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New to Quad! Which CD-4 Cartridge?

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John Powers

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Ok, after years of thinking about it I pulled the trigger. The Receiver is a Kenwood 9940, chosen for the price, power, and CD4 demodulator (?). That beast will power 4 JBL L166s. The turntable is a Marantz 6200 that came with a basic cartridge. Question: Which direction should I go for the quad capable cartridge? Also, any and all advice for a first timer on setup would be appreciated, thanks!
 

Snood

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Ok, after years of thinking about it I pulled the trigger. The Receiver is a Kenwood 9940, chosen for the price, power, and CD4 demodulator (?). That beast will power 4 JBL L166s. The turntable is a Marantz 6200 that came with a basic cartridge. Question: Which direction should I go for the quad capable cartridge? Also, any and all advice for a first timer on setup would be appreciated, thanks!
Hi John Koooooooooooo stuff man - Most peeps sleeping right about now lol, so be patient and a hoard of Quad freaks will be around to answer your questions sooooooooon enough.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelcome aboard :LB :LB :LB
 

furui_suterioo

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My 9940 works 12 hour shifts quite often, I listen to it almost every day with my old goodwill-bought pioneer pl12d tt sansui s1150 speakers w/ equal size Fisher speakers for rear, it works better than could have even imagined when I bought it. Recently installed at440mlb and I've gotten solid radar throughout every used cd-4 so far, although my demodulator takes a few minutes to warm up(the rear right channel has occasional dust related signal breakage) it probably hadn't been used for decades, the vu meters are convenient for adjusting cd4 seperation, it sounds wonderful lots of power my whole apartment building has heard all my records I even bought a spare at440mlb to use with my next tt (far far in the future). I've read that the matrix decoder is 8-pole (whatever that means) with 20db max seperation 20-80% rear variblend waveform matching and cd4 front/rear seperation is "greater than 20db" while left/right is "greater than 50db". I can see Sony and Motorola chips inside it (mine looks like someone spilled a soda inside it 40 years ago in a dusty house), I dont like the cd4 test record that comes with it, bands are too short Fisher sq/cd4 test record works better for me.
 

John Powers

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My 9940 works 12 hour shifts quite often, I listen to it almost every day with my old goodwill-bought pioneer pl12d tt sansui s1150 speakers w/ equal size Fisher speakers for rear, it works better than could have even imagined when I bought it. Recently installed at440mlb and I've gotten solid radar throughout every used cd-4 so far, although my demodulator takes a few minutes to warm up(the rear right channel has occasional dust related signal breakage) it probably hadn't been used for decades, the vu meters are convenient for adjusting cd4 seperation, it sounds wonderful lots of power my whole apartment building has heard all my records I even bought a spare at440mlb to use with my next tt (far far in the future). I've read that the matrix decoder is 8-pole (whatever that means) with 20db max seperation 20-80% rear variblend waveform matching and cd4 front/rear seperation is "greater than 20db" while left/right is "greater than 50db". I can see Sony and Motorola chips inside it (mine looks like someone spilled a soda inside it 40 years ago in a dusty house), I dont like the cd4 test record that comes with it, bands are too short Fisher sq/cd4 test record works better for me.
Wow, I understood some of that! I have to put my CD4 demodulator in the back of the receiver... I hope it’s not a pain! I also hope this baby makes power as advertised, I saw a bench test somewhere at 56wpc x 4, from what I’ve read that Sansui 8001/9001 or Marantz 4300/4400 territory. Should match with the JBLs well 😊. Also, my cart will be 4md-20x near new in the box, I have to set that up too... thanks for the reply!
 

John Powers

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Hi John Koooooooooooo stuff man - Most peeps sleeping right about now lol, so be patient and a hoard of Quad freaks will be around to answer your questions sooooooooon enough.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelcome aboard :LB :LB :LB
Thank you for the warm welcome!
 

