In the early 1970s, a new method of recording music entered the consumer market. Quadraphonic was an early surround sound method that failed to capture mainstream attention.
Quad was a true four-channel analogue method for recording and playing back sound. This meant it could produce four discreet channels of full range sound. It was the first attempt to make any surround method available for home use. Frankly, the world was underwhelmed.
Quadraphonic at a glance
- The first consumer multi-channel audio format.
- Provides four separate channels of sound.
- Not compatible with stereo playback.
- Costly, requires format-exclusive hardware and recorded source material.
- Format made obsolete by digital multi-channel formats.
If buying all this extra gear wasn't enough to isolate it from the mainstream marketplace, there were also competing standards of Quad to add more than a pinch of consumer confusion. The only practical purpose for Quad was music playback. At this time there was no home theater, movies were viewed in theaters and in the home you watched TV shows recorded and played back in mono.