Other Labels Quad Output & CD-4, QS & SQ Technical

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fizzywiggs41

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Columbia controlled the masters back then, so he had no say in whether or not they got the quad treatment. But once he gained control, he moved his catalog to Warner Music, who were more cooperative with his wishes. He's since returned control to Sony Music, but that doesn't mean there will be surround SACD's. That was, supposedly, a stipulation of the deal.
I personally do not expect Paul Simon to release any of his quad recordings in this day and age , same goes for his other surround albums. I think we all know this.
Yes Columbia did control their artist master tapes , but so did the other labels . This includes Atlantic Records.
When they (artists) sign with the labels they $ell the rights to their music , usually for a certain time period , which can be renewed by both parties. Those rights for all stereo and quad releases become the decision of the respective labels. Rarely , back then .....,was there some give and take ,....such as Columbia wanting more quad from Wendy Carlos which she keiboshed (something of an exception). These deals always favoured the labels as is was the case in the 70's . Nowadays it might be somewhat more favourable for artists , those lessons have been learned from the past.
Another example is Frank Zappa who had to purchase ALL of his recordings back from Warner/Discreet (in the 70's) and at great cost but he eventually retained control of his music.
 

fizzywiggs41

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Even if Harvest wasn't part of Atlantic, per the Marc Anderson listing:

ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA -
The Electric Light Orchestra. Harvest Q4 SHVL 797 (SQ) [UK],
SQVL 1014 (SQ) [Brazil]

Back in the day, we had this album and it was indeed SQ.
Really , do you have this on vinyl ?
I know about the Brazilian SQ album... but I'm not aware this was even issued in SQ in the UK (other than the Q8).

I had 2 copies of the UK SQ album issued by EMI/Harvest ...or so I would seem , but inside the quad album jacket were stereo vinyl pressings.

If it was indeed issued in the UK ! I'D love to see a copy posted.
 

gvl_guy

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Well A and M were in consistent. Some were rather good. Others were terrible. I just listened to the CD 4 of Cat Stevens greatest hits AND it is rather good. The mixes are inconsistent as they were done at several different times, I assume, but overall not too bad and it plays rather well also. The A and M SQs are OK, such as Buddha and the chocolate Box and Six Wives. Others are pretty bad. As for Arista, I have the Eric Carmen and the mix is pretty good although the pressing is so so. Don't have any others so can't say. Surprising that Arista bothered by the time they got there. As for A and M, I assume they were going to re-issue their matrix LPs in CD 4 before the bottom fell out. Why did they bother to make the investment in CD 4 so late? Must have been costly! But really, Atlantic. We got Average White Band, and the multiple Spinners but no Led Zeppelin? And no Linda Ronstadt on Asylum? Of course the Asylums sound awful. Not bad mixes but sound like the artist is in the closet.
You are the only person I've ever seen say that Cat Stevens Greatest Hits is "rather good." - not because of content, (in that case, Cat is, of course, amazing,) but the pressing. I've always understood it to be the worst CD-4 pressing of all time. I have it. Haven't listened in quite a long time, but I remember being underwhelmed by the sound quality.
 

jaybird100

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Well A and M were in consistent. Some were rather good. Others were terrible. I just listened to the CD 4 of Cat Stevens greatest hits AND it is rather good. The mixes are inconsistent as they were done at several different times, I assume, but overall not too bad and it plays rather well also. The A and M SQs are OK, such as Buddha and the chocolate Box and Six Wives. Others are pretty bad. As for Arista, I have the Eric Carmen and the mix is pretty good although the pressing is so so. Don't have any others so can't say. Surprising that Arista bothered by the time they got there. As for A and M, I assume they were going to re-issue their matrix LPs in CD 4 before the bottom fell out. Why did they bother to make the investment in CD 4 so late? Must have been costly! But really, Atlantic. We got Average White Band, and the multiple Spinners but no Led Zeppelin? And no Linda Ronstadt on Asylum? Of course the Asylums sound awful. Not bad mixes but sound like the artist is in the closet.
You're overlooking A&M's one QS release, Joan Baez's "Come From The Shadows". It was one of five QS albums that were advertised as their initial release, but the only one that actually happened. Sound-wise, it's quite good.
 

par4ken

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Really , do you have this on vinyl ?
I know about the Brazilian SQ album... but I'm not aware this was even issued in SQ in the UK (other than the Q8).

