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davidhorman1,754 posts since 8 Mar 2005
Channel Channel Islands

AIUI some pseudo-stereo processing also reduced the quality of the mono signal - which was also the reason the BBC didn't do Dolby Surround.


So now we (occasionally) get the digital equivalent instead, which is 5.1 mixes being downmixed to 2.0 and coming out with roaming volume levels (on some boxes) or hard-to-hear dialogue...
Markymark5,038 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
Such a concept wasn't on their radar, or anywhere near it


So, the IBA didn't like it when their programme contractors were ahead of them with technology!

The origin of pseudo stereo circuits is lost in time. I can believe that such a concept was not on the radar of the IBA which was brought up on mono audio, but I'm surprised that the BBC with their longstanding presence in radio broadcasting had not dabbled about with them.


You might argue the IBA were as passionate about stereo broadcasting as the Beeb. In 1973 they imposed
upon the ILR contractors the requirement to be in stereo. At that time no BBC local radio station was in stereo (and wouldn't start to be until the early 80s) and BBC national radio was restricted to only the main bulk of England.

ILR being in stereo accelerated the Beeb's roll out (some areas were enabled for BBC stereo just days before an ILR station would launch there, a positive effect of competition !) The Beeb themselves were world beaters
using PCM audio for the distribution of the national stations to the transmitters. Compressors and processors were not allowed to be used on FM broadcasts, and so the transmitted quality of UK FM radio in the 70s and 80s exceeded that of any other domestic audio source, and incredibly was of a higher technical standard than anything (FM or digital) we have today.
RJG249 posts since 29 Jun 2006
Border (Scotland) Reporting Scotland
Such a concept wasn't on their radar, or anywhere near it


So, the IBA didn't like it when their programme contractors were ahead of them with technology!

The origin of pseudo stereo circuits is lost in time. I can believe that such a concept was not on the radar of the IBA which was brought up on mono audio, but I'm surprised that the BBC with their longstanding presence in radio broadcasting had not dabbled about with them.


You might argue the IBA were as passionate about stereo broadcasting as the Beeb. In 1973 they imposed
upon the ILR contractors the requirement to be in stereo. At that time no BBC local radio station was in stereo (and wouldn't start to be until the early 80s) and BBC national radio was restricted to only the main bulk of England.

ILR being in stereo accelerated the Beeb's roll out (some areas were enabled for BBC stereo just days before an ILR station would launch there, a positive effect of competition !) The Beeb themselves were world beaters
using PCM audio for the distribution of the national stations to the transmitters. Compressors and processors were not allowed to be used on FM broadcasts, and so the transmitted quality of UK FM radio in the 70s and 80s exceeded that of any other domestic audio source, and incredibly was of a higher technical standard than anything (FM or digital) we have today.


Interestingly, Radio Borders, which opened in 1990, received a sustaining overnight feed from MAX a.m., Radio Forth's medium wave oldies station. It was in mono. As was the network chart show on Sundays. Receivers still indicated a stereo signal was being broadcast but the audio was pure mono. That situation lasted quite a considerable time.
Markymark5,038 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today

So, the IBA didn't like it when their programme contractors were ahead of them with technology!

The origin of pseudo stereo circuits is lost in time. I can believe that such a concept was not on the radar of the IBA which was brought up on mono audio, but I'm surprised that the BBC with their longstanding presence in radio broadcasting had not dabbled about with them.


You might argue the IBA were as passionate about stereo broadcasting as the Beeb. In 1973 they imposed
upon the ILR contractors the requirement to be in stereo. At that time no BBC local radio station was in stereo (and wouldn't start to be until the early 80s) and BBC national radio was restricted to only the main bulk of England.

ILR being in stereo accelerated the Beeb's roll out (some areas were enabled for BBC stereo just days before an ILR station would launch there, a positive effect of competition !) The Beeb themselves were world beaters
using PCM audio for the distribution of the national stations to the transmitters. Compressors and processors were not allowed to be used on FM broadcasts, and so the transmitted quality of UK FM radio in the 70s and 80s exceeded that of any other domestic audio source, and incredibly was of a higher technical standard than anything (FM or digital) we have today.


Interestingly, Radio Borders, which opened in 1990, received a sustaining overnight feed from MAX a.m., Radio Forth's medium wave oldies station. It was in mono. As was the network chart show on Sundays. Receivers still indicated a stereo signal was being broadcast but the audio was pure mono. That situation lasted quite a considerable time.


Outside sources (including sustaining feeds) didn't count. The Network Chart Show via the IRN mono and not very good quality contribution network sounded diabolical (being in mono was the least of its problems)
noggin12,683 posts since 26 Jun 2001

AIUI some pseudo-stereo processing also reduced the quality of the mono signal - which was also the reason the BBC didn't do Dolby Surround.


So now we (occasionally) get the digital equivalent instead, which is 5.1 mixes being downmixed to 2.0 and coming out with roaming volume levels (on some boxes) or hard-to-hear dialogue...


We are massively suffering in the UK from 5.1 being a niche.

