Talk:Stereophonic sound

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Professional sound production (Rated C-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Professional sound production, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of sound recording and reproduction on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.


The stethoscope seems like a bad example to use for an article about stereophonic sound. Although it has ear pieces for each ear, the sound comes from one source, and is thus monophonic. —Walloon 02:08, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

This article needs to include something about the pioneering work into steo by Alan D. Blumlein, his 128 stereo patents , and links to the page about him —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:03, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Motion pictures[edit]

I will preemptively note that a 1934 sound version of the 1927 silent feature Napoleon, presented in Paris by director Abel Gance, did not have true stereophonic sound. The 35mm film strip had notches that switched the monophonic soundtrack from one set of speakers to another.

Likewise, Warner Bros. used something called Vitasound on a few features in 1939-1940. Often incorrectly called a stereophonic process, Vitasound actually combined a standard, variable width monophonic soundtrack with a second, variable width control track, located between the soundtrack and the sprocket holes, that increased loudness for certain scenes by switching on additional amplifiers and speakers. Walloon 09:06, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

To come[edit]

I plan to add a section on the 1958 Westrex single-groove recording system and how it finally brought stereo to the ordinary consumer, and then I'll probably be done for the time being. Quadraphonic and surround sound could be added to the article since they are really just extensions of stereophonic sound... Dpbsmith (talk) 03:05, 7 Jan 2005 (UTC)


Stereophonic cannot be anything other than sound - this page should simply be Stereophonic.

