CD-4 - The thin line between success and failure, but still in the fight!

QuadraphonicQuad

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fredblue

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I'm concerned about TT adjustability too. That is partly why I've been asking for TT recommendations.

I have several CD-4 test/set-up discs. Pretty sure at least one of them has the 30kHz tone. They don't necessarily announce that on the jacket though.

Please elaborate whether you're inquiring about my carts or my styluses. They are not the same thing, right? I have a Pickering XV-15/625E on one TT and a Shure of some kind on the other. It takes an N-91E stylus.
tbh i had reached the limits of possibilities with my old Pro-Ject TT. it had a weight unceremoniously dangling off a bit of nylon fishing wire for the anti-skate, no headshell azimuth adjustment, no VTA adjustment, it had speed issues.. you name it, so i "retired" it and got an old Technics SL-1200 (1210, the UK Black Vn.) and the rest is.. well, i dunno about History but its a story!

most test discs i've tried announce the 30kHz tone's coming. depending on how setups going, it will playback either as 1.) a scratchy garbled mess, 2.) a squawking noise, 3.) a beeping/meeping noise.

yes, the cartridge is the body containing magnets/coils that attaches to the headshell and the stylus is the needle that goes into the cartridge.

the cart and stylus combination needs to be able to retrieve, resolve and generate the higher frequencies necessary for CD-4.

also low capacitance cable is required between the turntable and demodulator.

i don't know either of those cart/stylus combinations but that's not indicative of anything, they may
well be great and just the ticket for your CD-4 needs! what are the rated specs for each and what are the stylus profiles (i.e. are the needles elliptical, conical, spherical, Shibata, Line Contact, etc.)
 

fredblue

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Both Bob Romano and myself use one of these modern Technics that we feel work great and are built like a tank:


I had previously tried one of the Pro-Ject models; that felt like a toy to me compared to the Technics, and it had arrived new in box and was dead on arrival, wouldn't even turn on. How the heck does that pass through quality control :unsure:
luvverly TT. J.P! πŸ’˜πŸ₯°
i wouldn't have another Pro-Ject as a gift, it was a total POS compared to the SL1200! 😹
 

edisonbaggins

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tbh i had reached the limits of possibilities with my old Pro-Ject TT. it had a weight unceremoniously dangling off a bit of nylon fishing wire for the anti-skate, no headshell azimuth adjustment, no VTA adjustment, it had speed issues.. you name it, so i "retired" it and got an old Technics SL-1200 (1210, the UK Black Vn.) and the rest is.. well, i dunno about History but its a story!

most test discs i've tried announce the 30kHz tone's coming. depending on how setups going, it will playback either as 1.) a scratchy garbled mess, 2.) a squawking noise, 3.) a beeping/meeping noise.

yes, the cartridge is the body containing magnets/coils that attaches to the headshell and the stylus is the needle that goes into the cartridge.

the cart and stylus combination needs to be able to retrieve, resolve and generate the higher frequencies necessary for CD-4.

also low capacitance cable is required between the turntable and demodulator.

i don't know either of those cart/stylus combinations but that's not indicative of anything, they may
well be great and just the ticket for your CD-4 needs! what are the rated specs for each and what are the stylus profiles (i.e. are the needles elliptical, conical, spherical, Shibata, Line Contact, etc.)
My current styluses (stylai?) are stereo, cutie-pie.
I'm pretty sure I need to upgrade. So...

Cart/Stylus combo is the recommendation I need.
I probably need to acquire a suitable TT also.
And... I probably need to acquire a working demod too!!!
I have a growing list of recommendations. Keep 'em comin'!
:SB
 

fredblue

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My current styluses (stylai?) are stereo, cutie-pie.
I'm pretty sure I need to upgrade. So...

Cart/Stylus combo is the recommendation I need.
I probably need to acquire a suitable TT also.
And... I probably need to acquire a working demod too!!!
I have a growing list of recommendations. Keep 'em comin'!
:SB
you say stylai and i say styli 🀩πŸ₯³πŸ˜˜

honestly i'd just go for one of the top Audio Technica CD-4 cart and needle combo's (e.g. AT15Sa, AT15SS, AT20SS, AT20SLa) and be done with it! πŸ‘ŒπŸ’Ž
anything else MM-wise and you're just gambling your money (i've tried a number of other routes. all CD-4 flops!)

disclaimer: other carts apart from AT exist that are said to be suitable for CD-4 but i didn't have success with any of them (incl Denon, Ortofon, JVC)
 
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edisonbaggins

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you say stylai and i say stylii 🀩πŸ₯³πŸ˜˜

honestly i'd just go for one of the top Audio Technica CD-4 cart and needle combo's (e.g. AT15Sa, AT15SS, AT20SS, AT20SLa) and be done with it! πŸ‘ŒπŸ’Ž
anything else MM-wise and you're just gambling your money (i've tried a number of other routes. all CD-4 flops!)
So, cart/stylus are possible to buy together? That'd be awesome.
So far, the other recommendations have been:

