August 11, 2012

Well I’ve been reading up on spatial stereo – or quad, short for “quadraphonic sound” as it was popular known – lately and recently decided to give it a shot. A pretty short-lived phenomena in the 70s that never really took off (with the exception of 8-track tapes) on account of it not being that compatible with the stereo equipment of the day, it can actually be seen as a predecessor to the 5.1 Surround Sound that’s all the rage for home movie enthusiasts today. Which goes to prove that pretty much everything invented will sooner or later find its use  – even though it might not be what the inventor initially intended (read up on the history of text messages/SMS for more examples of that phenomena).

Anyway, finding it intriguing I set out to re-create the sound experimenting with a previously unreleased track from The Norliss Tapes – receiving somewhat satisfying results. Technically speaking I split the stereo track into left and right, doubled the tracks and shifted their individual phasing (getting a Left, Left phase, Right, Right phase) and then spent some time just dabbling with individual panning and volume settings – because two similar tracks with different phase panned to the same position will pretty much phase each other out and generate some pretty rocking silence, ha ha ha.

I’m pretty satisfied with the results (as satisfied you can be after your first try at something) and noticed the sound got bigger and beefier with a slight 3D feel – convincing me that good old Phil Spector must’ve experimented with different phasing to generate his famous Wall of Sound. I’m definitely gonna experiment some more in the future and if you truly wanna experience the effect listen to the song with headphones.

More information on quadraphonic sound can be found here.


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