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McIntosh MA252

Discussion in 'McIntosh Audio' started by welcomdmat, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. c_dk

    c_dk Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,182
    Location:
    West Michigan
    I will assume it uses the same IC based topology that Mac has used for decades but with surface mounted devices (SMD) instead of the tried and true through hole devices.

    If you are a firm believer in the sound quality of certain types of say, capacitors, (Electrolytic, Mylar, poly this or that, tantalum etc. etc.) this might be a issue as the selection of SMD types are more limited than through hole.

    Time, basic testing and reviews will tell.
     

     

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  2. Pio1980

    Pio1980 AK Member Subscriber

    Messages:
    26,038
    Location:
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    I think the vast majority of modern solid state phono stages are by-the-book feedback loop RIAA ic based, with some sonic tweaking by individual implementers.
    Tube stuff follows a similar pattern, two triode gain stages with fb loop RIAA, plus a cathode follower noninverting unity gain third output stage.
    It's hard to beat the classics.
     
  3. welcomdmat

    welcomdmat AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,089
    Location:
    Pittsboro, NC
    It sounds like c_dk has made a solid point

    The gentleman who told me that it is generally a MA5200 will be disappointed with my patience.
     
  4. c_dk

    c_dk Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,182
    Location:
    West Michigan
    When we were in 6 square miles of maize and blue surrounded by a sea of green and white I believe there was a MA252 there...l I heard some people talking about it but I was much more interested in meeting the new McIntosh people there.

    I will check with my fellow travelers to see if they spent any time with it.
     
    welcomdmat likes this.
  5. welcomdmat

    welcomdmat AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,089
    Location:
    Pittsboro, NC
    _

    If c_dk has knowledge from his trip to Michigan or anyone else has some inside knowledge that would speed up my patience, I am very interested. I will be an early adopter if the unit warrants the expense.

    Again, I am trying to beat a C712 to MC2100 with modern technology and tubes.
     
  6. damacman

    damacman Blown and Injected Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,424
    Location:
    Gilbert, AZ
    Compare the S/N ratios of the units. Every 10dB improvement is a magnitude and easily audible. This will be what your ears pick up on first.
     

     

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  7. welcomdmat

    welcomdmat AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,089
    Location:
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    From what an amateur can see, C712 phono -90 dB, MC1200 -90dB

    MA252 signal to noise Moving Magnet -80dB

    Is this a fair reading of the components? Oh, and what does it mean?
     
  8. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,317
    Location:
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    The lower the S/N figure, the lower the noise floor. Simply put the background "hiss" will be half as loud at -90 dB than at -80dB. This is most noticeable on only the quietest of musical passages or silence; anything louder, you'd have a very difficult time distinguishing between the two noise levels.
     
  9. welcomdmat

    welcomdmat AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,089
    Location:
    Pittsboro, NC
    So, I would basically be giving up sound quality by moving from my C712/ MC2100 to the new MA252.

    That is interesting to know. I had hoped that having new equipment with a warranty and all that would be a step forward.

    Am I wrong in thinking this new McIntosh piece is a step backwards? Maybe I am reading the statistics incorrectly.
     
  10. Pio1980

    Pio1980 AK Member Subscriber

    Messages:
    26,038
    Location:
    Angel Station, Alabama
    Depends on noise level of the media (LP) swamping the difference.
     
    Bill Ferris and 62caddy like this.
  11. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

    Messages:
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    A bit overstated and as @Pio1980 has pointed out, there's no guarantee the noise level of the recorded material is necessarily going to match the -90 dB spec or even -80.
     

     

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  12. welcomdmat

    welcomdmat AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,089
    Location:
    Pittsboro, NC
    Could any of you folks help me with this? I know the sound will be different between the two units --

    but when do you know you are upgrading?

    It would be within the same brand, so the comparison should be pretty consistent.
     
  13. welcomdmat

    welcomdmat AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,089
    Location:
    Pittsboro, NC
    Does that mean that everything is a dice roll?
     
  14. Pio1980

    Pio1980 AK Member Subscriber

    Messages:
    26,038
    Location:
    Angel Station, Alabama
    It will probably sound different, depending.
    Different is easy, better not so much, and is subjective for the listener.
    The 2100 is early generation silicon solid state, the 252 power amp section is current technology. Tube have virtues and vices, the virtues mainly benefit tweakers, the vices are similar related issues of choosing these tubes over those, and inconsistent slowly deteriorating performance reminiscent of the "slowly boiling the frog" analogy.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
    62caddy likes this.
  15. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

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    Everything is relative in this game. You are attempting to have answers in the absolute.

    -70 dB is generally considered a benchmark minimum for reasonably good hi fi reproduction.

    Incidentally, except for a handful of very finest turntable/cartridge combinations, very few are capable of much better than -80 dB S/N.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
    rxonmymind and joeinid like this.
  16. VintageMac

    VintageMac McIntosh Junkie Subscriber

    Messages:
    438
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    I don't think you can compare the MM signal to noise ratio of the MA252 with the amplifier signal to noise ratio of the MC2100.

    The high level SN ratio for the MA252 is -97dB, while the SN ratio of the MC2100 is -90dB.

    Larry
     

     

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  17. welcomdmat

    welcomdmat AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,089
    Location:
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    That is learning for me. The high signal noise is not what I was looking at. I was looking at the 80dB Moving Magnet signal to noise of the MA252.

    I compared that to the C712 -90db phono noise and hum into the MC1200 noise and hum at -90db.

    If the MA252 would be better compared at -97dB when running it for phono playback, then that makes me a little more relaxed.



    And! -- I am not saying that I don't understand everything is different. That -- if you will (and I understand correctly) -- the sound of one turntable mat pleases some and bothers others. Or the loading of one cartridge pleases some ears through some speakers while others find otherwise. Or that some like McIntosh and others like -- insert brand here -- .
     
  18. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

    Messages:
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    The -97 dB spec applies to the line level inputs, ie: CD player, tuner, DAC etc. It has no bearing on the phono stage which is -80 dB. (Assuming the TT/cartridge combination meets this spec to begin with).
     
  19. ron-c

    ron-c AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,201
    Location:
    N. Ca.
    You should compare MA252 specs to other current models as the way units are measured has changed since C712.
    Thanks,
    Ron-C
     
  20. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    I was beginning to wonder the same thing @ron-c

    C712 manual provides two specs:

    A-Weighted Phono: 90dB below 10mV input, (84 dB IHF). High Level: 105dB below rated output, (95 dB IHF).

    MA252 specs on Mc site simply lists 80 dB and 97 dB but doesn't specify. Presumably IHF?
     
    ron-c likes this.

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