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Silverline / Abravanel DVD-A releases - Actually a Quad Source?

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ubertrout

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I've been going through the Silverline Abravanel Mahler/Brahms/Sibelius/etc releases...bargains at $5 or so a pop. That said, the received wisdom seems to be that they're sourced from quad tapes, but I'm not so sure? Some probably are, but many of these recordings were made in the 1960s, before the quad era (E.G. the Mahler 2 is from 1967, while the Rachmaninoff 3rd Symphony dates from 1961, etc). In the documentary about making these releases (Restoring a Legacy or somesuch) the mixing to 5.1 is kind of glossed over, beyond telling us about the awesome stereo A/D converter they used.

So I'm kind of wondering which ones are actually sourced from multichannel, and which ones are upmixes? I know Silverline has had at best a shaky reputation for bad upmixes of popular material, but the sound on their classical releases is generally considered pretty good. Given that classical recordings are rarely that discrete and use surrounds mostly for ambience (with a few exceptions like the Berlioz Requiem - which I don't have but which should be a good test of whether they used the quad tapes), I'm just kind of curious as to whether very many actually originate from quad sources.
 

fredblue

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hello and Welcome to QQ, ubertrout! :)

you ask a very good question, which unfortunately I'm not qualified to fully answer but what the heck I'll chip in anyway just to say "Hi" and get the ball rolling!

Silverline's reputation, as you say, is spotty at best.. but its interesting their classical releases are fairly well-regarded - lets face it classical listeners aren't easy to please when it comes to quality!

(I'm hopeful kal rubinson will see your post and contribute, he's the man on these things.)

I doubt the 61 or 67 recordings could have been anything but intended for stereo back in the day, as you say.. though that's not to stop the likes of Silverline going back to the original recordings.. in '61 they'd have been laying it down as what 3-track? 4-track? by '67 they'd have had upto 8-tracks as their disposal, so there could be multi's for that '67 Mahler 2 for S'Line to remix into 5.1/4.0 from.

which recording is the Berlioz Requiem that's a discrete (as opposed to ambient) mix?

the most notable classical from quad stuff that got released on the 'new formats' back in the Hi-Res format wars days, were the EMI things like..

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ravel-Bolero-Daphnis-Chloé-Valse/dp/B00005B8A3

and the Sony SACDs like..

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00008J2QI/?tag=sacdinfocom08-21
 

ubertrout

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@fredblue, thanks for the welcome. I've lurked for a while, but this seemed the obvious place to ask.

Silverline got sort of lucky...the now-defunct Vanguard label made a good number of audiophile-grade recordings in the 60s and 70s, and since copyright issues are much simpler for classical music they were able to have their pick of recordings for comparatively cheap from the current owner of the rights. The same recordings of the Mahler symphonies were sold for a while as Amazon MP3s for a dollar (for the entire cycle). The one thing they really did right with their classical releases was inclusion of a 24/96 stereo track, something they didn't do for non-classical releases.

I mentioned the Berlioz Requiem because it's one of the few classical pieces to use the surrounds (surround sound from 1837!) - in the Tuba Mirum four brass bands sound from the four corners of the room. There were a series of Vanguard SACDs released as well, and the SACD of that piece does use the surrounds effectively in that part of the piece. It's discussed some in this round-up of the SACDs. I don't know if the Silverline of the same recording does that - I only have the SACD.

That same link also discusses how some Vanguard recordings were done in 8-track, but none of those other SACDs were also released by Silverline.

I need to listen to the finale of the Mahler 2nd Symphony from 1967 (discussed here at the same site) to see if the offstage trumpets/timpani are in the surrounds.

And Kal Rubinson commented on these discs a while ago in Stereophile.

But there's no way the Rach 3 from 1961 is a surround recording, is there? The 1967 recording I don't know about. The ones from the 70s Silverline probably used a surround source.
 

