Quadraphonic. . . care for some?

Quadraphonic sound – the granddaddy of today’s multi speaker system was the first consumer offering in surround sound. As early as the fifties, European music studios were using this format in reel-to-reel tape players. It was not until 1970 that consumer quad format was made available to the market via the 8 track tape and on vinyl record a year after.

Naturally, this new medium had to have a vehicle. Together with their stereo offerings, most, if not all, major companies had their respective models that employed this 4-channel format. I remember hearing my first quad system back in high school and was just awed in how the sound could embrace you at all sides. It was like walking into a giant headphone! It may have not created a realistic soundstage but I’d love to have a quad system now.

Unfortunately, the quad system didn’t fly. Numerous compatibility problems hounded the medium even before take-off. Equipment manufacturers and recording companies had their respective formats/system that didn’t mate with one another. This is not to mention that you had to buy another pair of rear speakers and a quad cartridge for your turntable.

But all vintage quad receivers can play stereo. And the myth that these quad units (in stereo mode) could not perform at par with their stereo siblings is well, just a myth…at least for me.

qrx

Sansui QRX 7500 (Net photo. Wasn’t able to take a photo of mine)

The Sansui 9090db stereo receiver, as mentioned earlier, is one of the best receivers from the seventies.

Being one of the more collectible, vintage units, I was looking to acquire one of these during my Monster Receiver hunts. So when one was up for sale, I did not hesitate to check out the unit. During the audition of the 9090, the seller just happened to have a Sansui QRX7500 quad unit also. I was so intrigued by its size – a gargantuan 24 X 8 X 15inch monster – that I requested the owner if we could hook it up for a try. Ok, I know that I’d be ruffling a few feathers here, but I must admit that I was enamored by its sound – even more than the stereo 9090. The quad had more warmth than its highly touted stereo cousin. But alas, the qrx7500 quad wasn’t for sale so I still went home with the 9090 but made a mental note to be in the lookout for the quad receiver in the near future.

Fate was kind when I was able to get one for a song  a year after.

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4400-copy

Marantz Model 4400
The 4400 is one of the more sought after vintage receivers mainly because of its oscilloscope. It debuted in 1974 at USD1250 and still fetches around USD1000 now. I must say that I can’t blame these prices. The scope of the 4400 is a feature that will never be replicated in audio – ever. The scope is such a cool feature that watching it dance makes me feel like a radar man in one of those Tom Clancy subs waiting to ping a Typhoon class Russian nuke sub. At quad mode, the 4400 runs at 45 watts per ch. Flipping the switch at stereo, it belts out 125 watts just like the Model 2325. Sound-wise, I’d still give the edge to the Model 2325. But without an A-B comparison, I’d be hard up to tell the difference.

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4240 copy

Marantz Model 4340

This was my very first vintage receiver, given to me by a friend. It has been at the doctors’ for some time now for a refurb. Will post impressions when I get it back.

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