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Wise Words - Audio Fidelity Moves to Selective Multichannel SACD Releases

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4-earredwonder

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Marshall was very pro-surround and he gave it one heck of an effort. Not every release turned out to be a great decision, but on the whole that stack of AF SACDs is pretty damned impressive. The writing was on the wall when the BS&T GH SACD ended up as being stereo only. That was a shot to the heart, and although it was not immediately announced, and the BOC came out afterwards, I knew that was the end. Why would you not include the quad tracks on a title that was a GH release with quad songs that were never released digitally in the past?

You cannot kill Marshall for this program tanking. He is responsible to his investors, and that company has to make money to survive. Since the did not charge more for the M/C discs, the sales of those discs had to increase to cover the cost of the extra material. Unfortunately, title like "Colors of the Day" and "Birds of Fire", while meaningful to surround fans, don't have a big draw to the ever shrinking CD/SACD buying market.

You can observe that AF has curtailed it's frequency of SACD releases in stereo, and cut back on CD releases as well. One has to hope that the company can continue to exist in this world of Spotify and downloads. I sincerely hope that Marshall's foray into surround SACDs did not injure that company to the point that they cannot recover.
When Audio fidelity ceased production of their 24K Gold RBCDs [reason given: the price of GOLD had escalated], their foray into SACD was MOST promising. And I think we all know the problems Marshall encountered when he started to release QUAD/5.1 SACDs. I remember clearly, the whining that went on even at QQ.......why this release and not that release, etc.

And as I also mentioned, of ALL the US reissue companies, AF was always heavily discounted whereas you'd almost NEVER see an Analogue Production SACD discounted ANYWHERE except on Acoustic Sounds own website [maybe 10% and if you notice lately....MOST titles are NOT even eligible for further discounts].

Whereas Audio Fidelity used to release at least two SACD Stereo titles per month, if you visit their website, NONE are in the pipeline and as I did mention, their MOST RECENT pre~announced Stereo SACD title of Quincy Jones THE DUDE was canceled!

And as moderator Brian Moura has pointed out, Even vinyl reissues produced nowadays are VERY limited editions [2~3K] a far cry from the 'glory' days when even Stereo SACDs were pressed in lots of 10K!

And your query, Jon, as to whether AF's foray into multichannel SACD had a negative financial effect on Audio Fidelity.....I would venture to say YES! That Dutton Vocalion could release two~fer SACD QUADS for almost half the price that AF charges for a single multichannel SACD because of less expensive licensing fees [heck, the AF Dylan LIVE bootleg 2 disc mch SACD listed for US$60!], pointed to a very disconcerting disconnect between the US and European models for hi res reissues.

My advice to anyone sitting on the fence about purchasing Audio Fidelity's remaining Stereo or multichannel stock of SACD titles: better buy them while you can at conservative prices or risk paying HUGE premiums for them on eBay because, IMO, they're NOT going not be repressed. Even the very recent AF Stereo SACD of Jeff Beck's TRUTH is OUT OF STOCK on AF's website and the price HAS increased from $29.95 to $34.95.

The writing is certainly ON THE WALL!
 
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bmoura

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My advice to anyone sitting on the fence about purchasing Audio Fidelity's remaining Stereo or multichannel stock of SACD titles: better buy them while you can at conservative prices or risk paying HUGE premiums for them on eBay because, IMO, they're NOT going not be repressed. Even the very recent AF Stereo SACD of Jeff Beck's TRUTH is OUT OF STOCK on AF's website and the price HAS increased from $29.95 to $34.95.
Agreed. And not just for Audio Fidelity Multichannel SACDs.

When an album comes out on SACD, buy it while it is in stock at regular pricing.
Otherwise, you may end up missing out - or paying a much higher price later on.
 

The Rang

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Agreed. And not just for Audio Fidelity Multichannel SACDs.

When an album comes out on SACD, buy it while it is in stock at regular pricing.
Otherwise, you may end up missing out - or paying a much higher price later on.
There is no truer advice in the music collecting world.
I adhere to that as much as I can but sometimes titles sneak by because there is only so much money and hard decisions have to be made sometimes
 

Scott65

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Last night I pulled out the AF SACD multi of Judy Collins -- I've had it a while, but I like to save to savor 8').

Wonderful! I am grateful for it and other AF offerings, and also glad I supported them by buying them.

