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Quad HIFI Ideas?

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Re: Quad HIFI Ideas?

Postby ef37a » Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:19 pm

"
It's amazing how many mainstream commercial tracks could benefit from a little corrective EQ..."
Indeed Hugh! I have a Scott Joplin CD that is incredibly "thin" and clanky.

Dave.
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Re: Quad HIFI Ideas?

Postby Arpangel » Mon Jul 22, 2019 7:51 am

ef37a wrote:
Arpangel wrote:Then sir, WTGR you are not talking about "High Fidelity".

Dave.

If you mean, to quote the early Quad adds "for the closet approach to the original sound" then no. Quad is a filter, just like any hi-fI. Those words "hi-fI" have always been a bit amusing to me. I treat buying a "stereo" like buying a pair of sunglasses, how do you want your world to look/sound.
My Quad gear was given to me free, that makes it sound absolutely wonderful :)
But, it's "OK" the 405 is slightly harsh, with a lumpy bass, the 303 takes the edge of it though. I really don't know what I'd replace it with, you mean spend money!!??
I've always liked Croft amplifiers, and I'd like to give their "Integrated" a try.
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Re: Quad HIFI Ideas?

Postby ef37a » Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:08 am

Arpangel wrote:
ef37a wrote:
Arpangel wrote:Then sir, WTGR you are not talking about "High Fidelity".

Dave.

If you mean, to quote the early Quad adds "for the closet approach to the original sound" then no. Quad is a filter, just like any hi-fI. Those words "hi-fI" have always been a bit amusing to me. I treat buying a "stereo" like buying a pair of sunglasses, how do you want your world to look/sound.
My Quad gear was given to me free, that makes it sound absolutely wonderful :)
But, it's "OK" the 405 is slightly harsh, with a lumpy bass, the 303 takes the edge of it though. I really don't know what I'd replace it with, you mean spend money!!??
I've always liked Croft amplifiers, and I'd like to give their "Integrated" a try.

Dear old Peter Walker must be rotating at 33.333 rpm (or perhaps a better quality 45rpm?)
!!

Dave.
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Re: Quad HIFI Ideas?

Postby Arpangel » Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:37 am

ef37a wrote:
Arpangel wrote:
ef37a wrote:
Arpangel wrote:Then sir, WTGR you are not talking about "High Fidelity".

Dave.

If you mean, to quote the early Quad adds "for the closet approach to the original sound" then no. Quad is a filter, just like any hi-fI. Those words "hi-fI" have always been a bit amusing to me. I treat buying a "stereo" like buying a pair of sunglasses, how do you want your world to look/sound.
My Quad gear was given to me free, that makes it sound absolutely wonderful :)
But, it's "OK" the 405 is slightly harsh, with a lumpy bass, the 303 takes the edge of it though. I really don't know what I'd replace it with, you mean spend money!!??
I've always liked Croft amplifiers, and I'd like to give their "Integrated" a try.

Dear old Peter Walker must be rotating at 33.333 rpm (or perhaps a better quality 45rpm?)
!!

Dave.

Ha Ha! Yes, but a lot of the appeal of older equipment is that, yes, it has a sound, but is, at the same time a lot more engaging and involving. I think three dimensional is what I'm looking for. I'm talking about primarily valve equipment, and analogue recordings, that's what I grew up with, and what drew me in to this amazing world of music and sound.
I don't want to get into the digital thing, but let's just say that the magic of my early listening years slowly dissaperad over time, as gear "improved" (got worse)
That's why people now pay silly money for vintgae hi-fI, because it has that magic that more recent stuff doesn't seem to have. It's the same mentality of paying £10,000 for a Fairchild, or an old mic. It's very much worth it, if you have the money.
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Re: Quad HIFI Ideas?

Postby ef37a » Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:21 pm

Old mics and other vintage gear are at the start of the recording process, a situation that the hi fi owning end user has no control over (and can lead to the sonic ****ups Hugh alluded to!)

Let us therefore restrict the discussion to REPLAY equipment that the hi fi buff might buy?

