MX114 and MC250 Question

Discussion in 'McIntosh Audio' started by AlTinkster92, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. AlTinkster92

    AlTinkster92 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Hi, Thought I would ask you Mac experts for some advise :) I finally got my MX114 back from Audio Classics with new bulbs and new glass and its a beauty. The 114 according to them was within spec so nothing else was done.

    I also recently bought a recapped MC 250 amp to go with the 114. I am using both with a set of LaScalas with new Crites crossovers, should be a nice match right? Well, I hooked everything up and was listening last night and the sound just seemed "off" so to speak. I have used the MC250 with a Apt Holman pre amp previously and the sound was just awesome. With the MX114 there was less bass and presence, and frankly sounded terrible compared to the Holman Pre. Was up till 1 am switching wires, music sources etc. Gain settings on the amp were at 50 percent where I usually keep it. Additionally, I have to turn the treble up on the 114 to get the sound to the the level on the LaScalas where its listenable (to me). All switches were cleaned so I know thats not a problem.

    My question is....what if anything am I doing wrong? The MX114 should sound as well as any other gear I have but hooked to the MC 250 it's just terrible in comparison. Thanks. Al
     
  2. c_dk

    c_dk Addicted Member

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    Sounds like AC dropped the ball........

    90% of the postings relevant to the C26 apply to the Mac integrated tuner/ preamps.

    Personally I have measured that vintage of preamp, found it within spec but it did not sound as good as it could in my opinion. More in depth measurements found linearity issues due to the active tone circuits and S/N aberrations that only would really show up under spectral analysis.
     
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  3. Pio1980

    Pio1980 AK Member Subscriber

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    To establish a base line of of performance, plug your media player outputs directly into the 250 and use its level pots to control loudness. Audition several types of music.
     
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  4. damacman

    damacman Blown and Injected Subscriber

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    IMHO, the Apt preamp is just in a whole 'nuther league than an MX114 ... Personally, I'd continue using the Apt and use the MX114 as a tuner only.
     
  5. AlTinkster92

    AlTinkster92 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks guys, Ryan at Audio classics said that everything was in spec and I'm no expert on this stuff. I do know that Caps 40 years old would be out of spec. When I sent it in I asked for a detailed analysis on what it would take to make this brand new electronically and would of been willing to pay for a restoration.......This being my first Mac piece and as beautiful as it is and all.........it's special. I think Audio Classics is a company I will never do business again with.

    That being said..where do I send this 114 for a full restoral? Thanks Al 001.JPG  Mac again.JPG
     
  6. mnmmt

    mnmmt AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Terry Dewick. He has essentially a menu of options, from power supply update, to alignment, to audio path upgrades. Never heard of anyone dissatisfied with his work.
     
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  7. avguytx

    avguytx AK Subscriber Subscriber

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  8. c_dk

    c_dk Addicted Member

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    What are you using as your sources?

    The APT is 12 years newer and was quite the darling of the budget audiophile crowd back in the early 80s.....the critically claimed phonostage I believe was adapted by Holeman from his time with Advent.

    The tone circuits are always active in these early transistor units from Mac and if they go out of alignment due to aged parts or even a improper cleaning as reported by kimmo in his C26 post it will really throw off the spectral balance of the preamp.

    I have a MX115 here that I have paralleled prototyping upgrades with a C26 but since the MX115 came in on trade with a faulty volume control I have also been experimenting with replacement options for the volume control.
     
  9. Pio1980

    Pio1980 AK Member Subscriber

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    You should try the bypass audition test I proposed to determine what is adding or subtracting what. Otherwise you have no baseline of reference.
     
  10. AlTinkster92

    AlTinkster92 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Audio source for the 114 is Tidal, CD's etc. Even though Audio Classics said "everything was in spec" ........ I do not believe them. I think they just didn't want to work on it as it would require tech time that could be used to turn around other gear faster, hence the ole bottom line....I understand that. So, its never been recapped etc, only thing thats been done is Deoxit of the controls. I know this 114 should sound better than it does.... Thanks!
     
  11. AlTinkster92

    AlTinkster92 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Where do I find details on this test? Thanks
     
  12. Pio1980

    Pio1980 AK Member Subscriber

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    It's simple, just take the output cables from your cd digital media player off the preamp and plug them directly into the MC250 inputs where the preamp output was previously. Adjust loudness for each channel with the controls on the 250 and audition several types of music for a couple days.
    Then do the auditioning with each preamp in turn reinstalled.
     
  13. c_dk

    c_dk Addicted Member

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    It does not strike me that, with the exception of Moderferri's tuner work, Audio Classics is a not a restoration shop.....they resell used gear internationally that has been tested to work and warranty it.

    A few weeks ago, in a C26 restoration thread, I tried to encourage other restorers to join me in searching for added bench testing procedures to document what we have been hearing as we restore this vintage gear.

    The response has been.......................non existent.

    Has AC been a Mac dealer for even a decade? To my knowledge their roots are mail order resell of used gear. If they are not on board with restoring gear before reselling it how in the world will the old school dealers of 20,30,40 years ever get on board?
     
  14. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

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    I think they simply service equipment to ensure it makes spec. Much like in the used car business I make sure the car is serviced and safety inspected before putting it up for sale. "Restoration" in this sense of the word would mean that plus a brand new driveline in each used car we sell. The market would never support it and you'd be out of business in no time. That's why used sells for x and new sells for y.

    That said I applaud the efforts of those talented and dedicated individuals who take the time to restore older equipment to its original glory - and even in some cases, surpass it. This is a labor of love. Different paradigm.
     
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  15. c_dk

    c_dk Addicted Member

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    Vintage audio gear is not selling a teenager their first car or a family a second car......much more akin to keeping a vintage sports car in proper service.
     
  16. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

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    That might be your definition of what vintage gear is about - and I don't disagree with that premise. But the sad reality is - rightly or wrongly - not everybody sees it that way.
     
  17. sberger

    sberger Hard Core Geezer Subscriber

    This makes me really wonder about AC. When they advertise that gear that they sell "meets or exceeds specs" I guess that doesn't necessarily mean that they have done anything with it, even if it's decades old. My assumption was that they did complete restores on their gear that you pay premium for, but it sounds like that may not be true. I bought a 250 from them a few months back that met/exceeded specs, and while it sounds good, I did so thinking that it had been restored, ie caps/resistors changed out, etc. I supposed I should've asked.
     
  18. AlTinkster92

    AlTinkster92 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Pio, I did your test and also was suggested by my friend Dave Gillespie, sound was wonderful. If I hook the MX114 to it sound goes down hill right away. The Apt Holman also sounds very very nice on the MC250.
     
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  19. AlTinkster92

    AlTinkster92 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    There is no doubt in my mind that Audio Classics is more interested in turning gear as fast as possible, after my ordeal with them I believe they dont restore gear, they do shine it up and send it back looking good but I wanted mine recapped and told them so from day one. When I got the 114 back the second time it still sounded poor. I finally called and bypassed Ryan and spoke with the owner. I received a full refund. I'm more determined than ever to get this lowly 114 working correctly. Thanks Al
     
  20. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

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    A full restoration like C_dk is talking about, you're talking serious money. As a business model, it could never work because very few would ever pay the premium involved - especially on equipment of limited value in the first place. Most people would not buy an air conditioner in January for 1/2 price even though they know it will cost double in June. Just a fact of the marketplace that defies logic. :rolleyes:

    By the same token, most people will far more happy to pay $700 for a "serviced-to-spec" C26 rather than one that has been masterfully restored for $1,400.

    They do warranty the equipment they sell for an entire year and that is the peace of mind you're paying for.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
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