TIDAL unveils Sony 360 Reality Audio

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bracelis

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... but the quad LP of Live It Up was a genuine remix with instruments isolated in the rears. I remember vocals popping up in the rears during "Brown-Eyed Girl" and a guitar in one of the back corners towards the end of "Ain't I Been Good To You".
Just to clarify, I did not imply that it's not a quad mix.

But there's a night and day difference between the 3 discrete examples that I mentioned, versus the other 2.
I checked Browned Eyed Girl, if I listen to the rear tracks only -- it sounds really,really bad, distorted, damaged.
And although it does have the backup vocals popping up in the rears as you mentioned, it's not discrete.
I do not know if it's the same version that you're referring to.

The rears on the title track are not as bad, but it still sounds processed, and again, not discrete.
 

sjcorne

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I checked Browned Eyed Girl, if I listen to the rear tracks only -- it sounds really,really bad, distorted, damaged.
The quad 8-track version of this album has a similar sound--you can hear suppression artifacts and 'pumping' in the rear channels. The going theory is that CBS used a matrix-decoded version of the quad mix rather than the discrete master. Perhaps that same matrix-decoded quad master is what was used here?
 

bracelis

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The quad 8-track version of this album has a similar sound--you can hear suppression artifacts and 'pumping' in the rear channels. The going theory is that CBS used a matrix-decoded version of the quad mix rather than the discrete master. Perhaps that same matrix-decoded quad master is what was used here?
If that is true, then it could be the same case with "Live It Up" "The Heat is on" - they sound similar with the 'reverb' on the rears.
I.e both 360 albums could be sourced from a matrix.
Except in this case of "Living It Up", The Heat Is On, nobody ever saw the analog version ( at least nobody here in QQ).

Edit^.
 
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fredblue

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sadly Malcolm Cecil is no longer with us of course but i wonder if anybody (Tad?) ever reached out to Robert Margouleff as to what the backstory is with the Quad of "Live It Up" because while it is 100% a different mix from the Stereo it is a strange beast where the SQ LP decoded through a Tate or Surround Master is actually superior to the Q8! 🤯
 

steelydave

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sadly Malcolm Cecil is no longer with us of course but i wonder if anybody (Tad?) ever reached out to Robert Margouleff as to what the backstory is with the Quad of "Live It Up" because while it is 100% a different mix from the Stereo it is a strange beast where the SQ LP decoded through a Tate or Surround Master is actually superior to the Q8! 🤯
I asked Margouleff about this when we were corresponding a few years back, and he had no recollection of doing any Isley Bros. quad mixes, even 3 + 3, the one he's actually explicitly credited for (!)
 

fredblue

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I asked Margouleff about this when we were corresponding a few years back, and he had no recollection of doing any Isley Bros. quad mixes, even 3 + 3, the one he's actually explicitly credited for (!)
OOPS.. 🤯

(and i don't mean Out Of Phase Stereo!) 🤣
 

bracelis

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This 360 audio is in fact stereo, correct? Lol
As mentioned in the recent posts, we already established that the 360 audio (MPEG-H 3D) itself is not fake.
It's only fake/simulated when listening to mobile/headphones.

The examples discussed above are old (1970s) albums mixed as quad, now available as 360 (but still with the original 4 channel mix, and not remixed for 360).

The 360 example below (from Tidal streaming) is a recent (2021) song mixed for 360.
It's decoded to a 12-channel (7.1.4) PCM and saved as a WAV file -- we can clearly see that the audio is discrete, not fake.
And although the bitrate of the 360 stream is low (667 kbps as shown below), it's a more efficient codec (compared to older Dolby Digital+).
I don't have a full 7.1.4 setup on my Windows desktop, but I can listen to it on my 4.0.2 (quad + 2 heights) desktop setup, and I don't have any issues with the sound quality.

