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Leaving Quad for Krell/Levinson?

 

New member
Username: Medicone

Post Number: 1
Registered: Aug-05
OK, my first post here...so go gentle with me...

For the last 14 years I have played my CDs through a Quad 44/606+Celestion SL600Si system. My current CD is a California Audio Labs CL15. I have always enjoyed the very smooth sound and my tastes are all over the map with lots of Classical and Jazz as well as 80s UK popular etc...

Recently, my Quad 44 has been having trouble and often just goes off a few minutes after starting up. You struggle with the selector buttons and sometimes it comes back sometimes not. When it does eventually come back it is then fine. Also, my 606 has recently (2 years) developed a low freq buzz (from the amp not through the speakers). (maybe this is because these are UK 240V 50Hz are are running on 220V 60Hz in the US now)

So all this has got me wondering about upgrading.

I have seen lots of Krells and Levinsons used, everything from integrateds to 150lb ers. Similarly B&W 803s etc... I have heard that these are the business over here, but I wonder whether the sound will be what I like or (quoting) will it be "too bright" etc...

Also, what if I get the Krell or Levinson pre-amp and keep the Quad 606, will I see the benefit?

All help greatly received. I guess my mental limit is not to spend more than $5-10k doing this.

Thanks!

Simon
 

Silver Member
Username: Stu_pitt

NYC, NY

Post Number: 351
Registered: May-05
Simon - I kind of got lost there and really don't know how to answer it. Also, I don't have any experience with the specific gear (kit in the UK) you mentioned.

I can however suggest two things. First, you may be better off taking the stuff to a repair shop. The problems you have may be simple ones, or they may be complex. The only way to know for sure is to have it looked at by someone who knows what they're doing. This could save you a lot of money.

If you want or need a new 'kit,' you should listen to anything before you buy, even used. If you can't hear the stuff the person is selling you, chances are a store sells them new. Hearing it in a store will give you a good idea of what it's going to sound like. If you buy used and don't like the sound, chances are you probably can't return it. $5-10k isn't like risking a few dollars that if it doesn't work out, not a big deal (for most of us anyway).
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 4775
Registered: May-04


The Quad/SL600 system you currently own is playing a different tune than you'll hear through Krell and 803's. This doesn't mean you won't enjoy the Krell and B&W system, but if you are trying to simply upgrade the music reproduction you have currently, you might be disappointed. Or you might be thrilled. Driving a coupe for the last twenty years doesn't mean you won't be excited or satisfied with a "sports sedan". The best way to decide if you can live with four doors instead of two is to rent the four door for a week.

Obvioulsy no one selling used gear will let you try it for a week and then return what you don't like. However, the brands you have cited are well known for having a "house sound". B&W and Krell, to use these two as examples, are B&W and Krell. What you hear from the new equipment is pretty much what you'll hear from the old. New product is somewhat better (?), but the overall sound seldom changes in character from year to year. So find a shop that sells the new gear you are considering and have a listen to "Krell sound". You may find a new product does offer more value than then unknown quantity of a used product which could have the same problems as your current kit. None the less, you will have some idea what you are putting together should you decide to go pre-owned. To buy something without any idea of what you might be putting together is not the best approcah to a satisfying system. Sticking with the better known products when buying used is the safest bet for the reasons I've just laid out. Now, if you have enough money to absord any stupidity that might overcome you when cruising the web sites for used gear, go ahead and start buying products until you find the combination you like. You might want to begin with a product like MicroMega, everyone knows what they sound like.




 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3556
Registered: Dec-03
Simon,

In your place I would investigate getting the Quad 44/606 fixed.

http://www.iaguk.com/quad/service.htm

There was an article on those amps in the July 2005 issue of the magazine HiFi News. Yes, Quad will still service those items, and also its own equipment much, much older than that,
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 4779
Registered: May-04


I would agree you should consider what the overall costs will be to have the old units repaired. Then weigh that against what the cost and benefits of purchasing something different will amount to. It's no different than any other purchase.

For a small sum most shops will give an estimate of repair costs and apply that amount to your repairs if you choose to have the equipment rejuvenated. As a rule, Quad is an excellent company to do business with and their customer service, and that of the representatives, is top notch.

However, this does present the opportunity to make a switch without too much emotional baggage to deal with. You could easily find equipment that fills your needs for the next fifteen years and have the enjoyment of something new(er) to you. Who knows, you might decide a pair of refurbished Quad 22's and some ESL's are the way to go.

Weigh all your costs and options and decide which will provide the most long term happiness and musical enjoyment.




 

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 718
Registered: Sep-04
Simon

I am in the UK. Many Quad customers go to Chord Electronics when the time comes to upgrade. The Chord presentation is essentially characterless which suits most Quad customers.

Moving to B&W 800 series would be a big change in presentation. First of all, the presentation of the B&Ws is a lot bigger than you're used to and it's a touch warmer. The Celestions weren't easy to drive but they had a relatively clean presentation as did the 606. The only warmth would have been from the 44. The B&W 805 would be closer to your current speaker.