Well, if you are going to be pedantic, it should be "stereophony."
However, the naming convention is to use the most common term, not the most logical or the most technically correct or the most linguistically proper. In point of fact "stereophonic sound" by far the most common phrase, and has been since the 1950s. Witness the 1954 Cole Porter lyrics cited in the article. This Web page shows a 1953 Popular Science article about Cinemascope and its use of "stereophonic sound." This Web page shows that into the declining days of 70mm (the 1980s), advertisements used language such as "Presented in 70mm and six-track stereophonic sound" (which may be both a tautology and a misnomer if "stereophonic" is taken to mean "two-channel."
In any case, in the real world the technology is almost always called "stereophonic sound" whether or not it logically ought to be, and the article title and text properly reflect accepted usage. Dpbsmith (talk) 13:52, 30 August 2005 (UTC)
Me, pendantic? Nah! Seriously though, if take the use the most common term approach then I don't think you should use advertising literature as the base (very prone to peculiar phrasing), but common talk, which, certainly from the UK perspective would simply to use the term "stereo" - "Is the record in stereo or mono?", similar to "Did you hear the quadrophonic demo of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon at the Hi-Fi show at Earl's Court?" Indeed, in the UK, the term "stereo" was often used to refer to the record player, as in "put another record on the stereo". Another test would be to consider what phrase makes a good common link from other articles, and I would argue here that I would be much more likely to use stereo or stereophonic than stereophonic sound. Perhaps the definitive source for the terminology would be something like a copy of Gramophone or Hi-Fi Answers. Whilst writing this I realise I am using a '60s/'70s perspective on the terminology (thinking of the heyday of records) but it is still current - do I buy a pair of stereophonic sound headphones or stereo headphones or stereophonic headphones?
Having looked around on the net, I will conceed that it seems common to title articles in that way (though they always immediately drop into more common forms) - I'll not link to the encyclopedia definitions as that leads to copyright issues - no doubt because if you don't know what the term means then it seems sensible to give it a context, however, I still think it is carrying on a common mistake - it appears to be a disambiguation where there is no ambiguity - vision of course is stereoscopic. It is reasonable to disambiguate "stereo" - stereo vision vs. stereo sound, and I think that that is where the problem arises, that to be proper, people re-extend the contraction.
Still, a consensus is what it's all about which is why I raised the question rather than editing it directly (and all those links to change :( ) This is a horribly pedantic point, isn't it? However, I do think it is important to get these basic terms correct, though.
First, you can certainly link to other encyclopedias, particularly on a Talk page. That doesn't raise any copyright issues at all.
Second, this article can't be titled Stereo because of disambiguation issues. If people felt strongly that "stereo" was the correct term, the usual Wikipedian solution would be to title this article Stereo (sound). If you want to formally propose that the page be moved to Stereo (sound) start a new section on this page--type something like ==Proposal: move this to [[Stereo (sound)]]== and see what people think. Wait a while and see if there's any discussion or consensus. Then move it if you get consensus, which I don't think you will.
I oppose this, because I don't think "stereophonic sound" is incorrect in any way. It is not used merely "in advertising." It's the normal term used in formal writing about the subject. I agree with you that "stereo" is the usual informal term. But here are the problems with using it as an article title:
  • Article titles are usually nouns or noun phrases.
  • The noun "stereo" doesn't mean "stereophonic sound," it means a device for reproducing recordings.
  • Stereophonic by itself is an adjective, not a noun. I think an article titled Stereophonic is awkward.
  • You certainly could take the common adjective "stereo" and combine it with the word "sound" to get "stereo sound." This is correct, it is occasionally used, and it is not tautological. The problem is that "stereophonic sound" is much commoner than stereo sound.
Essentially, you just don't like the phrase "stereophonic sound" and you don't think people ought to use it. However, they do.
It would make just as much sense to object to the word "phonograph" on the grounds that the purpose of a phonograph is to reproduce sound audibly, not to display it visibly; or "peanut" on the basis that it is a legume, not a nut. Dpbsmith (talk) 12:47, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
The thing for me is "can a person find the article using a straightforward search". I believe most people would use the most common phrase even if it were not absolutely correct, and for me that would mean stereophonic sound. The other titles you mention can easily be created as redirects as long as they are not already used for other articles, so "stereophony" and "stereo (sound)" can all be redirected here, but "stereo" cannot. Graham 23:31, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
OK, I understand the points you made. Taking Graham's point, stereophonic is the most likely search which already occupies a page for disambiguation so I guess that's as good as it gets for now. Cheers (anonymously again!).
Oh, and by the way: thanks for your interest, thanks for engaging courteously in this discussion, and, if you're new to Wikipedia, welcome. Please stick around. You really might consider signing up for an account and getting a username, which is free and takes about fifteen seconds and does not require disclosure of any information, not so much as an email address. Dpbsmith (talk) 12:42, 1 September 2005 (UTC)
A real-life example for all above: A few minutes ago I wanted to find out when stereo LP recordings first appeared so I searched Wikipedia for "stereo". It only took one extra step before I found this. It would have never occurred to me to search for "stereophonic", even less "stereophonic sound". However, I still found it so I'm happy. Chris Burrows 03:39, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

stereo (sound)?! You're kidding aren't you? :) Well, anyway, worry ye not. Stereo is stereophonic sound to 99.9% of the population 99.9% of the time, which makes dab pages irrelevant. I've redirected stereo here and plonked a {{Redirect}} template onto this page, which takes care of any disambiguation issues. If at any time there's a desire to actually move this article into the stereo slot, it's easily done. --kingboyk 21:52, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Turn-of-the-century unintentional stereophonic cylinder recordings[edit]

Well, I'm going nuts because I actually found one of these somewhere on the website, but I can't find it now... or a good reference... so I'm just going to mention it here.

Before a molding process for cylinder recordings was devised, cylinder recordings were made in batches of about 250 at a time. About ten phonographs--the number depending on how loud the source was--were placed around the talent to make the recording. From each of these ten originals, about twenty-five copies could be made via a "pantograph." Performers were hired to repeat the same performance over and over again, each performance yielding only 250 copies.


