Audio from Times Past and giving it a Listen in the Digital Age.

TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
As I posted a few days ago, I have been on a restoration trip along memory lane.

My Quad 22 preamp, has shown its age of late, and I have not really used it in a while. So I purchased another a few months ago in the UK. I had it sent to an antique restorer friend of mine, Geoff Kremer, of Bexley on Sea Sussex. This is a seaside town on the English Channel. I have known him for a long time. He owns, and runs, Servicesound. He particularly specializes in reel to reel tape recorder and amplifier repairs. He also builds a sells amps of his own design.

So I had this Quad 22 preamp sent to him, for restoration. I asked him to design and build the highest quality power supply he could. I had been using one I designed and built, that I was not entirely happy with. A major problem was that the HT voltage was too low. This project required a custom power transformer be built to provide exactly the correct LT and HT voltages.

Yesterday, I received the restored preamp and the custom power supply.



On the left is the new power supply. In the middle is the refurbished Quad 22. On the right is the unit I bought new in 1965.

This is the rear view.



The unit on the right is my original unit. These Quad II preamps, were designed to be powered from two Quad II 15 watt power amps. With the left channel preamp powered from the left power amp and the right the right power amp. I originally powered mine from a Mullard 10/10 power amp, that I built, which gave very satisfactory results for years.

You will note a couple of cans on the back. The one on the left provides Eq for a variety of cartridges. The one of the right is for tape deck. There were I think 50 different cans available. In those days cartridges were either MM, Moving iron, MC crystal or ceramic types. Basically the crystal cartridges were poor, but the Decca Deram and the Sugden ceramic cartridges gave a good account of themselves, especially the Decca Deram. I used the later until I bought my Decca ffss Mk II. On the higher end in the UK in those days the Decca ffss was totally dominant, second would be the Ortofon MCs which required transformers. Goldring and Tannoy and a few EMGs were also rans. The spread of output voltages was much greater. Different LP cans optimized various cartridges. The tape can most commonly was a line input. There were cans that could play back from a variety of tape heads directly without a preamp. However this these later were not popular. Most people bought reel to reel recorders to record radio broadcasts, and that required record and playback amps. a record out and line input. Peripherals like radio tuners were powered from sockets to the left of those black power cords.



One of the unique things about the Quad 22, was the disc equalization guide.

In 1948 at the advent of the LP era, the playback equalization for LPs was standardized to the RIAA equalization curve. The old shellac 78 RPM discs were not standardized until 1954, right when the 78 RPM era was fast closing! Before that time the record companies had different equalization curve, and they could not agree.

The Quad 22 allows for all of the common Eq curves in existence by the combination of the three right hand buttons on the preamp. On the card above, black are buttons depressed, clear are the buttons out.

I installed the unit today, and its power supply.

This is the unit installed. It is connected to a Garrard 301 which is about 62 to 63 years old, with a Decca professional pickup arms and a Decca H4E head that I purchased in 1971.

You can see that the disc button is pressed on the Quad 22 and the center of the right three buttons. So that is the RIAA setting for LPs. Now interestingly Peter Walker very slightly tweaked the RIAA Eq, giving it a 68 K Ohm loading rather than 48K Ohm. In the restored unit, I had Geoff put in fixed resistors. We had a discussion about whether to go standard, or leave it original. I opted for the original 68K. In those days in the UK the Decca ffss and arm were by far dominant in the higher end LP rigs. I have a feeling that Peter had done this to tweak the response of the ffss cartridges. I always found the sound quality of a Decca ffss connected to a Quad 22 to be absolutely superb. This was confirmed today. I played an LP of Telemann trumpet concertos. The sound was absolutely vivid. Quite honestly I could have been listening to the finest recoding at the highest digital bit rate imaginable. So none of this playback rig, from pick up to amps is not any newer than 50 years old. It takes that to realize with a shock, how little progress in SQ we have actually made in half a century.

