Misconceptions about "Sunflower" so-called quad

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Sonik Wiz

👂 500 MPH EARS 👂
May 30, 2005
Kansas City
I just discovered this thread today & found it a fascinating read. Perhaps at some time I I knew of the Spatializer but that was a lot of years and brain cells ago. I did find an interesting article here.

Also there are 2 patents in Desper's name but 1 is from 1995 and the other from 1999. So it might represent improvements over the 70's circuit. The designs are quite complex & both patents are very similar; I haven't had a chance to study the subtleties yet.


Oct 14, 2010
Does anyone have the wiring diagram for the rear speakers that was initially included. Sorry if this question appears redundant and thanks,


2K Club - QQ Super Nova
May 28, 2011
NW Ontario
Quadraphonic Recording. Can be played on any stereo player or with QS, EV, or Dynaquad quadraphonic players.
Awhile ago I purchased a bootleg LP that had long been reported to be QS. In fact it was just a live audience recording, with the levels poorly balanced. The rumour of it being QS was caused by the note on the cover that the sound would be greatly enhanced by the use of a Sansui quadraphonic decoder. Yes, but that type of statement would be true true for any stereo recording!


1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Jul 5, 2010
I have it. It is on the back of the Dynaco Demonstration album.

But I lost my scanner/printer in a disaster and won't have another until the damage is fixed (after the stupid shutdown ends). So I can't reproduce it.

You can find it here:

Look for 4-Dimensional-Stereo-Demonstration-Disc

Click on more images.

Sean Macreavy

New member
May 27, 2021
Alcester, UK
To set the record straight . . .

Sunflower is in virtual surround, if you like to call it that. This is where all the misunderstanding is located, even AP does not understand my patented matrix (now part of DTS). Please read my long post for further clarification (provided at the end in two-parts). The matrix, when decoded or resolved through application of the playback matrix makes audible over two-stereo speakers, so called virtual surround. VIRTUAL means you only need two speakers up front, those and only those cause your brain to process what it hears as if there were real speakers to your back. You don't need anything else, in fact, additional speakers just screw up the imaging due to the multiple propagation pathways set up by the additional sources. Rear speakers will, again, confuse the brain and we're back to non-virtual stereo.

Surround schemes such as 5.1 are peripheral systems. The speakers are placed around the listener. In virtual sound the two speakers get a signal that causes the brain to act as processor (or as a neural-decoder ... a brain decoder) by itself. This makes you think you are hearing sounds all around you, but also anywhere in front of the speakers. In some ways it can do things that the peripheral scheme cannot.

Everyone wants real speakers to be used, and it isn't designed for that, it is not designed for four real speakers. IT IS A VIRTUAL SURROUND SYSTEM. Two speakers and one listener make it work! That is what is wrong with this AP SACD offering.

Even this Quadraphonic quad site is dedicated to multi-speaker peripheral surround systems. The virtual matrix predates quad by several years, came to be popular again after quad as “3D Sound” and now seems to be completely misunderstood as unaware engineers try to fit virtual into real, with the mis-understanding that it will improve the situation. All it does is destroy it.

Sunflower’s encoded signals have always been embedded within the stereo release. I figured out how to put the decoded signals on to the LP itself. Here-to-fore thought impossible. Putting so-called "3D sound" right on the Sunflower LP would have made it listenable by anyone over a two-speaker system NO DECODER NEEDED. Alternately, as the record company decided to do, the stereo with encoded signals unresolved, was released. What they failed to capitalize on was making cheap decoders and selling them. I just wanted the LP to have the 3D sound already decoded, but the record company was not willing to try something new. That's OK, what was released was good stereo. Had it been released as intended it would have sold more copies and put the Beach Boys in a technically advanced league way ahead of other groups of the day.

