Ortofon - a miserable failure for CD-4

QuadraphonicQuad

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ar surround

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I hate CD-4. Format never did anything good for me! Nothing but a money drain with no payoff!
Sorry to hear this, AOQ. I swear on a stack of QQ bananas that I have never had any problems with CD-4, either with the hardware or the software.

I am either:
A) Lying
B) Delusional

CD4...an invention of the devil. You can do an exorcism by smashing the stuff with a 3 pound drilling hammer. Just be sure to wear eye protection.
 

par4ken

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I'm sorry some of you guys have such problems with CD-4. As I've stated many times, playing CD-4 records, for me, is really no different from playing regular two channel records.

I agree with gvl-guy in that I believe a lot of problems stem from trying to use equipment not originally designed for CD-4. Getting the carrier signals to the demodulator unattenuated is probably THE most important aspect of CD-4 and it sounds like it's not happening for you. The demodulators work if they get the signals. My SE-405 and SH-400 work flawlessly with the turntable and cartridges I have (see the thread about "The latest discrete ...added..." I do agree that trusting a manufacturer's word isn't necessarily the best approach. I have always regarded a claim that a cartridge with an elliptical stylus working for CD-4 to be dubious and I have never gotten any of mine to work, even the very high compliance Empire 2000Z which almost works- almost. Almost doesn't cut it. Of course, the tracing radius is what is really important and if as small as, say, a Shibata, it should work but...

Are these MC cartridges you're using low compliance. Most of them are and that is not good to trace the carrier impressions in the vinyl. And then there is the extra electronics the signal is going through, adding complexity and additional chance for the carrier signals to be lost or attenuated. Linda says she has success with her MC setup for CD-4 and I don't doubt her (I forgot what she's using) but generally, these were not included in the original CD-4 equipment specifically designed for CD-4.

When I first got back into CD-4, some 18 years ago, I admit I had the usual sandpaper in the inner grooves and that thin sound like it was ready to break into distortion but that was all tracking and tracing and adjusting VTF/SRA and anti;skate and it has been great ever since. There was/is nothing wrong with the demodulators.

I acknowledge CD-4 discs are generally noisier than regular two channel discs but that's a trade off for having the wonderful experience of discrete quad from a disc. As far as a sealed disc being noisy, after having been around for 40-some years and maybe moved around a lot and sliding around in there against the inner sleeve, well, there's just no telling if that disc came out of the press that way.

Are we absolutely sure Atlantic and Asylum used recycled vinyl in their CD-4 records or is that a myth passed down through the years?

I will have a drink, though. Beefeaters with a splash.

Doug
I had my best success with my Sony MC cartridge. It didn't matter what step up device I used either. As for demodulators the Marantz CD-400B with it's automatic carrier level worked best for me.
 

jaybird100

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I used an Ortofon MC-10 cartridge, with the appropriate matching step-up transformer, into a JVC 4DD-5 demodulator, and it worked pretty well. It shouldn't have, but it did a decent job of delivering the goods, reasonably distortion-free. I also used a Denon DL-103S cartridge, also with fine results. This one had a Shibata stylus. The only moving magnet cartridge I used, that did as well as the moving coils, was the Shure M24H.
 

THX1136

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Bummer, Sir. Spending time & $$ to no constructive end can make you crazy. CD-4 & Q8's are certainly the most finicky.

Now seeing you were using an MC cartridge, that is approach I would never had tried. At the risk of stating the obvious an MC cart must have a step up device such as a transformer or pre-amp to get it to standard RIAA levels for the next step in the signal chain, such as the CD-4 decoder. I would not expect either of these step up devices would have the bandwidth for CD-4.

FWIW, I have a AT LP-120 TT with a AT 440 MLA cart. Standard issue, no special TT cables. I have no problems at all demodulating CD-4 on a Marantz 400 B.

Much has been said recently about CD-4 carts & tables elsewhere started by Edison Baggins. Might scope those out.

Good luck!
What is the finicky thing with a Q8, other than the issues of playing something at 3 3/4 ips (limited freq. response, wow & flutter)?
 

par4ken

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What is the finicky thing with a Q8, other than the issues of playing something at 3 3/4 ips (limited freq. response, wow & flutter)?
Tapes being eaten. Broken splices. Rotted sticky foam pads.

The best Q8's were the gold Canadian United Artists tapes. I think that I only had one that screwed up but I was able to fix it. The sound of the Donald Byrd Q8's was not far off that of the SACD!
 

THX1136

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Tapes being eaten. Broken splices. Rotted sticky foam pads.