I was for many years a subscriber to Hi Fi News which stayed true to an objective view of audio gear long after the rest of the audio press had gone beardy, subjective tweaks, droning on about $1000 "interconnects" (they are 'king PHONO cables ya pelicans!). They eventually succumbed and I dropped them.

I want to hear what Mozart and the conductor intended not the ideas of some produc'har with a desk full of FX and CERTAINLY not what the builder of amps or speakers thinks it should sound like!

Dave.

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Re: Quad HIFI Ideas?

Postby Arpangel » Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:27 pm

ef37a wrote:Old mics and other vintage gear are at the start of the recording process, a situation that the hi fi owning end user has no control over (and can lead to the sonic ****ups Hugh alluded to!)

Let us therefore restrict the discussion to REPLAY equipment that the hi fi buff might buy?

I was for many years a subscriber to Hi Fi News which stayed true to an objective view of audio gear long after the rest of the audio press had gone beardy, subjective tweaks, droning on about $1000 "interconnects" (they are 'king PHONO cables ya pelicans!). They eventually succumbed and I dropped them.

I want to hear what Mozart and the conductor intended not the ideas of some produc'har with a desk full of FX and CERTAINLY not what the builder of amps or speakers thinks it should sound like!

Dave.

Dave.


A hi-fI system is a filter. There is no such thing as "uncoloured" in the context of hi-fI or monitoring. We just haven't reached that point yet, by any means. You just have to choose the filter that suits you best. Recorded music is a massive compromise, be it Beethoven or Iron Maiden, we just have to go to a live concert to to prove that, a recording is just that, a recording, and will in no way come anywhere near a live performance, at any price.
Engineers who talk about transparent monitors and neutral rooms are kidding themselves.
You just have to make the best, of whatever is closest to what "you" think it should sound like.
Regarding composers, and performances, a composer has to be very naive indeed to think that he will have any control over the interpretation, performance, or reproduction of his/her work, and some composers actually embrace the idea that after the work has been created it will have many and varied, different forms, and incarnations.
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Re: Quad HIFI Ideas?

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:40 pm

Arpangel wrote:Recorded music is a massive compromise, be it Beethoven or Iron Maiden, we just have to go to a live concert to to prove that, a recording is just that, a recording, and will in no way come anywhere near a live performance, at any price.

Must disagree with you here, it's perfectly possible (and not uncommon) for the live performance to be worse than the recording. Accepted, a great live performance is likely to be better than a recording but not in every case.
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Re: Quad HIFI Ideas?

Postby ef37a » Mon Jul 22, 2019 2:45 pm

Of course a hi fi SYSTEM is a filter and was a poorer one when we relied on vinyl and tape.

Loudspeakers are of course a collection of compromises but amplifiers need not be. Walker proposed that two well designed amplifiers could not be told apart if A/B'ed so long as the signal did not push them into overload and put up 2 grand (iirc) for anyone who could prove differently.
AFAIK no one has collected the two bags so far?

We have seen a whiff of this subjective perfection in The Great SOS Mic Pre Shootout. None of the pre amps were allowed to enter into any kind of distortion.

Every since the rise of the subjectivist tweaks, discrete power amplifiers have been praised or damned for their supposed sound qualities. Never have those qualities ever been expalined or even isolated and presented as anything but flights of fancy.

But! Put a power amp INSIDE a loudspeaker and it becomes both perfect and invisible! Never read a review of an active monitor that said the drive units were fine but the amplifier was a bit "cold" or some other daft adjective.

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Re: Quad HIFI Ideas?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jul 22, 2019 3:02 pm

ef37a wrote:Walker proposed that two well designed amplifiers could not be told apart if A/B'ed so long as the signal did not push them into overload and put up 2 grand (iirc) for anyone who could prove differently. AFAIK no one has collected the two bags so far?

Is the offer still on? Even my wife can tell the difference between the Quad 405 and a pair of Bryston PP120s.... The Quad generates very easily audible hiss for starters... :-D

Never read a review of an active monitor that said the drive units were fine but the amplifier was a bit "cold" or some other daft adjective.

I've reviewed a few where I've questioned the quality of the built-in amps. The reason for the lack of subjective comparisons, though, is simply that you can't make them; you can't swap out the internal amp or something else, so the character of the amp inherently gets bundled into the character of the speaker and the system is appraised as a whole.

