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Re-Creating Q-8s and Q-Cassettes

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ndiamone

600 Club - QQ All-Star
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Messages
637
Location
Silicon Valley (but I don't own it)
So as everybody who has known me for longer than twenty two and a half minutes knows, (30 if it's DMM) I joined the Period-Incorrect Artist on a Dead Format world a number of years ago as a gag.

Before guys were putting e.g. Madonna and Nickelback onto Edison cylinders I was putting SACDs and DTSs and etc onto 4-track 15 IPS half inch and then striking 3-3/4 IPS Q-8 dubs off of that to cart-wind into this plethora of shells I kept inheriting over and over and over - and giving em to friends along with selling them online where they were CLEARLY LABELED AS NON-FUNCTIONAL ART REPRODUCTIONS - falling under ``parody'' status in copyright law (see below).

Meaning if those guys tried to dupe newbies and flunkies and whatever then they have to answer for that one themselves.

Anyway as everybody also knows - for the first time in nearly 20 years I have been able to actually ACCESS my storage downtown 3 hrs away in San Jose and unearth all manner of copyright-status-unknown/indeterminate studio safety dubs of music that's lain unheard for 50 or 60 yrs.

Since they are ALREADY in the 4-track 15 IPS format, I've started running them off through the dubber since somebody gave me a PALLET ful of genuine BASF chrome loop tape pancakes and another PALLET ful of the same thing for bin-loop mastering - all leftover from GRT in Nashville that used to dub all the Chromium cassettes for the big labels and contemporary-Christian artists who were doing it years before the big labels were.

A third thing all my fanboys and flunkies know is - when I was their age I inherited a huge load of mis-dubbed 8-tracks that all ran at 7-1/2 IPS instead of the normal 3-3/4 - meaning a one-album tape now took up tape enough for a double album and so on and so on. Obviously in those days of 5.95 a tape prices, what poor music lover with no pocket money is going to turn down free music regardless of what's wrong with it.

So big deal you have to press the FF button on the deck and turn it up a bit to hear it through what was later discovered to be an attenuation circuit attached to the FF button so you wdnt have to hear the high pitched screeching of a double-speed playback.

Since most 8-track players other than the super-cheap ones have a FAST FORWARD button on them - I decided even with the chrome loop tape and the chrome bin master tape - that I would dub all these at 7-1/2 in quad (whether upmixed/ran thru a QSD-10 or discrete) and make 2-tape or 3- or 4-tape sets of things that would ordinarily have had only 1 or 2 - and then start putting things that were never on 8-track in the first place or were ran off in extremely limited - and poor quality - numbers (e.g. Springsteen Live `75 `85).

So now that I have my studio up and my ten tons of unreleased or limited release copyright-indeterminate master tapes back on their right shelves in the right order - I'm starting back up to do the exact same thing - and need some flunkies/trainees who want to spool tape and wind carts and print out reproduction labels and stick em on and put on foil and replace pads and etc etc etc.

For the modern listener, all he has to do to enjoy those quadruple high-fidelity reproduction dubs himself (chrome tape, 7-1/2 IPS next-to-real-time dubbing (30 for 15 and 15 for 7-1/2) and Dolby) is to go in and clip the attenuation circuit out of the path of the FF button.

As far as copyright goes - if you look it up - anything that ``a normal everyday American'' could not reasonably play straight off the format in the modern age of digital electronics without putting it into the computer to manipulate - is covered under `non-functional art' clauses the same as the Edison cylinders. Which means you can't cut anything at 33 or 45 and get away with it but you CAN cut anything at 16 or 78 (or 12 or 24 RPM which has also been done lately).

Same with tape. According to copyright law - you can cut an 8-track at anything other than 3-3/4 and be OK - you can cut a 4-track NAB cartridge at anything other than 3-3/4 or 7-1/2 you can cut a 1958 RCA Quick Load at any speed at all since its over 50 yrs old - same with Grey Audograph or Edison Voicewriter - you can cut a cassette at anything other than 1-7/8 and so on and so on and be fine.

In the case of NAB carts - the big combination cart-player/splice finders run at 22-1/2 IPS - so you can remove the attenuation circuit and cut tapes at that speed and be fine - same with cassettes being between-speed (1-13/32 making a C-90 into a C-120) like the background music players used to be and so on and so on.

