being heard (singing or not), the remix to quad puts them in every corner, here 'n' there, a sensible use of panning and circling that only occasionally sounds gimmicky. Of course you know the big ones: "Aquarius," "Easy To Be Hard," "Be In (Hare Krishna)," "Good Morning Starshine" (my wife's theme song, FWIW :D) "Let The Sunshine In," "Where Do I Go" and the title track all made the U.S. charts by somebody (a few others not mentioned did as well, although it took about six months after the album's release for artists to cover the material with regularity (by that time the album was #1). Also, the instruments are often very discrete--the singing is really more elaborate at times than Galt Mac Dermot's arrangements, which work just right but rarely overwhelm everything. Think 'simple and to the point.'

This is the kind of time capsule that's a guilty pleasure if you were there (even if you liked it as much as I did!), although now a bit obvious and stodgy, a strange product of its time. But the quad mix would, I think, impress anyone who digs multichannel music.


ED :)
 

Doug G.

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Thanks for the review of "Hair", Ed. I have yet to acquire it. I will have to start looking more earnestly now.

You are correct that it's difficult picking a "best" Quadradisc. The three I listed were basically off the top of my head at the moment.

Hehe,"Good Morning Starshine". I used to know all the words to that song. Even the nonsensical ones. \:^)

...gliddy glup gloopy...nooby aba naba...LOL!

Doug
 

DarrellJ

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My hands down favorite for CD-4 demo is Doobie Brothers "Blackwater". I mastered this at the JVC Cutting Center in the early 70's and the swimming echoes of the chorus in the rear channels is one of the best quad sound field effects I heard in the mastering of hundreds of CD-4 disc in my years at JVC.
 

vinylguy4

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My hands down favorite for CD-4 demo is Doobie Brothers "Blackwater". I mastered this at the JVC Cutting Center in the early 70's and the swimming echoes of the chorus in the rear channels is one of the best quad sound field effects I heard in the mastering of hundreds of CD-4 disc in my years at JVC.
New member, welcome to Quadraphonic Quad!
Especially when your sentences start with "I mastered this at....".


vinylguy4
 

JonUrban

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My hands down favorite for CD-4 demo is Doobie Brothers "Blackwater". I mastered this at the JVC Cutting Center in the early 70's and the swimming echoes of the chorus in the rear channels is one of the best quad sound field effects I heard in the mastering of hundreds of CD-4 disc in my years at JVC.
Darrell,

Welcome to QQ. Wow, it's great to hear from someone who was in the industry and doing quad work like you. Yes, Black Water is classic quad, always turns heads because 1) its a terrific mix, and 2) Its a great tune that everyone knows (and most like)

Have you got any interesting stories to tell from the quad days? Quad titles that you mastered that did not make it out would be a good place to start! :)
 

DarrellJ

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Hello Jon,

There are too many stories to tell of that era. The Hollywood music scene was abuzz with talk of Quad in those days. It was in Billboard at every issue in those days weekly and every studio in town was busy upgrading to the new quad mix environment. Unfortunately it never materialized and I always blamed it on a combination of things from the cost of the gear at the consumer level to the inability of the labels to make up their minds about which format to standardize on. I was squarely (no pun intended but it just slipped out) in the CD-4 camp since I was newly hired away from MCA by JVC to be chief engineer at the just established JVC Cutting Center on the 5th floor of the RCA building at the corner of Sunset & Ivar across from the Cinerama Dome Theater. There was a staff of 4 engineers from Japan and myself along with a Japanese American Secretary and a couple of other representatives from JVC and John Eargle (of JBL fame) occupying half the 5th floor. We made test masters and pressings in Japan under guarded secrecy by the labels. CD-4 though a fantastic concept was plagued by technical limitations. For one it contained frequencies at frequencies as high as 40Khz in it's elaborate encoding scheme. There were virtually no vinyl plants in America at that time that could produce a 100% virgin vinyl disc capable of the signal to noise ratio to meet the CD-4 spec. Only Japan had the ability and that was largely because of the vinyl plant on the northern most edge of Hokkaido where the exhaust emissions could be carried out to sea and over the nearly unpopulated Russian Ukraine. I could go on and on as there was so many aspects that it is unreal. The complexity of reproduction and caring for the disc was beyond the scope of the average everyday music consumer in America as well not to mention the cost of hardware for reproduction. Audiophiles aside the labels could not survive on their support alone. One of the best kept secrets of CD-4: test pressing of "Dark Side of the Moon". Taddashi Hakkan and I made masters from Parsons discrete 4 channel tapes and 100% virgin vinyl test pressings were made in Japan. Engineers and executives from Capital evaluated these in secrecy at the cutting center while negotiations were going on between the labels and JVC for licensing of CD-4. I have one of the 4 known to exist CD-4 disc of Dark Side of the Moon in my collection, the other three are in Japan. This bit of knowledge is surprisingly missing from this forums excellent article on Dark Side of the Moon. We later went on to master the half-speed audiophile version released by Mobil Fidelity at JVC Cutting Center.
 

