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Old 23rd Jun 2021, 3:32 pm   #1
John.Fulwood
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Question Quad II and Quad 22 with modern sources and speakers

I've been given a pair of Quad II's and Quad 22 Pre-amp to look after for a while (I'm not giving them back).
They were last serviced in 2003, so I do intend sending them back to Quad for a service.
Questions I have for anyone out there that can help?
1. They sound great, but they do hiss when there is no volume or source running through them - why is this?
2. I've currently got my Sonos connected to it through the tape input, which has been modified to take a modern input. I want to run a streamer plus a Chord Cutest DAC as the source - is this a good idea?
3. Speakers?? I've got them connected to a pair of Monitor Audio Bronze on stands right now and they sound really good. But with a new source and following a service and perhaps new valves - what speakers would anyone recommend? I'm not keen on the ESL's, but I don't know why. I'd pay up to 1500.
4. Is there a better way to control the Quad II's than the Quad 22? If so, anyone got any thoughts on alternative pre-amps?
Thank you
John
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Old 23rd Jun 2021, 4:31 pm   #2
Welsh Anorak
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Default Re: Quad II and Quad 22 with modern sources and speakers

Hello and welcome to the forum. There are many Quad experts on here, so you're in the right place!
Taking your questions one at a time:
1. They shouldn't! As a check you can disconnect the preamp from the IIs and see if that or the 22 is causing the hiss.
2. Depends how the modification's been done, but I don't see why not.
3. The main thing is to ensure the output transformer has been configured for the correct impedance. Easy to do - change a tapping. Bear in mind the IIs give out only 15 'real' watts, so effficient speakers are a must. I'd stick with the MAs for now, then maybe let your ears do the choosing, though trying them with your system is essential. I use some large Tannoy floorstanders, but again it's your choice. The ESLs sound great but are getting on now and need to be in excellent shape. Besides, some regard them as pig ugly - I make no comment...
4. I gave up on the 22 years ago and have used preamps by NAD, Audiolab and presently a Yamaha surround system (front channels) with good results.

Obviously much of this is subjective, but if you're returning the equipment to Quad for a service then it's worth deciding now whether you want to include the 22. If you're using an array of modern sources then perhaps another preamp would be worth considering, especially if you're going to feed it with a turntable and a modern cartridge, though many other forum members could (and will) disagree with me.
IMHO the Quad II design is a classic (possibly a flawed classic) but time has marched ahead of the poor old 22. Again, just my opinion.
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Old 23rd Jun 2021, 4:42 pm   #3
Edward Huggins
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Default Re: Quad II and Quad 22 with modern sources and speakers

I second the suggestion for good, large, Tannoy floorstanders with a sensitivity of about 91db. There will be a wide range of used pairs, including dual-concentrics, for around the 700-800 point.
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Old 23rd Jun 2021, 4:52 pm   #4
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Default Re: Quad II and Quad 22 with modern sources and speakers

That Quad 22 is known for being a bit noisy, certainly by modern high end standards. It's up to you whether you stick with the original 22 and enjoy the full Quad valve experience, warts and all, or you use a later, quieter solid state control unit.
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Old 23rd Jun 2021, 4:58 pm   #5
John.Fulwood
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Default Re: Quad II and Quad 22 with modern sources and speakers

Thank you both for that. As for the hissing, pretty sure it's the Quad II's, but will disconnect the phono leads and see what happens. I had selected a different input and it remained.
As for speakers, I've had several recommendations for floor standing Tannoys.
There are so many out there that say that the Quad II are best with the 22 - but having only run them for a week I see the benefit in seeking an alternative pre.
Thanks again.
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Old 23rd Jun 2021, 4:59 pm   #6
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Default Re: Quad II and Quad 22 with modern sources and speakers

Any suggestions on what solid state control unit would suit?
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Old 23rd Jun 2021, 5:36 pm   #7
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Default Re: Quad II and Quad 22 with modern sources and speakers

The hissing could be noisy EF86s in the 22, or possibly noisy resistors if the past-their-best ones haven't been replaced. Depending on how much work was done at the last service the capacitors, if they're the originals, could be all over the place in value, which is not much use in frequency-sensitive tone circuits. As others have said, the 22 is not great with modern sources, alas.

