Quadraphonic sound


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Quadraphonic sound was one of the earliest consumer offerings in multichannel audio, introduced to the American market in the early 1970s. Quad was not one format but myriad different and largely incompatible formats on different media: quadraphonic could be obtained from vinyl records, eight tracks, and reel-to-reel. Further complicating quadraphonic was the fact that some systems were discrete, while others were matrix. There were even some experiments with radio broadcasts, for example a Cliff Richard concert by the BBC, although they were short-lived.

"Quad", in its original form, was a commercial failure, the LP formats were plagued with technical problems, most of which were solved too late to save quad. It also was more expensive, and required extra speakers, which became a decorating problem. It also suffered from lack of a standard format for LP records. However, quite a few recordings were made before its demise. It was only the rise of home theater products in the late 1980s and early 1990s that brought multi-channel recording formats back to the forefront, albeit in a completely different and perhaps unexpected form.