In the meantime you can avail yourself of the "3D" or Virtual Surround experience by visiting my website http://swdstudyvideos.com

Because Sunflower was released when Stereophonic Sound was the standard format, no diagram was enclosed -- as none was needed. The explanation on the Sunflower nor Surf’s Up jacket says anything about a diagram, only recorded for good stereo. I don’t know where some posters get their information. I think they just make up history and pass it on as factual. They may be confusing Sunflower with the later FLAME album. By the time work started on that album quadraphonic sound was becoming popular. We mixed down the Flame album monitoring through a simple circuit that did use back speakers. It was released in Stereo, but some directional information was embedding in that disk, which the enthusiast could play over his rigged-up extra back speakers. That album beat out every one of the major studios by several months, becoming the first commercially released quadraphonic LP in history. It was released into a young quad market. A diagram of the extra wire and speakers was enclosed with the LP. If you had two matching speakers and some wire lying around, you could make in work in minutes. The separation was 6dB front to back, and the back speaker separation was 3dB from side to side. The front speaker separation was unaffected. That may not sound like much these days, but 3dB is all that is needed to make the ear think all the sound is coming from the louder source. Thus, if the left speaker is only 3dB louder than the right speaker, the brain will assign the source of sound to the left. Given that story, the little diagram did provide some directionality of the sound to the rear speakers, if you did it right. Those fans that tried it, had a lot of fun listening in this "new" way -- quadraphonic. The Flame album is not virtual surround. Sunflower, Surf's Up and all the rest are not quadraphonic albums. Only the Flame album ventured into quad on a commercial level. I did make a discrete 4-track quad demo tape with the help of Dennis Wilson and Daryl Dragon for a paper presented to The Audio Engineering Society on quad recording techniques, but it was only played at the AES Hollywood meeting and was never released.

Today, you say matrix and everyone thinks of disc decoding schemes of quad days. But, those came later. Sunflower was ahead of its time with regard to directional and dimensional presentation. Unfortunately, no one got to hear it. ...until now.

AP blew it. They could have done it right, but they failed. If they had done their homework, all this information is out there. One has only to make a click or two on Google to find me or the story of this album, but they choose to fall into the trap of assuming real speakers would improve the product, when just the opposite is true. It’s a shame and very unprofessional of AP to issue such a well-anticipated album reissue and get it all wrong. They could have done it right by issuing the album with the signal resolved through the virtual matrix, but for some reason used a matrix that was intended for quadraphonic encoding. Such a matrix is 90 degrees shifted from the original, which screws up all the dimensional cues, and the matrix is based on x-y coordinates whereas the virtual matrix is based on x-y-z coordinates. This means some depth cues are missing.

It's done right on my website, part of the 49 year history of this album along with other interesting things, the sight is educational, not commercial, so there are no charges for visiting, and it is me - the engineer - communicating with you, not via a third-party interview. ~swd

HERE IS PARTS ONE AND TWO of a previous post on the Steve Hoffman board. This will provide you with some insight into those times.

COMMENT: (In Two Parts -- PART ONE)

I have read all of your discussion posts about this madness and, if you will indulge me a rather long post, I’ll try to bring some understanding to the situation.

There seems to be some confusion about the terms used here.

The term “matrix” has several definitions. There is the LP matrix, which refers to the master Acetate disk from which all pressings are made along with the mother, stamper etc. I usually refer to that as the “LP matrix.”

With the advent of quadraphonic sound, the term “matrix” was coined to describe various schemes based on circuitry used to encode 4-channel discrete signals onto the LP V-Groove, which is a two-channel signal.

When Dolby came onto the scene they took the old quadraphonic schemes, shifted the math 90 degrees, so that the matrix (so-called) for quad of left-right-left rear-right rear, with speakers placed at the four corners of the sound field, became left-center-right-rear, with speakers now placed left/right/center/rear. The surround signal was mono with all rear speakers the listener, but created a center channel. The main objective of Dolby was to provide a stable center channel for dialog in movie sound tracks. Later as various schemes were developed, discrete rear channels were incorporated so that stereo rear channels were possible.

Today it is common-place to buy a movie soundtrack as 5.1 or 7.1 with all channels discrete, that is, not in a matrix.

When I recorded Sunflower and was the Beach Boys' engineer, I had a studio to my own, with all the funding, time, talent and equipment I wanted. That was around fifty years ago. Quadraphonic sound would not be invented for several years. I became fascinated with psychoacoustics, but while studying that topic I realized the real reasons for sound doing what it does lies in the brain and brain function. So I began to study neurology with respect to recording stereo and found that microphone arrays were the key to making sound appear to originate outside the normal sound stage. I found that I could get sounds, voices, instrument, effects to image out in the sound field or beyond the two stereo speakers and in some cases, image over your shoulder, and even behind you. Not all types of sounds could image at all locations, but with practice I identified which types of sound did best to image forward of the speakers, or beyond the two speakers.

