Quadraphonic Setup - Ideas?

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geordie1990

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Oct 3, 2021
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Hello everyone, my first post here.

I have to say its enjoyable reading through your discussions about quad setups. Very informative.

So I'm looking to create a 'budget audiophile' quad setup and I'm hoping to get some ideas and opinions. My setup is as follows..
Amps - JVC 4VR-5436X (CD-4), Sansui AU-505 (Stereo)
TT - Technics SL-1210 mk2 (Technics EPC-270C Cart w. conical stylus)
Speakers - Edifier P17 (Passive speakers for quad setup).

So I guess the questions I have are..
a. Is there Technics 270C CD-4 compatible? I have read on other forums it is. Does it do a recent job? Will it require a shibata stylus?
b. The Edifier P17 speakers. Considering I got them new half price for $49 AUD, extremely good value. But is there anything comparable around the $200 and under price range?
c. I have a lot of SACD's that are 5.1, how can play them on my 4.0 system without loosing the centre speaker? My plan was to simply play the SACD's via PC and reallocate the centre speaker to FL and FR. Alternatively, I have been searching for a SACD-R compatible DVD player, but that pursuit seems more expensive and problematic than i'm wanting.
d. Are Jico styluses really that good? I believe my current one is nearly done and really doesn't flatter me. It actually sounds worse than other inputs. I'm leaning towards the Jico elliptical as its best value, but the SAS seems to get rave reviews and apparently does less damage to records at higher frequencies? Opinions?
e. Does Jico make a shibata stylus for the EPC-270C that I can use for both my stereo and quad records?
f. Are there any other tips for quad noobs that I should consider?

Take care

Geordie
 

jimfisheye

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First decide what you're interested in here.
Are you interested in hearing surround sound mixes in their fullest quality? Or are you more interested in experiencing older encoded formats - both the good and the bad. Sometimes the music ended up very altered with those old analog encoded formats! It can be a very expensive hobby to experience the old technology and it often strays pretty far away from what the audio was supposed to sound like originally.

If you're on a budget and interested in hearing the mixes out there (from quad to 5.1 and beyond and regardless of container format):
Computer -> audio interface (with at least 6 - 8 output channels) -> amps/speakers.

Sounds like you already have amps/speakers.

FYI, an AV receiver is an HDMI connecting audio interface, DAC channels, analog preamp, and power amp channels all in one box. Watch out for restricted HDMI ports on both low end computers and some AVRs. It's a 'copy protection gone wild' kind of thing.
This always works:
Computer -> USB audio interface -> amps/speakers of your choice

With an AVR with full HDMI inputs this can be modern and slick:
Computer -> thunderbolt to HDMI cable -> AVR


If you ARE serious about taking a deep dive into the old analog tech, there are certainly analog recordings out there that have never been digitized and the masters have been lost. Actual proper and well done AD transfers of that stuff from the old tech lovingly coaxed into calibration and proper function are always very welcome! This usually gets next level expensive.
 

ummagumma

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I have a Jico SAS stylus for my Empire 4000Diii cart. It sounds great in stereo. I also used it on a 1200mkii I had for a while, it was excellent.

AFAIK Jico does not make a Shibata stylus. Unfortunately I do not have a CD4 decoder so can't test the SAS capability there.

That is a nice looking receiver you have!!


Does it decode QS/SQ formats as well as CD4?
 

geordie1990

New member
Joined
Oct 3, 2021
Messages
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Location
Sydney
First decide what you're interested in here.
Are you interested in hearing surround sound mixes in their fullest quality? Or are you more interested in experiencing older encoded formats - both the good and the bad. Sometimes the music ended up very altered with those old analog encoded formats! It can be a very expensive hobby to experience the old technology and it often strays pretty far away from what the audio was supposed to sound like originally.


If you ARE serious about taking a deep dive into the old analog tech, there are certainly analog recordings out there that have never been digitized and the masters have been lost. Actual proper and well done AD transfers of that stuff from the old tech lovingly coaxed into calibration and proper function are always very welcome! This usually gets next level expensive.

