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I ordered a MX-151

Discussion in 'McIntosh Audio' started by twiiii, May 8, 2017.

  1. twiiii

    twiiii Super Member

    Messages:
    3,998
    Its been a busy day so it was 4:45 PM EDT when I opened Audio Classics website today and went to New Arrivals. There listed was a MX 151 I have been waiting to negotiate for since last January.

    So I called Steve and he had just gotten back from Virginia and didn't know it had been listed. But with in a few minutes step one of the deal was made. Ryan will check the unit and make sure all the updates have been made and confirm the unit is complete and in fine working order. Then it will be shipped along with a call tag for my trade in MX-119. Then once Ryan does the final check on the 119 we will finish doing the deal. But I guarantee it will be at a fraction of the cost of a MX 160, which I don't need at this time.

    To say I have the tingles is a mild understatement. This is almost as much fun as when I bought my matched pair of MC 275's back in 1968, or set up my Grands for Christmas in 69. or purchased my first MC 207 and the MX 119 in 08.

    I have down loaded the owners manual and have started reading. Like I always say read the manual first. It will save you time and a bunch of frustration. Fortunately I have only need to make a pair of balanced cables for my MVP 891. So it will be using two inputs. CD2 will be for analog sound only and DVD will be for DVD= blu ray. Then I'll use the DVR for the Pioneer recorder, I'll remove the JVC 9000 S VHS, But will connect the 861 as CD 1 and the pioneer Laser disc player via the RFD2 I'm holding in reserve. So Steve may get a surprise when I ship my MAC-3 and two D-150 A's back to him.

    In the mean time I'm going to make a new master hook up diagram to replace the current one. Get out the colored pins and transfer the cables that are numbered from the current hook diagram to the new one. Then when the 151 shows up it will be a simple plug and play. (I HOPE)

    Then i'll try room perfect with my room EQ's all by passed. Then we'll know which set up is better. Parametric EQ's set up with room analyzer or Room Perfect.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2017
    motorstereo likes this.
  2. damacman

    damacman Blown and Injected Subscriber

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    You have hinted around for some time now that you were in the market. For me, the hunt is half the fun. Congrats.
     
  3. feinstei

    feinstei AK Member

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    235
    Does the MX-151 have Internet Radio like the MX-121 has? Congratulations on your purchase. I also upgraded from an MX-119 (except that my upgrade was to the much cheaper MX-121). I miss some things about the MX-119 (the Phono section on my MX-121 isn't as good as the MX-119 and there aren't any S-Video inputs on the MX-121 (which I use for my McIntosh LaserDisc player)), but all-in-all, I am very happy that I've upgraded.
     
  4. Mike Gibson

    Mike Gibson Modulator Super Mod Subscriber

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    I can't wait for your opinions after you receive it. Your write ups are always very interesting.
     
  5. leftside

    leftside AK Member Subscriber

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    772
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    The MX121 and the MX151 seem to be selling for about the same price these days. If you prefer music sources, then get the MX121 as it has a pure direct mode and doesn't do any processing to the input. If you prefer movie sources, then get the MX151 as the Room Perfect is superior to the Audyssey.

    If I didn't have a standalone DAC, and had a MVP 891, I'd have gone for the MX151 as well. The MVP 891 and MX151 should be fabulous together.
     
  6. twiiii

    twiiii Super Member

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    3,998
    The 151 has 2 S inputs but I'll be using component inputs for the laser disc section and another if I decide to keep the JVC VCR a little longer. I won't be connecting the DVD section of the Pioneer laser disc player. . Why would I with a 861 connected component on one input with coax and another for CD via balanced and the 891 connected via HDMI and coax or balanced for analog only. Also I might send the balanced output over from the MP 100, I haven't decided yet. I use the graphic controls so much on the C-34V with the processor loops, for touching up lp's that I'll save that option for later. If I have room the connection to the apple computers will be via optical from an Airport Express, or HDMI from an Apple TV. The TV is via coax. The satellite audio is via coax.

    Whats the next upgrade, well if I were rich I would buy a SME 15 with a Dynavector XX2. I'm still not convinced about VPI tables with their floppy uni-pivot arms. The RV needs a blu ray player and I have space limitations. Even an Oppo won't fit.

