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RQR

Remastered Quadro Recordings.

In the early 1970's, Philips Classics was already highly aware of the advantages offered by multi-channel music reproduction compared to the stereo techniques in use at the time.

The quadraphonic tapes (4-channel recordings) from that period are a classic example of a recording technique way ahead of its time. The advantages of a multi-channel recording and reproduction system are self-evident: the sound is much more natural, the resolution is better and the spatial impression is much more convincing than stereo.

As can be expected of a company such as Philips Classics, much attention was paid not only to the artistic side, but also to the technical side of the recordings. During a number of years, the recording department tried out various microphone set-ups, which would be able to make optimal use of the potential advantages of the so-called quadraphonic system.

Although amazing results were achieved on the recording side, it turned out to be almost impossible to reproduce the major increase in quality on the gramophone record of the time in combination with the sound systems used by consumers in their homes. Both due to this and to the fact that there were too many competitive systems battling for the favour of the public at large, the quadraphonic recording never managed to become a successful new system for the reproduction of music at that time.

Over a quarter of a century later – thanks to the arrival of the multi-channel Super Audio CD (SACD), there is finally a system available which permits the release of these recordings in their original form.

PentaTone Music are issuing these exceptionally good multi-channel recordings – never before released in this form – in a special series. This so-called RQR (Remastered Quadro Recordings) series will enable the consumer for the first time in the history of recording to listen to these beautiful recordings via a multi-channel reproduction system in the comfort of his own home.

During the re-recording and mastering procedure of these multi-channel tapes, of which most had not been out of their boxes for the past 30 years, the technicians involved were continually amazed at the exceptionally high technical quality of the recordings.

Naturally, during the mastering procedure the greatest possible care was taken while converting the original tapes to the digital DSD (Direct Stream Digital) system used for SACD, in order to ensure that none of the original quality was lost. For instance, the original testing and tuning tapes were used to precisely tune the analogue reproduction machines; furthermore, the analogue machines were directly connected to the best DSD Analogue/Digital converters, without the intervention of any mixing consoles and/or other special equipment to influence the sound.

Contact was also made with the original technicians in order to get hold of as much existing knowledge as possible. In the digital domain, no artificial echo has been added, in order to maintain the quality of the original tapes as much as possible.

Although the new SACD standard allows for 5 fully fledged channels, plus a subwoofer channel, a conscious choice was made to release these early recordings in their original 4-channel version in this RQR series: the idea behind this being to do justice to the original intentions of both artists and recording technicians.

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  • Henryk Szeryng (violin)

    London Symphony Orchestra, Alexander Gibson

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  • Stephen Kovacevich (piano)

    BBC Symphony Orchestra, Colin Davis

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  • Lingering, loving performances, shot through with these players' characteristic attention to detail. The 1973 Philips quadraphonic recording, released here in multi-channel form for the first... More…

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  • Elly Ameling (soprano), Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra

    English Chamber Orchestra, Edo de Waart

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  • Rotterdam Philharmonic, Edo de Waart

    ……the orchestra’s performance of Capriccio Espagnol is the real treat here. A clear, bright sound renders the music freshly energised, while the exciting rhythms and lively, sparkling melodies... More…

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  • Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Sir Neville Marriner

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