Memo: buy more Dutton Vocalion!!!
I too am grateful, I managed to get some great quad disks I would not have otherwise obtained.
 

quicksrt

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Marshall was very pro-surround and he gave it one heck of an effort. Not every release turned out to be a great decision, but on the whole that stack of AF SACDs is pretty damned impressive. The writing was on the wall when the BS&T GH SACD ended up as being stereo only. That was a shot to the heart, and although it was not immediately announced, and the BOC came out afterwards, I knew that was the end. Why would you not include the quad tracks on a title that was a GH release with quad songs that were never released digitally in the past?

You cannot kill Marshall for this program tanking. He is responsible to his investors, and that company has to make money to survive. Since the did not charge more for the M/C discs, the sales of those discs had to increase to cover the cost of the extra material. Unfortunately, title like "Colors of the Day" and "Birds of Fire", while meaningful to surround fans, don't have a big draw to the ever shrinking CD/SACD buying market.

You can observe that AF has curtailed it's frequency of SACD releases in stereo, and cut back on CD releases as well. One has to hope that the company can continue to exist in this world of Spotify and downloads. I sincerely hope that Marshall's foray into surround SACDs did not injure that company to the point that they cannot recover.
Of course I am in agreement basically with the points made in your post Jon. But the two misfires you mention (MO and Judy Collins) could not have been really that bad. Perhaps not strong enough sellers to warrant an additional pressing run, but strong enough to result in all web stores including AF's being SOLD OUT of all copies months ago. When the Christmas set Let it Snow, Fresh Aire, and Labelle SACDs show product is not moving at all at this late point. I wonder if it was you Jon or Brian who was behind the suggestion of doing that Labelle title? Nobody wants to cop to being for that one which I'd have assumed to be the most risky of anything AF did. It's a Hi-Fi quad showcase that is not everyone's cup of tea to put it mildly. A flop that might not ever sell out.

Anyway, anything the sold out months ago cannot have been a total loser can it? And the only reason copies of BOC, L&M, and Sly Hits can be found is that the pressing runs were larger than average. They were some of the hits of the 4.0 series.

Lots of titles are now sold out!!!

For BS&T Hits I was not as disappointed as some - since the second album had just been delivered in quad not that long ago which contains several of the biggest hits. The S/T album is a heavy, and AF got us that quad one. Still tickled to death it arrived at all.

If D/V can just fill us with those few missing quad rock titles that are available (for license) before the sky falls on the whole she-bang, I don't care about anything else at this point.
 

Scott65

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Of course I am in agreement basically with the points made in your post Jon. But the two misfires you mention (MO and Judy Collins) could not have been really that bad. Perhaps not strong enough sellers to warrant an additional pressing run, but strong enough to result in all web stores including AF's being SOLD OUT of all copies months ago. When the Christmas set Let it Snow, Fresh Aire, and Labelle SACDs show product is not moving at all at this late point. I wonder if it was you Jon or Brian who was behind the suggestion of doing that Labelle title? Nobody wants to cop to being for that one which I'd have assumed to be the most risky of anything AF did. It's a Hi-Fi quad showcase that is not everyone's cup of tea to put it mildly. A flop that might not ever sell out.

Anyway, anything the sold out months ago cannot have been a total loser can it? And the only reason copies of BOC, L&M, and Sly Hits can be found is that the pressing runs were larger than average. They were some of the hits of the 4.0 series.

Lots of titles are now sold out!!!

For BS&T Hits I was not as disappointed as some - since the second album had just been delivered in quad not that long ago which contains several of the biggest hits. The S/T album is a heavy, and AF got us that quad one. Still tickled to death it arrived at all.

If D/V can just fill us with those few missing quad rock titles that are available (for license) before the sky falls on the whole she-bang, I don't care about anything else at this point.
I got the Labelle one on the strength of Lady Marmalade (love that song!)... not my favourite quad disk overall, but still glad it was made available and that I got it.
 

