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BBC QUAD Broadcasts-specifically SQ and QS

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fizzywiggs41

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I came across a very revealing article on SQ broadcasting (76).

This is in answer to the # or quantity of SQ being issued by THE BBC., and it would seem Live From The BBC was quad heavy for encoding , mainly SQ.
This would no doubt be both Rock and Classical broadcasts , but nevertheless important in that it seems to suggest there were a number of Broadcasts in quad (likely unmarked ) via Transcription Services , as well as those that were indicated as such.
Relevant to anyone cataloging for quad matrix FM .



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fizzywiggs41

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I know that in some discography items in BBC are listed as possibly but this article of confirmation regarding 80 quad broadcasts per year, mostly SQ , puts some creedence in those maybes and possiblies.

1976 is one year prior to the BEEB showcasing their very own matrices .

Matrix H , starting April 30th 77 and then the later intro of Matrix HJ in August 77(, approximately ) and continuing throughout 78 officially , with some rebroadcasts beyond 78.


It should be noted that Transcription Services was separate from "Home " broadcasts in 77/78 and would have continued issuing SQ or QS or Q4 reel .


All the more relevant for Ben Bauer's enquiry and answer to SQ programing .





Also just added the pic showing the date of his query and reply .
 

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fizzywiggs41

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Ok thanks , Duncan.

But methinks the person with 1976 Transcription Services , also prior yrs as well as 77,78 editions of both.....lps and cds ......might be well served by this enlightening tidbit from Ben Bauer's sluething .
:)
 

Soundfield

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After it's two transmitter "discrete" quad transmissions via Radio 3 and Radio 4 were shown to be impractical the BBC rapidly progressed through a series of studio tests of potential matrix solutions. Existing commercial Matrices known as A through G were dismissed as being unsuitable for UK broadcasting purposes before devising its own in house format. I did not think that the BBC broadcast 'publicly' in any other matrix format than its own H and HJ variant. There might have been out of hours test transmissions in other formats I guess (there were regular Friday night test transmissions after midnight on Radio 3 for the alignment of stereo tuners so it's not impossible), but nothing was ever advertised. As far as I'm aware the Radio Times never marked any of its quad programmes as being in anything other than Matrix H or HJ. SQ was one of those earlier abandoned matrices (it might have been Matrix B in BBC speak, but I'd have to check), and those SQ transcription services discs were, to the best of my knowledge, never used for UK transmission but only sold or otherwise shared with other broadcasters overseas who were (briefly!) keen on obtaining such material. Note that the article talks about the 'issue' of programmes not about broadcasts.
 
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fizzywiggs41

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Well , no ,they also did SQ and some QS broadcasts prior to the H and HJ two main test/demo years 77/78 .


I had a friend from Britain send me lots of H and HJ programs he captured on stereo reel .
He also had a large number of SQ Classical music programs on stereo SQ encoded reel as well.



For the most part , the BEEB did not like QS as they found it noncompatible with mono transmisions which the larger listening audience at the time (70's) had .
 

Soundfield

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I've just searched the Radio Times 'Genome' project (the on line archive of every issue of The Radio Times 1923 -2009) and there are some 66 references to quad or quadraphonic transmissions in the programme listings. The first being Alan Freeman's Show on Saturday 25 June1977 at 14.30 and the last being a production of Richard III Part 2 on Thursday 26 November 1981 at 19:30. The programme details for all of them include the text "(A quadraphonic broadcast using Matrix H. This does not affect reception for listeners using stereo and mono receivers)".

The only earlier reference I could find was to that discrete transmission I mentioned (which turns out to have been on R2 & R3) described thus-

"Saturday 6 July 1974 at 0.05 "BBC in Quad"
Our first-ever Experimental Broadcast in Quadraphony with Radio 3 (for stereo listeners only)
With your front two speakers bringing you Radio 2 on VHF Stereo (88-91 MHz), and another Stereo receiver driving your two back speakers and tuned to Radio 3 on VHF Stereo (90-92.5 MHz), you will be able to hear this programme in Quadraphony. If you only possess one Stereo receiver, tune this to Radio 2 on VHF Stereo, and tune a Mono receiver (preferably VHF) to Radio 3, placing this behind you: you will then be able to hear this programme in Triaphony or, if you prefer, Triphony. Introduced by Jimmy Kingsbury (VHF: broadcast in stereo service areas only)"

Nothing is revealed by any search for SQ or QS. If they ever broadcast in any other format they kept it very, very quiet!
 

