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Amplifier Quad 66 and Quad 606 review

A decade slips by and another amplifier emerges from Quad, now with full remote control. Behind its slim facia the 66 preamp is alive with the logic circuitry necessary to cope with its remote volume, balance and sophisticated ‘tilt’ tone controls.

Simplicity is the key here, for Quad’s 66 is equipped with nothing more than two back-lit LC displays. The entire affair is extremely elegant, but would be rendered useless should the Modernist handset get lost down the side of an armchair.

By contrast the Quad 606 power amp features substantial cast-alloy casework, a thumping great power supply and MJ15003 Motorola transistors: the Current Dumpers in Quad’s tried-and-tested compound Class-A output stage.

Sound quality

Our blind panel readily identified the sound of this combination as ‘Quad-like’, because of its distinctively bland, soft and undemanding balance. Simple pop and jazz music seems confident enough but there’s no sense of bite or excitement. Everything sounds so ingratiating that the natural rawness and thrill ofvocals, strings and percussion seem forcibly restrained.

Grand classical pieces also suffered. Whether via CD or MM disc, their bold dynamics became shapeless, and transparency and subtlety were sacrificed. This is a soft and forgiving amp then, but hardly the stuff of hi-fi legend.

Conclusion

That this latest 66/606 combination will give years of sterling, trouble-free service is not in doubt. The reliability and after sales service offered by Quad is second to none. Unfortunately, the sound quality is predictable and safe to the point where blandness supercedes any hint of musical colour. So much for all competently designed amplifiers sounding the same!

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