After that I changed heads to the Decca ffss MK II, that I bought in 1965. When I bought the Decca H4E, I sent my Decca MK II back to the UK, and no lesser person the Stan Kelly of the Decca Kelly ribbon fame supervised the installation of a 78 RPM stylus into the MK II. I did not own any 78 RPM recordings at that time. However there was an elderly widow, a Phyllis Field-Cooper whose husband has been a pre WW II audio enthusiast. He had owned good equipment and his records were in excellent condition. They weigh a ton, and you have to change sides about every five minutes or so. He had a large number of society recordings, particularly HMV Beethoven society recordings. So for history's sake I bought the vast collection for $90.00 CDN. The Canadian dollar was higher than the US dollar back then.

So after the LP experience I took out a 78 RPM recoding of Lilly Kraus at the piano on the Parlophone label.



This was the button setting for Parlophone recordings.




One of the reasons that this Decca Quad 22 set up was so popular back then, other than the fact that they were superb, was the ease of switching between 78 and LP heads. Back then many people still had large 78 RPM collections as they continued to increase their LP collections. The two far left buttons a depressed for mono recordings. I played this back via the center speaker. This made it sound much more like it would have all those years ago. Although hopefully my center speaker is far better then any speaker available back then.

Here are some pictures of how people handled and stored 78 collections.







With the correct Eq on the Quad 22, these old recordings, sound better than you might imagine. There is some background noise for sure, but the correct EQ minimizes it and it can be further tamed by Peter Walker's 10, 7 and 5K turnover controls with an optimal slope setting. Peter Walker just had a knack of designing really sensible, practical, versatile and practical units. Prices for his amps, and just rising to stratospheric levels on eBay, and relentlessly continuing their climb. I had a good deal on this Quad 22 as it was not working, due to some open circuit resistors Geoff found.

Finally the presentation of these turntables is actually very much of the period. None of those three turntables were ever sold with a plinth, arm or cartridge. The owner was expected to install the turntables, arms and cartridges themselves. A level of expertise and DIY skills was assumed back then. There were big London dealers who would install all your gear in fine cabinets of very high quality. Most people did their installations themselves. At that time in the UK, I would say probably around half of the enthusiasts built their own speakers. DIY speakers were common from designs in Gilbert Briggs books, the KEF constructor series, or plans from Lowther. Many built their own designs. At that time you could buy detailed plans of all Lowther speakers and I think some others as well.

Actually I'm surprised that there is not far more DIY speaker building than there is. Many also built amps and you cold buy reel to reel recorders in kit form, Brenell kits bein very popular.

Those were very different times indeed. I think enthusiasm ran much higher than now. It is a great paradox, that with so many great advances that have been made, we are now in danger of loosing the ability to provide high quality audio in the home. I Personally think aesthetics, and lack of attention to it all round is a big factor. And I suppose people are less skillful when it comes to construction tasks of all types than they used to be. That is a huge regression. Sweat equity is the best driver of enthusiasm.

I hope this will be of interest to members. For the old and senile like myself, it is a trip down memory lane. For younger members, this may be all new to them.
 
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TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Very cool, Mark. Thank you for sharing!
It is my absolute pleasure to share this information with you all. I think I'm going to invest in better video gear. I can then put up videos with good audio of the vintage disc and tape machines here and put them on my YouTube channel. We are now reaching an age where a lot of this information is in danger of being lost. May be I can enlist the grandchildren to learn to be good camera operators? Obviously we can't demo speakers, that sort of thing is nonsense.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
I was thinking about you when I stumbled across these Quad ESS electrostats on Craigslist the other day! They're in good physical and operating condition. Seller is asking $1500. Those Quad amps were designed to drive these speakers or vice versa, right?

00s0s_cpF83lIdmYVz_0CI0t2_600x450.jpg



I've been trying to ping you about some Jordan Watts speakers I found too.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
I was thinking about you when I stumbled across these Quad ESS electrostats on Craigslist the other day! They're in good physical and operating condition. Seller is asking $1500. Those Quad amps were designed to drive these speakers or vice versa, right?

