NEWS 20040329: Autobahn Quadraphonic DTS Mix



Kraftwerk – Autobahn Quadraphonic DTS Mix


A review by Garry Seymour 29.03.2004



            Kraftwerk have to be, for me anyway, the most influential and inspirational band ever. Bar non. My stance in an argument is that “If it wasn’t for Kraftwerk, you wouldn’t have the music you have today… YESSSSS! Even RnB!”

Without the German-Techno-Engineering-God-Like-Meisters that is Kraftwerk, artists such as Jean Michel Jarre, Gary Numan, Human League, OMD, Fad Gadget, Depeche Mode and John Foxx wouldn’t have thought “I know…lets get loads of synths and bleep our way to the charts”; without these artists, other artists such as 2Unlimited (!), Prodigy, Massive Attack, Underworld, The Shamen, NIN and Chas and Dave (maybe I lied about the last one, but you never know!) wouldn’t have followed suit. Other somewhat less electronic bands have also cited “The Werk” as one of their influences.

Without a doubt, Autobahn is the most coveted album in my collection (along with Computerworld) and, after receiving a copy of the DTS Quadraphonic mix, I thought I would review this masterpiece. Now, I am no expert reviewer so I will probably ramble on somewhat so bear with me on this.


            O.K children, lets begin…


            Firstly, about the mix itself. From what I can gather it is from an 8-trak Quad recording and has been transferred to DTS. This mildly reflects in the mix with just a small amount of hiss and a minor distortion here or there. Although this gives it a little warmth, it is also a tad annoying at times. If you aren’t expecting superb and total clarity, you won’t be disappointed. On the other hand, if you are expecting a crystal clear, typically Kraftwerk sounding digital mix then… well, you’ll still enjoy it anyway.


Now, onto the review…


Autobahn – Quadraphonic DTS Mix.


            As the disc was placed in my DVD player, I waited - palms sweaty, pulse raised and a tiny churning in the pit of my stomach – for the CLUNK…. rrRRRRRRUUuumm. It did not disappoint. Dammit… there’s a car RIGHT BEHIND MY LEFT EAR! Where’s it going now? Behind me to the right… It’s THERE…IN FRONT OF ME. Wow!

            After the initial excitement (and, yes, it was as described above) I settled down to listen to the mix. As the music began I noticed that the percussion was in the rear channels. The sub handled the kicks quite nicely and kind of spread the percussion in an odd, but pleasing manner. In the first section the main melody was in the Front and Rear Left and the sweeping pads were on the right. The vocals were scattered amongst the four channels.


As I hit the first bridge (excuse the pun) at 03.16 the “Car” sweeps from Rear Left to Front Right as the drone builds on the Rear Right. The flute flutters in the Front Right and the guitar twangs in the Front Left with the percussion, as above, sitting in the “back seats”. Nice separation. It also shows what they were trying to do with the original Quad mix – use it as a show off piece.


            The second verse runs pretty much as the first. Nice!


            The second bridge (08.05) starts to get interesting as they play with the white noise, the car noises and the Meep-Meep noises. The cars mainly sweep from the left channels or the right channels: almost as if you are standing on a central reservation with cars driving either side of you. Front to back, back to front with the white noise rhythms flying from Front Left to Rear Left. The Boinggg-Boinggg bass sits comfortably in the fronts. As it hits the 11.00 min mark, the drone keyboard fades into the Rear Right channel. The main melody sits in the two left channels with an underlying drone hanging in the right channels. Percussion to the rear as normal.


            At 14.07 we are treated to a nice split vocal effect with the main vocals sitting at the Front Right and Rear Left channels, the vocoder vocal on the Front Left channel and the muffled vocal somewhere between centre and right pan.


            At 15.40 things slow down a bit and we get a bit more split vocal. The low vox to the left two channels and the higher vox to the right two channels. The bass throbs warmly in the Rear Right channel, just leaking into the Front Right a tad.


            Things speed up at 16.30 and we have a mish-mash of swirling melodies and noises. The arpeggio kind of wanders around the quad spectrum; as does the white noise snare. A nice pan effect washes from Front Left to Right and back again with a couple of melodies playing in its own channel at the front.


            As we reach the finale, we come to a little gripe. A GRIPE, you ask?  Yep indeedy. We have a dummy fade at around 21.00 for about 10 seconds or so. It just fades out and back in again!! FOR NO REASON! How bizarre. (twingo: due to change of program tracks of tape)


            As the track reaches its final few notes, the arpeggio flits between the Front Left and Right channels to the Rear Left and Right channels. And here it is…the final note; a lovely synthy car noise sweeping from Front Left to Rear Left. I’ve made it “auf der autobahn”. Intact, at 200mph, with only one or two accidents spotted. A wonderful experience that I shall be repeating again and again…and again; no doubt annoying all my friends and my wife. But, HEY…what the heck! It’s MY Autobahn and I’ll damn well Fahr’n down it any flippin’ time I want!





As for the rest of the album, the mixes seem to work quite well, with Morgenspaziergang being the shining star of the mixes. Just about everything is floating everywhere. A beautiful experience.

If you have a chance to listen to this mix, please make sure you don’t pass it up. Spread the word….And the word is AUTOBAHN, children.






p.s. How about Computerworld DTS for me to review…Anybody??



8Trak tape: Kraftwerk - Autobahn. Version 1: Vertigo VQ8-2003, year: 1975

Vertigo Quad8/8Trak tape as offered on


8Trak tape: Kraftwerk - Autobahn. Version 2: Mercury MC8-1-3704

Photos taking by Chris (owner of tape):


Detail of tracklisting (4 times 10:52), note the weird splitting of the tracks.

DTS CD: Converted Quadrophonic 8 Trak tape to DTS CD, year: 2003? , see 8trackheaven

Total running time: 41:57, unclear is however which 8 Track source is used.

Front and back cover of DTS CD release:


What still is unclear to me are the corrent running times:

The DTS CD has only 41:57 while the Mercury tape indicates 4 times 10m52sec.

Refer also to the Kraftwerk International Discography section USA: 8-TRACK CARTRIDGE ALBUMS

/twingo 29/03/2004 (updated 06/05/2004 with Mercury tape details)