I don't have a job, but I just bought a pair of MC60s... that need work.

Discussion in 'McIntosh Audio' started by biscuithead, Sep 5, 2017.

  1. biscuithead

    biscuithead Me likes the eargasm retroplasm... Subscriber

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    So, I haven't worked in three months, and my daughter just started kindergarten.

    I had a pair of MC60s just fall into my lap at a no-brainer price, and I had to have them.

    They were the former owners fathers. He had spent the last few months taking one to his friend who is a "tech", and the one after many resistor and cap replacements, only worked occasionally. He got tired of messing with them and dumped them to me.

    We have a very seasoned Mac tech in the town next to me, and I plan on taking them to him. My wish is to make these my "lifetime" amps.

    I strongly suspect that his tech was a novice, and I hope did not do any damage to them. I will be buying an entire new tube set for the pair, because what came with it is a hodge-podge.

    I am looking for recommendations for tubes in the $200-$400 range... and do I take them to the tech before or after I buy the tubes?
    Thanks
     
  2. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Super Member

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    I sincerely hope that you have one or more of the following available to you--1) a great severance/golden parachute package, 2) a pre-nup, 3) a great divorce attorney, 4) an independently wealthy and understanding spouse/significant other, or 5) a pending inheritance (other than your own life insurance policy). I don't have a spouse or any "dependents", but I know I would be in financial "protect mode" right now. I have no one else depending on my income, but I own my own business (contractor), so I have a certain responsibility to my employees and their families--even during the "slow" periods that occur from time to time--so no new "toys" during that time--but that is just me.

    As for the final question--no new tubes until after the rebuild/service, unless some test way out of spec--get them up and running, and then fool around with tube rolling. Get them up and running and then do your research (you apparently have time on your hands) to look for what characteristics you might prefer.
     
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  3. faber12

    faber12 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    My advice is to wait until the finances are stabilized before doing anything to them. Seriously, you can wait. It won't hurt them.
     
  4. techguy0192

    techguy0192 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I would urge you to be cautious of your expenses. Seriously, I have a very young daughter, and it would worry the crap out of me to be unemployed for that amount of time.

    Those MC60s are timeless classics. They're not going down in value and will be waiting on you once things hit an upswing for you. Take your time.

    I would also recommend not putting any new, especially expensive tubes, in them until the tech checks them out. Don't feel obligated to spend 400 bucks on tubes. There are some nice current production tubes that should work out nicely in those amps.

    Take care.
     
  5. motorstereo

    motorstereo the wonder of it all Subscriber

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    I buy Mac gear and have now for several years now during the winter months when I'm out of a job so yes it can be done. But I always have a return to work date in the spring. If you don't have a return to work date lined up my advice would be get your priorities straight and don't buy any non essentials unless it's for a quick cash flip.
     
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  6. MACKIE1975

    MACKIE1975 Well-Known Member

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    Download the service manual and read about it since you have time.
     
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  7. biscuithead

    biscuithead Me likes the eargasm retroplasm... Subscriber

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    I have been doing the QCF (quick cash flip) for three months, paying the mortgage and setting aside some play money. I have made more doing this than working, but that is because I had a garage full of schtuff. All I did was deplete the play money to buy these. I am in construction, and have experienced the Feast/Famine for 25+ years. When it rains, catch it in a bucket. I didn't mean to sound like a dumb chump without priorities... only an excited chump that jumps when Mac opportunity knocks.
     
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  8. biscuithead

    biscuithead Me likes the eargasm retroplasm... Subscriber

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    Waiting to buy tubes does sound prudent. I shall download the manual!
    Thanks!
     
  9. MACKIE1975

    MACKIE1975 Well-Known Member

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    Are both amps have the same issue? If one of the amp is good then you can use the good one as a reference. Check the value against the service manual. Take a lot of pictures (top, side, vertical, horizontal, close up, etc.). Don't short anything while checking. It is high voltage so take extra caution. You can check certain component without live voltage but those caps can hurt you so again, be cautious.
     
  10. biscuithead

    biscuithead Me likes the eargasm retroplasm... Subscriber

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    I've done that... Since I'm so close to a Mcintosh tech, and since I picked them up cheap, I'm going to just have him go through the amps for a couple hundred bucks... He has a distortion analyzer, and all the high-dollar equipment that is necessary for a pro-job. He has been working on Macs since 1963, he use to roll around in a mobile Mac lab.
     
