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Quadraphonic headphone reproduction on pc.

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New member
Sep 10, 2018
Hello there! I've a 70s pair of quad headphones (re, with four speakers in) and I'm wondering how to get them to work with my pc. I've a 5.1 external sound card if that helps.

Many thanks!


1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Jan 8, 2010
What connector does the headphones have? 2 1/4" plugs perhaps?
Adapting for the connectors may be the most of the work.

Does external pci card mean a laptop with a pci card cage connected with thunderbolt? No matter... an audio interface is an audio interface.
Your interface will have line level outputs. Likely balanced or unbalanced (ie balanced but designed to work for both). And probably not quite right to drive headphone speakers! But the part about sending surround audio to it will be no different than what you're used to.

A headphone amp is what you need to amplify the line level outputs from your interface for headphones.
Any headphone amp with separate inputs for each headphone output will work.
Read between the lines there: The ones designed with a single stereo input for driving multiple pairs of headphones will not!

Adapting the connections is where the real work may be. No rocket science or much thinking at all though! Just adapting and/or soldering.

The headphone amps will have typical unbalanced inputs in the form of the stereo headphone input. (ie. a balanced 3 conductor 1/4" input wired for unbalanced two channel stereo with a common ground.)
The balanced outputs from an audio interface - although designed to also be used unbalanced - also have 3 conductor jacks. But 3 wire balanced connections are very different from 2-channel stereo unbalanced connections using the very same 3 wire 1/4" connectors!

To adapt that:
You need to use the audio interface outputs unbalanced with a 1/4" 2 conductor plug.
A pair of two channels, each on a single 1/4" 2 conductor cable, then gets adapted to a single 3 conductor 1/4" stereo plug.
This x2 for quad. One pair for the fronts, one for the rears.
To recap: Four unbalanced outputs from the audio interface adapted to two unbalanced stereo 1/4" plugs.

For any 5.0 or 5.1 program, speaker manage the C and Lfe channels centered to the front L,R channels.
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