So come have fun with us in the totally legal world of period-incorrect artists on funky formats.
 
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MidiMagic

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2010
Messages
288
Any recording before 1972 is fair game. The recordings themselves were not covered by copyright if they were made before 2/15/1972. This is why you see so many oldies records and CDs.

I did the opposite, recording live bands in regular matrix after the patents expired.

I have also created my own MIDI-played recordings in regular matrix.

All cassettes sold in quad were matrix. They never sold a cassette recorder for quad use. But I have two of them sold for studio use after quad phased into Dolby Surround.
 

ndiamone

600 Club - QQ All-Star
Joined
Jun 13, 2008
Messages
637
Location
Silicon Valley (but I don't own it)
All cassettes sold in quad were matrix. They never sold a cassette recorder for quad use.
Wrong on both counts. JVC had TWO versions of the Quad Cassette in 1974 with ANRS instead of Dolby Noise Reduction.

One tape that has been known about for years that came out in both formats (a 2-tape set in 4-track uni-direction with buttons covering the tops of the cassette holes so you couldn't put it in upside down as well as a one-tape 8-track two direction format in a data cassette shell with a notch in the back) is the Jesus Christ Superstar Original Concept Album from 1970 which was never remixed for quad from the original 16-track tapes in any other instance.

I've never seen either one in person but I've seen pictures of both versions in period stereo and tape magazines back before people could make mockups in a computer graphics program.

Both the 4-track one direction and 8-track two-direction version would be tweaked and released as a cassette portastudio a number of years later.
 

winopener

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Mar 2, 2002
Messages
3,689
One tape that has been known about for years that came out in both formats (a 2-tape set in 4-track uni-direction with buttons covering the tops of the cassette holes so you couldn't put it in upside down as well as a one-tape 8-track two direction format in a data cassette shell with a notch in the back) is the Jesus Christ Superstar Original Concept Album from 1970 which was never remixed for quad from the original 16-track tapes in any other instance.
I've never seen either one in person but I've seen pictures of both versions in period stereo and tape magazines back before people could make mockups in a computer graphics program.
THAT would make for a CRAZY D-V release!!!!!
Ok, so this is 1974: magazines were USA ones or foreign? Also, you can't demo with a single tape, something else may exist. Didn't MCA release some OST on Japanese cd4 in this timeframe?
 

Mark Anderson

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the Jesus Christ Superstar Original Concept Album from 1970 which was never remixed for quad from the original 16-track tapes in any other instance
Thanks for the info on the cassette. I am curious about JCSS mixed in quad and did a little digging and found you had commented on this at the Antique Radio Forum in 2015

JVC quadraphonic cassettes used ANRS instead of Dolby B, if you ever find a tape
they either have buttons over the hubs so you can only insert them one way or else
they have a notch cut out of the back slightly off to one side like an old data
cassette, was a disaster because of the low speed and from chrome tape and high
fidelity record and playback heads not having been invented yet.
However it's the only place you can get the true discrete 4-channel selections from
Jesus Christ Superstar (The Brown Album) as the half-inch 4-track master tape onto
which it was mixed from the 16-track 2 inch master has long since been lost or
destroyed. If you ever find one of those it comes in a twin-pack with Part 1 and
Part 2 facing each other in the same case and comes in both the notched shell
incarnation as well as the button over the hubs incarnation but finding one of those
is like trying to find an original 12-hour copy of D.W. Griffith's Greed"


And you commented here on QQ in 2013 that it was possibly from a JVC house band

The only other thing I remember on the dealer demo tape that came with it was the
opening theme to Jesus Christ Superstar which SOUNDED close enough to the original
performance from The Brown Album to be successfully passed off there as which I know
from people trolling through the record bins next door at the Music Galaxy to try and
find the whole album in quad of course without success as we all know. But being JVC
that could have been The Movie Symphony Orchestra or some such ensemble put together
from session musicians like they did for all their quadraphonic demo LP's and Q8's
that still occasionally float around these days


I just wanted to check with you to clarify so that rumors do not get started as look at how excited winopener has reacted in the above post!
 

winopener

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
Since 2002/2003
Joined
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Messages
3,689
Thanks Mark for bring me back to reality...
 