0tto

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yeah, with classical titles there are lots of confusion as same title can be performed by numerous orchestras
with different conductors. i do have set of 2 SACDs "Berlioz Requiem" by Utah Symphony with Maurice Abravanel
recorded in 1969 (albeit not sure, need to check). it's from Vanguard Classics serie. don't know if this one originally
was done as quad, on SACD it has 5.0 configuration and not really much descrete. rather typical classical mix of surround.
there are label Pentatone, which isn't very old but up to date already has impressive catalogue with very good
repertoire and performers. majority of their releases are from archive catalogue recorded but seems never
released in quadraphonic by Philips.
 

EMB

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Welcome to the board!

AFAIK, your best bet for MC classical on disc are the RCA SACD's (even if you don't like the idea of 3-channel mixes) and some EMI discs sourced from quad. Various labels have had some other fine titles, and Silverline might even have a few, but can't say I've been brave enough to try anything of vintage. But we do have a few classical fanatics here who will hopefully chime in whose knowledge of the genre is deep.

ED :)
 

ubertrout

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I replied, but I guess it's waiting for moderation. Yes, I was talking about the Berlioz Requiem recording with Abravanel, released as a 4.0 SACD from Vanguard (really Artemis using the Vanguard name), and as a 5.1 DVD-Audio from Silverline, as an example of a recording with discrete surround elements.

I'm just wondering about Silverline's process for making their 5.1 classical mixes...some of the recordings they released as 5.1 were definitely upmixes (EG the Boult and Monteux recordings), and some seem to have come from original multitracks. I've seen some reviews online that mention 8-track original masters, and the video that comes on the Silverline discs mentions that originals were stereo, 3 channel, or 4 channel, but says nothing more beyond that.

And I have almost all the RCA releases (and many of the Mercury ones), and I agree they're fantastic. But there's almost no overlap in repertoire between the RCAs and the Silverline discs (the Berlioz Requiem and Mahler 4 are all that come to mind). And for some classical pieces, the rear channels are important...they weren't meant to be heard with all music in front of the listener. Thus the example of the Berlioz Requiem (notably in the Tuba Mirum sections, where the four brass bands erupt from all corners of the hall), or the Pines of Rome, or the Mahler 2nd.

The EMI quad releases rock. They really treated their treasures right for those ten discs. And of course Pentatone has released nearly the entire Philips quad catalog.

And...thanks for the welcomes. Longtime lurker here.
 
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fredblue

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I replied, but I guess it's waiting for moderation. Yes, I was talking about the Berlioz Requiem recording with Abravanel, released as a 4.0 SACD from Vanguard (really Artemis using the Vanguard name), and as a 5.1 DVD-Audio from Silverline, as an example of a recording with discrete surround elements.

I'm just wondering about Silverline's process for making their 5.1 classical mixes...some of the recordings they released as 5.1 were definitely upmixes (EG the Boult and Monteux recordings), and some seem to have come from original multitracks. I've seen some reviews online that mention 8-track original masters, and the video that comes on the Silverline discs mentions that originals were stereo, 3 channel, or 4 channel, but says nothing more beyond that.

And I have almost all the RCA releases (and many of the Mercury ones), and I agree they're fantastic. But there's almost no overlap in repertoire between the RCAs and the Silverline discs (the Berlioz Requiem and Mahler 4 are all that come to mind). And for some classical pieces, the rear channels are important...they weren't meant to be heard with all music in front of the listener. Thus the example of the Berlioz Requiem (notably in the Tuba Mirum sections, where the four brass bands erupt from all corners of the hall), or the Pines of Rome, or the Mahler 2nd.

The EMI quad releases rock. They really treated their treasures right for those ten discs. And of course Pentatone has released nearly the entire Philips quad catalog.

And...thanks for the welcomes. Longtime lurker here.
how do I find the Pentatone/Philips Quads? are they on DVDA? or SACD? listed at sa-cd.net..?

