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Favourite Remixes

A&M Retro

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.

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.
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
I totally agree. I forgot Superstar on my list I think. I don’t have a quad system, but I do have a pretty great amp with about 20 surround sound choices, and the DTS one has the best separation for my speakers. All 9 of them. 4 front, 2 rear, center front, center rear, 2 special effects, and subwoofer. A great cartridge and a back up ok cartridge. They both sound different when played back. The Shure is cleaner, the Audio Technica is brighter. It’s an immersion of vocals and music. I wish everyone could hear it. Plus there’s GB2LV with “all the tears of useless search....”. I hope to find the A Song For You Quad album someday. I mostly play side 2 of Now and Then and side 2 of Horizon. The synthesizer on Happy is awesome at the end.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
My point was about the particular 'quad mix' posted when played on a stereo YouTube. Of course it decodes better on the equipment it was designed for.
 

Murray

Well-Known Member
^^^ That remix is truly amazing! And it's a remix in the purest sense of the word, as every note was on the original multitracks!

I wish that the multitracks of more Carpenters songs would leak, and fall into this talented person's hands... say enough for an album, or two!
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
That is a nice remix. The intro and outro are too long, but it does a nice job of giving a fresh slant on the song while retaining the spirit and core of the original.

I recall there being a Motown Remixed compilation released about 10 years ago that did something similar. The best remixes sympathetically used the elements of the original song to create an entirely new take on it, which worked well in the sense of not just being another run of the mill remix that destroys what makes the original so great.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I just came across this quad mix of “Superstar” and am hearing the song in different light. The clarity is amazing. Someone commented “the other versions sound like I am listening from the audience, this is the only one that sounds like I’m in the band”. I’m hearing new piano and trumpet lines I never knew were there.

 

Chris May

Resident 'Carpenterologist'
Staff member
Moderator
I just came across this quad mix of “Superstar” and am hearing the song in different light. The clarity is amazing. Someone commented “the other versions sound like I am listening from the audience, this is the only one that sounds like I’m in the band”. I’m hearing new piano and trumpet lines I never knew were there.

Hey Steven! This is precisely why Richard was never crazy about the quad mixes.

For example, the additional piano you're hearing in the intro/re-intro etc. was what was played when the initial rhythm tracks were laid down. The intention ultimately was to serve as a placeholder if you will for what was to replace it during those breaks, which eventually became three French horns (and later three additional sampled horn parts to total 6 for the remixes).

When the master was completed and set for mix down, that stuff all got "muted" in the mix, so most people never knew any of it actually existed within the master recording. There's lots of this kind of thing on masters that people never hear. Look at it like when a drummer clicks his sticks during a break in a recording to keep everything in time until the rest of the band and instrumentation comes in. Happened all the time back before the concept of click tracking was invented. Those live "stick clicks" by the drummer always got taken out of the final mix.

As far as the trumpet arrangement - which "additional" lines are you hearing? I'm hearing exactly what has always been there. Perhaps you're hearing a figure pushed up a little higher in the mix than your ears are used to I'm thinking.
 

motownboy

Well-Known Member
I love this, presumably reel-to-reel, Japan CD-4, Quad mix,
Top of the World:

I did my own audio restoration of TOTW from the Japanese CD-4 Quadraphonic vinyl LP of "Singles 1969-73" a few years ago here. Also of note is that the quad mix uses the original LP version's vocal and not the re-recorded vocal of the single version.

 
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