I had 2 copies of the UK SQ album issued by EMI/Harvest ...or so I would seem , but inside the quad album jacket were stereo vinyl pressings.

If it was indeed issued in the UK ! I'D love to see a copy posted.
There is a copy of the Brazilian SQ for sale on Discogs for $120. I have the DVD-Video release of this. I don't remember how it sounds I'll have to pull it out to give it a try. The set includes the CD of the original album plus bonus tracks and the DVD with the Quad to 4.1 mix and the hi-rez stereo mix.
 

quicksrt

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A&M did a CD-4 (rather than SQ) due to an artist demanding it I had heard. Arista CD-4 LPs were no worse than Elektra / Asylum / Atlantic.

Lots of generalization in this thread. But the whole quad debacle is littered with inconsistencies, and not always concerning pressing or mix quality. The inconsistencies are more about what did and did not get mixed and issued in q.

I thought Warner / Reprise and associated WEA labels did plenty of rock / pop quad releases. Even British artists (Sabbath, Purple, Oldfield, etc.) got quad mixed. I am not going to list them here because we all know (well maybe I will list a few). But the WEA labels could give the Sony / BMG quad catalog a real run for the money if they wanted to. For every good Columbia / Epic title left to release there is a hot WB / Reprise / Asylum / Elektra / Atlantic no doubt. Or course it comes down to what your taste in music is, but Alice, Purple, Tull, Joni, Jackson, C, Simon, R, Newman, Mingus, Gil Evans, MJQ, and so many others we are waiting for. It shows WEA was invested to a large degree.

What Sony has over WEA for quad is mainly the large classical catalog that WEA does not have.
 

quicksrt

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You are the only person I've ever seen say that Cat Stevens Greatest Hits is "rather good." - not because of content, (in that case, Cat is, of course, amazing,) but the pressing. I've always understood it to be the worst CD-4 pressing of all time. I have it. Haven't listened in quite a long time, but I remember being underwhelmed by the sound quality.
Pressings can be good at the beginning of a run and not so hot at the end of the run. I always read that in regards to Cat Stevens, it was the mixes that could be anything from nice, to totally fake. I forget if Hits was 100% real quad, but Tillerman was 100% fake? Or was it the reverse? A&M slipped out a few 100% fake quad albums for sure, but they may have been Q8s.
 

Marcsten

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Pressings can be good at the beginning of a run and not so hot at the end of the run. I always read that in regards to Cat Stevens, it was the mixes that could be anything from nice, to totally fake. I forget if Hits was 100% real quad, but Tillerman was 100% fake? Or was it the reverse? A&M slipped out a few 100% fake quad albums for sure, but they may have been Q8s.
I recall having Tea for the Tillerman in Q8. It was terrible. I ended up buying the stereo album. Cat's greatest are all over the place, as expected since they are from several different albums, and I have had trouble in the past playing it but last night with my current setup finally more or less fine tuned, it worked quite well. As with anything CD 4 it depends on the weather, the stock market, which party is in power and the phases of the moon how well it seems to work! (Joking here, mostly).
 

MidiMagic

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There was also the erroneous "push for discrete" resulting from the high sales of Q4 reel machines compared to everything else. Everyone in the industry (including artists) wanted discrete recordings because of this.

The problem is that those discrete machines were going into home studios, not quadraphonic systems. So the new discrete systems and records didn't sell any better than the matrix equipment.

I also see a reason for so many bad mixes.

Record companies doing both Q8 and a matrixed LP format would create only one quad mix on the studio, and then encode or decode that to get the other mix. This makes the derived mix of lower quality than the format it was derived to:

- The SQ encoder messes up any side imaging or room centered content that could exist on a discrete tape. QS does not have that problem.

- Decoding a matrix recording to make a discrete tape keeps the separations of the matrix decoder.

- No panpotted mix can make a realistic side image without the listener turning his head.
 

jaybird100

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There was one other Atlantic Quad album that was anything but American Jazz or R&B.

But it took a European twist and was released in Germany and the UK.
The Jazz Rock Fusion ..German group album from Passport , "Handmade" .