The best Q8's were the gold Canadian United Artists tapes. I think that I only had one that screwed up but I was able to fix it. The sound of the Donald Byrd Q8's was not far off that of the SACD!
Par4ken: Thanks for your response! I found the Audiopak carts to be very good. The foam in them (talking early to mid 70s) holds up well. The splices don't actually break - the adhesive on the sensing foil dries out. When the tape comes around, it separates resulting in 'eaten' tapes at worst or just a tape that stops running at best. The Lear carts were the best as they used the felt padded spring setup avoiding the foam issue altogether.
 

Quad D

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I'm at the point where I can't sell off unneeded equipment just to prevent myself from rebuying it.

Over 10 years ago, I sold off 3 Panasonic demodulators (one worked, 2 parts units). I had thoroughly tested them out and determined them to be inferior to the marantz cd400, and realized I would never need them again.

Over the years doubt crept in - sure would be nice if I could just pull it out to turn it on and confirm what I recall. Maybe I didn't tweak it right? Maybe if I tried it with this other cartridge? What if....

Over the years this has built to owning now my 4th of these infernal boxes.

It is still inferior to the marantz cd400.

And now, knowing this for sure, without a doubt, I find myself thinking - should I sell it?

HELL NO!

If I sell it, I'll buy another one in 10 years.

I trust no one, not even myself.

It's more expensive to keep rebuying the same mistakes than it is to just hold onto the mistakes as an infinite reminder of what a mistake it is.


I suppose there's no help for me.....


Although at this point, I'm certain I'm done with the Ortofon. For good. Well.....the MC20 anyways. I'll probably hold onto the MCA-76. After all, I haven't tested every vintage Ortofon cartridge on it. I suppose it's possible 10 years from now I'll want to torture myself some more.


Maybe by then my hearing will have suffered enough that it will all sound good to me.

Time for another drink.
Out of curiosity I will try the Ortofon Blue I have (came with a turntable, don't use it), to see will it do CD-4. I found a surprising number of cartridges able to play CD-4, let's see if we can save some Ortofon honor.😊.
 

Doug G.

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Yes, the spring fingers with felt pads on them were better but the adhesive dried out on them, too, and the felt would fall off, leaving the tape to be scraped along on the bare fingers, if you didn't notice.

The RCA test tapes we used at Telex always had the spring/felt arrangement, however. They also had superior capstan rollers with a softer gray rubber instead of the harder black rubber and certainly NOT the hard plastic rollers of a lot of commercial tapes.

Doug
 

Quad D

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I've had it up to here with the myths. Supposedly Ortofon MC cartridges are capable of CD-4 playback. After years and multiple attempts at trying to achieve this, I've decided I'm done playing the game of insanity of trying to do the same things over and over again and expect some miraculous magical different results.

I declare right here that I am 100 percent confident, without any doubt in my mind, that nothing Ortofon has ever made has the capabilities of playing back CD-4 properly, and anyone who says otherwise likely needs their ears checked.

I know files float around that claim to use some mythical Ortofon setup - does anyone know where they really came from? Has anyone seen the equipment do this? File labels are just that - file labels. Who knows what the hell are on those files.

I've decided I'm done with Ortofon as a company for life after dealing with what feels like years of abuse! I've had it!!!

Research begins NOW on suitable replacements, and I'll be selling it all off. I'm done with them, and their years of false claims that littered the webs with lies, costing me years of countless money and hours to find no truth in!

Sick and tired of advertisers cluttering the world with lies that we have to sort through to find any truth.



TLDR: I spent hours yet again swapping a cartridge, playing with tiny screws, protractors, and tiny tools, and even had to resolder a fucking wire that won't play nice, to determine that yes - the $200 fucking dollar Panasonic demodulator performs equally shitty as every-fucking-thing-else!!!!!!!!!!!


I hate CD-4. Format never did anything good for me! Nothing but a money drain with no payoff!
A cheap way to get the CD-4 working is an AT VM540ML, on a good tonearm it tracks even the most worn out records without too many sandpaper effects. At least on my decoder (Sansui QRX-5001). It even sounds somewhat like a MC cartridge, so if it is MC's you like this is the closest inexpensive MM you can get.
 

