Q sound

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by bartels76, Mar 10, 2003.

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  1. bartels76

    bartels76 Forum Hall Of Fame Thread Starter

    Location:
    CT
    Can anyone enlighten me on Q-Sound? I remember it was such a big deal back in 1990. There were a ton of articles on it. The 2 CD's I have: Madonna -Immacultae Collection and Sting- Soul Cages were the first major releases to feature Q sound and then I never heard about it again. I though they sounded pretty good unless it was just the mastering itself. Were there any other releases that were in Q sound? Why did it go away so fast?
     
  2. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    Can't tell you about the process--though I bet Luke, among a few others, can--but another was a Roger Waters album, RADIO K.A.O.S. The concept behind Q-Sound was to expand the soundfield to imitate a spacious, surround environment with only two speakers. From what little I heard, it did some good, but mostly in a gimmicky way, certainly nothing you can't better with a 5.1 system, obviously. Only limited titles were pressed, and also obviously, it didn't catch on. So far, neither has HDCD, though that sounds as if it should.

    ED:cool:
     
  3. ybe

    ybe The Lawnmower Man

    Roger Waters' Amused To Death was Qsound, too. Some phase trickery there, I guess.
     
  4. bartels76

    bartels76 Forum Hall Of Fame Thread Starter

    Location:
    CT
    RADIO KAOS came out in 1987. I don't think Q-sound was around then yet. Was it? Or did you mean Amused to Death was in Q Sound. I don't have any Roger Waters so I don't have anything to reference it by.
     
  5. ascot

    ascot Senior Member

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Some songs on Paula Abdul's Spellbound used Q-Sound as well. Ed is right in saying the purpose was to expand the soundfield and provide a more 3-D type sound. If your speakers were properly placed, it did provide some neat effects but nothing to write home about.

    The songs on Madonna Immaculate Collection had to be remixed to accommodate Q-Sound. It is not something you can just apply to an already two-track mixed master.
     
  6. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    No, you're right: got my Waters mixed up. Markus is right, AMUSED TO DEATH was the one. I believe Madonna's might have been the first heavily hyped for Q-Sound, but it still turned out to be a fad, unless it got snuck into some titles anonymously, which, as a proprietary technology, would be unlikely.

    ED:cool:
     
  7. bartels76

    bartels76 Forum Hall Of Fame Thread Starter

    Location:
    CT
    They did a pretty good job remixing those songs on Immculate Collection. Usually I don't like songs being tampered with on hits collections because you are usually looking for the original or single versions of the songs, not a new remixed version. I actually prefer most of the remixes to the originals. I'll probably be stoned for this but Immculate Collection was one of the first CD's that I remember that took full advantage of what CD's can offer. I thought the mastering was great and it sounded great for its time.
     
  8. sgraham

    sgraham New Member

    Location:
    Michigan
    I have The Soul Cages. Yes, it uses phase trickery, and the effect collapses if you move out of the sweet spot, but it is rather remarkable. I quite like it - it is able to pull sound out into the room with just two speakers. But it's probably somewhat unpredictable to work with, and the phasiness will cause some concerns for listeners with mono radios.

    I think it'd be interesting to hear what would happen with a straight surround Q-sound encoding of an orchestral recording. I don't believe anyone actually tried that. Obviously it won't work as well as real discrete surround sound.
     
  9. ascot

    ascot Senior Member

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Here, I found my press kit explaining QSound. It was developed by Archer Communications. Here is their explanation from a selling standpoint:

    "QSound is a revolutionary new audio technology which provides maximum depth, clarity and three-dimensional imagery from standard cassettes, CD's and albums. Music and sounds will seem to emanate from specific locations outside of the speakers, creating a complete environmental soundscape. For the first time, an audio engineer can specifically place instruments and sounds for depth, height and width in the listener's environment. This new freedom allows artists, producers and engineers the ability to engineer music product with the most realistic and lifelike sound reproduction ever possible.

    And here's my favorite quote from "What They're Saying About QSound":

    "(QSound) Makes my job more exciting and interesting. The reactions I've gotten from it range from people being thrown offbase looking for the hidden speakers to a guy the other day who was almost doing backflips." - Bob Clearmountain, producer
    :D
     
  10. bartels76

    bartels76 Forum Hall Of Fame Thread Starter

    Location:
    CT
    What did Bob Clermountain produce that was in Q-sound? Maybe they just paid him to say it since he was a hot producer. I'm going to search the web and see if I can find a list somewhere of Q-sound releases.
     
  11. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    Hey ascot,

    It isn't that the technology was bad or anything; just that your average listener didn't give a damn, which is the same old story. I'm not sure it would have flown with audiophiles, but once again, they touted the latest sonic flavor-of-the-year, and very few cared.

    Out of curiosity, we would all probably like to have a comprehensive list of titles that were put out in Q-Sound. So far, we've only come up with a few. There had to be more. I sure didn't hear about many of them...

    ED:cool:
     
  12. bartels76

    bartels76 Forum Hall Of Fame Thread Starter

    Location:
    CT
    I quickly looked on the web and I couldn't find anything. Qsound Labs still exists whether if it's the same people that came up w/ Qsound I have no idea. A list would be great. There just can't be 4 titles out there. Also to note, Madonna- Justify My Love CD single contained the Q-sound mix of that song. Justify My Love was the only song on the Immaculate Collection that was not in Qsound for some reason. I found a quote on the web from Shep Pettibone saying he worked a month and a half remixing those songs for Q Sound on the Immaculate Collection.
     
