Santana – III

13 Mar

Santana - III DS474p front

The quad mix is straight out of Enoch Light’s school for mixing, basically ‘four to the wall’, and a showcase for the ‘Phoenix’ process.


Release: DS474p

Source: SQ LP

Process: ‘Phoenix’



27 Responses to “Santana – III”

  1. atq August 20, 2016 at 10:42 #

    Another fantastic mix. Loads going on all the time – all the speakers busy and lots of panning. But that frenetic approach suits the music. Great decode as usual, thanks!

  2. John February 22, 2016 at 01:21 #

    What a wild and crazy trip. All the over the place in terms of speaker usage. A lot of fun to be sure – but maybe lacked the anchor that holds it all together as a coherent experience. It also seemed very bass shy to me – maybe that was part of the missing link? But you are not going to fall asleep – as there one surprise after another in terms of the mix!

  3. birdycat19 April 12, 2015 at 03:57 #

    I’ve been comparing this new Phoenix decode with the Romanotrax Q8 tonight and they both have many commendable characteristics. This is my favorite Santana album by far–it’s not even close–so I know it quite well, at least in stereo 😉 The Q8 definitely has boosted bass (bordering on the obnoxious) but I think it has better overall clarity as far as hearing distinct placement of instruments and effects. For example I can hear talking before Rolie starts singing on “Everybody’s Everything” that I don’t hear on the SQ. But the Phoenix, I believe, does a better job on the mids and for me that’s the most important thing so there ya go! Thanks for all the great work on this title.

    • oxforddickie April 12, 2015 at 09:38 #

      Thanks for that, it does make it harder to do a fair comparison when the two sources are tonally so different.

  4. rockysquirrel March 24, 2015 at 06:51 #

    GREAT! Thanks much, OD.

  5. Owen Smith March 15, 2015 at 15:48 #

    Geat stuff, a really adventurous and interesting quad mix. Excellent music which works well with the mix. The electric guitars, the percussion, the vocal work, all are excellent here. And the bass guitar while maybe a little weak is very clear and natural sounding. Occasional vinyl surface noise during the openings of quiet tracks, but nothing serious.

    The Romanotrax Q8 is equally good in most aspects, it has a bit of tape hiss instead of vinyl surface noise but no wow/flutter. However it does seem to have a muted top end making it sound less clear, this could either be Q8 restricted frequency response or EQing. And the bass is too loud and boomy in the Q8, by the time I’d listened to most of the Q8 transfer it became fatiguing, I had no such fatigue problem with the vinyl transfer.

    On to Phoenix decoding capabilities. I used two test sections, the first being the opening minute of the album which has lots of highly separated parts in the four speakers. I could detect no difference in the placement of these instruments between the two transfers, the most obvious difference after volume levelling the whole thing (5db more playback volume for the LP) is that the bass guitar is much louder in the Q8.

    The second test I used is three minutes into track 6. This has trumpet (or maybe flugel horn) which can’t make it’s mind up whether it’s front right or rear right. Sometimes it’s clearly front right with echo rear right, at other times the instrument itself appears to move backwards and forwards or is mid right. I was pleased to find the same thing on the Q8 as with Phoenix, I had suspected a decode problem.

    So, a tour de force for Phoenix. Based on previous decode processes I would probably have picked the Q8 transfer as the winner, but of these two the Phoenix is definitely better. With less or no EQ on the Q8 I suspect it would be a very close call, but I don’t have such a Q8 to make that comparison.

    • Owen Smith March 15, 2015 at 15:55 #

      I should point out these fully rear right and rear left placements would have been impossible with previous SQ processes since the fronts contained all the rear information so mid right and mid left were the most that could be achieved. I get the feeling the Tate hardware decoder could push things more towards the rear, but at the expense of gain pumping in various channels as it did it’s work. No such issues with Phoenix here.

