Pentatone is an interesting example of something ahead of its time finally finding its media. Those
"RQR" SACD's are from Philips' recording program in the early and mid-70's for quad format. They
made some very realistic 4-channel masters but never found an LP quad format that met their quality
standards for playback. The market for 4-channel reels and 8-tracks was so limited, espeically in
their European core market, that they never messed with it. Since all their recordings were
multi-mic and I am pretty sure multi-track source tapes, it was no big deal to mix a perfectly good
2-channel master and that's how all of these recordings were sold and heard in their day.
Along comes SACD, and along comes Philips selling its recorded-music unit and the inevitable
consultant-driven cutbacks. The top guys at Philips studio/archive facility in Baarn, Netherlands
buy the facility. An associated group starts Pentatone. The label makes new SACD recordings, using
the technology experimented with and perfected at Baarn during the development of the format. They
also dust off those old Quad masters and reissue them, finally in the format they were intended to
In my opinion, this was a smart way to re-purpose archive material for SACD, and highlight both the
content and the new media/format. The opposite approach was taken by the major labels where they
paid big bucks to find, transfer and restore all the multi-tracks of a bunch of classic rock albums
and then produce new 5.1 mixes. In many cases, those rock albums had been released in Quad and the
quad master tapes still existed. I would argue that with a new format, it doesn't make too much
sense to invest in a complete new remix vs. testing the waters with something already in the vaults
that is quite appropriate to the format. This would not be true in ALL cases because some quad mixes
were terrible and some quad masters are probably long gone. In any case, the investments obviously
didn't pay off because the majors pretty much abandoned the SACD format.
-- Tom Fine
PS -- Jack, I wouldn't rush out and invest in this format unless you're dead-set on surround sound.
Content is limited and there is no sign of major labels returning to the format -- in fact they're
all being pulled by their noses into low-grade downloads as their exclusive selling format.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Don Cox" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, June 18, 2007 8:18 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] OK - Does Anyone Know More About This?
> One company, Pentatone, has been issuing not only new recordings in
> surround but versions of many records which were originally made for
> Quadraphonic discs in the 70s.
> Look on the front of your DVD player. You may or may not see an SACD
> Don Cox
> [log in to unmask]