After some time I also developed circuits that created a matrix that could accomplish almost the same effect. Now remember that we are reproducing stereo over two speakers, that was the standard of the day – and in many cases is still the standard today from FM radio, CD’s, LP’s and cassettes.

I found that I could capture three-dimensional space using just microphone arrays of three or five microphones, matrixed into two channels. The connection of the three or five mics to two channels was done via an electronic circuit, but their inner relationships was acoustic. At first I used transformers connected in a way that generated a matrix, but soon developed circuits to do the same.

The microphones captured audio in an acoustically related way that can only be achieved through the use of arrays. This generates an x-y-z lattice. In other cases I used circuits to produce an x-y lattice, with the z coordinate being synthetically derived.

In order to overcome the limitations of stereophonic reproduction over two speakers, I developed a matrix that would generate a sound field in reproduction that today we would call, virtual surround. Back all those years ago, I called it a matrix sound. In today’s language this can cause some confusion.

You see, your ears and brain were designed to perceive an environment that caressed you with a plethora of sounds encircling 360 degrees to all sides, above and beneath. But note: every sound came from one single source that had a given direction, physical size and distance, all useful to primitive man whether protecting or providing. Your brain evolved to process life's ocean of sounds — what's approaching, what's moving, what's large or small — to save you from harm. The brain was designed for survival — flight or fight — not for entertainment. The fact is . . . the brain has not changed, and how could it? Your body’s ear/brain system has been the same for 60 million years. Around 60 years ago, stereophonic sound reproduction entered into commercial entertainment. Unlike the single-point and constantly varying sound sources of our evolutionary history, entertainment stereo propagates from two widely separated, but stationary sound sources. By using differing signals, two loudspeakers create imagery that seems to emanate mostly between the two sources – an artificial representation of life. Because your brain is not formatted to accurately extract the information from a stereo sound field, it is represented to you as less-then-lifelike. The matrix resolves that limitation by tailoring what you hear from your stereo system so it's compatible with the brain's cognitive methods.

The design philosophy of the “matrix” is based upon a neural processing model. It is not an HRTF device, nor does it use DTF, IACC or PCA functions or formulas. The bases of the design rests on “Perceptual Precedence” as a means of biasing the brain’s auditory spatial perception. Perceptual precedence is a reflex action wherein the mind is nudged to realize an entire auditory pattern by presentation of partial information only, similar to our ability to recognize familiar shapes even if most of the shape may be blocked from view.

These techniques are based on an understanding of labeled line code, discharge patterns of rapidly and slowly receptor adaptation encoding and frequency and population codes, etc. used by the brain to overcome its big problem, latencies of action-potentials as each synaptic connection is made to the next level of neural processing.

I realize these are not topics or terms familiar to the average recording engineer, but if you really want to understand how recording and reproduction function, you have to move past sound as something in the air (psychoacoustics). There is no sound, as such, anywhere in reality. In reality all there is is movement of molecules and changes in barometric pressure. Sound becomes meaningful or even identifiable only in the brain. Sound, or what we call “sound” is only a concept. Like music, it is a brain function. An orchestra does not produce sound or music; all it does is move molecules around in the air. By way of brain activity a dog hears the sound of the orchestra and by way of higher brain functions, a human hears the music of an orchestra.
Science calls this "Conceptual Image Space (from a paper at JPL), which basically states that all perceived reality takes place between our ears, not in the external model that is presented to us as humans. Thus, the reality each of us perceives is uniquely, personal, and is a representation of reality, not reality itself. You can see how this plays into the recording of sound. The engineer is not capturing sound, rather is ultimately compelling the brain to process the undulations of the two speaker cones in a way that will convince the brain of a produced reality.

So it all comes back to the human brain. Using applied neuralplasticity the matrix I developed causes new neural pathways to grow, which bring the added dimensions to stereo perception by the brain. This is not like the matrixes used today that are based on psychoacoustics. Those are based on sound as reality in air, whereas neuralplasticity uses the brain as a processor.