You can run the Quad IIs without the 22, but you'd need to sort out a mains supply for each one and some conversion (cable or adaptor) to allow you to connect the audio into the 6-pin Jones input. Or replace the Jones with a phono socket on each amp. As a minimum you could try a 'Pot In A Box' pre-amp (these usually come wirth an input selector switch too, and several sets of input sockets on the back). It's worth remembering though that the II's need 1.4V RMS input to get to the full 15W out and not every source is capable of supplying this. So you may need a bit of gain between the source and the amps, which would mean picking a proper powered pre-amp, not a PIAB.

Cheers,

GJ
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Old 23rd Jun 2021, 6:32 pm   #8
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Default Re: Quad II and Quad 22 with modern sources and speakers

The Quad 22 is generally considered not to be up to the standard of the Quad IIs. It's the same for Leak's equipment of the period.

No-one can give you any particularly good advice because most people choose these things for subjective reasons... the sound, the appearance and even bragging rights gets in a bit, if we're honest with ourselves.

Some people take extremist stances and want no semiconductors in their gear. This ties them to 'mechanical records' whether vinyl or shellac. No-one's made an entirely valve CD player or streamer yet (it would dwarf Colossus!), yet there are those with a token valve added on the end making them a bit of a joke. These people seem to treat semiconductors as the spawn of the devil.

Why not consider one of Quad's later preamps like the 45 or 34? They're sufficiently versatile. The slope and step tone controls work well, I find. There are several people on here using them and restoring them when needed. There are various other preamps. When I needed one, I just built one out of NE5534 opamp circuits. The NE5534 (NE5532 is the dual version) has been out for over 40 years and is still a hard act to beat.

Speaker advice is a bottomless chasm. Not all speakers suit all styles of music. Not all will work in all rooms.

In general, larger speakers have a quite unfair advantage over smaller ones. Plenty of advertisers, pundits, shamen will tell you that new technologies have brought bookshelf speakers up to great standards. This is, of course, twaddle. The physics behind distrusting this is easy: To make a given amount of sound level at a low frequency, you have to shift a certain volume of air. For a small speaker to do this, there has to be a lot more cone displacement (leading to distortion) and the pressures in the cabinet are greater. A larger unit built to the same standards will be much less strained.

If you have the space, floorstanders have advantages.

The Quad electrostatics are a bit limited in the bass and sound pressure levels they can create, but otherwise they have a remarkably clear and natural sound.... but they are large in area, and need a large volume of clear space behind and around them. Good if you have the space and aren't a rock or movies fan.

Another speaker choice off the beaten track are transmission line types... Radford, IMF, Cambridge Audio ones are out there to be found.

Tannoy dual-concentrics have been mentioned. These are a bit cultish, with the inevitable effect on prices, but can be very good.

Some people swear by Lowthers (very efficient horn loaded things with cartridge paper cones) some people won't touch them, most can't afford them.

Most modern speakers are designed with the assumption that you have an amplifier with more power available than the Quad II. Going this route may reduce your available volume level, but not by much.

If you buy second hand speakers and learn how to assess their condition, you can likely sell them to get your money back if you get something you don't get on with.

Beware of the 'grass is always greener' effect. There are people with hifi systems who sold something and bought whatever was touted in the magazines as the next great thing, only to profoundly regret the change and are left wanting what they once had. This is a very common source of remorse. What you don't have always sounds better in your imagination than what you currently have. Manufacturers and retailers rely on this and are skilled at leading you by your ego into poverty!

