Vanguard DY Demonstration Disc

21 Jan

Vanguard DY Demonstration DS459u front

Whilst doing final testing on the new DY decoding process i was contacted by ‘Captain Beyond’ who had just acquired a DY demonstration LP and wondering if i’d care for a transfer of it. What perfect timing. It is interesting to note that the track listing is the same as Vanguard’s later SQ demonstration disc released some time ago: DS137f

As many people have no idea how DY/EV-4 sounded, given they were not capable to reconstruct the original four channels due to the basic nature of the matrices, i thought this was the perfect time to do a two disc release, one using DY/Unicorn and the other using an accurate software emulation of the Dynaquad adapter.

One small point regarding Disc 2. The Dynaquad adapter did not do any processing to create the front channels so they are just the raw stereo track. That means that they can be used for any experimentation you may want to try.

It would be interesting to hear any comments……..

Release: DS459u

Source: DY LP

Process: DY/Unicorn & Dynaquad Adapter Emulation

Format: 2 x DVD-A/V  MLP/DTS/DD

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27 Responses to “Vanguard DY Demonstration Disc”

  1. Ade Gregg December 8, 2016 at 09:20 #

    Ahhh Its dead

    • oxforddickie December 8, 2016 at 09:23 #

      I’ll look into it later, although it will probably need re-doing as it’s not the latest decode process

  2. Owen Smith January 31, 2015 at 17:18 #

    I listened to the Dynaquad adaptor simulation first. The rears are very confused, all that can be said of them is they play something that isn’t the same as the fronts. Frankly for side 1 the popular tracks, repeating the fronts unchanged into the rears might have sounded better. Side 2 the classical tracks I feel the adaptor performs less badly, but this isn’t active quad stuff so it’s a bit less telling initially. But it does become a bit wearing after a while.

    The DY/Unicorn disc is a total revelation in comparison. I maintain my view that if this had been possible in the early 1970s, quad would have stuck with EV-4 and DY and no-one would have seen the need for any other formats. The popular tracks are mostly full active quad and the spacious soundfield and spread of effects Unicorn achieves are great. I can track easily how the stream train moves around the room, though given it describes a U from front left through front right to rear right and leaves the room through rear left I’m struggling to imagine any real station where the tracks are laid out like that.

    It must be said the fidelity of the steam train is superb, this was clearly a live recording of a steam loco and it’s come out very well. I recall being underwhelmed by the SQ version of the same track, I wonder what happened to it in the intervening years? Or may the older SQ*Final process on DS137f didn’t do ot any favours? It certainly would have left the rear channels in the fronts and this does not.

    • Owen Smith January 31, 2015 at 17:25 #

      The classical tracks are great. The 90-ish year old Stokowski and the American Symphony Orchestra he founded decades earlier are on great form. I particularly like track 9 that opens with the brass fanfare. Were any of these items released as full Stokowski quad recordings? I’d love to hear them. Unicorn reveals that these are fairly standard hall ambience quad classical recordings, which wasn’t at all clear from the adaptor simulation.

      I note that although DS137f the SQ version has the same track listing, the classical tracks at least were all re-recorded with a different orchestra and conductor. I wonder why they did that? I also wonder if any of the rest of the tracks were re-recorded, or (shudder) decoded with a Dynaquad adaptor and re-encoded with SQ (similarly dumb thing have happened eg. the US Q8 of Dark Side of the Moon, badly decoded from the SQ master).

  3. captainbeyond55 January 26, 2015 at 17:23 #

    OD I do appreciated what you have done with this DY demo record. The Unicorn process reveals what may have been heard in the studio but no one else has heard in over 40 years. I think your accomplishment with this process is outstanding! The extra disk sounds as a very accurate emulation of the Dynaquad adapter. People should realize what this adapter was not capable of and how your Unicorn decode process lifts the veil off and lets the music be heard as recorded. Again very well done. Thank You.

