April 24 2011
Quad was once the epitome of cool British hi-fi. Handmade in Cambridgeshire, the brand goes back to 1936 and was world-class by the 1950s. It was the first “posh” hi-fi make I was aware of. Then Quad dropped off the radar as sexier American and Japanese hi-fi makers came along.
But now it’s making a comeback. It was bought in 1997 by International Audio Group of, inevitably, Shenzhen, China. Yet IAG has kept its Britishness and quality ethos – at first quietly, now a little more splashily.
This is Quad’s new Elite system, and what you see in this photo (NB with two speakers included) will leave you change from £3,000, or from £3,500 with two Elite Mono amps instead of the one stereo I tested. The new Quad looks pretty Quad-like in a room and sounds sweet and powerful. Still designed and serviced in Cambridgeshire, it’s the real British deal in every good sense apart from the price – which I would guess is half what it would be were it British-made. The finish is B rather than A, but make no mistake, this is real hi-fi at a relatively lo-fi price.