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Favourite Remixes

Simon KC1950

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
So I'm hear listening to the "By Request" CD... What wonderful remixes of these little gems.

What are your favoured remixes and why?
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
Very surprised to read that the remix of 'Road Ode' is so popular. It's one of the worst remixes in my opinion. Here's what I said about it a few years ago when we were discussing this track:

While it gives the track a clean ending, the superfluous extra instrumentation like the harp sweeps at the end add a jarring element of MOR sweetness that's completely out of place with the general feel of the track, and the separating out of Karen's lead vocal strips away that cohesive 'Spectrum' feel that works so well on the original.
 

CarpentersToYou

What I feel has come and gone before...
My favorite remix is “I Can’t Make Music” that appears on the Japan Treasures 2 CD. The one on By Request is not the remix version. It’s the one time that I feel some reverb in Karen vocals was warranted. It gives her voice more clarity and presence which I really like.
Right on! This remix has always touched me as well.

I also like the fresh remix of "It's Going to Take Some Time" that I first heard on the Startrax AU CD many moons ago. Before that I never paid the song much attention, but after I was hooked. Strange how changing the piano does so much.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
Is there a YouTube video with the “I Can’t Make Music” remix on it? There used to be a quad mix of it that was taken down for reason a while back and it was incredible, but otherwise I’ve only heard the album cut. Thankfully I did save the quad mp3 on my iPod.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
When I hear not only THAT quad mix, but others as well, I'm always a little surprised that anyone finds it all that appealing. I think I understand why that is, and I'll explain here.

As we know, Richard painstakingly mixed all of the Carpenters songs to stereo (many in mono too). But it was left for "others" to do these quad mixes while Rich and Karen were out on the road. Quad was a fad in the 70s that came about simply because four channels just had to be better than two, right?

These quad mixes were designed to be played on equipment of the day that would break out the sound to four speakers, two front and two rear, the idea being that the listener was being placed sonically in the middle of the band. To hear them correctly, one needs the equipment of the day, or modified modern equipment specifically set up to play the quad signals as they were designed.

When these signals are reduced to stereo, as they are in virtually all of the YouTube videos, or even when you play a quad album at home on your stereo turntable or tape player, the result is an uncomfortable phasey sound. If you listen to that video above carefully with headphones, try to "locate" Karen's voice. It sounds "smeared" across the stereo soundstage, very much like the dreaded CSG processing that record labels tinkered with in the late 60s and early 70s. The focus of the sound is lost.

In a normal stereo recording, when you listen to say this song, with headphones, you'll hear Karen's voice in the exact middle of the stereo - seemingly emanating from the middle of your head. On speakers, her voice will locate itself in the exact center of two equal speakers. But in this quad mix, reduced to stereo, you get Karen's high frequencies on the left channel and the rest of her voice smeared between the left and right.

Now, I said I think I understand why people say that they "really like" these somewhat wonky mixes. It's simply because it's different. I'm guilty of this behavior myself. When I listen to a dedicated mono mix of a record that sounds just a little different from its stereo counterpart, in the excitement of the discovery, I might proclaim how much I really like that mono mix. In actual fact, the genuine stereo mix is probably better, but because the mono is different, it becomes special.

Gary, I excuse you from all of this. You've detailed before that your hearing ability is not all that it could be, so it's great that you can find something likable in these recordings.

Bottom line is that quad mixes and mono mixes are simply different, and that is where their appeal lies.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^Thanks for the analysis, Harry !
I do indeed have ongoing issues with my hearing (in fact, elevated problems this week alone).
There is simply no way I could utilize earphones or any type of ear device.
So, I would concur, I like the quad-mix due to its being something different,
not because it is sonically better.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
“My Body Keeps Changing My Mind” Richard really gave it that dance sound by adding that reverb and moving the drums more forward in the mix.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
When I hear not only THAT quad mix, but others as well, I'm always a little surprised that anyone finds it all that appealing. I think I understand why that is, and I'll explain here.

As we know, Richard painstakingly mixed all of the Carpenters songs to stereo (many in mono too). But it was left for "others" to do these quad mixes while Rich and Karen were out on the road. Quad was a fad in the 70s that came about simply because four channels just had to be better than two, right?

