Various Variety of Udder Things
For a few years back in the 70’s, a number of radio stations broadcast in quad. Several different systems were used. The first attempts used 2 separate FM stations with one broadcasting the front channels and the other station the rear channels. WCRB & WGBH in Boston did this from 1969 to 1973. From ’73 on, WCRB went solo; airing SQ quad for several more years. Reports say an FM station could broadcast in SQ or QS quad by simply playing an encoded record, just like the ones available to the quad-buying public. Elementary Electronics in its July/Aug 1976 issue stated that SQ was broadcast by more than 300 FM stations and 70+ were spreading QS quad through the air. Neato!!!! The Jan. ’79 issue of the same magazine states that listeners preferred SQ with logic over every other broadcastable quad they listened to. However, the same survey showed that most listeners were unenthusiastic about listening to broadcasted quad. Hmmmmmmm.
No mention is made of the quality of the quad systems listeners were using to listen to the quad broadcasts.
Broadcasted quad is an often overlooked aspect of the quad era. Perhaps, in the future, another type of multi-channel broadcasting will be tried. Until it comes, ‘Quadcasting will remain a historical oddity. sumpthin’ to look back on with either amusement, curiosity, disgust, one or more of these or none of the above.
Quadraphonic. Hmmmm….. Quad is “four” and phonic sounds like sumpthin’ we had to do in grade school !!!! Okay, the phonic stands for ‘sound.’ However, especially during quad’s early years, quadraphonic wasn’t the only word used to describe 4-channel sound. Here’s a partial list of some of the terms used:
Quadrasonic, quadrafonic, quadrifonic, quadrisonic, quatrasonic, quatraphonic, quadraphony, quadriphony, quadrafony, quadrifony, and a few others I can’t remember
Various audio magazines from the quad days used the above terms. Also, several “letters to the editor” debated which term was the ‘correct’ one. By around 1974, quadraphonic was used by the vast majority of magazine writers and, to this day, along with the shortened form “quad,” is accepted as the ‘proper’ name for 4-channel surround sound from the 1970’s.
OOPS. Nope, didn’t make a boo boo. OOPS is Out Of Phase Stereo. Also known as the Hafler effect; named after David Hafler who introduced this basic method of extracting “extra” rear channel sound from a stereo source. This is the same method used by basic ambient recovery systems. Find a copy of the July 1982 Stereo Review magazine and take a peek at page 52-53. There, unfolding before you, are diagrams which show a couple different ways to hook up your own OOPS circuitry. It’s easy !!!!! And, maybe fun. It is interesting, though, that the latest mentions of quad in audio magazines often refer to the most basic stuff that first appeared when quad was young; the OOPS-type ambient recovery systems.
An article with extensive instructions on how to balance your homemade OOPS effect ambient recovery quasi-quad setup is in the June 1971 High Fidelity Magazine pp. 43-46. Also included is a list of vinyl recordings whose output is definitely enhanced by the OOPS system.
Some folks may consider this a drawback to enjoying quad while others may enjoy the challenge . . . . . I’m referring to the importance of speaker placement. Various audio magazines and quad guides show many ways the four speakers can be arranged.
Because of the varying outputs of the different decoders, demodulators, and discrete tape: there is no one “right” speaker placement style. It’s up to YOU to decide what sounds best. Alas, if you switch from one method of quadraphony to another ( i.e. switching from quad 8-track to a stereo CD being synthesized into quad) the output may sound better if you either change speaker placement or your listening position.
After much experimentation: moving speakers, moving my comfy listening chair, moving the speakers again, ad nauseum, I finally tried a different approach . . . putting the receiver and its balance controls within arms’ reach. This method is easiest if you have a room dedicated to music listening. There are many benefits to being able to adjust the balance controls while listening, especially when grooving to stereo tunes being synthesized into quad. Often, the quad output varies from song to song, thus, being able to reach over and adjust the balance or the decoder-type being used to synthesize the stereo source results in maximum audio enjoyment.