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.
With all due respect, Harry, you couldn’t be more wrong on the subject of Carpenters in quadraphonic.
When it’s played back on proper equipment (which I own), the difference is startling and otherworldly. Believe me, you’ve never heard ‘Now And Then’ until you’ve heard the quad version.
The oldies medley is a thrill ride! Karen’s discreet background vocals on ‘Johnny Angel’ and ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’ are over the top awesome. ‘Superstar’ from ‘The Singles’ is amazing, too, with K&R’s background vocals coming at you from all four speakers.