More What’s,Whys And Wherefores of Decoding, And Three QS “Test” Releases

9 May

Since closing both blogs last year, I’ve spent some time doing some improvement work on all of the matrix decode process’s, one ending up quite a major upgrade and the others a small, but essential, alteration.

At around the time of the blogs closure, Owen made an off-the-cuff remark that it was a shame i hadn’t spent as much time on QS as I had done on SQ. He was correct, of course, my personal dislike of QS, and my preference for SQ, showed in my work and the number of releases (especially in the early days). So began my final work on the decoding process’s for the DY/EV-4, QS & SQ matrices.

The upgrade to the QS process (QS2d) is quite marked, ending up nothing like earlier, or other, versions. I “believe” that finally a QS decode can now hold it’s head up against that of an SQ (SQd2) decode in terms of separation, image stability and low level detail.

Those eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed the upgrade to the SQ decoding process. The upgrade is solely devoted to solving a previously unknown error in the decoding process in decoders based on the official CBS/Sony specs.

I will admit that there is the possibility that many may not notice much of a difference between an SQd1 and SQd2 decode of the same album, it’s partly down to whether you listen, or you . But the improvement is there, none the less, solidifying the overall image like never before.

As mentioned, this upgrade corrects an error in the original decoding mathematics as developed by Ben Bauer, and is inherent in all “official” decoders (be it discreet or based on the Motorola chip set) that introduces a phase error of around 25 degrees on the rear right during the decode process.

If the mathematics of the whole decoding process are checked, all appears correct, but as any engineer who has been in the electronics field for long enough will attest, there are times that unpredictable things happen when it comes to the practicalities of a working model.

My work, and conclusions, were checked not only by using my decoding processes but by the decoded output from a Tate decoder, which showed exactly the same error.

The answer to the question “Why didn’t they see the issue at the time” is simply that they just didn’t have the tools we have today. Many of the tools we take for granted now could probably never even be imagined of back then.

At last SQ is capable of delivering the kind of performance that Ben Baur knew it was capable of, delivering a phase accurate representation of the original master.

Having been able to overcome this long standing issue, I believe that the best, and only worth-while (to date), SQ decoder (The Tate) can be improved by modifying it so it can comply with the above (new) standard, which would not only deliver a better decode, but the logic section should be able to operate more efficiently, or as it was meant too, producing better image stability with less pumping artefacts, etc.

DY/EV-4 decoding has alsoย been tweaked, although it’s impossible to make major in-roads when it come to decoding these two pre-phase matrices, simply because they are just too darned basic.

As a demonstration of QSd2 I’m making available the following three albums, which luckily have two different types of mixes. These are the “Four To The Wall” type that gives an artificial presentation much loved by the majority of quadraholics, and the “Live In The Studio” mix, more often than not, used by jazz labels which attempts to create how things were in the studio when the album was recorded live.


Due to an issue with DTS and Dolby Digital audio, this is now reissued


30 Responses to “More What’s,Whys And Wherefores of Decoding, And Three QS “Test” Releases”

  1. Ray Shackleford (@RayShackleford) June 8, 2019 at 21:12 #

    I have CB013 as well, mine seems to be missing the Dolby stream despite it being listed on the DVD menu. Just a warning for those of you that may be tempted to seek this title out for comparison. DTS works fine.
    The clarity of this new release is just fantastic. Along with watching Apollo 11 this weekend it has just been a masterclass on what is possible when people who care about their work and the source material can do.

  2. Artis Falkner June 8, 2019 at 20:35 #

    Glad to see you back on the scene OD ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. T Bradley May 28, 2019 at 18:23 #

    First and foremost, THANK YOU for posting these 3 QSd2 examples!!!
    I’ve been a big Jim Croce fan since his songs were Top 40 during my childhood and this QSd2 release of yours was so nice to hear because the only versions of his quad Photographs and Memories Greatest Hits that I’ve found, including the actual LP that I own, are either loaded with lots of echo/reverb or his vocals are so buried in the mix that his voice is hard to hear at all so getting to hear a few of those tracks in good sounding quad that are included on You Don’t Mess Around With Jim was a really enjoyable listen, thank you!!!

    When I download the Calvin Keys torrent and burn its’ iso and drop the disc into my player I get the Jim Croce menu and contents instead.
    The file size of the Jim Croce download and its’ iso file are not even close to the reported size of the downloaded Calvin Keys file and iso and I tried re-downloading the Calvin Keys torrent file and letting it download its’ associated torrent again and I got the same result as before, the iso in the Calvin Keys torrent, although reporting a substantially larger file size, plays the same menu and contents as the iso in the Jim Croce torrent.

    Has anyone else experienced this issue, or is it just me?

    I’m not a huge jazz fan but I do enjoy the mood and stylings of some types of jazz and I was really looking forward to hearing the jazz staging that the post referred to, and I still would like to hear it if only I can figure out what’s up with this problem?

    • oxforddickie May 28, 2019 at 20:04 #

      I shall look into the issue of the Calvin Keys album and report back.

      Hate to think what version of Croce’s “Photographs” you’ve been listening too ๐Ÿ˜–

      • T. Bradley May 28, 2019 at 22:57 #

        Thank you for taking the time to look into the Calvin Keys issue I’m having!
        So now I’m curious. Might there be a QSd2 or any other OD version of “Photographs” in existence that could be made available, even for a bit of a fee?

        • oxforddickie May 28, 2019 at 23:12 #

          A quick search of the blog shows that there was a very old release of “Photographs” that most certainly does not exist in my collection any more.