These quad mixes were designed to be played on equipment of the day that would break out the sound to four speakers, two front and two rear, the idea being that the listener was being placed sonically in the middle of the band. To hear them correctly, one needs the equipment of the day, or modified modern equipment specifically set up to play the quad signals as they were designed.

When these signals are reduced to stereo, as they are in virtually all of the YouTube videos, or even when you play a quad album at home on your stereo turntable or tape player, the result is an uncomfortable phasey sound. If you listen to that video above carefully with headphones, try to "locate" Karen's voice. It sounds "smeared" across the stereo soundstage, very much like the dreaded CSG processing that record labels tinkered with in the late 60s and early 70s. The focus of the sound is lost.

In a normal stereo recording, when you listen to say this song, with headphones, you'll hear Karen's voice in the exact middle of the stereo - seemingly emanating from the middle of your head. On speakers, her voice will locate itself in the exact center of two equal speakers. But in this quad mix, reduced to stereo, you get Karen's high frequencies on the left channel and the rest of her voice smeared between the left and right.

Now, I said I think I understand why people say that they "really like" these somewhat wonky mixes. It's simply because it's different. I'm guilty of this behavior myself. When I listen to a dedicated mono mix of a record that sounds just a little different from its stereo counterpart, in the excitement of the discovery, I might proclaim how much I really like that mono mix. In actual fact, the genuine stereo mix is probably better, but because the mono is different, it becomes special.

Gary, I excuse you from all of this. You've detailed before that your hearing ability is not all that it could be, so it's great that you can find something likable in these recordings.

Bottom line is that quad mixes and mono mixes are simply different, and that is where their appeal lies.
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
The early ones Maybe It’s You and Baby It’s You from the first Treasures collection. Sentimental because Richard told me about it when I met him after the Garden Grove Christmas Concert. A huge surprise when I first heard them. Japan gets most of the remixes and collections first. Glad there’s a huge demand there still.
 

Chris May

Resident 'Carpenterologist'
Staff member
Moderator
I was thinking we were keeping this limited to the "By Request" release. In that case if we're going a little more broad, I would say the 1985 remix of Superstar and the 2004 SACD 2-channel fold mix of Top Of The World.
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
As for the quad mixes, I agree with Harry about the fazing of the vocals and interments too. They are a novelty, but still really fun to listen to them instead of the regular versions I’ve heard a thousand plus times. The background vocals are broken up and different as are the instruments on most tracks. When Karen’s voice is doubled, which is often, it separates the tracks and you get two of her singing the song instead of the layered sound on normal stereo playback. Not every cut is great, but stand outs are ICBGAILY, Only Yesterday, PMP, Happy, Top of the World, and Yesterday Once More. The whole oldies medley is great and the best is the short YOM reprise at the end of side 2. It goes all around the room from speaker to speaker, fazed, but truly amazing to hear the separation of the tracks. I know Richard hates them. I believe he was hurt to not be involved in the process. It’s odd to me that the whole catalog was done in quad, sans Ticket, on 8-track, but only three vinyl albums released in this country and ASFU in New Zealand. They’re just fun to listen too, fazing or not. Especially if you have a nice surround sound system. It fills the room.
 

Chris May

Resident 'Carpenterologist'
Staff member
Moderator
How about “If I Had You”? Kind of hard to classify as a true remix as the remix version from “Lovelines” was out in 1989 while the original wasn’t out till 1996.
I actually liked all of the remixes that Richard did of Karen’s stuff. Love that the originals exist for multiple reasons but I felt he added a layer of polish that gave them an FM-friendly vibe.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
Road Ode by a long shot! This had some revisions aside from piano (i.e. bass & flute) done in '90 which really brightened it up. Such a great arrangement...
The Road Ode remix is simply breath-f*cking-taking - he made it sound so fresh and exhilarating; like you feel the excitement of the road but the loneliness under all of it too. Miles (haha) better than the original mix which didn’t have the same kind of life.
 

Chris May

Resident 'Carpenterologist'
Staff member
Moderator
The Road Ode remix is simply breath-f*cking-taking - he made it sound so fresh and exhilarating; like you feel the excitement of the road but the loneliness under all of it too. Miles (haha) better than the original mix which didn’t have the same kind of life.
Joe once again really smoked that baseline, particularly in chorus two adding in the slurs and chromatics to the walk-up... just great stuff...
 
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