Anybody using vintage (1960s) QUAD II valve (tube) power amps on a regular basis ?

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ronniemarker

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Hello fellow music lovers and audio equipment enthusiasts -

just looking for a quick hands-up from anyone that might be using the vintage 1960s QUAD II valve (tube) power amps on a regular basis - especially in
Mumbai where I am resident. If so, I'd like to pursue a bit of a discussion and an exchange as I'd like to consider them for myself in the not-too-distant
future. Here's hoping to hear from at least a few people - anyhow, thanks, in advance and best wishes !

Sincerely,

Ronnie K. Marker
Mumbai
 

reubensm

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Hello Ronnie, although I have never owned the QUAD IIs personally, I have a close British friend who owned these some years ago. When I asked him a similar question, he asked me to look out for the following if I was to invest in a pair with matching preamp:
  • it is common to find QUAD IIs with mods like RCA inputs, etc. Avoid these if you are looking for vintage originality
  • try to get one with original Marconi and Mullard valves
  • never buy a QUAD II pair that has replaced or rewound output transformers, once this is done, they never sound the same
  • if purchasing with preamp, ensure that you collect the coupling cables as well
  • and of course, a complete recap will be required, if not already done
 

kartick

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Hello Ronnie,

This is a coincidence as I am currently using the Quad II mono blocks in my setup. I don't own these and these belong to Viren Bakhshi of Lyrita Audio, who is a dear friend and has graciously loaned the amplifiers to me for an experience. My system consists of all Lyrita Audio components with Horn speakers and since my amplifiers have gone back to Viren sir for a regular checkup and some upgrades/mods, I am living with the Quads since about a week now. The amplifiers have the KT66 GEC tubes, which still hold a lot of their strength intact. The experience is really very different and has given me a different perspective about tube amplifiers. I am powering these with a SS preamp, a very different approach. Again not by choice but since that is the only pre had on me at this time. The amplifier is by SoulNote and it is a brilliant one. A true discovery of sorts. I am really enjoying the experience and the SoulNote is pairing up beautifully with the Quads. Although, there are of course few caveats.

I will be more than happy to entertain you if you wanted to discuss this matter in detail over a phone call, if that is of interest to you. Cheers!!
 

shafic

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Hi Ronnie,
Hope you are doing well.
I have Quad II + QC1 mono pre, and Quad II mono blocks + 22 pre in excellent condition with original tubes. Also have some spare kt 66 tubes.
If you are interested let me know.
But they are not for sale. I am interested only in exchange with good speakers like tannoy silver or AR 3a, which you have.
Regards.
 

ronniemarker

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Hello Ronnie, although I have never owned the QUAD IIs personally, I have a close British friend who owned these some years ago. When I asked him a similar question, he asked me to look out for the following if I was to invest in a pair with matching preamp:
  • it is common to find QUAD IIs with mods like RCA inputs, etc. Avoid these if you are looking for vintage originality
  • try to get one with original Marconi and Mullard valves
  • never buy a QUAD II pair that has replaced or rewound output transformers, once this is done, they never sound the same
  • if purchasing with preamp, ensure that you collect the coupling cables as well
  • and of course, a complete recap will be required, if not already done


Hello there -

thanks so much for your lucid and annotated reply / guidance to my query - incidentally, all the audio chaps that I have contacted and spoken with IN the UK echo a similar "guideline"..........this, I suppose, is to keep "the sound" as close to "the original" as is possible today............in fact, there IS a pair that wa soffered to me from the UK but I was (am) hesitating for the obvious reasons and considerations of high shipping costs, the obvious dangers of shipping and mis-handling and then, of course, he dreaded Customs Duty (inescapable)..............but, to add some humour to an otherwise depressing outcome, someone (an audio technician here in Mumbai) told me that about 20 years ago when these had fallen OUT of favour with so-caled forward-looking audiophiles, they used to obtain these by the cartload for about Rs. 800-900 each and immediately sell them off at a tidy 10 or 20 percent "profit" for Rs. 1,000/- each !!! Alas, those were the days............today, one might NOT even get a decent 1 m RCA inter-connect cable for Rs. 1,000/- for a set ! Such is life, I suppose...............but thank you very much indeed once again for your kind help and spontaneous guidance - much appreciated !