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Re: Quad HIFI Ideas?

Postby ef37a » Mon Jul 22, 2019 3:49 pm

Is the 405 still inside its original noise spec Hugh?

But other than the hiss can the differences be otherwise quantified?
This you see has been the problem ever since the magazines (NOT SOS!) went daft. People SAY all sorts of things but there is never any reliable data? I also understand the Brystons are custom made with selected components and rather out of the price class of the Quad? How do the power ratings compare?

I do understand the speaker and amp becomes a system but it does seem very odd that I cannot recall a bad one being mentioned? Self noise is sometimes mentioned but not always.

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Re: Quad HIFI Ideas?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:21 pm

ef37a wrote:Is the 405 still inside its original noise spec Hugh?

That's a good question. I haven't actually measured it. The spec claims a 95dB (A-wtd) SNR ref full power. The problem is that (as standard) it has a much higher input sensitivity than most standard power amps. Mine is modified to accept 1.5Vrms for its nominal rated output (instead of 500mV)

But it is intrinsically a relatively noisy design given it's LM301 input op-amp with a 22k series input resistor and running about 24dB of gain (when 14dB would be plenty)! This arrangement was improved enormously in subsequent current-dumping amps like the 520, 306 and 606... Mr Walker and his team learned from their (well-intentioned) mistakes...

But other than the hiss can the differences be otherwise quantified?

It sounds a little bit 'soft and soggy' to me. The bottom end doesn't have the control and solidity of the Bryston, and it's a little bit more 'laid back' in its presentation of transient dynamics.

I've already changed the power supply capacitors. When (if) I ever get the time, the plan is to do some proper measurements and then carefully work through some upgrades to see what can be achieved. At least it's a fairly easy amp to work on.

I also understand the Brystons are custom made with selected components and rather out of the price class of the Quad?

They're not custom-made, but they are built with decent components to very high standards.

How do the power ratings compare?

Quad 405(1) is rated for 100W (0.01% THD) into 8 Ohms; Bryston PP120 is rated for 120W (0.007%THD) into 8 Ohms.

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Re: Quad HIFI Ideas?

Postby Ariosto » Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:17 pm

"Even my wife can tell the difference between the Quad 405 and a pair of Bryston PP120s.... " :thumbdown: :tongue: ;)

You could be on dodgy ground there Hugh! Maybe delete the "even" ... (I'm often in the doghouse myself over slips like that ...)
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Re: Quad HIFI Ideas?

Postby Arpangel » Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:33 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:
Arpangel wrote:Recorded music is a massive compromise, be it Beethoven or Iron Maiden, we just have to go to a live concert to to prove that, a recording is just that, a recording, and will in no way come anywhere near a live performance, at any price.

Must disagree with you here, it's perfectly possible (and not uncommon) for the live performance to be worse than the recording. Accepted, a great live performance is likely to be better than a recording but not in every case.

That's true, but I think you're talking about the "quallity" of the performance? I agree that it's common for certain recordings to be regarded as reference points, and they can affect our opinions of live performances, but sometimes, the live versions can be different but in an exciting way, they are just different. Modern rock etc is almost meaningless in this department as a studio album is very difficult to reproduce live, but that problem has almost gone as technology has improved. Some bands don't like being compared to their recordings, they feel it restricts them.
If you're talking about quallity within a technical sense, that gets very difficult to judge when dealing with classical music, you might get an excellent balance and sit in the sweet spot or best seat of hall on a recording, but the dynamics and the scale will always be compromised on the recording.
I just think it's good just to accept things as they are, a moment in time, but not frozen forever.
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Re: Quad HIFI Ideas?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:43 pm

Ariosto wrote:You could be on dodgy ground there Hugh!

She'd be the first to admit she's not the most perceptive of the things that I spend all day writing about! :-)
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Re: Quad HIFI Ideas?

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jul 22, 2019 7:24 pm

Arpangel wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:
Arpangel wrote:Recorded music is a massive compromise, be it Beethoven or Iron Maiden, we just have to go to a live concert to to prove that, a recording is just that, a recording, and will in no way come anywhere near a live performance, at any price.