The Quadfather

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I've used the Audio technica AT440MLa since the early 2000's. I am on my second stylus. Outstanding CD-4 performance. I have to track it a little heavy, about 1 3/4 grams instead of 1 1/2. The latest version is the AT440MLb. I hear it's just as good. This used to be a relatively inexpensive cart, but I think the price has gone up. Ignore the specs. They don't tell the story.
 

quadjoe

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If you can spend the money, allow me to recommend the Audio-Technica VM750SH. I purchased one about two years ago, and it is quite possibly the best CD-4 compatible cartridge I've ever used, even though I don't believe that was a factor in the design. It does have a Shibata stylus, which I think is a good reason why it performs so well. Not only is it good for CD-4 but it sounds great on any record I play; excellent bass, clear midrange and great highs without sounding shrill or overly bright. I think it is the best, most balanced moving magnet cartridge that AT sells (that I have heard.) I have quite a few CD-4 cartridges, and the only other one that comes close is the JVC 4MD-20X. The AT440ML series are good, but I've had problems with getting good sound on inner tracks of CD-4 discs with mine.

It has been a very long time since I've posted, so let me take a moment to go over the list of equipment I'm using: I have a Sansui QRX-9001 receiver, a Technics SL-1200 MKII turntable with KAB modifications (low capacitance cables, 78 RPM speed), a TEAC 3340 S reel to reel deck, 4 Focal Chorus 716 speakers (which have amazing imaging,) and an Oppo universal disc player. All of it works very well together. Among the various phono cartridges I own in addition to the two mentioned above are: Audio Technica AT-14Sa (purchased new in 1975), Audio-Technica AT-12S and a variety of stereo and 78 RPM cartridges.
 

J. PUPSTER

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I've used the Audio technica AT440MLa since the early 2000's. I am on my second stylus. Outstanding CD-4 performance. I have to track it a little heavy, about 1 3/4 grams instead of 1 1/2. The latest version is the AT440MLb. I hear it's just as good. This used to be a relatively inexpensive cart, but I think the price has gone up. Ignore the specs. They don't tell the story.
I’ve been following this thread closely; I hopefully will be embarking on me new CD-4 adventure shortly once my QRX-8001 gets back from reconditioning.
I wonder if that’s typical for the AT440MLx carts to track a little heavier than thought?
I believe my AT440MLb works best at 1 3/4 also.
 

furui_suterioo

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I've been tracking at 1.61g, oddly enough my turntable inherently seems to favor the inner grooves no matter how I adjust it. I almost bought a vm540ml spare stylus without cart(it fits on at440 cart) but 440mlb w/ cart happened to be on sale again at the time for cheaper than 540ml so i didn't. Has anyone tried the 540?
 

J. PUPSTER

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I've been tracking at 1.61g, oddly enough my turntable inherently seems to favor the inner grooves no matter how I adjust it. I almost bought a vm540ml spare stylus without cart(it fits on at440 cart) but 440mlb w/ cart happened to be on sale again at the time for cheaper than 540ml so i didn't. Has anyone tried the 540?
Not a 540, but I also have the VM740ML which to me sounds a little brighter and not quite as smooth as the 440mlb; but I need that Sansui back before I can do a thorough comparison.
(* wow, can't believe the spell check here doesn't recognize Sansui- WTF - treasonous!)
 

Q-Eight

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I got one of the last AT440MLa's (or, that's what I tell myself) and after years of fighting CD-4, multiple demodulators, half a dozen turntables, I went back to my original Pioneer PL-530, using the 440MLa, and my Technics SH-400 Demodulator and I get nothing but great CD-4. Even discs that I nearly threw away because they sounded so horrible are perfectly clean and playable on my setup. Oh, Invest in a Spin Disc Washer as well. While they aren't the end-all, be-all of record washing, they are very much a step in the right direction and affordable! You'll be surprised at what comes out of the grooves!

AND - the PL-530 has an "S"-shaped tone-arm which some have decried as not good for CD-4. Well, I proved them wrong. Also, I never had to rewire the turntable for low-impedance wiring, either. I get fantastic carrier level on almost all of my CD-4 LP's.
 

John Powers

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If you can spend the money, allow me to recommend the Audio-Technica VM750SH. I purchased one about two years ago, and it is quite possibly the best CD-4 compatible cartridge I've ever used, even though I don't believe that was a factor in the design. It does have a Shibata stylus, which I think is a good reason why it performs so well. Not only is it good for CD-4 but it sounds great on any record I play; excellent bass, clear midrange and great highs without sounding shrill or overly bright. I think it is the best, most balanced moving magnet cartridge that AT sells (that I have heard.) I have quite a few CD-4 cartridges, and the only other one that comes close is the JVC 4MD-20X. The AT440ML series are good, but I've had problems with getting good sound on inner tracks of CD-4 discs with mine.