To be honest, I've been entrenched in analogue for some time now. It's only recently once I was gifted the JVC and some quad records, that I wanted to explore that avenue further.

Acknowledge the cost part, which is primarily why I posted here to get more insight. However, it seems I'm only a stylus and potentially a cartridge away from supporting CD-4 records at least.
 

geordie1990

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I have a Jico SAS stylus for my Empire 4000Diii cart. It sounds great in stereo. I also used it on a 1200mkii I had for a while, it was excellent.

AFAIK Jico does not make a Shibata stylus. Unfortunately I do not have a CD4 decoder so can't test the SAS capability there.

That is a nice looking receiver you have!!


Does it decode QS/SQ formats as well as CD4?

Thanks for the reply. The SAS gets so many rave reviews and sounds great from the small selections of youtube videos that I have seen. Unfortunately, it's more than double what be hoping to pay for a stylus.

Some research has lead me to Thakker stylus'. However, the Swiss made ellipticals seem to be frowned upon by some. Any opinions?

Does it decode QS/SQ formats as well as CD4? <<I don't think so. But I'm not 100% certain. Which is another frustrating aspect of quad.

But it is a nice looking amp IMO. I may offend people here but it does have a warm midrange comparable to my Sansui. The equaliser on the front is excellent for slight sonic tweaking. Negates the need for any external mixer.
 

ummagumma

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I suspect any kind of shibata stylus is going to be expensive. They were top of the line, and are rare now.

Good luck!

At some point I'd like to get a CD4 decoder, as I have a few CD4 records & all the other quad gear.

I use a Surroundmaster for matrix quad decoding, into a pair of stereo amps. I went that route rather than buying an expensive old quad receiver + refurbishing = $$.
 

geordie1990

New member
Joined
Oct 3, 2021
Messages
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Location
Sydney
I suspect any kind of shibata stylus is going to be expensive. They were top of the line, and are rare now.

Good luck!

At some point I'd like to get a CD4 decoder, as I have a few CD4 records & all the other quad gear.

I use a Surroundmaster for matrix quad decoding, into a pair of stereo amps. I went that route rather than buying an expensive old quad receiver + refurbishing = $$.
Thanks. Yes, I'm having some serious doubts whether its worth investing too much in a shabata unless I can find some NOS or as new for relatively cheap. I'll keep an eye out I think.

I like the idea of a Surroundmaster. Ive considered using some mixers to down-sample but again, it probably not worth the extra money and audio processing involved.

I just keep your eyes peeled for a quad receiver. Being in Canada, I'm sure there plenty of options.
 

MidiMagic

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There are a lot of things to know:

Original quadraphonic period, equipment, and sources.

- Quad systems require 4 amp channels and 4 speakers.
- There were essentially 6 different matrix systems: DQ, EV, QS, SQ, UMX, H.
- The first 4 matrix systems were generally available in the US. The last two are rare.
- Matrix systems would work with records, tape, and FM stereo.
- Matrix systems also require the correct decoder for the matrix used.
- There were two discrete phono records: CD-4 and UD4.
- Discrete phono also needs new pickup cartridge, stylus, cables, and demodulator.
- There were two discrete tape systems: Q4 and Q8.
- Discrete tape also requires special discrete tape machines.
- No discrete FM systems were approved or manufactured.

Transitional period equipment and sources:

- Dolby Surround was a new matrix system used for films. It is very close to QS.
- Dolby Pro Logic I and II are improvements to Dolby Surround.
- Two other matrix systems were added: UHJ Ambisonics, and Circlesurround.
- Matrix recordings are also available on VHS Stereo, CD, and DVD.


The current mishmash of equipment and sources:

- Many different surround types: 5.1, 7.1, 5.2, 7.2,
- New 3D surround: 5.1.2, 5.1.4, 5.2.2., 5.2.4, 7.1.2, 7.1.4, 7.2.2., 7.2.4,
- Many different kinds of discrete encoding: Dolby Digital, DTS, Auro, Atmos.
- Many different recording media: DVD, BluRay, SACD, DVD-A, computer files.
- Different connection methods: RCA cables, HDMI, and USB.
- New matrix recordings are being released, most on QS or Dolby Stereo.
- Surround master decoder for QS and (some) SQ.

