The Alan Parsons Project – Stereotomy

7 Oct

Alan Parsons Project - Stereotomy DS301f front

Track 5 of the album was stereo, so it was processed with UHJ-SuperStereo/II

UHJ-SuperStereo is a part of the UHJ decoding process that allows normal stereo material to be manipulated into a quasi-UHJ signal that can be processed into B-Format, which enables the decoder to give a simulated ambisonc decode.

Release: DS301f

Source: UHJ CD

Process: UHJ/II & UHJ-SS/II



29 Responses to “The Alan Parsons Project – Stereotomy”

  1. chewie5705 December 15, 2013 at 21:33 #

    Hey OD,

    How would this affect subs that are not used as .1.

    I have four subs(that are all the same) that I use for deep bass in Surround mode and two for when I’m in stereo mode. They are connected to a speaker selector(so I can turn them off when I want to) and I run them large thru the receiver.

    • oxforddickie December 15, 2013 at 21:38 #

      Well, i guess your the best person to say. Is the imaging better with or without the subs connected?

      • chewie5705 December 15, 2013 at 22:45 #

        I haven’t played this particular album but imaging is just fine on everything else! šŸ™‚

        I just wanted to know if it would ruin the Ambisonics aspect of it.

        LMAO, Owen. I have them turned down low so they don’t over power the regular speakers. There just there to cover the lower end because I don’t even use the .1 aspect anymore, thanks to this blog. šŸ™‚ and other quad Lps that I have picked up.

    • Owen Smith December 15, 2013 at 21:44 #

      I have visions of the listener pinned to the wall or sofa by the power of four subs, and only able to move when switched to two subs or the music stops. Just don’t have four subs on when playing on endless repeat, or you’ll be stuck there forever unless you can get your mobile out to phone for help. :-).

  2. prefabfan October 14, 2013 at 04:35 #

    Absolutely great. My favorite to date. I envision listening to this many times in the future. Thanks.

  3. Owen Smith October 13, 2013 at 17:03 #

    Musically clearly more recent than most popular titles on the blog, as shown by the date. Sounds a bit like some Frankie Goes to Hollywood in places with how the synths are used. Wouldn’t be something I listen to regularly but it’s OK.

  4. Owen Smith October 13, 2013 at 17:01 #

    Interesting. The soundfield produced from UHJ seems more diffuse and dare I say more natural than direct quad.

    I don’t have a sub and have all my speakers set as large so I’m not upsetting ambisonics that way, but my fronts are floorstanders (Castle Harlech 1) whereas my rears are standmounts (Castle Richmond 3) on wall brackets laid on their backs firing at the ceiling. None of the drive units are common between front and back and with the ceiling thing I have no idea what that does to the phase relationships so important to ambisonics.

    Plus my system is playing these with speaker delays in the AV amp setup, but I would have thought that helps since it ensures the sound from each speaker arrives at my ears at the same time, which surely matters because arriving at different times will completely wreck the phase relationship.

    Track 5 stands up pretty well through UHJ Super Stereo, there was no jarring change going into it and then into track 6. If that’s what it can do with any sterero source then it ought to be used more often. I’d like it as a mode on my AV amp frankly.

  5. magnu59 October 12, 2013 at 02:02 #

    Could someone please provide a link to this.I know it says that the link is on the blog but I cannot fined it anywhere. Please help a “blind” bloke out someone.
    Thanks in advance.

  6. donimo1 October 10, 2013 at 18:41 #

    OD I listened to this last night and found it like a dream listening to it. Hope the rest of my family wasn’t annoyed [they are sleeping when I get home from work] was up ’til 3am so impressed I listened to it twice.

    • oxforddickie October 10, 2013 at 19:18 #

      I’ll admit i think i annoyed the neighbours once i’d done it i played it so much

  7. sarasota2k4 October 9, 2013 at 15:12 #

    Stereotomy – Definition (noun)

    – the art of cutting three-dimensional solids into particular shapes

    Well you’ve certaibnly done that; Absolutely love what you’ve done with this Alan Parson’s album. Should you elect to take on more of his work, this audiophile will be ecstatic. Thank you!!

