it was clear liquid and slightly thick, not much at all tbh but i panicked at the sight of it and unplugged the gizmo right away and banished it to the closet!This is a fairly tough question, as there is quite a list of outboard demodulators I'm interested in and eventually want.
I'll say, first, I'm with fredblue and anticipant of the day that Involve Audio are able to make their demodulator. Boy, that'll be a sweet gift to all of us die-hard quaddies!! (Fred - I just got my hands on a Grundig CD-4 myself. What color something started leaking out of your blend switch, clear like contact lube or colored like melted something or other?)
But otherwise I have to say a JVC/Victor CD4-1000, which are impossibly rare. I'd love to have an entire JVC/Victor 4-channel Laboratory set-up as my core quad system, with the matching JP-V1000 pre-amp, two JM-S1000 stereo power amps, and two SEA-80 equalizers. There's always at least one piece of quad gear we can dream about... (unless you're rustyandi, that man seems to have every piece of candy!).
RIP to a great man in Quadraphonics ..i hope all his CD-4 knowledge didn't die with him and the key info's documented somewhere safe..It's vaporware, but I would have loved to have gotten my hands on one of the demodulators Lou Dorren was working on when he died. From what I heard, it would have been the "Holy Grail" of demodulators.
Although the 440MLa performs adequately, it isn't as good as one of the better vintage cartridges designed for CD-4. I have one and it generally works well but it comes up short when the going gets rough on more complex passages. It has a tendency to mistrack on the carriers in those situations and you get sandpaper.I've got a Technics SH-400 and that's after going through a number of them. I've had the Pioneer QD-240, several Panasonic SE405's, and a Marantz 400. Whomever said that all demodulators are built equal must've never done any back-to-back testing.
But, then again, I ran one of those Ed Saunder's "CD-4" cartridge/stylus combos for a while and learned how poorly that performed as well.
But back to the demodulators.... I've found the Pioneers were good and quiet, but with the same cartridge/stylus I have NOW (the AT 440MLa), the Pioneer can't match the Technics for separation. It seems to hit a brick wall, like it's only designed for 10-12db of front to rear separation. The Technics can go 20+, almost making things that appear in the front very near silent in the back.
The SE-405's I've tinkered with DO NOT like my 440MLa. Both demod's I've tried are similar to the Pioneer; lacking in big time separation, difference being with the Panasonics, if you try to crank things up, you just get a splattery mess. They don't seem to like high levels of carrier. Turn everything down and sure, you get smooth, noticeable separation, but still doesn't compare to the Technics.
The Marantz I was allowed to borrow didn't seem to jive with the 440MLa at all.... it was a Marantz with the manual carrier adjust and if you turned the carrier control up all the way, I could barely get the radar light to flicker. Might have been something wrong with this one - not 100% sure. A friend uses it as a stereo pre-amp and he's happy with it.
'Bout the only thing I have bad to say about the SH-400 is I'm always tweaking the carrier level controls. It really does seem to vary from LP to LP. To it's benefit, it seems to LOVE high levels of carrier not distorting at all even with both controls cranked right up. It'll even hold carrier lock at low levels, just the performance will be seriously diminished.
If this box had an automatic carrier control, it might have been the one to get.
I went from the Ed Saunders to the 440MLa. But, I also invested in a Geodisk as it turns out, my cartridge alignment skills were severely lacking.It obviously has better response and separation specs than the published ones but probably falls a bit short for CD-4. I mean, it generally works fine but I have had it "misbehave", sometimes.