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New to Quad! Which CD-4 Cartridge?

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quadjoe

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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:
I think that had CD-4 (and Quadraphonic sound in general) persisted a few years longer the new demodulators would have all had automatic gain control of the carrier. Both of my 4-channel receivers have it and both were made in 1975 which is getting to the end of the quad era. Though, both Sansui and Pioneer produced their flagship models until around 1979, I believe. I know that in 1979 when my JCPenney Quad receiver (a very basic unit with only RM and SQ decoding, probably made by Panasonic) fried itself and I went to buy a new receiver to replace it the only units I could find were the Sansui QRX-9001 and the Pioneer QX-949. Both were priced well above $1,000, so I ended up with a Sansui stereo receiver which I used for over 30 years on a daily basis.
 

gvl_guy

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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.
Do you find that the demodulator in the 9001 is better than the 6001? I've been having CD-4 issues with my 7001 and I'm pretty much ready to pack in bothering with it anymore.

I even bought a JVC separate demodulator (4DD-5) and a JVC cartridge. Still garbage. (The JVC was DOA, even though it was NOS. A repair shop near me replaced some relays and the capacitors and I still can't get it to work properly.)

I'm tempted to look for a 9001 since, other than the CD-4 issues, I love my 7001
 

quadjoe

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Do you find that the demodulator in the 9001 is better than the 6001? I've been having CD-4 issues with my 7001 and I'm pretty much ready to pack in bothering with it anymore.

I even bought a JVC separate demodulator (4DD-5) and a JVC cartridge. Still garbage. (The JVC was DOA, even though it was NOS. A repair shop near me replaced some relays and the capacitors and I still can't get it to work properly.)

I'm tempted to look for a 9001 since, other than the CD-4 issues, I love my 7001
I found that the CD-4 section of the 6001 wasn't quite as good as on the 9001, but I wonder how it would have done with the new cartridge I have (AT VM750SH). I had had a guy recap and restore the 6001, but he was unable to work on the CD-4 section because he had no way to test it, though he did recap it. You could sen your 7001 off to QRXrestore. They do good work (it's expensive!) and I'm sure you'd be happy with the results. I bought my 9001 from them a few years ago. If you go to their web site, you'll read all about what they do. I wish I had used them on the 6001 as my friend is having CD-4 issues and I know that they could make it right.
 

gvl_guy

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I found that the CD-4 section of the 6001 wasn't quite as good as on the 9001, but I wonder how it would have done with the new cartridge I have (AT VM750SH). I had had a guy recap and restore the 6001, but he was unable to work on the CD-4 section because he had no way to test it, though he did recap it. You could sen your 7001 off to QRXrestore. They do good work (it's expensive!) and I'm sure you'd be happy with the results. I bought my 9001 from them a few years ago. If you go to their web site, you'll read all about what they do. I wish I had used them on the 6001 as my friend is having CD-4 issues and I know that they could make it right.
Sounds crazy, but if I had a 9001 with issues I might consider getting it totally restored. But the 7001 isn't my first choice, so....

Yeah, that's the problem with my JVC demodulator. They can't really test it. 😞

I have two CD-4 cartridges; a Shure M24H that I bought new in the late 70s and the NOS JVC MD-20x that I just bought. The recent replacement stylus for the Shure was generic and seems to be doing strange things. As I mentioned before in this string, the vocals in the front channels when using this cartridge seemed to have disappeared. 😕
 

fredblue

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Denon DL 110, & Shure N24-H
are you happy with the results using your DL-110 for CD-4?

while its a great sounding cart generally and good with SQ/QS etc., i've never been able to get it to work properly for CD-4 with any of my demodulators, it often loses the carrier altogether when that doesn't happen on the same discs using the AT440MLb and AT15S.
 

quadjoe

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Sounds crazy, but if I had a 9001 with issues I might consider getting it totally restored. But the 7001 isn't my first choice, so....

