Echoes from 1974:
appraisal of the musical possibilities of quadraphony, and
some speculation about potential future developments"
Bernstein and the London Symphony Orchestra recording Stravinskys
Rite of Spring in Abbey Road, Studio 1, 7th and 8th April
Editor, HiFi News and Record Review
first published in HiFi News and Record Review
to mono. P. Spector
The music of the future is directed towards a third ear. F.
on illustrations for a larger view
the technical merits and otherwise of the various quadraphonic
disc reproducing systems have been exhaustively argued (with,
one hopes, some progress toward an eventual standard) the problems
facing the record producer confronting the new medium are similarly
fraught, not to say intimidating. Suddenly, the entire activity
of music recording has to be reappraised, which gives rise to
a polarity of attitudes even greater than those current on the
technical side. Before attempting a summary, it would be as well
to remember how we have come to the present stage.
Until the extensive introduction of four-channel recording, successive progress
through mono and stereo was a progressive relaxation of suspension of belief.
The listener was (and still is) helped by aural conventions which grew out
of necessity. The single mono source had reverberation spread in a narrow line
behind it. Stereo broadened this out, but the illusion of depth was maintained
in order to suggest to the listener that he was somewhere else, or that his
front room was somewhat larger than it might appear. This was additionally
helped by the possibility of random phase differences between the two channels,
which caused more attention to be paid to reverberation. As well as receding
layers of perspective, we then head a lateral displacement corresponding to
the spread of an orchestra from not-quite-the-best seats. But with the advent
of four channel periphery (quadraphony?) the possibility arose of presenting
the listener with an illusion of sound from any direction. No longer is it
necessary to fold back mentally the acoustic to surround oneself, for it will
shortly be possible to simulate the effect, at least in a horizontal or vertical
plane. Although we are presupposing for much of this article that four speakers
are to be used symmetrically, this is not necessarily the ideal method; time
will only tell.
But the quadraphonic step differs in another critical point in that for the
first time the medium is ahead of the recording techniques used to feed it.
It does not have the years of experimentation that benefited stereo and which
made its introduction relatively free of technical and aesthetic problems.
Additionally, it raised musical problems which never arose for stereo because
of its stage width being coincident with that normal in the live situation.
The aim of this article is to present the different approaches possible to
the medium. Perhaps it is over-idealistic to assume that we can eventually
consider an ideal, even distribution of space, even on four channel tape. It
is also pointless to speculate dreamily on situations which might or might
not exist, technically speaking. It is necessary to think at the most of opportunities
which may be exploited shortly, and for which the record companies are preparing
themselves. Thus, it is wrong to assume that the shortcomings of matrix or
discrete are irrelevant to a producers thoughts. Some facets may be objectionable,
and progress will slowly be to eliminate anything that unduly limits or annoys,
but to attempt to ignore them would be production suicide. Further, discrete
tape is still far from being an ideal, faceless all-communicating medium as
some might think. There is no such thin. All media impose their own characteristics
to some extent -- there is nothing truly 'lifelike. Any system
must define limits which must be viewed not necessarily as a confinement, but
as a framework within which to work. Shortcomings can certainly be used creatively.
For example, feedback was always a problem with the electric guitar, until
it was exploited for its sustaining and tone-changing properties. Now, it is
used as a piece of standard technique. However, with quadraphony in its infancy,
the advantages are far from being fully utilized or explored, and the next
few years will be spent developing within it. It is only when restrictions
are felt and properly understood that they can be tackled constructively and
turned upside-down. And if it took some time for stereo to reach maturity,
quadraphony may take even longer.
stages of their development up to stereo, so-called-classical recordings
were ostensibly documentary. They purported to convey the impression
of the music being performed at a concert. We must reappraise our
expectations of the quadraphonic medium. We anticipate that it
will be capable of giving the illusion of a sound source placed
at any point around us. On record, one can argue that Beethoven
can be represented, as a documentary of a concert that might have
happened. The record is a good attempt at recreation. The alternative
is to view his music as presented on a gramophone record, and in
this light the conflict between record and concert hall performance
disappears. Each stands in its own right, and each takes the original
score at its starting point. The record thus ceases to be a poor
relation of the concert, and the concert will not be a disappointment
in technical comparison with records.
Mussorgskys Pictures at an Exhibition, July 1973, in
All Hallows Church Gospel Oak. London. New Philharmonic Orchestra
conducted by Charles Mackerras. Producer: Seymour Solomon.
Engineer: Bob Auger
1. Left Strings/Horns
2. Right Strings
6. Bass Drum/Cymbals/
In a stereo
recording, any differences in recording philosophy between the
two approaches are slight and are often overlooked, even if to
do so is a little unwise. The stereo stage puts limits on instrumental
placing similar to those experienced by the classical composers
such as Haydn and Mozart, and arguments about the merit of a particular
recording reflect a hypothetical concert: texture, balance, perspective
and the like, as well as the directly conveyed musical aspects
of phrasing, tempo, etc. With quadraphony, for the first time on
record, it is feasible to present music in a radically different
manner from the concert hall, and very uncomfortable it is for
all concerned. Although the debates presently center on the self-explanatory surround
vs. ambient lines, the argument is really paralleled by documentary
vs. original recording. Discussing the differences is no
made easier by having to use terms appropriate to the old concert
hall aesthetic, but these reasonably show our dependence on past
The uses of the present ambient approach to quadraphony are often far from
truly documentary. RCA frequently use the orchestra spread out in an arc of
up to 180º. Instead of the best seat, we are now on the conductors
rostrum, for no-one else experiences such an angle, and such a philosophy almost
combines the merits of surround and ambient in providing a concert-hall ambiance
with wide separation. 180º is a wide arc, perhaps three times the normal
stereo listening arc. Full surround only doubles this, only doubles the space
available for instrumental placing. It would seem likely that some elements
would become too disparate, because of this natural extension.
And if they do, does the conductor mind as he performs? And what if he does?
Our acceptance of some other clarifying distortions is almost complete.
Bornoff mentions a recollection of watching Furtwängler listening to a
tape of his concert performance of Beethovens ninth and objecting
to the fact that
the repeated semi-quavers of the opening bars were
to be heard separately and severally. He had intended them to be a misty, blurred
background to the falling figure preparing the full statement of the first
for Strings, Percussion and Celeste instructs that the various
solo instruments be brought forward, in order to point their
contrast and interplay with the body of the strings. It would
be a natural extension of the score to separate these in space,
for Bartók seems clearly limited by the practical demands.
