2019 QQ Test Lab Report - SURROUND MASTER 2

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chucky3042

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Chucky,

I agree. Actually, I hate SQ. I always have. SQ is, IMHO, one of the reasons that quad failed. I've said it here before so eye into the top of you head for those waiting for it, but more average Joe's bought low cost quad systems in the early '70s, systems with no logic in the decodes, but receivers and decoders with SQ logo's on them proclaiming that SQ was the rats ass. When they got this shit home and set it up, it was "What? Where? Huh?" Their cheap little Q8 sounded amazing quad-wise, but their investment in SQ LP's did little more than the stereo LP of the title run through the same decoder.

Early disappointment led to negative vibes and a lack of interest in something that, other than 8-track, the average Joe could not hear a major difference. CD-4 came along with the higher cost and yada-yada-yada, but really, the good decoders like the Lafayette and the later Sony SQ2A's and such were late to the market, with the Tate's and AS&IC showing up when the records stopped and the quad sections disappeared.

IMHO, the SM2 does a fantastic job decoding my SQ LPs, and the only reason I posted the above was to show that there is some sort of difference, be it slight, so that some folks on the fence get multiple reports on the unit. What you guys have done with a 40+ year old technology for the price you are charging is honestly a miracle. Face it, in the '90s, most of us threw in the towel and many threw out their quad stuff. And here we are 50 years later and we're getting quad stuff rereleased on SACDs and a honest to God working SQ and QS decoder for under $500 that is very cool.

The SM2 almost, and I mean almost, makes me like SQ. Almost. :)
So true, personally I want to go back to the future! Two channel matrix for this not so little black duck.
 

Philip Spinner

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Chucky,

I agree. Actually, I hate SQ. I always have. SQ is, IMHO, one of the reasons that quad failed. I've said it here before so eye into the top of you head for those waiting for it, but more average Joe's bought low cost quad systems in the early '70s, systems with no logic in the decodes, but receivers and decoders with SQ logo's on them proclaiming that SQ was the rats ass. When they got this shit home and set it up, it was "What? Where? Huh?" Their cheap little Q8 sounded amazing quad-wise, but their investment in SQ LP's did little more than the stereo LP of the title run through the same decoder.

Early disappointment led to negative vibes and a lack of interest in something that, other than 8-track, the average Joe could not hear a major difference. CD-4 came along with the higher cost and yada-yada-yada, but really, the good decoders like the Lafayette and the later Sony SQ2A's and such were late to the market, with the Tate's and AS&IC showing up when the records stopped and the quad sections disappeared.

IMHO, the SM2 does a fantastic job decoding my SQ LPs, and the only reason I posted the above was to show that there is some sort of difference, be it slight, so that some folks on the fence get multiple reports on the unit. What you guys have done with a 40+ year old technology for the price you are charging is honestly a miracle. Face it, in the '90s, most of us threw in the towel and many threw out their quad stuff. And here we are 50 years later and we're getting quad stuff rereleased on SACDs and a honest to God working SQ and QS decoder for under $500 that is very cool.

The SM2 almost, and I mean almost, makes me like SQ. Almost. :)
Hey Jon your description above about SQ pretty much explains my sentiments as well. I purchased a Marantz back in the 70's with the first early SQ module that plugged into the bottom of the amp. Well, frankly it sucked. I was so disappointed that I gave up on matrix systems altogether. Never even bothered with QS. Figured it's just as bad as SQ. So I turned into a discreet junkie. Reel, 8 track and CD-4. I never did stop buying matrix discs though. I figured some day someone would rectify the situation. Then along came Chucky.
 

ar surround

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Minor technical question for @chucky3042 :

The channel volume controls have detents that do not quite line up with the 0dB markings on the case. Are the 0dB levels actually located at the detents, or at the location of the markings on the case? I would think it is the former, but the relative position of the detents varies ever so slightly from channel to channel.
 

chucky3042

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Minor technical question for @chucky3042 :

The channel volume controls have detents that do not quite line up with the 0dB markings on the case. Are the 0dB levels actually located at the detents, or at the location of the markings on the case? I would think it is the former, but the relative position of the detents varies ever so slightly from channel to channel.
Hi AR Surround
Go by the detents it is correct. The alignment issue is a combination of a slight knob/ shaft alignment issue (sounds like a porno) but mainly the actual solder holes on the pots in the PCB was incorrectly chosen as too big. So in some instances as the boards were being wave soldered they moved slightly. Tis will be fixed on the next batch.

