Is this a crazy idea.

Tell me if this is a crazy idea for a vintage HT system. I want to keep it simple. Please be merciful to me when you respond.

I picked up four (4) matching JBL 4412's at a garage sale for a very good price. I'm thinking about using a vintage(they only come this way) Quadraphonic receiver for a vintage (almost) HT system.

I am toying with the idea of a using four analogue outputs from my Oppo dvd player. I would eliminate the center channel. You would have to configure the front, rear, left, right of the quadraphonic receiver as fl, fr, rl, and rr. Is this crazy or is it doable?

Balancing the speakers might be tricky but I think it might work.
Problem: It will never be as dynamic and 3 dimmensional if you're NOT USING an outboard DD/DTS pre/pro! Processing DD/DTS movies in your dvd player, and passing the info out analog to a preamp (which is what you're doing), never works as well, overall! It's just to flat sounding, and not enough snap and punch to the sound. That's my findings.
Basically, I never encourage trying to re-invent the wheel here. But audiophiles just keep on cutting corners with HT systems, trying full range passive setups all around, bypassing processors, avoiding bass managment and subwoofers all together--and they always tend to think they're onto some "hot-ticket" approach!
Yeah, no.
Anyway, you could tinker, but I think you'll find what I'm saying. good luck
It depends on what 4-channel matrix circuits the quad receiver can do. What kind of receiver is it?

I think it would be better to use an analog Dolby ProLogic processor set to phantom mode (it sends the center channel mix equally to the two front speakers). But you may be able to achieve similar results with the receiver depending on what matrices it can do and how much control it offers in channel balance and time delay.

If it doesn't quite do it for you, I have a Shure Dolby ProLogic outboard unit. It was state of the art in 1994 and sold for $1000 back then, but I would of course let it go for *MUCH* cheaper today.
IMO, I don't see why it wouldn't be doable. I wouldn't recommend eliminating the center channel (just my personal preference). But hey, give it a shot. Good luck to you!
you are nuts...but you've got 4 great speakers
With respect to Flrnlamb, my "double stereo" in no way is "flat, without snap or punch". Front is a pair of heavily modded Spica TC50's. Rear is modded JBL L-166's. Cables are Cardas Golden Cross interconnects, Cardas Hexlink 5c speaker cables to Spicas, Toshiba DVD, Rega amps, Tice block filtering, Cardas Golden Power Cables. It kicks butt and is WAY better HI-FI than store home theatre set ups I've heard, minus of course all the "3D" stuff.
So to MJCMT I say, you go boy!
I don't think it will work. If you use 4 of 5 analog outputs from your Oppo DVD player, you will have the DVD player set to 5.1 or Dolby Digital output in order to get any sound from the L&R rear/surround output jacks. This will also cause the discrete center channel information to go to the center channel output, which you don't have connected to anything. You will be missing at least one 5th of the discrete information (all of the center channel content) from your DVDs.

I'm guessing that in order to use anything less than 5 channels of output from you Oppo, you will have to set the output mode to PCM or stereo. Then, you will likely only get output from the L&R front analog outputs.
I'm getting mixed response. The idea is not to have a modern 5.1 or 7.1 HT system but a HT using vintage equipment. So let me try again with more clarification.

I have 4 vintage JBL's control room monitors that are dynamic and accurate. Much music you are listen to from the 70's, 80's, and 90's have been mixed on these great speakers.

My idea is to use the analogue outputs (after internal processing from my Oppo dvd player), and pass the info to a vintage quad receiver using the 4 channel inputs.

I have not bought a quad receiver yet, but I am wondering if this will work or do these vintage receivers always process in quadraphonic (I think it is Dolby).

If I put this vintage system (well almost vintage w/ modern dvd) it is for the enjoyment of a vintage system, and not to reinvent the wheel. Of course you can not have a center channel with a quad receiver, but my seating is between the speakers.

So if you remove your ideas of modern audio from the equation, can this work? Please anyone with the love of vintage equipment feel free to respond.
Mjcmt, Yes it will work. The oppo dvd players let you configure the speaker settings in the set-up menu so you can select no center channel and still use the DD/DTS decoding ,as well as channel delay if needed. At least that's how it is on my 981hd.

If you go into it knowing that it will probably take a lot of work to get everything just how you want it I'm sure you will end up quite happy with the results. Then again, what system doesn't take a lot of work to begin with.

I listen to movies in 2-channel and it is incredibly dynamic and enveloping sound with a solid center image. It's all about what will make you happy. Go for it!

I currently watch movies in high end 2 channel as well. I'm quite satisfied...

...but after hearing how incredibly dynamic and detailed the JBL 4312's are I got on this kick to use them in a vintage quad system, although they would be at home in a modern system as well.