The Concerto for Orchestra appears not so suitable, since
although the concertante element underlines the scoring, the
roles of the instrumental groups change more broadly between
solo and subservient throughout the piece. Yet Boulez has recorded
it in surround for Columbia (CBS); while he never hesitates to
innovate (obviously), in his conducting he is equally never less
than consistent with the scores demands. Clearly, the personal
aesthetic is crucial, and Boulezs own preoccupation with
clarity finds an outlet here.
The Concerto was
recorded in December 1972 with the New York Philharmonic in the Grand
Ballroom of the Manhattan Center, and the sleeve gives extensive details
of recording layout and reduction. Producer Thomas Shepard used a full
360º spread in the orchestra layout, necessitating the provision
of two scores for Boulez and a considerable extra demand on his technique.
Perhaps this is easy for one who has conducted two orchestras in independent
tempi, but one wonders how adaptable a less experimentally-eared conductor
As explained in the sleeve-notes, in parts of the Elegia and Finale the
clarinets and bassoons had their positions changed from left-back to right-back
because, as already suggested, their function in the piece changes. Here, movement
enabled exposure of the antiphony between clarinets/bassoons and flutes/oboes,
and the step is defended in the notes which speak of recording whose sole
purpose is to clarify and intensify the musical experience. That this much-trumpeted
release is to be remixed before its English stereo issue (for reasons of woodwind
positioning) shows that stereo compatibility, while important, is not uppermost
in the producers mind. (In this case there was no point in insisting on
an unconventional placing, even if it was as reasonable as the usual one, because
it did not add anything to the music.) Eventually, compatibility considerations
will fade, as they did with mono/stereo, but that can only happen if and when
quad is normal for domestic listening and the disc problem has been resolved.
A few years yet, perhaps.
It is no accident that the surround philosophy is strongest in America. Although
we are busy celebrating 75 years of EMI and Deutsche Grammophon in contrast to
the BBCs 51st birthday, radio broadcasting of live music has a much stronger
tradition here than in the US. Due to the enormously inflated costs of live as
compared with needle time, concert broadcasting in the US is by now almost nonexistent.
However, European radio stations have an explicit commitment to the documentary
music reproduction: Tonights concert comes to you from the Royal
Festival Hall, London
Quadraphonic remix room, Abbey Road, 1974
the fields of broadcasting and recording overlap, so you might
expect the balance to shift. The general demand of criticism here
is that a concert hall balance shall be simulated, which influences
the record producer in his turn. He has to sell records, and no-one
will buy one with an unnatural balance. And whatever
the drawbacks of such an inherently conservative influence, it
protects us from the brash vagaries of the cold commercial world
An objection raised to surround sound is that
the listener is placed in the middle of the orchestra.
To be pedantic, he isnt, but it sounds as if he is.
If you are convinced you are in the woodwind section, your
belief is too far suspended. Yet it isnt the center
of an orchestra as we know it, for such rearrangement would
create extreme difficulties of ensemble. You are not in
the center of the orchestra, but in a place about which
orchestral sounds are distributed, otherwise the flute
on which you happened to be sitting would be considerably
noisier than the cellos.
The balance which is attempted by the present surround
protagonists is that which is obtained in the accepted best-seat-in-the-hall.
This was always the composers intention in the concert hall
(although if one accepts, as in much Baroque and earlier music,
that the listener was incidental to the players, another question
arises). Even this is a function of conditioning, for the cellos
and basses are frequently too low, the percussion too distant;
on practical recordings such difficulties are quietly remedied,
without any objections. It has now reached the point where our
conditioning expects a balance other than the natural one
obtaining in real performance. And in passing, it is worth noting
that the experience of some producers is that the cellos and basses
do not need boosting in quad remix, for their line is clarified.
The first problem encountered in spreading out an orchestra is one of texture,
because an instrument is integrated within a carefully anticipated context,
and because it has to relate to its musical neighbor. This is already difficult
in the concert hall: a required blending of trumpet and horn is difficult because
they are often so far apart. Would Bruckner have rearranged his orchestra if
it had been physically possible? Conversely, when Brahms scores for cellos
and basses a third apart, would the clarity given by separating slightly be
an advantage? When Berlioz scores parallel thirds in flutes might he envisage
parallel movements in different places, or is he thinking of a truly polyphonic
flute? His characteristic scoring for unison clarinet and flute leaves little
doubt that a combination of tone colors in the same place is being simulated.
fifth piece of Elliott Carters Eight Etudes and a Fantasy
for wind quintet, is simply the same note repeated on different
instruments. It is the most basic example of the Klangfarbernmelodie
first introduced by Schoenberg, in which the contrast in tone-colours
assumes the rôle of melody. For such a piece in isolation, one
might even be tempted to pile the instruments one on top of each other,
to play down their spatial differences.
This Carter example demands integration because it is specifically conceived
as a melody. It would be uncomfortable to fragment any such single strand in
space, and any conventional tune seems to resist any peripatetic encouragement.
But if we were to accept instrumental movement in the same way that we expect
singers to move in an opera recording, then aspects of a development could be
emphasized. Each voice of a Bach four-part fugue could commence at a particular
point, and could move away as necessary. Eventually all would recombine. The
form of the spatial orientation could reflect that of the music. To have any
musical significance it must, no matter whether it is derived consciously or
intuitively, and in this case it might be fair to deduce that some movement was
implied by the score.
One limitation which thankfully restricts the disintegrating tendency of anything surround is
our inability to resolve directions aurally as well as we are able to visually.
It is possible to sense the direction of a forward sound to within a few degrees
(this even holds for loudspeaker listening, even though the sound field is not
the same, and contains conflicting directional information). Fortunately, it
is not so easy to distinguish the separate directions of two simultaneous sounds.
In the same way, a chord is more difficult to separate and define than its constituent
notes. These are basics of compositional technique without such confusion
many textural effects would be impossible. So any move toward spreading out instruments
must be informed by an awareness of the composers intention as demonstrated
in the score, and this is open to alternative interpretation, as always.
Since the producer is now in charge of a medium capable of more than mere simulation,
his responsibility increases. Any creative thoughts are further complicated by
the changing functions of each instrument throughout a piece, such as in Bartôks Concerto already
mentioned. And it might feel uncomfortable to have clarinets popping up in various
places, especially if they popped up somewhere to take an unassuming role since
they changed suddenly, their presence would be emphasized, with possible distortion
of the music. As in present stereo opera voice production, continuity might be
most easily preserved by moving instruments only when sounding.
