What is Quadraphonic Sound? How to set up Quadraphonic Speakers

Could you be a music enthusiast looking to enjoy old-time music on a vinyl record turntable or quality quadraphonic speakers? Or maybe you are looking to get the hang of how to set up quadraphonic speakers in your house?

You’ve come to the right place! This article will examine how quadraphonic systems work and the best quadraphonic speaker setup ideal for your home.

Quadraphonic sound is a surround sound system that uses four channels to deliver audio. The name is derived from the four separate audio channels used to create the experience. Quadraphonic sound was introduced in the 1970s and was used by many record labels during this period.

The term “quadraphonic” comes from Latin roots meaning “four sounds.” A quadraphonic system will use four speakers placed in the four corners of a room or area where people are listening to amplify each channel differently so that each listener can hear a different speaker.

If you love listening to music as much as we do, you are probably looking to get the most out of your quadraphonic sound system. With that in mind, we thought you might find this guide extremely useful.

Set up Quadraphonic Speakers

What is Quadraphonic Sound

Quadraphonic sound is a format for encoding stereophonic audio using four channels; usually, front left and right, and rear left and right. Quadraphonic sound, or multi-channel diversion, aims to create a surround sound experience.

Quad sounds give you a richer listening experience. With no encoding or decoding needed, your ear can enjoy four audio streams simultaneously. It is a method of reproducing sound that uses four channels to create a 360-degree sound field around the listening space.

The idea behind the quadraphonic sound is to simulate an environment where sounds come from all directions, just as we experience in real life. This means that when you listen to music on a quadraphonic system, it sounds as if the instruments are coming from behind you and in front of you.

The system thus enables you to obtain a more realistic sound reproduction of music recorded in stereo, such as that used on commercial albums.

How to Set Up Quadraphonic Speakers

Setting up quadraphonic speakers may seem daunting, but it can be a relatively easy process with the right instructions.

You need to note a few things when setting up quadraphonic speakers.

  • Ensure you have four channels available on your amplifier or receiver.
  • Make sure the speaker cables are long enough to reach from your amplifier or receiver to each speaker.
  • You need to make sure the speakers are placed in the correct positions relative to one another.

Step 1# The Receiver/ Amplifier

To hear quadraphonic sound today, you will need a receiver that supports four separate audio output channels. These are two front channels and two rear channels. You can place the receiver centrally below your screen.

The quad speakers are wired together, so they work in tandem with each other so that each speaker produces one component of the overall sound signal independently of the others.

Each speaker has its own amplifier and power supply so that no single component will ever overload or shut down due to overheating at high volumes. This necessitates a receiver that can handle independent audio channels as if you have four different amps.

Step 2# Front Left and Front Right Speakers

You will need two identical and high-quality speakers as your front speakers. The best kind could be floor-standing speakers that give you the aesthetics needed for your room.

Place the two speakers at equal distances on the right and left of your screen. They also need to be at an equal distance to your listening position. The speakers can be placed at a 30-degree angle from your sitting position relative to the screen.

Again, ensure both the speakers are placed at ear level to get maximum sound waves traveling to your ears.

Step 3# Rear Left and Rear Right Speakers

You can place rear speakers behind you to go over your left and right shoulders or place them to your sides. Place the right and left rear speakers at an angle of 50 degrees from your sitting position. This arrangement places them on a straight line facing the front channel speakers.

Thus, the right front and rear speakers make an angle of 90 degrees to your listening position. Similarly, the left front and rear should make a 90-degree angle to your left.

The rear speakers should have a slightly narrower dispersion pattern than the front ones. Quadraphonic rear speakers can also be mounted on the rear walls of your listening room, preferably at equidistant positions from each other.

rear speakers

Step 4# The Bass Subwoofer

If you have a subwoofer, make it as directional as possible by placing it at one end of your listening room. This can either be the front left or front right.

Ensure nothing obstructs the waves from getting to your listening position to enjoy the best listening experience.