Because the ten or so originals were recorded at the same time by phonographs at different locations in the room, each performance was in fact recorded (unintentionally!) in ten-channel stereophonic sound, and if it is possible to locate two cylinders from the same batch of 250, but copied from different originals, it is theoretically possible to combine them to produce stereo, and some researchers have done this.

Now, a month or so ago, I ran into a recording on with no explanation, which said only that it was a stereophonic cylinder recording. However, the two channels were poorly synchronized, and I actually have to wonder whether this was just an issue of speed variation or whether whoever made the recording had failed to secure two cylinders from the same batch.

If I (or someone else) can find it again, it's a worthwhile note for the "history" section. Dpbsmith (talk) 00:10, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

Greetings...the recording you mention exists in Internet Archive, it is labeled Casey Jones, by billy murray, and it notes STereo Remake. My ear analysis says it consists of two completely different takes of the song. Perhaps whoever cooked the mix even took the trouble to synchronize somehow the phrases, giving or taking some seconds from one track or the other, but heard through speakers or headphones are a curious and interesting experience. Look under Billy Murray. The search is totally worthwhile. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:45, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Please excuse me for not signing. Please do take hugozabre@hotmail as signature. Thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:51, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

As it relates to popular music[edit]

I think there needs to be some information about how music artists experimented a bit with stereo to broaden the experience (like separating vocals and instruments, or different vocalists, into the left and right channels). This was done a lot in the 1960s: Mamas & Papas is a good example. I thought that was cool because you could use the audio balance to selectively hear more or less detail. Since the 1970s, the ambience of stereo seems to be almost identical no matter which album you listen to... listen to the left channel, then the right channel, and a song will sound exactly identical. It would be great if this train of thought could be fleshed out into a paragraph... I'd do it but I don't have enough knowledge to comment on this outside of my own observations. -Rolypolyman 03:14, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Many people refer to this as "multi-channel mono." In the world of popular music, stereo sound is rarely used to create any type of aural realism. There's no value judgment there--just an observation. 02:46, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

Mention MP3 players etc. modern things too. Jidanni (talk) 01:12, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

I am somewhat unable to precisely pinpoint my source information, but this might lead towards it. As a small child I read a huge pile of AUDIO and Hi Fi magazines from the 50s. A very nice history of the phonograph, in about 10 or so installments appeared on such magazines. Concerning cylinders, a picture was shown, and the copy stated that a certain maker of phonographs and cylinders, and it might well be Columbia, marketed that apparatus, playing a two grooved cylinder, with two reading diaphragms coupled to two horns, said cylinder recorded using two recording horns coupled to two recording styli, recording on the same cylinder. The looks of the cylinder reminded me of the language course cylinders Edison marketed, with two visible "tracks" dividing the cylinder more or less in half, like an extended play 45 with two songs. The copy stated that, being a simultaneous two point pickup recording, discrete all the way, it efectively was a stereophonic pair. What about it? The same history pictured another phonograph, disk, playing simultaneusly four discs, via four horns. One small, two medium and one extra large. Woofer, midrange and tweeter......but the four discs were identical. Imagine the problems stacking the pile, and synchronizing them perfectly.... By the way, I have seen Cook stereo disks circa 1952,and they look like a normal lp with two tracks,a wide land between with no lead in grooves and I also remember having seen the advertisement for the playback adaptor, with two headshells separated, and here my memory fails if it was 1.25, 1.5 or 1.75 inches apart. At about the same time "staggered" heads competed against "stacked" heads in tape stereo.....again 1.25 or so inches apart......If it is possible, it must be fairly simple to check said magazines between 1950 and 1954 mostly. I have been unable to locate pdfs in the internet, but they must exist physically in the United States in many libraries. It is rather unfortunate that the magazines I read were lost in the 1984, or was it 1985? earthquake in Mexico City. Also my collection of around 250 edison diamond discs....and the cooks.... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:37, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Excuse the impoliteness, that is, not signing. Not knowing how, take hugozabre@hotmail as a good signature. Thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:48, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Theatrophone image[edit]