Yeah, that's the problem with my JVC demodulator. They can't really test it. 😞

I have two CD-4 cartridges; a Shure M24H that I bought new in the late 70s and the NOS JVC MD-20x that I just bought. The recent replacement stylus for the Shure was generic and seems to be doing strange things. As I mentioned before in this string, the vocals in the front channels when using this cartridge seemed to have disappeared. 😕
The 7001 is actually a pretty good receiver, and has fewer issues than a 9001 that hasn't had it's pass-through solder joints pinned. In order to accommodate the complex circuitry and features Sansui used two sided PCBs with circuits that passed through the boards. Those pass through portions were soldered in the factory, but were prone to failure. The 6001/7001 models don't have those type of printed circuit boards, so are less prone to that kind of failure. True, the CD-4 sections are not the same, but if re-capped and brought back into spec, they are very good.

I have found that many of the replacement styli for vintage cartridges are of much lesser quality than the originals. For example, the original styli for the MD-20x are nude mount Shibata styli, whereas the modern replacements are bonded to the cantilever. My experience is that the ones made by JICO are pretty good and will give you good CD-4 performance, though they don't last as long. (The original stylus for the MD-20x that I have looks like a gem-quality diamond under the microscope, where the replacements are not of that caliber.) I suspect that your Shure replacement stylus is not properly aligned on it's cantilever, so the line-contact area of the hyper-elliptical is not perpendicular to the groove walls, causing mis-tracking of the carrier. That was the case with the replacement stylus for my AT-14Sa cartridge; I couldn't get it to track the carrier correctly, and when I looked in the microscope, I could plainly see that it was not mounted correctly on the cantilever. CD-4 requires high levels of precision in the manufacturing of the stylus, as I'm sure you are aware. (Sorry for stating the obvious!)
 

gvl_guy

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The 7001 is actually a pretty good receiver, and has fewer issues than a 9001 that hasn't had it's pass-through solder joints pinned. In order to accommodate the complex circuitry and features Sansui used two sided PCBs with circuits that passed through the boards. Those pass through portions were soldered in the factory, but were prone to failure. The 6001/7001 models don't have those type of printed circuit boards, so are less prone to that kind of failure. True, the CD-4 sections are not the same, but if re-capped and brought back into spec, they are very good.

I have found that many of the replacement styli for vintage cartridges are of much lesser quality than the originals. For example, the original styli for the MD-20x are nude mount Shibata styli, whereas the modern replacements are bonded to the cantilever. My experience is that the ones made by JICO are pretty good and will give you good CD-4 performance, though they don't last as long. (The original stylus for the MD-20x that I have looks like a gem-quality diamond under the microscope, where the replacements are not of that caliber.) I suspect that your Shure replacement stylus is not properly aligned on it's cantilever, so the line-contact area of the hyper-elliptical is not perpendicular to the groove walls, causing mis-tracking of the carrier. That was the case with the replacement stylus for my AT-14Sa cartridge; I couldn't get it to track the carrier correctly, and when I looked in the microscope, I could plainly see that it was not mounted correctly on the cantilever. CD-4 requires high levels of precision in the manufacturing of the stylus, as I'm sure you are aware. (Sorry for stating the obvious!)
This is very good info. Thank you!

Right after I bought the new-old stock of the JVC, I bought a replacement stylus for it. It was original, too, and came from someone in the Netherlands. I bought it mainly because the stylus tip looked SO small compared to my other cartridges. Plus, I figured it wouldn't go to waste. Always nice to have a replacement available. (It, too, was just as small as the original.) The replacement for the Shure was generic because I couldn't find anything close to an original and needed it right away since I snapped the old one by accident. It was from LP Tunes so I have no idea about the actual manufacturer. Seems to work fine when I use the CD-4 adjustment record. But actual playback of albums is a different story.

Curious what cartridge/stylus you've had luck with. I'm sure there are "new" or at least newer ones that work from CD-4 but probably are not rated for it officially. I mean, who actually cares about that these days other than some of us on this board? :)
 

quadjoe

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This is very good info. Thank you!

Right after I bought the new-old stock of the JVC, I bought a replacement stylus for it. It was original, too, and came from someone in the Netherlands. I bought it mainly because the stylus tip looked SO small compared to my other cartridges. Plus, I figured it wouldn't go to waste. Always nice to have a replacement available. (It, too, was just as small as the original.) The replacement for the Shure was generic because I couldn't find anything close to an original and needed it right away since I snapped the old one by accident. It was from LP Tunes so I have no idea about the actual manufacturer. Seems to work fine when I use the CD-4 adjustment record. But actual playback of albums is a different story.

