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Quad 33 & 303 queries

Discussion in 'classic' started by DonWall, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    If you just have a DAC connected I’d have thought you should be able to get acceptable gain via the 33’s tape board, the loudest replay setting is designed to cope with 15ips open reel tape etc so should have massive headroom.
  2. Nic Robinson

    Nic Robinson Moderator

    I missed the first few pages of this at the time, so thanks for the revival. I have a perfect 33/303 pairing serviced by Quad down at the holiday place where the sources are an Avondale AAA5 and satellite receiver; speakers are vintage SP2s.

    The 33 is redundant as I’ve replaced it with a Tisbury passive, and to my ears it works so much better with these modern sources. The 33 sits in its box in a cupboard.

    But reading this thread, maybe I’m missing out on something...
  3. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Arkless

    Nah.. the 33 is crap. A standard one, by modern standards is anyway. looks great though!
    Nic Robinson likes this.
  4. rich46

    rich46 quad rules

    crap amps dont sell 100.000 ,being used all over the world after 50 years.and company still repairs /service them
  5. ian r

    ian r 401's Nakman

    How i wish Radford and early Quad Transistor and Valve preamps were worth using

    i so wish that was true, i gave away a radford pre to audioflyer here on pf

    he has taken the Quad II pre as far as it can go in most senses and I so wanted a valve pre for my Williamson 5-20 valve monobloks. He is definitely a lover of such items.
    I wish what u said was true... it isnt and plugging in a newer pre to your power amp will end most discussion
  6. Nic Robinson

    Nic Robinson Moderator

    But Jez is right really. My 33/303 combo is quite poor sounding with a modern source but the 303 coupled with a passive pre sounds glorious with the same source.

    This might be different with phono, of course, but I'll wager a modest modern phono stage into a passive pre will best the 33 in that regard too.

    Pre-amp technology has moved on, I guess. And in many systems it's moved on beyond even being necessary.
  7. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I agree entirely, though I don’t think the 33 is an awful preamp if fully and properly serviced. To my ears compared to a passive it is a little opaque, limits dynamics, reduces spacial clues etc, though it does so in a way that isn’t horrible and it certainly doesn’t have any of the hyped-up/spotlit aggression that some modern audio kit has (I assume people mistake it with detail or dynamics). Really it just warms and softens the sound a bit - it is very listenable. I have several options that I prefer to mine (which has been totally rebuilt so is a good one), but I could still enjoy music through it. I doubt it is any worse than the preamp stage in a nice ‘70s Japanese integrated amp or high-end receiver, though it is obviously limited in output as it is designed to drive the 0.5V 303.
  8. calorgas

    calorgas pfm Member

    My 33/303 sounds pretty good, certainly not 'crap'. I've had worse that's for sure :D.
  9. Nic Robinson

    Nic Robinson Moderator

    Have you tried it with a passive pre? Would be interested in your conclusions.

    Tony, you;'re right. Nothing wrong with the sound (mine is a fully serviced by Quad minter). But the sound is veiled compared to the Tisbury and clearly there's more than enough output from the Avondale AAA5 CD player which makes up the main source in that system.
  10. rich46

    rich46 quad rules

    IN THEORY a well designed passive into any amp is excellent but they are expensive ,limited inputs and volume range is limited. this is why there are a limited product .get the input sensitivity sorted and it will a good value preamp for the majority. YES the 303 industrial design is an excellent with limited power . If these are sorted the results into the 57s is excellent.
    15 to 20 year production run is not bettered anywere
  11. calorgas

    calorgas pfm Member

    No, not yet, I've just been enjoying it as an easy to use, good sounding and great looking vintage combo so far. However I admit I have been considering trying one or two different pre's, and actually have my little diy passive in the cupboard which I'll try and find the time to swap in for the 33.
  12. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I’d argue the main limitation, aside from basic facilities (balance, tone, tape monitoring etc), is matching with the power amp. The 303 with its 0.5V input and 23k impedance is a context that works very well IMO, but many modern power amps with a more traditional 1.5V input wouldn’t be anything like as viable. A passive pre is wonderful with the even more vintage Leak Stereo 20 too. No idea where Radfords, the old Sugden A51 etc fit here. Would be interesting to come up with a ‘passive-friendly vintage amp’ list at some point as I suspect there are a lot out there, and some like the 303 may surprise people once all the post-processing facilities etc of its original active preamp partner are removed from the signal path entirely.
  13. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Arkless

    They are very cheap, not expensive... although of course you can buy expensive ones also but that is just the nature of hi fi... if any task can be done well for say £100 then some company will make one for £2000 that's a tiny bit better, but I digress. You can make a perfectly good one for a few quid like TonyL's Tupperware box one. As a passive is just an attenuator of some sort between two sets of phono sockets it can be expected that a £30 one will do almost as well as a £3000 one.

