Quadraphonic sound died out in the 1970s. So why is anyone bringing it back?

miles davis’ live evil LP in Quadraphonic, 1972

Quadraphonic sound faded from the landscape in the late 1970s, securing its place in the dustbin of music technology. Now someone’s bringing it back – and spreading the gospel to artists who want a simpler surround sound solution.

If you remember quadraphonic sound, then you also remember blown-out collars, flared pants, and afros. All four faded past the ’70s, although one is making a quiet comeback.

So what is quadraphonic sound?

Basically, it’s one of the earliest surround sound technologies, also known as “4.0 surround” in audiophile jargon. The idea of ​​having four speakers in each corner was based on a major breakthrough: 2-channel stereo surround.

2-channel stereo obviously persisted, but not quadraphonic. 4-channel technology was cumbersome and extremely expensive, making it accessible only to a small group of artists. Once released, the format could only be played with complicated 4-speaker systems, which also required a lot of space and cash on hand.

Success didn’t materialize, and the introduction of CD may have sealed its fate.

Fast forward now: Surround sound audio technology has passed through numerous generations. Most movie theaters have surround sound systems that outshine quadraphonics, and upscale home theater systems also employ sophisticated spatial audio solutions.

Why is LA-based audiophile, studio owner and entrepreneur KamranV bringing quadraphony back?

One of the reasons is accessibility. “As a creative person, it’s much easier to think in four corners and make creative decisions in four corners,” noted KamranV.

In contrast, modern spatial audio technologies are extremely technical and unattainable. “A lot of these are done by technicians and not creative people. And that’s because it takes a lot of work to achieve what this technology asks of you.”

“Quad is – for many odd reasons – just more musical. It’s more creative: I can think like that, I can write a song like that.”

KamranV has previously released a quadraphonic live album with electronica artist Suzanne Ciani. He released 227 copies at a clever price of $227 a piece. And that is just the beginning.

Here’s our in-depth exploration of this oddly attractive audio technology, captured from the Making Vinyl Conference in Detroit. Enjoy!