  13. ascot

    ascot Senior Member

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I'm not trying to put it down. I thought it was kinda neat, too, but I wasn't doing backflips either. I agree that the average listener didn't care much in the way they don't care about maximum compression and no-noise.

    The press release also has this:

    "Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson, Bon Jovi, Sting, Europe, Richie Sambora, Stevie Nicks, Julian Lennon, Gerardo, Imana, Freddie Jackson and Wilson Phillips are among other artists following Madonna's lead in utilizing QSound on their recordings."

    Sting's Soul Cages is said to be the first "all new QSound album."

    I cannot verify any or all of the above artists actually released material using QSound so I would suggest checking their early 90's albums.

    Ooo, another quote:

    "QSound will do to stereo what stereo did to mono." - Hugh Padgham
     
  14. ascot

    ascot Senior Member

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    "Justify My Love" was not initially mixed in QSound but, again, from this press kit, it says Madonna and Shep Pettibone were so impressed with the sound that they remixed JML for the single.
     
  15. bartels76

    bartels76 Forum Hall Of Fame Thread Starter

    Location:
    CT
    No Q sound to be found on Bon Jovi - Keep The Faith or Richie Sambora- Stranger In This Town. I guess the Bon Jovi camp decided it wasn't for them. Gerardo was helping lead the way to Q Sound! Maybe that's why it failed. If anyone can check out the other artists' CD's from the ealy 90's (if you have them) to see if they were in Q Sound.
     
  16. Graham Start

    Graham Start New Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Apparently Capcom used some flavour of QSound on their arcade games from the early and mid 90s...
     
  17. handle

    handle Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, Ca
  18. a highly recommended sonic hologram

    On headphones, listening to a Q-Sound mix could be disorienting. If an instrument played loud in your right ear, for instance, all the same frequencies in your left ear sounded like the air was being sucked out somehow, as though a syringe or turkey baster were in there.

    - - - -

    A very interesting holographic-sound record not done in Q-Sound came out in 1990, it was '10' by the Stranglers. If you sat in the sweet spot, percussion seemed to dance in front of and then behind you. A saxophone flew around in circles at one point. It was pretty impressive.
    You placed your head and the speakers in a even sided triangle, say, six feet distant,
    and WOW, what a great effect.

    Roy Thomas Baker was the producer responsible.
     
  19. Jason Brown

    Jason Brown Forum Resident

    Location:
    SLC, UT
    Reading this thread reminded me of when I first listened to Fates Warning's "Parallels" in 1991 and noticing how much better it sounded than a lot of CDs. I learned from reading the liner notes that it was recorded in Qsound. I thought it was pretty cool myself - it never seemed gimmicky to me - and I hoped it would really take off. Too bad it didn't.

    I was also aware that "Amused to Death" was in Qsound, but I didn't realize "In the Flesh" and "Pulse" were too.

    I know what I'm going to listen to tonight...
     
  20. Jason Brown

    Jason Brown Forum Resident

    Location:
    SLC, UT
  21. bartels76

    bartels76 Forum Hall Of Fame Thread Starter

    Location:
    CT
    I was looking at that link and Janet Jackson- Design Of A Decade and Pink Floyd- The Wall Live have no mention of Q-Sound in their liner notes but I guess they are since I don't think their website would be lying. It's pretty neat that people are still using Q-sound they just don't make it known. It's like a secret or something.
     
  22. ascot

    ascot Senior Member

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I'm surprised to see Paul Is Live on the list. The scant liner notes and disc do not state the use of QSound.

    Pulse does list in its booklet that it was mixed in QSound.

    My copy of Janet Jackson's Design of a Decade only has a remix of "The Knowledge" in QSound. That was mixed by Bob Clearmountain, BTW. I have the two-disc European version.
     
  23. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Location:
    Texas
    I know I might get blasted for this, but I'm really amazed at what Qsound does on some titles. Specifically, "Amused to Death". This is probably the best redbook recording I own and it freaks me out to listen to some of the out-of-phase material. There is a dog barking on track 1 that really creeps me out every time I listen. Now I don't mean just if I sit exactly right and don't turn my head an inch....I can really hear effects behind my head just casually listening. I should point out that the effects on this CD were not as obvious when I used my previous systems. Meaning, the better my stereo system got, the better the Qsound effect is.
     
  24. sgraham

    sgraham New Member

    Location:
    Michigan
    Re: I thought...

    It's much more complicated than the simple polarity flip (180 degree shift)you seem to be suggesting. The effects are achieved by varying (controlled) degrees of phase shift and frequency shaping, modeled on how we actually hear directionality.

    However a simple 180 degree shift *can* produce a basic psychoacoustic surround effect, especially if there's in-phase material to provide contrast. The title track from Poco's "Crazy Eyes" is a good illustration of that. I nearly jumped out of my skin the first time I heard that dobro wander around behind me!
     
  25. Qsound Labs Inc. was formed in 1988.

    I've been in Qsound's studios a couple of times. They're right here in Calgary. Once a bunch of us in radio and music retail got invited by A+M for a Sting listening party when "Soul Cages" came out. It was very impressive. Sting had heard the sound and like it very much. That is why he used it on the album. I used to know one of the main persons at Q Sound. Years earlier his wife and I worked together in radio, back in Wpg. Then by coincidence the three of us ended up here in Calgary. He used to fly all over the world to various recording studios with his little black briefcase. That was the deal. Somebody from Qsound has to be there to set the process up. They do not ship their product out to the studio.

    I just checked the Calgary phone book. They're still here.

    Qsound Labs Inc.
    400 3115 12 ST NE
    Calgary, Alberta
    403-291-2492.
     
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