Regards,
Frank.
 

New member
Username: Medicone

Post Number: 4
Registered: Aug-05
First, thanks all the the variety and insightfulness of the responses...

I would certainly like to get the 44 fixed but I suspect that by the time I shipped it to the UK and back and had the repairs done it would be as much as I paid for it!

Another option is just to find another used 44... or maybe 66 or 99...

I've also looked at moving to a 99/909 combo to try and stay in the same 'character' but just edge up...

I have realised that I do have some more hard listening to do. I here words like 'warmer' and 'character' and 'bright' and I thought I knew what those things meant, now I'm not sure.

I had expected that the whole B&W thing might take me to a brighter place. Before I bought this system, I was in the process of specing out an LP12/Naim/Naim system and the final combination of those that I tried seem to be very 'bright' indeed in that when some upper piano notes were played they went straight through your ears. Something I missed a little when I decided to make the move away from vinyl and offended that store and moved to the Quad store...

I've always thought of this system as 'transparent' in that most of the middle/low upper range seemed to be exactly as if they were standing there. I've also suffered moving from an 800 sq ft house nr Ipswich with a concrete floor to a 5000 sq ft house in North Carolina with thin wooden boards - this seemes to rob the system of some of its clarity, +there is a lot more air to fill...

Frank notes that the only warmth came from the 44 and I agree with that. I tried running my CAL-15 directly into the 606 (mainly because it offered me remote control over the volume) but it sounded much harder than I was used to. Perhaps then I would like a 'warmer' sound....

I think I have to go find out...

Thanks for all the effort in the responses...
 

New member
Username: Stevizard

Indianapolis, Indiana USA

Post Number: 2
Registered: Aug-05
Simon,

If you're considering new gear. You might want to consider Sherbourn.

Sherbourn is the brain-child of a former McIntosh CEO and their head engineer. They didn't like how commercialism and profiteering had affected product lines, so they created their own "no compromise" company called, "Sherbourn".

They've created a product line that competes well with anything Krell or B&W have to offer. Take a look at http://www.sherbourn.com
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3564
Registered: Dec-03
Simon,

Some of us responding to your post have long had, or (in my case) recently acquired valve aka tube amplifiers. You may know that Quad has a current separate pre-amp and power amp valve/tube combination. McIntosh (or Sherbourn - thanks Stevizard) might be a comparable maker, more suited to the US.

I am interested in your question, having only recently been able to acquire the Quad ESL speakers I had long wished for, and never acquired Quad amplification. Their current valve/tube amp is a bit beyond my means, but it could be something for you to consider, along with the newer ESL speakers. It would be a radical change in sound. But certainly an improvement, at least in my personal estimation.
 

Unregistered guest
Hi, Simon
My Quad 44 recently died in a lightning strike - beyond economic repair. I have just installed my replacement: a Quad 99, to go with Quad 405 amp and FM4 tuner. I can't tell the difference! The phono stage is just fine, in my opinion, and at least as good as that of the 44. However, with all hi-fi systems the biggest single influence has always been the loudspeaker, and I have just heard the best! The Quad 989 was demo'd when I went to see the Quad 99 and it was by far the most revealing I have ever heard. It beats my revered Spendor BC1 speakers, and is even - in my view - a good step ahead of my brother-in-law's Martin Logans. I can only say that I hadn't realised how good my AKG microphones were until I heard one of my live orchestral recordings played through the 989's. By the way, Quad told me that they could repair my Quad 44 preamp and bring it up to full spec for a cost not exceeding GBP 250. However, that's rather greater than the value of the preamp, and I quite see your reservations about shipping costs to and from the US.
Best of luck with your decision. This type of problem can actually be quite enjoyable!
Cheers, Mike.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3618
Registered: Dec-03
My short-lived thread on the Quad Electrostatic Loudspeaker 63.

The only speaker I would consider changing them for it the Quad 989. But they have quite enough bass extension for my present circumstances. I cannot imagine a better speaker. The 988 is essentially a new ESL 63 and would be fine for most applications.

Why do we hear so little of ESLs?
 

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 757
Registered: Sep-04
They're imposing, require loads of space to work properly, are ugly as sin (to most people) and don't do rock and roll.

Other than that they're great!

Regards,
Frank.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3635
Registered: Dec-03
Well, that's four things in their favour, already....

I've been reading around on these speakers, and they benefit from stands. That would make them even more imposing. Peter Walker apparently said nothing fancy was required, and a pair of empty milk or beer crates would be just right. At present I just have mine tilted back a bit, on small piles of 2p coins.

Ugly...? Nonsense! Don't start all that mini-monitor LS3/5a stuff here, too, Frank! If the good lord had intended us to put shoe boxes on stands.... If you really need electromagnets, gimme a Spendor BC1. Have one of those fall on you, and you know all about it.
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