DuncanS

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I wonder if the BBC initially did some broadcasts in SQ, QS, H, & HJ without telling the listener to see if they got complaints about audio 'quality'? When I was at Uni I was playing around with my FM tuner and found a test transmission which said if you hear this please ring a phone number, I did and it was a BBC test transmission for what became RDS FM data for auto tuning the radio when driving to keep the same station.
 

Soundfield

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I wonder if the BBC initially did some broadcasts in SQ, QS, H, & HJ without telling the listener to see if they got complaints about audio 'quality'? When I was at Uni I was playing around with my FM tuner and found a test transmission which said if you hear this please ring a phone number, I did and it was a BBC test transmission for what became RDS FM data for auto tuning the radio when driving to keep the same station.
Yes Duncan, I guess it’s possible that there were ‘stealthy’ broadcasts in various formats and indeed there was all kinds of odd stuff transmitted after normal hours (back in the day when the BBC closed down at 23.30!!) on both TV and radio when the BBC had a large research department. But if they happened, they must have been on such a small scale that no one noticed them (including me!). What is notable is that there was no mention of any such tests in the technical press that I ever saw or even more tellingly, in the BBC’s own technical reports.

The BBC Research Dept. produced two major papers on the subject of quad, namely - BBC RD 1974/29 (“The subjective performance of various quadraphonic matrix systems”) https://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/publications/rdreport_1974_29 and BBC RD 1977/2 (“Quadraphony: Developments in Matrix H Decoding”) https://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/publications/rdreport_1977_02 . These are very interesting reports and well worth reading.

Note that these were all tests conducted in the studio – there is no discussion of there being any off air broadcast testing or any public assessment of performance quality before Matrix H was adopted.

You will see that as early as 1974 the BBC had dismissed both SQ and QS as not suitable (without the need for test transmissions apparently) and was only recommending further research into, and the development of, the other more promising systems, notably of course, Matrix H.

Interestingly although very dismissive of both SQ and QS on the grounds of image localisation and poor mono and stereo compatibility, it was slightly more enamoured with QS decoding techniques and indeed 1977/02 explains how the first Matrix H decoder was based on a modified QS Variomatrix decoder.
 
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Mark Anderson

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For Mark Anderson and Mrfloydin ,


The problem is ? Where and how do we decide which are stealth ?
I have no idea. It was my understanding that any experimental broadcasts that were not advertised to the public where advertised to professionals in trade journals so that folks who could decode could participate and evaluate and that the unsuspecting public would let them know if their was a problem with the transmission either from mono compatibility issues or phasiness in stereo reception. I thought the BBC genome project pretty well documented the history.
 

Soundfield

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I have no idea. It was my understanding that any experimental broadcasts that were not advertised to the public where advertised to professionals in trade journals so that folks who could decode could participate
Hi Mark,
I never saw or heard of any such announcements in any trade journals at the time, and it wasn’t really the BBC’s way of doing things. Actually the BBC’s history in quad is open and well documented and the fact that I have not found one single reference to any single non-Matrix H broadcast, test or public, (let alone a whole series over a period of years) leads me to the inevitable conclusion that they are more than stealthy, they are a myth (or perhaps just wishful thinking). No dates, no advance publicity, no programme listings, no BBC or third party technical assessments of off air performance, no reviews or observations in the technical or HiFi press, nothing. I suspect that the existence of the Red Herring that was those dreaded Transcription Services SQ LP’s have lead some people to assume that the BBC surely must have toyed with SQ broadcasting.
 

Mark Anderson

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I agree with you 100%, H, HJ & UHJ was their domain. SQ was just a way to be compatable with the rest of the world, hence the transcription service use if it for world wide distribution
 

fizzywiggs41

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Thought i'd address the skeptics . :) matrix quad broadcasts on the BBC did indeed occur.

In as much as my search was for the mostpart .....Billboard Magazine , I was able to find at least 2 references .

" Weekend Rock " September 29th ,1973...page 29

" Syndicated Quad Matrix Series will be broadcast on 3 overseas Radio networks , additionally on a number of U.S. stations .
Carried by , The BBC , an Australian network , and NHK Japan.
90 minutes long syndicated by Reeves Cinetel Inc. Mobile studio by Ego Loss Concepts (Yuri Zabran Enterprises , N.Y.)
75 key FM markets and as many FM University stations by the first of the year."

Also "Ego Loss " mentioned April 07.74 page 6........and February 09th ,74 page 27.
 

fizzywiggs41

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More :

Billboard.......April 10 ,1976....page 60,


"The BBC has been experimenting and doing MATRIX QUAD BROADCASTS over the past year, but most of these were UNANNOUCED to the listening public "

-that would make it between april 75 -76.