Obviously this album's release was from a European Head Honcho at WEA Europe who did not ignore a more youthful sound.
There was also the erroneous "push for discrete" resulting from the high sales of Q4 reel machines compared to everything else. Everyone in the industry (including artists) wanted discrete recordings because of this.

The problem is that those discrete machines were going into home studios, not quadraphonic systems. So the new discrete systems and records didn't sell any better than the matrix equipment.

I also see a reason for so many bad mixes.

Record companies doing both Q8 and a matrixed LP format would create only one quad mix on the studio, and then encode or decode that to get the other mix. This makes the derived mix of lower quality than the format it was derived to:

- The SQ encoder messes up any side imaging or room centered content that could exist on a discrete tape. QS does not have that problem.

- Decoding a matrix recording to make a discrete tape keeps the separations of the matrix decoder.

- No panpotted mix can make a realistic side image without the listener turning his head.
To this day, I still curse Brad Miller, from Mo-Fi, for demanding the WEA group go with CD-4 over the more practical QS System. With QS, they would have been able to keep the dynamic range more like a stereo record, and the brick wall at 15 kHz wouldn't exist. Also, no special cartridge and stylus would be needed. It would also have been easier to broadcast, as no encoder would be needed at the station. Had WEA stuck with their initial decision to adopt QS, yes, Miller would have pulled his Mystic Moods catalog (which he did anyway), but it might have led more of the industry to go with that system, as well.
 
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Doug G.

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I have the CD-4 of Cat's Greatest Hits and, other than them maybe pushing the gain limit on the first track (Wild World), there really isn't anything wrong with it. In fact, it sounds great.

Doug
 

quicksrt

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To this day, I still curse Brad Miller, from Mo-Fi, for demanding the WEA group go with CD-4 over the more practical QS System. With QS, they would have been able to keep the dynamic range more like a stereo record, and the brick wall at 15 kHz wouldn't exist. Also, no special cartridge and stylus would be needed.
We've just conversed in this thread about the drive to get discreet four-channel out of a quad system. CD-4 got closer than any other quad LP format. I find CD-4 near thrilling when decoded correctly. But that is the catch, it was apparently difficult to decode correctly.

Really, I hear nothing of a brick wall in the top end of a CD-4 LP. I hear dynamics up the ying-yang and through the roof. I hear an extended top end that is crystal clear clarity (might be due to the amazing 1/2 speed mastering, ... thank you Stan Ricker at the JVC cutting center Hollywood). Finer grooves could mean more surface noise, faster LP wear, ticks or clicks being more prominent than a regular louder cut LP. I guess I should not look at the wav with a scope.
 

jaybird100

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We've just conversed in this thread about the drive to get discreet four-channel out of a quad system. CD-4 got closer than any other quad LP format. I find CD-4 near thrilling when decoded correctly. But that is the catch, it was apparently difficult to decode correctly.

Really, I hear nothing of a brick wall in the top end of a CD-4 LP. I hear dynamics up the ying-yang and through the roof. I hear an extended top end that is crystal clear clarity (might be due to the amazing 1/2 speed mastering, ... thank you Stan Ricker at the JVC cutting center Hollywood). Finer grooves could mean more surface noise, faster LP wear, ticks or clicks being more prominent than a regular louder cut LP. I guess I should not look at the wav with a scope.
It's done during the demodulating of the record, since the frequencies above 15 kHz could interfere with the demodulator's function. Remember, the center frequency of the carrier is 30 kHz, and harmonics of that frequency could play hell with the demodulator's ability to decipher the difference information in the carriers.
 

MidiMagic

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We've just conversed in this thread about the drive to get discreet four-channel out of a quad system. CD-4 got closer than any other quad LP format. I find CD-4 near thrilling when decoded correctly. But that is the catch, it was apparently difficult to decode correctly.

Really, I hear nothing of a brick wall in the top end of a CD-4 LP. I hear dynamics up the ying-yang and through the roof. I hear an extended top end that is crystal clear clarity (might be due to the amazing 1/2 speed mastering, ... thank you Stan Ricker at the JVC cutting center Hollywood). Finer grooves could mean more surface noise, faster LP wear, ticks or clicks being more prominent than a regular louder cut LP. I guess I should not look at the wav with a scope.
That brick wall HAS to be there. CD-4 divides the baseband from the carrier at 15KHz. If anything had been recorded in the baseband higher than 15KHz, it would cause serious intermodulation distortion (in the form of tones that have no tonal relation with the audio).