Pickering XUV-4500Q
Shure M 24H
JVC
X 1
MD-20x
CD4-1000
Audio Technica
AT440MLB
Strain gauge

I'll add your recommendations to my list.
 

fredblue

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So, cart/stylus are possible to buy together? That'd be awesome.
So far, the other recommendations have been:

Pickering XUV-4500Q
Shure M 24H
JVC
X 1
MD-20x
CD4-1000
Audio Technica
AT440MLB
Strain gauge

I'll add your recommendations to my list.
the vintage AT15's and AT20's have interchangeable bodies and styli so you can fit a 15Sa on an AT20SLa cart or a 20SS stylus on a 15Sa cart but most of all you'll want to ensure you get a Shibata (Sa) or Super Shibata (SS) or SLa (Limited Edition Square Shank Nude Shibata) styli for the carts in good nick.

the AT440MLb will be good for knackered discs and very good most of the time but sound quality and separation will improve with the old AT15's and AT20's, just only on pristine records.
 
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Sonik Wiz

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Well Sir you have certainly started a busy thread with a lot of interest! Not sure what I can add but it probably won't help out all that much.:rolleyes:

First the Left Rear channel is cutting in and out, but I could still rip/convert the LP. Then I discovered it also developed some nasty hums (both a lower level and some higher toned hums.)

Well the first thing I might ask is why you think the Sansui internal demodulator is the problem? If you can still rip/convert the CD-4 record (I guess from 4ch tape out) then it might be something else. Or do you get a hum still when doing it this way? How is the hum/noise prob in the Marantz different from the Sansui hummmm?

In general I have had better luck over the decades than most people with CD-4, at least as direct problems go. My 1st demodulator was an early Sansui unit, QC-04. It plugged into my Sansui QS-01 decoder & sounded much more specific than stereo/quad records played through the QS-01 which was the earliest of early decoders. I traded both of those with some other stuff for a new Kenwood 9940 receiver with built in CD-4. Eventually that faded away & I inherited multiple CD-4 boxes when a local quad friend passed away. I had a Clairicon, Marantz 400-B, JVC something, Panasonic SE-405, and Technics SH-400. I gave the Marantz to I don't remember who & the Technics SH-400 to Ty/Disclord. I know he appreciated it & I'm glad I gave to him but on the other hand I wish I still had it. These all came from one person so take note in the waning time of CD-4 he was still trying to find the perfect CD-4 box to overcome whatever limitations he was hearing. Of all of these I have only the Clairicon & Panny SE-405 remaining.

With these various units Thru a few TT/cart changes I had little trouble getting things to work right. I don't remember any specific qualities between these demodulators. What I do remember is the final impression that CD-4 lacked a crisp high end & seemed to have quite restrained dynamic range. It paled in dynamics & detail compared to a good Sheffield label direct to disc. It always sounded like 4 ch FM radio. Also if you had an external CD-4 demod it then became your default 2 ch RIAA phono pre-amp. There were many better quality choices for that, even back in the day, & that's why all my CD-4 stuff ended up my Closet of Quad.

I'm not trying to be negative about CD-4 just realistic & what my impressions were over the years. Whether it's about restoring a '63 Corvette or making CD-4 work I understand the fun is in the process and achievement not necessarily the practicality. With that in mind I found a couple of very interesting previous posts on QQ that might be relevant here.

Check out:
esp post #18.

Also if you want to see what the insides of your Marantz looks like take a look at:

I spy some power supply caps that will probably need to be replaced on yours!
 

furui_suterioo

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So, cart/stylus are possible to buy together? That'd be awesome.
So far, the other recommendations have been:

Pickering XUV-4500Q
Shure M 24H
JVC
X 1
MD-20x
CD4-1000
Audio Technica
AT440MLB
Strain gauge

I'll add your recommendations to my list.
You probably won't find a CD4-1000, I think Rustyandi owns one. For strain gauge you would need a Technics/Panasonic demodulator(along with Technics/Panasonic carts/stylii).
Although the PL-12D TT was working for CD-4, I did get better results speedwise with a direct drive TT. I bought a 50 year old Victor TT from Japan for pretty cheap and installed my other AT440MLB, it's definitely more accurate than the Pioneer.
I'm sure a new Technics TT would be even better still than the 50 year old Victor, but wood finish is a requirement for me. My dream TT would be a Marantz 6300.
 

J. PUPSTER

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Well the first thing I might ask is why you think the Sansui internal demodulator is the problem? If you can still rip/convert the CD-4 record (I guess from 4ch tape out) then it might be something else. Or do you get a hum still when doing it this way? How is the hum/noise prob in the Marantz different from the Sansui hummmm?
I'll search my files to see if I still have a raw demod. of a front end silent part of an LP rip from the Sansui hum, and post it up here.