It has been a very long time since I've posted, so let me take a moment to go over the list of equipment I'm using: I have a Sansui QRX-9001 receiver, a Technics SL-1200 MKII turntable with KAB modifications (low capacitance cables, 78 RPM speed), a TEAC 3340 S reel to reel deck, 4 Focal Chorus 716 speakers (which have amazing imaging,) and an Oppo universal disc player. All of it works very well together. Among the various phono cartridges I own in addition to the two mentioned above are: Audio Technica AT-14Sa (purchased new in 1975), Audio-Technica AT-12S and a variety of stereo and 78 RPM cartridges.
I bought the JVC 4MD 20x! Any advice on set up? Thanks!!
 

quadjoe

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I bought the JVC 4MD 20x! Any advice on set up? Thanks!!
John, I'm currently running the 4MD-20X in my Dual 1229Q, which is hooked up to my Lafayette LR5000 4-channel receiver. For set up, I use the Dual alignment tool and I make sure that the azimuth is correct which is facilitated by using one of those mirror alignment tools. Tracking force is set to 1.75g according to JVCs specifications. I don't recommend trying to adjust the VTA on a cartridge with a Shibata stylus simply because the engineers who designed the cartridge determined what was best for the performance of the CD-4 specs. If the cartridge is installed correctly, the VTA should be right, IMO. An interesting note about the Dual 1229Q: The table is nearly 45 years old (maybe a little more, I bought it used) and after I adjusted tracking force I checked it with my digital tracking force scale and discovered that the tonearm scale was within 0.002g! Man, you gotta love German engineering of that era! For CD-4 adjustments, follow the demodulator manual, if you have it, otherwise The Quadfather has given excellent tips in this thread. One final thing, if you bought the cartridge used, I think it's a good idea to try to get a couple of replacement styli, they won't be cheap, but they are getting harder and harder to find.

Yes, I have two quad systems set up in my house. The Dual and Lafayette are in the room I exercise in and they get used 2-3 times a week. I am running 4 Polk Audio tower speakers in there. It sounds pretty good, but the Sansui/Technics/Focal gear in my main listening room is amazingly good.
 

John Powers

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John, I'm currently running the 4MD-20X in my Dual 1229Q, which is hooked up to my Lafayette LR5000 4-channel receiver. For set up, I use the Dual alignment tool and I make sure that the azimuth is correct which is facilitated by using one of those mirror alignment tools. Tracking force is set to 1.75g according to JVCs specifications. I don't recommend trying to adjust the VTA on a cartridge with a Shibata stylus simply because the engineers who designed the cartridge determined what was best for the performance of the CD-4 specs. If the cartridge is installed correctly, the VTA should be right, IMO. An interesting note about the Dual 1229Q: The table is nearly 45 years old (maybe a little more, I bought it used) and after I adjusted tracking force I checked it with my digital tracking force scale and discovered that the tonearm scale was within 0.002g! Man, you gotta love German engineering of that era! For CD-4 adjustments, follow the demodulator manual, if you have it, otherwise The Quadfather has given excellent tips in this thread. One final thing, if you bought the cartridge used, I think it's a good idea to try to get a couple of replacement styli, they won't be cheap, but they are getting harder and harder to find.

Yes, I have two quad systems set up in my house. The Dual and Lafayette are in the room I exercise in and they get used 2-3 times a week. I am running 4 Polk Audio tower speakers in there. It sounds pretty good, but the Sansui/Technics/Focal gear in my main listening room is amazingly good.
So I still need to pop in the CD4 demodulator into the KR9940 BUT thankfully I do have the set up record. I’m going to read the directions and go slow so maybe this weekend 😊
 

quadjoe

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So I still need to pop in the CD4 demodulator into the KR9940 BUT thankfully I do have the set up record. I’m going to read the directions and go slow so maybe this weekend 😊
It's good to take your time. Once you get some practice at it, the process goes a little faster. Fortunately, it isn't something you have to do frequently. However, if you change to a different cartridge you'll have to readjust the demodulator. Also, some demodulator manufacturers recommend doing the set up again when you replace the stylus. I only do that if it's necessary. Oh, and good luck on a successful set-up. You're going to have lots of fun listening to all your Quadradiscs again!
 