So ask around, listen to stuff when you get the chance, don't buy new. TRUST YOUR OWN EARS, ignore lifestyle advertising and reviews, remember to have fun and never forget that it's just a hobby

David
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Old 23rd Jun 2021, 6:36 pm   #9
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Default Re: Quad II and Quad 22 with modern sources and speakers

I changed all the carbon composition resistors for metal film ones in my 22 and the difference was like night and day. Noisy >>>> quietness.
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Old 23rd Jun 2021, 6:42 pm   #10
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Default Re: Quad II and Quad 22 with modern sources and speakers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio Wrangler View Post
Why not consider one of Quad's later preamps like the 45 or 34? They're sufficiently versatile. The slope and step tone controls work well, I find. There are several people on here using them and restoring them when needed. There are various other preamps. When I needed one, I just built one out of NE5534 opamp circuits. The NE5534 (NE5532 is the dual version) has been out for over 40 years and is still a hard act to beat.

[/I]

David
I changed the stock TLO71 'industry' op amps in my Quad 44 to OPA 134 ones which are purpose designed for high quality audio use. I could tell the difference.
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Old 23rd Jun 2021, 7:01 pm   #11
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Default Re: Quad II and Quad 22 with modern sources and speakers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio Wrangler View Post
... Why not consider one of Quad's later preamps like the 45 or 34? ...
There's a lot to be said for them, but check their rated output voltage. The Quad 34 is normally supplied set for 500mV output, although this can be raised, I believe, if you're preared to get in with a soldering iron.

Cheers,

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Old 23rd Jun 2021, 8:45 pm   #12
John.Fulwood
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Default Re: Quad II and Quad 22 with modern sources and speakers

Guys, this is great stuff.
So, at the moment, I'm thinking:
1.get the Quad II's serviced and modified to take a phono input.
2. get a pre-amp, but be careful with the output voltage, needs to be greater than 1.4v RMS to ensure Quad II's can achieve the 15w. What about a Audiolab M-DAC Plus - output 2.25v RMS?
3. Speakers - something relatively sensitive. Floor standing Tannoys, what about something like the Wharfedale Linton? Sensitivity 90db.
4. Front end, Bluesound Node 3?
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Old 23rd Jun 2021, 9:01 pm   #13
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Default Re: Quad II and Quad 22 with modern sources and speakers

When I operate my Quad IIs with the 22 control unit the hiss is noticeable at medium volume levels. Seems to originate mostly in the Quad 22 EF86 stages. I'm currently using a homebrew op-amp pre-amp. I tried NE5534 but couldn't totally resolve hum issues even using a split rail regulated power supply (mind you the layout was sub-standard). Currently I have an LM381 mag cartridge preamp stage followed by TL074 providing a bit more gain and a Baxandall active filter both chips on a regulated 0-29v power supply. It is totally silent - no hum, no hiss. Not a circuit for the purists probably but it works great for me. I might have go at replacing the carbon resistors with metal film in the 22 and see how much difference it makes. Cheers, Jerry
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Old 23rd Jun 2021, 9:07 pm   #14
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Default Re: Quad II and Quad 22 with modern sources and speakers

Nothing wrong with Lintons, they're a nice musical speaker, but they're a bit downmarket for high end stuff like this. There's also the issue that Wharfedale made them for well over a decade, and the design changed several times.
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Old 23rd Jun 2021, 9:14 pm   #15
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Default Re: Quad II and Quad 22 with modern sources and speakers

In the end, with speakers, they are all (with the possible exception of the ESL57s) sufficiently imperfect in one way or another that the decision will come down to the type of music you play, the type of sound you like, the practicalities of the the room they will be in and your budget. No suggestions from anyone else will be nearly as important as trying a pair and seeing how you feel about them.

