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Stereophile Discussion of CD-4

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esimms86

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Pages 16-18 of the new December 2019 issue of Stereophile magazine feature a discussion of CD-4 by Stereophile editor Jim Austin. In the brief piece he discusses Richard Brice’s efforts at developing useful CD-4 decoding software for a company called Pspatial Audio. As I have no direct or indirect experience with quad vinyl, 8 track or R2R, I would be interested to read the thoughts and assessments of some of the folks here who have extensive experience in working with CD-4. It might also be worthwhile for anyone either having a helpful response to Mr. Austin’s piece or, perhaps, a bit of useful information to share with Stereophile’s readers to, then, consider writing a letter to the editor.
 

fredblue

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Pages 16-18 of the new December 2019 issue of Stereophile magazine feature a discussion of CD-4 by Stereophile editor Jim Austin. In the brief piece he discusses Richard Brice’s efforts at developing useful CD-4 decoding software for a company called Pspatial Audio. As I have no direct or indirect experience with quad vinyl, 8 track or R2R, I would be interested to read the thoughts and assessments of some of the folks here who have extensive experience in working with CD-4. It might also be worthwhile for anyone either having a helpful response to Mr. Austin’s piece or, perhaps, a bit of useful information to share with Stereophile’s readers to, then, consider writing a letter to the editor.
thought/assessment on dabbling with CD-4;

"keep the valium handy" 😉👍
 

Circular Vibes

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I had to turn to alcohol, Guinness to be exact. Valium isn't precribed much here and CD-4 isn't a legal excuse in Canada. Guinness can get expensive when CD-4 took a few years to figger out right! If only I'd known it was the $20 tonearm cables and not the cartridges, demodulators and posties with dropsies that kept me from splat free CD-4.
 

The Quadfather

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I think CD-4 demodulation software is great for those who don't have a real time CD-4 setup. Maybe it will get some interested in multichannel.
 

humprof

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I finally got my hands on a copy of this. When this thread started, I checked out PSpatial's suite on their website (but haven't tried it) and was intrigued. But as for the CD4 decoder, it seems to me the key passage is this:

Brice's decision to implement a "soft-fail" approach in his software--a way of making the software more fault-tolerant--is controversial. CD-4 earned those ugly epithets ["seedy four," "sandpaper quad"] because when it failed it failed catastrophically, producing ugly sounds. Brice's soft-fail approach is said to eliminate much of that distortion, but it also softens some quad effects. "It is not uncommon for some CD-4 productions from 50 years ago to pan individual instruments in a quartet each to a different loudspeaker; a quad version of the 'ping-pong' stereo of an earlier decade," Brice writes. "To modern ears this sounds eccentric and quirky (and it really only suits music of certain genres) but this hard-panning is much admired by die-hard 1970s quadraphonic fans who are disappointed that the new decoder sacrifices channel separation for robustness."
Oh well. By the way: a one-year print subscription to Stereophile can be had for only $12.99 (electronic, $9.99)? Wow!

And--news to me--the item right after the one above reveals that the Pentatone label has now made the RQR series (reissues of 1970s quad classical recordings from Philips Classics) available for sale as high-resolution downloads. Not cheap, but at least it means they're not going out of print. @ubertrout, we need your recommendations!
 

jwb474

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From looking at their website the download file type is "PKG" which is usually for Mac software. Will this be available for Windows?
 

humprof

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From looking at their website the download file type is "PKG" which is usually for Mac software. Will this be available for Windows?
I'm not seeing that. According to the FAQ, download types for multichannel files are FLAC and ISO.
 

Kal Rubinson

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I'm not seeing that. According to the FAQ, download types for multichannel files are FLAC and ISO.
This has been their policy from the beginning. If they have added the .pkg for Macs, that is news (but irrelevant) to me.
 

ubertrout

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In terms of the Pentatone RQR titles, there's a lot of good stuff there, but the advice is generally to follow performance - most of them aren't quad showcases, with extremely conservative mixing. Masur's Beethoven cycle is good and solid, though, and the Beaux Arts Trio recordings are the standard.
 

kfbkfb

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^^^
A high channel separation CD-4 Decoder option
(if the CD-4 disc is in good condition).

Here's an example of the same content processed with
the Soft Fail and then the HQ/Classic CD-4 Decoders:

Pspatial Audio is also taking suggestions for other
CD-4 Decoder decoding options.


Kirk Bayne
 

The Quadfather

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The secret to CD-4 is to get it right so that there are no failures. It starts with the cartridge.
 


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