The (dreadful) state of the Quadraphonic community

19 Jun

I’ve been forced to break my silence here because of the continued idiocy of those that are thought to be ‘In the know’ and ‘those to be followed’ in what it believes to be the font of all knowledge when it comes to all things Quadraphonic.

I feel sorry for those who know little, to nothing, of the heyday of quad in that all they have to go on is the tripe that is spurted out by these people held in (false) esteem. It is the one sadness that i have that i’ll be leaving having barely made a dent in these peoples strangle hold on the community.

What has brought this about (again) is the following statement by ‘kap’n krunch’ on a subject he quite obviously knows nothing about, in every respect:

Having done QC for this release, and for some insane reason, not stating ANYWHERE that it’s a DVD-A, I can attest to the fact that it was NOT an SQ decode.

First of all, you can not get that kind of separation even with the best of scripts (just listen to the perfect separation of the drums on the left rear, no way josé that it’s a decode.)

Second, I saw a note written by an engineer who did a transfer from the MASTER of one of Yes’  LANDMARK albums a YEAR after it was recorded and he found all kinds of imperfections; “surface noise”, clicks, etc.
Guys, remember , analog tape is great but it’s not perfect!
And this was a 40 year old tape!!! (and not even the 1st gen master!)

I was quite amused to listen to it and having it sound better than what I remember listening before it was released.

Yes, the cover is VERY sloppy; no info on who did what and the typos that remind me of the ELP BSS SACD (STS anyone??)… LPCDM??? DTX????  oh well..we got it and, as opposed to the “King Arthur” one which is a DISASTER, this one is quite enjoyable…I’ll give it a healthy 8.

So, you can attest that it’s not an SQ decode? Really? How? I certainly don’t remember you contacting ME (the person who actually did the (pre-phoenix) decode for, and used, on that release. The Quad master tapes most certainly were not available for any of the Rick Wakeman releases.

Where have you been living, the separation issue on SQ has long been broken (by myself), and may i state that if you think the level of separation is impressive (thank you for the back-handed complement) then you’ll be shocked just how more impressive the possibilities are now!

You continue to to use scripts from the dark past, wake up, things have greatly moved on in the world. All you do is to show just how little you, and the rest of the know-nothings there, actually know.

That release was/is, in my view, very poor and very badly treated by the compression happy ‘Abbey Road’ studios. That release is an embarrassment, so much so that i made available to a handful (literally) of people a uncompressed Phoenix decode in compensation as Universal were willing to do nothing to right what Abbey Road had done to it.

So people, please be warned, those who confess to know it all in a certain place are of this level. Basically they are technically devoid of anything resembling fact and are to be treated with the highest contempt. Unfortunately there is nowhere i can suggest to go for the facts, if that’s what you are requiring.

 

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26 Responses to “The (dreadful) state of the Quadraphonic community”

  1. fathomie July 14, 2017 at 01:04 #

    Agree entirely with you DC. I have become sick and tired of people talking utter rubbish on the internet, and doing it with the arrogance and assertiveness that gives the utterly false impression they know what they are talking about. 99% of the time – they don’t. When I started using the web it was primarily for IT advice, and I myself became and advisor on VIA’s old forum as I used their boards all the time and became as familiar with them as many employees. As such we all gave advice based on each other getting together to pool knowledge, and complied with the companies policy of ‘this is advice not from VIA ‘but’ these guys are the people to come to’. Without bragging, based on feedback alone, we knew our stuff. However, I made the mistake of attempting to help out on other sites. I used to, a while back now, be a hifi salesman – and again, without (well almost..) bragging, the sales figures showed I knew what I was doing, and still do. As such I helped out on a site or two that combined both. It didn’t end well… For at these places you have people who state things like ‘it’s only worth buying an I7’, ‘there is no point to buying a PSU over 500watts’, ‘you should always buy the most expensive speakers you can then build the system around them’ are commonplace on these forums, and speak as though they are pillars of wisdom. They aren’t – as the quotes (real ones by the way) show. These sort of statements are made in total disregard of what the person seeking advice has asked for, what their budget is, and the last one in total defiance of reality. If you dare to defy these purveyors of wisdom, they and their acolytes tear into you for daring to transgress in this temple of knowledge they dominate! What is saddest of all, is these giant fuckwits convince people to take their advice. Many times you see words of praise as someone who wanted a modest system with a budget of £500 has been told by the Gandalfs of AV that in fact nothing less than an all Linn/Primare £5,000 system is the bare minimum you should even consider! That buying a £2000 gaming system when all they needed was a £300 laptop for a bit of net chat, is proof that the gods of IT are right! That having a pair of £3000 speakers with a £150 CD player and a £200 amp feeding them will give you hifi nirvana! Jesus wept… Sadly, I have become convinced over time, that the internet, which was set up to spread knowledge and help people, has become populated by bigoted know nothings that pick up a tiny kernel of information and run with it for years on end, giving duff advice out in Churchillian fashion, and generally making people who actually do know what they are on about despair. Me? I’ve given up on advice forums. If you try and talk sense some idiot will shout you down, and that’s happened 10,000 times to many for me to bother any more. My advice to people now is simple, don’t go to dedicated ‘expert’ sites and forums any more, go to your local dealers/shops and ask them. They might just surprise you by talking sense…

