Various Stuff

Still More Stuff

Power Ratings

Like, outtasight !!! Back in the groovy sixties and seventies, until forced to conform by standards imposed by the US federal government, many audio manufacturers used various methods to rate the power output of their equipment. Today, “watts RMS” per channel is the de facto standard. It’s a handy figure for comparing between audio offerings. Waaaay back when, however, one must take the output ratings of audio equipment with the proverbial ‘grain of salt.’ Some equipment builders used “IHF” power ratings, which give higher ratings than RMS power output figures.

Just sumpthin’ to keep in mind when viewing old advertisements of quad components.

Ambisonics

Info on this quad type regularly appears in various news groups. A search via Deja News will find them. Ambisonics entered the market late, as quad was fading away. It is a matrix-type system that supposedly works best with 6 or more speakers. The Jan. 1982 Stereo Review magazine says a Ambisonic decoder costs around $650 with around 60 Ambisonic records available; mostly in England. I’ve never seen any equipment with a Ambisonic decoder. I’ve heard rumors that there’s a few around. Anybody got one???

An ignominious end…..

In 1977 a potential quad buyer strolled into the local audio store. Asking for a demonstration of the best quad system available, the salesman said “We don’t have any left. No one was buying it so we sent it back to the manufacturer.” Looking around, the potential buyer saw a couple quad systems in the corner. So . . . was the salesman ignorant and didn’t want to show it by avoiding questions about the system??? Or did he know so little about quad he couldn’t recognize a quad system right in front of him???

Lack of trained salespeople may have helped quads’ demise. A current similar situation involves the folks selling computers at many retail firms. If you know even a little about computers, boogie down to Worst Buy or Circuitry Circle and ask a few basic questions. Most of the salespeople I query know very little about the product they are selling. Computers are a “success” though, since, unlike quad, there isn’t another product to directly compete the way stereo was an alternative to quadraphonics.

Here’s a neato letter received a while back from a visitor to the site. Here for yer’ reading enjoyment is……………………

I used to work for Fosgate when they moved to Utah and finished up the TATE 101 decoder. It was awesome, as you say. The parts were all sorted to 1% so that the very ultimate in performance was possible. Then Fosgate designed the 3601 surround decoder, which was the Holy Grail at that time (early ’80s).

I want to correct something in your QS section: The Sansui outboard decoders were the QSD-1 and QSD-2. The first was an expensive rack-mount module, the second a 5x5x12 component. Both used Vario-Matrix (TM), and sounded superb. After being laid off by Fosgate when models changed, I had to sell all my quad gear for $$$ and go back to stereo (bummer).

RSP has supposedly reinvented the stereo-to-surround effect with their $999 Circle-Surround decoder that also decodes Dolby Pro-Logic Surround (DPS), and supposedly also handles SQ and QS. Haven’t heard it, so I can’t vouch for it.

Jim Fosgate lives in Heber, Utah and is working on a surround-sound decoder using tubes (!). There was a Deseret News story about him recently.

Helge Skjeveland

bachware@enol.com

ROLL, uhhhhhhhh, BUILD YOUR OWN

For your viewing pleasure, the Student Revolutionary Strike Force brings you these sources of plans to build yer own quad thingy:

Popular Electronics July 1971 Stereo-4 decoder

Popular Electronics Dec. 1976 Universal Matrix decoder

Radio-Electronics Oct. 1971 4-channel amp 4 X 50watts

Radio-Electronics Oct. 1974 3 IC full-logic SQ decoder

Radio-Electronics Oct. 1975 4-channel synthesizer

Popular Electronics Nov. 1976 CD-4 demodulator

There’s more out there. Go to your local library; you know, the place with all the books, and browse through old electronic-related magazines. Many libraries have placed them on either microfiche or microfilm. The microfilm type is on reels which allow quick scanning. Do it !!!

Teac built a 4-channel Dolby unit to allow recording and/or playback with a quad system. The AN-300 was out in 1972 at a price of $440. Eeeegads. Megabux !!!!! And, it was the early ‘basic’ Dolby that never impressed me.

One audio magazine writer claimed that quad died due to the lack of “. . . ‘Oh Wow’ effect.” Hmmm some folks I know are not impressed by quad. Others think it sounds great and went looking for their own quad stuff.

Sooooo, why was quad soooo expensive??? Well, here’s an example of the times. A basic calculator that could add, subtract, divide and multiply cost $100 in 1972 dollars (equivalent to about $300 to $400 in today’s dollars) AND it weighed a 1/2 pound!!! You can buy ’em for $1 or $2 now, and they weigh almost nuthin’ !!!!!!

Technology has greatly lowered the price of most electronic goodies. Just ask the old fogies who were around during the quad days.

The July/Aug 1976 edition of Elementary Electronics says that quad is on the rebound and its future looks “. . . quite bright.” Hope you didn’t take their advice on buying in the stock market!

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