    If you turn off the room perfect and select an analog input you are automatically in the analog mode with the 151. Just like you would have to turn off Odyssey and select Pure Audio with the 121. I had to read the manual 3 times before I caught the little fine print note about analog on the 151.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2017
  7. Velocityboat

    Velocityboat Well-Known Member

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    700
    Location:
    TX
    Congratulations on the MX-151. It has always been a piece I desired. I have been thinking trading for one.

    I think you will love the Room Perfect in multichannel and will grow to like analog not in pure analog too.
     
  8. Yamaki

    Yamaki Not For Hire Subscriber

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    2,696
    Location:
    Hillsboro, Oregon
    Congratulations on the upgrade! Can't wait to read your impressions of the unit.
     
  9. leftside

    leftside AK Member Subscriber

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    772
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    That's good to know. I was under the impression the MX151 didn't have a pure analog passthru. I've read this on many forums, but haven't seen it confirmed by McIntosh: (with the MX121 you don't "turn off" anything. You just select Pure Direct)
    https://www.audioaficionado.org/archive/index.php/t-34413.html

    "I think (but am not sure of this) that the MX-150 always deals with analogue inputs by doing an A->D conversion and then a D->A conversion. The MX-121 in Pure-Direct mode keeps everything analogue all the way to the amp outputs.

    You nailed it. The MX-150 digitizes all analog sources - there is no pure analog pass-through. So if a source has a digital output, it's better to use it even if that source has a better DAC than the MX-150. "
    http://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/mcintosh-mx121-vs-mx150-151.711501/
     
  10. twiiii

    twiiii Super Member

    Messages:
    3,998
    I should have said each input has the ability to choose the mode you want initially. So you can choose Pure Stereo for all your analog inputs if you wish. So you choose a Tape and if you have programmed the input that way the Pure Stereo mode automatically appears. What I haven't figured out yet is will it by pass Room Perfect or not. I'll keep reading. After reading further no mater which mode you select, a form of dolby or DTS, or Pure Stereo, for your input, then you can also select whether you want to by pass room perfect or not with that input. So There is a Pure Stereo mode for the MX-150/151 and once programmed in you don't have to worry about the mode when changing inputs. And yet there is the flexibility to change the mode by using the mode selector with the 151 control or with the remote like we did on our 119's. You could almost design a college Master class on How to set up Mac's different Home Theatre processors. Every dealer should have a graduate.

    If you'll read my older posts because Mac didn't mention it in their sales literature, I assumed like others there was not a Pure Stereo Mode with the 150/151. So Like I have said before, read the owners manual carefully before sticking ones foot in your mouth. Some times I forget my own rules. I guess that makes me human. Hope you all accept my apology....
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2017
  11. twiiii

    twiiii Super Member

    Messages:
    3,998
    Well it arrived Tuesday evening and yesterday after reading the real manual again, I made my hook up chart, and input programming option list. Then I made a chart identifying all the cables which I confirmed the number labels. I then transformed the numbers to the hook up chart of the 151, and am in the processing of doing the hook up. Hopefully I'll have some time in the next couple of days to finish the hook up and start programming the inputs. I am also installing a RFD2 to replace the MAC-3. I also have to change the connections on my Pioneer 60 inch Plasma. I hope to have sound with room perfect off soon. I haven't applied power yet! OH IT LOOKS BEAUTIFUL!. The box is big and heavy. Damn they changed the remote sensor connectors. The 151has eliminated 11 hook up cables so far I had to use with the 119 and Mac-3. With more to follow it seems. Thats the good news.
     
    motorstereo likes this.
  12. Velocityboat

    Velocityboat Well-Known Member

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    700
    Location:
    TX
    Twiiii,

    Any impression yet and your thoughts on Room Perfect. I found once you have RP active I get addicted to the hidden details in the music previously missed. I bet HT will be a rediscovery of all sound tracks too.

    I still would like to try a MX-151. I have enough gear I could trade to make the jump. Just need a little push.
     
