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QSound

From Sega Retro


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QSound is the original name for a three-dimensional audio technology created by QSound Labs. Following the release of a second revision, the technology is often referred to as Q1.

QSound "widens" the range of stereo sound, and so is best used with a pair of stereo speakers spaced apart from the television. For video games, the benefits were more significant in arcade environments, where speakers would be mounted to arcade cabinets in the correct position to ensure the best quality audio, though if positioned properly, similar effects can be achieved in the home.

While primarily backed by Capcom, which held a stake in the technology and used it in all of its CPS2 arcade boards, Sega began using the technology in 1993 for its Sega Mega-CD game libraryMore...[1], starting with Ecco the DolphinMore...[2], before signing a deal to incorporate it in Sega 32X and Sega Saturn games[3]. QSound-enabled games were still in production as late as the Sega Dreamcast, though by the turn of the century, the technology had largely been abandoned.

Nintendo used a competing system, Dolby Surround, in many of its SNES games around this period, however this requires audio equipment with a Dolby Surround decoder and is only fully realised by a set of speakers placed behind the user (i.e. it is "surround" sound, whereas QSound is just an enhanced form of stereo). Later the Sega Saturn and Sega Dreamcast would support Dolby Surround too. Both technologies have been superseded by more advanced surround sound setups.

Games utilising QSound

Mega-CD

32X

Saturn

Dreamcast

Albums utilising QSound

References