Quad

Cool Dude Ted

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In buying the amp from Rob, there seemed to be 2 main choices; a full service and rear panel upgrade or a high performance upgrade (named SUFI) and rear panel.
I read the extensive article and photos on the Amplabs website and was impressed to the point that I decided it was for me.
If you have the time, I’d suggest a quick read of the article and I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.
 

BarefootGuy

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In buying the amp from Rob, there seemed to be 2 main choices; a full service and rear panel upgrade or a high performance upgrade (named SUFI) and rear panel.
I read the extensive article and photos on the Amplabs website and was impressed to the point that I decided it was for me.
If you have the time, I’d suggest a quick read of the article and I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.
I've actually read that article before. I decided to leave my 303 in its original, "unimproved" state, simply because I think the "imperfections", the harmonic distortion, the high noise floor, etc, give the 303 it's warm and charm, which is the main reason I like it. It's the same reason I like vinyl and tape, not because of the higher fidelity, but because I just like the sound. The technical aspects of the article are lost on me (my background isn't in engineering) and as my grandfather used to say, "each man to his trade". So I leave the engineering to the engineers. Anyway, from the article I get the impression that the aim is to make the 303 more like a modern amp. How far that is possible without it being a 303 anymore, I do not know. I like the idea of making it more electrically safe though. I keep mine unplugged when not in use, just to be safe. As for the effect on the sound, the only way to know is to do measurements and/or a blind-test against a stock 303 in good refurbished condition and compare the differences. It might be suprising. Perhaps only the individual can say what is better?
 

Cool Dude Ted

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…… Anyway, from the article I get the impression that the aim is to make the 303 more like a modern amp. How far that is possible without it being a 303 anymore, I do not know. I like the idea of making it more electrically safe though. I keep mine unplugged when not in use, just to be safe. As for the effect on the sound, the only way to know is to do measurements and/or a blind-test against a stock 303 in good refurbished condition and compare the differences. It might be suprising. Perhaps only the individual can say what is better?
I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here.
I ‘flipped’ my pretend coin and came down on the side of the upgrade.
I’m sure you’re right about the only way of knowing for sure is a blind A/B test against a stock 303. Perhaps one day I might get the chance.
 

BarefootGuy

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I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here.
I ‘flipped’ my pretend coin and came down on the side of the upgrade.
I’m sure you’re right about the only way of knowing for sure is a blind A/B test against a stock 303. Perhaps one day I might get the chance.
I think you'll be fine. Frankly, the quality of the recording, the speakers, the room, and our own senses probably have a far bigger influence on the preceived sound of a stereo system. The amp just adds a little something. It's subtle, but noticeble if you listen. Just enjoy your Quad and the music it manifests for you. Peace.
 

bigrod

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It’s a sign of getting old that you end up with too much hifi for the rooms available. The other thing I’ve noticed is that as one gets older ones hifi gets too heavy to swap about easily.
I used to be able to lift my Sony SCD 777ES player into the unit by myself , now it’s a 2 person lift ..
 

Camverton

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I used to be able to lift my Sony SCD 777ES player into the unit by myself , now it’s a 2 person lift ..
Yes, I’m wondering if it would be a good idea to get a lift installed. Not for me, but for getting hifi from one floor to the next!
 
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Cool Dude Ted

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Well, they've arrived.
My 'new' upgraded 303 and pre-amp.
Both courtesy of Rob (Amplabs) who I met earlier today. Thank you for all your time, effort and making me feel so welcome, Rob.
I can't see any point in taking a photo of the 303 but what most won't know is that Rob has built his own pre amp (called the C6) and there are only 9 in existence.
I now have one and there must be eight others out there somewhere.
I strongly suspect that the pre-amp is "too good" for me (and my kit) but I nevertheless wanted to own one.
Photos attached.
Not its final location, though.
 

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BarefootGuy

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Well, they've arrived.
My 'new' upgraded 303 and pre-amp.
Both courtesy of Rob (Amplabs) who I met earlier today. Thank you for all your time, effort and making me feel so welcome, Rob.
I can't see any point in taking a photo of the 303 but what most won't know is that Rob has built his own pre amp (called the C6) and there are only 9 in existence.
I now have one and there must be eight others out there somewhere.
I strongly suspect that the pre-amp is "too good" for me (and my kit) but I nevertheless wanted to own one.
Photos attached.
Not its final location, though.
Hey,

The pre-amp sure looks the part. Have you tried the 303 yet?
 

mattpitts74

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Hi Quad Owners, I'm after some advice, I'm really interested in trying a vintage Quad amp with my modern Kef LS50 Meta Speakers.

Having done a fair bit of reading I have narrowed it down to either the 306 or 405-2 Party because of the positive things people say and partly because of limited budget.

But my question is do people think running these old amps with modern speakers is a crazy idea and would either of the amps be better suited to the Kef's?
 

bencat

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Firstly there are standard Quad 405 and there are upgraded ones . The standard one would suit your KEF speakers and would have enough power to drive them to very acceptable levels. I have hear some of the upgraded one and own two myself which are based on the old netgear upgrades . These work really well and in my view greatly improve the sound quality of the amps . I would consider the 306 to be a little under powered for the KEF's .
 