These examples give an indication of extensions of quadraphonics which, while
not on record yet, are nevertheless in many producers minds. But even if
we subscribe to the surround philosophy in theory, the results can be very disturbing
since we have many preconceived notions of the sounds we expect. The conditioning
of many years is not to be denied, and even our reactions away from it must be
influenced by a conscious desire to overthrow it. Nevertheless it seems essential
to opt for a conservative rather than a preservative tradition. Change there
must certainly be, even if its rate and direction are variable. If we were to
insist on the continuance of quadraphonic records in a documentary form, we would
not only be denying the right of the medium to exist for itself, but further
perpetuating the disadvantages of stereo. If quadraphony is to be used to simulate
ambiance, it must be justified on this basis. Possibilities for change would
present themselves, and these must be judged in the context of the medium itself.
It is now even more necessary to acknowledge that the recording exists in its
own right. This is the same change of emphasis a happened in painting in the
early part of this century when it progressed form the representational to the
abstract, creating in a world completely removed from that which provided for
ChavezThe Four Suns in Abbey Road, March
respects the evolution of the concert hall had as one of its unattractive
features the elimination of antiphonal thoughts from the minds of
many composers. Such possibilities only remained within the restricted
concert platform, and even such string devices conceived by Beethoven,
Brahms and the German school are lost by the traditional orchestral
layout which places first and second violins together. The classic
examples of antiphony come from the pre and early Baroque era: the
many-choired brass of Giovanni Gabrieli, Des Prez et al, and the
choral demands of Schütz in particular whose performance wishes
have only recently been reincarnated by Roger Norringtons Heinrich
Schütz Choir, with concerts in appropriate settings and original
choral distributions. Their Argo recording of music for two choirs
is an attempt within the limitations of stereo to recreate the original
intention. The sleeve recommends that if possible the listener sit
between the speakers; thus, a closer approximation to the original
performance is obtained.
To mention that his four-choir music is natural for surround
sound is an understatement. The brass music finds an immediate
outlet on CBS, and it provides them with a very convenient Quadraphonic
Sound Spectacular. For this is music that sidesteps accusations
of gimmickry by neatly incorporating it into the music. However,
this will certainly not always be the case, and it seems necessary
to reiterate the producers difficulties here. The St.
Matthew Passion seems destined for eventual quadraphonic presentation
because of its two-choired arrangement, and because of Bachs
original intentions, which reflected his church at Leipzig (St.
Thomas). (Whether he conceived music for the particular setting,
or whether his vision was forcibly accommodated, is sidestepped
by acknowledging that he too was writing for a particular medium.)
Whether the score suggests further changes will be seen eventually,
but recording may overcome any original limitations, and it would
be wrong to impose them for the sake of academic authenticity.
A parallel may be drawn here with Messiah performance: many
people who shake their heads sadly about large-scale productions
in the Albert Hall would be disappointed by a small one. So do
we ban it from the place because it wasnt conceived there,
or do we acknowledge the peculiar limitations extant? The St.
John Passion seems at first sight to be fairly inappropriate
for surround (and it was not designed for St. Thomas) but
conclusions must be drawn after reappraising the score in the light
of quad possibilities.
Contemporary composers, in common with pop musicians, have no traditions to
restrict their use of the medium, Stockhausen and Boulez between them have
prompted hundreds of people to follow and rediscover the musical directionality
which slumbered through the classical and Romantic periods. But again, in these
examples it is necessary to be aware of what is documentary, for it will affect
the way we approach it. Their music may be subject to the same debates in 150
years time as Beethovens is now.
These examples of historical and contemporary quadraphony
provide every reason for utilizing four channels. For the demands of the medium
coincide with a documentary attitude: everyone is satisfied. But it must not
divert attention from the real arguments.
The larger part of this article is concerned with worrying about the implications
of spreading sound around the listener, because this is a newer idea which
needs placing in perspective. The prevailing contention is that the score is
the starting point; concert hall and record are of the same parent. The record
does not derive from the concert hall. However, in the minds of many listeners
it does, and the closest approach to the original sound is their
requirement of quad. Whether this is shortsighted is beside the point, for
it is a result of conditioning which is common to all of us, and if this is
cut off then one would be somewhat adrift.
Chavez Piramide in Abbey Road, March 1972
recordings can receive a justification by each of the two philosophies.
The documentary one needs no further laboring. But rear ambiance
can contribute very positively to forward image placement. Compare
the effect of a natural (sic) recording with a crossed-pair derived
reverberation or a normal commercial multi-mike recording with microphone-derived
reverberation with that of an ultra-close recording utilizing added
plate or small chamber resonance. Something is lacking on the latter.
It has been suggested that addition of carefully controlled out-of-phase
signals to rear speakers (0²17 of the corresponding front
intensity) can improve center image location, because the acoustic
power and amplitude are consistent with the real situation in a way
that is impossible with just two speakers. Arguments for and against
pan-potting do not affect this.
not seem to have been considered for exploitation in practical four-channel
recordings. But the ambiance on such as the RCA Shostakovich Symphony
15, which is an outstanding stereo recording anyway with a clear
evocation of the concert hall, helps place instruments to an astonishing
degree. The folding back of the acoustic, which gives a considerable
amount of reverberation in stereo, opens out to an enormously spacious,
faithful sound. EMIs SQ recordings add depth, although the
crosstalk between front and back speaker pairs brings the front desks
more forward into the room. The disassociation of the sound from
the speakers is often noted, and this shows that we have at least
taken a small step in the direction of establishing a sound field
rather than just suggesting one. One only becomes aware of the rear
speakers when they are switched off. A backhanded compliment, but
a very real one.
Until we fully understand the mechanism by which image placement is helped
by the short-term room-derived reverberation, we will be unable to rationalize
the effect of phase distortions introduced by matrix systems. However, the
ambient productions now appearing from EMI do suggest that much information
carries across. The feeling of depth seems to enhance the orchestral tone by
layering it outwards from the listener in a much more real way than with stereo.
Complex works such as Schmitts Psalm 47 for soloists, chorus and
large orchestra or Waltons Belshazzars Feast actually open
out. The CD-4 system, which does not suffer from such phase anomalies, might
be a better candidate for such image enhancement, although the advantage would
be a trifle academic if the ear did not require a consistent reverberation
phase characteristic anyway. Since nobody relies on a coincident four-channel
microphone for professional recording, it is obvious that such ambient advantages
as may be possible will be reduced to start with.
