Earlly (ca 1971-74) Fisher Quad Receivers--share what you love/know about 'em!

Discussion in 'Fisher' started by illinoisteve, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

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    Question about SQ recording format:

    If I dub an SQ LP onto cassette tape, or onto a CD, or even onto a digital music file (mp3 or flac or...), will I have lost any of it's SQ-ness? Where is the quad-related information in what a phono cartridge extracts from it?

    This might be worth experimenting with, while I still have both a turntable and a cassette deck connected to the Fisher 404.
     

     

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  2. tcdriver

    tcdriver AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Great question. I have not tried to copy any of my records onto another format. Since matrix encoded recordings rely on amplitude and/or phase differences, any recording technique that preserves these differences accurately should give good results. If you have the ability to make such copies you might just give it a try and report back. My guess is that a copy to CD should present no problem. If you record to cassette you might want to try comparing a recording with Dolby and without.

    This is what Columbia said about how the SQ system works:
    “In the standard stereo record groove, modulations in the two groove walls transmit signal voltages to left and right channels through the pickup stylus.

    The SQ record system retains the two basic stereo modulations. (This is the basis for the system’s excellent compatibility with all regular stereo playback systems.) As the four channels of the Quadraphonic master tape are passed through the Encoder, the Encoder preserves two of these signals, undiluted, as signals for the two front channels.

    From the two additional (rear) channels of the Quadraphonic tape, the Encoder produces two additional modulations which are helical (spiral) in form. As the record rotates and the groove advances under the stylus, a clockwise helix is produced for the left back channel and a counter-clockwise helix is produced for the left back channel and a counter-clockwise helix is produced for the right back channel.

    The SQ disc, then carries in its grooves two different kinds of signals: vectored modulations for the two basic stereo or front speakers and helical modulations for the two back speakers.

    However, no special pickup is needed. All stereo pickup cartridges are capable of receiving all of these modulations.

    To decipher these four signals and recreate the Quadraphonic sources, the SQ Decoder is needed. The Decoder senses the four basic modulations and produces four signals containing predominantly the sounds of the corresponding original four Quadraphonic tape channels. These signals are then directed to power amplifiers and four loudspeakers placed in the respective corners of the listening area, resulting in a highly realistic reproduction of the original Quadraphonic master tape.
     
  3. tcdriver

    tcdriver AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    What a way to go, indeed! That was a lot of money back then. What seems odd to me is that all of those units only came with two loudspeakers.
     
  4. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

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    There must have been outputs for the remotes, which I'm sure the Fisher dealer would have been happy to sell additionally. If you have to ask how much your remote speakers cost, you probably can't afford the console in the first place. ;)
     
  5. tcdriver

    tcdriver AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    The brochure says: “Satellite Speakers for the rear channels (optional at additional cost) can be selected from the full line of Fisher Speaker Systems
     
  6. essNeff

    essNeff Active Member

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    Hello,
    The 801 has the left channel out. Everything else works. I doubt it would be worth fixing given the cost. When I looked through the plastic envelope with the original paperwork I found documents for the speakers and Turntable that I also purchased that day. The speaks were Fisher XP7S's (4) and a BSR turntable. (which I still have). The speakers are long gone though.
    I also remember the salesman showing me a pair of AMT Heil 1b's as a demo.
    They were way expensive but blew me away with their sound.
    I liked them so much that I eventually bought a pair and still use them.
    They still sound great!
     

     

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  7. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

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    When I decided to look at my 404 again, I had a channel that was intermittently out or barely there. Jiggling the volume slider was bringing it back briefly, so, though I had cleaned it thoroughly at least twice before, I cleaned it again. And now the 404 is back. So, you you might consider trying it again on that 801. Of course it could be something else. I think I'm going to reclean the balance joystick control too. The left channel seems very slightly weaker, with a little more hiss...only on some audio material.
     
  8. tcdriver

    tcdriver AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    illinoisteve make a good point about control cleaning. It is not unusual for loss of sound in one or more channels to be caused by oxidation of switch contacts. Deoxit is an excellent product and could be the fix for essNeff’s 801 missing channel.
     
  9. essNeff

    essNeff Active Member

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    Thanks for the info. I Deoxited it a couple of days ago from the front panel.
    No change yet. Is there any benefit to be gained by removing the chassis to
    clean these Faders or anything else for that matter?
    Thanks again!
     
  10. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

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    This time around I used 3 electronic contact cleaners/3 steps:

    1) Liberal flushing with CRC QD Electronic Cleaner (red can) -- a no-residue, plastics-safe product.

    2) Cleaning with Deoxit D5 (red & black can) -- a corrosion dissolver that leaves a very light protective coating.

    3 < Final extra step I didn't use on previous 404 control cleaning> ) Application of Radioshack Control/Contact Cleaner & Lubricant. I may have had this can a looong time. I guess it's still available. Maybe it wasn't needed, but this cleaning seems to have been more effective than previous ones.
     
  11. jberger

    jberger AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I was lucky enough to find one of these at an estate sale a few weeks ago. Contrary to its looks, it is very solid; my shipping scale goes up to 40 lbs, and it was out of range!

    It appears to be very early in the quad format, as it does not have any of the licensed quad vinyl decoding formats (SQ, QS, CD-4) built in, but it does have a discrete quadraphonic 8-track player, as well as quad external line inputs (so I can hook up a SACD or DVD-Audio player, I guess).

    The turntable is a BSR, but one of their better ones, with adjustable counterweight and tracking force. At first glance at the arm, I thought it was a Dual. In fact, I have a Dual 1009SK that might just drop in there, maybe with a new plinth.....