  8. ricll October 8, 2013 at 21:24 #

    Wow!!! Many thanks.

  9. tarkus2013 October 8, 2013 at 10:55 #

    The Alan Parsons is wonderful. I have thought this album to be rather under rated compared to other Parson’s albums. Your surround had me rooted to the chair (when I am supposed to be doing other things…) and man the room was just vibrating with the sound. Very balanced and reminded me of Steven Wilson remasters since the quality was more pronounced (rather than the “effects”). Thank you for this gem.

    • oxforddickie October 8, 2013 at 11:02 #

      Out of interest, did you feel the SuperStereo track fitted in with the rest of the album?

  10. gjwAudio October 7, 2013 at 20:04 #

    Hello OD

    What a SURPRISE… we step into the DS300’s with AMBISONICS ! This opens up a whole new catalogue of high quality recordings – dare I say “audiophile” – as you well know. How delightful !

    Can’t wait this till d/l is finished… there’s a new pre-pro chez-nous and everything sounds so much clearer – this AP mix will be a treat.

    Can you please tell us a little about the decoding process involved here… is this done completely in software, or do you have a rare piece of hardware that handles UHJ ?

    Any clues as to future UHJ intentions ?

    Thank you so much – again – OD for your conviction and commitment to bringing these surround sound gems out of the shadows !


    • oxforddickie October 7, 2013 at 20:19 #

      UHJ material is actually double encoded. Firstly, the three Ambisonic streams (W,X & Y)need need to be extracted from the UHJ matrix (similar, but totally incompatible, to SQ & QS). They then need to be fed into a B-Format decoder. That’s very basic, but hopefully you get the idea.

      UHJ/II is my process to decode the UHJ information into the three streams. Although there are ways of doing it, and those with long memories will remember the first three UHJ releases i did, i have been very unhappy with that part of the process. hence the new process.

      Once decoded, i use a very well respected VST B-Format decoder by Dr Bruce Wiggins of Derby University.

      All processing is done in the digital domain.

      As to further UHJ releases, the original three will be re-issued and there will be more, in amongst everything else.

      • gjwAudio October 8, 2013 at 02:09 #

        Ah yes… DR. BRUCE…

        Great research, great resource… and a great shame I’ve yet to get everything together to attempt a true ambisonic re-mix on some of my old multi-track projects (Reaper setup/ 8-out analoge audio interface, time, time, time !).

        Thanks for the UHJ tech details OD.
        To SUB… or not 2SUB…

        Your previous point about the .1 LFE channel raises a few thoughts.

        On purely theoretical lines, of course the soundfield should be generated by a speaker setup identical to the Ambisonic decoder’s output. In this case I presume you’ve set it for a four-corner-square equidistant layout.

        Who amongst us enjoys a symmetrical listening space, populated by true 20-20KHz capable speakers (in all locations) ? Anyone… hands up now šŸ™‚

        In my room, the mains are arranged for ideal 2-channel imaging (resulting in a barely isosceles triangle – 72″ x 76″ x 76″), while – of necessity – the rears are set back further than I would like, forming a 139″ x 108″ x 108″ triangle to the sweet spot. Not quite yer 4-Square-4-Quad, but it’s a satisfying approximation.

        The mains are capable to 32 Hz, while the rears (Genelec HT206) claim free field LF extension of -2.5 dB @ 55 Hz… not bad, and I’m sure the 206’s are helped in the low end by the corner placement.

        It would be very interesting to have true “” test signals to evaluate the setup, but I’ve never come across anything like that yet in my travels.

        For better or worse, bass management will figure into most people’s situations, as it now does in mine. The skill & flexibility with which this is implemented will impact on how well folks hear the soundfield you’ve generated from Stereotomy.