MidiMagic

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2010
Messages
288
Thanks for the info. I never heard of that. I know that some demo 4-track quad cassette players were made, and that Philips made an 8-track cassette demo, but I never knew any players or tapes made it to market. Philips declared that the 4-track units violated their license.

I do have a TASCAM 246 Portastudio with dBx (Portastudio is a TASCAM brand name) and a Foxtex 4-track cassette unit with Dolby B. Both are 4-track cassettes that run at 3.75 in/s. But the first time I ever saw one was after Dolby Surround blew everything else out of the quad market. I also have a TASCAM 238 8-track cassette, but it uses offset heads and runs at 3.75 in/s.

I have never used them for discrete quad, but I have made many RM recordings with them.
 

timbre4

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This would be where I insert my obligatory mention of the quad cassette deck that made the equipment directories in 1972: ASTROCOM-MARLUX brand; model 307 built in Oneonta, NY:

QQ thread
 

ndiamone

600 Club - QQ All-Star
Joined
Jun 13, 2008
Messages
637
Location
Silicon Valley (but I don't own it)
THAT would make for a CRAZY D-V release!!!!!
Not mastered off of a 4-track normal bias voice-grade two-cassette tape it wouldn't.

Or it's 8-channel two-sided single-tape cassette version either which would be worse.
Ok, so this is 1974: magazines were USA ones or foreign?
U.S. and I'm PRETTY sure both versions of The Brown Album were U.S. and the JVC House Band version was of course Japanese like the Theme from Godfather that shows up on the back of the JVC CD-4 calibration disc - and on their eponymous CD-4 Japan-only album that was also often found in stereo shops of the period.
Also, you can't demo with a single tape, something else may exist.
Sony Elcaset demoed for years with the same one-demo-tape album they made for the purpose. Same with the Revere cartridge tape from 1963 the JVC stereo microcassette demo tape from 1984 etc etc etc.

But I get what you're saying. In the normal course of affairs, yes - a number of producers compilationists or anthologists would have created a number of demo albums for each format - but since both formats were a JVC baby - I'm guessing it was the same case as the Elcaset etc.
Didn't MCA release some OST on Japanese CD-4 in this timeframe?
Yes but you have to remember - apart from the joint venture MCA Victor (now UMJ) - product that originated on MCA/Decca/London records in the U.S. often appeared on a dizzying array of different quasi-inter-connected labels in Japan that equally as often had no presence in the West which may or may not have been a part of JVC.

Not to mention the fact that most if not all of T H O S E were indeed OSTs and not OCAs (Original Concept Album) or OBCs (Original Broadway Cast). So - even though all the 16-track elements would still have been in existence in 1974 - unless they remixed JCS from the original 70MM 6-track film elements - which of course is a different performance from The Brown Album - and it doesn't show up in the Official Discography anyplace - I kind of doubt it.

Just like there's only the title track to A Fifth of Beethoven by Walter Murphy ever remixed in quad - nothing else from the Private Stock Records catalog - all of whose master tapes are said to be MIA for a number of years ever since they lost their storage for nonpayment and everything was thrown out by clueless kids or debris removal idiots contracted by the storage facility (long before the days of Storage Wars).
Thanks for the info on the cassette. I am curious about JCSS mixed in quad and did a little digging and found you had commented on this at the Antique Radio Forum in 2015.
That was after ``camping out'' at Lou Dorren's house with a handful of other guys and seeing all manner of things nobody else ever made documentation of. He passed as everybody knows in October of 2014 of heart failure, but in 2013 he had a small handful of Bay Area guys over to his house in Burlingame of which I was one of the lucky - I imagine because I could also cook and clean vs living on takeout.

That's the only reason I have specific knowledge that true discrete copies of both formats of the JCS Brown Album cassettes exist. It's the only place I have ever seen a copy.

Of course in those days of advanced digital transfer - we all begged him to borrow them long enough to get transfers made - even paying out of our own pockets - noisy and hissy and degraded or not - but he held fast.