View attachment 47190


I've been trying to ping you about some Jordan Watts speakers I found too.
Yes, that is a Quad ESL 57. I was there when Peter Walker first unveiled them and shook the audio world to its foundation. It was the world's first really tonally accurate speaker, and threw down a massive heavy benchmark. That speaker really was the starting gun in the race to build accurate speakers. Many of us a certain that we would still be years behind, if Peter had not dropped that bombshell at the Hotel Russel in April of 1957!

That was still the age of mono.

However stereo burst upon the scene in 1959. So in 1959 a state of the art system, the finest that money could buy, would have been a turntable identical to the one I outlined in my post last night and Quad 22 preamp, like the one I restored, a couple of Quad II power amps. In addition to the turntable there would have been an FM tuner, and an AM tuner likely. Many rigs would have had Ferrograph, Vortexion or Brenell tape machines. That would have been the finest rig you could have put together. And I might add significantly better then most rigs put together now, from an audio standpoint.

That Quad ESL 57 seems to have lost its feet though.

You must be careful not to overpower it though or you will burn a hole in the membrane. They are best powered with the Quad II tube amp, or the Quad 303 transistor amp. If you move up to the Quad 405 series, then you have to install a power limiter.

If those ESL 57 are in good working order then you should pick them up and restore them. Good examples are worth a fortune. You cold also enjoy them yourself.

I have not received a communication on what Jordan Watts gear you have found.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
Yes, that is a Quad ESL 57. I was there when Peter Walker first unveiled them and shook the audio world to its foundation. It was the world's first really tonally accurate speaker, and threw down a massive heavy benchmark. That speaker really was the starting gun in the race to build accurate speakers. Many of us a certain that we would still be years behind, if Peter had not dropped that bombshell at the Hotel Russel in April of 1957!

That was still the age of mono.

However stereo burst upon the scene in 1959. So in 1959 a state of the art system, the finest that money could buy, would have been a turntable identical to the one I outlined in my post last night and Quad 22 preamp, like the one I restored, a couple of Quad II power amps. In addition to the turntable there would have been an FM tuner, and an AM tuner likely. Many rigs would have had Ferrograph, Vortexion or Brenell tape machines. That would have been the finest rig you could have put together. And I might add significantly better then most rigs put together now, from an audio standpoint.

That Quad ESL 57 seems to have lost its feet though.

You must be careful not to overpower it though or you will burn a hole in the membrane. They are best powered with the Quad II tube amp, or the Quad 303 transistor amp. If you move up to the Quad 405 series, then you have to install a power limiter.

If those ESL 57 are in good working order then you should pick them up and restore them. Good examples are worth a fortune. You cold also enjoy them yourself.

I have not received a communication on what Jordan Watts gear you have found.
I knew you'd know the story behind those. I also think you might know some details about these Jordan Watts speakers too.

00P0P_kZKcZQaOD0Mz_0t20CI_600x450.jpg


Seller is asking $400 for the pair. That pair may even be diy, not sure, but I thought you might find them interesting as well.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
It is my absolute pleasure to share this information with you all. I think I'm going to invest in better video gear. I can then put up videos with good audio of the vintage disc and tape machines here and put them on my YouTube channel. We are now reaching an age where a lot of this information is in danger of being lost. May be I can enlist the grandchildren to learn to be good camera operators? Obviously we can't demo speakers, that sort of thing is nonsense.
Are the bare tubes 'Bugle Boy'? I have one that came with a small guitar amp that I bought from a friend.

I never use new tubes- most of the small tubes I have are GE/Sylvania, RCA, various Mullards and a few other brands that were considered 'better'grade when they were in production and I haven't bought a new production output tube in decades. A few years ago, I went to an estate sale and almost bought a box of 5 Bugle Boy 12AX7, but the price was a bit steep. I did buy a pair of old 5881, several 5U4 that were unused and still in the boxes, and IIRC, an old 5AR4, which have become very expensive. I recently sold an EICO ST-70 that had all of its original re-branded Mullard tubes and the only bad one was the 5AR4, which I could have used in my 1958 Fender guitar amp- that model originally would have come with a Tung Sol GZ34/5AR4, a pair of Tung Sol 5881, a 12AY7 for the input and the tone/phase inverter were 12AX7. I'm using a JAN GE 5R4 as the rectifier and it provides the correct DC voltage at all test points, accounting for the increased line voltage (120+VAC vs 117VAC voltage available in 1958).