Q-Eight

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It's good to take your time. Once you get some practice at it, the process goes a little faster. Fortunately, it isn't something you have to do frequently. However, if you change to a different cartridge you'll have to readjust the demodulator. Also, some demodulator manufacturers recommend doing the set up again when you replace the stylus. I only do that if it's necessary. Oh, and good luck on a successful set-up. You're going to have lots of fun listening to all your Quadradiscs again!
I find with my Technics SH-400, I'm adjusting carrier level on a per-record basis. Not every record has the same carrier level I guess or perhaps some have actually had groove wear or damage to the point that it has cause carrier loss? I also notice that some LP's will lose carrier signal on some inner grooves - not entirely but signal strength will be nowhere near what it was on the outer edge.

That's the one thing I love about the SH-400.... you actually have a visual reference for where your carrier level should be. Sure, I can actually just crank it all the way up and forget about it, but on some LP's that adds some distortion. Not a lot, but it is noticeable.
 

quadjoe

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I find with my Technics SH-400, I'm adjusting carrier level on a per-record basis. Not every record has the same carrier level I guess or perhaps some have actually had groove wear or damage to the point that it has cause carrier loss? I also notice that some LP's will lose carrier signal on some inner grooves - not entirely but signal strength will be nowhere near what it was on the outer edge.

That's the one thing I love about the SH-400.... you actually have a visual reference for where your carrier level should be. Sure, I can actually just crank it all the way up and forget about it, but on some LP's that adds some distortion. Not a lot, but it is noticeable.
I had some of the same issues with my AT-440ML. I think that the stylus shape has issues on the inner grooves on many CD-4 discs, perhaps because of wear. Since my demodulators don't have level meters, I didn't try to adjust on a per record basis. I just didn't listen to the noisier discs as often. The AT VM750SH cartridge has a Shibata stylus, and I've had no issues with tracking the carrier on any disc, with the exceptions of the worn discs that I have that I bought used. Being able to adjust the carrier level on the fly would be nice, just to see if you can pick up more of it from the non-worn areas of the groove. My QRX-9001 doesn't have a carrier adjustment (nor does the Lafayette) as I believe that the later CD-4 demodulators (1974-75 maybe?) made the adjustment automatically.
 

Q-Eight

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My QRX-9001 doesn't have a carrier adjustment (nor does the Lafayette) as I believe that the later CD-4 demodulators (1974-75 maybe?) made the adjustment automatically.
You know it's funny.... of ALL the demodulators I've had: [ Two Panasonic SE-405's, Three Pioneer QD-240's, a Technics SH-400 and a Marantz CD-400B ] of course, the only one out of the bunch that had automatic gain control on the carrier level.... DIDN'T WORK! A buddy loaned it to me for experimentation purposes but the silly thing had some issue and would never go into CD-4 mode. Made a heck of a nice stereo pre-amp though and that's what he uses it for today.

Still, it makes sense to have auto gain control on the carrier level for the same reason Stereo FM uses the same principal. I've just never had the luxury of experiencing it! :ROFLMAO:
 

gvl_guy

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My QRX-9001 doesn't have a carrier adjustment (nor does the Lafayette) as I believe that the later CD-4 demodulators (1974-75 maybe?) made the adjustment automatically.
That's odd. I have the 7001, which I assumed used the same CD-4 demodulator, yet mine has a carrier adjustment level.
 

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quadjoe

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That's odd. I have the 7001, which I assumed used the same CD-4 demodulator, yet mine has a carrier adjustment level.
I had a 6001, which I sold to a friend when I got the 9001. It and the 7001 are the same save for their power ratings and use a different demodulator. The 8001 and 9001 are likewise similar to each other. For reasons I don't know, Sansui decided to use a different demodulator for the two higher priced models. Because the 9001 has Dolby Noise Reduction in the Tape loop, there was no room on the front panel for the CD-4 adjustment pots and there are only separation adjustments on the back of the unit. I do wish they were on the front, as it would make swapping cartridges easier. I liked having them on the front of the 6001.
 
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