    • oxforddickie March 15, 2015 at 18:25 #

      Many thanks for the comparison and am leased that ‘Phoenix’ stood up so well against the Q8

  6. Rick Pietrafesa March 14, 2015 at 23:12 #

    I have the SQ LP and a digital discrete conversion and in track 1 the bass is almost non existent compared to the regular stereo version. By chance did you make any attempt to boost it?

    • oxforddickie March 15, 2015 at 09:34 #

      Track 1 on this release? I do no equalization, it is as it comes off the LP.

    • Owen Smith March 15, 2015 at 13:33 #

      Track 7 has plenty of bass. So if the bass is quiet in track 1 (I’ll agree it’s on the weak side), that’s how it was originally mixed. Who are we to mess with that now?

    • Owen Smith March 15, 2015 at 14:55 #

      Listening to the Romanotrax Q8 it’s clearly been EQ’d to boost the bass. Track 1 has very solid bass, more that I’d expect compared to the LP. Listening to track 7 it’s clear the EQ has been overdone, there’s quite a lot of bass boom there.

    • Owen Smith March 15, 2015 at 15:57 #

      I would also point out the opening track 1 bassis rear right, so unless your rear speakers have as good bass response as for fronts it will sound a bit weak. My rears have this problem, but I don’t have space for a second pair of floorstanders.

      • sacdtodvda March 17, 2015 at 10:36 #

        I’d love to let you know how the bass sounds with my perfectly matched front and rear speakers – if only someone would send me the file! >>cough<<

      • Owen Smith March 17, 2015 at 13:40 #

        If you donated and OD didn’t send you the file, just email him. I have occasionally pestered and on a couple of occasions he never got the email from PayPal for my donation. I just forwarded my email from PayPal showing I had donated.

        • oxforddickie March 17, 2015 at 13:59 #

          PayPal have been playing silly buggers recently, there were a whole lot of donations for a particular new release that never got sent my way.

          One thing to remember though is that the weekend service here is severely limited as it states in the rules. Not pointing fingers, but…..

          • sacdtodvda March 18, 2015 at 08:50 #

            It’d probably help if i actually email OD and not reply to Paypal!

  7. bayards March 14, 2015 at 17:19 #

    I really enjoyed this! Sort of Abraxas plus – great surround FX.

  8. joeerand March 13, 2015 at 23:11 #

    I’ve enjoyed all your Santana releases…looking forward to hearing this one. Thanks for all your work and research.

  9. prefabfan March 13, 2015 at 19:21 #

    I still remember from the sq disc the beginning of “No one to Depend On” is awesome in quad.

  10. tarkus2013 March 13, 2015 at 14:49 #

    Warts? What warts? Thank you, O.D. for the Santana fix. Off the subject, but have you seen this video for the “band” Public Service Broadcasting?

    I only mention this here because it is probably the best and most entertaining thing I have seen in a long, long while. And funny, did I mention funny? Since it concerns the first cosmonaut notice how they incorporate a a little monkey biz – and since it is Russian, a touch of ballet. Their whole album, Race for Space, is done very well – IMHO.

    If I am off base bringing this up un-quad-like, please delete as a comment and consider as a personal email. Hope that is okay with you.

    • oxforddickie March 13, 2015 at 15:03 #

      Comedy is NEVER off topic.

      Warts…, well comparing any decode of a matrix album to the discrete version will always show-up some inconsistency’s, even if they are small and barely noticeable as it’s impossible to do a 100% accurate matrix decode. All you can do is get a very close approximation to the original master.

  11. Owen Smith March 13, 2015 at 13:10 #

    I have a Romanotrax Q8 transfer of this which is very good. I’ll try to compare it with the Phoenix decode, could be interesting.

    • oxforddickie March 13, 2015 at 14:04 #

      Would be interesting, warts and all……

    • jaypfunk March 13, 2015 at 16:42 #

      Same here The rtrax Q8 sounds really good. I can’t wait to hear this one. My 2nd favorite Santana album. #1 is Lotus.

      • oxforddickie March 13, 2015 at 17:00 #

        Ah, no pressure then… Hope it comes somewhere near your expectations…… :-/

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