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Quadraphonic Recordings?

Benedict_Arnold

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Jan 16, 2013
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I was reading an article on the Daily Torygraph website yesterday about the forthcoming Pink Floyd 50th (yes, 50th) anniversary exhibition at the V&A. Would be nice to go, were I still in the UK, or on the off chance I get a business trip back to the UK while it's still on.

It brought back memory of the much talked about, never actually heard (by most people, certainly by me) quadraphonic sound that tried but failed to catch on in the 70s.

I was wondering if any of the original quadraphonic releases (e.g. Pink Floyd, Hawkwind (?), etc. ) were available in some sort of format that could be played back over a modern surround system. I seem to recall Hawkwind still using some quadraphonic effects on the synths at their gigs in the early to mid 80s. Trippy, man, trippy!
 

Al ears

Moderator
MajorFubar said:
I guess it depends. There were two competing incompatible encode/decode systems, and even though I still think it was a fad which would never have become mainstream, this was a perfect example of the industry assisting the suicide of one of its own technologies because they couldn’t agree on a universal standard. To decode the quad LPs I think you would need an amp with the decoder built in. Clever software could probably decode them digitally if any exists, but I’ve never searched for it and I don’t know if any such software exists. Then you would need to find quad LPs encoded with the same system the amp can decode.

I did once hear tales of quad open reel tapes of the most popular albums, which would of course work with any 4-channel amp or pair of amps so long as you could ( a ) source a quad tape recorder, and (b) actually find some quad tapes. I’ve seen many quad recorders but I’ve never seen quad tapes.
Most quadraphonic formats, and their were at least five, were designed to retrieve sound from an LP. Pretty sure some special cartridge was required and a suitable decoder. These are pretty much extinct so I'd stick to multi channel SACD ;-)
 

MajorFubar

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Mar 3, 2010
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I guess it depends. There were two competing incompatible encode/decode systems, and even though I still think it was a fad which would never have become mainstream, this was a perfect example of the industry assisting the suicide of one of its own technologies because they couldn’t agree on a universal standard. To decode the quad LPs I think you would need an amp with the decoder built in. Clever software could probably decode them digitally if any exists, but I’ve never searched for it and I don’t know if any such software exists. Then you would need to find quad LPs encoded with the same system the amp can decode.

I did once hear tales of quad open reel tapes of the most popular albums, which would of course work with any 4-channel amp or pair of amps so long as you could ( a ) source a quad tape recorder, and (b) actually find some quad tapes. I’ve seen many quad recorders but I’ve never seen quad tapes.
 

MajorFubar

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Al ears said:
there were at least five
I thought there were only two on LP. If there were that many competing standards, it had no chance of survival, because whichever way, it was always going to be a tiny market.
 

spiny norman

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Jan 14, 2009
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Benedict_Arnold said:
I was wondering if any of the original quadraphonic releases (e.g. Pink Floyd, Hawkwind (?), etc. ) were available in some sort of format that could be played back over a modern surround system.
The multichannel mix of Dark Side... wasn't the original quad version, but I believe there are some unofficial 'releases' of the Alan Parsons original floating around out there on the internet. It may even have been released by now, but I'm no Pink Floyd collector, so may have missed it. I certainly heard a copy a distant friend had at one point, played from DVD, I think.
 

Benedict_Arnold

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I wasn't thinking of quadraphonic vinyl or 4-track 1/4 inch reel to reel or even 8-track cartridges (which were, I believe the three main competing formats that all killed each other off).
Rather I was thinking of SACD DVD or Blu-ray media formats that would re-create the quadraphonic effects via an AV surround sound setup.
 

Al ears

Moderator
Benedict_Arnold said:
I wasn't thinking of quadraphonic vinyl or 4-track 1/4 inch reel to reel or even 8-track cartridges (which were, I believe the three main competing formats that all killed each other off). Rather I was thinking of SACD DVD or Blu-ray media formats that would re-create the quadraphonic effects via an AV surround sound setup.
Aha, in that case most multichannel SACD s are just that not Quad and blu-ray audio tends to be stereo only, at least the ones I own are.
 

spiny norman

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Jan 14, 2009
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Al ears said:
Aha, in that case most multichannel SACD s are just that not Quad and blu-ray audio tends to be stereo only, at least the ones I own are.
Though at a slight tangent there are some interesting early three-channel (L/C/R) stereo recordings out there on SACD.
 

iMark

Well-known member
May 16, 2008
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Benedict_Arnold said:
I wasn't thinking of quadraphonic vinyl or 4-track 1/4 inch reel to reel or even 8-track cartridges (which were, I believe the three main competing formats that all killed each other off). Rather I was thinking of SACD DVD or Blu-ray media formats that would re-create the quadraphonic effects via an AV surround sound setup.
I remember that in the early seventies Philips tried to convince Dutch consumers to buy quadraphonic equipment. It never was succesful, partly because there was such a limited range of recordings and the fact that there were at least 3 competing and not compatible systems. I remember that I went to the audio show Firato in Amsterdam and there was an incredible quadrophonic setup by Philips, including their MFB, Motion Feedback speakers. It sounded great but hardly anyone bought a quadraphonic system. Selling stereo equipment with two messy speakers was already a problem for most living rooms. Four speakers was out of the question.