Curious what cartridge/stylus you've had luck with. I'm sure there are "new" or at least newer ones that work from CD-4 but probably are not rated for it officially. I mean, who actually cares about that these days other than some of us on this board? :)
Here's my list of CD-4 capable cartridges, starting with the oldest: Audio Technica AT-14Sa, Audio Technica AT-15SS, Audio Technica AT-12S, Audio Technica AT 440ML, Grado Prestige Blue, Denon DL-110, Audio Technica VM 750SH. The last four weren't specifically designed for CD-4, but they work with certain caveats, save for the VM 750SH. The Grado has wide enough frequency response, but if you don't have good phono cables with low impedance it's performance is noisy, the same goes for the 440ML, of those two the 440ML is the best. The Denon works well enough until it's elliptical stylus gets about 200 hours of wear on it, and then it can't track the carrier on the inner grooves. That's a lot of listening, to be sure, but you'd have to use it for CD-4 only to extend it's useful life. The hands-down winner across the board, IMO, is the AT 750SH; in fact it's better than any of my vintage AT CD-4 cartridges ever were. I get no loss of the carrier on the inner grooves, and save for worn CD-4 records where the damage has been done, it's not noisy at all. It has a Shibata stylus, which I've found give better performance, and it's a stunningly good stereo cartridge to boot. So good, in fact, that I bought an extra one and a couple of replacement styli, just in case they quit making them. Notice that all of the early CD-4 cartridges that I own are all Audio-Technica. I've always liked their "house sound" and they were considered among the best, if not the best, CD-4 cartridges back in the day. The only one I bought new in the '70s was the 14Sa. I got it in the spring of 1975 when I bought a Pioneer Pl-10 turntable; the turntable cost around $100 and the cartridge was $75. A whopping price for a cartridge to a struggling college student. It's a great cartridge but styli are really hard to come by, though I do have two after-market spares made by Jico in Japan. Pickering made some good CD-4 cartridges, but they are rare as hen's teeth. I'd stick to getting the VM 750SH from Audio-Technica; yes it'll set you back $400, but I think it's a bargain at that price.


Edit: Oops! I forgot to mention the JVC 4MD20X. It's an excellent CD-4 cartridge also. It was made for them to their specs by Audio-Technica; at the time it was made it was considered the best of the CD-4 cartridges. I'm using it in my Dual 1229Q turntable and it's hooked up to my Lafayette LR-5000 receiver (their flagship model, IIRC) its CD-4 demodulator works very well with the JVC cartridge, far better than the AT-440ML ever did.
 
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gvl_guy

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Here's my list of CD-4 capable cartridges, starting with the oldest: Audio Technica AT-14Sa, Audio Technica AT-15SS, Audio Technica AT-12S, Audio Technica AT 440ML, Grado Prestige Blue, Denon DL-110, Audio Technica VM 750SH. The last four weren't specifically designed for CD-4, but they work with certain caveats, save for the VM 750SH. The Grado has wide enough frequency response, but if you don't have good phono cables with low impedance it's performance is noisy, the same goes for the 440ML, of those two the 440ML is the best. The Denon works well enough until it's elliptical stylus gets about 200 hours of wear on it, and then it can't track the carrier on the inner grooves. That's a lot of listening, to be sure, but you'd have to use it for CD-4 only to extend it's useful life. The hands-down winner across the board, IMO, is the AT 750SH; in fact it's better than any of my vintage AT CD-4 cartridges ever were. I get no loss of the carrier on the inner grooves, and save for worn CD-4 records where the damage has been done, it's not noisy at all. It has a Shibata stylus, which I've found give better performance, and it's a stunningly good stereo cartridge to boot. So good, in fact, that I bought an extra one and a couple of replacement styli, just in case they quit making them. Notice that all of the early CD-4 cartridges that I own are all Audio-Technica. I've always liked their "house sound" and they were considered among the best, if not the best, CD-4 cartridges back in the day. The only one I bought new in the '70s was the 14Sa. I got it in the spring of 1975 when I bought a Pioneer Pl-10 turntable; the turntable cost around $100 and the cartridge was $75. A whopping price for a cartridge to a struggling college student. It's a great cartridge but styli are really hard to come by, though I do have two after-market spares made by Jico in Japan. Pickering made some good CD-4 cartridges, but they are rare as hen's teeth. I'd stick to getting the VM 750SH from Audio-Technica; yes it'll set you back $400, but I think it's a bargain at that price.