Quad D

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Well, I tried Ortofon Blue on CD-4, and it does work, can be used although it would not be my first choice (elliptical stylus). Pretty good separation, solid tracking and very strong output level through the decoder. Tested on Sansui SR-4050c turntable and Sansui QRX-6001 receiver.
 

gene_stl

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I hope everyone who goes to all the trouble to collect the ancient formats, and tease the correct performance out of 40 and 50 year old hardware to play them, is making sure to make discreet multichannel rips and needle drops for posterity. and send them to me please!!! :LOL: :LOL: :rolleyes:
 
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fredblue

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Well, I tried Ortofon Blue on CD-4, and it does work, can be used although it would not be my first choice (elliptical stylus). Pretty good separation, solid tracking and very strong output level through the decoder. Tested on Sansui SR-4050c turntable and Sansui QRX-6001 receiver.
what kind of separation and sound quality are you getting out of that combination?
i've tried several elliptical styli and frankly they were all terrible for CD-4 :)
 

fredblue

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A cheap way to get the CD-4 working is an AT VM540ML, on a good tonearm it tracks even the most worn out records without too many sandpaper effects. At least on my decoder (Sansui QRX-5001). It even sounds somewhat like a MC cartridge, so if it is MC's you like this is the closest inexpensive MM you can get.
i've used one of the VM540ML's predecessors, the AT440MLb, for CD-4 for years and while its not bad at all and perfectly serviceable it isn't a match for a proper vintage AT CD-4 cart and Shibata stylus. fwiw i use an old AT15Sa for CD-4 now and prefer it to the 440, it is less forgiving of discs in rougher shape than the 440MLb but on a good disc its a marvel and outperforms it imho.
 

fredblue

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I've had it up to here with the myths. Supposedly Ortofon MC cartridges are capable of CD-4 playback. After years and multiple attempts at trying to achieve this, I've decided I'm done playing the game of insanity of trying to do the same things over and over again and expect some miraculous magical different results.

I declare right here that I am 100 percent confident, without any doubt in my mind, that nothing Ortofon has ever made has the capabilities of playing back CD-4 properly, and anyone who says otherwise likely needs their ears checked.

I know files float around that claim to use some mythical Ortofon setup - does anyone know where they really came from? Has anyone seen the equipment do this? File labels are just that - file labels. Who knows what the hell are on those files.

I've decided I'm done with Ortofon as a company for life after dealing with what feels like years of abuse! I've had it!!!

Research begins NOW on suitable replacements, and I'll be selling it all off. I'm done with them, and their years of false claims that littered the webs with lies, costing me years of countless money and hours to find no truth in!

Sick and tired of advertisers cluttering the world with lies that we have to sort through to find any truth.



TLDR: I spent hours yet again swapping a cartridge, playing with tiny screws, protractors, and tiny tools, and even had to resolder a fucking wire that won't play nice, to determine that yes - the $200 fucking dollar Panasonic demodulator performs equally shitty as every-fucking-thing-else!!!!!!!!!!!


I hate CD-4. Format never did anything good for me! Nothing but a money drain with no payoff!

honestly i think an old MM cart designed for CD-4, with a proper Shibata stylus designed for CD-4 and a properly working and properly setup demodulator and a turntable all set correctly as well are the ticket, you can get results so close to the discrete tape its not worth bothering with all that MC kershizzle
😁


what i will add is, the Japanese discs you did a lot of great work on are generally way better pressings than most of the domestic CD-4 discs i've picked up and sometimes with CD-4 you're flogging a dead horse, a certain disc will just never sound that good because it was a duffer the day it left the factory.
 

Quad D

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what kind of separation and sound quality are you getting out of that combination?
i've tried several elliptical styli and frankly they were all terrible for CD-4 :)
I got surprisingly good results, on test record rear channels identification was clear and distinct from front. So far, I am finding less problems than expected on CD-4, I got Grace F-9 and several Grado vintage ellipticals (Special Grado stylus) that work, even V15 III works in my setup, not best separation but no distortion also. Blue sounded OK on CD-4, my issue with this Ortofon is more the basic Blue sound is not my taste, not the inability to play CD-4 well.
 

Quad D

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i've used one of the VM540ML's predecessors, the AT440MLb, for CD-4 for years and while its not bad at all and perfectly serviceable it isn't a match for a proper vintage AT CD-4 cart and Shibata stylus. fwiw i use an old AT15Sa for CD-4 now and prefer it to the 440, it is less forgiving of discs in rougher shape than the 440MLb but on a good disc its a marvel and outperforms it imho.
I have one torture CD-4 record, totally worn out Doobie Brothers Captain and Me (ebay VG condition...:)), and AT VM540 just sails through it like it is a normal record. That is where it earned my respect. I never tried vintage AT's from the CD-4 era, so I can't say how they compare.
I don't use AT as my primary cart. though, I prefer the sound of other cartridges I have.
 
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