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mattpitts74

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Firstly there are standard Quad 405 and there are upgraded ones . The standard one would suit your KEF speakers and would have enough power to drive them to very acceptable levels. I have hear some of the upgraded one and own two myself which are based on the old netgear upgrades . These work really well and in my view greatly improve the sound quality of the amps . I would consider the 306 to be a little under powered for the KEF's .
Thanks @bencat That's good to know. So would you suggest looking out for one that has been upgraded over an original? Is it still possible to get them upgraded?
 

BarefootGuy

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Hi Quad Owners, I'm after some advice, I'm really interested in trying a vintage Quad amp with my modern Kef LS50 Meta Speakers.

Having done a fair bit of reading I have narrowed it down to either the 306 or 405-2 Party because of the positive things people say and partly because of limited budget.

But my question is do people think running these old amps with modern speakers is a crazy idea and would either of the amps be better suited to the Kef's?
Hi,

I own both the 405-2 and the 306 (also have a 303). Both have had the DADA upgrades applied. I honestly cannot tell much difference in terms of power. The 306 is definitely no slouch and hits as hard and goes as loud as my 405-2 without any signs of strain. I personally prefer the 306 over the 405-2. It just seems to allow more detail through with a wider soundstage and better separation.

I haven't tried the LS50 Metas on them, so I cannot say for sure if the combination would be any good. I have heard that they like a bit of power, so maybe the 405-2 would be better. I've used QA Concept 40s and Castle Severn 2s on them, and both sound gorgeous, but are both reasonably easy to drive so 50w per channel is more than enough.

I think you'd have to try them both with the Metas to know for sure. My guess is that the difference might be a subtle one.
 
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BarefootGuy

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Thanks @bencat That's good to know. So would you suggest looking out for one that has been upgraded over an original? Is it still possible to get them upgraded?
I don't mean to butt in, but I strongly recommend upgrading the 405-2, and the 306 also, although it sounds great as standard. Or if you don't upgrade them, then at least get them serviced. Quad can do this, but they have a very long turnover time and only replace out of spec parts. I sent mine to a friend who services audio gear. He applied the DADA upgrades and replaced other parts with better quality items while he was there. The improvement was pretty obvious. I was very happy with the work he did and send all my items to him now.
 
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mattpitts74

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Hi,

I own both the 405-2 and the 306 (also have a 303). Both have had the DADA upgrades applied. I honestly cannot tell much difference in terms of power. The 306 is definitely no slouch and hits as hard and goes as loud as my 405-2 without any signs of strain. I personally prefer the 306 over the 405-2. It just seems to allow more detail through with a wider soundstage and better separation.

I haven't tried the LS50 Metas on them, so I cannot say for sure if the combination would be any good. I have heard that they like a bit of power, so maybe the 405-2 would be better. I've used QA Concept 40s and Castle Severn 2s on them, and both sound gorgeous, but are both reasonably easy to drive so 50w per channel is more than enough.

I think you'd have to try them both with the Metas to know for sure. My guess is that the difference might be a subtle one.
Thanks @BarefootGuy that's really helpful info, I do prefer the size of the 306, and I know the other half will too. So maybe I'm just going to have to try them both and compare. They seem to hold their value so I'm guessing that selling them on wouldn't an issue?
 

BarefootGuy

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Thanks @BarefootGuy that's really helpful info, I do prefer the size of the 306, and I know the other half will too. So maybe I'm just going to have to try them both and compare. They seem to hold their value so I'm guessing that selling them on wouldn't an issue?
My wife prefers the 306 also ;) They do retain their price well on the 2nd hand market. I'd expect a unserviced 306 to sell for around £200-250, and an unserviced 405-2 for around the same. In my experience, they don't fetch much more if serviced or upgraded, so be aware that you may not recoup the cost of a service or upgrade if you decide to sell them later. They will definitely sell though.
 

BarefootGuy

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My wife prefers the 306 also ;) They do retain their price well on the 2nd hand market. I'd expect a unserviced 306 to sell for around £200-250, and an unserviced 405-2 for around the same. In my experience, they don't fetch much more if serviced or upgraded, so be aware that you may not recoup the cost of a service or upgrade if you decide to sell them later. They will definitely sell though.
PS. You're more likely to find a serviced 405-2 than a 306. There are a few around. In fact, there is one in the Wam classifieds right now.
 
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BarefootGuy

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Another thing to consider with the 306 and 405-2 is input sensitivity and what pre-amplifier and source you use. Both need very little voltage to get to full power and this can cause issues with volume control and noise when paired with some electronics. I don't have any issues with a passive or matching Quad pre amps, but I have tried a tube pre and another modern pre and there was little wiggle room between too quiet and too loud, plus a lot of hiss mixed in. I added some -15db RCA attenuators and this solved the issue on my 405-2. My friend changed the input sensitivity of my Quad 306, and it has a similar beneficial effect.
 

bencat

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My two 405-1 amps were upgraded by Fidele Audio but it appears that they are no longer trading so not available there anymore . I am told Avondale Audio still do Quad upgrades so that would be one avenue to try . Also as has been indicated there are the DADA upgrades which most decent service / repair engineers can do for you .

I am firmly in the camp of the upgrades make these much better and more generally useable amplifiers and my preference has always been for the 405 over the 306 , but this just shows we all look for different things and hear things differently . I would certainly get an unmodded unit as cheap as you can and give that a good trial . You may well find it does everything you want in which case just relax and enjoy . Then you have option to upgrade as and when you feel you want to .
 

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