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This is a review of the Quad 66CD player, not the 66 amplifier. In fact it is my second attempt. The first got lost somewhere into the ether due to a problem with the Ciao site, I think.
The 66CD is part of the Quad 66 series of hifi components. The other parts are the 66FM tuner, 66 preamp/control unit, and 606 power amp. There is also the 66 remote control unit which is extremely large, usually called a console. The 66 series was in production from the early 1990s, and only for a few years. None of the components are therefore available to buy new. Unless you're lucky enough to find new old stock, which does happen. The original price was around £800 per unit.
The 66CD was in fact Quads very first CD player (originally just called the Quad CD player so it could be used with series 4 which was still in production). Up until this point they had only ever produced amplifiers, tuners and speakers. No other source components such as turntables or tape recorders. So this was quite a departure.
Quad have always been known for their very high quality hifi, and the 66CD is no exception. However, in large part, this CD player was not actually produced by Quad. All CD manufacturers have always bought their CD mechanism part from Phillips. This is because only Phillips know how to make them. Recently Phillips have stopped manufacturing CD specific mechanisms, and now only make them for DVD and DVDROM. This means that CD players may become unrepairable in future, because a mechanism is like a stylus on a turntable, and will eventually wear out.
So the mechanism in the 66CD is made by Phillips. However, so is the circuit board. In some ways this is a Phillips CD player in a Quad case. Having said that, a lot of the components on the circuit board were selected by Quad, such as the DAC. So this is a Quad CD player.
It also sounds very much a Quad CD player. I compared it to a very highly regarded Marantz CD player, and I thought the Quad was better. It has that distinctive smooth sound. A very good player indeed.
For a player that is at least 15 years old, it is still excellent. It can play CDRs, any new CDs, perfectly. Quad hifi components are designed with longevity in mind, and this player can still cut it. In keeping with Quads philosophy, it is small in size, has minimal controls, and simply gets on with the job of playing discs to the highest possible standard. A separate remote control is included, if you are not using the main 66 system console. There are no front panel controls at all, except open/close.
The rear panel has coaxial and digital outputs.
As with all Quad hifi, it can be serviced for around £100. Second hand prices for this player are about £200. Compared to anything new at that price, it's hard to beat.
The 66CD was superseded by the 67CD in 1993. The 67 was a completely new design, and all Quads own work. The 67 is generally regarded as better than the 66, but as I haven't heard a 67, I can't comment. What I do know is that the 66CD is an extremely rugged, well designed and superb sounding CD player. Easily the best that I have heard, particularly when partnered with other Quad components.
If you were looking for that high quality, low profile CD player, then this is just that. A new Quad 99CD player will set you back £649 plus.
Just to show that it's not all good, I do think the case could have been better. It is the same as all of the 66 series. The sides are very flimsy, and can become bent. It also has a slightly retro styling. Minor points really.
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