Quad II Reissue Preamp Reviewed

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Only I didn't use it entirely as a contemporary device. I played the schizo and fed it a CD signal via the Marantz CD-12/DA-12, first into the Air Tight passive ATL-10A pre-amp and then the McIntosh C22 reissue. Speakers? What else could it be but the completely refurbished Quad ESLs? I knew, from experience with older Quad IIs, that they could drive LS3/5As as if designed for the job, but that wasn't the point. In order to make this time travel 100 percent valid, it was only proper that the amplifier be used with the speaker it was meant to complement back in the 1950s.

God bless DCC: the gold CD of , heartstopping mono recordings from - you guessed it - 1956, arrived just in time to complete the period piece. 'You Do Something To Me' was understatement. The Quads did to me. I was transported back four decades, only as a 44-year-old instead of a four-year-old. Nearly every song in the set seemed to apply: 'Easy To Love', 'You're the Top', 'I Get A Kick Out Of You' and - heh, heh - 'Too Darn Hot'. Maybe Quad should package a copy with each set. Ella has never sounded lovelier, the amps rising to the occasion. And I couldn't bring myself to play anything that wasn't equally as luscious. I didn't want to insult the Celebration.

If you want to be truly anal about it, it's arguable that the Celebration is a tad faster, a touch lighter, a shade more detailed. But the differences are more down to the choice of glassware than anything that might have been done in the name of modernisation. And yet all of this is academic, because - unlike the McIntosh or Marantz reissues which address the question of rarity - there is no shortage of used Quad IIs in good condition for relatively low prices for those who just can't believe that the reissued Quad II is so, so right. Which brings us to the reality of putting back into production a component which has been history for a quarter century.

Quad knows its market well enough to recognie that only two types of customers will buy the Celebration instead of a decent pair of originals: (1) insane collectors who'll vacuum-pack their sets, stick 'em on the mantlepiece and never use 'em, and (2) enlightened collectors who'll cherish the Celebrations for what they are but won't be afraid to use them. And it's even money that all of these guys already own original Quad IIs. So Quad has, after much deliberation, decided on the following policy:

To be sold only in numbered pairs, the Celebration Quad IIs will be offered in the original grey, or gold-plated for an extra fee. Other finishes might be offered for an extra charge. The Celebration Quad IIs will be supplied in very special packaging; a lavish wooden case has been considered, while I rather like the idea of leather suitcases to match the Frank Sinatra Reprise-era box set. Each set will come with a certificate signed by Peter Walker. Only 600 pairs will be made, and that's it. Quad is still working on the price as we go to press, but they're expecting a pair of Celebration Quad IIs to sell for something not unadjacent to 6000. Whether or not this represents good value is as daft a question as whether or not a reproduction Mk II Jaguar is worth 40,000-plus. The people who want and can afford this audio , this piece of history will buy the Celebration Quad II whatever the cost.

And you can expect riots in the Akihabara district of Tokyo when the Japanese allocation is exhausted.

Read other high end tube preamp reviews from the likes of Audio Research, VTL, VAC, Jadis and more by clicking here.

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