His papers and other archives are presumably now in the hands of his Australian collaborators - but nobody's ever been able to find out that information one way or the other or not.
And you commented here on QQ in 2013 that it was possibly from a JVC house band.
The JVC Greatest Hits of the 70s (1973) quad album containing the title track only among other 70s rock and pop hits I have in fact seen other places - namely Soundstage Audio in Chicago on Ridge Ave where my uncle worked when he was in college right smack in the middle of the Quad Era on both CD-4 as well as Q-8 and Q-R.

Whether the album was ever originally released by the label on discrete quad cassette (one direction or two) format I'd have to see if my uncle remembers since all the owners of 70s stereo shops are all long since passed.

I DO know that a number of Chicago (and possibly other) stereo shops got together and paid out of their own pocket to have a few discrete quadraphonic cassette runs made of some albums they particularly liked - especially the 8-channel 2-direction format inside of data cassettes with the notch in the back.

I also know they sent in the notched cassettes and specified that they be loaded with 1974 Chrome tape to dub the albums onto - because in exchange for a trip to the cassette loading and duplicating house in Deerfield - the same week we went to the also-nearby Eva-Tone Soundsheets - our North Shore middle school magnet program class got tasked with unloading hundreds and hundreds of data-cassette shells so that the cassette factory could load 1974 Chrome tape in them so the guys could ship them overseas.

Of course since the perfectly-good heretofore unused tape was just going to be tossed into the garbage - we bugged the engineer in charge to get us enough empty screw-type normal-bias shells so we could get a bunch of free tapes to record onto ourselves.

Since you need one continuous length of un-spliced leader from one cassette hub to the next for the cassette loader machines to work - regardless of here or Japan - we got out of class the whole previous week and crouched over jewelers loupes in the lab to where we could simply trade cassette reels from one shell to the next - leaving the data cassette shells as the C-0s with leader and the tape within loaded (by us) into the original normal-bias C0s.

And we didn't get to keep but maybe a handful among all the boys in the class because - due to the hardiness of the data cassette tape itself - the Music Lab and Language Lab copped them all to use for practice purposes - so that was a lot of work for nothing.

They sent boxes and boxes of the notched C-0 data cassette shells back to Japan and by the time school let out for the summer they had maybe a box possibly two of a whole bunch of different quadraphonic albums mastered onto both formats of discrete quadraphonic cassette.

They did the same for the one-direction format, after which we got drafted again to disassemble the shells one by one - put the buttons over the tops of the A-side hubs for those and re-assemble the shells.

No we did not get to keep any of those either and by the time Soundstage Audio and North Shore Audio and Waukegan Stereo and Service and who knows how many other quad salons closed up shop - or quad died whichever came first - whatever was leftover by the time we were all in high school was too worn out from overuse anyway to be any good anymore.

So they all got tossed. Anybody wanna feel like digging through 40 years of trash in the Lake County Dump and see if they find any is welcome to try.
I just wanted to check with you to clarify so that rumors do not get started as look at how excited winopener has reacted in the above post!
The 2013 post was as I said whatever information I had prior to spending the weekend at Lou Dorren's house later that year. The 2015 post was incorporating what I had learned at the time coupled with some of the above recollections from middle school.
Philips declared that the 4-track units violated their license.
Which is why all the portastudio people and Teddy Ruxpin and all of those had to wait for patents to run out before they could officially do anything. JVC on the other hand had at least some muscle because Philips wanted VHS for Europe - so JVC said `Let us test the market with the quadraphonic cassette and we'll waive the VHS license fees'. This of course is still while VHS was in the R&D stage as it wouldn't come out in Japan for another two years, the U.S. for another three years and in Europe not until 1978 - but JVC still waived the first round of VHS license fees four years later for Philips.

It's also a similar situation after ``borrowing'' the Direct to Metal Mastering process for its' CED videodiscs and trying to SELL it back to Telefunken-Decca GmbH around the halfway point - about the time when CDs were coming out and they realized the CED was doomed as a home video format and seeking reimbursement for R&D costs.
I do have a TASCAM 246 and a Foxtex 4-track cassette unit with Dolby B. Both are 4-track cassettes that run at 3.75 in/s.
Which again had to wait for patents to run out before they could produce them - same as the
ASTROCOM-MARLUX 307
all of which owe their development history to the project.
I also have a TASCAM 238 8-track cassette, but it uses offset heads and runs at 3.75 in/s.
Just like the Tascam and Fostex 8-channel quarter inch decks.
 
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