Having said that, Sunflower and all the stuff I recorded for The Beach Boys has within its two channels, a matrix that is musically compatible with regular stereo. That is, all the inter-balance and relationships of elements within the mix offer a compatible listening experience if reproduced in stereo. If however, the matrix is resolved the sound field is expanded and will image well beyond the stereo speakers, in front of them, and in some cases to the rear. This is similar to surround sound but is not the same.

Today’s surround sound is a perimeter surround. That is, real speakers are placed about the edge of the sound field and create a sound around you, which you hear with your two ears. The matrix used in Sunflower, etc. creates sound around you and also within the sound field using your two ears and your brain as a processor. Under controlled listening conditions, you cannot tell the virtual experience from the real experience. In fact, because the virtual system is based on spectral time shifts rather than amplitude changes, the virtual system can also steer sounds to points within the sound field. Thus, rather than hearing sound around you, the virtual can place violins in front of horns, or the lead singer forward of the group. You can’t do that with multiple speakers, only with two speakers. Two ears; two speakers. Multiple speaker surround sound is very good and works over a large listening area (such as a cinema), but using many speakers in a smaller room can confuse the image with its multiple sound sources all speaking at once. Virtual surround is limited to one or two listeners, but if in the “sweet spot” can mimic the envelopment of the speaker-surround format.



As I said, this concept (later to be patented internationally) was thought up when state-of-the-art was the 12 inch LP. The mixes made on Sunflower, etc., were done with NO consideration of anything like a four-discrete-track future release. These mixes are not conceived for reproduction over a multiple speaker surround system. The matrix is meant to be heard over two stereo speakers only. That is the sound the producer has set as a standard.

I will be the first to agree that there is no right nor wrong in art; only preferences. But if the art form is supported by science, then a standard must be applied that represents the producer’s intentions with respect to the science. In this case, the standard is by listening in virtual surround over two speakers.

To make a musically compatible stereo version of the matrixed version, we mixed down while monitoring (listening) through the matrix (resolved), but recording without. The “without” is the stereo version. To get the virtual surround sensation the stereo must be resolved through the matrix. Remember, I was the engineer for a huge group, their market is the stereo LP. So if I’m using an advanced idea, in the end it must become an LP vinyl record. Knowing this, I cut hundreds of Acetates as recording of the songs advanced, correcting many problems. Together with Brian Ingoldsby of Sound Master Studios and using his lathe, we worked out the geometry and ballistics of how to get the cutting stylus to cut a groove that the average consumer could trace. It required the change of two parameters on the cutting lathe. Now I’ve already cut a matrixed version of Sunflower onto an LP using Brian’s lathe. It plays on all varieties of players, poor and great. I played parts of the record for the cutting engineers at Warner. They were impressed with the sound, but not willing to re-adjust the lathe. Even when presented with concrete (or acetate) proof, looking at it through the microscope and the results on the scope – shaking their heads NO, impossible. But yet there it is in the looking glass and being played on their record-player. So we fell back on the master without resolution that is musically compatible with the matrix version. That became what has always been issued; remastered, yes, but always the two-track stereo. When I left the Beach Boys to move on with Zappa, the matrix and the entire studio was discarded as a new console and engineer moved in.

Some years ago I decided to rebuild the matrix and started listening, refining the design as time let me. No one at Capitol, Warner’s and BRI has shown interest in releasing a matrixed version of Sunflower – even after demonstrations – claiming that other versions would confuse the public. When digital came along, I tried to get matrixed versions released – now completely mechanically compatible. But "stay the course" was always the answer.

Finally, I decided to decode many songs that have never been heard that way, doing it under the educational aspects of the copyright law. Only the diehard Beach Boy fan is going to care about listening this way so I provided a playback of the original mastering done with Carl’s (acting producer) and my approval, resolved through the matrix, the one I built to use back then. How much more original do you need? The original mastering, done the way we heard it at playback. To me that is the standard.

By way of a need for education on this subject, you can hear the original intention of the producer at the time of mixdown, by going to my (now working) webpage, and at page 3, click on the “Recording The Beach Boys – part one (Sunflower)” button. There you can read part one of the book and hear the album in virtual surround or whatever you wish to call it.