With good microphones, the sound from speakers can come through decently although, obviously, it's not the same as being there. I'm really tired of people making videos of their system in operation with terrible audio. It's pointless.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
I knew you'd know the story behind those. I also think you might know some details about these Jordan Watts speakers too.

View attachment 47196

Seller is asking $400 for the pair. That pair may even be diy, not sure, but I thought you might find them interesting as well.
Well they are not Jupiter speakers. That was a mass loaded TL, the mass loading coming from the ABR version of the KEF B139.

I can say for certain that they are DIY. They look most like the JD Jodrell, but the porting is all wrong and their is no Audax tweeter.

Here is the sales PDF of the JW speakers.

Having said that, if the drivers are all working, then they are worth a lot more than the asking price.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
I was thinking about you when I stumbled across these Quad ESS electrostats on Craigslist the other day! They're in good physical and operating condition. Seller is asking $1500. Those Quad amps were designed to drive these speakers or vice versa, right?

View attachment 47190


I've been trying to ping you about some Jordan Watts speakers I found too.
Those ESLs should look like this.



However if that is all that is wrong, that is a pretty easy restoration.

It looks as if you have had a couple of really valuable finds!
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Are the bare tubes 'Bugle Boy'? I have one that came with a small guitar amp that I bought from a friend.

I never use new tubes- most of the small tubes I have are GE/Sylvania, RCA, various Mullards and a few other brands that were considered 'better'grade when they were in production and I haven't bought a new production output tube in decades. A few years ago, I went to an estate sale and almost bought a box of 5 Bugle Boy 12AX7, but the price was a bit steep. I did buy a pair of old 5881, several 5U4 that were unused and still in the boxes, and IIRC, an old 5AR4, which have become very expensive. I recently sold an EICO ST-70 that had all of its original re-branded Mullard tubes and the only bad one was the 5AR4, which I could have used in my 1958 Fender guitar amp- that model originally would have come with a Tung Sol GZ34/5AR4, a pair of Tung Sol 5881, a 12AY7 for the input and the tone/phase inverter were 12AX7. I'm using a JAN GE 5R4 as the rectifier and it provides the correct DC voltage at all test points, accounting for the increased line voltage (120+VAC vs 117VAC voltage available in 1958).

With good microphones, the sound from speakers can come through decently although, obviously, it's not the same as being there. I'm really tired of people making videos of their system in operation with terrible audio. It's pointless.
The Tubes a Mullard. The first stages are the high gain EF 86, a very common tube back then. The other tube is the Mullard ECC 83. This is a tube with two tubes in one glass. There are two voltage gain tubes in each single unit. So there are two tubes in each channel, but effectively three.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
Those ESLs should look like this.



However if that is all that is wrong, that is a pretty easy restoration.

It looks as if you have had a couple of really valuable finds!
I thought you might find both of those interesting! The Quads are out of my price range for a curiosity buy, tho I understand they're worth it to the right collector. According to the ad they're in very good shape both cosmetically and good working order. Hence the asking price of $1500.

The Watts however, I could make an offer. I kinda question how 2 full range drivers would work together like that in the same box, playing the same frequencies, but I'm not a designer so... I thought the cabs looked a bit Mickey Moused and likely not quite right, but have been told that those drivers are full range, very good and valuable on their own.

Is there a market for those? It'd be nice to make a little profit. I could pull them from those cabs and just sell the drivers. @Kvn_Walker said if those were in his area they'd be bought already. I know nothing about them. Would they interest you in a project?
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
Well they are not Jupiter speakers. That was a mass loaded TL, the mass loading coming from the ABR version of the KEF B139.