    • oxforddickie July 14, 2017 at 01:40 #

      Totally agree with that last sentiment.

      • fathomie August 8, 2017 at 20:11 #

        Indeed, that’s what it’s come too. I would rather not give advice to the best of my knowledge these days, and simply suggest they ignore the net and go local. Having worked in both IT and Hifi, the specialist dealers really do know rather more than Mick down the pub and his online equivalent,’johntheknowitall’. Funny that! 🙂

        • Rick August 8, 2017 at 23:58 #

          Well, yes and no. Where I live, I’ve found that the retail presence is interested in ONE THING only, and that’s making money. So, there is the same (effectual) “caveat emptor” that shuts down the advice givers in gargantuan Audio Groups. There are a bunch of people who are just “advertising” drones for the “maven” who’s recap jobs are about five times what the machine costs to buy. (And no matter how good a shape your machine’s in, it’s on death’s door.) I remember the waning days of electronics repair. I’d taken electronics repair courses in the ’80’s (for my own edification) and had let it lie for about six years. My first rtr had a bad transistor in the +6dB peak reading LED in one channel. I didn’t have the self-confidence to fix it myself and took it to one of these “local” businesses. They put a RS Chinese generic replacement in it and you couldn’t get the channels to match in terms of onset and offset characteristics. I bought original 2SC’s from the manufacturer and it’s been going great guns since about 1992. I then made the same mistake twice when I took the machine to a local studio (I’d worked there as a Brass player) and had them set it up. When I got it back it sounded like crap. When I went through it, I discovered that they’d set it up to 1.0dBv instead of the SM (which I supplied them) recommended .775 (prosumer) dbV. After that, I decided to do my own work and I’ve never looked back. The truth is this: The “wheat vs. chaff” co-efficient between the “Matrix” and outside of it is approaching 1:1 parity. Trust No One. Period. Nobody’s more invested in YOUR gear than YOU ARE. Educate yourself. The more you learn, the more you’ll be able to tell the folks that fathomie is celebrating from the folks that he is excoriating. I think he’s right about a lot of what he holds forth, I just disagree with the “real” world being any less perilous than the (shorthand) “Matrix” is. It’s interesting to note how most of the “helpful” parts of these “gargantu-sites” are the articles written and posted in excess of a decade ago. These days, those sites still have value as “discussion” forums (for me) but in terms of “vitamins” and “minerals” most of the posts I go to (with respect to a specific piece of gear) are almost always in excess of a decade old. Quad is unique inasmuch as its marketing heyday was relatively brief. It’s been a subculture for much longer than it’s commercial Zenith lasted. But the only way to encourage new interest in a venerable technology is to bring the young and ignorant to Literacy. It’s a nasty business but somebody’s gotta do it. I get good advice here, so far. But I see this “generationalism” go on everywhere now. The ones who like Tubes are the only ones who are “in the know” and the ones who like the ’70’s second great age hate everything that came after (there was great gear in the ’80’s, but the retail went up so fast, that the “ordinary average guy” got left behind, once he got a good look at the ask on that Dragon…..). It’s happening again right now with $186,000 Turntables and $8K pre-pros. For that money, it had better bring Dusty Springfield back from the dead and rejuvenate her to her full 1968 era former glory. YMMV….

          • Rick August 9, 2017 at 00:02 #

            Literally, not figuratively….lol…..

