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''Immaculate Collection'''s QSound

”Immaculate Collection”’s QSound — How Madonna’s latest album used the new audio technology

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While The Immaculate Collection closes the first era of Madonna, it just might open a new age for recording. Every track on the album but ”Justify My Love” was processed in QSound, which can create the illusion of three-dimensional space on any stereo system. The process, developed by Canada’s Archer Communications, uses computer enhancement to place each sound at a specific point in front of a listener, ranging from left to right, front to back, and up to down. On Immaculate the effect isn’t overpowering, although the music seems more spacious. Archer spokesman Anthony Ghitter claims that Immaculate uses the process in a ”subtle” way that ”doesn’t reflect the extensive capability of the technology.” Even if QSound dazzles, as Ghitter says it will on Sting’s forthcoming album, the process won’t be listener-friendly. You can hear the width, height, and depth of the music only if you’re centered between your speakers. Maybe QSound will seem like a breakthrough some day, but right now it’s not such a special effect.