A common counter-argument to ambient production points out that the listener
will eventually be able to synthesize an acoustic with a fair accuracy, given
the distantly foreseeable advances in integrated circuit technology. But, even
sweeping technical difficulties aside, this overlooks the absence of an ideal
acoustic common to all music. Reverberation time will be (is) adjustable by
a single control, but such variation is crude, and misses details of room frequency
response and resonance, as well as the frequency dependence of the short-and-long-tem
reverberation itself. If and when the disc field settles down, we will probably
see a massive reprocessing of stereo recordings for quad. These will not be
as objectionable as processed mono is at the side of stereo, for components
are added; there is no distortion of the original recording. The synthesized
ambiance may be unrelated to the original recording room, but no more so than
the artificial reverberation discreetly added to many stereo discs.
The difficulties of adapting classical music, music which we can define for
our purposes as being of an age when present techniques were unknown, are traceable
to an unwillingness to depart form the composers original concept. As
such, they often parallel arguments about original vs. contemporary instruments
in old music. On music written for current instruments, no problems of authenticity
arise. The listener is the arbiter here, for the composer often has little
compunction in altering and adapting previously finalized material to his own
ends, frequently rewriting in view of subsequent developments and hearings.
The philosophies and implications of the original are carried over further.
Maxwell Davies preoccupation with and exploitation of the tensions between
transformed and original are well known. But it was Stockhausen who crystallized
the idea of a dynamic tradition in Kurzwellen mit Beethoven (StockhovenBeethausen
Opus 1970), which was prompted by a request in 1970 for a lecture on Beethoven.
Four players are each equipped with tape recorder and loudspeaker by which
they can play a continuous but disjointed stream of Beethovens music.
They proceed to react against one another and play their tapes as and when
it feels appropriate.
In Stockhausens words, our aim is not to interpret,
to hear with fresh ears musical material that is familiar, old,
performed; and to penetrate and transform it with a contemporary
musical consciousness. For this music is not fenced off and dead,
but is rather a living generative force: an immediate cause and
pretext for the new and the unknown. The heard results are
important as a demonstration of the underlying idea. If the adaptation
and extension of classical music to the gramophone is less extreme,
it still requires the same reappraisal.
Classical music production is easier to rationalize than pop. Classical music
can be described in terms of a set of established values, even if the contemporary
preoccupation is in denying them. The other cannot. Where pop music has a tradition,
it is not codified, and attempts to do so in print easily sound pretentious.
The end results sound dramatically different, and are enjoyed in different
fashion, for better or worse. And yet pop production seems to respect the same
values as classical, with a different emphasis. Where it differs is that it
is completely unequivocal in its wholehearted use and abuse of the gramophone
facilities, and as a result it does not suffer from the curious schizophrenia
induced by the rigors of having to serve a performing culture. It couldnt
anyway, for performance sound is often dire. Perhaps the sound of Blind Lemon
Jefferson might have been reproduced compete with his chickens, but this would
be as silly as the example of recording the Trout Quintet in a room
full of stuffed furniture, quoted by Paul Myers of CBS in his original argument
for surround sound. With such freedom, you would expect progress.
For pop, it is only what it sounds like on the record that counts, and a novelty
or new direction is as attractive as it is abhorrent to a classical tradition.
And from the earliest records, when players stepped up o the microphone for
their solos, no-one has accused the gramophone of purveying reality. The record
dominance is so all-embracing that PA in performance will consciously set out
to simulate a recording, replete with stereo panning and modest effects. This
is even carried to the extent of people using prerecorded effects tape, or
that an ambitious drum PA sound resembles the record more than the real thing.
In the classical field it has only recently happened that new techniques have
been exploited for their inherent possibilities. Previously, successive technical
refinements were in terms of a progressive approach to perfection, and production
did not utilize a new invention unless it moved the recording closer to a preconceived
ideal. Pop music uses something if it sounds interesting, and it does not necessarily
have to be of a high technical standard. For example, the modest Grampian spring
reverberation unit is frequently used in the studio, not because it sounds
like the real thing, but because its peaky response enhances instruments such
as guitar and flute. An equal signal to the front speakers out of phase produces
the well-known disturbing imprecise effect; this was gleefully seized on by
George Martin in producing Sergeant Pepper. Since there is no predetermined
standard, anything is fair game. And there are none of the precedents that
form a line which can be extrapolated forward in classical music. There are
relatively few consistencies, but many innovations in pop. Everything derives
from the techniques available, and the best one can envisage at present is
a gradual extension and inspired variation of stereo methods. So a brief general
mention of current studio techniques will give the clearest insight. Here,
the limitations of the reproductions also make themselves felt.
Any self-respecting rock band records masters in at least 8-track, and has
done so for the last four or five years. 16-track tends to be used whenever
possible, although this is often just for the convenience of musical subdivision,
and 24-track (on 2 in. tape) is now being successfully introduced into some
London and American studios. Such extensive division means that original multitrack
recording techniques for stereo are at present practically unchanged when quadraphony
is in mind, although readjustment must follow. Further, it means that old masters
can be remixed to four channels; at the time of writing, Tony Clarke and engineer
Derek Varnals have remixed all of the Moody Blues seven albums (except In
Search of the Lost Chord, which is to be finished shortly). Although at
first Days of Future Past was only recorded in four-track, it was still
feasible to remix it for quad.
As regards separation in pop recording, there is no difference
of approach if quad is the intention. The extreme separation automatically
sacrifices any natural sense of context in the interests
of artistic flexibility, and the decision is not affected by the
end product. Some leakage might actually prove beneficial, as it
can in stereo, but it is not sought after and is generally regarded
as a nuisance. By the same token, monitoring is unchanged, since
the aim is to get the music recorded for eventual remix, although
of course the engineer is far from being unconcerned with the balance
and blend at this stage.
Monitoring for remix gives difficulty. The automatic tendency
is to put the speakers in the four corners of a square room, with
resulting detriment to the smoothness of the bass response because
of the irregular horn effect of the corners. EMI, in their specially-designed
quadraphonic remix room, alleviate the problem to some extent by
mounting their JBL Monitors high on brackets rather than having
them floorstanding, but the corner still provides emphasis. The
obvious solution is to mount one speaker in the center of each
wall, with the engineer oriented to face a corner of the room.
(This, again, is merely thinking in terms of symmetrical placement.)