  2. turntabledoc June 20, 2017 at 00:32 #

    Believe me, I sympathize with your assessment of know-it-alls who are really know-nothings. Trying to give useful advice on AK re: turntable repair has made me want to kill people who should know better. I.e. if you tell a newbie with an AC-motor deck to clean the pots and replace the caps to get it on pitch, you’re an idiot when it comes to turntable repair and shouldn’t be giving advice. Why type misinformation into the internets so that it’s visible for eternity? It enrages me. I resolved my issues by avoiding AK, but that makes me kinda sad because I really like helping people and I’m knowledgeable (if I may say so myself) about the things I bother to tell people.

    You’re really good and knowledgable at what you do too, OD. So I feel your pain there. I do, however, agree somewhat with AOQ that it gets personal for you, and I wish it didn’t (or at least not to the extent that it does) because you have some outstanding skills in decoding, and I think the world of recordings will be a little less bright once you close up shop. I wish that it weren’t that way, but I respect your decision. You have to do what feels right for you. Life is too short to spend it being frustrated.

    • RTM June 20, 2017 at 12:58 #

      Recapping is going to be more and more of a safe bet as time moves forward, but in my personal experience, out of over a hundred (I’m at the end of my collecting career now, really. (Now keeping everything maintained and aligned will be the main issue.) components, I can count on the fingers of one hand where capacitors (and not the proprietary chips they supported, which is an even worse hand of cards) where so out of spec that they were truly indeed the culprit. One was a Pioneer TAU-11 (it became an organ donor and helped about five other TAU-11’s to live a second lifetime) and the other was a (famously) Pioneer PL-630. (The infamous runaway speed issue.) The truth is if most of these machines (even at forty years old) lived a life of riley, statistically they may not need a recap to function within spec. BUT, eventually, the odds get worse and worse with every passing decade. If it was stored on some farmer’s barn loft (like one of my SX-1980’s apparently was) then the restoration process is SLOW, because you have to test, measure, test, measure, etc.,etc., to ad nauseum and then try to null issues out without a wholesale replacement of caps. I get that it’s a “cottage industry” for underemployed techs. But with certain brands and models it almost NEVER is a problem, but with certain models (especially if that barn loft scenario is apparent) it’s now approaching even money. (I own 2 630’s. One was a dream to set-up and the other was a nightmare. It needed a speed control recap. Not all that big a job, but one I choose not to do if I can’t knock it back into reliability using other methods. One thing seldom discussed is how much better “non-specialty” caps were back in the day than now. (6000 for a buck, shipped free from some sweatshop some place.) The first tape deck I ever restored got screwed up by some highly overpaid techs at a place near where I grew up. They went to RS and bought a Korean 2SC and stuck in the Schmitt circuit that powers the peak reading LED’s. You couldn’t make the left channel EVER line up with the right in terms of onset/offset characteristics. It needed replacing, but just because it’s new does not guarantee that it will last as long as the one you replace, just for replacement’s sake. The problem with Statistics is the larger the sample the more outliers from the center of the Bell Curve you’ll get. It just happens. That particular situation is not a BLACK or WHITE issue. It’s the gray scale to end all gray scales. I have a 1933 (My Grandfather’s) Philco 23 Chapel Radio in my living (antique audio) room. It works fine and hasn’t had a thing done to it, pretty much ever. (Outside of my having cleaned the Tube Sockets and realigned the VC.) Will it eventually go down? Probably. Within what remains of my lifetime? Maybe. Once you get into a group as big as AK, that whole “religion” aspect takes on a life of its own. How I take ALL the advice I get is to be grateful for it, while I sprinkle it with Salt. If I didn’t want outside perspective I wouldn’t ask. I think that’s true for most folks. But there are cottage industries who’s automatic “jump to” is to send it to a “maven”. When they have the skills to do it themselves, even IF they didn’t do it for their main living for forty five years. THAT’S where your help will be MOST appreciated, even if most folks on AK are too innured in their own “thing” to thank you for it. I’m not sure I’ve ever gotten advice from you, but if I have, consider this thanks with just a sprinkling of well meaning advice regarding Human nature.

      • turntabledoc June 20, 2017 at 15:50 #

        Thanks for the thanks!

