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Amp/Preamp Asylum: REVIEW: Quad 405 Amplifier (SS) by Gatos

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REVIEW: Quad 405 Amplifier (SS)

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Model: 405
Category: Amplifier (SS)
Suggested Retail Price: $300 Second hand
Description: Two channel power amp.
Manufacturer URL: Not Available
Manufacturer URL: Not Available

Review by Gatos ( A ) on March 06, 2003 at 08:34:00
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for the 405

The Quad 405 is one of the old 'workhorses' of the Quad stable.

It's an 100 W/Ch./8 ohm amplifier, that tends to deceive you by it s modest size and looks, but when you try to lift it, you realize that this is one serious bit of kit.

I bought mine on Ebay for A $450.

It has some 'pecularities', in the desighn by modern standards.

For one, the input terminal is an antiquated "DIN" plug ( although some modern products like the Naims use the same interfacing method ).

Another one is the output 'binding posts' that seem to have been designed for..bell wire only,( ! ) that's how small they are!

However, these two things are easily modified if you're handy with a soldering iron.

Since I had mine, I fitted two high quality gold plated RCA input sockets and two WBT binding posts, so problem solved.

The amp. is build very solidly, with typical English logical methodology, easy access and boards that have each component identified for easy replacement.

The power supply takes a large part of the chassis, with the chunky main transformer sitting dead centre and with two massive filtering caps on its side. The front of the amp. is a massive heat sink, that does get rather warm, but not excesively hot.

There's no ON/OFF switch, so you power the amp. and leave it alone.


By modern standards, the 405 sounds warm, polite and very civilized, which can give the casual listener the false impression that this is a 'soft' kind of amplifier.

But if you listen carefully, and over extended periods of time, you realise that there's nothing missing from the recording, and in fact, without making an 'ass' of itself, the Quad gives the listener a very realistic sonic picture, that is both musical and detailed but not tiring.

It's one of those amps that make you want to keep listening, and occasionaly draws your attention to itself, with a note or two of bass that you haven't heard on this recording, trough other amplifiers.

Piano in particular, sounded very convincing, with all the weight that the lower notes demand, while brass instruments have a the shine without the agression.. I am told this IS the Quad sound, and as this is the first Quad product that I added in my setup, it has left me asking the obvious question about 'modern' amplifiers. Have we realy made any progress in sound quality? Keep in mind the 405 is circa 1984 !...

And just to end this evaluation, my amplifiers of reference are two valve monoblocks with 4x 6550 output valves Class A , and a Densen DM 10, a classic example of modern amplification, with no negative feedback and dual - mono construction.

Yes, they both ( the valve and the DM 10) have some great sonic qualities, but hey, the Quad 405 at $450 Aus. stands its ground against them at $ 4,500 Aus. ! ( this was the retail price of the DM10, when was sold).

And you know what?

IF for some reason, you told me to keep only one of these amps, I may suprise you by telling you that I could keep the 405..

Product Weakness: Needs modification (see story) for modern use, and that's about all. No sonic weaknesses at all
Product Strengths: Great 'natural' sounding amp. non tiring sound, without missing detail, excellent build and reliability, small size.

Great for Classical Music reproduction.

Associated Equipment for this Review:
Amplifier: Quad 405
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): Audio Research LS 2
Sources (CDP/Turntable): Linn Sondek LP12 /Rega RB300/ Benz Micro/ Meridian 500 /606 cd and dac.
Speakers: KEF Reference 3 / 2
Cables/Interconnects: Cardas, MIT. V d H, Monster.
Music Used (Genre/Selections): Classical, Jazz, Ambient
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner

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Topic - REVIEW: Quad 405 Amplifier (SS) - Gatos 08:34:00 03/6/03 ( 3)