However, we live in a practical world, and until triangular mixers
start to be the thing, speakers will remain in corners. Other studios
often have markedly rectangular control rooms, so that speakers
face each other across the room. Lack of symmetry to match the
speaker is not consistent in all directions, but this is not troublesome
Quadraphonic remix room, Abbey Road, with Stuart Eltham engineering
It is at
remix stage that the limitations of the disc reproduction systems
being to bite. But the restrictions must be viewed in a more constructive
light than is often the case. The normal tendency is to point out
what a system cannot do, and her it is inevitable because the standard
is set by the four-track half-inch tape master. However, it is a
cold fact of life that at present there is no disc system which will
reproduce four channel tape with the efficiency with which it can
cope with stereo, and we already concede a live with the stereo cutting
restrictions. It appears that this will be so until some Technical
Revolution arrives. The obvious candidate is some form of FM disc
for which audio would be indebted to video technology. Not only is
the bandwidth available, but the familiar deficiencies of the analogue
disc, surface noise and end-of-side distortion, do not appear. Unfortunately,
since audio industry Technological Revolutions seem to happen but
once every ten years, we may have to wait a while. The most we can
see at present is a combination of matrix and CD-4 disc, as has been
proposed but not much exploited on record. Although much of this
article has concerned itself with possibilities of discrete channel
reproduction, present activities must be viewed realistically, and
acceptance or rejection of the medium based on the whole.
The Moody Blues remixing, which was done in response to a request from
the Amp Corporation of the USA, was intended for discrete tape in cartridge
form. No disc version is intended at present. (Incidentally, it is an interesting
paradox that the quad cartridge market in the States relies almost completely
on in-car entertainment sales, so we have the prospect of an environment relatively
hostile to audio keeping afloat its furthest technical advance; and not only
that giving possibly the best commercial results.) The Moodies have always
been outstandingly produced, and they will doubtless be among the leaders in
exploiting quad. The textural problems mentioned earlier could have proved
troublesome; their stereo is notable for its thick layering, and the remix
has thinned it somewhat, but the dramatic advantage of the placing more than
compensates.The earliest albums were recorded in two successive four-track
stages, and their rejuvenation was an interesting exercise. One four-track
tape was filed, then submixed to two tracks of another four, from which the
original stereo master was produced. Six tracks are thus made available by
rerunning the two original four-track masters in sync. But this still did not
give sufficient flexibility, particularly for the orchestra, which was originally
recorded in straight stereo on two tracks. In passages where the orchestra
is unaccompanied, the effect would be anticlimactic after the full orchestra-and-group
surround if it were merely placed across the front speakers and echoed in the
experimentation, the orchestra was placed in front, with ordinary
reverberation from the rear, but additional plates were used with
deliberate peaks and dips introduced into the response. The orchestra
at the front was treated in reverse of the echo: peak for dip and
dip for peak. Although ordinary top and bottom roll off/on was considered,
it was rejected as giving too lopsided an effect. The final result
displays an astonishing amount of spread and movement, particularly
on transients and high notes such as from harp and flute. Further,
there is no aurally obvious phase anomaly, as often proves objectionable
with reprocessed mono, or pseudo-stereo. If there is any discrepancy,
it is between front and back and therefore masked by the limits of
side-hearing perception. Although the plate-echo process relies on
phase distortion, its randomness as used in this synthesis is in
marked contrast with more controlled forms. And it was only conceivable
because there were no ideals to influence the end product other than
basic musical ones.
The Moody Blues quad remixing was done specifically for four-channel
tape cartridge, with minimal restriction on instrumental placing. Remixing
for SQ is more complex, and the engineer has an already problematic task complicated
still further by limitations on his instrument placement. The disappearance
of centre-back images when reduced to mono is well-known, but cutting difficulties
restricting out-of-phase (vertical) amplitude mean that such sounds could not
be cut at a high level anyway. In practice, the line from centre-back to mid-centre
is avoided in balancing, and this reduces the scope of any ideas of so-called in-head sounds,
sounds which by being placed in the center of the room literally feel in ones
head. However, developments are in progress which will permit this in the near
future. The normal place to put the bass guitar in a stereo recording is in
the center, which does not trouble the cutter at all, in sharp contrast to
the situation if strong signals were put to the left and right.
The corners give strong location, and are used freely, although the tendency
seems to be to keep the heavier instruments forward. Since centre-front is
natural for the bass, the drums often follow it to settle into a conventional
stereo position. However, centre-sides are also difficult for precise image
placement, although this could be turned to advantage if a diffuse sound were
the requirement: inherent phase anomalies are assisted and masked by the ears
inability to resolve side sounds. However, centre-side level is also slightly
limited by the cutting, so if a thick, heavy bass is wanted, it cannot comfortably
be put there.
A standard technique for spreading the bass across front stereo is to use two
feeds, one directly injected from the instrument, the other from a microphone
on the cabinet. If the phase were consistent between the two, the perceived
image would be central; that it usually isnt indicates the discrepancy,
and stereo cutting can prove troublesome. Extension of this technique to the
disc quad is unlikely. Fast tape delays give a similar effect, by acting as
a frequency-independent delay line, but the same difficulties recur. In short,
standard image-broadening techniques cannot be comfortably applied to disc;
they are often uncuttable due to banning of large difference signals at center
side and center back, and strong signals in the areas of vague definition both
are effectively the same, of course. It is paradoxical that we should be thinking
of spreading the image, anyway.
It is possible that matrix limitations will be exploited just as out-of-phase
stereo has been, although the aural effects are not on tape but would be anticipated
on encoding. However, current developments in logic circuitry, with all their
own peccadilloes, are certain only in that they will eventually supersede todays
simple black boxes. So with many matrix systems available (albeit little on
record apart from SQ) one wouldnt want to labor on this point.
system also falls short of many expectations, although some are being
resolved. Predistortion techniques are assisting carrier linearity,
and it is hoped that present restrictions in cutting amplitude will
lift to give playing time comparable with stereo. Noise and tracking
difficulties are being reduced, and real-time cutting is foreseeable.
The system, as always, is a compromise of conflicting interests,
many of which are traceable to the channel interdependence of the
disc. Again, this limitation is simply an extension of stereo, and
such restrictions inevitably apply to all disc systems. The conflicting
requirements of bandwidth and amplitude within a fixed information
storage capacity will continue to be a general principle applying
to all reproduction systems, tape as well as disc. How they are optimized
depends in the first instance on the music to be reproduced, but
producers will certainly adjust within its limitations (assuming
that they persist and that the Technological Revolution does not
overtake us before they do so).
Chavezs Piramide in Abbey Road, March 1972. London Symphony
Orchestra conducted by the composer. Producer: Paul Myers.