What makes me mad is that after no one was interested in making the virtual surround version available to the public, Capitol licenses all the Beach Boy catalog to AP with the express stipulation not to change or modify, or re-mix anything.

So out of ignorance and arrogance, AP takes it upon themselves to apply a matrix for speaker surround to the virtual surround lattes. To make matters worse, they use a matrix designed for quadraphonic record playback, not recording, is 90 degrees shifted, and intended for four discrete channels as the source. My matrix uses x-y-z coordinates. They used x-y coordinates.

You bet I am mad. I tried over the years, decades, to get the record companies to embrace, what has come to be termed 3D Sound, the Beach Boys would be the first group to offer such a sound, and on a record, but no. Now AP misses the mark entirely, screws up the matrix, makes changes to the standard, and disrespects the terms of their contract (as I understand it).

And it pisses me off that after so much work was put into recording the virtual experience, getting it to cut to an LP, and to be compatible for broadcasting, to have it butchered so openly, is an offence to me and to the memory of Carl Wilson. AS I’ve always said, it’s the music business – emphasis on business. If there’s a buck to be made, they’ll do it. It is such a shame that the original intension of the producer was shoved aside by engineers who have no idea what they are doing. And then shoved onto an unsuspecting audience.

After all, my engineering efforts have been demonstrated to work. Professional Spatializer with its 24 joysticks, was/is used by Warner Pictures (Spielberg used it) MGM, Hans Zimmer bought three, NBC, many major studios domestic and foreign, the Olympic committee bought 11 units broadcasting virtual surround to 2-Billion people, Michael Jackson even put a song on an LP called HIStory. Then the commercial offering of an IC sold over 60 million channels of virtual surround (called 3D Sound). So the concept is well proven. With the advent of 5.1 surround and surround-sound-in-a-box, consumers liked getting real speakers rather than virtual ones and could relate to that. Soon so-called 3D sound was gone.

AP did not do their homework. They should have made a connection between the guy who engineered these albums and his company that made matrixes. After all, my devices, equipment and albums are known. I have written numerous articles and been reviewed and analyzed in the press. The Spatializer product came after The Beach Boy recordings and is more refined, but the Sunflower matrix is based on microphone arrays whereas the chip is not. At least AP could have tried something virtual or contacted me for consultation, or something other than just blindly venturing into a field they evidently know little about. Talk about confusing the public. AP is doing it royally, through misrepresentation. I wonder if they understand how a matrix works, or does just any ole one work?

If you disregard the standards of science as an art form, then the bottom line in listening is to enjoy what you hear. If it makes you happy – the entertainment value is high, money will be made, and the hell with the artist.

Let me relate a story to you. When I had my sound research lab in Los Angeles, it was located up in the northern part of the city in the foothills. I lived in the area too. There was a fellow, a retired frail old man who, with his dog, would wonder the neighborhood with a cart full of used radios, speakers, and amplifiers of all sizes and shapes. I learned he was a retired radio repair serviceman. He must have been in his 80’s and had been collecting for a decade. Occasionally I’d give him a piece of equipment no longer needed. Over the years we became friends. I don’t know where he got all his used equipment, but his cart was always brimming with audio things. I always assumed he repaired and sold the stuff, and one day asked him how he was doing with that. To my surprise I learned he did not sell anything, rather he took it home and added it to his collection of working sound devices of all types. Fascinated, I ask if I could see his collection, which was in his home. The day of my visit I found that his home was nestled, or should I say, hidden way back off a small street, behind hedges, bushes, and up against a hill. It was an old house, kinda rundown. Going inside it had that musty smell I remember from my grandparent’s house. I was shown into a rather large room, I guess the living room. Then looking around I could not believe all the speakers, some mounted in enclosures, some just sitting by themselves I could see. There were guitar amps, clock radios, tweeters, PA speakers, and every other type of sound generating transducer you can imagine. They were everywhere, floor to ceiling, left, right, behind me, in corners, shelves, tables – every nook and cranny. An amazing sight. But not as amazing as what happened next. I ask him if this was his stereo system. But he said he didn’t think much of stereo, instead he liked mono and told me that every one of the devices I was seeing was connected to his one turntable. I said, you mean all this stuff is one very large and elaborate sound system? Yes was the emphatic answer. Knowing in my head that this was going against every design fabric in my audio head, I was anxious to hear this gathering of sonic junk. My friend pulled out an LP of symphonic pops and placed it on his old Garrard record changer, fitted with, I think, a mono GE pickup cartridge. Now I had been living with state-of-the-art Tannoy monitors in the lab, so this was going to be an interesting sound, I thought. But was I wow-ed! It wasn’t anything like I was expecting to hear. In fact it wasn’t anything like I had ever heard, or have heard since. The sound was certainly open, and spacious – what with all those separate sources, each with its own sound tonality. Yet it was surprisingly detailed and interesting. You could direct your ear’s attention and hear whatever part of the sound you wished. In that way it was enveloping. As I listened I thought, here is a guy who could not begin to afford one of my lab speakers, and yet, his ingenuity and resourcefulness has put that refined listening experience to shame. Here was something completely different in approach and execution, but it worked and it worked just fine. I could relate to what I was hearing and could see how a person could be quite happy listing in this way. During the next few hours, I was treated to many old and wonderful songs, even some of the early 45 Beach Boy surfing hits. Those were especially enchanting, sounding anything but mono.

