Quad’s Resurgence?

22 Dec

Like anyone whose purchased something from Amazon, i get bombarded with emails offering this and that, mainly music. One item caught my eye and following it up proved very fruitful for us Quadies. Another label has joined the slowly growing band wagon by releasing no fewer than twelve albums on six SACD’s. What makes this even more interesting is that each disc costs only £9.99. That’s only a fiver per album! Below is what’s on offer in what i hope will turn out to be a growing catalogue of quad titles. They’re available on their website or via Amazon, please support them, the more sold, the greater the possibility we’ll see the catalogue expanded.

4575k     4574k

4570k     8518k

4577k     4572k

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23 Responses to “Quad’s Resurgence?”

  1. bigheadrascal December 23, 2015 at 02:45 #

    Naturally, I’m all for any means of preserving and presenting multi-channel recordings by whatever format. Too bad a format so few of us can enjoy.

    • oxforddickie December 23, 2015 at 07:23 #

      Perhaps it’s time to reivaluate the situation. There are said to be cheap players out there that play SA-CD’s, surely a well worth investment if it allows you to play, what we hope to be, the quad releases in very high quality.

      I will restate what i posted yesterday, none of these titles will be availabe here – ever.

    • atq December 23, 2015 at 10:19 #

      Sony used to include SACD playback in their blu ray players. It looks like only the top-spec ones include it now, (but even then you can get a 4K blu ray with SACD capability for only £149). Have a look on eBay for a Sony BDP 370 or 470 or 570. They are about 5 years old now, and you can pick them up for around £25. They have SACD playback.

    • Owen Smith December 23, 2015 at 13:03 #

      I agree completely with never making these titles available on the blog. One of the ways to continue not attracting unwanted attention from the record companies is not to take any sales away from them. That means anything officially available shouldn’t appear on the blog. It’s always been like that, you’ve removed anything that record companies have asked you to which has generally been due to an upcoming release.

      And your other releases probably help record companies, because if there is a group of people interested in hearing quad then the record companies have a market to sell to. If there’s no quad to listen to, then no-one will be interested and there’s no market for commercial sales. Concert bootlegs achieve a similar results which is why some groups actively encourage them, and many more don’t do anything to stop them.

  2. Owen Smith December 22, 2015 at 18:28 #

    Interesting that Mike Dutton is involved, and is listed on their blog as doing the transfers of the stereo and quad master tapes. David Mellor on Classic FM (UK radio station) regularly mentions Mike Dutton’s transfers and cleanups of 78s as being good quality.

  3. romanotrax December 22, 2015 at 17:49 #

    I emailed the company direct with some questions. We’ll see what kind of response we get.

  4. captainbeyond55 December 22, 2015 at 17:23 #

    Most interesting. More questions than answers. I see these first 6/12 releases were originally from the RCA catalog. Does Vocalion have access to any other record companies catalog of quad recordings? Is this just a drop in the bucket or is it the tip of the iceberg? I am also as perplexed as romanotrax. How at this price point there could be any profit for Vocalion. Everything is a circle. What was once old it seems is new again. It will be very interesting to see where this exercise takes us in the new year and how it effects us here on the blog and other quad lovers across the globe.

    • oxforddickie December 22, 2015 at 17:37 #

      Looking around the site they appear to have access to many of the labels back catologue that were involved in Quad. So i guess anything could happen.
      As to these, and any other forthcoming, releases effect on the blog, it means these titles will only ever be available by purchasing these titles, but in the slightly longer term i believe the life of the blog has been greatly shortened.

      • crispin14 December 24, 2015 at 18:13 #

        My understanding is that much or possibly most of the SQ canon is encoded in the recording, meaning that it does not exist as 4 discrete channels on tape. In some ways (at least on vinyl and probably CD), SQ recording have perfect phase integrity and I think that is why when decoded they sound better than other systems.
        The big question will be if new labels are able to decode SQ with the accuracy that you manage to achieve. I see your career on this blog living for quite a while longer, provided you want to keep going and can find a means for us to send you donations.

        • oxforddickie December 24, 2015 at 19:27 #

          The large companies would have had the quad mix on four channel tape which would then be used as the source for whichever encoder was in use. It’s the smaller companies where albums were possibly mixed straight to SQ or QS and would need to be decoded for use now as a multi-channel release.

          One such album here on the blog was released using a Tate decoder and i’m told you could hear the pumping amongst other issues. It appears to be one of those really awkward mixes to decode, but one that even back in the days of the ‘Final’ series, my decodes outstripped a tate decode in every respect. This was proven externally by someone who originally didn’t believe software decoding could improve overthe Tate.

  5. Em² December 22, 2015 at 15:02 #

    Interesting move.Thanks for that. More background info re Quad offerings on their blog page (http://www.duttonvocalion.co.uk/blog/). Has to be applauded at that price point.

  6. atq December 22, 2015 at 14:41 #

    Thanks for pointing these out, OD. These do look like incredible value for money. Two quad albums for £9.99 is indeed a bargain. The music is not really my thing, but considering the cheap price, high amount of content and the fact that it is from the quad masters at high resolution, I’m sure I will buy at least one or two of these – some of those early synths will sound great. The blog on the website gives more details. Mastered at 24/352 – can that really be right? (44.1 * 8 = 352.8, so maybe it’s that. Normally it’s a multiple of 48 isn’t it?)

