Two and four-coil phased array detectors have been developed to increase the sensitivity of proton spectroscopic imaging of the human brain. These include a quadrature figure-8 coil for the study of the vertex, several arrays of 2-4 small overlapping (6-8 cm diameter) circular coils and a combination figure-8 coil plus circular coil. These were constructed in our laboratory and tested to assess their utility for brain spectroscopy. Methods for optimally combining the data from the independent receivers based on the analytical coil maps or measured signal to noise ratios (SNRs) of the data were investigated. High spatial resolution (0.2-0.4 cm3 voxel size) two- or three-dimensional chemical shift images of normal brain were obtained in 17-minute acquisitions. These spatial resolutions are comparable to those previously obtained with conventional small surface coils, but the specialized detectors allow this sensitivity to be achieved for a larger region or for previously inaccessible areas such as the top of the head. The coverage and SNR increases demonstrated are similar to those obtained in magnetic resonance phased array imaging.