This work describes the use of phased array coils for a quantification of absolute metabolite concentrations. The method is demonstrated for single-voxel localized proton MRS of human brain with an eight-element receive-only head coil. It is based on the transmitter reference amplitude of the body coil used for RF transmission. A relative sensitivity of every element of the phased array coil is derived from a combination of two reference scans without water suppression that correspond to either the body coil in transmit-receive mode or the phased array coil in conjunction with body coil excitation. Experimental results were obtained at 2.9 T for both phantoms and 12 human subjects in different locations of gray and white matter. The data demonstrate that the procedure is technically robust and without a penalty in measuring time. Moreover, it takes full advantage of the signal-to-noise gain for quantitative proton MRS and may be extended to other phased array coils without the need for a recalibration. Magn Reson Med 53:3–8, 2005. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.