    Here’s the link to the blog – see the bit at the end. http://www.duttonvocalion.co.uk/vocalions-christmas-2015-release/
    (OD feel free to edit/ remove link as you see fit.)

    • Owen Smith December 22, 2015 at 18:20 #

      DSD is mastered at high bit rate, originally single bit at 352.8KHz but that’s a complete pain for mixing because with just one bit you can’t change the volume of anything. So now the bit rate is kept the same but mastered at 8 or 24 bit, which allows mixing and volume changes. Then to produce the SACD it is reduced down to 1 bit.

      The number of intermediate formats used by various companies now to produce SACDs is bewildering, which just goes to show what a stupid format it is. Such a shame companies prefer it to DVD-A.

      • atq December 22, 2015 at 18:58 #

        Thanks Owen.

      • Glen A. Gill February 5, 2016 at 19:02 #

        For the latter, a possible reason is that there are layers to an SACD: CD, 2-channel SACD, & Multi-channel SACD. So, there is the option of playing the disc on a standard CD player and you get all of that for £9.99; about $15.00 (although, here in the US, they tend to add an additional 20% charge because it is coming from the UK). You can’t do that with a DVD-A. In fact, not all DVD players will play a DVD-A; at least not here in the US.
        Just a thought.
        By the way, I’ve bought quite a few of Dutton’s CDs and they all sound great. I just bought the Hugo Montenegro SACD. Phenomenal. Also, there is one CD he did of 2 Andre Kostelanetz albums where the Michel LeGrand album on that 2-fer sounds like it was originally SQ. Both were Columbia pressings.

        • Owen Smith February 5, 2016 at 20:00 #

          When I say DVD-A, I mean DVD-A/V which is a hybrid DVD-Audio and DVD-Video disc. All the releases on this blog are DVD-A/V (with a handful of exceptions using two discs). These can be played on DVD Video players, which get the option of DTS or Dolby Digital surround sound. DD is awful, but DTS can be rather good if done correctly. This to my mind is superior to SACD’s stereo only CD compatibility layer. There must be at least as many people with DVD Video (or Blu Ray) players as there are CD players. Most commercial DVD-A releases are actually A/V hybrid discs too. No, the preference by commercial companies for SACD is a hard one to understand frankly. It almost comes down to people mistakenly thinking it sounds better, and then somehow fooling most of the industry into thinking the same.

          • Glen February 10, 2016 at 01:56 #

            Personally, I do not see it a “hard one to understand” at all. In fact, I believe that Dutton has hit on the right idea from a marketing standpoint.
            The technical stuff aside, what was a Quadraphonic LP but a disc that could play a performance in both stereo and surround sound. What is a hybrid SACD but the “quadraphonic record” of the 21st century; a record that can be played at home, in a Walkman (do they still have those), or in the car.
            We’re talking about audio here. To my knowledge, you cannot add a CD layer to a DVD; A or V. So, the practicality and portability only lies with the CD; not the DVD.
            I do not know what the additional cost per CD is to make a hybrid SACD. But, considering the price he is putting on his re-issues, it must be worth the additional cost to issue his CDs like they were when they were originally produced.
            I believe he should be encouraged, not discouraged.

          • Owen Smith February 10, 2016 at 09:27 #

            Many DVD-A/V quad or surround re-issues now come in a two disc pack, the other disc is a CD. That provides better flexibility than SACD because you can have the two discs in different locations and with different track listings eg. if alternate takes are available but only in stereo. You can also put some video on the DVD-A/V eg. the video of the hit singles from the album as extras, which can’t be done with SACD.

  7. lupineassassin December 22, 2015 at 14:33 #

    I sense a trend. 😉 Awesome news, Oxford! 🙂

  8. Highlander December 22, 2015 at 14:22 #

    I’ve also been amazed at how many Quad titles from the 70’s have been reissued on SACD by the Audio Fidelity label. Let’s hope more record labels follow their lead. 🙂

  9. romanotrax December 22, 2015 at 14:05 #

    While I am more than happy that another company is jumping onto the quad SACD bandwagon, I’m wondering how a company can license two titles per disc, manufacture an SACD with packaging and still only charge $14 USD or $18 USD through Amazon US. Has anyone ever heard anything released by this company? In the past I have purchased titles that I wasn’t even particularly interested in just to show sales – but this almost seems too good to be true. I would love for it to be true though – don’t get me wrong. I have just about all of these in some form of quad but I would gladly retire those for nice shiny new copies like this.

    • Owen Smith December 22, 2015 at 18:23 #

      The cost of manufacturing a disc is quite low these days. The issue, which we will probably never know, is how much they paid for access to the RCA quad catalogue and how much it costs to clean up and digitise the quad master tapes. None of these are stellar titles, so they may have paid RCA very little for them.

      • Alfie December 26, 2015 at 14:30 #

        With record companies looking to monetise their back catalogues when most people get their new albums for free, I would be unsurprised to discover that the would have licensed albums like these for next to nothing. I make no judgement on the musical value of these releases, but I think it’s fair to say that they are of no commercial value now and the record companies may have been surprised that there was any remaining interest in them.

        If there is any market at all for these titles it is in the tiny group of people interested in quadaphonic in itself, regardless of musical content. Most of them probably read this blog.

        The other way of looking at it is, can you imagine anyone paying the £20 per title that you expect of a classic release? £10 for a two-fer of a car boot crate-filler sounds about right to me as I can’t imagine many people paying more.

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