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This review was first published by the media group AVHub of Australia where Edgar Kramer is Reviews Editor for the Australian Hi-Fi and Sound & Image pulications. This review appeared in the March/April 2009 print issue and is herewith reproduced by express permission and to make it available to a global audience. - Ed


Reviewer: Edgar Kramer
Financial Interests: click here
Source: Metronome T-1i CD player with DAISy HE remote control
Preamp/Integrated: Supratek Sauvignon with NOS RCA and Bendix tubes; NuForce P9
Amplifier: NuForce Reference 9 V2 SE monos
Speakers: Wilson Audio Specialties WATT/Puppy System 8
Cables: Digital - Cerious Technologies, Harmonic Technoloy Magic; analog - Cable Researcn Laboratory Gold with Bocchino XLR and RCA, Cerious Technologies
and Harmonic Technology PRO-9+ loudspeaker cables; Giant Killer GK-1 [in for review]; - power: Cerious Technologies AC; Harmonic Technology Fantasy; Shunyata Research Diamondback, Eichmann eXpress AC power cables; PSC Gold Power MKII AC cable
Stands: Finite Elemente Pagode Signature equipment racks
Powerline conditioning: PS Audio P-300 Power Plant (digital equipment only)
Acoustic treatment: Fonic Designer panels and StudioCel bass traps
Sundry accessories: Burson Audio Buffer, Bright Star Audio IsoRock Reference 3, Bright Star Audio IsoRock 4 isolation platforms and BSA IsoNode feet; Bocchino Audio Mecado isolation diodes; Black Diamond Racing cones; Stillpoints ERS paper in strategic positions around DAC, Shakti On Lines; Densen CD demagnetizer; Auric Illuminator CD Treatment; ASC Tube Traps
Room size: 17' w x 35' d x 12' h in short wall setup, opens to adjoining kitchen
Review component retail: AUD$14,999/pr


If I had to name a perennial brand that truly represented the birth of high-end audio, Quad (Quality unit amplifier domestic) would be the first brand that comes to mind. From the ever-evolving and fanatically treasured ESL-57 electrostatic speaker -- first introduced in 1957 and  by many hardcore followers considered to be the best speaker ever -- to the recently revived and revamped Quad II amplifier, the Quad brand can accurately boast of having designed ‘true classics’.



Old things are new again
The Quad II-eighty is a revitalised and more powerful version of Quad founder Peter Walker’s 1950s original classic, the Quad II (a current version, the Quad II ‘Classic’, is available with very similar output power rating). But now the circuit was given a makeover and strong dose of steroids by valve wonder-engineer Tim De Paravicini. De Paravicini’s way with valve designs is world renowned not only for what he’s done here for Quad but by way of his own highly respected design house Esoteric Audio Research (EAR).

Tim has done away with the original Quad II’s KT-66 output valves and adapted the KT-88 into the reworked circuit to up the power output from ca. 12 watts to 80. The industrial design of the original has been retained down to the chassis colour and layout  but it benefits from contemporary assembly and finishing methods, upgraded internal componentry and higher-grade socketry.