Soundbites: Quantec Yardsticks

QUANTEC…A SAD TALE OF WOE…

Around eighteen months ago we received an order for a Quantec Yardstick. We’d dealt with the company several times over the years and although slow and at times unreliable, they had always delivered.
We paid for the Yardstick immediately, were quoted six weeks delivery and advised our client accordingly. And then the problems started…
Initially Quantec pushed the delivery date back. Twice. Then a third time, saying the unit had to be ‘burnt in’. Five months down the line – Christmas having come and gone – we were told the software engineer ‘was away for three weeks’ so delivery would be late January. Our client was by now less than pleased but agreed to give it one more go.

January went and we refunded an extremely annoyed customer. We then entered into months and months of correspondence with Quantec (when they could be bothered to reply), and every week we were offered a refund within a couple of weeks. When each deadlines passed, at no stage were we contacted. We offered to take a unit into stock to cover the payment. Nothing. We offered to accept repayment in stages but were once more promised repayment in full.

Months and months of this nonsense went by – I’d paste the email correspondence but it takes up reams of space – until one day Quantec’s phones were disconnected. A friend in Munich contacted the directors kindly on our behalf and he too was assured we would receive repayment.

It didn’t happen and of course it isn’t going to. We’re £3500 out of pocket but at least our client was repaid promptly (within 6 hours of his request).
Sadly this is a poor way to handle problems. Sure, many companies hit the buffers for one reason or another, but prompt communication, an explanation of the difficulties and honestly in correspondence should be paramount.
Quantec are not unique. We had a series of problems with Liam at Cartec who was happy to take client’s money (including ours) and either not deliver or delivery half made, shoddy, malfunctioning rubbish. What amazes me is how these companies continue to offer the earth via their on-line portals (and often get glowing reviews on gear forums) in the full knowledge that they can’t deliver orders.

Needless to say, Quantec and Cartec have been removed from our website but we’ll try to warn unwary clients in the future should other companies behave in such a slipshod manner.


QUANTEC

Quantec introduced their revolutionary QRS (Quantec Room Simulator) in 1982. This early digital reverb took the recording world by storm, adding a quality to recordings immediately identifiable by the huge, grainy halo it added to drums, backing vocals and electric guitars.

Yardsticks-plugged-3
For eight years, the QRS featured in every leading studio’s racks and all producer’s wish list until the dawn of a new age saw it relegated to the ranks of ‘last year’s trick.’ Since then however, the QRS has gained the status of a legend, offering vintage style reverbs in an increasingly bland audio world. The QRS is now high on the list of desirable classic reverbs for engineers and producers seeking to stamp their individuality on a mix.It may come as a surprise that Quantec is not merely still going, but is still going strong. Their current offering, the Yardstick, probably missed a trick when it was introduced by only having digital inputs, but recently analogue inputs have been offered as an option, making the Yardstick one of the most interesting and intriguing processing devices on the market.

So what makes the Yardstick unique? We’ll be putting one through its paces up at SNAP! Studio shortly, and I’m excited to hear the results, which I’ll post on-line. From all the user and magazine reviews I’ve read, the Yardstick continued the Quantec tradition of offering realistic reverbs with a full frequency response, tuneable to enhance poor recordings. Like traditional mainframe reverbs, the Yardstick wraps itself around and becomes a part of the sound rather than sitting above like a tizzy cloud. We’ll see… if the following review is anything to go by, I can’t wait…

Yardsticks-plugged-1Yardsticks-plugged-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • (…) Another peculiarity of the Yardstick is an excellent shaping of low-frequency room reflections, one more point where many conventional reverb units fail. Many real rooms, even if they sound rather chilly, and overemphasize high frequencies, nevertheless show a tendency of turning low-frequency components into “rolling thunder”; – Double Basses for example, or Gran Cassa, even in a bright- sounding Baroque church will not fall short of their vigorous effect.With many artificial reverb algorithms, the ultra-low frequency range is often suppressed or cropped, which can quickly lead to a thin sound. The current Yardsticks, however, reproduce that frequency range stunningly real, with many parameter options for fine-tuning. Particularly striking, this can be shown with piano recordings that were originally taken from a rather castrated-sounding grand in a much too small room. Although one cannot turn a worn-out music school piano into a Steinway D inside a large concert hall, the appearance of spatial confinement, and the lack of bass warmth, could be almost completely compensated.

 

  • How can the quality of the reverb be characterized best? Absolutely unobtrusive. Properly integrated into a mix, the reverb would not, at any time, stand out as artificial. Bigger surprise is often if you mute the return path of your console and, abruptly, depth has completely vanished.
Yardsticks-unplugged
Illustrated: original QRS reverb from my personal collection (ex Mayfair Studios) and a brand new Quantec Yardstick.

 

ECCENTRIC