Engineer: Robert Gooch
1. 1st/2nd Violins
can often seem empty, surround can be positively barren. The difficulty
stems partly from the use of carefully separated tracks. In conventional
ultra-close microphone technique, the ambiance of the studio is practically
denied, and the existence of any useful short-term ambient information
is accidental. The aim is to simulate the sound field, not reproduce
it. Long-term ambiance comes from echo plate or chamber, but since
in general there are fewer echo-send channels than instruments, this
does not aid directionality, but merely clothes the overall sound
in response to the common input. Experiments with quadraphonic plates
have not been too successful so far, and have not spawned any high
quality commercial versions. Present practice is to use two stereo
ones. Echo chambers have always provided a smoother, more acceptable
sound, but their size seems to preclude much use other than in the
wide open spaces of North America.
This separation has the subjective effect of denying the
instruments a common context, and hence the sparseness mentioned
earlier. For example, in stereo drum recording, the kit can often
seem over-separated, particularly if one part is used sparingly and
the producer has spread the others out unduly: if he hits his floor
tom-tom only occasionally and it is too separate, it can seem like
an irrelevant bonking, unrelated to any of the other sounds. Thus,
quadraphonics makes the drummer nervous. On the other hand, bringing
a stereo drum kit forward so that the bass drum is hitting the top
of your head is startlingly effective, if rather oppressive. It increases
the immediacy without any extra disparity between sections. For the
solo instruments, the difficulty is that they can find themselves
isolated in one place. Since the image width is marginal in comparison
with a classical string or wind section, and since there isnt
a common relative ambiance, it is difficult to get the sense of coherence
of a mono single. Maybe Phil Spector was right.
It is probably worth looking at an example which goes wrong. The music of Sly
and the Family Stone relies for its rhythmic power not so much on the individual
instruments but on their interaction. Independent activities are quite banal
if singled out, but coalesce to form an exciting rhythmic texture which fills
a stereo spread fairly comfortably. But when this is pulled out in quad, a
sense of interrelationship is lost. In Dance to the Music at one point
there is a gradual accumulation of solo instruments (I want to add a
) which bit by bit enlarges the song by adding to
what went before, extending rather than breaking away. Whereas on the stereo
mix all is confined between the front speakers, in quad things disintegrate
when instruments are dumped in the four corners. The American Gamble-Huff combination
is now reproducing for quad, and on the strength of 360 Degrees of Billy
Paul seem destined for as much success as in mono and stereo. Their production
is characterized by clean, open arrangements where everything is meant to be
heard. The extension of this album at least shows that such an approach transposes
very easily, in direct contrast with Sly Stone.
no conscious enlargement is taking place yet, it appears that when
original recordings are made specifically for quad, more filling-in
will be needed, and this might be one eventual justification for
24- or 32-track recorders. Objections to the cost of such a production
mirror those of a few years ago about 16-track for stereo. Whether
we re now at the ceiling remains to be seen.
Sly uses quad to apply gimmicks to the music, other more successful productions
reverse this. The Pink Floyd, also among the leaders in production techniques,
no use quadraphonic sound in performance, albeit in a very different
way to on record; all three albums since Atom Heart Mother have been
remixed, although that is the only one presently available on disc. The
most recent, Dark Side of the Moon was remixed by Alan Parsons,
the engineer, with the intention of maintaining the stereo balance while
exploiting the four-channel medium subject to the limits of the SQ disc.
The stereo version is characterized by a thickness of sound which is
nevertheless localized in contrast with the Moody Blues approach and
it extends to quad without much difficulty. But when they attack from
all sides with the alarming and chiming clocks at the beginning of Time,
or when the rhythmically tape-delayed vocal line in Us And Them follows
from all four speakers in turn, their point is made rather more easily.
Unfortunately, already the routing complexities are mounting up. This
particular tape delay needed to pass through two record-replay stages
before insertion, in order to synchronize with the music. Although stereo
mixing moved successive image positions, such luxury became almost necessity
in quad; an 8-track machine was needed for just this one effect. If Alans
Psychedelic Breakfast, the sound-effects extravaganza on Atom
Heart Mother, doesnt make full use of extension to quad, it
is a reflection of such limitations.
Classical recording, which has now embraced 8-track, and occasionally 16-track,
is also amenable to quad remixing for surround or ambient,
especially if derived from close microphone techniques. Although pure unadulterated
coincident pairs are used commercially on rare occasions, there do not seem to
be any records around at the moment using its quad equivalent. This seems a reflection
of the large forces on current issues, which are mostly orchestral, and the considerably
increased difficulty of achieving a satisfactory natural balance within a room
too small for them. However, given suitable balance, ambiance and patience, coincident
technique is perfectly feasible, although any surround effects must obviously
happen in the room to be recorded, with subsequent playing difficulties. This
technique, however, will only serve the documentary philosophy. In the experience
of CBS, it is not always necessary to tamper unduly with the orchestral studio
setup for surround. Although their much publicized Abbey Road recording of the Rite
of Spring with Bernstein and the London Symphony Orchestra used an orchestra
scattered around the studio, producer Paul Myers has since used a fairly conventional
arrangement. Fig. 1 shows the layout he and EMI engineer Robert Gooch adapted
for their recent Chavez recordings, again in Abbey road, which involved a large
orchestra with extensive percussion. There was roughly the same number of microphones
as for stereo, and the division of the eight tape tracks was also similar, as
shown in the diagram.
Seymour Solomon, of Vanguard Records, USA, is now something of a father-figure
among quad producers. For July 1973 sessions in London, he used a particularly
elegant setup to record Pictures at an Exhibition, and this is shown in
fig. 2. There were no screens employed at all, and it was because of his rationalization
that these objectionable necessities became superfluous. The intended quadraphonic
remix is also shown. For example, consider the trumpets which are certain to
bleed into the microphone covering the violas to some extent. If the remix puts
the trumpets and violas at opposite sides of the room, the effect would be intolerable,
but because it is arranged here such that the brass is located near the appropriate
string sections, the overall effect will be to broaden out the brass sound without
confusing it. Because of the systematic way in which he folds out the orchestra,
this holds whichever potentially troublesome section you consider - and
the whole reduces to conventional stereo when folded forward. His philosophy
differs slightly from the present CBS surround approach in taking the orchestral
layout as a more emphatic starting point, although problems of separation and
interrelation are frequently solved by the best orchestrators. Since they were
working with that problem initially, such opening out is almost a simple extension.
Ravels arrangement often seemed to open out in an unforeseen, logical way
as a result.