Cheers,

GJ
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Old 24th Jun 2021, 6:35 am   #16
John.Fulwood
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Default Re: Quad II and Quad 22 with modern sources and speakers

What about the Quad Artera Pre Amplifier?
I would like a separate DAC, been reading a lot about them and the Chord Cutest is high on the list. So this analogue pre-amp does not have technology in it that I would otherwise be paying for, so all the investment should be going into making it sound great?
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Old 24th Jun 2021, 8:01 am   #17
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Default Re: Quad II and Quad 22 with modern sources and speakers

No, that isn't a logical certainty. All the money you would be putting into it won't necessarily have to go into better analogue components just because there isn't a load of digital stuff in the box. Some or all of it could be going into extra profit.

It isn't a constant-sum game in terms of what goes into the box.

Once you get into 'boutique' items, prices go up, turnover falls dramatically, so R&D and other overheads makes the business terribly inefficient and the prices go up further. The value for money of the products falls into an abyss. The business isn't making a lot of profit on the turnover despite the apparently large prices. You don't see the business owner swanning around on the costa-del-learjet. Harold Leak had his Rolls, but he did have a business with a large turnover and a moderate profit margin.

Manufacturers of boutique hifi seem to survive only because belief in unmeasurable, intangible characteristics, which few people can perceive, is seen to be enough to justify the purchase by just enough people to keep the firm going.

From a potential purchaser's viewpoint, you are buying one of a particular product. You are not buying the company. You have to look at the price and at the real performance and ask if you're prepared to pay that for it. Any money for lifestyle image or for fairy dust is just a waste unless you believe in it enough for those factors to make you happy.

There is a marketing snare here, and you have to be very bold and self-assured to be able to escape it. You have to answer a question honestly to yourself.... Are you choosing something to impress yourself, or are you choosing something to impress others?

This factor happens in many fields. You go to university, you study hard, you get a degree with the name of a prestigious institution on it. The university has given you some of its kudos! You get good in a field, and do something really outstanding. A university (not necessarily the same one, or you may not even have been to one) awards you an honorary degree. This time the flow of kudos is from you to them. They are hitching a ride on your reputation. When human psychology is involved, it's important to keep an eye on the transfer of image.

Sometime back in the 1980s, the hifi world stopped being involved in sound and took up image mongering. It takes a lot of self-control to unhitch the grip of its claws. Good music reproduction is OK, but being seen to be living the high-life is far more seductive.

Take care. They really are out to get you!

David

(Owner of one overpriced prestige product)
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Old 24th Jun 2021, 9:14 am   #18
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Default Re: Quad II and Quad 22 with modern sources and speakers

Just a word of warning. When I decided to ditch the 22 I modified the Jones plugs to take a phono socket. Looked smart, but one day I found smoke coming from the rpeamp! This was due to a small leakage on the plug subjecting the preamp to a dose of HT which it didn't like. The 22 wouldn't have cared less, of course. The simple answer was to isolate the HT feed to the Jones socket.
As these amplifiers are sought after in original condition I'd be unhappy about making any non-reversible changes such as fitting a phono or XLR socket, a view I expect Quad themselves will share.
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Old 24th Jun 2021, 9:45 am   #19
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Default Re: Quad II and Quad 22 with modern sources and speakers

I'd support Glyn's comments. Non-reversible changes certainly do devalue these amps and I wouldn't recommend drilling/cutting the chassis for any new connectors. It's perfectly possible, though, to disconnect the Jones socket, carefully insulate the ends of the wires (HT, heater) that you won't need and then fit a phono socket onto a small plate that will fasten in place where the Jones socket used to be. As long as you don't lose the Jones socket you'll either be able to sell it on as modified or reverse the change and sell it in original condition if/when you decide to.

Cheers,

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Old 24th Jun 2021, 1:28 pm   #20
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Default Re: Quad II and Quad 22 with modern sources and speakers

The RCA plug/socket, probably the worst audio connector ever. The centre pin connects first making big noises when plugged into an active system and a made by design hum loop for stereo (or more).
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