Sincerely,

R. Marker
 

ronniemarker

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Hi ,
I am currently using the Quad-II mono blocks with Quad Preamp.
However the right person to answer your queries is Mr.Rajiv, ( https://www.hifivision.com/members/rajiv.814/ ) who is using this amps for much more than 20 + years.
Thanks


Hi - many thanks for responding / replying to my query about the Quad IIs and also for pointing me in the direction of fellow forum member Rajiv......................one of these days, I will definitely try and contact him, especially as he is a long-term user and he might be able to shed some (any) light on their reliability and longevity.............but, thanks very much all the same and best wishes !

regards,

R. Marker
 

ronniemarker

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Hello Ronnie,

This is a coincidence as I am currently using the Quad II mono blocks in my setup. I don't own these and these belong to Viren Bakhshi of Lyrita Audio, who is a dear friend and has graciously loaned the amplifiers to me for an experience. My system consists of all Lyrita Audio components with Horn speakers and since my amplifiers have gone back to Viren sir for a regular checkup and some upgrades/mods, I am living with the Quads since about a week now. The amplifiers have the KT66 GEC tubes, which still hold a lot of their strength intact. The experience is really very different and has given me a different perspective about tube amplifiers. I am powering these with a SS preamp, a very different approach. Again not by choice but since that is the only pre had on me at this time. The amplifier is by SoulNote and it is a brilliant one. A true discovery of sorts. I am really enjoying the experience and the SoulNote is pairing up beautifully with the Quads. Although, there are of course few caveats.

I will be more than happy to entertain you if you wanted to discuss this matter in detail over a phone call, if that is of interest to you. Cheers!!

Hello Kartick - thanks so much for your detailed response to my recent queries about the Quad II vintage power amps...........great to note / know that you are enjoying them while your (main) Lyrita amps are undergoing a service..............incidentally, I notice/d that you own a Thorens TD-160.......that makes something in common for us, I have (at different times) owned, used and enjoyed no less than 4 different variants of the Thorens TD-160...they are nice, robust and easy to use and set-up turntables. Again, thanks very much for replying / responding and also for so cheerfully inviting
Hi Ronnie,
Hope you are doing well.
I have Quad II + QC1 mono pre, and Quad II mono blocks + 22 pre in excellent condition with original tubes. Also have some spare kt 66 tubes.
If you are interested let me know.
But they are not for sale. I am interested only in exchange with good speakers like tannoy silver or AR 3a, which you have.
Regards.

Hi Shafic -

lovely to hear from you............I am well.......as well as can be under the circumstances, I suppose ! Hope you and your dear ones are well and safe too ?

Sadly, the Tannoy Silvers (I had both a 15" and a 12" - single units of each) are now long gone and the AR 3As are now well-ensconced in my home abroad; so................

Great to know / hear that you are using 2 separate pairs of the Quad IIs.............a long while ago, I had one unit (a single) of the Quad II...a very early unit, probably 1953 manufacture with just a 3 digit serial number............sadly, that one is now NO more with me !

Someday, Shafic, I would like to exchange some notes with you about the Quad IIs as they are likely / potential "candidates" for use along with my 15" Tannoys when my designated SS pre-amp from the USA is finally here (it is at a friend's home in USA and when he can next visit Mumbai, he will bring it along and THEN I will need to decide soon what power amps I'd like to pair it with....and here, the Quad IIs are a serious contender for me).

Otherwise, how are things Shafic ? Any additional interesting vintage equipment that you have obtained ? DO keep in touch and again, thanks for responding and saying 'hello" - keep well and stay safe !

Kindest regards,

R. Marker
 

reubensm

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That's a good point Ronnie, thanks to Japanese audiophiles, ebay and a host of online forums and blogs, people have now realized the value of these old equipment and demand has increased the prices all over.
Having said this, I must also mention but buying vintage equipment and keeping it running is also quite a charm (for some) or headache (for many). After all my hi-fi expeditions listening to modern, vintage, valve, solid state, etc, i liked some, and did not like many. There are lot of variables involved so its very difficult to go by reviews. If you are out on a path of discovery, first listen to as many as you can, and then decide.
 

audiofreakss

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yes reubensm restoration of vintage stuff is painstaking in india as lack of good technicians and parts to replace
 

shafic

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Hi Ronnie,
Thanks. Nice to interact with you after long time. I lost your mobile no. Sent you a PM.
Regards.
 

shafic

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Restoring, repairing vintage stuff is a painstaking job. Very few knowledgeable mechanics remain. They are now old and do not have commercial interests. Even few who do so, have very high charges.

And the 'right' replacement components like capacitors, etc. are not available locally. Buying from abroad becomes very expensive.