          As to making a new version of it available, all I can say is i believe I may have done a decode, possibly using QSd, for Captain Beyond. A look over his blog might be worthwhile

        • Owen Smith May 28, 2019 at 23:48 #

          Photographs is CB013 listed as being decoded with QS/IIa, that’s going back a bit. I am seeding it, as I do all the CB catalogue titles. I can find no record of any other decode of Photographs, if there was an earlier one it was before my time on these blogs.

          It surprises me to find that I’ve been here since May 2012, my oldest title being DS164 Holst – The Planets. I remember that one being released (a de-watermark of an original DVD-A), and I note with some sadness that the conductor was Andre Previn who is no longer with us. Always Mr Preview in our hearts in the UK.

          • oxforddickie May 29, 2019 at 08:31 #

            Yes, QS/IIa was a very long time ago. So different.

            Mr Morcombe, Wise and Preview will forever be held in our memories with one of the funniest comedy sketches of all time. Oh, and of course, Mr Preview was a greatly talented musician/conductor.

          • T. Bradley May 30, 2019 at 05:07 #

            Thanks for the CB013 info! I don’t think that one is in my collection and I’m in a different area temporarily for work so I will be without torrent access for probably a couple of weeks but hopefully I’ll be back on my main PC and internet connection and be able to regain download access again soon.

          • Glen S. Fleetwood June 8, 2019 at 06:35 #

            The night he died I listened to Beware Young Girls by the late Dory Previn in his hon ah, memory. And drank a toast, to her.

        • oxforddickie May 29, 2019 at 19:13 #

          A problem has indeed been found that affects those who use either DTS or AC3/Dolby Digital. I will create a new iso and do a new posting when it’s ready.

  4. Mats Lindgren May 15, 2019 at 10:40 #

    Thanx for decoding and sharing. J C sounds fantastic,

  5. Greg May 14, 2019 at 06:38 #

    Jim Croce sounded FANTASTIC! Very clean and spacious with no detectable image wander or pumping.

  6. aleckel May 13, 2019 at 02:55 #

    Thanks for decoding and sharing these!!!

  7. Highlander May 10, 2019 at 16:21 #

    Great to learn that you have been continuing your research OD and good to see you posting again. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the update and these offerings. Grateful for your efforts!

  8. forthosewithfourears May 10, 2019 at 09:54 #

    Great to hear your views again OD. Thanks for these releases. N.B. is all of this work being archived somewhere ? I seem to remember comments some time ago about the British Library Sound Archive ??

    • oxforddickie May 10, 2019 at 10:22 #

      There is more work done in the time since shutting the blogs, like the testing and evaluation of publicly available methods of decoding QS and SQ, which I meant to put out at the beginning of the year, just never got around to completing it.

      The British Library is unable to store all of the items it wants to and relys on those doing the work they are unable to do to store the items themselves, but to make them available to them should they need access to the items.

      Anybody in the UK who understands how these essential bodies are (under)funded and how and why it is reliant for “outside” help in keeping items from the British Isles for future generations.

      Although Dutton/Vocalion are doing a valiant job in reissuing a number of quadraphonic masters on SACD, there is no way that they can do is no more than scratch the surface of the quad titles released in the (roughly) 15 years they were released.

      Plus, as I well know, many of the 4-channel masters are no longer available, Rick Wakeman being very unfortunate in that all 3 quad masters of his first albums have dissapeared. Plus, Dutton have found a number of the CBS 4-channel masters to have gone, leaving them a bit of a problem.

  9. Owen Smith May 9, 2019 at 22:16 #

    Yay, new releases. And my login to WordPress still works and gets rid of the adverts!

  10. Bruce Greenberg May 9, 2019 at 21:53 #

    Gorgeous sounding rips. The separation was excellent. These aren’t albums I would have considered buying, but I sure enjoyed hearing them.

    BTW, I wrote the Captain last week and haven’t heard back yet. I haven’t talked to him in 6 months. I hope he’s okay.

  11. qrx9001 May 9, 2019 at 21:10 #

    I’ve missed the ritual of downloading, recording, and listening to your terrific decodes. Today is like Christmas in May! All plans for this evening are being rearranged–it’s back to the ritual I’ve enjoyed over the years. Thank you for your dedication to bringing quadraphonic back to life.

  12. jaypfunk May 9, 2019 at 20:48 #

    Do you happen to know what is going on with Captain Beyond (Bruce)? I know he was sick. He hasn’t updated his blog or answered emails in over a year now. I hope he’s ok.

    • oxforddickie May 9, 2019 at 20:50 #

      I will pass on your comment to The Captain, hopefully he’ll be able to respond himself

  13. jaypfunk May 9, 2019 at 20:45 #

    Great to see you back OD!! Please keep it up.

  14. Keith Guinn May 9, 2019 at 18:17 #

    The Jim Croce conversion is AWESOME Oxford!!! We all know it is not a particularly discrete mix and you certainly squeezed all there is out of each channel. Almost more impressive to me though was the overall warmth of the audio with no noticeable digital artifacts present! I never thought I’d say it but from an audio perspective, it has an overall quality I don’t generally hear in even the best SQ presentations. Well done Sir and thanks for your continued work!

    • oxforddickie May 9, 2019 at 18:49 #

      Thank you for the feedback, am glad you enjoyed the decode.

  15. Michael Eldridge May 9, 2019 at 15:35 #

    Thank you, Richard! Great to see you “back in the game.” Very much looking forward to hearing the new work.

  16. atq May 9, 2019 at 13:55 #

    Great to hear from you again OD. Congratulations on refining your processes!

  17. avpig May 9, 2019 at 13:50 #

    Wow! Thank you so very much! I admire your persistence and commitment.

  18. lupineassassin May 9, 2019 at 13:27 #

    Thanks for uploading these.

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