That kinda jives with the proms recordings for quad as requested from Chicago Classical FM station WFMT.
WFMT broadcast in QS and requested in QS the 75 proms from Transcription Services.


November 01 1975 ...page 90

"Parkway Productions Inc, (Washington DC ) hold rights to the BBC PROMS Concerts . Distributed to some 70 stations in the U.S.
WFMT Chicago received QS Proms and certain other BBC Classical programs , some of whom broadcast the quad shows in question several months prior to WFMT. (Includes several hours of BBC imports) "
 

fizzywiggs41

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And ;


March 22 ,1975......page 18

"London Wavelength twice monthly recorded in quad by the BBC , host Alan Freeman . Show known as "Live from London"

This would likely be Transcription Service syndication, but it's worth mentioning as well, as it is regarding BBC Quad.

Broadcast in the U.K.???? Who knows.
 

Soundfield

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And ;


March 22 ,1975......page 18

"London Wavelength twice monthly recorded in quad by the BBC , host Alan Freeman . Show known as "Live from London"

This would likely be Transcription Service syndication, but it's worth mentioning as well, as it is regarding BBC Quad.

Broadcast in the U.K.???? Who knows.
Who knows? - well, anyone who cares to do a simple check of the BBC Genome Project.

And such a search reveals that the was no show called "Live From London" broadcast in the seventies (in any format, let alone in quad).

It was simply the name given to a series of programmes made for the Transcription Services and not broadcast in the UK. There seems to be a terrible misunderstanding that the Transcription Services discs were recordings of actual shows that went out on the UK airwaves and then shared with overseas broadcasters. That was almost never the case. The programmes released on the TS discs were made only for the sole purpose of overseas syndication (largely because of performing rights issues). Some very limited amount of that TS recorded material may have found its way into some of Alan Freeman's UK broadcasts but not in the form presented on the TS discs (and probably not in quad).
 

Soundfield

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More :
Billboard.......April 10 ,1976....page 60,
"The BBC has been experimenting and doing MATRIX QUAD BROADCASTS over the past year, but most of these were UNANNOUCED to the listening public "
-that would make it between april 75 -76.
I've no idea where Billboard got that 'story' from but there's not a single scrap of evidence to support it over here where it was supposed to have happened and the activities of the BBC were (and still are) closely scrutinised and documented.
Why did the likes of Angus McKenzie never mention them (even after the event?). Why did the BBC not publish the results of such tests or mention them in their own study reports? Why did no BBC engineers ever talk about them?
 

jaybird100

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Well , no ,they also did SQ and some QS broadcasts prior to the H and HJ two main test/demo years 77/78 .


I had a friend from Britain send me lots of H and HJ programs he captured on stereo reel .
He also had a large number of SQ Classical music programs on stereo SQ encoded reel as well.



For the most part , the BEEB did not like QS as they found it noncompatible with mono transmisions which the larger listening audience at the time (70's) had .
That seems a little strange, since QS does offer more compatibility with mono than SQ. If there was a problem with the mono transmitters, I doubt the specific matrix was the cause. I'd expect SQ to be more problematic.
 

MidiMagic

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Here were the systems used in the BBC matrix trials:

Matrix A was QS, no logic.
Matrix B was SQ, no logic.
Matrix C was QS, with logic.
Matrix D was SQ, with logic.
Matrix E was a tetrahedral matrix Peter Scheiber proposed for high separation.
Matrix F was UMX (BMX), no logic.
Matrix G was matrix F modified to reduce the phasey stereo image.
Matrix GX was G modified to reduce the phasey stereo image. (GX was not tested in the trials.)
Matrix HX was GX further modified to reduce the phasey stereo image. (HX was not tested in the trials.)
Matrix H was Matrix HX further modified to reduce phasiness.
Matrix J was H further modified to reduce phasiness. (This was done after the trials ended.)
Matrix HJ was J further modified to reduce phasiness. (This was done after the trials ended.)
Matrix HJ was later renamed UHJ.

When I read the BBC articles, I was surprised that neither EV matrix was tested. They have higher front-to-back separations and a higher left-front-to-right-front separations than any of the systems tested, ideal for classical music. I think they were wanting an all-channels-equal system, which neither EV system had.

I wonder if Matrix B was an SQ 10-40 decoder, or decoded the corner modulations without blending.

Note that Matrix A and Matrix C used the same QS recordings.
Matrix B and Matrix D used the same SQ recordings.
 
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