  13. twiiii

    twiiii Super Member

    Messages:
    3,998
    Well the 151 is connected, the parameters set on the speakers and what I like is there is a custom mode. So if you have speakers that respond to 25 or 31 you can make those selections, too, if you wish. I renamed all the inputs necessary, changed the appropriate input connections to match. Then chose the mode, stereo, movie etc, the preferred decoding in the movie mode. And I bypassed the room perfect. So the stereo inputs are in the pure stereo mode.

    I have two issues. I can't seem to get the triggers 2 thru 4 to work the way I want.

    But the biggest issue so far is the gain structure is much different from my previous 119 and 120. Normally i would operate them with the volume control at 50 indicated. I get the same level now with a reading of the 33 on the 151. So I need to reset the preferred turn on volume.

    First sound impression seems as if the highs are 2db brighter, But what I really like is the bass is cleaner, tighter, faster. The low bass sounds almost like I have my Crowns amps back. Thats a good thing. I'm still using the same parametric EQ's for the time being. So that hasn't changed. And I am still using unbalanced out puts. One of these days i'll change to balanced after I pull the EQ'.s and up date the crossovers to balanced providing I like Room Perfect.

    The big thing is figuring out how to use the REMOTE. I did the set up using the controls on the 151 itself. And I used my spectrum analyzer sound level meter mode to set the levels of the speakers. I haven't checked the frequency response curves yet.

    One big difference is the unit is not set up for any kind of dubbing. And I can appreciate that. My DVR has 3 inputs, so #1 is now connected to the Laser Disc, #2 to the VCR, and #3 to the MVP 861 all for dubbing a movie. For dubbing audio the out put of the 861 optical goes to the Marantz. CD recorder. Everything analog, like cassette, R2R, vinyl, is handled by the C-34v which now feeds an input on the 151, so it can use Room Perfect in the future.

    So first thing Monday Morning I am going to call Ryan at Audio Classics, to get this trigger situation figured out, I have a work around at the moment. But want to do it with out wye cables. Maybe I'll figure out the issue between now and then.

    I'm just thankful The 151 with all the new hook up changes has not caused any hums, buzzes, whistles or birdies. Plus I have n't found one bad cable yet.

    I got rid of another 12 cables. So thats around 25 total.

    My one complaint is you need a lot of light plugging black cables into a black HT processor with a lot of tiny miniature black connectors and very very small tiny white lettering.
     
  14. MACKIE1975

    MACKIE1975 Active Member

    Messages:
    374
    This headband light will put light where it is and still have two hands for the task

    upload_2017-5-20_16-22-38.png
     
  15. leftside

    leftside AK Member Subscriber

    Messages:
    772
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Ha - I use the same!
     
  16. Velocityboat

    Velocityboat Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    TX
    Does the MX-151 allow you to balance input levels from 0 to 12 DB like the Lyngdorf processors? Interesting you can take a turntable signal and scale up the level digitally or balance volume level all inputs regardless of voltage they output. I just discovered this feature last week realizing I could not get full gain from some peripherals until all were balanced.
     
  17. twiiii

    twiiii Super Member

    Messages:
    3,998
    Each input can be increased or decreased by 10 db. I had to crank up Apple TV optical input 6 db to match everything else. I might back down the C-34 3 or 4 db.

    I have had a few issues today, for instance I had the component video cabels reversed on one input. And for got laser disc only works on S-video. Even with the RFD2 if want to play Dvd's and lasers from a Combi player it requires 2 inputs one for Component video and another S-video. Since the dvd player is so inferior to the 891/ 861, I left that option go by the way side.


    I started listening to different forms of music about 4 hours ago. Its amazing how good Laser disc audio was and nothing has changed with the MX 151. The 891 and 861 are still as fabulous ever using digital outputs. Using the balanced outputs they are even better for playing CD's, SACD or DVD-A. But still for some reason the 861 does a smoother job with CD's I've dubbed. Analog sources played on the C-34 have cleared up a bit, the bass seems faster as I have said before and sort of low frequency fog has lifted. That includes, from the Mr-80 , the Nakamichi Cassette, and the Marantz CD recorder. Phono bass is better using the MP 100 in place of the C-34 phono section. The only thing about the set up is the phono reproduction now is a little hyper critical. So for the fun of it I may by pass the MP 100 for a day or so. I will say the staging is ever bit as wide and the depth is tremendous from in your lap to the distant horizon from all the inputs I'll let you all know more and with greater detail in a few days. Its my turn for Sunday Dinner.