There is limited experience of it throughout the production and broadcast chain - and it is reducing yet further now that Strictly is stereo. In other countries, 5.1 is the norm...
Riaz398 posts since 6 Jan 2016
I'm not - it's like colourising black and white video. A basically pointless exercise for no real gain. If people want it, optionally, in their receiver processing, that's one thing, imposing it on everyone? I can see why the BBC would think it a pointless thing to do, and a deflection on moving forward with stereo production.


Pseudo stereo is a debatable concept but when confronted with an already existing mono audio source and a broadcasting or recording facility that is stereo then one in placed in a situation of either duplicating the mono audio on both the L and R channels or using a circuit to convert the mono audio to pseudo stereo. Even modern productions will encounter some mono audio sources such as telephone calls or interviews. A sophisticated example is a programme consisting of a combination of real stereo, pseudo stereo, and mono duplicated on both the L and R channels depending on the situation

Quote:
AIUI some pseudo-stereo processing also reduced the quality of the mono signal - which was also the reason the BBC didn't do Dolby Surround.


Some pseudo stereo circuits preserve the mono audio on the L channel. Personally I prefer these because it still provides the option of the user listening to the programme in mono or using their own pseudo stereo circuit.
bilky asko4,759 posts since 9 Sep 2006
Tyne Tees Look North (North East)
I wonder what percentage of people actually hear broadcast surround sound.
The constant dropouts I get with it on Sky, along with annoying gaps when it switches to and from stereo, means that I have it disabled from the Sky box.
Considering how popular sound bars are, I wouldn't be surprised if the 5.1 broadcast audience in this country is tiny.
VMPhil8,050 posts since 31 Mar 2005
Granada North West Today
Re: Riaz.

Do many people want pseudo stereo in those instances though? I don’t see many people clamouring for Radio 5 Live phone-ins to be pseudo stereo.

It was popular for a time in the 60s, particularly in America where Capitol Records had their Duophonic ‘reprocessed stereo’ system, but has gone out of fashion since then.
Markymark5,038 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
I wonder what percentage of people actually hear broadcast surround sound.
The constant dropouts I get with it on Sky, along with annoying gaps when it switches to and from stereo, means that I have it disabled from the Sky box.
Considering how popular sound bars are, I wouldn't be surprised if the 5.1 broadcast audience in this country is tiny.


The best 5.1 audio I experience is from American drama, either via C4 HD, or Netflix

As mentioned SCD was in 5.1, and it was a bit of a curate's egg quality wise, perhaps why it's been totally dropped now.

BBC 1's Doctor Foster was in 5.1, and that was awful in places.
Riaz398 posts since 6 Jan 2016
Do many people want pseudo stereo in those instances though?


Unknown.

Quote:
It was popular for a time in the 60s, particularly in America where Capitol Records had their Duophonic ‘reprocessed stereo’ system, but has gone out of fashion since then.


Some technologies ebb and flow. The rise in the number of people digitising old video material over the past 10 or so years has revived an interest in pseudo stereo. There have been several pseudo stereo circuits designed and built for A Level electronics analogue circuit projects in recent years. Pseudo stereo can also be implemented in DSP if transistors are not to your taste.

Audio really can be a shadowy underworld of electronics because the end product is so subjective.
noggin12,683 posts since 26 Jun 2001
I wonder what percentage of people actually hear broadcast surround sound.
The constant dropouts I get with it on Sky, along with annoying gaps when it switches to and from stereo, means that I have it disabled from the Sky box.
Considering how popular sound bars are, I wouldn't be surprised if the 5.1 broadcast audience in this country is tiny.


The best 5.1 audio I experience is from American drama, either via C4 HD, or Netflix

As mentioned SCD was in 5.1, and it was a bit of a curate's egg quality wise, perhaps why it's been totally dropped now.

BBC 1's Doctor Foster was in 5.1, and that was awful in places.


Yep - by doing less of it we get even less experience and the quality drops. You look at Sweden - and most of the SVT drama, and lots of their entertainment shows, are 5.1. It's become the norm for high-end stuff on SVT.

I'm guessing UK drama is moving to 5.1 because of the requirement for Amazon and Netflix co-pro or re-sales, and it being expected?
noggin12,683 posts since 26 Jun 2001
Do many people want pseudo stereo in those instances though?


Unknown.

Quote:
It was popular for a time in the 60s, particularly in America where Capitol Records had their Duophonic ‘reprocessed stereo’ system, but has gone out of fashion since then.


Some technologies ebb and flow. The rise in the number of people digitising old video material over the past 10 or so years has revived an interest in pseudo stereo. There have been several pseudo stereo circuits designed and built for A Level electronics analogue circuit projects in recent years. Pseudo stereo can also be implemented in DSP if transistors are not to your taste.

Audio really can be a shadowy underworld of electronics because the end product is so subjective.


Have no problem with it as an end-user option - just like the hilarious 'sounds like its in a cathedral' modes you can get on 5.1 systems. Inflicting it on the listener with no recourse to hearing it unmolested is a different matter.

There are no major issues with mixing stereo and mono content in a show or on a station, and pseudo stereo is close to universally terrible. You get no stereo image to speak of, just a nasty, usually phasey, 'diffuse' sound.
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