Quad Bob’s Words of Wisdom
The illustrious Quad Bob has generously allowed his words of wisdom to appear here. With knowledge and experience dating to waaaay back when, some of the unfathomable quad mysteries are cast asunder and exposed to the quad world. Geeee, that was pert’ near poetic, huh????
Anywho, read on for fascinating quad facts, knowledge and general interesting info!!!!
On the beginning of “home” quadraphonic………
Vanguard Recording Society demonstrated the potential for home quadraphonic sound in June 1968 using discrete four channel reel to reel recordings as the medium. They held press conferences with the Hi-Fi industry demonstrating/promoting “surround stereo” and “quadrasonic sound” which they registered as their Trademarks. They also made a formal presentation at the AES in 1969.
When Vanguard actually released the first quadraphonic titles isn’t quite as clear……but the end of ’68 middle of 1969 is probably in the ballpark. They rolled out 8 quadraphonic recordings on discrete reel. The tapes were of Vanguard artists and included Joan Baez, Buffy St. Marie, Country Joe and the Fish and classical recordings of the Utah Symphony Orch.
Here’s some interesting tidbits from a insert on Quadrasonic Sound with questions and answers that Vanguard included with VSS-1 their demonstration reel:
“Vanguard is proud to announce a revolutionary new four channel system of sterophonic recording”
Question: What will be the price of SURROUND STEREO tapes?
Answer: A SURROUND STEREO tape of full lp length will cost $14.95. SURROUND STEREO tapes are duplicated on the highest quality low noise tape and are playable at 7 1/2 ips. As soon as 3 3/4 ips playback machines become more readily available, Vanguard will release at a reasonable reduction in price, SURROUND STEREO tapes of comparable quality to our 7 1/2 ips selections (never happened!!)
Question: When will SURROUND STEREO be available in cassette (NOTE THEY ARE TALKING 8-TRACKS HERE) or lp record form?
Answer: Vanguard now possess the capability of producing SURROUND STEREO cassettes. As soon as four channel cassette playback units appear on the market Vanguard will release a line of SURROUND STEREO cassettes. A new
experimental lp record now being developed has the potential of capturing 4 independent channels in one groove; if and when this new system is successfully developed, Vanguard will make available SURROUND STEREO in disc form.
Question: What is the future of SURROUND STEREO?
Answer: SURROUND STEREO is the next logical step forward in man’s continuing search for truth in home music reproduction. There is no question that at some point SURROUND STEREO will render obsolete conventional stereo. How long this will take is up to you! (Do you think they had ANY idea it would take this long!!!!!<G>)
RCA is widely accepted as the “introducer” of quadraphonic 8-track tapes….which they introduced in 1970. However, Vanguard and others rolled out around the same time.
Peter Schieber “invented” SQ encoding…..which he presented at the 1969 AES. Columbia bought his patent and rights and then Ben Bauer of Columbia Labs “named” it “SQ” and took over the development of SQ quadraphonic sound.
During this same period Sansui in Japan was already developing their “QS” encoding which utilized a similar (but DIFFERENT) matrix. Sansui rolled out their “QS-1” quadraphonic synthesizer/decoder in 1970 a awesome unit in comparison to the early Electra-Voice and Dynaquad adaptors that came out at the same time.
Now then, the release of the first “quadraphonic encoded” lps is EXTREMELY murky!! You definitely got into the neighborhood with the Project 3 Permissive Polyphonics release in “Stereo-4”. (I have the same lp). However, there were other “Stereo-4” or “EV-Stereo-4” (EV=ElectraVoice) releases including Ovation Records OD/1 demonstration record and probably a couple of others. However, predating even these releases was the Dynaco 4-Dimensional Stereo Demonstration Disc (SPV-7) which on the back of the lp instructs the listener to connect two additional speakers to his stereo amplifier “out of phase” and utilizing a 10ohm 10 watt resistor or to purchase their “Quadaptor” to easily connect 4 speakers properly to a stereo amplifier to obtain “4-Dimensional” sound. Here’s some quotes from the back of the lp:
“This demostration disc has been prepared by Vanguard Recording Society for Dynaco to illustrate the sonic improvement and greater sense of participation made possible by adding extra dimensions of sound, extra dimensions of sound as you would hear in a concert hall.”
“The Dynaco four-dimensional system is fully compatible with FM stereo broadcasting too – it will sound the same when received over your FM stereo tuner as when you play it at home.”
“It is based on a matrixing technique in which four channels are combined into two discrete channels, making possible application of existingtechnology of manufacturing records.”
“Vanguard’s participation in this demonstration record as well as that of Leopold Stokowski is an experimental effort designed to stimulate interestin quadrasonic sound.”
So, though not set in concrete………we do know that “Dynaquad” or connecting speakers “out of phase” predated any of the other quad lp formats. Whether the SPV-7 was the “first” lp to promote this I can’t be sure…..but it is the earliest in my library of over 2,500 quad lps produced in the early days of quadraphonic sound. But, if you REALLY want to jump to the earliest modern matrix technology my vote would be for Jimi Hendrix on Electric Ladyland!!!!!<G> This album run through a quadraphonic decoder is extremely discrete and an awesome listening experience. I was never a big Hendrix fan, but after reading the booklet with the MCA re-release CD which included quotes from Jimi in 1968 maybe you can understand why:
“I don’t know, for what we was tryin’ to get across at the time, it was perfect. You can get 16 tracks in the States, but who needs 16? You need only 4 really. It depends what kind of music you go into.”
“All I did was just be there and make sure the right songs were there, and the SOUND was there, we wanted a particular sound. It got lost in the cutting room, because we went on tour right before we finished and actually cut it. We were unable to spend time on it. The engineers re-taped the whole original tape before they pressed the record for Britain and so much was lost. Some of the mix came out kind of muddy, not exactly muddy, but kind of bassey. I think it’s cloudy, the sound of it, because we didn’t get a chance to do it complete. We mixed it and produced it and then when it was time for them to press it they screwed up because they didn’t know what we wanted. There’s three-D sound on there that you can’t even appreciate
now because they didn’t cut it properly. They thought it was out of phase.”
Jimi even had the box of master-reels scrawled on with the warning “special phase effects on this tape. DO NOT change phase!”
Now………that is genius at work!!!!!!!! And, to think Jimi never even got to hear it through one of our high-end quad decoders/synthesizers. It was common practice for studio engineers to remove “out of phase” material from recordings because they thought it muddied up the recording……….Now here was Jimi Hendrix purposefully recording out of
phase……………..and quad wasn’t even being whispered about then!!