    So far, I've been cleaning all of the controls and switches, and listening to it with a pair of Minimus 7's When I get all of the channels working, it sounds great. It needs some attention, though, because I don't get all channels in all modes ; no sound from left channel when FM or tape is In stereo, but works fine with phono.

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    Some of the guts
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    Last edited: Oct 12, 2014

     

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  12. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

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    It's kinda like one of their quad consoles, but without the truckload of wood!
     
  13. tcdriver

    tcdriver AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    jberger, that Fisher is way way cool. Thanks for sharing the photos.
     
  14. jberger

    jberger AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    My wife has fallen in love with it, too.

    It would have been cool to find this in a Squire 4, but even as it is, it's very cool. From the ad that TheRed1 posted, it may be able to decode SQ recordings, just predated licensing to put it on the silkscreen.

    The thing that surprised me on this was the weight; it's darned heavy, which is always handy with turntables.

    I found out the hard way that the silkscreening on the front is very fragile; Windex and a gentle rub started removing letters, so cleaning the grunge off of the front was somewhat spotty.

    The Dual switchout may be slightly tricky, as the existing BSR will override the power switch on the front (if the turntable is on, the electronics come on as well). I'll have to check for depth as well, to make sure nothing rubs or puts metal on top of electrical parts. Since the existing plinth just lifts out after four screws, it wouldn't be hard to trace and create a new one properly cut out, and the Dual would be a better changer than the BSR, if I can make it all work.

    The tuner could stand an alignment, but I don't really want to have to buy an FM signal generator.
     
  15. larryderouin

    larryderouin Turn it UP, POP? PLLUUEEEZZZZZEE Subscriber

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    I've got a couple of those BSR/FISHER's. Actually they are pretty good tables, contrary to popular belief with BSR's. NEED minimal maintenance, and the tonearm isn't 1/2 bad either. Clean it, oil the spindle bearings, and put a Pickering V15 ATE or similar, set it for 2-1/2gr and go for it. Lot less complex than the DUAL even a 1019.

    But if you end up wanting to trash it, PM me. They are easy for my wife to operate , she likes them so I put the one from the R494 carcass and installed it in the C.E. VIII, vs the ELAC 10.
     
  16. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

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    Just now, rereading this page of the thread, I realized that you said you tried to clean the controls from the front panel. I don't see how you can actually get any deoxit into the pots or sliders (Well, you probably can get some into the slider, but not necessarily into the business part of it)without sliding the chassis out of the wood case. Then you have to look from the top or the side or from underneath to find whatever little gaps or rivet holes there may be to press the deoxit's plastic straw into or against in order to get some cleaner in there. Then give a short blast into each one and work the control back and fourth for a long time. And then maybe repeat. And if you want to clean the switches, too, there is no way to get to the contacts from the front.

    I just recleaned the joy-stick 4-way balance control on the 404. It really has four little potentiometers, and for one of them it is really hard to see where to spray the cleaner, but I eventually got it good. The slight weakness and hiss on the left side appears to be gone now. As with the slider, I used the three cleaner technique (earlier described) again.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014

     

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  17. tcdriver

    tcdriver AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    My experience with Fishers of this era is similar. Even plain water and a very small amount of elbow grease will remove the lettering.

    Thanks for the insight. I will not automatically pass one by next time I have a chance to buy one.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014
  18. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

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    3,048
    When I got the 404, I didn't know about SQ LPs, and didn't really anticipate using it for quadraphonic, which I may do sometimes in the future, now that I know more about it. Instead, what immediately occurred to me about its usefulness was as a stereo amplifier that would let me connect two pair of stereo speakers with different efficiency levels and use the joystick-style 4-way balance control as a fader between them. I'm doing that NOW. It works really nice that way (espec. after cleaning that balance control one more time, and better than my earlier attempts).

    On balance, I prefer stereo to any sort of surround sound, which to my thinking is most useful to make movies sound more like they do in the theater. (I like 3-speed bikes and am lost on a 10-speed, too.) I've got a couple of surround sound receivers (only because they also had phono inputs), and I'm probably going to get rid of the better one soon and keep the older Dolby Pro Logic 4.1 unit, simply because it's easier to use, fewer levels of settings to get it to do something. The surround sound is real cool for about 5 minutes after pressing the button, but then starts sounding more and more hokey to me. But something about this very early quad system seems different, especially because how to use it as a stereo is hardly different from any stereo receiver, and because the SQ recordings it's made for seem to me to have a special legitimacy as a vintage recording format. And as mentioned before, I really like that they are a bridging format, playable in stereo or quad, depending on the equipment. I have to watch for more of them. Soon, I'm going back to listening to my very recently acquired Kenwood KR-5150 receiver, but I'm glad this period of testing my Fisher 404 has resulted in getting it working much better and in giving me a far better appreciation of it as part of this transitional period for Fisher and for the audio equipment and recording industry! Holey moley!
     
  19. essNeff

    essNeff Active Member

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    Sorry for the confusion. I was referring to just the Sliders. I took the bottom off and blasted every pot I could find. I now have 3 of the 4 channels working great. The Left Front is weak. It plays louder when the AM radio is selected. (although not fully). I shot the Sliders from above.
    Everything looks pretty clean so I guess the FLC is probably another issue.
    Thanks Steve!
     
  20. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

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    3,048
    Sounds great!

    I have kept thinking I had some bigger repair issue with my 404, the controls of which I cleaned the bejeezus out of when I first got it, and still had problems. Now, I've recleaned two controls yet again, and it seems like I have it near perfect. I'm just saying, there could just be one part of one of those controls on your unit that needs just a bit more cleaning. Of course, I can't blame you if you put it back on the shelf for a year or two, before you do that. That's what I did. ;)
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014

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