Regards

Chucky
 

Quadro-Action

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I would be interested - how works the SM2 with QS records? The Surround Master SM 465 has 2 different modes for SQ and QS. And the SM2 ?
 

The Quadfather

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Hey Jon your description above about SQ pretty much explains my sentiments as well. I purchased a Marantz back in the 70's with the first early SQ module that plugged into the bottom of the amp. Well, frankly it sucked. I was so disappointed that I gave up on matrix systems altogether. Never even bothered with QS. Figured it's just as bad as SQ. So I turned into a discreet junkie. Reel, 8 track and CD-4. I never did stop buying matrix discs though. I figured some day someone would rectify the situation. Then along came Chucky.
You know, Audionics of Oregon solved the SQ, problem a long time ago. The problem is, there hasn't been anything in between. If your Audionics S&IC died in the 1990's, you were out of luck. There were other SQ decoders, but none as good. Well, my Audionics unit died recently, and that's why I'm jumping onto the Involve bandwagon. Is it as good, or is it better? I shall find out. It is definitely better in one respect. It does QS. The Audionics won't do QS correctly. I expect the triband decode will help also. Audionics didn't have that.
 

jaybird100

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Hey Jon your description above about SQ pretty much explains my sentiments as well. I purchased a Marantz back in the 70's with the first early SQ module that plugged into the bottom of the amp. Well, frankly it sucked. I was so disappointed that I gave up on matrix systems altogether. Never even bothered with QS. Figured it's just as bad as SQ. So I turned into a discreet junkie. Reel, 8 track and CD-4. I never did stop buying matrix discs though. I figured some day someone would rectify the situation. Then along came Chucky.
When SQ first happened, I bought a Sony SQD-1000 decoder with partial logic. It worked, sorta, but the pumping was highly distracting. Problem was, the albums I most wanted to buy were coming out in SQ. I settled for this distraction until Sansui introduced the QS-01. It was originally meant to add QS Vario-Matrix decoding to their QR series receivers. Playing a QS record through that decoder restored my faith in the potential of matrixed quad. Makes me wonder what would have happened if the WMG had stuck to their guns with QS, instead of bowing to Brad Miller's pressure to go CD-4.
 

ar surround

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I had the Lafayette SQ decoder with the full wave matching vari-blend features. I was demonstrating a track to a friend...Chicago 25 or 6 to 4...We got all the way through it when I realized I had the unit set to “Composer A” mode instead of SQ. Frankly, we did not think it made a significant difference. Then I got the Quadio and it was clear that this was actually a much more discrete mix than what was coming out of the SQ LP / Lafayette combo.

My point is that these sophisticated pre-Tate Logic decoders could not do the job when mixes got complex. Sinfully, it was too late to rescue the format by the time the Tate became available...and it was too costly anyway. Matrix quad is another example of declaring a product commercial before it’s time.
 

Philip Spinner

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You know, Audionics of Oregon solved the SQ, problem a long time ago. The problem is, there hasn't been anything in between. If your Audionics S&IC died in the 1990's, you were out of luck. There were other SQ decoders, but none as good. Well, my Audionics unit died recently, and that's why I'm jumping onto the Involve bandwagon. Is it as good, or is it better? I shall find out. It is definitely better in one respect. It does QS. The Audionics won't do QS correctly. I expect the triband decode will help also. Audionics didn't have that.
I almost purchased an Audionics of Oregon unit back in the day but never got around to it.
 