I can say for certain that they are DIY. They look most like the JD Jodrell, but the porting is all wrong and their is no Audax tweeter.

Here is the sales PDF of the JW speakers.

Having said that, if the drivers are all working, then they are worth a lot more than the asking price.
Wow, so the Jupiter IIs are a 2 driver design rated for 30 watts and capable of hitting 20 hz with 4" drivers?! That is very impressive. I see treble extends above 20 kHz as well. I can see why the seller I found tries to call what he has Jupiters, but that cab does not look like the right design at all. Very intriguing.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Wow, so the Jupiter IIs are a 2 driver design rated for 30 watts and capable of hitting 20 hz with 4" drivers?! That is very impressive. I see treble extends above 20 kHz as well. I can see why the seller I found tries to call what he has Jupiters, but that cab does not look like the right design at all. Very intriguing.
20 Hz is a stretch, but in a TL you can get good performance of those modules down to the low thirties. There will be output at 20 Hz, but more than 3db down, more like 6 to 12 db down. They do actually have a really good bass response.

If you are temped to buy them, and up to a construction project, I can design you a state of the art TL, as an MTM with tweeter coming in gradually above 6 KHz.

I bet you would just love them.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
The Tubes a Mullard. The first stages are the high gain EF 86, a very common tube back then. The other tube is the Mullard ECC 83. This is a tube with two tubes in one glass. There are two voltage gain tubes in each single unit. So there are two tubes in each channel, but effectively three.
ECC83 is the Euro equivalent to 12AX7- take a look at the photo of the two Quad pieces again- I zoomed in and it looks like the one at the right shows 'Amperex' on the tubes that don't have shields and it looks like they have the logo- the font on the tube at the left of this photo is the same as what I saw on your photo.

1620046393751.png


The layout is very nice- I'm amazed that so much audio equipment with faithful followers look like a rat's nest inside.
 
Eppie

Eppie

Full Audioholic
Thanks, that was a fun read. Makes me think back to the system my dad inherited when we bought a friend's house. His friend was from Germany and a real do-it-yourselfer. The integrated amp and tuner were by HH Scott in kit form, just like the Stereomaster below:

Rated around 32W/ch and there was a metal grate over the opening to protect the tubes. Parts were point to point solder like in your Quad. (Would you believe that I still have the assembly and instructions manuals. :))

For speakers he did something unique. To save space, one box was under the stereo cabinet on a vertical piano hinge so that it could be swung in and out of position. It had a forward firing woofer, horn midrange and horn tweeter. I've mentioned the other speaker before, being something modeled loosely after the Klipschorn corner cabinet, but different in that the 15" woofer fired face down into a semi-circular opening and the chamber under the woofer opened up to the inside front of the cabinet. The cabinet did not have the grills on the sides like the Klipschorns but had an open back and the top section also had a horn midrange and horn tweeter. The closest I could find to matching the Electrovoice speakers and crossovers was this image except that the woofers were 15".
hcqhetwax.jpeg

He had plans for the corner cabinet but I never saw them. Wish I had the foresight to take photos.

That system, despite being a mash up, impressed everyone that heard it. The drivers were very efficient and the 32W was plenty to get the system loud. The previous owner had a reel-to-reel recording of the 1812 overture that was sought after by collectors. The canons would literally shake the room, no subs needed. The property had a back yard that was 200 feet deep, and I once cranked up some Deep Purple with the rear sliding glass doors open. My friends across the creek at the end of property heard it while walking by! Our neighbour was not impressed. :D

But it was very pleasant sounding as well. My dad and his friend liked mostly classical music and my Moody Blues recording of Days of Future Passed sounded beautiful with the orchestral accompaniment. I consider that system to be the first that we owned with really nice sound, despite its age.
 
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Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
I really did mean to say thank you for sharing the post too. I always enjoy reading your stories and usually end up learning something new. I didn't mean to hijack your thread, but I thought the Quad and Jordan Watts speakers sorta fit in with the theme of "Audio From Times Past". I'm well aware of your love of Quad gear and thought you'd find them interesting.