        Fortunately the Anthem D2 gives a wide range of choices in bass management, and presently I’m living with a 60 Hz crossover to the sub, instead of the THX-mandated 80 Hz. “Theory” says LF localization is uncommon below 80 cycles, but I’ve not had the chance to confirm this through testing.

        It’s possible to define separate Movie & Music profiles, and assign different X-over points for Front/Centre/Surround/Rear sets… but that’s a whole lot of tinkering I’m saving for later. And then there’s the Room Correction to mess with someday.

        …the point being… playback of 4-channel music sounds pretty damn nice down here with the present compromises. The difference between mixing approaches shine through as the source varies. Some mixes are way more convincing than others.

        The most believable material I’ve heard to date is from a compilation made by someone identified as “Surround2”, found on one of the usual torrent sites. True Ambisonic B-Format recordings were decoded to a quad-like 4-square configuration, and issued as a dts-CD. There is little documentation on the individual recordings – you must be content with a little mystery as you marvel at the immersive soundfield.

        For those curious among you, the files can be downloaded here >
        Soooooo.. Three Cheers for OD and the new Ambisonic Frontier !

        Thanks for playing…

    • Owen Smith October 7, 2013 at 20:52 #

      The Dr. Bruce Wiggins B-format decoders appear to be on this page:

      So which one did you use OD? His university page says higher orders give better frontal resolution (scroll down to find the part about Ambinsonics):

      • oxforddickie October 7, 2013 at 21:15 #

        We are now in dangerous ground, where words don’t mean what they normally do.

        The whole subject of resolution when talking about Ambisonics is basically the number of speakers in a system. The more speakers (which must all be the same) the better the resolution, image wise. Then, if you add height information (Z), which UHJ does not contain, then the resolution improves again.

        There is only one option when dealing with four channel reproduction, and that is the Quad setting. I use the GUI version of his plug-in.

        This really is as far as UHJ can go in respect to the normal home system as the use of the center channel is not recomended because normally it is not the same size, or quality/phase/frequency wise as the other four. Plus decoding for 5 channel (note: no subwoofer) when distributing would lead to a severly corrupted output when ‘mixed’ down by the DVD player when connected to a four speaker set-up.

    • prefabfan October 10, 2013 at 16:08 #

      I Agree with Grant and will DONATE then download.

  11. oxforddickie October 7, 2013 at 19:56 #

    A tip to those who use a sub-woofer. It should be switched out when playing Ambisonic encoded material, allowing the full signal to be delivered to the four full range speakers.

    There is no .1 in Ambisonics, and it’s inclusion in the setup destroys the Ambisonic directional information.

    • The Bright Side October 11, 2013 at 15:31 #

      Hey OD, can you elaborate a bit on this? how exactly will it affect the sound presentation if I leave the subwoofer on? And to turn it off, you don’t just mean flipping its switch, I presume? It’s about disabling it in my source’s or receiver’s settings, correct? Also, thanks for this amazing release.

      • oxforddickie October 12, 2013 at 09:12 #

        VERY basically, and as explained before, Ambisonics rely on all speakers in a particular set-up to be exactly the same, because it uses phase to attempt to recreate the image. Splitting off the lower frequecies to a sub woofer destroys this.

        It’s best to google Ambisonics and do some research, it’s an interesting & complex subject, if your that way inclined

  12. quadro2013 October 7, 2013 at 15:26 #

    I wanna join the club and make a donation for this.

    As always a big Thank You!

  13. sacdtodvda October 7, 2013 at 11:31 #

    Count me in as a voluntary donor on this one, too!

  14. tarkus2013 October 7, 2013 at 10:47 #

    To Freebie or not to Freebie, that is the question. I’m going to go with beukenoot on this one. Thanks, OD!

  15. beukenoot October 7, 2013 at 09:33 #

    Well, this is amazing.

    I am waiting ages for this one. And now you made it as freebie, well i made a donation at once šŸ˜‰


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