Oliver Twist – BBC Radio Drama

17 Oct

Oliver Twist DS304f front

After the short lived experimental Matrix H & HJ broadcasts in the late 1970’s, the BBC worked with Denon and the N.R.D.C. developing UHJ. But it wasn’t until the late 80’s and early 90’s they finally broadcast a number of experimental radio programs in UHJ, which mainly consisted of classical broadcasts on Radio 3 and plays on Radio 4, of which this was one.

Release: DS304f

Source: UHJ CD

Process: UHJ/II

Format: 2 x DVD-A/V  MLP/DTS/DD


16 Responses to “Oliver Twist – BBC Radio Drama”

  1. crispin14 October 20, 2013 at 20:24 #

    More on Ambisonics and Radio Plays:
    What first got me interested in Ambisonics was a report / review of Gilgamesh

    The BBC broadcasts some UHJ encoded radio dramas In
    the ’70s & ’80s in Maida Vale, London. After the BBC
    officially discontinued the use of UHJ encoding, many
    UHJ broadcasts were still done without their consent.
    “Gilgamesh” was recorded in full periphonic surround and
    then encoded to UHJ format for broadcast.
    The play was written, produced and directed by Alec Reid,
    sound engineer was Ted de Bono. Gilgamesh was
    broadcast on BBC Radio 4 an 21 March 1983 and
    repeated on the 27th.

    Link: http://www.surrounddiscography.com/uhjdisc/uhjhtm.htm

    The review was of a performance of the Periphonic (including height) version of the play to an audience of about 40 people. Here I’m speaking from memory so accuracy may not be 100%

    Two things caught my attention: First that here was a surround sound system that could recreate a sound field from about 40 different listener locations; and second, that people in this audience became agitated and lifted their feet when they heard the flood water starting to rise beneath them.

    How I would have liked to be in that audience.

    If OD can find this recording it will be interesting to hear, despite the fact that we won’t have the Periphonic effect effect of wet feet.

    • oxforddickie October 20, 2013 at 20:43 #

      Ah, Gilgamesh. I had an email conversation with Alec a while ago regarding this play. I do believe i may actually have it on one of the hard drives. No promises though as one of them died on me recently, but i will have a look.

      Your correct when you say there were many unofficial UHJ broadcasts because officially the BBC dropped out of surround sound, but they have recently started work again with a version of UHJ they call 3D Audio. Whether they will ever do any public broadcasting is doubtful though.

  2. crispin14 October 19, 2013 at 19:05 #

    UHJ Ambisonics makes my speakers disappear: that is a good thing.
    These releases are truly wonderful.

    Living in North America, I’ve long had “Ambisonics Envy.” As much as I’ve loved SQ and respected QS, Ambisonics was the holy grail, but I, for one, lacked the money and the sources for the full periphonic experience.

    A while back I sampled some of the DTS offerings from Ambisonia a site from Australia. To get an approximation the Ambisonic effect (sans height), I repositioned my front facing speakers into a perfect square and became sold on ambisonics.

    I think that using a receiver with settings for speaker placement or one of the YPAO or Audyssey speker set up programs should work with a non-square set up.

    OD, please correct me on this if I’m off base.

    Conventional quad (some SQ releases excepted) places signals at each of the 4 speakers, using phantom imaging for the front channels and attempts the same for the sides and back. Phantom imaging requires that your two ears more or less pick up sound from the right and left, so front channel imaging is pretty straight-forward. Conventional quad relies mainly on amplitude and a little on time delays and echoes to create a sound field.

    What I am told that Ambisonics does is it puts every sound in all speakers (4 or more for greater detail or height). I think it is a difference in time delay (and possibly amplitude) that re-creates the sound-field.

    Thus it is very important that speaker placement is accurate or that the placement is “corrected” through receiver speaker distance adjustments. Also front facing speakers that minimize reflections will give the clearest sound-field.

    I provided a demo to a friend of the North by Northwest album. He had never heard my speakers before, and a little bit into it, he asked if the speakers were working because he sound was not being “sprayed” of the speakers as he expected.

    OD, I’ve posted this so that all of us can pool our expertise to help others unlock the pleasure that these UHJ conversions can provide.

    • oxforddickie October 20, 2013 at 09:09 #

      Very good explanation, thank you for that. The thing Ambisonics allow you do do is use as many speakers as you wish, within the limitations of the decoder, which allows greater realism and accuracy. This also allows for different shapes.

