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New to Quad! Which CD-4 Cartridge?

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QuadraReel

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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.
Found this thread after doing a search on "CD-4", mostly I am a tape user but came across a JVC de-mod unit and investigating what a CD-4 vinyl setup would entail and the cost. What kind of results could one expect from a Oracle TT/ Blue Point MC cart in conjunction with the JVC 4DD -- will that pick-up the carrier or is it necessary to plunk down the cash for one the above mentioned carts?

Also, while the JVC looks newish, its a Condition Unknown TS find and I dont even know if it works, (the pilot lamp is out, too) if I purchase one of these new carts I might still not get CD-4 Joy.
 

Circular Vibes

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I don't know if your cartridge will work as it is moving coil going into a moving magnet input. I also don't know the stylus profile. You need Shibata or better. The pilot light won't come on until it hears a CD4 carrier by playing a CD4 disc.
 

QuadraReel

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I don't know if your cartridge will work as it is moving coil going into a moving magnet input. I also don't know the stylus profile. You need Shibata or better. The pilot light won't come on until it hears a CD4 carrier by playing a CD4 disc.
So that's not a "Power On" lamp on this 4DD de-mod?

Thanks, Good points, the 4 Channel 4VN-770 doesn't have a MC input, oh jezz, my duh moment for the day : P

SOooo...Looks like springing for a Shibata equipped-cart is a major hurdle I gotta clear to reach the CD-4 finish line.

Or just stick with my tapes which I am comfortable with but lacking in the amount of titles found on CD-4 vinyl.
 

Circular Vibes

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There should be 2 lights. I usually forget the power light as most complaints cwnter on the CD4 radar. Both are small grain of wheat incandescent bulbs and can fail from age and shock. Ever tap a light bulb and it goes out or comes back on? I'd try it before worrying. If your MC cart is high output you may get some life.
 

Larrykiller

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Always looking & reading here but just dumb old guy Question to all would Audio Technica AT12SA cartridge & stylus be ok for Marantz 6200 turntable & Marantz 4300 receiver SQ1 decoder or Sansui QRX6500 ,or Sansui 7001 needs recapping ? Thanks for any answers ......Happy Fourth All
 

quadjoe

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Found this thread after doing a search on "CD-4", mostly I am a tape user but came across a JVC de-mod unit and investigating what a CD-4 vinyl setup would entail and the cost. What kind of results could one expect from a Oracle TT/ Blue Point MC cart in conjunction with the JVC 4DD -- will that pick-up the carrier or is it necessary to plunk down the cash for one the above mentioned carts?

Also, while the JVC looks newish, its a Condition Unknown TS find and I dont even know if it works, (the pilot lamp is out, too) if I purchase one of these new carts I might still not get CD-4 Joy.

So that's not a "Power On" lamp on this 4DD de-mod?

Thanks, Good points, the 4 Channel 4VN-770 doesn't have a MC input, oh jezz, my duh moment for the day : P

SOooo...Looks like springing for a Shibata equipped-cart is a major hurdle I gotta clear to reach the CD-4 finish line.

Or just stick with my tapes which I am comfortable with but lacking in the amount of titles found on CD-4 vinyl.
Shibata or Line Contact styli will work for CD-4, just be sure your phono cables are low-capacitance and as short as possible to avoid attenuating the carrier. I had some good results with the Denon DL-110 MC on CD-4, however, once the elliptical stylus got some wear on it, it couldn't track the carrier signal. I also had a Grado Prestige cartridge that would track the carrier with it's elliptical stylus, but performance was noisy.
 

quadjoe

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Always looking & reading here but just dumb old guy Question to all would Audio Technica AT12SA cartridge & stylus be ok for Marantz 6200 turntable & Marantz 4300 receiver SQ1 decoder or Sansui QRX6500 ,or Sansui 7001 needs recapping ? Thanks for any answers ......Happy Fourth All
It should be fine for any of those receivers, though you don't need a Shibata stylus for any of the matrix quad formats (SQ, QS, Dynaquad..etc.) IIRC, the Marantz doesn't have a built-in CD-4 demodulator, so you'd need an outboard unit (I'm not sure if they had a slot for adding an internal CD-4 unit like they provided for the SQ1). By the way, the 6200 turntable was built in the '70s and is indeed designed to be CD-4 compliant.
 

Larrykiller

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Thank You! Understand a little bit better now ,I should use Marantz for all but CD-4 Use the Sansui QRX 7001 as it has built-in CD-4 demodulator just need to get it recapped & another turntable for it.
 

Doug G.

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Congrats on pursuing CD-4. I have several different cartridges from "THE" era and I have gotten all of them to work, even the so-called lowly Stanton 780 with their first quad styli. My demodulators are a Panasonic SE-405 and Technics SH-400.

However, I almost always use my AT440MLa these days when I use a magnetic cartridge and I agree with the Quadfather and Q-Eight. It is a great CD-4 cartridge even if not specifically sold as such. Right now, I am using my Panasonic EPC-450C II strain gauge cartridge through my SH-400 demodulator and it's terrific.