The Rear Left channel cut out (in the Quad speaker only) I believe is a different issue from the hums in the Sansui. The hums in the Sansui IIRC are worse even than what I was experiencing with this Marantz unit. IIRC it had an additional higher end kind of squeal to it (but we'll see.)

Also, so many different opinions here about CD-4 gear, but then again, what else is new -LOL Surprised in that post #18 he thought the Technics were dull sounding.
 

J. PUPSTER

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Also if you want to see what the insides of your Marantz looks like take a look at:

I spy some power supply caps that will probably need to be replaced on yours!
Yeah, that's a bunch of electronics for potential issues, just looks like a traffic jam of mystery parts to me :eek:
 

kfbkfb

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There is a new all software CD-4 decoder (2 decode modes - soft fail and classic) :

A Virtual Machine/Emulator can be used to run this under Windows (10):

A company associated with Pspatial Audio makes a phono cart (and amplifier) that works very well with the all software CD-4 decoder:


Some demos:

CD-4 decoder case study (Thoroughly Modern Mahler section)

CD-4 test record channel ID section:


Kirk Bayne
 

Doug G.

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you say stylai and i say stylii 🀩πŸ₯³πŸ˜˜

honestly i'd just go for one of the top Audio Technica CD-4 cart and needle combo's (e.g. AT15Sa, AT15SS, AT20SS, AT20SLa) and be done with it! πŸ‘ŒπŸ’Ž
anything else MM-wise and you're just gambling your money (i've tried a number of other routes. all CD-4 flops!)

There are several other designed-for-CD-4 cartridges that work fine for CD-4 besides the audio Technicas.
 

Marcsten

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Unfortunately, most of us can't drop 5 grand into a new cartridge, and have to use what we can afford.
I totally understand that. I really can't afford it either but made sacrifices elsewhere. Still, my point is not that you need to spend five grand to get good CD-4 - my point was that the modern generation of carts are so much better than the old ones when it comes to tracking accuracy, frequency response, and ultimately CD-4 performance, although I doubt they were designed with that in mind. With the greater accuracy comes better CD-4. There are many carts in the $500 - $2000 range that do a fine job in all respects. Sorry if I seemed a snob.
 

Marcsten

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Both Bob Romano and myself use one of these modern Technics that we feel work great and are built like a tank:


I had previously tried one of the Pro-Ject models; that felt like a toy to me compared to the Technics, and it had arrived new in box and was dead on arrival, wouldn't even turn on. How the heck does that pass through quality control :unsure:
Those tables are made in the Czech republic. They are fine tables but can have a difficult journey to your home. I have friends that have them bought in a brick and mortar store and they are excellent, not toy-like at all.
 

Gimme 4

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I had great results with a Pickering XUV-4500Q. About 10 years ago there was a seller on ebay with a bunch of genuine styli (the proper spelling, or
"styluses" if you prefer) and I got a spare really cheap, apparently didn't know what he had. My Pioneer QD-240 demod has a switch position to bypass the demod and go directly to a stereo phono preamp.
 

Sonik Wiz

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I had great results with a Pickering XUV-4500Q. About 10 years ago there was a seller on ebay with a bunch of genuine styli (the proper spelling, or
"styluses" if you prefer) and I got a spare really cheap, apparently didn't know what he had. My Pioneer QD-240 demod has a switch position to bypass the demod and go directly to a stereo phono preamp.
I've only had two CD-4 carts in my life. The first was the entry level AT12 that seemed adequate for my systems level of sophistication at that time. And, of course, it worked as intended. Later I also purchased a Pickering 4500Q. By reviews I perceived them to be a step up & I really liked the attached record cleaning brush. Even after cleaning the little brush still picked up stuff.

Now @Quad Linda IIRC had nothing but bad to say about Pickering carts. Maybe she could refresh my memory as to why. But I liked it and on stereo records I could at least identify it as an improvement over the AT12.
 

Gimme 4

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Now @Quad Linda IIRC had nothing but bad to say about Pickering carts. Maybe she could refresh my memory as to why. But I liked it and on stereo records I could at least identify it as an improvement over the AT12.
I never liked the lesser Pickerings either. Too much sibilance distortion. Poor "trackability" to use Shure's term. The lesser Pickerings couldn't pass the tests on Shure's test records. But the top ones were good IMO. The 4500Q sounds great as a stereo cartridge but I save it for the occasional CD-4 playing session.

A friend who was the audio department sales manager at a downtown electronics store (who had 4 EV Patrician 800s for his quad setup along with Harman Kardon and JBL electronics) used top line Pickerings only.
 
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