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  11. SilverTpt999

    SilverTpt999 Member

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    I've done this myself, though I started with a near-stock, excellent condition pair. Here's my main caution for you:

    Even if the tech is your brother and will do work for free, the parts cost to properly refurbish these is significant. By the time I was done, I had about $700-1000 in it (though this does include tubes, and I bought a few extra quads as the SED winged C factory was going out of business where the deals were good) on top of the initial cost and hours of careful labor spread over months. You can do better if you get lower end parts, don't care about cosmetics, cut corners, or feel like skipping out on replacing some stuff that really should be replaced. By 'should be replaced' I mean basically every resistor, capacitor, and the selenium diode should be replaced in a stock amp at this point, 60+ years later. The big costs are the can caps - especially if you care greatly about cosmetics - and getting a proper set of PIO small value caps. The resistors aren't individually expensive, but add up to about $50 if you want mil-spec Dales at precise values. Worse if you feel anything esoteric worth pursuing. Of course, replacing all of this takes a lot more time than just getting it working. My amps were working when I bought them... but I wanted them to be working when I pass them on to my kids.

    The job actually gets harder when trying to restore a poorly done or botched refurb, particularly if they weren't following the schematic and didn't leave any notes. Harder here usually is in terms of many additional hours of the tech's time.

    Don't get me wrong, I'd do it all again. Very satisfying. But thinking you can fix this up for a couple Benjamins is perhaps not the best mindset. If you were my brother, I'd look you in the eye and say "you did real good buying these. But wait until you can definitely refurb them right, and are more than sure you can afford it (in terms of $$ and spousal/familial stress)."

    The money is in the metal - transformers and chassis. Buy some red-tube Wenol and use a little Carnauba car wax to polish the chassis, put them somewhere dry and they will be ready when you are.
     
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  12. biscuithead

    biscuithead Me likes the eargasm retroplasm... Subscriber

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    I totally understand. 2 cans were replaced a week before buying... already sourced the 2 other cans if needed. The tubes will wait, because the amps came with two new 6550s and 4 extra vintage GE 6550s (8 total) that I tested at above 70%... When it comes to the little tubes... I have about 40-60 each of 12ax7,12au7 and maybe 20 bh7** that I've salvaged and used with other amps. Now, the rectifiers, I might only have 5-6-8 of ... I'll need to check all the crevices... Not to mention all the KT88s I have laying around...

    You should see the shelves of this tech... I am not lying when I say he must have a hundred various Mac tube amps littering his parts/project shelves... and all the other random tube stuff would drop the jaw of the deepest pocket gentleman (WE, Thoradson, Fairchild, Leak, Quad, Ampex, Altec, AR, etc) , and as far as SS... he has more silver Marantz pyramid stacked and about to fall, than any landfill did in 1982. He won't sell, don't ask, he calls it all crap, and probably restores/builds about 20-30 pieces a year for his church charity that he has a friend sell online and overseas. When I mention AK, he rolls his eyes. No offense meant. His home system has stuff in it that I've never heard of, I saw a European Lorenz something that I've never been asked to listen too... I won't push it.
     
  13. winston1156

    winston1156 Active Member

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    I think this is cool. No suggestion on tubes at this point. I just think its great.
     
  14. chuckworkb

    chuckworkb AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Got any pics of the units as you got them?
     
  15. x3workshop

    x3workshop AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I've been a freelancer for 30+ years and I know feast or famine. I've also purchased things at a great price when I've been in the middle of a dry spell. Hard not to. Hang onto these until you get back to work. You can always sell them pretty easily if the dry spell is a bit too long.

    I do suggest that you consider doing the resto yourself when you have funds. Mac's are probably some of the easiest amps to work on based on the simplicity of the layout. That doesn't mean it's a piece of cake, but there are enough people here who can walk you through any areas where you're unsure of what to do. My 2 cents.
     
  16. drillher

    drillher AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I would hold off on restoration until your situation is more stable.Mike Samra is a master for Mac tube amps.
     
  17. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

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    I'm sure the OP is best able to assess his own situation. :)
     
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