From "MediaInfo" utility
General
Track name :Talk About Love (feat. Young Thug)
Performer :Zara Larsson

Audio
Format :MPEG-H 3D Audio
Format profile :[email protected]
Codec ID :mha1
Bit rate :667 kb/s
Channel(s) :12 channels (7.1.4)
Channel layout :L R C LFE Lb Rb Lss Rss Tfl Tfr Tbl Tbr
Sampling rate :48.0 kHz
Signal group #1 :10 objects
Type :Object
Number of objects :10 objects
Codec configuration box :mhaC


Below is the output, decoded / converted to 12-channel (7.1.4) PCM (WAV file):

Audio
Format :PCM
Channel(s) :12 channels
Sampling rate :48.0 kHz
Bit depth :24 bits

Edit: the image below is mislabeled: It should be 5/6=Surround back, 7/8 = Surround side

ZaraLarsson_TalkAboutLove.jpg
 
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beerking

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As mentioned in the recent posts, we already established that the 360 audio (MPEG-H 3D) itself is not fake.
It's only fake/simulated when listening to mobile/headphones.

The examples discussed above are old (1970s) albums mixed as quad, now available as 360 (but still with the original 4 channel mix, and not remixed for 360).

The 360 example below (from Tidal streaming) is a recent (2021) song mixed for 360.
It's decoded to a 12-channel (7.1.4) PCM and saved as a WAV file -- we can clearly see that the audio is discrete, not fake.
And although the bitrate of the 360 stream is low (667 kbps as shown below), it's a more efficient codec (compared to older Dolby Digital+).
I don't have a full 7.1.4 setup on my Windows desktop, but I can listen to it on my 4.0.2 (quad + 2 heights) desktop setup, and I don't have any issues with the sound quality.

(From "MediaInfo" utility:)
General
Track name :Talk About Love (feat. Young Thug)
Performer :Zara Larsson

Audio
Format :MPEG-H 3D Audio
Format profile :[email protected]
Codec ID :mha1
Bit rate :667 kb/s
Channel(s) :12 channels (7.1.4)
Channel layout :L R C LFE Lb Rb Lss Rss Tfl Tfr Tbl Tbr
Sampling rate :48.0 kHz
Signal group #1 :10 objects
Type :Object
Number of objects :10 objects
Codec configuration box :mhaC


Below is the output, decoded / converted to 12-channel (7.1.4) PCM (WAV file):

Audio
Format :PCM
Channel(s) :12 channels
Sampling rate :48.0 kHz
Bit depth :24 bits

View attachment 66689
This gets more and more fascinating, each day.
 

fredblue

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The quad 8-track version of this album has a similar sound--you can hear suppression artifacts and 'pumping' in the rear channels. The going theory is that CBS used a matrix-decoded version of the quad mix rather than the discrete master. Perhaps that same matrix-decoded quad master is what was used here?
i'm convinced this is the unreleased Quad mix of "The Heat Is On" and it is an SQ decode, just as "Live It Up" was on the Q8.

tbh i find this all absolutely fascinating, rivetting even and the Quad of "The Heat Is On" is my all-time holy grail mix, its a real "pinch me" situation, there are obvious mix differences from the Stereo which to someone who loves the group and knows the albums intimately are really really cool (the beautiful whispy reverb on the "girl, you're all i need.." refrains at the end of "Make Me Say It Again Girl" which are dry in the Stereo is just one example) and i have so much more i'd like to say about this mix but we're veering into new topic territory so maybe this Isley mix weirdness stuff should be moved into a new thread steelydave?
 

fredblue

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If that is true, then it could be the same case with "Live It Up" "The Heat is on" - they sound similar with the 'reverb' on the rears.
I.e both 360 albums could be sourced from a matrix.
Except in this case of "Living It Up", The Heat Is On, nobody ever saw the analog version ( at least nobody here in QQ).