Traditionally, opera has been the first musical form to benefit from improved
techniques in recording, possibly because of its combination of conveniently
short, assimilable sections with its relative inaccessibility of performance.
Opera tends to be expensive and to be produced in less-than-ideal acoustics;
thus it benefits immediately from recording. However, the record is blind, so
one now accepts that the lost dramatic visual element must be counterbalanced
in sounds own terms. This is a battle that is not yet properly won for
concert hall music, even if the principle is discreetly applied in recording.
With opera production, we are now accustomed to having the soloists out forward
in front of the orchestra. And we happily tolerate soloists crossing the stage
in a relatively short space of time - they can run the width of the orchestra
remarkably quickly for their age and size. Disbelief is well suspended, and we
should be thankful. And we can sink Bayreuth orchestra pits at the push of a
Yet so far, no-one has issued a quadraphonic opera, and the repertoire has been
singularly neglected by the various companies active in the field. It becomes
more surprising when one remembers that many operas are recorded 8-track, often
16-track, so that the elements are all comparatively separated as a matter of
course for conventional stereo reproduction.
Expense aside, a ready explanation for some might be the sheer scope of the medium
in its application. The constituents of symphonic music relate contentedly to
each other in the concert hall, and rationale is fairly clear. But opera adds
to orchestral difficulties those of chorus, soloists and their movement. And
so far we have avoided the vexed question of sound effects. Stereo is quite content
in its altering of perspectives and positions for dramatic effect - but
such production takes time and money. If they come off, these ambitious touches
are generally noted and applauded. But if not, if one element is out of balance,
it destroys everything, and the result can be decidedly worse than straight presentation.
Let us not talk glibly about sound effects as if they were just thought into
from such mechanics, there is the problem of choosing the listeners
seat to full advantage. Some would put him in the prompt box, with
orchestra and stage occupying back and front half-circles. (Or we
may put the listener on the ceiling with the speakers on the floor
Or the orchestra could be in front and dispersed around is present
60° or so, with the whole perimeter of the listening area treated
as the stage. This would increase the producers stage
management problems, for it would take longer to walk around
you than it would to pass in front. Suggestions of moving the orchestra
might find outlet here, although for many people the thought of instrumentalists
wandering around would be a little too much even if one were dreaming
of being in among the action. But are we going to continue with a
static magic flute if we have the means to move it? At the least,
it should follow Tamino. Further extensions of this argument in less
obvious situations are easy to anticipate.
Boulez and the New York Philharmonic recording Bartóks
Concerto for Orchestra in the Manhattan Center, New York,
18th December 1972
as ever, each piece must be tackled on its own terms. Wagners
voice treatment would not be too amenable to separation from
the orchestra, since the two tend to form an integral part, a
composite texture. This might generally preclude use of a surround-stage.
But in an aria from Rossini or early Verdi, separation might
be better, since the orchestral tutti is used merely as an anchoring
point for the vocal line, merely as a backcloth. But its banality
could be cruelly exposed. Here gain, the producer is thrust into
a position of responsibility in deciding on the significance
of the various dramatic possibilities, much more so than in stereo.
With Britten, a phone call will do, but Mozart is not so
When quadraphonic opera arrives, it will have to be in grand style. For the
first time, some of Wagners stage management directions can be implemented
- his ideas were often hopeful rather than practical. Directions for
surround effects abound, such as the cow horns in Act Two of Götterdämerung answering
Hagan from various directions, or the similar scene with the Landgraf
at the end of Act One of Tannhäuser. And for once thunder might
be on top of us, although to be similarly involved with the fall of Gibichs
hall might prove a little traumatic. However, one will probably still feel
limited by the absence of height, for Wagners directions draw as much
on heights and depths as do his themes. Brangänes calls from the high
watchtower above the lovers Tristan und Isolde will be simulated
above quad in the same way as horizontal position is implied now; but with
so many effects like this required, it may prove more feasible to wait for
octaphony or whatever. Orchestral extensions will come, for the Ride of
the Valkyries is very much an aerial experience but one would expect
producers to tread carefully.
Verdi Requiem, already recorded by CBS with rear ambiance,
would lend itself naturally to broad changes of scenario, since its
inclination switches from dramatic to theatrical to personal. Again,
however, the producer would approach warily. But this particular
mass has the same staging limitations as opera, and its treatment
must reflect the theater as the church. Rather more hesitation would
occur before any tampering with a Missa Solemnis.
A similar replacement of vision occurs in a ballet
score. The classic example is the Daphnis and Chloë Suite
No. 2 by Ravel, in which the flute personifies the dancer,
or Bartoks Miraculous Mandarin in which the
clarinet plays a similar role. To move the instrumental sound
in sympathy with the music would either enhance the scoring
or it would say the same thing twice and therefore prove
superfluous. If an intuitive correlation were to evolve between
the dynamics and phrasing of music, and position, one could
not be a mere reflection of the other, or it would only pad.
But the spatial form must derive from the music, and be seen
to relate to it in a way neither too obscure nor too obvious.
We already acknowledge simple possibilities, but it may be
that, given the stimulus of an increasingly more open concert
situation, the future listener will be much more aware or
spatial implications and interrelationships than we are.
And the evolution of a reproduction system capable of precise
image placement will assist further.
In a sense, the composer now becomes his own choreographer. The sound is now
the dancer. The directions for image movement in Bernsteins Mass,
for example the oboe solo Epiphany which skips from speaker to speaker,
seem conceived in recorded terms. Use of quadraphonic tape in performance transposes
naturally on to record, one of the few pieces to do so successfully, although
this is largely due to the tapes being a record of natural sounds
as opposed to electronic. With traditional scores, we are on even trickier ground
than with Bach. There will probably be some very trite dancing once
experiments are under way but, as with simpler aspects of quad now, techniques
will evolve by trial and error rather than through isolated academic deliberation.
But who would approach the Rite of Spring with impunity? Boulez recording
of the Miraculous Mandarin was recorded with rear ambiance only. Judging
by his Concerto for Orchestra recording already mentioned, his return
to this score could be illuminating.
So far, electronic music has been avoided. However, it shows every sign of becoming
a popular force, due to the emergence of a generation which has few preconceptions
about music and the increase of pop borrowings, a process which works both ways.
It is a strange coincidence that this is a generation that hears its first music
from a loudspeaker. Media confusion sets in with a vengeance here. The best-known
works for example those of Stockhausen, which are widely available in
remixes for two-channel disc were often not conceived with the listeners
front room acoustics in mind. Nevertheless, one eagerly anticipates four-channel
issue of Gesang der Jünglinge (for five loudspeaker channels) or Hymnen.