I will move the 2 channel system to a different room and set up these killer JBL's for HT. I hope the quad receiver doesn't process Dolby Quadraphonic with the 4 channel inputs. If it doesn't it should work. I may have to buy one and see, and that is the reason for this post, to help in the decision making before I buy.
Is Flamb suggesting that only active speakers are ideal for HT?............if so your crazy.
IMO, I wouldn't say ONLY, but IMO active speakers produce better performance than just about all passive speakers. Again, just my opinion, FWIW.
Why would an active speaker be any better then a passive with an ideal amp? I only see a difference in the fact that the amps are in the cabinet with active, and not with passive. If you had same drivers and same amps as active design but routed via interconnects what exactly would be different?
I know ATC speakers and the like are quality products and have a strong fan base but I see them as somewhat of a weakness, when they age and amp technology improoves wouldnt it be ideal to be able to change amplification without buying a whole new (and expensive active speaker)?

WOW!!!!! That sounds like a GREAT novel idea. I never would've thought about building a home theater system this way. About how far back you're thinking about going??? 1970's possibly??? If so, if you can, I would try to hunt down a vintage Marantz or Sansui Quadraphonic Receiver if at all possible. I used to love those things back in the 1970's. A neighbor of mine on the street behind of where my childhood home was had one (and from my comfirmation, it was a Sansui, but I forgot the Model #) of those, he used to put one speaker outside on his front porch and turned that sucker up all the damn time. The bass from that thing was so powerful, I used to hear the windows rattle all the time when put on some music.

And if that doesn't work out for you, then I might be taking hold of a Yamaha DSP-780A pretty soon. And if I am not mistaking, this is a mid-late 1990's vintage unit. Maybe not as vintage as a 1970's vintage Sansui, but vintage enough. The DSP-780A retailed for about $1,000.00 back in the mid 1990's, but I am sure that it will go for a fraction of that amount today.

Good luck, and let me know how your experiment turns out. Okay????

Mjcmt, Let me save you here, People seem to be missing the real issue, the OPPO players Digital processor built in does not have the capability to mix the Center Voice on a DVD disc to the front Left and right, Yes an old 4 channel receiver as long as it has the 4 separate mono channel inputs could in fact allow you to get away with hearing the front L & R , rear L & R just fine, however you will have no Dialog, because you will need a fifth channel in this case to output the Center channel jack of the oppo to another amp and fifth speaker..

Only way around this is to use what is mentioned above, A newer Pro logic type receiver from about probably 1992 and up that has the capability to take a connection from the digital outs either Toslink or Coax from the oppo player and decode the 5.1 signal of a DVD down to "Phantom mode" which yes then eliminates the Center speaker all together and runs voice thru the L & R while still retaining the Rear Speaker surround effect channels.

I mean unless you use both the L & R channels on the OPPO and simply set the processor inside the Oppo for Stereo out Mix not 5.1 Mix you can get 4 Stereo channels, but of course this will not be true surround sound or Have the Bullets speeding between the Two rear speakers it will just be all information sent to all 4 channels. So in a nutshell no you can't use old Quadrophonic receivers just for the amps and get true surround sound without a processor capable of running a 4 Channel phantom mode, and I doubt any DVD players have ever been built with this function in it.
I have tested it out on my Oppo 981 and it does indeed down mix the center channel to the front l/r when down mix 5.1 is selected and center is set to off (you can set the sub to off also). You should be good to go. Unless I'm still missing something?
"Is Flamb suggesting that only active speakers are ideal for HT?............if so your crazy."

Yeah, no, I'm informed, and plenty experienced! (about 23 solid years around and/or in high end audio/video. But thanks. Infact, just run your statements and comments on active vs passive through any high end custom speaker designer, and see if he's crazy too! Let me know, I've spend time at at least 4 speaker designers plants or homes, and it's just all achedemic here.

Chadnliz, there's a HUGE difference between active and passive speakers, that goes beyond just having some amps in a cabinet (although it doesn't have to be that way to be "active"), vs your favorite, choice amp driving passives!!!! Yeah, HUGE DIFFERENCE! The difference in large is that the active speaker has the amplifier dirrectly coupled to the drivers (woofers/tweeters), for SUPERIOR CONTROL, DAMPING, AND RESPONSE FROM THE DRIVERS!...that's what!!!
A Passive system uses (unless it's using no crossover design, or minimal, like Druids, Old Sonus Faber, Triangle, similar) passive, "current limiting" resisters, coils, caps, whatever, which restict current flow, and thus the actual control the amp has on any given driver.
So, to answer the question, as to whether active speakers are superior to passive speakers--All things equal (same drivers, same cabinet, even same amps (minus a passive crossover network, substituting likely an "active electronic crossover", or minimalist cross-over design), an active speaker is superior, hands down, yes!!! Ofcourse, it likely needs to be designed that way to begin with, mostly.
I once heard a demo of a pair of passive NHT 1.5's vs pro active 1.5's, and the difference was not suttle! The actives stomped a mud hole in the passives, threw mud in it's face, and threw a soundstage that dewarfed the passives!!!
Yeah, I'm very much into higher efficiency actives, even modified horns, and other that offer superior transient response, dynamic transparency, and realism, you bet!
I've yeat to be blown away by ANY, even high end passive HT setup, even driven by the best amps money can buy!
The Avantgards play in this arena, but then they're 110+ db horn speakers, crossed over to active woofers!!
Geared4me, you are correct it seems, I called oppo on this, they say they can run a Phantom mode, however its just not called that I guess in the player.. very interesting..      
Active speakers are not superior, that is simply a biased opinion, sure they can be and are very good but not the size does not fit all.
" just run your statements and comments on active vs passive through any high end custom speaker designer,"