bmoura

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My hands down favorite for CD-4 demo is Doobie Brothers "Blackwater". I mastered this at the JVC Cutting Center in the early 70's and the swimming echoes of the chorus in the rear channels is one of the best quad sound field effects I heard in the mastering of hundreds of CD-4 disc in my years at JVC.
That one is a CD-4 classic along with Toulouse Street and The Captain and Me by the Doobie Brothers. I think Tom Nishida at the JVC Cutting Center was involved in doing those two.

Another CD-4 classic would be the Jaws Soundtrack that the Cutting Center imported from Japan for CD-4 fans in the U.S. A great Quad listening experience !
 

DarrellJ

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Hi bmoura, Tom Nishida was the bookkeeper and business manager of JVC cutting center. He was not actually involved in the mastering or the digital audio research we did at the cutting center. He is a great guy and still works for JVC in Japan. He had the best English of any of the Japanese staff at the lab so he got involved as a translator in lots of our activities. It is hard to tell the details about a lot of stuff from that time period because the labels were not very good about giving accurate credits in those days. For example Val Valentine is credited with engineering on almost every MGM lp released when in fact he was director of engineering for the label and even after he moved to Mexico City in 1975 to establish his own recording studio and record label he continued to be credited on every MGM release. A lot can be determined by knowing the secrets of the mastering engineers inscriptions in the lock out groove of the disc. I can recognize the writing of many of the popular mastering engineers of the day. Many of us used our own little codes like my dj/2 inscription to signify mastered at half speed. You had to be careful because some record labels manufacturing plants did not want us to inscribe anything in the inner groove. We were required to leave it blank and the plant used a die to stamp the record number only into the inner groove. In fact I was fired from a major label mastering job for refusing to abide by that very rule. I felt like it would be the same as asking an artist to not sign their work. After independent mastering houses like The Mastering Lab, Artisan, Precision etc came into being the producers and engineers began to put pressure on the labels for truthful credits and the right to be recognized for their work. At the Cutting Center we did import many high quality Japanese CD-4 Disc that we sold to audiophiles directly. We were all about promoting high quality after quad fizzled we turned our activities to reinvigorating the unique aspects of half speed mastering of audiophile stereo recording and through our special relationship with Mobil Fidelity really made a great impact on the audiophile movement of the day. I am so proud of that. Long live vinyl and I am happy to see if having a resurgence.
 

Quad Linda

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Thank you, Darrell, from the bottom of my heart for being a CD-4 and 1/2 speed MASTER! Having been an audiophile from an early age, and selling Quad and hi-fi in the '70's, you made the gear easier to sell. Your work greatly enhanced those smoky, sudsy late night listening parties. The fruits of your labors are among my most cherished posessions!

Two questions, please:
1- What cutting head(s) was used?
2- We you involved in mastering the Mofi Beatles - The Collection? If so, how did the B side of Magical Mystery Tour again become electronic stereo?
 

bmoura

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Interesting. Do you know who did the CD-4 Mastering on "Jaws" and the Doobie Brothers CD-4 releases ?

I remember talking to Tom Nishida, Vic Goh and John Eargle at the JVC Cutting Center in those days. Tom told me that he and Vic Goh did some CD-4 mastering as well. Which surprised me since I thought they were more involved in management of the Center.
 

DarrellJ

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I used four different cutter heads in those days. They were all modified by the manufacturer to support the high frequencies needed to inscribe the carrier band used in CD-4. They were Neumann SX-68 and SX-74 and Ortofon DSS 731 and DSS 732. We had our own custom build drive amplifiers that were made by JVC in Japan for the Neumanns but the Ortofon used G0 741 and GE 741 drive electronics modified by Ortofon. We also used custom made styli from Adamant/JVC. These styli had burnishing facets slightly larger than conventional stereo cutting styli and were similar in design to the Shibata stylus used on the high end cartridges made especially for CD-4 reproduction.

Sorry I missed out on the Mofi Beatles project. That was done by Stan Ricker. When Stan came to the cutting center he worked on most of the MoFi stuff. He remained on the staff there after I left and stayed until near the closing of the cutting center.
 