        My point on caps was that the cap on an AC motor circuit isn’t going to affect pitch, ever. If you’re a newbie and someone gives you blatantly erroneous advice, it’s worse than getting no advice at all. Having repaired hundreds of decks, I’ve only had to replace caps on about a dozen, and probably 10 of those were mid-70s Duals with junky Fracko caps in the power supply.

  3. Army Of Quad June 19, 2017 at 16:04 #

    Did you receive QC copies on this release? I ask, because what I’ve found most puzzling about this release, was a comment that was made from someone involved in the release, dismissing my video as a conspiracy theory. What I’ve wondered is, is it possible that at some point during the creation of this release, did Universal actually find a quad master, and a version was created using this, but the wrong version went to duplication? That would explain the continued insistence from those involved that it was the quad master, despite the obvious evidence to the contrary.

    • oxforddickie June 19, 2017 at 16:12 #

      Yes, i had QC versions sent, and no, i have it on good authority (the person behind the whole Wakeman reissue series) that only one quad master was found, and it wasn’t any of the released albums (yes folks, there’s a quad version of one of his albums that was never released).

      The last i heard, some months ago now, is that Universal do not have the rights to it, it’s in the hands of someone else who is “possibly” doing something. And that’s it.

      • Army Of Quad June 19, 2017 at 19:01 #

        Very interesting, thanks for sharing that info.

        In regards to your criticism of kap’n crunch, do you think you perhaps are being a bit harsh? He very well may be incorrect in his assessment of the content of the dvd-a, but he doesn’t exactly “know nothing” about the topic. After all, he was on the QC team for this release. To be fair, apparently they were told by Universal that the quad master is the source. Now, you and I both know that this is bogus, based on what we’ve heard on the dvd-a’s we’ve heard. And not everyone knows what to listen for. Isn’t it reasonable for someone without the listening experience of seasoned pros like us to listen to a well done decode, without critical comparison to a discreet source, and take the word of someone of authority that it is what they’re told it is? And, to be honest, if we go in assuming nothing, for all we know he somehow got his hands on a different disc with a different source. Given what you’ve told me of your involvement in the QC of this, and your insider knowledge, I understand that’s highly unlikely.

        Point is, yeah, he listened to something and thought he heard a discreet recording. And also heard about tape masters that can be noisy and thought perhaps that was the confusion on people that commented they could tell it was vinyl due to record noise. Fair enough point. Perhaps it was a mistake for him to suggest he knew this as a definite fact. But, you make no friends attacking individuals and sites the way you tend to do. You seem to think that this is personal, as if whenever someone in error speaks something you know not to be true, it’s done with malice to attack you. This isn’t the case at all. After he made the comment, I posted my reply disagreeing, and I reached out to him privately to see about whether or not perhaps he did have a different disc….and we’re in a friendly dialog. And I’m guessing we’ll likely determine that yes, it’s a decode, and he’ll have a better understanding of how well decoding can be done these days. If I started attacking him from a personal blog, he probably wouldn’t give me the time of day afterwards, and rightfully so.

        You know, I often have a joke I use. Whenever I’m relaying something I’ve learned off the internet, I have a standard disclaimer, “I read it on the internet, so it must be true.” I think the sarcasm of that line speaks for itself. In all forms of life, misunderstandings and misinformation happens. And sometimes misinformation can get in the hands of stubborn people as well. What can we do? Educate. I posted a clip, I presented my evidence, I engage in dialog. Many people listened, some didn’t. You attack in blogs. People get pissed at you.

        I dunno, just sayin’ Hope I haven’t pissed you off too much, I just felt this whole thing was rather uncalled for.

        • oxforddickie June 19, 2017 at 20:22 #

          I have given up educating those who continually spout such tosh without any reasearch, etc. I know of him, i sent him a test record a few years ago but i’m afraid the only way to deal with this type of misinformation is to deal harshly.

          You forget, i’ve had it from them, even he’s had his go at me, accused me of stealing someone elses work. No proof, nothing, just spouted it, and he wasn’t even questioned about it.

          Harsh it is, and harsh it will be from now until i close shop.