Can someone with better editing skills than I get the image of the Thetarophone to work in this article? Here is the image: Theatrophone. Thanks. — Walloon 12:15, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

History of Stereo wat is it?[edit]

Tell me wat the history is? — 19:58, 30 July 2006 (UTC)


Can we illustrate the types of sterophonic recording (XY AB etc?). Very difficult to visualise on a casual first reading

Merging stuff form microphones[edit]

The info in this article is mostly doubled by info in Microphones#Conventional stereo recording for loudspeakers. Can someone please merge those two into this article and delete the info form microphones (and simply add a link to this article). --Maciej "Nux" Jaros **drop a note** 22:40, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

Surely there is a distinction here between stereo recording and stereo playback. The info in the microphones article should remain, as this article primarily concerns stereoponic playback, whist the other concerns microphone recording, which should include all forms, monophonic or otherwise. 10:45, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Missing techniques[edit]

  • spaced microphones array (multiple microphones each connected to it's speaker or with pan-pot techniques combined into two channels)
  • faulkner array and use of accent (close) microphones
  • Stereo-180 (hypercardioids, 145°, 46mm)
  • bidirectional microphones with baffle (bidirectional, about 90°, 20-30cm, separated with absorptive baffle - square 30cm)
  • OSS array - Optimum Stero Signal (omnidirectional, -, 16cm, seprated with 30cm Jecklin disc)

Also techniques should be grouped:

  • intensity (coincident): XY and MS
  • phase difference (I'm not sure how to call it in english): spaced microphones, AB, faulkner
  • quasi-coincident: ORTF, NOS, Stereo-180, bi with baffle, OSS

This links should help:

Maciej "Nux" Jaros **drop a note** 00:14, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

Transparent microphone placement diagrams assume browser with white background[edit]

e.g., 60px-XY_stereo.svg.png looks terrible in my dark olive background emacs-w3m browser. Jidanni (talk) 01:04, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Why the word 'stereo' in 'stereo sound'?[edit]

How come no-one asked this question thus far? We see that the word 'stereo' derives from Greek ('στερεό') and means 'solid'. I mean - maybe there are some other meanings of the word 'στερεό' in Greek language - because 'solid' seems inappropriate when sound is in question... I see that when the term 'stereophonic' was coined it referred to 'stereoscopic' (vision), but what perceiving the third dimension of a solid object (or gaseous or liquid!) has to do with hearing sound. So I ask - what is the official logic (be it correct or false; if any!) behind the use of word 'stereo' in this case?

(My motivation to write this: some time ago when my arrogant brother asked me what 'stereo' means when we talk about sound or vision I unsuspectingly in a strict practical sense (non-etymological) said: "Well, it means when there is two of something." (like two cameras recording stereoscopic image or two microphones recording sound, or two speakers; two eyes, two ears after all), but then he pompoused it out that it in fact means 'spatial' - but here I see it means 'solid' - so what's the deal here?)—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:35, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Your brother is closer to being right. The root of 'stereo' as used today is more like "three-dimensional" than 'solid', 'firm' or 'hard'. Its saying that a stereoscopic photograph and a stereophonic recording are perceived in greater dimension than otherwise. Binksternet (talk) 16:58, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Also I'm closer to being right in a practical sense (as indeed there are two pictures in stereoscopy, and headphones always have two speakers), but that's beside the point. The point is that the article describes it misleadingly as 'solid' when 'spatial' would be more appropriate - or maybe there is even more precise term to translate 'stereo'? ...Any Greeks here? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:21, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

The Decca Tree[edit]

Seeing as though the Decca tree is a major stereo recording technique (very common when recording orchestras and ensembles), could it be included on this page? PyrE (talk) 02:01, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Yup. Binksternet (talk) 02:33, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Inline link to undisplayed image[edit]

I removed an undisplayed image pipe link of a concert orchestra layout because hiding such an image where a text link would be expected is jarring to the reader.

