Record Labels' Questionable Quad Release Program

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jaybird100

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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.
Atlantic was, traditionally, geared more toward R&B and jazz. They entered the world of rock reluctantly, but continued to emphasize soul, blues, and jazz. Their quad releases mostly reflected that direction.
 

MidiMagic

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Here are a few more problems that were present.

- In many cases, the band's US record company chose a different form of quad than the European company chose. This would mean a fight over which system to use and possibly multiple recording sessions (if both systems are used). Or maybe the band did only one if the systems.

- A band may have had such a touring schedule that a studio session to make a quad version was not feasible.

- It did cost a lot more to master, cut, and press a CD-4 record.

- CD-4 records were much easier to damage, especially if family members were not careful with them..

- It cost a lot more to play CD-4 records than it did for any of the matrix systems.

- If cassettes were your major form of sales, only a matrixed format worked.
 

fizzywiggs41

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I just believe the WEA Group and even MCA Records who owned NO 'financial stakes' in QUAD were much more cautious than Columbia/RCA who did profit from their respective QUAD systems and the cost of remixing the multitracks into QUAD and ordering separate LP jackets with the QUAD designations was a further deterrent. I did notice that WEA did release quite a few QuadReels as it didn't require any royalty fees and IMO, much better replicated the discrete QUAD experience which VINYL did NOT. And then there were those jazz labels [i.e. Impulse] and some pop recordings from MCA Records which chose the QS matrix route as, AFAIK, there were NO royalty fees incurred when using that system [but I could be wrong].

-I agree . But remember MCA did not release any quad , it was ABC Records , MCA took ownership after the quad era , ....I'm thinking 79 or 80.
-FWIW it was reported in Billboard that MCA Records were recording their artists in quad but shelving them.

And yes, Britain's EMI records did release a slew of SQ QUAD Vinyl in the early 70's via both their EMI and Angel labels but ironically, European Classical labels DGG and Philips also RECORDED a slew of albums quadraphonically but NEVER commercially released them in ANY physicial QUAD format until just a few years ago when classical independent label Pentatone debuted them on their RQR series of SACDs through a licensing agreement.

-yes and Decca as well.

And I do believe WINOPENER in his reply #5 on this thread adequately outlined the European approach to QUAD in the 70's.

-oh yes pretty much , I agree .
-However one thing I found was that Germany grasped a love for quad , far more so than any of the other European Countries.

-edit fizzy
 

fizzywiggs41

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Total guess here, but maybe those mega popular bands that sold a bazillion albums, WEA kinda figured they didn't need quad to boost sales? Whereas the jazz and other titles got a little tiny spike because of a quad pressing? Just a thought.
Yea, that's another way to look at it , an interesting thought.
 

Marcsten

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And when Arista jumped into quad with CD-4, late in the game, they sucked. Same with A&M when they finally decided on CD-4. Terrible pressings and not very impressive mixes from both of those labels.
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.
 

JonUrban

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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.
The whole '70s quad era was hit or miss, really. And the end? There really was no end, at least no definitive end. Not like with Beta, HD-DVD, or other formats, it just sort of fizzled out. I remember waiting (still waiting) for that "Hotel California" CD-4/Q8, or the Pink Floyd "Animals". There was no article in Billboard proclaiming that quad was done, there were just pieces about how FM Quad was going to get it all going again as soon as the FCC decided what it wanted to do.

That was the big excuse for the labels I guess. Once the FCC made up its mind, then more stuff would come. I remember Lou Dorren was heavily involved in the FM Quad stuff, and he had a good system, but there were "industry people" who fought FM Quad every step of the way, and the delays, well, we all know. Sadly, I seem to recall that it finally got approved but no one cared. I may be wrong about that, it was so long ago.

Anyway, most of the receivers of the late '70s have that ubiquitous 'FM QUAD ADAPTER' jack on the back. A tribute to Lou and those who wanted Quad to continue.
 

quicksrt

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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.
Oh, so a CD-4 LP plays back with unlimited high-frequency response when played in stereo, but the quad decoding is where the limitation is enforced. Ok, I don't do CD-4 decoding at home, and only study the records in stereo, or conversions others have done.

No wonder I've gotten some spectacular results capturing CD-4 LPs to stereo high-res digital.
 