  3. lupineassassin October 18, 2013 at 04:19 #

    This is so fantastic! Thanks. 😀

  4. Owen Smith October 17, 2013 at 21:46 #

    I’ve downloaded this to check out the UHJ surround decode since Stereotomy was good for me but the classical guitar album had a confused image. So as yet I have no conclusion on UHJ in my room, and spoken voice might behave differently again.

    However the chance of me listening to more than 15 minutes is approximately zero. I may dislike a lot of Jazz but I want to know why and try to understand the music whereas I have no interest at all in radio plays. That’s not to take anything away from people that like them, it just isn’t my thing. I’ve tried audio books and they’re just as bad, if I’m reduced to spoken voice then just give me a printed book or a .pdf and I’ll read it myself.

    • oxforddickie October 18, 2013 at 09:01 #

      I’m guessing the problem is that your rear speakers are not direct facing, which is required for ambisonics to work.

      I’d really appreciate some feedback on this and the other UHJ releases. This play is really a tester to see if there’s any call for more to be done

      • Owen Smith October 18, 2013 at 10:06 #

        Many people have dipole or bipole rears for home cinema use. Those won’t work well either for ambisonics I would have thought since they deliberately diffuse the sound.

    • Owen Smith October 18, 2013 at 10:04 #

      So far we’ve had a studio popular album with artificial soundfield (Stereotomy) which worked well, then the solo guitar work and now spoken voice. How about a classical orchestral work? That would have quite different acoustics compared to any of the UHJ works so far.

      • oxforddickie October 18, 2013 at 10:43 #

        How about the ‘North By Northwest’ soundtrack? I’ll do a ‘true’ classical album next

      • Owen Smith October 18, 2013 at 10:58 #

        Ah sorry, mental blip I’d forgotten about that. I haven’t had chance to burn that to DVD yet. I hadn’t really grasped that it’s orchestral, it’s a very long time since I watched the film.

    • Steven Southerden Dive November 27, 2014 at 15:04 #

      At risk of saying something you know already and also coming late to this conversation, it does seem there is some misapprehension about some aspects of seperstereo, UHJ and Stereotomy.

      Although Stereotomy was mixed using UHJ for some sounds within the mix, the album was not intended for playback using a UHJ decoder and was a stereo mix, basically. (Ref the ambisonic discography.) UHJ was used for artistic purposes to produce a particular effect when played back in standard stereo. Using a UHJ decoder for Stereotomy produces an effect that would not sound as intended. I have this album, bought thinking it was UHJ encoded and I found the sound spacially odd when put through a decoder. I used a Minim AD10 and then a Meridian 565 at the time and a G61R now, optimised for Ambisonic playback through 2 pairs of Quad ESL63 electrostatic loudspeakers. The UHJ encoded parts of the mix give a more diffuse and wider stage to these parts of the mix (e.g. The seperstereo element of the mix played back through a standard speaker pair). Use of the superstereo option of the decoder does work well, though, on this album with 4 or more loudspeakers.

      There is also some confusion about what is meant by the use of the word superstereo for both playback of 2 channel UHJ (BHJ) on a stereo system, resulting in a wider stage than the stereo speakers, and the similarly named option on a UHJ decoder that was designed originally for stabilisation of frontal imaging for standard stereo material. (Ref articles that Prof. Peter Fellgett sent to me over 20 years ago.) The wrap-around possible on an ambi decoder with a wide width setting is a nice side effect.

      Hope the above disambiguates things a little.

      • oxforddickie November 27, 2014 at 19:11 #

        Unfortunately you appear to be wrong on both counts.

        All bar one of the tracks on ‘Stereotomy’ were encoded using UHJ for decoding through a UHJ decoder. If you have proof of it being otherwise then please provide it.

        ‘Super Stereo’ is a function of a UHJ decode to create an artificial surround presentation from plain stereo material and not for previously UHJ encoded material. Such reasoning is plainly pointless.

  5. quadro2013 October 17, 2013 at 18:58 #

    Always a surprise! Thank You!

  6. tarkus2013 October 17, 2013 at 10:41 #

    Agree with zaphod’s comment. I like old radio shows and BBC stuff. Christmas Carol from the BBC should be required listening for everyone. OD’s Hitchhiker’s Guide in quad is a favorite in this household.

  7. zaphod2359 October 17, 2013 at 03:01 #

    This looks great.I love radio drama

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