Scott65

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I got the Labelle one on the strength of Lady Marmalade (love that song!)... not my favourite quad disk overall, but still glad it was made available and that I got it.
currently playing it now (first time in two years). It's actually quite good. Must stop playing XTC 5.1 blu rays and play my other surround sound disks...
 

quicksrt

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I got the Labelle one on the strength of Lady Marmalade (love that song!)... not my favourite quad disk overall, but still glad it was made available and that I got it.
To think that we got it rather than the other BOC, or Edgar Winter Group is enough to severely depress me. It's one of the early AF 4.0 s too,
 

skherbeck

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I got the Labelle one on the strength of Lady Marmalade (love that song!)... not my favourite quad disk overall, but still glad it was made available and that I got it.
Worth it for the title track alone... "Nightbird" is a killer song with a phenomenal vocal (written about Janis Joplin, I believe). I'm also grateful AF released this one.
 

fredblue

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personally i was thrilled AF got Labelle out on MCH SACD!

the MultiCh mix is great (I think so anyway) and musically its very much my cup of tea (to anyone who likes this one, imho Labelle's other Quad, "Phoenix", while lacking a big hit like Lady Marmalade, is a better album and an equally good possibly even better surround mix) but most of all for me AF getting the Labelle SACD out was especially meaningful & poignant after Sony cancelled their MCH SACD release of "Nightbirds" some 10+ years prior... justice was finally served!

:51QQ
 

4-earredwonder

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personally i was thrilled AF got Labelle out on MCH SACD!

the MultiCh mix is great (I think so anyway) and musically its very much my cup of tea (to anyone who likes this one, imho Labelle's other Quad, "Phoenix", while lacking a big hit like Lady Marmalade, is a better album and an equally good possibly even better surround mix) but most of all for me AF getting the Labelle SACD out was especially meaningful & poignant after Sony cancelled their MCH SACD release of "Nightbirds" some 10+ years prior... justice was finally served!

:51QQ
TOTALLY agree, Adam. In all, I generally loved all the AF multichannel SACDs and do consider some of them reference but the important element was that we actually had a CEO of a reissue company who was wild about multichannel music and made a sincere effort to do his darnest to bring it to a niche market despite all obstacles........and those obstacles were grueling, IMO.

Which makes Michael Dutton, CEO of Dutton Vocalion so much more endearing and daring in an indifferent market which has never been affable to the acceptance of multichannel music.
 
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bmoura

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I wonder if it was you Jon or Brian who was behind the suggestion of doing that Labelle title?
The Labelle album was selected by Audio Fidelity as one of their Surround Sound SACD releases.

The reissue business is a tricky one where the reissue labels pay an advance to the record label and artist.
Then they prepare the album for reissue and hope to make back the advance amount - and a profit - during its license period.

Some albums and artists work out better than others in the reissue world.
Which explains why some artists and albums end up being reissued more than once! :)
 

JonUrban

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I am going to be perfectly honest with you guys. When Marshall asked me about prospective titles, at first I was very positive about everything, as I was thinking to myself "Just because I am not a ______ fan, it doesn't mean that others might not be". So I was not negative about what they were thinking of releasing. After the first year or so, I did get a bit more real, and I down voted certain release suggestions just because I knew what lot of you all would think and I did not want negativity to abound here where we were the biggest supporters.

"The Collection" really pained me a lot. At first I was surprised that it could be done, but deep down I knew that it was going to be very controversial because of what songs were picked. It is a great sampler of all genre's but it could have been so much better if some of the tracks were replaced with say, "Rock On" by David Essex, which Marshall admitted to me he liked as a song. I am not sure if maybe that one was not available, but it would have been a great disc to put the hits of M/C albums that had been released in stereo by MFSL. If there were a track from "Turnstiles", and maybe the title track of "That's the Way of the World" (to go along with "Shining Star"), and other Columbia stuff that was released by MFSL and thus "quad blocked". It would have been a nice "Fuck You" to MFSL, and it would have been, IMHO, much better.

Still, you really have to thank Marshall from the bottom of your hearts because that guy went to war for us and, as I've said before, put out a stack of HiRez, beautifully mastered SACDs from QUAD ALBUMS that were effectively lost in time. Selecting titles to release is a lot more complicated than just saying "Get the Eagles, Get the Steely Dan's".

Please do not disparage Marshall or AF here in this forum. I would appreciate it if you (the generic "you") did not.
 

GOS

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I am going to be perfectly honest with you guys. When Marshall asked me about prospective titles, at first I was very positive about everything, as I was thinking to myself "Just because I am not a ______ fan, it doesn't mean that others might not be". So I was not negative about what they were thinking of releasing. After the first year or so, I did get a bit more real, and I down voted certain release suggestions just because I knew what lot of you all would think and I did not want negativity to abound here where we were the biggest supporters.

