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A vintage Quad thread.

Discussion in 'classic' started by Tony L, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Given I seem to have so much of the stuff I may as well start a thread...

    [​IMG]

    Latest addition to the "collection": a nice late grey 34/306. It joins a 33, FM3, 303 and another earlier bronze DIN plug 34 (plus I've got another 'spare' 33 listed elsewhere on the site!). I am not short of Quad electronics!

    I keep coming back to Quad kit as I seem to like what it does / doesn't do - I think it has a priority-set that pretty much matches my own. I find it remarkably non-distracting - for several years now I've been delighted with the 303 running in my second system, it just gets right out of the way and I never end up doing the 'what would this interconnect / speaker lead / tube / whatever sound like?' thing that seems to blight any enjoyment potential of my main system (often far too many variables there to stay sane with) - it only draws attention to good music, not to bad recording etc. As such I thought I'd try throwing some Quad in the main rig for a while, and maybe later even buy it a pair of '63s to play with, but that's a fair way off yet. I'm just running the 34 as a line stage as I have a nice EAR 834P knocking about. Rob is going to pop up fairly soon and give the Quads a long-overdue service / recap and maybe light tweak here and there (I don't think they have been touched since they were built, no leaky caps or anything evident, but they have to be on their last legs by now just due to age). I'll hold off final judgement until it's all been recapped, but I certainly like the combo as it stands - a nice solid and sensible yet powerful presentation through the Tannoys, not the last word in detail, space, depth, air or anything like that, but smooth, weighty, fundamentally coherent and very enjoyable - the more time I spend thinking about audio the more I come to the conclusion that's all I actually want. It does that 'getting out of the way' thing that so much kit just doesn't. It doesn't hiss, hum or buzz at all either, which I suspect is a first for that system!
     
  2. Rapid 17

    Rapid 17 pfm Member

    Very nice.
     
  3. jimb0

    jimb0 Jelly Roll Soul

    Very clean set. I have been using the same for the last few years into my Tannoys. Clever tone controls and sound absolutely fine.
     
  4. Basil

    Basil Harbethian

    FYI, the 306 should be on top for better heat dispersal...

    No FM4?

    What did you pay for them?
     
  5. andy831

    andy831 pfm Member

    Hmmm nice bit of kit, be interested to hear your thoughts re; passive pre vs 34
     
  6. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I'm driving such efficient speakers it doesn't seem to get even remotely hot, just a little warm, so I don't think it's an issue, and it looks all wrong the other way up! I had to solder a resistor onto the output of the 34 to make the control range even remotely usable - this is detailed in the manual. To give an indication prior to the resistor mod it was kicking out about 80db out of the Tannoys on the 4th click of the volume knob. I'm now about 75db on position 8 which is far more manageable. I bet I never leave the class A zone of the current-dumping topology.

    Regarding the FM4: I've no roof ariel anymore since getting shot of a damp chimney, so no point. I just use the Sky box in the other room these days. Kind of half tempted to get one just for the hell of it, but I really don't need one and would be hard put to find a use for it to be honest!

    I paid £250 for the grey 34 and £190 for the 306 from teh eBays, which I know is over the odds, but I'm a more than a bit OCD about condition and wanted as close to mint / NOS as I could possibly find (I plan to keep them long-term). The pre is immaculate, the 306 very, very close. Most one sees these days look remarkably tatty.

    I'll be very interested to compare the 306 to the 303, but I'll wait until it's been recapped to be fair. My 303 and the other 34 were done by Quad about 3 or 4 years ago. They are both in lovely condition too, just as nice as the grey 34/306.

    I'll comment more once I've had the grey 34 serviced, but it is not anywhere nearly as bad a pre as some folk imply. I tried it against the passive via the Exposure 2010, 303 and my MEG RL904 active speakers. It is always next to impossible to describe the sound of a passive pre, as you are listening to an interface between a source component and the downstream power amp (or active speaker), not to the resistor or whatever the passive pre os placing in the signal path. It's all about impedance matching. My issue recently is I haven't got a phono stage that is happy driving a passive attenuator pre, the Dynavector P100 was hopeless in this context, the EAR834P little better - stick the PAS-02 in the loop with either and all dynamic range exits stage left.