Must disagree with you here, it's perfectly possible (and not uncommon) for the live performance to be worse than the recording. Accepted, a great live performance is likely to be better than a recording but not in every case.

That's true, but I think you're talking about the "quallity" of the performance? I agree that it's common for certain recordings to be regarded as reference points, and they can affect our opinions of live performances, but sometimes, the live versions can be different but in an exciting way, they are just different. Modern rock etc is almost meaningless in this department as a studio album is very difficult to reproduce live, but that problem has almost gone as technology has improved. Some bands don't like being compared to their recordings, they feel it restricts them.
If you're talking about quallity within a technical sense, that gets very difficult to judge when dealing with classical music, you might get an excellent balance and sit in the sweet spot or best seat of hall on a recording, but the dynamics and the scale will always be compromised on the recording.
I just think it's good just to accept things as they are, a moment in time, but not frozen forever.

Not just the quality of performance, the quality of the PA has a huge impact on amplified music.

We are, though, broadly on the same page. :thumbup:
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Re: Quad HIFI Ideas?

Postby Arpangel » Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:36 am

Sam Spoons wrote:
Arpangel wrote:Not just the quality of performance, the quality of the PA has a huge impact on amplified music.

We are, though, broadly on the same page. :thumbup:

You're right there, I went to a couple of performances by one of my favourite guitarists, Bill Frisell, the sound wasn't just bad, it was inaudible. I felt so strongly about this I wrote to his management who really didn't seem to care. One was at Ronnie Scott's, the other at the Cadogan Hall, there were also others in the audience that were unhappy about it too, it wasnt just me. I complained to Ronnies also, but customer services there leave a lot to be desired.
I think the quallity of PA systems is the best ever, it has to be pilot error, and it is surprising how amateur and inexperienced some engineers seem to be on what are quite important and prestigious tours. It's like they aern't hearing or taking into account any audience feedback, they are right, end of story, after all, what does the audience know? Well, it's us who have to listen, and we've paid not insignificant amounts for our tickets!
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Re: Quad HIFI Ideas?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:44 am

I went to a musical stage show last night. The sound in the first half was excellent. However, I noticed a different operator came to the console after the interval and, in comparison the second half mixing was a clumsy and heavy-handed. Lacking finesse and with a decidedly poor balance at times (vocals being drowned by the band regularly! I suspect most of the audience probably wouldn't have noticed -- or cared -- but it was very obvious and disappointingly distracting to me.

So, the same PA system sounded both sublime and terrible... But in another situation would the audience blame the operator or the hardware?

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Re: Quad HIFI Ideas?

Postby Arpangel » Tue Jul 23, 2019 10:14 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I went to a musical stage show last night. The sound in the first half was excellent. However, I noticed a different operator came to the console after the interval and, in comparison the second half mixing was a clumsy and heavy-handed. Lacking finesse and with a decidedly poor balance at times (vocals being drowned by the band regularly! I suspect most of the audience probably wouldn't have noticed -- or cared -- but it was very obvious and disappointingly distracting to me.

So, the same PA system sounded both sublime and terrible... But in another situation would the audience blame the operator or the hardware?

H

I think your suspicions might be right, they may not care. Equipment or operator? I'm not sure if they would know enough to make a judgement but these days if it's a half decent artist equipment isn't going to be in question surely? unless it's massively under-specced. My attitude would be I'm an engineer and I'm here to get the bands music and message over the best I can, I am just as important as the artist, if I mess up it would spoil the evening for everyone. Regardless of audience expectations we should always do the best we can IMO.
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Re: Quad HIFI Ideas?

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:09 pm

One of my favourite bands played Matt & Phreds in Manchester a couple of years ago, I left after two tunes as the sound was so bad, the young 'sound engineer' seemed more interested in his phone than the band or his X32. :headbang:
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Re: Quad HIFI Ideas?

Postby James Perrett » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:27 pm

Sam Spoons wrote: the young 'sound engineer' seemed more interested in his phone than the band or his X32. :headbang:

Plenty of sound engineers seem more interested in their iPads these days ;) :bouncy:
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