Edit: Oops! I forgot to mention the JVC 4MD20X. It's an excellent CD-4 cartridge also. It was made for them to their specs by Audio-Technica; at the time it was made it was considered the best of the CD-4 cartridges. I'm using it in my Dual 1229Q turntable and it's hooked up to my Lafayette LR-5000 receiver (their flagship model, IIRC) its CD-4 demodulator works very well with the JVC cartridge, far better than the AT-440ML ever did.
Excellent info! Thank you! Curious if you know of any Audio Technica replacement stylus that will fit the JVC cartridge. I've seen various suggestions, but nice to know someone who actually has it. That JVC stylus is hard to come by.
 

fredblue

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Here's my list of CD-4 capable cartridges, starting with the oldest: Audio Technica AT-14Sa, Audio Technica AT-15SS, Audio Technica AT-12S, Audio Technica AT 440ML, Grado Prestige Blue, Denon DL-110, Audio Technica VM 750SH. The last four weren't specifically designed for CD-4, but they work with certain caveats, save for the VM 750SH. The Grado has wide enough frequency response, but if you don't have good phono cables with low impedance it's performance is noisy, the same goes for the 440ML, of those two the 440ML is the best. The Denon works well enough until it's elliptical stylus gets about 200 hours of wear on it, and then it can't track the carrier on the inner grooves. That's a lot of listening, to be sure, but you'd have to use it for CD-4 only to extend it's useful life. The hands-down winner across the board, IMO, is the AT 750SH; in fact it's better than any of my vintage AT CD-4 cartridges ever were. I get no loss of the carrier on the inner grooves, and save for worn CD-4 records where the damage has been done, it's not noisy at all. It has a Shibata stylus, which I've found give better performance, and it's a stunningly good stereo cartridge to boot. So good, in fact, that I bought an extra one and a couple of replacement styli, just in case they quit making them. Notice that all of the early CD-4 cartridges that I own are all Audio-Technica. I've always liked their "house sound" and they were considered among the best, if not the best, CD-4 cartridges back in the day. The only one I bought new in the '70s was the 14Sa. I got it in the spring of 1975 when I bought a Pioneer Pl-10 turntable; the turntable cost around $100 and the cartridge was $75. A whopping price for a cartridge to a struggling college student. It's a great cartridge but styli are really hard to come by, though I do have two after-market spares made by Jico in Japan. Pickering made some good CD-4 cartridges, but they are rare as hen's teeth. I'd stick to getting the VM 750SH from Audio-Technica; yes it'll set you back $400, but I think it's a bargain at that price.


Edit: Oops! I forgot to mention the JVC 4MD20X. It's an excellent CD-4 cartridge also. It was made for them to their specs by Audio-Technica; at the time it was made it was considered the best of the CD-4 cartridges. I'm using it in my Dual 1229Q turntable and it's hooked up to my Lafayette LR-5000 receiver (their flagship model, IIRC) its CD-4 demodulator works very well with the JVC cartridge, far better than the AT-440ML ever did.
thank you for all the excellent info!
i've had the exact same experience as you in that my DL-110 can't track the carrier towards the end of a side either!

i'll definitely keep an eye out for a 750SH at a good price. tbh i've never been totally happy with the AT440MLb for CD-4, my AT15S has better sound and separation than the 440 on a good disc in great shape.. however the 15S unfortunately copes less well than the 440 with rougher discs.

would you say the 4MD20x is better for CD-4 than the 750SH?
 

quadjoe

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Excellent info! Thank you! Curious if you know of any Audio Technica replacement stylus that will fit the JVC cartridge. I've seen various suggestions, but nice to know someone who actually has it. That JVC stylus is hard to come by.
You can find them here: Stylus for JVC 4MD-20X 4MD20X cartridge The price is about what I've paid in the past. They are getting rare, so you might want to buy two when you find them.
 

quadjoe

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thank you for all the excellent info!
i've had the exact same experience as you in that my DL-110 can't track the carrier towards the end of a side either!

