Feb 122010

DUGOUT CHATTER: armyofquad Edition

RTH: What was your first music-playing device beyond a radio (eg, boom box, Walkman, cheap stereo)?

armyofquad: I had a kid’s record player as a kid. I spent many hours listening to records on it.

RTH: Did quadraphonic releases come with especially cool record covers?

armyofquad: They come in different covers. Many of the Columbia albums have a gold border around the album art. Different labels had their own ways of distinguishing their quad albums.

RTH: Do drugs help or hinder the quad experience?

armyofquad: I wouldn’t know.

RTH: Was The Who‘s Quadrophenia ever released in quad?

armyofquad: There was a quad mix made of Quadrophenia. But it never did get released in quad due to Pete’s disappointment with the technical limitations of the QS quad format, which it was scheduled to be released in. It would be great if they would release it on a modern format now that we have the technology to give it the proper release that it deserves, but getting in touch with The Who has proven to be a bigger challenge then getting in touch with Lou Reed.

RTH: Can there one day be hexaphonic sound?

armyofquad: It’s already gone beyond it. If you shop for a new surround system, someone will probably try to sell you a 7.1 or 7.2 surround system.

Did it take twice as many quarters to play two songs on a quadraphonic jukebox?

Thanks again to armyofquad and BigSteve!


  10 Responses to “It Takes an Army of Quad”

  1. alexmagic

    I’m insulted by the implication that I don’t already own several ELO releases with quadraphonic mixes on them. My copies of the quad mixes of “Mr. Radio” and “Whisper in the Night” and I say good day to you, sir.

  2. Mr. Moderator

    I owe you one, Magic Man! Sorry.

  3. alexmagic


  4. A brilliant and informative interview with a REALLY cool and helpful person. My compliments to all extraquadinary town peoples involved.

  5. Well said, writehear now. I heartly concur.

    I believe the new Nick Cave reissues come with 5.1 mixes. He’s certainly not an artist one associates with audiophiles. I have the reissue of The Firstborn is Dead, which has a big, spooky, cavernous sound, and I can see how that would sound pretty awesome with the right equipment.

  6. diskojoe

    That was a pretty good interview & a good read.

    If any of you are interested in researching Quad in the ’70s, Google Books has back issues of Billboard Magazine from that period that has articles and ads for the equipment & records & even special issues dedicated to Quad.

  7. 2000 Man

    I had a Quad 8 Track when I was a kid. The stereo it was part of originally only came with two speakers, and you were supposed to buy the box next to it with two more for just a little extra. I ended up with some kind of Radio Shack’s for my second pair, and they sounded pretty good. I remember having several Quad 8 tracks, like The Best of The Doors. I didn’t really like the way that many speakers presented the soundstage. I kind of just like two speakers.

    My other complaint about Quad was everything was more expensive. The receiver, the cartridge and turntable (that’s why I just did the 8 track in Quad) and another pair of speakers. It turned whatever room you put it in into a decorating nightmare, trying to fit a stereo and four speakers in. My mom demanded it be in my room, not the extra room because then I’d move the furniture so I could hear all those speakers.

    I’d probably like it more if Malaysian kids had built stereo equipment in the 70’s. Then I could have afforded all that equipment. As it was, I felt that if I spent the same amount on a two channel system, I’d get a better stereo.

    That Doors album didn’t seem to benefit from the Quad experience at all. Dark Side of the Moon and Edgar Winter’s album with Frankenstein were kind of cool, but only in parts. It seemed to me that a lot of time it was like General Motors’ four speaker stereo setup in the old man’s Olds. They called it “Crossfire Stereo” and in the front, the left channel was on the left and the right was on the right. In the back, the right was on the left and the left was on the right. The effect was essentially mono using four speakers.

  8. @ 2000 Man

    I really enjoyed the clear sightedness of your recall. VERY interesting memories popping up there with the 8 track stereo in cars thing. I remember having ELP’s Brain Salad Surgery on 8 track in quad. I believe the case was pink in color. I also remember listening to Physical Graffiti on 8 track in the car only I am pretty certain it wasn’t Quad. I think the last 8 track I ever bought was Grand Funk’s Born To Die.

    You’re whole offering was great. Thanks!

    PS. You most likely already know, but just in case you don’t: I bet you would really enjoy the SACDs that have been released of some of those old Quad mixes. I think most of them sound much better than the original Quad mixes. (sacrilege!) That center channel action does a lot for the sound imagery. With the delay settings that one can control on most AVRs these days, you can get some awesome imagery and detail.

  9. BigSteve

    I wonder if they do quad mixes of string quartets where each instrument is in its own channel. Wouldn’t that be weird, to feel like you were sitting in amongst the players?

    When I’m at the movies, I always think it’s weird when sound comes from behind me. I don’t like the feeling of being ‘in the middle of the action.’ Come to think of it, I don’t like that feeling in real life either. I guess it’s just my nature to keep my distance.

    I will refrain from mentioning Brecht’s concept of the ‘distancing effect,’ and I won’t use his word — Verfremdungseffekt — because you guys might think that was pretentious.

  10. I’ve not heard a string quartet quad mix done like that, but there have been classical quad mixes done that put the listener in the middle of the orchestra, which is an interesting way to listen. But that seems to be frowned upon now. There was a quad release of Bartok – Concerto for Orchestra that had this kind of mix. The album cover artwork shows the arrangement of the instruments around the listener, and has an explanation in the gatefold cover. This performance was reissued on SACD, with the same front cover artwork showing the layout of instruments around the listener (the same artwork was used for the original stereo issue as well), and the SACD also included 5.1 surround. Except that they didn’t use the quad mix, or attempt to mix it anything like it. They just put some reverb in the back to try and simulate a concert hall. It was quite disappointing.

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