Yes, the neat thing about the SH-400, for one, is you can easily set the carrier level just by turning the control (all controls are right there on the front) until the meter needle is in the "thick line" area on the scale. It takes about 5 seconds. I have found readjusting the carrier level is a pretty infrequent thing, however. And, with other demodulators, setting the adjustment somewhere between half and three quarters works fine.

You said you have a JVC 4MD 20X and it should be excellent, too.

Having the correct equipment, including low capacitance cables from the turntable to the demodulator, in good shape, the most critical aspect is to get the tracking perfect. When you accomplish that, playing CD-4 records isn't any different from playing regular two-channel stereo records and the fidelity is the same.

My quad setup was in limbo for four years as I moved and when I recently reinstalled it all, I was wondering how much work it was going to be to get it perfect again. All I did was reconnect it all and its just as good as when I dismantled it. Those old demodulators just keep working.

Doug
 

quadjoe

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Congrats on pursuing CD-4. I have several different cartridges from "THE" era and I have gotten all of them to work, even the so-called lowly Stanton 780 with their first quad styli. My demodulators are a Panasonic SE-405 and Technics SH-400.

However, I almost always use my AT440MLa these days when I use a magnetic cartridge and I agree with the Quadfather and Q-Eight. It is a great CD-4 cartridge even if not specifically sold as such. Right now, I am using my Panasonic EPC-450C II strain gauge cartridge through my SH-400 demodulator and it's terrific.

Yes, the neat thing about the SH-400, for one, is you can easily set the carrier level just by turning the control (all controls are right there on the front) until the meter needle is in the "thick line" area on the scale. It takes about 5 seconds. I have found readjusting the carrier level is a pretty infrequent thing, however. And, with other demodulators, setting the adjustment somewhere between half and three quarters works fine.

You said you have a JVC 4MD 20X and it should be excellent, too.

Having the correct equipment, including low capacitance cables from the turntable to the demodulator, in good shape, the most critical aspect is to get the tracking perfect. When you accomplish that, playing CD-4 records isn't any different from playing regular two-channel stereo records and the fidelity is the same.

My quad setup was in limbo for four years as I moved and when I recently reinstalled it all, I was wondering how much work it was going to be to get it perfect again. All I did was reconnect it all and its just as good as when I dismantled it. Those old demodulators just keep working.

Doug
I am often amazed by how well all the old quad gear seems to be holding up. It is a testament to the quality of the build and the design of the units. That said, what seems to be holding up best are the higher-end pieces of equipment. Most of the cheap stuff (brands like Lloyds, or Soundesign for example) doesn't seem to have made it through the years, although the Panasonic and Sony stuff is still around and much is in working condition.

I agree that once you get your CD-4 rig set up correctly (and it isn't hard, you just have to make sure you've done it right) you don't need to keep adjusting the carrier levels or separation controls. If you're constantly having to do that, something isn't right elsewhere, IMO. I'm envious that you have a Panasonic Strain Gauge cartridge. I had one for a while and a Panasonic receiver that could use it and it was great. Sadly, it needed a new stylus after a while, and I could find no replacements.
 

Circular Vibes

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For future reference, Gary Stork at thevoiceofmusic.com carries the EPC46STQD at a reasonable price and I have had no issues. Jico makes one at 3 times the cost and may be worth it but not yet in my budget to try it..
 

Doug G.

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I lucked out on my EPC-450C II. There was an auction on eBay several years ago and the guy had a picture of the group of cartridges he was selling. There were about 5 Tetrad types but I saw one that didn't fit in (the picture wasn't too great) and the closer I looked, the more I realized it was a Panasonic quad cartridge.

The whole bunch cost me 25 bucks.

The stylus wasn't good enough for quad (still played two channel records OK) so I started looking for a replacement. Another guy had an auction for a red stylus (the one for the EPC-450 II is clear) meant for the EPC-451C buy it now. 25 bucks and it also was mine.

I have been using that combination with great results.

Doug
 

gvl_guy

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I lucked out on my EPC-450C II. There was an auction on eBay several years ago and the guy had a picture of the group of cartridges he was selling. There were about 5 Tetrad types but I saw one that didn't fit in (the picture wasn't too great) and the closer I looked, the more I realized it was a Panasonic quad cartridge.

The whole bunch cost me 25 bucks.

The stylus wasn't good enough for quad (still played two channel records OK) so I started looking for a replacement. Another guy had an auction for a red stylus (the one for the EPC-450 II is clear) meant for the EPC-451C buy it now. 25 bucks and it also was mine.

I have been using that combination with great results.

Doug
Best quad setup I had for CD-4 records was a Panasonic turntable with a built-in demodulator and a Strain Gauge cartridge. Never ever any issues. No adjustments. The little red light always came on and it sounded great
 
Last edited:

gvl_guy

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Just as a follow-up to my issue with the LP Tunes stylus replacement for my Shure M24H quad cartridge, they took it back after I told them that the polarity was somehow reversed and, although stereo played fine, the CD-4 playback was messed up. They sent a new one and......
....it's doing the same thing. ☹
So, I'm keeping it to use to play back stereo and matrix albums. I'll have to change it out to a NOS Shure stylus I purchased in the meantime that works flawlessly.
Otherwise, it's a very nice cartridge and does a great job with my demodulator.
I bought it new back in the late 70s, so I know it's been treated well
 

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