i'll definitely keep an eye out for a 750SH at a good price. tbh i've never been totally happy with the AT440MLb for CD-4, my AT15S has better sound and separation than the 440 on a good disc in great shape.. however the 15S unfortunately copes less well than the 440 with rougher discs.

would you say the 4MD20x is better for CD-4 than the 750SH?
Actually, I wouldn't. The 750SH is at least every bit as good, and I think better. Plus, there is the advantage of readily available replacement styli. My AT440ML is just the ML variant, not the a or b one. From what I recall, a lot of folks weren't too happy with the newer versions for CD-4.
 

fredblue

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Actually, I wouldn't. The 750SH is at least every bit as good, and I think better. Plus, there is the advantage of readily available replacement styli. My AT440ML is just the ML variant, not the a or b one. From what I recall, a lot of folks weren't too happy with the newer versions for CD-4.
many thanks, this is all excellent information 🙂
 

The Quadfather

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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.
I have the AT440MLa. I also have the JVC 4DD5 demodulator. I run the tracking a bit heavy. This is necessary, but it doesn't harm the records. I think it's about 1.75 grams instead of 1.5 . I never have to readjust anything. It's as trouble free as playing stereo records. no sandpaper quad, no problems at the end of the records. After years of not having a decent CD-4 system, and not even believing that such was actually possible, I hit on this combination and I am very pleased with it. Oh, and I have an old school Marantz turntable, direct drive, mounted in a big block of wood.
 

quadjoe

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I have the AT440MLa. I also have the JVC 4DD5 demodulator. I run the tracking a bit heavy. This is necessary, but it doesn't harm the records. I think it's about 1.75 grams instead of 1.5 . I never have to readjust anything. It's as trouble free as playing stereo records. no sandpaper quad, no problems at the end of the records. After years of not having a decent CD-4 system, and not even believing that such was actually possible, I hit on this combination and I am very pleased with it. Oh, and I have an old school Marantz turntable, direct drive, mounted in a big block of wood.
I used 1.75 tracking with mine also which improved things. However, at the time that was my go-to cartridge and my 4-DD5 needed re-capping (and still does, can't find anyone who even wants to look at it, and I have the schematics) so my CD-4 performance suffered because of it. The 440ML works well enough with the Sansui's demodulator that I nearly passed up buying the AT VM750SH. But I'm glad I pulled the trigger.
 

gvl_guy

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Okay, I think I figured this out. I had purchased a generic replacement for the Shure M24H cartridge from LP Tunes for a very reasonable $80. But everything was backwards -- front was rear and rear was front. I know the cartridge was wired correctly. Well, I bit the bullet and brought a NOS Shure for $180 and now it works PERFECTLY. In fact, my demodulator in my Sansui QRX-7001 never sounded better. (Still a little "crispy," but I'll take it.) This cartridge, which I purchased new back in the late 70s news sounds better than the NOS JVC 4MD-20X I also recently bought. I'm a very happy man today! :)

I sent a note to LP Tunes -- I'm going to see if they swap it out for another one. I wont ask for my money back since it's been a month and maybe this was just a bum stylus. If the other is backwards, too, I can use it for stereo and matrix stuff.

I want to thank everyone on this forum for putting up with all my questions and providing some great answers. I'm SO glad I found this place.
 

par4ken

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It seems that often generic replacement styli have the magnetic poles reversed. Phase reversal is the only thing that will make the front and back's reverse position. If you wan't to use the replacement it is simple to reverse the front and back demodulator outputs!
 

gvl_guy

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It seems that often generic replacement styli have the magnetic poles reversed. Phase reversal is the only thing that will make the front and back's reverse position. If you wan't to use the replacement it is simple to reverse the front and back demodulator outputs!
Unfortunately, it's a built in demodulator, but that's a good thought.
 

quadjoe

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Unfortunately, it's a built in demodulator, but that's a good thought.
I think you can also reverse the + and - wires on the cartridge to achieve the same effect. I don't know that for sure, as I've never experienced it.

I have found that replacement styli from aftermarket manufacturers can vary wildly in quality. Here in the quad world we have to deal with that a fair amount when it comes to CD-4. Interestingly, that was true even in the '70s. I once purchased a Walco branded replacement for my AT-14Sa and had very disappointing CD-4 results; fortunately the store let me exchange it for an authentic AT stylus.
 
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