  4. qrx9001 June 19, 2017 at 15:12 #

    My own expertise is in audio engineering, and I am very familiar with quadraphonic recordings issued in the SQ and QS formats and decoded by Sansui QRX-6500 and QRX-9001 receivers. None of the quad LPs I have listened to over the years sounds as discrete as your reissues. Even the JVC CD-4 albums sound less stable than what you have been able to extract from the old matrix systems. Novices used to MP3 earbud music may not be impressed, but anyone familiar with quad playback from the 1970s has to admit that the music from those early days now finally sounds the way it was promised to sound thanks to your efforts.

    • oxforddickie June 19, 2017 at 16:08 #

      I set about my work because of my desire to hear those normally disregarded albums in as good as quality as possible. The fact others have enjoyed them is very much the icing on the cake, so to speak.

      CD-4 was science running before it had legs, yes sometimes it’s possible to get a disc/system that works as it was supposed to, but most of the time it’s a major let-down.

  5. RTM June 19, 2017 at 13:40 #

    Nobody knows it all. Period. I’m a retired professional Musician, Teacher and sound engineer/technician (in decreasing order of income) and my choice of career (in my place in time, made worse by the sheer numbers involved in my end of the boom) has appeared to be the nexus of semi- (or worse UN-) informed opinion going to War with everything around it. Usually to little positive effect. Most of what I know about Quad I had to learn after its passing, as I didn’t have the wherewithal to get into it when I was eight or ten years old. My perception of the concept (including the format war itself) is it was a perfectly rendered version of a literal circular firing squad. I’ve yet to get a CD-4 decoder to actually work. I understand my brand of choice (Silver Era Pioneer) was probably not the greatest all around decoder made though. I have several (a QD-210 and two QD-240’s) and they do okay with SQ, but the handy meter (on the latter two) won’t raise up off the floor no matter how many Shibatas I throw at its input. I think it’s a train wreck of a format, but the 4.0/5.1 (former better than the latter) Blu-Rays I’ve purchased show me how much “there” there could actually BE. Thanks for doing what most record companies have no interest in doing outside of a couple of Doors and Floyd Titles. Somebody’s still going to have to show the “old guy” exactly how this site works. I keep waiting for a (new decoder) rendering of Maynard Ferguson’s “Conquistador”. If it’s been done, I haven’t been able to find it. As to the Wakeman releases, I personally don’t have an opinion. I think I have two Stereo pressings and never paid a lot of attention to it. Now at least, I have a reason to go back and revisit it. (A WHOLE lot of Music, never enough time….) I do think somebody should show some gratitude for your efforts. I’ve learned a lot (even if I haven’t heard much Music) from visiting here. Keep on Keepin’ On.

    • oxforddickie June 19, 2017 at 16:05 #

      We are in 2017, and it’s long overdue that people have the truth instead of the imaginations of a number of “wanabies”. Your so right, nobody knows everything, as i lurch towards my 62nd birthday i fine i know less now that i thought i did 40 years ago, especially when it comes to the decoding of these ancient matrix systems.

      I come across something new all of the time, hence the addition of the ‘+’ on the couple of ‘Phoenix’ decodes, which has led me down a new path of improvements.

      That album, “Conquistador” has been high on my wants list for longer than i’d care to admit, still not come across a copy.

    • T. Bradley June 19, 2017 at 22:01 #

      I can tell you from personal experience that when it comes to getting CD-4 to work at all, much less work decently or better, the table you’re trying to use is just as important as the shibata cart/stylus and the functional condition of the decoder.
      I initially tried a linear tracker that I already owned with a P-Mount cartridge that I bought because it was advertised as CD-4 (a setup that I chose because there is no cartridge alignment process to screw up other than tracking force and anti-skate) and I got unstable erratic results which I automatically assumed was likely the result of possible age issues or unknown component failures within my Akai AS-980’s built-in CD-4 decoder which has multiple manual adjustments and no visual indicators for showing whether or not it’s working so I bought a different decoder that at least has a carrier status light which gave similar results so I began to question the linear table.
      So then I tried that cartridge on a spare T4P table I had with a straight tone arm (again, little to no alignment options to potentially get wrong) which I then plugged into that other decoder and still got erratic results but slightly less erratic than with the linear table setup and it still wouldn’t track with carrier lock through an entire album side.
      Then I tried a cheap plastic 80’s S-curve arm Technics that a friend gave me using an adapter for the P-mount cart to fit on the Technics headshell and again things got a bit less erratic that each prior setup I’d tried and actually gave me fairly solid 4-channel separation through the first track or two per record but the fidelity and overall results were still far from good or enjoyable.

