Discussion in 'McIntosh Audio' started by c_corie, Apr 3, 2018.
Cost value is a serious consideration, many good alternative refurbed candidates have appeared on Bargain Town here on AK for a fraction of the price of a professionally refurbed Mac.
If it must be Mac, warranted, and a keeper, I'd recommend something that has passed over Terry DeWick's bench.
Or Ryan at Audio Classics......
Really, it's difficult to dispute the prowess of the MA6200. I've had BIG systems for years. If I had to sell it all and keep only a vintage integrated, the MA6200 would be my choice. I've had numerous units over the years - mostly bought to refurb and resell. One unit I lent to my father and he used it in his system for about five years and enjoyed the hell out of it.
The 5-band EQ is perfect - having every adjustment that you'll need and none that you don't . . .
The styling . . . magnificent . . .
The performance . . . spectacular - this may be the most powerful 75 wpc integrated amplifier ever built . . .
All that and a bag of chips.
I’m in the same camp. I have ARC, AI, MR, Bryston, Vintage Marantz- and although my MA6200 has gotten sidelined several times for something more glamours, it is still in my collection (albeit in use at my parents house because I couldn’t just let it sit on the shelf) and is indeed one of the most versatile pieces I own.
Oh, and I just want to note, there are newer integrates from Mac that offer similar value/versatility- but they lack the house sound that Mc- Binghamton was known for IMO.
I have a good friend with an MA6500 and yes, it has the meters built in and the bigger knobs (almost a caricature of the older Mac), but it’s very lean sounding, almost sterile and analytical. It has a wonderful presentation and is crystalline, but it doesn’t sound like the Binghamton era.
I know this is turning into a love-fest for the 6200 but it’s clearly for a reason.
So, is one more "accurate" than the other, or just euphonics?
I think "accurate" is subjective, its just a different voicing. Music is colored by nature and each of us hear things differently. I would think the newer gear probably "tests" better in terms of flat frequency response, but I have never met a scope that made sound I'd want to dance to.
The Mac SS gear until the early 80's was still emulating the house sound they had during the era of tubes (they were still one of the few companies using autofomers in their big amps as late as they did). The aural esthetic started to change in the 80's to a cleaner, crisper, and more articulated sound- less tubey, more solid state. One isn't better than the other, just different. The 6200 has one foot in the past with it's preamp design and the integral amp is the more modern non-autoformer type; kind of the best of both worlds.
I've been quite satisfied with the MA5300 running in my office. Powering Wharfedale speakers. Has digital inputs which I need.
If achieving flat frequency response from its gear is considered their house sound, McIntosh is guilty as charged. The real improvements in sound with later Mc units are mainly due to an increase in the S/N ratio, production advancements that allow the engineers to design tighter circuits, refinements in autoformer production, and quad balanced circuitry and its implementation. It's remiss to say that McIntosh attempted to emulate the sound of their tube pieces with early solid state offerings. Recall, the transistor was in its infancy in HiFi and McIntosh was the last holdout. They held out until they could design SS units that rivaled the performance of their tube gear That simply means that the measured performance and proven reliability of their tube gear was the yardstick by which they judged the worthiness of their SS designs.
I do not read every thread in the AK Mac forum but this is the first time someone (else) has put in writing what I have thought all along. Thanks
The various units may measure similarly and still sound different.
Agreed. Mostly for the reasons I outlined. As technology marches on, McIntosh (and others) get closer and closer to the ultimate goal - a straight wire with gain. Looking back, few will dispute that McIntosh was head and shoulders above most other companies in the measured spec department - hence, the DOB clinics.
As I was mobile, I neglected to add the relevance of component advancements.
Certainly during the tube era when they dominated "specsmanship", solid state proved the great leveler for meeting published specs. At that point, Mac's edge became reliability, with good specs and good sound.
Can someone please state what the specifications for a straight wire with gain are? At least I'll know when someone is close.
Simple. The signal coming OUT is identical to the signal coming IN, only with greater amplitude.
If all you are going to do is throw in a disc and listen then there are any number to choose from. But if you are serious and want a truly amazing Mac piece from the past, find a restored MA 6200. It does many things very well. It won't meet todays standards and does not use a remote, but for great basic sound its a marvelous piece. I have installed them just pushing Bozaks Altec, JBL or Klipsch and worked very well. They really specialized in pushing multiple speakers for Pools and Cabanas, back yards and barbecue areas. Those Graphic controls were a great plus for out door speakers in compromised areas. It doesn't have big power, but 100 watts was plenty for 95% of the folks back then. We all didn't need MC 2300's or 2500's.
I'm just hoping that I get a call from the McIntoshAudio guy- I think I'm on a list for the 6200 when one comes his way. I figure if that doesn't sound great with my B&W CM8 speakers I'll get some weird hybrid or just a plain old Rotel.
I love my Dennis Had 5w SEP EL84 amp but it's not quite enough.
Separate names with a comma.