DarrellJ

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Vic Goh was sent from Japan in the final days of CD-4 to salvage Quad in America. He and I never got along because he tried to push the Japanese way on us as opposed to making an attempt to see how we could work together. In fact Goh fired me and Tom Nishida hired me back the next week. There was a lot of turmoil during the final days. Jumbo Mochizuki was both Vic and Tom's boss had hired me originally and he finally sent Goh back to Japan. Goh was not an engineer and came from the marketing arm of JVC. Goh and I got into another big fuzz one time and I put a picture of US Army Air Corp B-17 Flying Fortresses bombing Japan on my desk and took Dec 7 off. It was a nervy thing to do but Jumbo came to my rescue and it was not long until Goh was sent back to Japan. He and John Eargle got into it one time and I though it was going to come to blows. As you may recall John was six and half foot tall and had a thunderous voice when he was upset. It was a doozie. John was a very diplomatic man and would never say anything publicly but he did not like Goh's ideas or methods either. John and I lived just a few blocks from each other in the Hollywood Hills and were close until his death a few years ago. When ever we would get together in later years of his life we always had a few good laughs about some of the rather comic events surrounding the cutting center days.
 

jefe1

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Thank you Darrell for sharing some stories with us. I've always been fascinated with the sometimes cryptic messages left in the inner grooves. Could you share some clues as to how to decipher some of them? What other test pressings are there that never got released?

I need to start another thread about a mystery Japanese cd-4 record I received that is NOT the JVC Latin Drums record I purchased. It appears to be rock jazz fusion, quite good. The label is entirly in Japanese. But back on topic, I am finding that the quadradisc of Arlo Guthrie Last of the Brooklyn Cowboys is recorded extremely well with stunning low bass response, active rears, and imho great music.
 

DarrellJ

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There were some rock jazz fusion recordings produced JVC in America but only released in Japan. They were produced by Toshi Endo and usually featured Lee Ritenour and LA sidemen. Some were done live to disk in the RCA studios on the first floor of the building with cables run up the elevator shaft to our mastering labs on the 5th floor. The RCA mastering rooms on the second floor had conduit access to the studios and they were sometimes also used. When you are doing direct to disc recording you need to have as many lathes going as possible to get the maximum number of masters. Just a note we also made a Jazz Rock fusion direct to disc promotional disc for Yamaha featuring all Yamaha instruments. It was used as a marketing tool by Yam. It was also produced by Endo and featured Ritenour, Dave Grusin. and other popular LA sidemen of the era.

Jefe, here is another good lock out groove inscription to look for. On the original release of James Taylors, Sweet Baby James, which I mastered at Sunset Sound Recorders where it was also recorded and mixed by the way, "Hi James" is written in the lock out groove of the A side and "That's all folks" is written on the B side, It only made it out on the first few thousand pressing and Warner Brothers discovered it and ask me to cut new masters.
 

JonUrban

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Darrell, Did you know Lou Dorren? He has designed a "new" CD-4 demodulator using modern technology that he will be releasing as a one time deal here in the near future. Should be fun to crack open some still sealed CD-4 LPs and try them with this beast.

As for Capitol, why did they wait so long to do Quad LPs. If they released a CD-4 of Dark Side of the Moon, Band On the Run, We're an American Band, Fly Like an Eagle, and others that were within their realm, it would have been great for CD-4.

How close did they come, and what was the deal about the Billboard article that claimed that these were all released as 'secret' QS encoded LPs?
 

DarrellJ

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I do not know Lou personally but am well aware of him and his contributions to quad. I know that his demod has been on the drawing board for years and I sure would like to see it happen. I personally do not spend as much time in the audiophile mode as I used to. The years I spent in front of rock n' roll monitors and flying light planes have taken their toll on my hearing. Plus age as I am now in my mid sixties don't allow me to appreciate the fine nuisances of my listening environment like I used to. I still love music as much as ever and spend a lot of time listening to it. Like a lot of people I have for the most part adopted high bit rate mp3 as a storage medium and though it is acceptable it is a long way from audiophile. Home computers being what they are have dramatically changed how we manipulate music content. I have a dedicated media server on a home network and pretty much listen to most music from it.

As far as Capitol I know very little about why they dragged their feet so severely on the quad issue. They were very interested and had many meetings with John Eargle and myself along with Nishida, Mochizuki, and others. We made test disc for them in Japan and did extensive evaluations at the cutting center but their executives simply did not believe and correctly I hate to say that quad would fly in the long run. They held the same reservations as I did about the complexity of the format and it's extreme high demand on the user and I do believe that was one of the reasons they chose to do matrix releases when they did finally make a few discs. I do not have any doubts about the Billboard article and do believe it to be correct but the reasons behind it will probably never be known. John Eagle had managed to get his hands on a few of the unmarked SQ disc and we did evaluate them but it remained under cover until the very end. John and I had a few discussions later on about it but it was always one of those puzzling things that happens in the entertainment world.
 
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