"The Collection" really pained me a lot. At first I was surprised that it could be done, but deep down I knew that it was going to be very controversial because of what songs were picked. It is a great sampler of all genre's but it could have been so much better if some of the tracks were replaced with say, "Rock On" by David Essex, which Marshall admitted to me he liked as a song. I am not sure if maybe that one was not available, but it would have been a great disc to put the hits of M/C albums that had been released in stereo by MFSL. If there were a track from "Turnstiles", and maybe the title track of "That's the Way of the World" (to go along with "Shining Star"), and other Columbia stuff that was released by MFSL and thus "quad blocked". It would have been a nice "Fuck You" to MFSL, and it would have been, IMHO, much better.

Still, you really have to thank Marshall from the bottom of your hearts because that guy went to war for us and, as I've said before, put out a stack of HiRez, beautifully mastered SACDs from QUAD ALBUMS that were effectively lost in time. Selecting titles to release is a lot more complicated than just saying "Get the Eagles, Get the Steely Dan's".

Please do not disparage Marshall or AF here in this forum. I would appreciate it if you (the generic "you") did not.
Jon, I want to applaud you. Thanks for your collaborations and insight. You sure can’t please everyone.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

kap'n krunch

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Anyone who gives MCH a fighting chance (which they did, and more!) deserves praise and recognition.. too bad it really did not work out in the end because of legal red tape and lower sales than expected correct me if I'm wrong..). There are REAL GEMS in there, MANY of which I personally love.. so you DID please me... and that's difficult!!!
Hope it can be revived again somehow..
:smokin
 

quicksrt

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"The Collection" really pained me a lot. At first I was surprised that it could be done, but deep down I knew that it was going to be very controversial because of what songs were picked. It is a great sampler of all genre's but it could have been so much better if some of the tracks were replaced with say, "Rock On" by David Essex, which Marshall admitted to me he liked as a song. I am not sure if maybe that one was not available, but it would have been a great disc to put the hits of M/C albums that had been released in stereo by MFSL. If there were a track from "Turnstiles", and maybe the title track of "That's the Way of the World" (to go along with "Shining Star"), and other Columbia stuff that was released by MFSL and thus "quad blocked". It would have been a nice "Fuck You" to MFSL, and it would have been, IMHO, much better.
That set, "The Collection" was not treated like a "once in a lifetime" curated set of quad which is what it is. Starting out as a "collection" of rare and otherwise not available quadraphonic tracks, and then tucking in some tunes that are already included on AF 4.0 SACDs (making is a sort of sampler) frittered away precious space that could have been used to provide quad hits (or classic album tracks) that we are now never going to see in our lifetimes.

Every space on that set should have been treated like a first, only, and last time the tracks would appear in 4.0 on a digital disc. In fact many tracks are solid choices. But I cry inside a little when I see the Jeff Beck or MO repeats.
 

4-earredwonder

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My only regret with The Collection was including tracks like Miles Davis, Nilsson and Wake Up Everybody which I was certain might've been a prelude to eventually releasing those FULL albums as AF Quads. But as Jon intimated, whether SONY US was willing to license those full albums to AF [or imposed outrageous licensing/royalty fees] was another issue and perhaps unlike MoFi and AP.......I feel the word QUADBLOCKED was a 'manufactured' term and Marshall was just acting in a gentlemanly fashion by NOT RELEASING any titles which 'he felt' infringed on their respective reissue programs.

It's regrettable that the Music Studio Heads themselves, unlike Marshall Blonstein, have NO interest in multichannel as evidenced by Universal Music's so~called inept Blu Ray Audio launch which was a majorly disappointing 'piffle' compared to AF's efforts and further evidenced by both SONY and Warner's likewise announcement to release a multitude of BD~A multichannel discs [they even published lists] which never reached fruition.

A David versus Goliath situation without the happy ending!
 
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keywhiz

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The Labelle album was selected by Audio Fidelity as one of their Surround Sound SACD releases.

The reissue business is a tricky one where the reissue labels pay an advance to the record label and artist.
Then they prepare the album for reissue and hope to make back the advance amount - and a profit - during its license period.

Some albums and artists work out better than others in the reissue world.
Which explains why some artists and albums end up being reissued more than once! :)
The LaBelle album was obviously a poor seller. And having a quad layer didn’t help.

Oh well. I think it’s a great album and am thrilled it was released!
 
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