If you hear frequencies higher than 15KHz, your ears are probably providing them through harmonic distortion in the cochlea.

Getting a CD-4 record to demodulate correctly has a lot of roadblocks:

- The setup of the tonearm and cartridge must be much more exact than the setup needed for stereo or matrix. Tracking error, vertical angle, antiskate, and cartridge perpendicularity are much more critical.

- The wiring between the cartridge and the demodulator must be special low capacitance wiring. Signals up past 45KHz must reach the demodulator.

- The record must be exceptionally clean. Dust motes that are inaudible in stereo make loud crashes in CD-4.

- The pressing must be made under more exacting conditions than those needed for a stereo record. A special vinyl formulation is required. The pressing cycle must be slower to prevent slight deformations at carrier frequencies.

- The record must not have been played with a stereo pickup. This can erase the carrier (especially near the center of the record), causing the sandpaper quad effect.

- I just found out about this one last year. The magnetic polarity in the cartridge must always be the same for all CD-4 cartridges. Some cartridges with reversed magnetic polarity have recently appeared. This puts the baseband out of phase with the carrier when demodulation occurs. The effect of this is to exchange the front and back outputs on each side. This polarity is unimportant for stereo records.
 
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par4ken

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- I just found out about this one last year. The magnetic polarity in the cartridge must always be the same for all CD-4 cartridges. Some cartridges with reversed magnetic polarity have recently appeared. This puts the baseband out of phase with the carrier when demodulation occurs. The effect of this is to exchange the front and back outputs on each side. This polarity is unimportant for stereo records.
Reversed magnetic polarity of the replacement stylus causes that. It's easy to simple to reverse the demodulators front and rear outputs in that case. More of a problem if the demodulator is built into the receiver!
 

jaybird100

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I noticed that polarity problem with Grado cartridges, and some Shure models when I was "experimenting" with some stereo cartridges. The Grados were all labeled as CD-4 capable.

US record companies didn't have access to the vinyl formulation that was being used in Japan for CD-4. The Japanese record companies were clearly concerned with the quality of their product, and it showed. The American record companies were more concerned with quantity than quality, and this often showed on stereo and matrixed quad records as well as CD-4. No effort was made to come up with a better, quieter formulation that was also more durable for the CD-4 carriers to resist wear. As we know, it didn't happen. It's as if they wanted the format to fail.

As I mentioned before, the Warner group was all set to adopt QS for their quad releases. I believe they had looked at the options, heard about the downside of SQ, but bowed under pressure to Brad Miller's threats to pull his titles if WEA went with a matrix system (which he did anyway, to start Soundbird Records). I remember reading the initial article in Billboard Magazine when WEA announced they were going to use QS, and I was very happy to see that. I had purchased a Sansui QS-01 add-on decoder, and was blown away by its performance. I had a CD-4 demodulator, but it never seemed to give me clear sound. Knowing the stable of artists in the Warner camp, I was getting very excited to hear what they'd offer. A short time later, another article in Billboard stated that they had changed their minds, and why. To say I was disappointed was an understatement. While some people won't agree with my thinking here, I'm convinced the records would have sounded better, better decoders would have inevitably been developed, and QS would have been more widely accepted.
 

quicksrt

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I have CD-4 LPs pressed in the US that are quite wonderful. The CBS Santa Maria plant in California was pressing Warner / Reprise titles in 1973/74, and did not need to get a special vinyl formulation or do anything extra, they were already top-of-the-line pressings, real stunners with pure vinyl and mirror clean flat surfaces. Check out a good clean copy of Machine Head or Paranoid on WB or Randy Newman's Good Old Boys on Reprise. Aqualung also sounded just fine. These albums decoded well.

I just got a hard drive in with dozens of CD-4 transfers to 24/96kHz on it. I'll listen closely for the sandpaper static bursts on the US ones, or any sign of NOT clear sound. And report back.
 
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