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Vol. 11, No. 1 Spring/Summer, 2008



NEW PRODUCTS

Quad

Quad II-80 power amplifier

Those among our readers who are Quad aficionados know that, in addition to being world-renowned as manufacturers of world class loudspeakers, this company has a fine reputation for their solid state and tube electronics.

The latest addition to the Quad tube power amplifier series is the long-awaited Quad II-80 mono-block amplifier at $5000. The perfect partner to their latest ESL loudspeakers or any other fine loudspeakers, the II-80 is both a tribute to the romance of retro styling and a modern, high-performance amplifier designed by one of the most famous tube amplifier designers in the world, Tim De Paravicini. Mr. De Paravicini started with the design of the original Quad II amplifier as his inspiration and advanced the design with his own, legendary design talents. Now the most powerful amp in the Quad lineup, the II-80 is an 80 watt mono-block power amplifier embracing the tradition and philosophies of Peter Walker, the founder of Quad. The output section of each mono-block consists of 4 KT88 tubes running as two pairs in push-pull mode with the hallmark Quad topology of partial cathode loading in the output transformer. This technique reduces distortion when compared to the ultra-linear or triode methods used in most other tube amplifiers, yielding a more honest, natural sound. The higher voltage required by this design is achieved, again in true Quad fashion, by using a balanced pair input stage. The output transformer has been designed to improve high frequency performance and accurately balance the two push pull halves. Also, and very importantly, the transformer has been designed to make sure that full output is realized at the bass frequencies down to 20Hz. This eliminates a problem that exists in many tube amplifiers, lack of an extended, powerful bass. The KT88 tubes are run at a low voltage for good reliability and extended life. Finally, the II-80 has excellent stability into virtually any known loudspeaker and especially the famed Quad electrostatic loudspeakers. This reduces sonic artifacts that occur when an amplifier becomes unstable into a difficult load.

We had the opportunity to hear a pair of the II-80 mono-blocks driving the 2905 electrostatics at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show. Our reaction when we heard this system was quite simple. This is it! This is the kind of spacious, believable, involving, "you are there" sound you continuously search for. You can forget all the audiophile jargon and just fall into the embrace of the music. Why can't all systems sound this good?


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Audio Nexus, LLC
33 Union Place
Summit, NJ 07901

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   (908) 277-0333

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