    I'm back. Figuring out the source programming can be issue and choosing what preferred best serves the given input is something you must consider in order to get the best results. Fortunately having programed both a 120 and 119 and played with a 121 helps me recognize what I was in for. I like the up sampling of S-video and component so that gets rid of some video cables. I found out the optical out put on my 150 Pioneer Plasma is kaput, but fortunately I ran enough extra cables to use coax out from the satellite receiver, an optical from Apple TV, and analog stereo from the TV for antennae operation sound. I still don't have all the HDMI swapped over, so the 150 does the switching of video and the MX 151of the audio . Over the next few days I want the 151 to switch everything. But it may not be possible do to line of site consideration for remote controls.

    The more I think about this and the more I play with the 151 I am coming to realize you can't program this thing once and walk away. There are so many options that are sub routines of other options depending on the flexibility of the source that some serious time will have to be spent listening before settling on a final result. With some equipment in the past I didn't like optical hook-ups preferring coax. Just like I prefer balanced over unbalanced over digital for a stereo signal originally in the analog format.

    I was amazed today when listing to Holly wood Basie's way. There wasn't any back ground noise. I have always known that from headphone listening, but this was the first time is was revealed over speakers. The highs were clean clear, the bass was tight, and rhythmic. The way Enoch captured the acoustics of the space is more revealing than before. All this with the highs trimmed down 3 db on the MX 151. I could also get almost the same result with the 10 kHz control turned down a bit on the C34. I haven't tried bypassing the tone controls on the 34 yet. Some folks say you can hear the difference. I can't say I have with the MX119 or 120 in the signal path. But it will be interesting to see if I do with the 151. Tomorrow I'll pull out the Reference Recording LP's and CD's for further evaluation. I also have some Telarc discs and CD's I want to evaluate closely.

    For you tube lovers out there for analog you will want to keep your 2200, 2300,or 2500 and use the pass thru feature I can guarantee.

    My biggest complaint of all this with trek is the owners manual. A much better forward would be appreciated. In some respects I wish there was a better cross reference guide and why would they use the term neutral in respect to frequency response when we have used the word flat forever. They do it throughout out the entire manual, substituting words. Sure we now the intent of the words, but if there is a nagging issue in the back of your mind using different terminology just makes the nagging worse.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2017
  18. twiiii

    twiiii Super Member

    Messages:
    3,998
    Well I almost had heart attack the trim controls weren't working on the remote, seems I accidentally had the remote in the SAT mode instead of the Mc mode. Now everything works. I got out the old spectrum analyzer and shoved some pink noise into the C-34, I guess it had been sick so long that when I finally sent it in for repairs I hadn't realized how the spectral balanced had changed. So a little touch up with my main L%R parametric equalizer and all is well. The MP 100 phono pre-amp plugged into the cd input of the C-34 isn't screaming at me anymore.

    I got out 4 records and gave them a listen, 2 Sheffields, one Telarc, and one Deutche Grammaphone. The Sheffields of Wagner was made with one tubed AKG Stereo mic, I owned one at one time and know what they sound like. I placed the 20 X 2 down on the disc and there was all that glorious AKG tube sound. Some may not like the recording, its a little dry. But the recording so surpasses the Deutche Recording with the Berlin Philharmonic. The continuous changing of the mix and over using focus microphones just drives me crazy. One minute the horns sound like they are across the street and the next minute they are seated on the lip of the stage. Same goes for double reeds, flutes, and percussion. The LA Philharmonic might be to bight recorded on an old movie recording stage, but the sound is consistant and focused. I would have preferred using Neumann stereo mic with the small 1" diaphragms and SS electronics to get rid of the congestion of the large diaphragm tube mics, but the Sheffield recording is right in every other respect. The MX 151 neither colored or fogged the recording. The Telarc recording of the Tangle wood Sousa commemorative band brings me back memories of sitting either in the trombone or Euphonium sections. Its that good and the MX 151 again allows all the sound to shine thru. Tomorrow I'll get out some of my recordings of big choirs, Dixie land groups, College wind bands, the US Navy Band, presidents own Marine Band, and see if I am carried back to those live concerts. The 119 did a great job, though the bass was bit to warm, which I blamed on the 207's with the low damping factor compared to the Crowns, but after hearing the 151 the issue may have been the 119.

