QUAD - Still the closest approach to the original sound
QUAD remains synonymous with the best of British HiFi. That’s why music lovers and audiophiles who know and revere QUAD’s history will pack out the brand’s display at this year’s Melbourne International Hi-Fi Show.
As much as we all still lust over the sight of a QUAD 11 valve amplifier, ESL 57 or 63 electrostatic loudspeaker, the company has moved on. Cashed up and with a commitment to new designs and quality control that QUAD founder, the late Peter Walker would unequivocally endorse, the company that took over QUAD has taken the brand to new frontiers.
Anyone who loves all things QUAD, and what audiophile doesn’t, will be thrilled to arrive at the QUAD display and find old classics redesigned and taken to a whole new level of excellence.
Seminal QUAD designs taken to lofty new heights are the original QUAD 11 amplifiers that provide the bedrock for a whole series of eye and ear pleasing QUAD valve amplifiers.
So do the latest incantations of QUAD’s amazingly durable electrostatic speakers called the ESL2812 and 2912 models. These embody all the sonic brilliance of the originals and add greater power handling and more sound pressure levels but not at the expense of detail, transparency imaging and sheer musicality of the originals.
But look closer at the QUAD display and you’ll see a hybrid speaker range that will surprise younger audiophiles but bring a tear to veteran hi-fi buffs. It’s called the Z series, a range of four luxuriously finished stand mounts and floorstanders designed by seasoned designer and audio reviewer, Peter Comeau.
The Z1 had its first international review debut as a wrap of the classic Rogers LS35/A and LS 5/9 speakers courtesy of 6moons Aussie reviewer Peter Familari. An audio veteran with a keen eye for audio history he instinctively made the connection between QUAD’s 1949 mono corner ribbon speaker and the current Z series.
With a nod to the present, QUAD now make a range of conventional moving coil speakers comprising five stand mount and floor standing models called the S series.
With their superb finish, the S series lofty aim is to give home cinema fans the same impeccable hi-fi sound of hi-spec, traditional stereo systems.
While the days of the iconic 33/303 and 34/44/405 QUAD pre and power amplifiers are long passed, their embodiment finds a new expression in the two components that make up the Artera series.
The pair looks to the future with crisp styling featuring textured aluminum fascias and thoroughly modern firmware and software nestled inside.
The Artera Play’s fascia has an intuitive touch-sensitive control while internally there’s the ESS Sabre 32 9018 which is a 32-bit, eight-channel hybrid multi-bit Delta-Sigma DAC.
The Play supports PCM data up to 32-bit/384kHz and DSD64/128/256 data rates. CD replay is via a new slot-loading mechanism while the Play’s preamp section carries a balanced Class A output stage. Two coaxial and two optical inputs link to external modern digital sources alongside the USB input while a pair of RCA phono inputs take good care of analogue sources.
The Play’s matching amplifier is the spiritual descendant of the legendary QUAD 405 amplifier thanks to its modernised Current Dumping Technology first used in the 405 way back when. Power output is a generous 140 watts per channel into 8ohms and 250 watts per channel into a four-ohm load. Connections include RCA as well as balanced.
The QUAD display at this year’s Melbourne International Hi-Fi show will be a moveable feast for the eyes and the ears. See QUAD in Room 1208. Get your tickets now.
For more information on QUAD, visit AV Revolution.