I think I'm having a senior moment! :yikes
 

0tto

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i actually about this one
berlioz.jpg
don't know if Silverline DVDA has same mix with added LFE. but this particular isn't quad
as has 5.0 placement. could be there are out another Vanguard Classics on SACD with 4.0
but haven't seen so far. that's the hard part within classical domain, to navigate among
many different prints with same title.
RQR serie by Pentatone not really very equal from surround point but mainly valuable due to
famous performers. i have dozen of their prints and i liked. only wish they would chose DVDA
format, instead of SACD
 

ubertrout

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0tto, that's the disc I'm talking about. It's technically 5.0, since SACDs can only be 2.0, 5.0, or 5.1, but there is no data in the center channel. Listen to the Tuba Mirum (about halfway through track two of the first disc). You'll hear lots of discrete content in the surrounds, and there (as everywhere on the disc) the center channel will be mute. Also, the notes on the inside front cover to the booklet for the disc make clear that the center channel is not used.

And yes, the Pentatone RQR series is fantastic. Philips is the only label whose nearly complete quad archives have come out commercially in a digital format.
 

0tto

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oh, ok. did you had chance to compare them?
as for classical quad archive, i think biggest should be in EMI possession.
there perhaps thousands with super artists and performers on shelves under
cover of half century dust.
 

ubertrout

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Nope, I don't have the Silverline version - seemed like unnecessary duplication to get it. I wouldn't be surprised if it's discrete though...I more meant the Berlioz as an example of a piece that uses surround effectively than as the core of my question.

I'm more wondering if the earlier stuff is real multichannel or an upmix, though. Conventional wisdom is that the entire Mahler cycle (well, they only got to 6, but still) is from original quads, but my question is if that's really true.
 

ubertrout

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I listened to the Silverline Mahler 2nd today...the finale uses lots of offstage instruments in concert performance, and they were distinctly not in the rears in the 5.1 track. Strongly suggestive that it's upmixed from a stereo source, but not dispositive I suppose.
 

ArmyOfQuad

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Was it ever determined if these are actually quad? I bought a bunch of them a while back when cheap thinking they were quad reissues, only to find they contain 5.1 material, and have 5.1 mixing credit. Which could mean 5.1 derived from quad, and giving a credit to the person that derived the unnecessary center and lfe from the 4.0.

I'm still digging, but wanted to check if anything definite was ever determined about these. I have the Mahler 5th and 6th which seem to have only gotten SQ release, so a direct comparison of a mostly ambience mix would probably not be conclusive, and I also have the Brahms 4th, which I'm not seeing a quad equivalent to. I have reels of Mahler's 9th....but there was no dvd-a of that one. So I suppose for me the next step will be comparing what was released on Vanguard reel with what was released on dvd-a, and seeing if we have a match for a direct comparison.
 

ArmyOfQuad

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Ok, found a hint, by actually putting the disc in a player, which I suppose I should have done before posting, lol.

I currently have the Mahler 6th disc in my player, and on the technical notes, it notes the tape machine for the transfer - Ampex ATR-104
mahler notes.JPG

Which, is a 4 channel mastering deck
ampex.JPG


So, that strongly suggests 4.0 "mixed" to 5.1.

I guess the question that still remains is, did they only derive a center and sub (which you could just discard), or did they do any further fooling around with the quad mix to create their 5.1 mix?
 

ArmyOfQuad

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Meanwhile, the Mahler's 5th disc includes a nice technical video about the process of finding the master tapes, digitizing them, and such, that seems to include every step of the process.....except how they got from 4.0 to 5.1. Or how they get to 5.1 from any of their sources, since they talked about mono, stereo, 3, and 4 channel tapes. Which you would think would be a rather important detail for a company called 5.1 Production Services.
 

humprof

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Thanks for reviving this thread, AoQ. Interesting in its own right, but also a trip in a time machine. (The debut post of @ubertrout!)

I wasn't aware of many of these Vanguard/Silverline titles, and I particularly appreciate the review links in post #3.
 
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4-earredwonder

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Thanks for reviving this thread, AoQ. Interesting in its own right, but also a trip in a time machine. (The debut post of @ubertrout!)

I wasn't aware of many of these Vanguard/Silverline titles, and I particularly appreciate the review links in post #3.
IMO, a GREAT series rendered by Silverline in stunning sonics. On my main system I play them in 4.0 and to my ears they are gorgeous. Have them ALL .
 
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