The guide for image links, Wikipedia:How_to_edit_a_page#Images, shows that an undisplayed inline image is made clear by its pipe link text, and that the parameter media: precedes it. The link I removed was formatted [[:File:Orchestra layout.svg|spatial relationship]] but the recommended style would be more like [[Media:Orchestra layout.svg|image of orchestra layout]]. Binksternet (talk) 14:51, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

first 'accidental' stereo recordings[edit]

According to issue of New Scientist 19/26 December 1985, pages 59-61, first accidental stereo recordings are of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" performed by Leopold Stokowski in 1929, not two medleys by Duke Ellington. I think it should be mentioned in article as well (although I still haven't found any info about that particular recording) (talk) 14:40, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

No "first" claim is made in this article for the Ellington medleys. They are included as notable both because of the perennial interest in Ellington and because (as far as I know) the stereo reconstructions of them are the only examples available to the public. For the most part, the stereo image in the Ellingtons is rather vague and shifting—for all we know, the microphones may have been stacked rather than placed side-by-side—and the sync is far from perfect, resulting in some chorusing and "slap-back" echo artifacts. Good electronic match-ups of the "Rite" pairs or other recordings might well be more stereophonically satisfying. The New Scientist article may be based on the pamphlet included in the first (LP) issue of the Ellington reconstructions, which came out in the mid-1980s IIRC. My copy is not at hand, but those notes were considerably more extensive than the information included with the later CD issue, and the existence of other examples, including the 1929 "Rite", was mentioned. No "first" claim was made for that recording either, and in the absence of any hard evidence about the history of the two-system practice nothing more than an "earliest known" claim can be made for any such recording.
All such "first" claims are swept into the bin by one far earlier example which I am too lazy to re-research at the moment: a circa 1900 cylinder machine employing an oversize cylinder and multiple recording heads and horns. Two or more separate tracks were simultaneously cut on the same wax cylinder. The objective, I believe, was increased playback volume, but inevitably some true stereo would have resulted. It was exhibited at one or another of the Expositions and was bought by an enthused Eastern potentate for an appropriately princely sum, but the machine was never commercialized. Perhaps there are a few moldy cylinders with some stereophonic Sousa marches from 1899 still languishing in the storerooms of a crumbling palace somewhere.
Earlier still in the 1890s, before practical cylinder molding processes were perfected, it was usual to record each "take" of a performance with multiple recording phonographs, each with its own recording horn, diaphragm and cutting stylus. With loud source material such as a brass band, a dozen simultaneous recordings could be made. In the unlikely event that two such recordings from the same "take" have not only managed to survive but were also identified as take-mates, dubs of them could be electronically synchronized and the result would certainly be stereophonic. At best, the stereo image could be very distinct and realistic. AVarchaeologist (talk) 01:27, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

Why is 'Vinyl records' section so named?[edit]

Why is section 6 ("Vinyl records") so named? It does not mention vinyl during the section at all. There's no clue in the whole passage as to whether the medium used to record the stereo is vinyl or shellac or whatever else. It also has a too-technical description of things that seem to have nothing to do with the recording medium, making the whole passage seem out of place? Or not out of place? who can tell? I can't! Pete Hobbs (talk) 22:33, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

I added a link to vinyl record. More improvement is needed but I hope this helps. --Kvng (talk) 13:39, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

Section on Binaural Recording[edit]

The section on binaural recording has information in it that not only contradicts the main article, but that makes no sense. For instance, that recordings are made with headphones on a dummy to capture the room in which the dummy head is... Anyway, someone might want to correct that. Jack mcdowell (talk) 20:37, 26 November 2012 (UTC)


Is the directional sound really an "illusion" when it requires two speakers which are in fact in different directions? Herr Gruber (talk) 02:30, 5 August 2014 (UTC)