    CD (either your old Sony or my current Rega DAC) is however a different story and works great with the passive. Comparing the 34 with the PAS-02 via either the MEGs, Exposure or 303 and the difference is really quite subtle. The Quad loses a little air and space, it kind of brings a slight 'smoothness' or 'veil', but it is very subtle, benign, and in a way rather nice - it takes 'the edge off' a bit, which can be a good or bad thing depending on taste or recording. I came to the conclusion the difference wasn't enough to worry about. I also compared the Quad at length to a Croft 25R, which is in many ways a truly superb preamp, certainly one with a fabulous phono stage. Again I concluded the difference, though pretty clear, just wasn't important to me, if anything it was a distraction, plus I was driving myself mental trying to decide what tubes I wanted to stuff the thing with (each combination being both better and worse than the last). The answer was none! I'm now officially sick of tube-rolling, impedance matching, gain issues, hum, hiss, channel imbalance and all the other things that seem to go hand in hand with owning vintage kit. I just want big music in room with no fuss now. Which is what I've had in system #2 for years. FWIW I'm running the Heresys with the tilt control one click up on the bass end - suits 'em well.
     
  7. TheMJ

    TheMJ pfm Member

    They look fantastic Tony.

    I liked the 34 / 306 combo that I owned far more than the 33 / 303.

    Everything just seemed a bit more controlled / a little less flabby, yet still allowing it to be all about the music rather than the hi-fi. I will definitely give them another go at some point.
     
  8. beathunters

    beathunters Tamalpais high-at about3

    :cool:i totally agree with you here tony. i'm not totally there myself as i still enjoy tube rolling - more tube amp rolling actually - but anything that tends to distract me from music will ultimately have to go.
     
  9. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles Trade: MGM Audio

    Ah, the 303. I run one in a second system with a passive preamp into little Harbeths. It just gets on with the job. You can keep your Audio Research or ( for instance ) Musical Fidelity monsters. At a cost £90 ( from someone on PFM ) what more can you ask for ? Incidentally, I love the look of the 34/306 combination.
     
  10. Mignun

    Mignun pfm Member

    Very nice little set Tony. Much as I love my Naim systems I also have a soft spot for Quad - very different, but there's just something about the sound that is rather alluring. It's just so beautifully built too.

    I have a couple of 33/303/FM3 sets, including a lovely one that used to belong to Peter Sellers. The 33 was updated by Quad some years back and it made a surprising difference, really lifting much of the mush and fog. At the other end of the scale is a mint (yes, I too have the condition OCD) late grey 44/606/FM4. A super set and one I hope to keep for a long time.
     
  11. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Peter Seller's Quads? Very cool! Get a picture up!

    I've got a full set:

    [​IMG]

    Pretty tidy cosmetically, though just ornaments at present. I've owned the FM3 since I was about 20, so getting on for 30 years. The 33 came with the 303 and first pair of Tannoys (see my Monitor Golds thread). The 33 doesn't work properly, very noisy and dull, so needs a service, but I've no real use for it other than as a reminder of where I started (my first system was a Lenco, 33/303 & JR149s). Might get it fixed at some point, but no rush. Just a nice thing to have sitting around as tidy ones are getting very hard to find.

    [​IMG]

    Can't see me ever selling the 303, it's a really nice clean one (better condition than the one I had in the 70s!) and it's serviced and working a treat. It seems so happy into the Klipsch, a really nice match. Cheap to run too, which is a factor given it's on pretty much all day.
     
  12. Shuggie

    Shuggie Trade: Ammonite Audio

    Tony

    Has your Quad 34 had any upgrade work done on it?
     
