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Quadraphonic open reel tape

A 4-channel reel-to-reel tape unit from the 1970s, one of the few ways to achieve true 4-channel sound at home

Quadraphonic open reel tape or Q4 was the first medium for quadraphonic sound recording and playback, introduced to the American market by the Vanguard Recording Society in June 1969.[1]


It was based on reel-to-reel tape, and was first used in European electronic-music studios by 1954.[2]

Like other quadraphonic formats it was unsuccessful and disappeared by the late 1970s.


All available four tracks were used in one direction on the ¼-inch tape, playing at a speed of 7½ inches per second (twice the speed of the regular 4-Track reel to reel tapes).[3][4]

The four fully discrete tracks had full-bandwidth (unlike Q8 cartridges which had limited dynamic range).


  1. ^ Curator, Museum (2013-08-11). "Quadraphonic open reel tape (Q4) (1969 – mid 1970s) | Museum Of Obsolete Media". Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  2. ^ Cross, Lowell, "Electronic Music, 1948–1953", Perspectives of New Music 7, no. 1 (Autumn–Winter, 1968): 32–65. Citation on 50–51.
  3. ^ "The Official 'Factory-Made' Reel to Reel Tape Thread". Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  4. ^ "Sony TC-788-4 on". Retrieved 2016-05-16.