      Finally out of frustration I bought a Marantz 400 decoder that the seller swore works properly and a $200+ cartridge that some reviews online said allegedly works well for CD-4 which I carefully installed and aligned onto my old faithful Technics 1200MkII and connected to the Marantz decoder and instantly not only did 90% of my quadradisc issues finally vanish on those same records I’d been trying to play on other setups, my CD-4 listening experience finally had mostly consistent stability and decent or better quad separation and was actually worth listening to for the first time since I began trying to experience CD-4.
      After that, just for fun I put that supposed CD-4 capable P-mount cart with an adapter onto a spare headshell, put it on my 1200, set the weight and such as needed, and although I didn’t care for the sound contour coloring or overall fidelity it produced, to my surprise it actually kept the decoder’s carrier light lit all the way through each of my quadradiscs and gave me all 4 channels as advertised. So it’s not just the cartridge that matters and even my buddy’s much more expensive Thorens table doesn’t work anywhere near as well as my old Technics 1200 for CD-4. I’m sure there are better tables than my 1200 and better carts than the one I ended up using for CD-4 but it’s what I’ve already got and after a lot of trial and error it actually works so I’m sticking with it.
      Side note, I haven’t tried my AS-980’s internal CD-4 decoder with the Technics 1200 and good cart yet as I now feed the Marantz CD-4 decoder’s outputs (along with my Q4/Q8 tape decks) into the discrete analog surround inputs of my modern Harman Kardon DD/DTS surround receiver for most of my stereo, quad, and surround A/V listening these days but I’d be willing to bet that based on what I was getting from it with that linear table a few years ago, with a bit of tinkering with its’ CD-4 decoder settings it would probably decode.

      So equipment choices and equipment condition definitely matter.

      I still haven’t found a cart and decoder combination I’m totally happy with but just getting to hear the creativity of those musicians and engineers and producers (that I heard on mono AM radio as a child) through equipment and technology that was built when I was in grammar school is a huge reward in itself and makes me appreciate every high quality decode release that OD and CB are kind enough to provide to us that much more! Thanks y’all!!! 🙂

      • oxforddickie June 19, 2017 at 23:03 #

        Very interesting, thanks for the story, just shows persaverance can paay off. Off course the capacitance of the leads within the arm and that going into the demodulator is very important, it must be lower than 100pf

      • RTM June 20, 2017 at 13:26 #

        My suspicion is it’s the 240’s fault. Someone sent me the innards of a “working” 240 and I plan to replace the boards one at a time when I can get time to do so. I tried it with some pretty good ‘tables. (I dedicated one PL-630 to it.) Among others, I used an AT-150MLX and a Sumiko Blue Point 2. Obviously, none were P-Mount. (Ugggh….) They are/were both MM and MC. I did momentarily try it in my PL-L1000, and it didn’t get any CD-4 content with it either. I think it’s my decoder. I’ve been told that I need to pop for that “new” Tate/Fosgate next gen decoder if I can find one. Failing that, what CD-4 decoder was the best? I do NOT consider myself an expert at Quad. I was about eight when it started and about twelve when it foundered. I didn’t get a “real” stereo until I was eighteen. Thanks for any advice.

        • T. Bradley June 21, 2017 at 09:59 #

          Thanks OD for the arm leads capacitance info!
          Between the arm wiring and interconnects specifications I’m pretty sure that’s why the first several tables I tried didn’t work.
          That’s probably the main CD-4 issue for many new quad enthusiasts regardless of how “nice” a table and cart they think they’re using.
          One can google their turntable model with the keyword CD-4 and see if anyone else has had success (or failure) with it and what carts and demod’s they’ve used to get CD-4 working for them to save a lot of time. money, and frustration when trying to build a CD-4 quad setup for the first time.

          I haven’t paid full quad hardware attention in a few years (since I finally got everything working to my satisfaction for all formats in my setup) and I’m sure there are plenty of members here who can chime in but I was always under the impression that the Tate/Fosgate units are for SQ matrix decoding and not a CD-4 demodulator.

          My Technics 1200MkII is a silver one from the late 80’s.
          The AT-440MLa cartridge on that table with a Marantz CD-400B demodulator is a combination that performs CD-4 well overall for me but of course audio quality is totally subjective and some members will totally disagree.