    They can have as many inputs as you like. Most active preamps are just a passive with a X 3 or so amplifier after it.

    Provided the power amp is sensitive enough and/or the source has enough output level there is no volume range limitation. This is purely down to choosing gear with compatible sensitivities though.
    Nic Robinson likes this.
  14. rich46

    rich46 quad rules

    yes ran a quad 606 from the output of a classy revox b77 .with a basic passive .taped direct from a pioneer ,was it a 9500 series ,.great input for the revox
  15. calorgas

    calorgas pfm Member

    I guess there's no reason you couldn't use the 33 as on/of switch for the 303, even if it's fed by a different pre?
  16. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Depends on the rest of the system. The switched outlets on the rear of the 33 are two-prong, i.e. don’t have an earth. This is fine when the 303 is hooked up to the 33 with its 4 Pin DIN (which has a ground), but would certainly not be right with a passive preamp that also has no earth.

    There are people here with far better electronics understanding than me who can explain earthing properly, but the amp in any system should certainly be properly earthed IMO, and in a pre/power combo that means either the pre, the power, or both. A multimeter with a continuity setting is a very useful thing here in that you can easily test if you still have proper case grounding etc if you’ve had to lift the earth on either the pre or power to avert an earth-loop buzz (303s can certainly hum/buzz if they don’t like the earthing upstream).

    I just turn my 303 on/off at the switched mains plug, as I do all of my kit aside from the TD-124. A lot of the other kit is no better than the 303 in that whilst it has an on/off switch it is somewhere unreachable on the back panel!
  17. calorgas

    calorgas pfm Member

    Very good point, I didn't think of that :)
  18. regafan

    regafan pfm Member

    I love talking about old Quads!
    Ive got a 33, 34. 2x 303s 2x405s. I guess you could say I've got Quad bad.
    Ive had about 10 405s. Heard most board incarnations. And most output devices.
    Ive used several passive pre's with them, Ive used Music First Audio TVCs with them. Ive used a Croft 25 pre with phono.
    Ive used ls3/5a and Spendor s3/5r, s3/5r2, sp3/1r2 with them.

    However Ive come back to the 33. The high end kit has gone...

    It is the longest serving bit of kit I have. Had all the electrolytics replaced a few years ago. Gives a great noise. Sometimes you get fed up of all the analysis with more revealing pre's and just want to sit back and listen to something easy going that was designed to partner the old beasts. Some of my most pleasurable listening is done not in full analysis mode, but rather while doing other things, more background. In this case a fully tuned system is not what I'm after.

    In terms of pre's used, my vague results are. Passive- yes very nice more detail than a standard 33 34, but no ooomph, no beans. Active preferred.
    Music First- TVC- lovely- detail AND power. But costly.
    Croft 25 with phono.- lovely sound, smooth and great flow. Maybe not so much detail as MFA, but could live with.

    With vinyl especially poor condition charity shop vinyl I find the tone controls essential. Its all very well trying to get the max performance from a pre, but if the source needs a bit of help then filters and tone controls are very useful.

    Also being a Quad user I'm also a bit tight with kit. Like the best for not much wonga! I get guilt about partnering a £1000 preamp with Huntingdon's finest. So eventually I have to sell it. And back to the good old cheapo but nice 33. Bliss.

    The build quality on all Quads is top notch, solid and sturdy. Neat internal wiring unparallelled for the cost. The kit is reasonably priced and Quad Huntingdon will service it to original spec. for a fixed price fee. Most have lasted 40 years and are to be found in all manner of professional as well as home environments. No reason they wont go 50 more!

    The designs are also British design classics and deserve a 'big up' rather than derision.
    They may not be the best sounding compared to the latest 'hi end' offering but for me and probably others too they are 'good enough'

    Keep it Quad!
    Nic Robinson, calorgas and jimpey like this.
  19. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Arkless

    'good enough'..... What heresy is this??? There are people no doubt selling a kidney to finance the next upgrade...:D
    peterm and Nic Robinson like this.
  20. regafan

    regafan pfm Member


    But this is the classic section. We don't get too excited here. We might wake up. The latest whizz bang is in the audio section.

    The Quad anthem...


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