The point of this little story is to illustrate that in art, there is neither right nor wrong, only what you like.

If you wish to buy a re-mastered SACD and have some wrong algorithm re-negotiate the spectral and spatial elements, so that it is no longer near the intentions of the producer, go ahead. If it turns you on, makes you sing along with the music, gets your foot tapping, and leaves you satisfied, that makes it a good listening experience. Or if you just like to collect things, spend your money. I think what you get is the most expensive bootleg of all times. Bootleg because it wasn’t authorized, screws up the sound, and is not what the producer intended to be released, and is sold for profit.

You know the Beach Boy organization paid me a lot of money to keep them at state-of-the-art. Then they sat on the technology until finally releasing it through a bungling mastering house. Now the product Sunflower, etc., is officially released with the wrong matrix in place. This is worse than releasing it, just in Stereo.

For Carl and the rest of the Beach Boys and myself, at the time of release, the sound we liked and set as a standard can be heard at my website, that is, if you are interested from an education aspect in the history of this album, in words and sounds. I suppose you could compare it to the SACD version, but that does not change the original intensions of the artist, as does this latest reissue. Not only does the SACD multi-channel change the sound concept of the album(s), but invents tracks that were never there and were never suppose to be there.

If you’re still reading, thanks. I hope I have clarified some of the issues.

Good Listening, ~Stephen W. Desper[/SIZE]

Thank you so much for this fascinating, in-depth explanation, Steve. As a recent recruit in these parts, I've only just seen the thread. As a life-long beach Boys fanatic and audio nut, this is wonderful stuff. I have huge admiration for your work on Sunflower, Surf's Up, Flame and American Spring, among others.

But I have a couple of technical questions for you (or any other members here):

1) I remember reading an excellent interview with you talking to Andrew Doe for Beach Boys Stomp magazine in the early 80s. It inspired me to rig up two rear speakers wired out of phase, hence cancelling out the 'centre' of the stereo image. Was it called 'OOPS'? This has always worked a treat for me, and genuinely achieved a sort of 270-degree *actual* surround sound on your BBs stereo mixes. The position of sounds in pseudo-surround spectrum didn't seem to be confused at all; rather, they seemed enhanced somehow.

2) I have a Sony SA-30 5.1 system, which has always served me well, despite its quirks and limitations. My favourite of its features is the 'Movie' setting in the 'sound field' options. It appears to do exactly what my crude wiring used to, ie. just putting the two rear speaker signals out of phase. It works really well on any stereo recording I put through it, to be honest, whether it's your 'matrix' mixes, SQ recordings (eg. my Sony demonstration LPs, Mike Oldfield's Exposed, etc).

What are your, or any other members, thoughts on this? Is this basic 'OOPS' set-up actually compatible with matrix and quad recordings?