    I have't talked agout movie sound yet from DVD's that much. I have some discs of ballet performances featuring the great ensembles from the Marinsky Theatre, the Bolshoi, New York City, ABT, and my favorite for dance the Royal Ballet. There the old movie standbys, Last of the Mohicans, Sound of Music, Oklahoma, Glenn Miller Story and Mary Poppins. There is also The Piano, and concerts by Perlman, and on SACD: Bowman, Leinsdorf, Klemperer etc. Just stay away from DG. I also Like Fennell, Kunzel, Ormandy, Solti, Welzer-Most, and of course Horowitz, Stern, Berstein, and Corporon.

    I'm saving the best for last. I'm just glad I got the phono situation cured. But now that I think about it . if the Nakamichi, MR-80, and Revox etc sounded OK. HuMMMMM!. Maybe some of the edge will also be gone on the Marantz CD recorder???

    Have a good evening I'll probably stay up late and sleep until noon tomorrow.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2017
  19. twiiii

    twiiii Super Member

    Messages:
    3,998
    Just by chance I pulled out Sam Pilafians Traveling Light Telarc disc. If I was n't sold on the 151 I am now. Having set in front of up right tuba players and tinkered with a C model I can tell you the 151 does the best of I have heard reproducing Sams tuba, which I heard live in concert with Empire brass and as soloist. The Clarinet sounds just so right as does the snare drum with brushes. My better half agrees as she played everything from Bb clarinet to BBb contra. The space around each of the instruments is perfect. If you want to hear an album with great Banjo, lead guitar, and rhythm guitar this is the one. And Sam singing through his instrument will simultaneously blowing his horn is done to perfection. We use to do it as a lark. The rendition of the tuba sound from the snap and crack of his lips to reaching two octaves above normal tube fare is just out of sight. I also dug out some other early Telarcs and the old definition is there and the bass will buckle your knees or make you wish you had some real woofers. So I guess I'm sold on the 151.

    But there is one concern if your source material has any over emphasis or high frequency distortion the 151 will reveal it in all its glory where the 119 was trying to be nicer to the source. Next on the list is some E Power Biggs, maybe Michael Murray and big pipe Organ. Then comes the stuff I recorded live. But I'm sold.

    I'm going to wait till next week to fool around with room perfect. Why would I want to mess with Sonic Bliss I have now. And for all you guys you have to use the balanced outputs of your Mac MVP and MCD players. Its a different experience.

    Another thing you will learn between the MP100 and the 151 is that there isn't a Capitol recording made that doesn't have some HF issues. Listen to the difference between Sinatra on Capitol and then on Reprise and you'll hear the difference immediately. I don't know if was because they were using Neumann mics designed for distance pick up as solo mics or if it was the nature of the board they were using. I know its not the Ampexs, unless over tweaked. It could be the amps driving the cutter head. But you could since the issue with the 119 and its there in all its glory with the 151.

    PS. E Power Biggs is fun at 10 db below full tilt thats 103 db on my system. At 17 ft from the speakers. It sounds good at .2 watts ,too. 20 db less.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2017
  20. Velocityboat

    Velocityboat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    700
    Location:
    TX
    Twiiii,
    Sounds like your having a blast. I figured you would have broke out the room perfect by now or already had talking of all the sonic improvements. It is good to get familair with capabilities and then have a with and without it comparison. I love what RP does bringing out all vocals. especially in a choir or individual background vocalists. Plus percussion, strings, windwoods, brass and especially piano.

    I knew I wanted the MX151. Your description of capabilities and adjustments mske it a custom tweakers dream. So a definite progression past the two channel Lyndorf for HT and it sound as if it is still wonderful for two channel. I almost already started bidding on one yesterday. I also trust your advice having sold me on XR290s. But I will hold off until I hear you RP impressions .

    One question why are you driving the C34 in pass through? Curious if comparison only or some feature is left out?
     

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