Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: The return of quad?

Today, we have 5.1 and 7.1 surround, Dolby ATMOS, and spatial audio in addition to the usual stereo recordings. But fifty years ago, the big thing for about twenty minutes was “quadraphonic sound.” These were vinyl records specially encoded to deliver four-channel sound: left-right front, left-right rear. Some bands like Pink Floyd even incorporated quadraphonic sound for their live shows.

But quad died a quick death. You needed a special amplifier, two more speakers, and the system would only work with records that were made for the format. Plus there were at least two competing and incompatible quad formats.

However, quad is making a slight return. Rhino Records has resurrected what they call “quadio” records from 50 years ago, releasing them on CD with a four-channel quad mix in high-resolution audio.

Once again, everything old is new again.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38346 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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