Many thanks in advance,



1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Apr 27, 2006
Pembroke Pines, FL
COMMENT to edisonbaggins: You are correct in that Q-Sound (QS) is a virtual dimensional scheme. QS cost me 1 1/2 million dollars. History: QS and Spatializer Audio were in development around the same time. However, QS entered the market first with some artists using their process. The most noted was Madonna's album "The Immaculate Collection". It works quite good, although it can be further improved by the application of the Spatializer matrix. QS was also heralded as a break-through technology when it was used in a Coke commercial for the Olympics, but failed to impress anybody. The following year the Olympics was broadcast in virtual surround using Spatializer technology and it was heard by 2-Billion people! At that time the QS system was only rented to a studio, the equipment was the size of a refrigerator, and was not a real-time process. That is, you made your mix, then waited about a half an hour for the system to generate a QS interpretation. Not very user friendly. The Spatializer system was sold to a studio, was the size of a VCR, and worked in real-time. When we entered the market QS took a back seat. Many famous artists used our system and we sold hundreds of systems to studios. QS sued Spatializer for patent infringement, and we counter sued. After a year of legal battle and 1 1/2 million dollars in legal fees, we won on all counts. But the main purpose of the QS litigation was to tie up our ability to license our technology and acquire investors. No one wants to be associated with a technology involved in a court battle. This frivolous law suit greatly impacted my business for a while and allowed a third system (SRS) to gain market share. Meanwhile my company Spatializer Audio Labs, Inc. went on to sell 60 million channels of its virtual technology to every major manufacture in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Also Compact and Apple computer used our technology for several years. When Dolby 5.1 was introduced, the "surround-in-a-box" concept was greatly accepted by the marketplace. Consumers could easily identify with real speakers, rather than virtual ones, and it marked the end of the so-called 3D sound. The big advantage of 5.1 was that it could be heard by many people rather than in a small sweet-spot of the virtual systems.
I was recording using virtual matrices long before the advent of quadraphonic schemes. Those used real speakers each placed at the corners of your room, i.e., right/left/rear right/rear left. The basic patent of these quad schemes was held by Peter Scheiber. All the 4-channel quadraphonic matrices used for encoding the LP record with four channels are based on this patent. The variations of levels, steering circuits, and vector angles are still only slight modifications of the basic patent, done to give each record company its own identity in the quad market. As each record company had its own scheme and required its own decoder, the public became confused, dis-enchanted, and quadraphonic sound for the LP failed in the marketplace. When Dolby acquired the Scheiber patent, the Dolby engineers re-worked the mathematics of the matrix to, in effect, twist the matrix by 90 degrees. This created a dedicated center channel, but eliminated stereo in the rear. The center channel was needed for movie dialog as the movie industry needed a real speaker for dialog and not a phantom image. So early movie theaters now had left/center/right/surround. The surround channel was mono but sounded over many speakers placed to the sides and rear of the audience. This was still a matrix, soon superseded by 5.1, a fully discrete system.
When I formed my company we judged the product would have a market life of around six years. The first four years were quite good, but after the introduction of 5.1, tapered off for the last two years, until we closed the company and I sold my rights to the patent to DTS. All my patents have now expired.
What remains are the masters of Beach Boy product that were recorded in virtual surround.
QS is still in business, or at least has a website. From the looks of the website you would think QS is all over the market, but it's all a show. They have always done good demos (still on website), but never much else. The current value of QS stock is 4/10s of one cent, or four mills, in case you wish to invest.
Using the term "QS" for "Q-Sound" is totally incorrect. "QS" is a legitimate matrix system, as created by Sansui, for four-speaker reproduction. Your misuse of the "QS" designation could confuse newbies to the forums.


Well-known Member
Dec 31, 2006
Cerritos, California
I just read through these posts by Stephen Desper and others, and indeed, very interesting! His website does not seem operational anymore...I would have liked hearing the "evolved" versions of the recordings he offered up.


1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Jul 5, 2010
With the advent of quadraphonic sound, the term “matrix” was coined to describe various schemes based on circuitry used to encode 4-channel discrete signals onto the LP V-Groove, which is a two-channel signal.
The term was not coined for this purpose.

The matrix is a mathematical object that has been used since around 1850. It is a set of numbers arranged in rows and columns so as to form a rectangular array. Get a book on linear algebra to learn about the matrix.

The encoding and decoding of matrix quadraphonics is done by the process known as matrix multiplication.

Here is encoding the EV matrix using a matrix:

EV matrix multiplication