    • Owen Smith January 31, 2015 at 17:33 #

      I see the equipment list shows the Captain has an Electro-Voice EV-4 decoder. Given how close DY and EV-4 are as matrixes, presumably the EV-4 decoder produces similarly bad results to the Dynaquad adaptor? Since this is your LP rip, have you tried playing it through the EV-4 decoder? (it makes a lot more sense that what some people on QQ say you can decode DY with).

      • oxforddickie January 31, 2015 at 18:12 #

        Thought i’d add my bit before the captain replies. Whereas the DY Adapter leaves the front channels untreated, the EV-4 decoder does a small level of decoding (if you can call it that’ which reduces the front L/R separation slightly and would make a small difference (if it would be at all noticeable) to the overall effect.

        But it would be interesting to hear a first hand experience.

      • captainbeyond55 February 7, 2015 at 15:39 #

        Finally got the time to do a true test with legacy equipment. My Sherwood S-8900A amplifier has the Dynaquad circuit built in so I tried a test listen with that first. We must remember that dynaquad is a diamond pattern as displayed on the front cover of this demo LP. That is one front speaker, two on the sides left & right and then one back speaker.What did I hear? Stereo with enhanced depth. Not just flat two dimensions as normal stereo but a three dimensional effect. It added space to the soundscape. Then I setup to listen via the Electro-Voice EV-44 decoder. Back to a four square speaker setup. Produces stereo from the two front speakers but like Owen said I’m not sure what is coming out of the back speakers. It does add depth and a sense of space but not quad as we know it. These two formats remind me of an audio effect from my youth. Maybe some of you will remember too. Talking about mono AM radio in the automobile with just one speaker in the dash. It was popular to add a second speaker in the rear package shelf. Then a fader knob with reverb effect to give depth and space to the mono signal. These two formats remind me of that effect only in stereo. Given what I have heard with these two legacy test it is amazing what the Unicorn process reveals.

      • Owen Smith February 7, 2015 at 15:55 #

        Thanks Captain, that’s quite a comprehensive test. It sounds to me as if the Dynaquad decoder with the diamond speaker layout produced a more effective result than the EV-4 decoder with conventional speaker layout. I suspect the diamond speaker layout was just too inconvenient for most people to accomodate, it wouldn’t be feasible for me.

        • oxforddickie February 7, 2015 at 16:15 #

          I’d like to add a little bit of history here. There were in fact two versions of Dynaquad.

          The first was indeed the ‘Diamond’ configuration. This was a playback only system, there was no attempt to provide encoded material as there was no encoder, and relied solely on any random out of phase in the material played though the circuit. This type of playback later became more commonly known, at least here in the UK, as ‘Hafler’, named after David Hafler the co-founder of Dynaco.

          A little later, and with no knowledge of what Electro-Voice were doing, Dynaco modifies the idea turning into the 4 channel square we now know. It was at this point they produced an encoder to allow the sale of four channel records. And the rest, they say, is history….

          • captainbeyond55 February 7, 2015 at 16:49 #

            Thank you OD for this bit of early quad history and shared knowledge. It is possible my Dynaquad test may be flawed but I doubt it will change my opinion. Confused as to which version the Sherwood is outputting. Hafler diamond or the Dynaquad square. Must look into this further and will report back.

            • oxforddickie February 8, 2015 at 09:59 #

              Your test certainly isn’t flawed, the two version produced completely different effects, so the difference you heard doesn’t come as a surprise.

        • Owen Smith February 7, 2015 at 16:53 #

          So presumably given it is encoded, this record was intended for the second version of Dynaquad? In which case while both of the Captain’s tests are interesting, the EV-4 decoder would be more representative of what the buyer was intended to hear?

          • oxforddickie February 8, 2015 at 10:04 #

            I would imagine so as i suspect the sales of the adapter was quite healthy. The major different (although small) was the the EV-4 decoder performed a small amount of ‘processing’ to the from channels with didn’t happen with the DY adapter, even though during encoding the front channels of DY were ‘encoded’ like the fronts in EV-4 only slightly differently.

            Hope that makes sense.

        • Owen Smith February 7, 2015 at 17:00 #

          Oh, I was aware of the two versions of Dynaquad already. I didn’t know there was no actual encoded material aimed at the first one.

