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Quad FM-3 Tuners

4.43/5 (7 Reviews)


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Reviews 1 - 5 (7 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by DSJR a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: October 21, 2007

Bottom Line:   
I started working in the audio industry in 1974 so came into things half way through this tuner's production life. By 1975, Quad were just starting to look "old hat" with the introduction to a very small number of dealers of some rather good American and Japanese equipment with rather high price tags. The sound of the standard FM3 was always honest and neutral in tone, as is the nature of Quad, but I found its delivery a touch "dead" (perhaps that's a more correct presentation, but see below). The "sixties" styling I still love, but everything back then in the seventies was for big and flashy, the Quad gear sitting politely on the shelf being often unfairly passed over.

By comparison with the top Yamaha, Technics, Pioneer and Accuphase tuners becoming available, the dear old FM3 appeared to be outclassed on all fronts. Its small size, lack of front panel knobs, limited sensitivity (when paper specifications were everything) andwith increasingly non-standard mains and audio connections all tried to consign it to history, along with its partnering 33/303 amplification. Looked at today though, the situation is very different, at least in the UK. 33/FM3/303 sets are very common, popular on the used market and easily serviced and tweaked to a fantastic level of honest, "basic" performance i.e. the tuner excels at what it can do and doesn't try to do what it can't, whereas the legendary Japanese tuners are as rare as hens teeth with huge used price tags to match and don't always sound that good, despite their wonderful technical performance (the Technics TU 3500 I owned springs to mind here and I'm not sure the Yamaha CT7000 sounds hugely wonderful today, although I'll admit it's some years since I last heard one)...

I've owned two FM3's over the years (as well as an FM1 + decoder and currently an FM2 as well). Like many, my current sample (bought recently for £40) had a blown display bulb (14V, 0.7W located between the glass and tuning knob on an outrigger) and had seen a non-audio service department at some point, where any old electrolytic supply capacitor could be fitted as long as the voltage rating was ok and it physically fitted the limited space. I'd discovered on the internet a recommendation for five of the power and audio capacitors to be replaced with modern, higher value ones and this I did, with a "before and after" listen to check I hadn't ruined the performance. (New values - C113/114 > 3300uF 25V axial. C121 2200uF 16V. C100/104 4.7uF 25V. - DON'T attempt to do this unless you are good at soldering and use respectable makes of caps like Vishay for example)

The sensitivity isn't that great, to be honest and weak stations are very noisy in my location, hence the mono signal output on pin 1 of the din socket. Used with a fully wired DIN lead and a Quad pre-amp it was easy to switch to a mono signal . I found that once set, the variable muting control on the back stays where it is thereafter. With the new caps fitted, I found a beneficial improvement in the subtle aspects of audio performance that can be difficult to measure. Bass registers of bowed and plucked instruments seem to be better defined and much more "musical" - one can follow what these instruments are actually playing much more clearly - and the sense of atmosphere and ambience in a decent acoustic setting was better too - something a modern top end tuner reproduces with ease. I even found it coped rather better with the miriad of severely compressed "pop" stations we here in the UK are lumbered with, which it didn't much favour before (the dear old FM2 smudges up badly/terminally on such stations). So basically good is the audio performance, I even found myself enjoying the excellent backing musicianship on "Staying Alive" by the BeeGees, a track often played by BBC local radio and one I've loathed for years because I find it difficult to go beyond the falsetto vocals.

If you want a good cheap vintage tuner, PLEASE consider one of these while the FM analogue system is with us (should be ok in the UK for many more years, as DAB has become the new Medium Wave in quality due to too many stations and rather low data streaming rates). Like all Quad of this era, it's easily updated by new supply and audio (coupling?) caps and a qualified engineer should be able to re-set the front end up with ease if necessary. Quad themselves still have excellent service facilities for the UK and Europe and there's a firm "down under" who do refurbishments and tuner setups, as well as new circuit boards for the 303 and, I think, the 405 too. The only thing to watch is the casework and tuning knob, which may need re-spraying on tatty examples. Plastic trim on the rear (and the muting knob) isn't available either, although the muting potentiometer is available from Quad as of Autumn 2007.

I don't think, to be honest, that the low budget audio manufacturers need to worry too much about how good the re-furbished Quads of the seventies era can sound, but I personally love the FM3, together with its partnering 33/303 amplification (the 405 can be substantially breathed on too, if not completely rebuilt, making it a VERY much better all-round animal than it was when launched). Servicing is easy and, if you don't get the manual and service details when you buy them, they're easily available to view and download (do a bit of Googling).

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $40.00

Purchased At:   Cash Converters



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by zlotmachine a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: September 4, 2006

Bottom Line:   
So good that the only reason for not using it was that I got lazy and got a remotely controlled NAD Preamp -FM AM unit. Purchased my Quad FM33 new.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   Jonas Miller Sound



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Tom Alaerts a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 24, 2002

Bottom Line:   
This is another understated gem from Quad. It is an extremely simple to use tuner (only a tuning knob on the front), but it has a sophisticated circuit, hence while 25 years old, it still beats many new tuners... I rarely listen to radio at home, so the FM3 is largely good enough for me.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $130.00



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Keith S a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 7, 2002

Bottom Line:   
What can you say? Rarely bettered, especially at the price you can buy one today. Plug in, sit back and enjoy!

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $150.00

Purchased At:   private sale



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Martin Carrier a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 19, 2001

Bottom Line:   
A very musical component, (more musical than NAD) like the rest of Quad`s line. I still prefer the sound of the 40 years old (tubes) Fm 2 by Quad, for soft music and classical. They are both musical for All kind of music...

You will have to pay a lot more for a Classé or a Magnum Dynalab etc, to hear more details, without loosing the soundstage sound of these Quad`s tuners.

You should use one, as a reference, when buying an expensive one. But if you decide to keep it, you won`t
regret it!

martin

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $175.00

Purchased At:   http://www.audio-occasion.qc.ca/




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