I'm likely not going to get the JWs tho. I know the price is fair but I can't justify the $400 for a new toy, cool tho they are.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Thanks, that was a fun read. Makes me think back to the system my dad inherited when we bought a friend's house. His friend was from Germany and a real do-it-yourselfer. The integrated amp and tuner were by HH Scott in kit form, just like the Stereomaster below:

Rated around 32W/ch and there was a metal grate over the opening to protect the tubes. Parts were point to point solder like in your Quad. (Would you believe that I still have the assembly and instructions manuals. :))

For speakers he did something unique. To save space, one box was under the stereo cabinet on a vertical piano hinge so that it could be swung in and out of position. It had a forward firing woofer, horn midrange and horn tweeter. I've mentioned the other speaker before, being something modeled loosely after the Klipschorn corner cabinet, but different in that the 15" woofer fired face down into a semi-circular opening and the chamber under the woofer opened up to the inside front of the cabinet. The cabinet did not have the grills on the sides like the Klipschorns but had an open back and the top section also had a horn midrange and horn tweeter. The closest I could find to matching the speakers and crossovers was this image except that the woofers were 15".
View attachment 47244
He had plans for the corner cabinet but I never saw them. Wish I had the foresight to take photos.

That system, despite being a mash up, impressed everyone that heard it. The drivers were very efficient and the 32W was plenty to get the system loud. The previous owner had a reel-to-reel recording of the 1812 overture that was sought after by collectors. The canons would literally shake the room, no subs needed. The property had a back yard that was 200 feet deep, and I once cranked up some Deep Purple with the rear sliding glass doors open. My friends across the creek at the end of property heard it while walking by! Our neighbour was not impressed. :D

But it was very pleasant sounding as well. My dad and his friend liked mostly classical music and my Moody Blues recording of Days of Future Passed sounded beautiful with the orchestral accompaniment. I consider that system to be the first that we owned with really nice sound, despite its age.
I was aware that the US also had quite a creative DIY crowd back then. It is such a shame this has been lost. I would bet those speakers were a sound horn design as likely as not. As well as being architecturally kind to the environment, I bet they sounded as good, or better than the best you could find at the local dealer back then.

Us children and our children are not nearly as creative. I am one of the few who picked up the baton, and have created custom architecturally friendly high performing speakers for a wide variety of environments, and not had to put up with speakers the size of a small sandwich box, to keep the other half happy.

For the younger readers, take the plunge and get stuck in. You will find that when you start to make your own speakers, it will be be the best upgrade you can make to your systems. It will also increase your knowledge and dexterity. Honestly most members here should take the plunge, design and build at least one set of speakers.
This is far preferable than buying a speaker you have not heard on the Internet, when more likely than not the marketing department had a greater say than the engineers.

You should really celebrate your father's achievements. That is still the way to get the best audio in the home without doing violence to the architectural environment.

Thank you for that great post to this thread.
 
Eppie

Eppie

Full Audioholic
I wish I had photos of that corner cabinet. The wood construction and finish was very professional. Very large speaker, though, and my father couldn't take the system with us when we moved. I doubt very much that any of it survived, but I have been surprised to see other Scott kit-built amps in our area.

I worked as a repair tech to put myself through school and we did dabble in speaker building, but really rudimentary stuff. I remember when piezoelectric tweeters came out and were all the rage. The shop bought a bunch because they were flat, high impedance and no bigger than a coaster, and so were great for car audio installs. If you have ever heard Steve Miller's Jungle Love, some of the guys would crank the song as loud as possible just get those tweeters to create ear piercing highs during the whistling. Man, we did some silly stuff back then but it sure was fun.

I can definitely see myself trying to build a BMR monitor based on Dennis' design. Need to improve my woodworking skills a bit first to get that professional looking finish. There are some good kits out there and plenty of on-line help for those that care to take the plunge.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
While I'm not a big fan of Guttenberg's videos, I thought this was interesting (I haven't watched all of them)-

 

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