          I built an amp in my teens out of bi-kits modules, at least I think that was the name. I included a wire wound variable resistor in the stereo headphone output for Hafler effect. I remember being a bit underwhelmed by the hafler headphones, and the amp itself had massive amounts of hiss. I complained, and they changed the four transistors in the pre-amp module but it still hissed like hissing sid having a hissy fit.

          • oxforddickie February 8, 2015 at 10:05 #

            Some of those kits were a bit like that, weren’t they.

          • Owen Smith February 8, 2015 at 14:29 #

            The power amp modules (25W per channel, and with a full regulated PSU module plus I used a toroidal transformer) were a lot better. I ended up ditching the pre-amp module and just running sources direct into the power amps, sometimes with a passive potentiometer volume control.

  4. Lonky 1 January 25, 2015 at 19:22 #


    Used link to find picture of adapter. It sold for $8.98 Us

  5. Owen Smith January 23, 2015 at 18:16 #

    I see from the album cover scans that Leopold Stokowski conducted all the classical works. Stokowski was always interested in new developments for audio reproduction. He was one of the driving forces behind recording Fantasia in Fantasound in 1939/1940 which was a discrete multichannel surround system recorded and played back on optical film. I wonder if he felt that 30 years later DY was still not up to the standards of Fantasound, it has neither as many channels nor is it discrete, although LP when used well does have better audio fidelity than the optical film recording used for Fantasound.

    • captainbeyond55 January 26, 2015 at 17:32 #

      Owen, thank you for the history lesson. I had no idea that this fellow Leopold was behind the Fantasound for that mouse flick Fantasia. Very interesting. Love that sound track. Every time I hear a particular song from the film I see hippos on ice skates!

    • Owen Smith January 26, 2015 at 18:52 #

      Stokowski conducted the orchestra for all of the music in Fantasia, and he did the orchestral arrangement of the Bach Toccata and Fugue (written for organ) that opens the film. He also gets his own moment on screen when Mickey comes up to the podium at the end of Sorceror’s Apprentice. But Stokowski did far more than conduct Fantasia, he worked with Walt Disney (the man himself) to choose music to animate, and he worked with the engineers on the development of Fantasound. A true Musical Director rather than just a conductor.

      Separate to Fantasia, Stokowski was very keen on music reproduction technology and was involved in some of the earliest stereo recording trials. He was a colossus of the classical music scene, making his first conducting appearance in 1909 and his last in public in 1975 though he was still recording up until 1977, a few months before his death aged 95. His recording contract he was under at the time would have kept him busy until he was 100.

      Given when DY was active as a matrix, Stokowski must have been around 90 years old when this Vanguard disc was recorded.

      If you want to know more, look up Stokowski and Fantasound on the web, there is copious information about both.

  6. prefabfan January 22, 2015 at 21:06 #

    Thanks OD, i have been without audiophile surround sound for a month, just TV sound! This will be tonights unveiling.

  7. Lonky 1 January 22, 2015 at 15:24 #

    I must admit that I enjoyed listening to disc 1 especially the Mozart cut . It is a bright and full surround mix. I’m not quite sure what I was hearing on disc 2 however, even after rereading your post many times. Thanks for the unbelievable
    commitment you bring to this blog.

    • oxforddickie January 22, 2015 at 16:20 #

      Well very basically if you had bought the album along with the Dynaquad adapter in early 1970, disc 2 is how it would have sounded. Hope that helps.

  8. Owen Smith January 21, 2015 at 16:08 #

    Wow, a Dynaquad Adapator Emulation. That shows how keen you are on all things quad.

    • oxforddickie January 21, 2015 at 17:08 #

      I just thought it might interest some here to hear the effect the adapter gave when playing DY albums through it. Most are probably unaware of how limited those two early systems were, and why they died out so quickly when the advanced systems based on 90 degree phase shifting came out.

  9. Joe Solace January 21, 2015 at 15:24 #

    Thanks for this freebie,OxfordDickie!! Can’t wait to hear it!

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