          “The internet” claims the AT-150MLX to be a superior cart to the AT-440MLa with supposed mentions of Quad and CD-4 in its paperwork so it seems as though it should work.

          As far as which demodulators are better, I’ve only ever heard my Panasonic and Marantz, never actually tried the one in my Akai AS-980 after I learned the table was my problem but based on the behavior I got with the unknowingly incompatible tables at the time it probably still works, and so far between the Panasonic and the Marantz I prefer my Marantz.

          I tried several different demodulators and turntables before opting to try my 1200 table which finally solved enough of my CD-4 problems to show me that it can and does actually work and showed me that everything else I had tried up to that point was why it either wasn’t working at all or was giving me the carrier light erratically and not really working.
          Then the upgrade from the “Ed Saunders” P-Mount cart to the AT-440MLa on my 1200 actually made CD-4 a fun and enjoyable listening experience.
          Considering the fact that quad was long since discontinued by the time my particular 1200 table was built, it certainly wasn’t designed or intended to be a CD-4 table, it just happens to work for CD-4 and works well.

          • oxforddickie June 21, 2017 at 10:54 #

            The Tate/Fosgate is an SQ decoder, and the only one that should be considered. There is nothing produced to this date that gets anywhere near it, even though it’s not perfect.

            Personally i wouldn’t worry about changing the cartridge, the AT-44Mlb does a perfectly good job, and i’d doubt you’d notice any improvement. What is important is the quality of the cables from the cartridge to the demodulator (and a good demodulator – JVC are probably the easiest quality units to get a hold of) AND the arm set-up.

            What is always forgotten is that the arm MUST be parallel to record when playing. The best option is an arm that has adjustable height, but if the arm is tilted down whilst playing then adding shims underneath the cartridge until the arm is level is an option. If it’s the other way, tilting down, then that’s more problematic.

            If the arm’s not adjustable (most aren’t, then the only possible option is to add shims underneath the arm assembly to get the height required.

            • T. Bradley June 23, 2017 at 20:51 #

              Yet another great point for any novice CD-4 listeners, thanks OD! 🙂

              I’ve always liked the fact that, among other nice features, the 1200 has a big adjustment ring surrounding the arm base with a locking lever for after it’s been set which allows simple, smooth, fine tone arm height adjustment for a good cartridge tilt tracking angle and if you’re reasonably careful it can actually be adjusted while it’s playing.
              Although my 1200 is a direct drive table, on the same records with the same cart through the same pre, amp, and monitors, so far I can’t hear the difference between my 1200 and my buddy’s far more expensive floating system belt drive Thorens and although we’ve tried several times I’ve yet to manage to get his Thorens to do CD-4 reliably while my 1200 easily does CD-4 as if it was made just for that task.
              I suppose that for some classical listening with a really broad dynamic range and lots of quiet movements if I were to do an A/B comparison my buddy’s Thorens might possibly reveal some sort of potential direct drive system influences and alleged drive system artifacts from my 1200 but for day to day listening of pop, rock, jazz, oldies, etc plus my small CD-4 collection I love my 1200.

            • RTM June 24, 2017 at 03:40 #

              I know that Technics fans vociferously favor their brand of choice. I’m the same way with Pioneer. I have owned Technics ‘tables (including a couple of 1200’s and a couple of 1700’s). The PL-630 is very competitive and possibly one of the top two or three ‘tables Pioneer ever produced. (It’s a three way between the PL-570, PL-630 and the Linear tracking PL-L1000, marketed in the U.S., as the Phase Linear 5000.) The PL-590 (with the statement PA-1000 arm) was the “statement” ‘table and the 630 and (later) the PL-L1000 featured the “trickle down” technology. I appreciate your advice and I knew that the Tate was an SQ decoder, I just forgot to be specific about it. I only own about a half dozen CD-4 records (not counting those silly cheesecake Pioneer setup records). The majority of my LP’s are SQ. I have four self restored RT-2044’s and two Technics by Panny RS-858DUS 8 Track machines. I’ve made a sincere effort to make up for lost time with regard to Quad. I’m a quick study, and I’ve learned a lot on the Quad forum as well as what’s going on here. I’ve engineered many ‘minimalist” recordings of my own groups and groups that I’ve performed and conducted. But I do understand the precipitating post. There’s a ton of misinformation out there. Quad has some positive attributes. That said, the implementation is not beyond weathering some just criticism….lol…….