I liked it most when Dolby surround was looking like it was going to be a single standard.
 
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jimfisheye

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There's a lot of happiness and light nowadays if you're interested in getting good seats for the actual mixes out there. This is a golden age of audio right now IMHO. A multichannel flac file can contain a surround mix that is the exact discrete channels that come off the mastering desk with zero loss or compromise.

Don't get me wrong on the old encoded formats. I have respect for the ingenuity behind storing multichannel mixes in two channel containers. There wasn't much of a choice in consumer formats at the time. I have a lot of respect for the few people who were stubborn enough to calibrate this stuff and coax something very close to the original source out of it!

Just don't get too caught up in the encoded madness that you miss out on hearing some actual lossless discrete surround mixes! Or... do that if that's more interesting! I'm not telling anyone what to do. I'll tell you how to get your ears around some of the mixes out there from the "best seats" as it were though.

The 3D formats add more channels. Height and object. If you have fewer available channels, they scale down to 7.1.4 or further to 7.1 or further to 5.1. Just like you fold 5.1 down to stereo if you don't have the speakers. The twist right now is they refuse to release the decoder codecs. They're selling new AV receivers with the codecs hidden in the firmware to gouge at people interested in expanding to height/object channels.

And ya know, jumping into any and all proprietary formats - like Atmos forcing you to re-purchase equipment to get at software or even the old encoded surround formats that use analog decoder tech - is all good. My point is there's a ground floor now where you can simply hear the surround mixes 1:1 how they were intended to sound with a matter of fact sound system. You can have very high end sound without breaking the bank. For every lost surround recording you uncover in an old format with the analog gear, you'll listen to another 10 that are so altered it's more of a science experiment. You should want to be doing that intentionally if you go down that path.

And get a sense for when a format with wild encoding is really more of a copy protection scheme designed to prevent listening to something. That behavior is the ugly downside in modern times.
 

MidiMagic

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This circuit can be used to either add a front center channel to a quadraphonic source or to include center channel content into a 4-speaker system with no center channel speaker.

uq-cc5.png


To create a center channel signal from a quadraphonic source, connect the quadraphonic front decode outputs to the jacks on the right and connect the three front channel jacks on the left to the three front channel amp inputs.

To include a center channel signal into quadraphonic speakers, connect the surround front decoded source to the jacks on the left and connect the two jacks on the right to the quadraphonic front channel amp inputs.
 

ummagumma

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Jimfisheye makes a lot of good points.

If your JVC has individual inputs, you could get a cheap audio interface & use foobar/kodi etc to feed it discrete 4ch sound from a PC.

Re: SACD
Funny: I just found an old Sony bluray + SACD player for $20. But I need a remote, and it only has HDMI out. ( Actually it also has RGB, and stereo RCA's, but to get multichannel audio to my amps, I need to split HDMI into discrete analog somehow ).

I was hoping to use it as a media server as it has 2x usb ports, but apparently they don't support FLAC. Doh!
 
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LuvMyQuad

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If the OP is getting into this for the ritual and coolness factor or some other intangible, the legacy stuff is for you. If you want better surround and better sonics, go the digital route. Several here keep a combined system.
 

jupp369

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Berlin
...my first post here.
Hi geordie1990
why don't you simply try Quadradisc? Connect the Technics to the 5436, put a cheap CD-4 record on and see if the radar light goes on.
Shibata is not needed, but protects better the records. (I used an old VM35F eliptical, made for up to 50kHz.)
As for me, I've just bought a Nagaoka JT322 CD-4 system for 160,- and it works good, but instead a real horizontal alignment it has to be 2mm lower before it produces a clean CD-4 sound.
(The 5436 can simply be modified for recording and play back the Quadradisc signal from DVD, good choice)
 
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