Stockhausen, incidentally, in a note on the work reflects the Messiah performance
aesthetics when he speaks of Hymnen for four loudspeakers and soloists: Hymnen for
radio, television, opera, ballet, concert hall, church, open air. In composing
in a fashion accommodating different settings he acknowledges that no one is
ideal, and takes steps to permit adjustment. To realize the conception fully,
an intermediary acoustic must be interposed; that this is often unsatisfactory
is shown by some disastrous attempts by record producers of the past to marry
electronic and live sounds, a problem that is shared with the performers. Simple
sounds, such as that of the ondes martenot and its appearance in Messaiens
and Varèses music do not really concern us, for they are treated
easily as conventional instruments (Jolivet even wrote a concerto for the ondes).
But when complex noises are attempted, confusion often occurs the ear
does not know how to interpret.
Quadraphonic electronics in the concert hall are exploited by few - Stockhausen
apart. That the retiring Milton Babbitt is one of the leading exponents (in an
occasional way, as with Philomel, for soprano and tape) speaks for itself.
The few extensions beyond such four-channel techniques are practically inconceivable
on disc. Consider (briefly) the realization of Varèses Poème
Electronique, created for the Philips Pavillion at the Brussels Exposition
of 1957. For this, 3-channel tape source was used in conjunction with multichannel
control tape and 425 loudspeakers. When that experience arrives in the living
room, things will not be quite the same again.
real advantages to be gained are in the home. For once,
this is no intermediary there is never any question
that we must be tricked into believing that the medium
isnt there - disbelief does not enter into
it. In this way the extremes of the record/concert-hall
polarity are pushed out, and one wonders whether Morton
Subotnick is prophetic when he suggests that there
should be more emphasis on works of art specifically
for the record medium and less emphasis on recorded performances
when there are recorded performances they ought to be
a recording of a performance
no fancy recording techniques
that the emphasis on works intended for live performance
keeps the emphasis on the live part of it.
The first commissioned work specifically for the gramophone
record was only realized as late as 1967. Subotnicks Silver
Apples of the Moon was instigated by Nonesuch and made extensive
use of the limited stereo spatial effects possible. Later productions
for American Columbia (CBS in this country), Touch and Sidewinder,
exploited four-channel techniques fully, assisted by techniques
permitting panning to be voltage-controlled. The similarity between
space and other compositional elements become even more obvious
when position can be controlled in the same fashion as pitch or
dynamic. In these later works he refines the material, making the
sounds shorter and sharper, possibly because such sound is easier
to place. (For a similar reason, Harry Partchs multi-layered
percussive music is a natural for quadraphony. That CBS think so
too shows in their making it available on quad import but not issuing
it here in stereo.)
Walter Carlos realizations of Bach result from his subscribing to the
dynamic tradition mentioned earlier. Many of his detractors have a more preservationist
approach and disagree accordingly. He raises the possibility of extending Bachs
music to include the spatial freedom denied him. It would be interesting to
separate a four-part fugue and allow the lines to run and move in space, so
that their positions are defined by the music and by their interrelationship
with other voices. To do this thoroughly, to consider the position of each
note as closely as its dynamic or duration, is a huge task and the studio difficulties
are prohibitive. Splicing would be increased, and the prospect of a producer
snipping way as frequently as the composer in a classical (tape,
not voltage-controlled) electronic studio is not an attractive one. Glenn Gould,
whose complete commitment to the gramophone is well-known, is presently experimenting
with the music of Scriabin among others, and by setting different parts in
different acoustics, for example, he hopes to expose the structure more clearly.
Doing this for established pieces using space separation is a natural progression,
but a well-written piece may not need it. This begs the question of how one
would tackle a Boulez piano sonata, whose complexity is justified by a strong
but often invisible internal logic.
There are no conclusions to be drawn coldly on the basis of any of these arguments.
It would be pointless to try to make them they will only evolve in practice,
to be rationalized later. But it is only possible to promote any case if one
accepts classic counterarguments as Benjamin Brittens famous speech will
cease to have any relevance, because it will at last have risen above being
a simple music substitute.
Reactions can only reflect personality, and in matters of taste it is impossible
to generalize. Exposure to surround sound (pop as well as classical) provokes
responses varying from wild enthusiasm to a strong desire to leave the room.
There are few things which generate such extreme polarities, and no-one remains
indifferent. But quadraphony exposes so many misconceptions and demands the
discarding of so many tenets. Above all, we must not fabricate rules, but allow
space for development. Busonis comments, first published in 1911, with
regard to a new music aesthetic, still apply:
as an art, our so-called occidental music, is hardly
400 years old; its state is one of development beyond
present conception, and we we talk of classics and hallowed
traditions! And we have talked of them for a
long time! (Tradition is a plaster mask taken from
life which, in the course of many years, and after
passing through the hands of innumerable artisans,
leaves its resemblance to the original largely a matter
of imagination.) We have formulated rules, stated principles,
laid down laws; we apply laws made for maturity
to a child that knows nothing of responsibility!
Sound at the Stereo Society:
Surround Sound, an Introduction
by Mike Thorne.
Where are we now?
and Music (1974)
by Mike Thorne.
Originally published in Hi-Fi News and Record Review Annual, UK, 1974
About the musical
possibilities of quadraphonic surround sound, and some speculation about
potential future developments. The ideas still apply in today's 5.1
surround sound environment.
by Paul Myers (Director, CBS International
Masterwork) and Bob Auger (Bob Auger Associates).
Originally published in Studio Sound, UK, June 1975.
In fall 1974, in one of the most complex sessions London has seen, Gurrelieder was recorded by CBS for stereo and eventual quadraphonic release. The musical,
production and engineering background is covered, from both stereo and quadraphonic
To Four Sides
of the Moon
by Alan Parsons.
Originally published in Studio Sound, UK, June 1975.
Pink Floyd were among the earliest innovators to use four channel sound, and
Dark Side of the Moon has won many awards, including several for sound
engineering. The author, who engineered these and many other sessions for
the band, discusses the quadraphonic record production, and contrasts it with
the presentation of multichannel sound on stage.
To the Production
of Quadrafile (2001)
by Mike Thorne.
Four sides and four quadraphonic systems, this double album released in 1975
had identical musical sides which differed only in their quadraphonic surround
system. The music varied from Pink Floyd's Money to a special remix
of parts of Tubular Bells. It sounded really good, but then quad
went and died on us.