Step 5# Inputs

Plug your quadraphonic record player into a stereo amplifier with four inputs. Connect each input to one of your speakers with speaker wire (not speaker wire adaptors). If your amplifier doesn’t have enough channels, use an external amplifier.

Considerations for the Quadraphonic Speaker Setup

When setting up your quadraphonic speaker system, keep these factors in mind:

  • Room size.
  • Speaker power.
  • How high is the frequency of your preferred music?

Is Quadraphonic Better than Stereo

So, are you torn between quadraphonic vs stereo systems, wondering which is best? Let’s shed some light on how they are different.

Stereo is the most common type of home audio system today. You get a standard two-channel stereo when you buy a pair of headphones or speakers for your computer or TV set.

A regular stereo signal consists of two channels for each speaker (left and right). Only two speakers are required in this kind of setup because both channels carry the same signal. Thus, there is no need for additional rear speakers because they aren’t used except to provide ambiance effects like reverb or echo effects on voices or instruments.

Contrariwise, the quadraphonic sound is created using four speakers evenly spaced around the listener, plus a bass speaker. Each speaker plays a different channel, which allows for surround sound that’s more realistic than stereo.

Pros of quadraphonic systems

  • Better sound quality.
  • It uses four audio channels.
  • It has a wider sound stage.
  • More immersive sound.
  • Independent audio on every speaker.


  • More expensive.
  • It is more complicated.
  • Expensive to produce quadraphonic records.

The stereo was used on entertainment systems such as record players and phonographs. It is also used for digital audio broadcasts (DAB) as well as DVDs, CDs, and Blu-ray discs with two channels of sound encoded on them. Below are some of its pros and cons.


  • Cheap market prices.
  • Immersive two-channel speakers.
  • Simple and easy connections.


  • Small sound stage.
  • Low sound quality.
  • It may require additional equipment like a subwoofer and amplifier.

Quadraphonic Vs Surround Sound

Quadraphonic systems are often confused with surround sound technologies, but they are not synonymous. The word “quadraphonic” refers to four physical channels.

On the other hand, surround sound refers to a system that uses multiple speakers or arrays of speakers to create an immersive experience that surrounds the listener and goes beyond stereo’s two-channel audio formats.

The main difference between quadraphonic systems and current surround sound systems is that with quadraphonic, each speaker operates independently from the others. Each speaker had its amplifier and signal source, usually an LP record or a tape player. The receiver then mixes all four signals before sending them through your speakers.

With today’s surround sound systems, every speaker receives the same signal and then uses built-in amplifiers to power each speaker individually before sending them through your speakers.

Quadraphonic Entertainment Systems

Quadraphonic audio was the first consumer product in surround sound. Quadraphonic recordings were made in the 1970s, but they failed to gain widespread popularity. Only a few hundred quadraphonic titles were released as reel-to-reel or 8-track tapes. However, they were phased out in favor of digital formats like CDs and DVDs.

The first quadraphonic song albums were released in 1971 by CBS Records and Columbia Records and included CCR’s “Pendulum” and Pink Floyd’s “Meddle” among other quadraphonic albums list. The format didn’t catch on until years later, when people could purchase a record player. It was then possible to play these special discs containing four channels instead of just two.

Quadraphonic formats were a commercial failure and eventually lost popularity to multi-channel 5.1 channel setups introduced in the 1990s. Despite this decline in popularity, some people still use quadraphonic speakers for today’s entertainment, like playing vinyl records.

People choose it simply as an alternative method of listening to music on their home theater system if they want more spatial separation than what’s offered by 5.1 channels alone.


Final Word

You now know what is quadraphonic sound and how to set up Quadraphonic speakers. We endeavored to give you the easiest and most practical method of setting up the speakers in your house on your own.

The ball is in your court if you wish to set up the home theater system. Follow our instructions and give us a comment. We would love to hear whether your quadraphonic speaker setup is a success. All the best.

Avatar for Jamie K. Martin

Jamie K. Martin holds a degree in Audio engineering from Husson University, Bangor. Martin spends most of his time testing and trying the technology he writes about to ensure that he provides first-hand information to our customers from all walks of life.

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