So???? If ANY high end speaker designer would agree then why are such a minute fraction of makers doing an active?

This isnt a contest so you dont need to feel like you are going to win or loose if you dont shout from your soap box.

FWIW, I have to agree with both you and Flrn. You are absolutely correct, actives are not the absolute and will not be the cure-all of speakers. (Cure-almost-all...) There is no such thing as "the best speaker". There is no clear winner; partially because the lines will never be clearly defined and opinions will never allow them to meet and surpass the "superior" points. It is what it is.

IMO, actives trump passives on many levels...but superior is such a relative word.

"So???? If ANY high end speaker designer would agree then why are such a minute fraction of makers doing an active?"

My 2 cents, FWIW...there is an even smaller, minute fraction of makers that make really good high end speakers. Those that active!
"So???? If ANY high end speaker designer would agree then why are such a minute fraction of makers doing an active?"

IT's REAL easy. And They usually come up with about the same answers as to why the manufacture won't approve, design, or market an active speaker (and associated components). And yet, they all understand the huge benefits of active, as that would be ideal. (*yes, ideal!).
Basically it gets down to economics, marketing effectiveness, and return for their dollar!!! They must then be dealing with electronics as well, which means more involvement, and it's easier to simply build a passive speaker network. In short, it's WAY MORE EXPENSIVE to build an Active speaker setup! IT's hard enough for any of these companies to maintain profit margin, and keep the doors open, and the average consumer isn't going to be aware enough to chose the expensive one. (case in point, the NHT
active speaker system, at $8000...this is a SUPERB Speaker system, all in all, and it doesn't sell!!!--I'd put that speaker side by side with any passive Thiel, B&W, or Wilson Monitor, of the same parameters, and it DESTROYS THOSE SPEAKERS, YES!!!....however, that's my oppinion.)
And, yes, it's ALL about marketing! If you doubt, just ask
But yes, that's ok, I think it's wonderful that several here think passive speakers are equal to or even better often then active counterparts! (I liken this to people who read Maxim Magazine, and find all the skinny-hipped, fake-boobed chicks smokin hot!--That leaves all the "Betty-Boop-like", curvy, velupuous, "real women" are left for me!!!--no problem) LOL!
This just makes my job of promoting active setups, all the more speciliazed, and higher end!
Yes, if you like superior dynamic transparancy, powerful transient response, "hit-you-in-the-chest" dynamics, and basically realistic sound with force and body, then actives are for you, yes!
Heck, just play any serious rock and roll, 2 channel through your beloved passived speakers, then through some active ones, all sizes equal, and tell me what you think! The differences are clear to me.
Sorry active speakers sound "pro" to me and it gets on my nerves.....maybe I will find ones I like but not quite yet.
Don't get me wrong. Just because a speaker is an active design (especially tbe many pro audio "active speakers" I've heard at Sam Ash) doesn't mean it sounds good across the board! It has to be a good speaker, fundamentally. You can't take crappy drivers, a slip-shod cabinet, and poor design, then make it an active setup, and expect great sound over all. No! All things equal however, and active is clearly superior. All powered subs are basically "active". That's why the dynamics and power handling are superior there!
I think we got way off base talking about active vs. passive speakers. Maybe another thread should be started on this subject.

The whole idea of this experiment is to put together a very good HT system using my vintage JBL monitor speakers, and therefore mate them to an equally vintage 70's quad receiver, using a not so vintage Oppo DVD player as the source.

And yes, you can tell the Oppo that there is no center channel and still have 4 channel HT, just like you can tell it that you only have L & R and have 2 channel HT, which I enjoy now.

I still haven't got a quad receiver as I'm a bargin hunter for this experiment. My JBL 4312's are not going anywhere soon, and I'm leaning more for a Sansui because the Marantz may be too warm and not dynamic enough for HT.

If I'm not mistaken didn't Sony make a quad receiver for a short time. If they did this would fit the HT sound perfectly. I had a 1970 Sony F3200 110 w/ch poweramp in 1970 and I chose it for its better articulation, if not a tad bit bright, to drive my larger Advents. the Advent really sang with this amp vs. my previos Dynaco. If Sony made a quad receiver it should have the same Sony sound and be perfect.