Owen Smith

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OD would have used one of his scripts.
OD moved on from what scripts can do about 6 years ago. You can do a better job if you don't limit yourself to scripts. The Auroran script is the best OD produced as a script but produces inferior results compared to his manual processes (which he has never published unfortunately).
 

fredblue

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OD moved on from what scripts can do about 6 years ago. You can do a better job if you don't limit yourself to scripts. The Auroran script is the best OD produced as a script but produces inferior results compared to his manual processes (which he has never published unfortunately).
i was talking about something from about 6 years ago. hope he is doing well.
 

Owen Smith

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i was talking about something from about 6 years ago. hope he is doing well.
It's hard to tell how OD is doing, my contact with him is little more than an email a month on average. And he's become even more secretive about what he does, if that were possible. He's a difficult man to be friends with, but I find it worth the effort.
 

fredblue

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It's hard to tell how OD is doing, my contact with him is little more than an email a month on average. And he's become even more secretive about what he does, if that were possible. He's a difficult man to be friends with, but I find it worth the effort.
such a shame, i hope he doesn't take all his knowledge and work (and secrets!) with him when he shuffles off this quadraphonic coil 😔
 

par4ken

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I have long felt that the best SQ decodes were done with the Audionics Space and Image Composer. However script decoding still is intriguing , as you can do a lot of things that would be difficult if not impossible via analogue circuitry. OD must of put a lot of time and effort into his "releases" creating a DVD-Audio isos, with DTS and DD. I still don't understand why he wouldn't just share his methods instead. I suppose that he wouldn't want to be critiqued by others? By sharing information the process could of possibly been refined and developed further with the help of others!

The sharing of copyrighted music is dubious at best but when you start to charge the situation becomes even more dubious, the better model was to simply ask for donations. I'm not saying that OD was in it for the money (he didn't ask enough for that), but that he was in it more for the glory.

I do appreciate his efforts and knowledge, too bad he has trouble interacting with others. It would of been nice to have civil conversations with him, including discussions about his methods.
 

Owen Smith

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One reason OD stopped publishing his methods is he didn't want people to change the method (to speed them up or try to improve the results), not admit they had done so, and then have people say that a decode had problems and it must be OD's process at fault. I'm not defending that view, just relaying that it was one of his concerns.
 

Soundfield

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The sharing of copyrighted music is dubious at best but when you start to charge the situation becomes even more dubious, the better model was to simply ask for donations. I'm not saying that OD was in it for the money (he didn't ask enough for that), but that he was in it more for the glory.
I once asked him about how he managed the copyright issues regarding the material he was releasing and if I recall correctly he said something along the lines of “the studios know what I’m doing and haven’t complained”. I wasn’t convinced.
 

Owen Smith

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I once asked him about how he managed the copyright issues regarding the material he was releasing and if I recall correctly he said something along the lines of “the studios know what I’m doing and haven’t complained”. I wasn’t convinced.
OD took things down whenever the studios asked. This occurred very rarely, generally only when the studios were planning to release the same thing as a quad re-issue or multi channel re-mix. I can count the number of times this happened on the fingers of one hand. So I'd say OD's statement on the issue was correct.

You could argue he was drumming up demand for quad and that the studios actually benefitted, it gave them an idea what demand might be and what was possible as matrix decodes without it costing the studios anything.
 

Soundfield

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OD took things down whenever the studios asked. This occurred very rarely, generally only when the studios were planning to release the same thing as a quad re-issue or multi channel re-mix. I can count the number of times this happened on the fingers of one hand. So I'd say OD's statement on the issue was correct.

You could argue he was drumming up demand for quad and that the studios actually benefitted, it gave them an idea what demand might be and what was possible as matrix decodes without it costing the studios anything.
How did the artists not suffer any loss of revenue?
 
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fizzywiggs41

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OD moved on from what scripts can do about 6 years ago. You can do a better job if you don't limit yourself to scripts. The Auroran script is the best OD produced as a script but produces inferior results compared to his manual processes (which he has never published unfortunately).

"The Auroran" that's familiar.

Wasn't he a member of QQ not too long ago ?
 

Soundfield

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It's my feeling that if you share something that is not for sale elsewhere, that there is no loss of revenue to anyone. Perhaps that's not a good legal defense but a good moral one in my opinion.
But surely an artist is due Performing Rights for each instantiation of their performance. The intellectual property in the performance is unchanged by the format of the recording or the medium of transmission.
 
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