The Quadfather

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I almost purchased an Audionics of Oregon unit back in the day but never got around to it.
I put up my Dodge Dart as collateral to get a loan to buy my Audionics Space and Image Composer. I took a BIG gamble on it. I wasn't able to hear it before I bought it. I was very pleased when it came in and was so much better than the SQ decoder in my Pioneer QX4000 receiver. Pioneer had the crappiest SQ decoders of any high quality receiver.
The Quadfather
 

ar surround

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I would like some clarification based on what I’ve read in some other threads:

It seems that the recommended set up for the SMv2 is to set the master volume control as high as possible without “red-lining;” and then set the individual channel volume controls to achieve the desired sound output. (I.e. to match to volume levels of other inputs.) Yes?

If the above is true, what are the noticeable improvements in performance compared to, for example, setting the master volume level at 12 o’clock?
 

DuncanS

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I would like some clarification based on what I’ve read in some other threads:

It seems that the recommended set up for the SMv2 is to set the master volume control as high as possible without “red-lining;” and then set the individual channel volume controls to achieve the desired sound output. (I.e. to match to volume levels of other inputs.) Yes?

If the above is true, what are the noticeable improvements in performance compared to, for example, setting the master volume level at 12 o’clock?
I think that is so that you get the highest level into the ADCs. Thus it gets to use the most number of bits than with a lower input i.e. has a higher bit 'depth' - so get better overall 'accuracy', also helps with the SM2 DSP surround decode.
 

jaybird100

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Chucky,

I agree. Actually, I hate SQ. I always have. SQ is, IMHO, one of the reasons that quad failed. I've said it here before so eye into the top of you head for those waiting for it, but more average Joe's bought low cost quad systems in the early '70s, systems with no logic in the decodes, but receivers and decoders with SQ logo's on them proclaiming that SQ was the rats ass. When they got this shit home and set it up, it was "What? Where? Huh?" Their cheap little Q8 sounded amazing quad-wise, but their investment in SQ LP's did little more than the stereo LP of the title run through the same decoder.

Early disappointment led to negative vibes and a lack of interest in something that, other than 8-track, the average Joe could not hear a major difference. CD-4 came along with the higher cost and yada-yada-yada, but really, the good decoders like the Lafayette and the later Sony SQ2A's and such were late to the market, with the Tate's and AS&IC showing up when the records stopped and the quad sections disappeared.

IMHO, the SM2 does a fantastic job decoding my SQ LPs, and the only reason I posted the above was to show that there is some sort of difference, be it slight, so that some folks on the fence get multiple reports on the unit. What you guys have done with a 40+ year old technology for the price you are charging is honestly a miracle. Face it, in the '90s, most of us threw in the towel and many threw out their quad stuff. And here we are 50 years later and we're getting quad stuff rereleased on SACDs and a honest to God working SQ and QS decoder for under $500 that is very cool.

The SM2 almost, and I mean almost, makes me like SQ. Almost. :)
The biggest drawback of the Tate SQ decoders, aside from their hitting the market so late in the game, was their cost. Both the Fosgate and Audionics units were around US$1200, and by then there were going to be few takers. Neither one could also decode QS. I have the Audionics, which has, sadly, given up the ghost. To my ears, the SM2 sounds every but as good, if not better, than the Tate. There's more detail to the music, and the separation is about as good as SQ can be. I haven't heard the Shadow Vector process, but how much different can it be?
 

chucky3042

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The biggest drawback of the Tate SQ decoders, aside from their hitting the market so late in the game, was their cost. Both the Fosgate and Audionics units were around US$1200, and by then there were going to be few takers. Neither one could also decode QS. I have the Audionics, which has, sadly, given up the ghost. To my ears, the SM2 sounds every but as good, if not better, than the Tate. There's more detail to the music, and the separation is about as good as SQ can be. I haven't heard the Shadow Vector process, but how much different can it be?
Spot on!
 

chucky3042

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Joined
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Messages
1,831
I would like some clarification based on what I’ve read in some other threads:

It seems that the recommended set up for the SMv2 is to set the master volume control as high as possible without “red-lining;” and then set the individual channel volume controls to achieve the desired sound output. (I.e. to match to volume levels of other inputs.) Yes?

If the above is true, what are the noticeable improvements in performance compared to, for example, setting the master volume level at 12 o’clock?
DuncanS really nailed the answer!
 
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