  13. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Other than my sticking a couple of resistors under R119 & R122 to drop the output a bit to make the volume knob usable, no - it's entirely stock / unserviced, as is the 306. Rob is popping up early next year and will recap / service them both and maybe apply a couple of light tweaks. He runs the same combo into ESL63s and it sounds superb. My brown DIN 34 was serviced by Quad in 2008 IIRC, so is working fine. Again I've added a couple of resistors to make the volume control usable with my high-efficiency speakers.
     
  14. mudlark

    mudlark nearly half a clue

    What you need is a nice FM4. Please apply.
     
  15. adagio

    adagio Member

    Gentlemen, please forgive me jumping into your discussion, but I saw the magic word QUAD and felt drawn! I have registered on the site today and cannot for the life of me find the appropriate spot to introduce myself. Would someone kindly direct me and if I may return to the vintage Quad thread thereafter, I am just bursting to be given the benefit of some experienced guidance!
     
  16. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    No need for formal introductions, and welcome on board!
     
  17. adagio

    adagio Member

    Tony L, thank you for your welcome, I am delighted to be aboard. If I may, I will just sketch in a background for my cry for assistance. I am a somewhat long in the tooth vintage enthusiast by default….I have simply grown old with my audio equipment, however I recall a number of years ago, hearing a quality of sound that really appealed to my ears, but at that time could only dream of owning the equipment concerned and soon the experience became a faded memory.

    This week that memory jumped up and grabbed me on entering the workshop of a good friend, who has for years specialised in the repair and maintenance of vintage equipment, for there, staring me in the face was my dream, a pair of Quad II mono-blocks, albeit, looking a little the worse for wear. My friend had purchased them from a customer who simply didn't want them any more!

    Not being one to allow such an opportunity to pass me by, I have put my friend under an obligation to give me first refusal when he has completed a full and proper restoration.

    Now, here's the rub, I know nothing at all about valve amps and Quad II's even less than that! There must be some sensible rules that a pure novice like myself should follow and perhaps some members could give me the benefit of their experiences. At the same time, guidance as to the most suitable pre-amp to team with the Quad II's would be appreciated. I am thinking of staying Quad for the purpose, but for my sins, I cannot recall what pre-amp was used all those years ago. My ultimate budget will depend on the cost of the mono-blocks, but say £300-500 for the pre-amp. I have a set of Kef Reference 104/2 floor-standers that I have owned since new in 1989 and being quite efficient I would hope will make a reasonable job of teaming with the Quad units. All comments and guidance very welcome! (sorry to have written a book!)
     
  18. tones

    tones Tones deaf

    From a big fan, to a possibly familiar chorale tune:

    How thankful we’re for Quad, for instruments and voices
    It wondrous things hath done, in which sound world rejoices
    From Walker’s earliest steps that sent Quad on its way
    With innovative gear that still sounds good today

    O may this bounteous Quad through all our lives be near us,
    With ever joyful sounds that never cease to cheer us;
    And keeps us from the craze to upgrade when perplexed;
    And frees us from the ill about what to buy next!

    All praise and thanks to Quad, which gives musical heaven
    Quad II, three-three, four-four, 303, fifty seven,
    Although we find it sad that Huntingdon’s no more;
    The Real Thing soldiers on, and shall for evermore.
     
  19. tones

    tones Tones deaf

    I use an EAR 834L with mine, but I suspect that any of the Quad pre-amps would do a fine job. (Do NOT listen to the garbage spouted about Quad pre-amps in some quarters, they do a fine job.)
     
  20. johnfromnorwich

    johnfromnorwich even my wife noticed the dif..

    I approve of this thread! I've been using a Quad based system almost exclusively for the last 18 months (606/ESL 63) and I'm really sold on it. Put it this way, if I were to buy a second power amp, it'd be another 606. Built like a tank and still manufacturer serviceable!

    I'm surprised that the P100 can't drive a 306 via a passive though. I did briefly try a P75 through my TVC pre into the 606 and dynamics wasn't an obvious issue - although untraceable earthing noise was an issue and i never sorted it so it had to go back alas. I've got a little Dino MKII and that seems happy enough in the mix.
     

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