But Philips and Deutsche Grammophon did make quadraphonic recordings, especially classical ones. Many of these recordings ended up in the vaults but with the arrival of multichannel SACD, many recordings have been released in different series. Pentatone still make new recordings.

http://www.pentatonemusic.com/series/8

http://www.pentatonemusic.com/series/4

But possibly the most interesting series is this one http://www.pentatonemusic.com/series/3, the Remastered Quadro Recordings, originally made on 4-channel tape in the early 1970s.

We own a couple of the RQR SACDs but we only have a stereo setup so I can't judge the quadrophonic aspect of them. The stereo layer sounds excellent though.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
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Benedict_Arnold said:
I wasn't thinking of quadraphonic vinyl or 4-track 1/4 inch reel to reel or even 8-track cartridges (which were, I believe the three main competing formats that all killed each other off). Rather I was thinking of SACD DVD or Blu-ray media formats that would re-create the quadraphonic effects via an AV surround sound setup.
Had never thought of that, but I guess the four channel masters might be lurking in some vaults somewhere! How they would translate to 5.1 or 7.1 I've no idea though.

And there I was trying to recall the LP formats: SQ, QS, and CD4 - this last one being the one with the carrier signal. I must still have the LPs somewhere!
 
Mar 14, 2020
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I bought into quadraphonic sound at the end of the era. about 1978. I have maintained it ever since. I used separate stereo amplifiers and the appropriate decoders and other quad gear. I later added a third amp so I could include modern SACD and DVD Audio, and now Blue Ray. All are good. Of the LP formats, CD-4 was the best, but a lot of the cartridges sold at the time couldn't track the high frequency difference signal. The result was nicknamed "sandpaper quad" Today, an Audio technical AT440MLb will track it just fine with a little extra weight, about a quarter gram more. SQ and QS had no subcarrier, and will play with any good stereo cart, including one made for CD-4. Quad died out but a lot of recorded material was produced. Probably one of the main reasons it died was the proliferation of fake quad gear, stereo gear with a Hafler circuit and a "quad" button and four speakers. But even the newer digital multichannel formats are a niche market. They are still hanging on because the sound id so goooood! Ever heard the quad version of Pink Floyd's Meddle? It is incredible! So is Atom Heart Mother. I love it.
 

Al ears

Moderator
I bought into quadraphonic sound at the end of the era. about 1978. I have maintained it ever since. I used separate stereo amplifiers and the appropriate decoders and other quad gear. I later added a third amp so I could include modern SACD and DVD Audio, and now Blue Ray. All are good. Of the LP formats, CD-4 was the best, but a lot of the cartridges sold at the time couldn't track the high frequency difference signal. The result was nicknamed "sandpaper quad" Today, an Audio technical AT440MLb will track it just fine with a little extra weight, about a quarter gram more. SQ and QS had no subcarrier, and will play with any good stereo cart, including one made for CD-4. Quad died out but a lot of recorded material was produced. Probably one of the main reasons it died was the proliferation of fake quad gear, stereo gear with a Hafler circuit and a "quad" button and four speakers. But even the newer digital multichannel formats are a niche market. They are still hanging on because the sound id so goooood! Ever heard the quad version of Pink Floyd's Meddle? It is incredible! So is Atom Heart Mother. I love it.
Nice to see someone still experimenting with defunct formats.
Note that this thread is four years old and most of the posters are now longer members of the new forum.
 
Mar 14, 2020
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OK, I will see if there are any more up to date threads on this subject. However, my involvement in quad is not experimental. It's dedicated. I was just browsing through the rules and noticed the rule about not resurrecting old threads. I will try to adhere to that. Although I am curious as to why. Thanks,
The Quadfather
 

anort3

Moderator
Dec 8, 2019
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No, I don't have any hand sanitizer. I went ahead and started a new thread. I'm actually quite expert on quad, so I can probably answer questions y'all may have.
It made me manually approve your thread. It's an antispam feature of the forum software but it's a bit wonky at the moment. It should notify us of the fact but it doesn't always work right. A fix is incoming ( eventually ) and I think you're good now but if you have any problems with your posts just PM one of the mods and we'll get it sorted out for you. :)
 

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