Edit^.
yes i think this is exactly what is going on in the case of both these mixes, i believe Cecil & Margouleff delivered the Quad mixes for "Live It Up" and "The Heat Is On" to CBS in encoded SQ form only and CBS ran the SQ encoded 2-channel tapes through an SQD-2020 decoder in NY ready for Q8 release.

whether the original 4-channel tapes for these mixes survive (maybe in a studio, with the Isleys themselves or Margouleff/Cecil?) we may never know but Sony don't have them and i feel they never had them in the first place. however i imagine Sony still have the SQ encoded 2-ch tapes for both albums alongside the 4-channel SQ decoded tapes, so the SQ could be run through a superior decoder (Tate, Surround Master) and some of the problems in the old decodes could be overcome.. still it'll never be truly discrete. ah well, far better to have these mixes than not at all!
 

popshop

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I swear that I played some mixes in 360 via tidal and it worked. I thought the Garfunkel Breakaway mix was the same as the sacd.
However, now they just play in stereo.
I don't know what happened. I could be wrong or crazy.
I played several and it seemed the quad mixes were just transferred to 360. I don't understand why this isn't done. Atmos/360 are the same thing and mixes don't need to start from scratch. I'm not an upmix fan, but I think using 360 as a vessel for quad is fair.
 

MagnumX

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Atmos/360 are the same thing
No, they're really not. They're entirely separate formats and 360 is a headphone format at that. That's not to say one couldn't be converted into the other, but it seems Sony is more interested in playing stingy than promoting any kind of open platform via PS5. I've got a PS4 and I have to say an XBox is likely in my future. It supports Atmos AND DTS:X. As long as I can play the next Dragon Age game, I'm happy.
 

popshop

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You're correct, they're not exactly the same thing and use different files as vessels. I shouldn't have said it like that but my point is that an atmos mix can be turned into a mpeg H and it then plays as 360RA. The Mayer mix, for example. 360RA is not just a headphone format. Their website shows ways to set it up with AVRs and speakers, as well as with headphones. However, it doesn't seem to work with tidal, or firestick, or I'm not sure what.
It seems like it worked, or could have worked, because somebody put forth the effort of getting some really great quad titles up there. Strange.
 

MagnumX

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You're correct, they're not exactly the same thing and use different files as vessels. I shouldn't have said it like that but my point is that an atmos mix can be turned into a mpeg H and it then plays as 360RA. The Mayer mix, for example. 360RA is not just a headphone format. Their website shows ways to set it up with AVRs and speakers, as well as with headphones. However, it doesn't seem to work with tidal, or firestick, or I'm not sure what.
It seems like it worked, or could have worked, because somebody put forth the effort of getting some really great quad titles up there. Strange.
I think what Sony needs is a licensed conversion to Atmos or X to be compatible with existing home theater receivers (I certainly don't plant to buy a new AVR just to get Sony's 360 format), even if you have to pay for the license for your particular Playstation (i.e. 3rd party plugin or whatever). If Sony wants me to buy a PS5 when I upgrade instead of an XBox, that's what they need to do at a minimum because I want immersive sound for games, not just stereo or 5.1/7.1.
 

BJMarsh

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It appears that you need Sony headphones or 360RA speakers. Hey, I think I’ll ditch my full range 5.1 speaker system for a 3D sound bar so I can listen to 70’s quad mixes! Shooting themselves in the foot is too kind…
 

MagnumX

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It appears that you need Sony headphones or 360RA speakers. Hey, I think I’ll ditch my full range 5.1 speaker system for a 3D sound bar so I can listen to 70’s quad mixes! Shooting themselves in the foot is too kind…
It almost reminds me of Apple back in the 1980s with Appletalk networking, etc. Proprietary everything that doesn't work with anything else. That's how companies get rich. They don't get rich selling other companies speakers, etc. Look at Apple and Beats headphones and Ear pods. There's a reason they never supported 3rd party audio and video formats in iTunes, etc. Sadly, for the consumer, this sort of thing sucks.
 
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