              • T. Bradley June 24, 2017 at 21:00 #

                Not to drift completely off subject but I’ve also had my fair share of Pioneer components over the years and I still have my rare original 1960’s era silver unit that pre-dates the Pioneer blue dial SX’s and actually says (capitals not intended to be a yell) “TRANSISTOR AM/FM MULTIPLEX RECEIVER model SX-600T” across the **glass** dial face above the tuner band graphics which are actually listed in MC (MegaCycles) and x10 KC (KiloCycles) instead of Hertz and includes split left/right tone controls on 2-tone silver/black stacked knobs, “Tape Head” and Aux inputs, Magnetic and Ceramic Phono inputs, and a “Tape Monitor” loop, among other pretty cool features.
                It could use some tlc these days and I’ve been trying to find it a good home for a few years but haven’t had any success because it’s not perfect and probably has some marginal electrolytic caps again and it doesn’t say Marantz or McIntosh or some other name that vintage fans seem to like best.
                Also, apparently I’ve read that there was a SX-600 without the “T” from this same era, not to be confused with the 1980’s re-use of the SX-600 model number, that was supposedly a full vacuum tube version of this unit, hence the SX-600T actually saying “Transistor” in all capital letters on its’ front dial display label although I’ve also read that apparently the FM tuner stage in the SX-600T uses a “Nuvistor” hybrid configuration which finally explains to me why it always takes 10-20 seconds after turning on the power switch before the tuner starts to work (which it still does!).
                The very similar looking SX-1000 model series says MHz and KHz on its’ dial display and the paint on its’ display is darker colors than on my SX-600T and it uses those bladed pioneer speaker plugs instead of just having a strip of screw terminals like my SX-600T got.

                I’ve also had a big silver 3-head cassette deck with the blue flourescent bar graph meters that I think did auto-reverse but I really don’t remember, along with a matching equalizer and one of those cheesy spring-box reverb units (all of which I got used from thrift stores while in middle school and high school), and one of my all time favorite CD players, a PDM40 6-Disc changer which became remote controllable once connected to the System Remote to my VSX-2000 A/V Receiver, both of which I bought brand new when I started college. Eventually I inherited a PD-TM1 18-disc changer which was awesome for all day music in random mode and unlike most other brands the Pioneers would memorize each track as it played so that it wouldn’t ever repeat during the current random play cycle.
                Even my PD-M40 stored the track numbers as it played them in random mode to avoid repeats.
                But I digress… 🙂

                • RTM June 24, 2017 at 23:49 #

                  The Silver Era was Pioneer’s first peak period. Of course, it was high fidelity’s SECOND peak period, so the rising tide made everybody’s game rise. (Marantz, Sansui, et al…) If it was an auto-reverse machine, that was a CT-F750. I’ve restored a number of them for friends. A good unit, it’s noteworthy mainly because it was Pioneer’s first home Auto-Reverse machine. Their next peak didn’t happen until the early “Elite” period of the latter ’80’s and through most of the ’90’s. There were good pieces of gear between those times, but most of it was kept in Japan’s home market or were exported with a boatload of PVC in them and lower build quality. “BPC” is what it’s referred to as being in the collector community. That gear hold up to this very day. Most of it doesn’t need anything except an alignment. Occasionally I might have to replace (as described earlier) the odd capacitor, but not (as yet) very often. I’ve worked on an elderly friends SX-1000 and to be an early Solid State design I thought it was head and shoulders above most early transistor units I’ve heard/happened across in thrifts. Pioneer had quite the “pride of ownership” market cornered for a big chunk of the ’70’s. I just picked up my first SD-1000 (ca. 1973) and it’s pretty sweet. I’m in the process of restoring the CRT, it’s not dim, but I don’t think it’s quite as bright as it probably was when it was new. It’s probably due for a rejuvenation by this time.

                  • RTM July 14, 2017 at 02:59 #

                    Update: The CRT was dying. I found a NOS replacement. It came (almost literally) from Timbuktu. It’s back to nearly NOS, now. And it seems that the SD-1000 was around in 1971/1972. Then they updated it for line level quad with the 1100. Every day I learn something new. But thanks for the great discussion. I can talk about this great Music and Gear all day. Thanks for your reply….

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