11 November, 2015

Quad 2812 revisted, Quad QMP, Ortofon Quintet Mono

AVI AVITAL / BETWEEN WORLDSThis CD is not as easy to replay as you may think.

Quad 2812 revisited
Breif Reviews: Quad Elite QMP monoblocks,  Ortofon Quintet Mono, Ortofon SPU
Yumcha Diary 24-10-2015

Yesterday, between yumcha and a concert in the evening, I spent my (and the host's) precious time at our old friend WSS' cozy den, which I have visited several times since my last report. WSS is a true music lover and in many ways not your typical audiophile (which is why I'd like to hang out with him more than most others). This article describes not just this visit, but also serves to summarize our findings and doings over time. Equipment has undergone quite some changes. Current configuration:

Turntable 1: JC Verdier La Platine/SME3012R-Air Tight PC-1/Ortofon TA210-SPU
Turntable 2: Garrard 301/SME M2-12/Ortofon Quintet Mono
Phonoamp 1: Phase Tech EA-1 IIs (no MC; step-up by EAR MC-4)
Phonoamp 2: ARC Reference 2 Phono
Digital: Sony DVP-PR50P (standing in for his out of commission AN CDT4/DAC5)
Preamp: AN M8
Amp 1: Quad Elite QMP monoblocks
Amp 2: AN Jinro Shochu

ARGERICH - BARENBOIM / PIANO DUOS
Image result for ortofon quintet monoPristine Piano Sound through the Quad ESL.

Sound Notes
  • Analogue Supremacy I'd not belabor this. The 3 analogue sources fed into the 2 phonoamps (some described in last report) still reign supreme in this system.
  • Ortofon Quintet Mono Since my last report, WSS had a Garrard 301/SME M2-12 practically "forced" upon him , on which he installed this cartridge (Output 0.3 mV; info here) . It is a true low-output mono MC cartridge, a very even-handed performer that handily delivers the virile and tactile qualities mono cartridges are known for. Those who favor low-output MC cartridges, who want to experience mono, but who cannot afford more exotic fares like Ortofon's own SPU and the likes of Miyajima should consider it.
  • Digital Woes (or David vs Goliath) Sometime ago I spent quite a bit of time at WSS, and the digital playback nagged at me - substantially slower and less lively than the analogue. In my experience, Audio Note UK digital's usually over-emphasize, not under. I made for WSS a Belden 1694A cable (here) and it trounced his considerably more expensive AN-UK silver cable, as well as Kimber! Things seemed to have improved somewhat, but on a subsequent visit, when I played the Avi Avital CD shown above, the magnitude of the problem revealed itself. This CD is a crossover genre, which usually is geared towards the lively, but at WSS it was utterly un-involving. The epiphany came when I got home, nonplussed, and just to cross-check played it in my very humble Micromega system (here), and everything simply came alive! I then knew something was seriously amiss with his digital system. On a subsequent visit, I joined force with with my infamous taskmaster icefox, who brought his Sony DVP-PR50P (see review here) for stand-in duty. Guess what! The el-cheapo Sony completely trounced the AN UK (this did not surprise us, as it had happened in similar circumstances many times before - an expensive digital system proves inadequate next to much humbler kins, again and again giving lies to "advances" in digital "technology"). One thing though, sometime later WSS told me his DAC went caput. So, maybe its suboptimal performance was (at least partially) due to this. I look forward to a rematch. But I tell you, many "senior" audiophiles, including some who think they are audio experts, have visited WSS, yet completely failed to realize the magnitude of the problem. To me, these people don't even know the HiFi Basics I am about to expound (Watch for next article!)
  • Quad Elite QMP A Quad amp almost always does a decent job anywhere. And with the Quad 2812 it goes without saying. The Elite series just proves Quad has not lost its qualities that stem from the 300/400/600/900 series, all from old current-dumping technology. In this system, it proves every bit the equal of the AN Jinro Sochu, and the larger power reserve at hand was particularly evident in a remarkable rendition of Stravinsky's Rite for 4 hands.
  • Ortofon SPU  Just a brief comment. As usual, the SPU is emotive and involving, though it presents details in a less truthful perspective, but what ultimately nags at me is the lack in resolution by modern standards. Not my fav, but there are fans.

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