A lot of amateurs are available now days. They have very good theoretical knowledge but lack practical expertise.

Recently two of my lovely vintage tube amps were ruined by one such amateur from Tamilnadu.

குரங்கு கையில் கிடைத்த பூமாலை போல்.
It was like, giving a "flower garland in the hands of a monkey".

One thing is for sure that once you restore/repair them properly, they will give a great performance, one which very few modern amps can match.

These vintage gems are not only musical bliss but also a pride of the owner, vintage afficianado who will tend to them with care.

Anyone who is ready to spend money, efforts, time and painstakingly care for them can go for them.

Regards
 
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sunilj

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Shafic, that was really funny - "like giving a flower garland in the hands of a monkey"

It would be good to let other members know who this is. Others could fall into the same pit.
 

reubensm

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Investing in vintage equipment comes with added responsibility, the ability to repair or have access to a good tech is a key factor but once restored, there is nothing comparable :).

Techs are like docs, they become better with experience. Techs of the old generation could undertake component level fixes, the modern Techs generally part of the digital generation, usually don't have the skills or the time and are basically PCB replacers :)
 

ronniemarker

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My personal experiences with vintage (50+ year old) items of audio equipment has invariably been (as with many / most other "things")
that - "what you put in, you get out" - this of course applies to time spent, efforts and energies expended and last but not the least, finances expended.

Unfortunately - as also with many other "things" in life, there are NO shortcuts and quick fixes with this..........the bottom line has always been and
remains that you HAVE TO "get in deep" and if you prefer, "bite the bullet" (time wise, financially, etc.) IF you want to enjoy true peace of mind and some measure of reliability and stability - with items that were first made 50, 60 or even 70 years ago.

And, for those of you who are un-initiated with this, I AM and already have (on several occasions in the past) "practicing what I am preaching" -
on umpteen occasions for the last 20 years or so, I have had my equipment serviced and/or restored by the acknowledged "finest" in the business, be it in the USA, the UK, Europe (Germany, Italy, etc.) and even in Singapore (where I had an "old" Made in Japan CD player fully refurbished and made "as new" electronically) - and believe me, these efforts take time (often 9-12-15 months' turn around time) and it takes BIG funds (in foreign currencies, no less) which bring tears to most people's eyes !

But, that IS what it takes and the results are nothing short of astounding and are very, very fulfilling and gratifying - that is, IF this is something that "floats your boat" in the first place.

And, over the years, I have matured enough to understand and know that these "expenses" are NOT to be considered as mere "expenses" (outright losses) but, in fact, as "investments" - because, speaking for myself, at least, I have always "recovered" the monies that I have "spent" (as and when and IF) I have ever re-sold the "vintage equipment" in question and often times, even actually turned a small profit - if only because, when the equipment in question is sold, simply because the Indian Rupee is constantly sliding down in value against the BIG global currencies, what face value USD or GBP "sums" I have spent ("invested"), invariably get increased simply due to the sliding value of the mighty Indian Rupee.

SO, all in all - IF you are a patient and philosophical person and not a short term equipment flipping (make a quick buck) buck chaser, I have noticed and personally experienced (on scores of occasions) that you actually come out ahead - NOT that I indulge in this "hobby" for any monetary gain or enjoyment - for me, it IS just the thrill and pure joy or "reviving" (usually, to original, "as new" specs and performance) these "older" items of fine audio equipment to the electronic and electrical standard that they were 50, 60 or even 70 years ago - like my (fully restored in Germany) GRUNDIG valve radio from 1955 - which will totally smash anything purchased today at Vijay Sales or indeed at any home electronics store in the USA, UK, Japan or Singapore - it is truly a joy to own, behold (watch at night) and of course, to listen to - AND, I am NOT ashamed or embarrassed to state that it HAS cost me a "pretty penny" but that , to me, it's been a journey well worth it ! And the same story applies to my beautiful Garrard 401 and my old McIntosh tube power amps (now sold, alas) and pretty much all the other vintage "items" that I have owned at some point or another.

Moral of the story and closing thoughts are - there is NO substitute for quality and also you get what you pay for ! IF one can espouse and/or overcome these 2 caveats, then, there is joy, satisfaction and even pride to be had in abundance in this noble pursuit / hobby of vintage audio.

With warm regards and best wishes to any and all of my kindred spirits in this aspect,

Sincerely,

Ronnie K. Marker
Mumbai
 
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