Preamp for my MC30 pair, a Sensi needed.

Discussion in 'McIntosh Audio' started by zenarrrow, Apr 18, 2018.

  1. zenarrrow

    zenarrrow AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    So I finally scored a pair of MC30's, wanted them above any other McIntosh amp(s), just from everything I have researched about all the other choices, seemed to fit me and my needs more than anything. For me anyhow. I realize that others may have their favorites as well.

    I admit I am truly a green horn when it comes to what to chose for these, or honestly where to begin. I am sure in the near future I will be asking tons of stupid and simple questions, so this is just the first in a series.

    Any advice, tips or things to avoid? Any ideas will be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Joe

    (sorry if this has been hashed out here before, but I believe you guys are the true experts)
     
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  2. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

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    MX110, C20, C11 and C22 seem to be fairly popular choices among MC30 owners. MX110 will be the least expensive option (all other things equal) but excellent results can also be had with McIntosh solid state preamplifiers which will be significantly less expensive. Above all, the electronic condition of equipment is the most important to its sound quality than what type it is.I would far rather have a solid state preamplifier that had been professionally restored and verified to spec to a vintage tube unit that never been touched or serviced.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2018
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  3. damacman

    damacman Blown and Injected Subscriber

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    While I love the romance of the vintage tube amps, it just isn't there for me with the vintage preamps. A C15 would be worlds better in every way and cost half as much. Or spend similar coin and buy a C47.
     
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  4. thevinoman

    thevinoman Nothin' but the Blues... Subscriber

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    Certainly agree with all that caddy says here.
     
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  5. BillWojo

    BillWojo AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I gotta ask, have these amps been recently restored? If not, start spending your money there.
    I use a VTA SP9 with my restored MC40 monoblocks and couldn't be happier. I could never afford a restored early Mac tube preamp.

    BillWojo
     
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  6. zenarrrow

    zenarrrow AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Removed. New post below
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2018

     

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  7. zenarrrow

    zenarrrow AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I should add, that at this point. I waited for a long time for my MC30'S (explanation ahead)

    I do not want to start with a small step and get a pre to "start" with then upgrade further down the road.

    I want to spend the money and get the right setup right off.
    So, to a point price is not going to be an issue, to a point. A c20 or c22 makes me drool, and if those are ideal I will find a budget for one.

    So now the budget question is out of the way.... I have a 2 part question.

    Firstly I have a JA Michell Gyro SE TT and a sweet pair of Altec Lansing Model 14's (speakers recently procured) also bought my first MC cartridge within 5 months.
    Now to the questions. ..

    Right now I have a ST-70 with a Dynakit pas 2. The pas is for the most part stock. Power supply upgraded, line stage board and new phono stage board both replaced with stock like hardware. Tone controls still working. I have dc blocking caps in place in the outputs. I have some super nice Telefunken 12ax7's in it. Nothing more than that. Same with the ST-70. Basic restoration.

    (Explanation here for the wait)
    To me it sounds frickin' fantastic, I mean to my ears I love it. So I never thought about upgrading. Until I got the Altecs and the MC cartridge. Now all of a sudden things are sounding a lot better than ever.
    So is the MC30'S going to blow the Dynaco gear out of the water? Seems like with the cart and refoamed 14's a world of difference is already achieved. I imagine in my head life's secrets will all be revealed with the MC30'S

    Second question, I am still waiting for the amps to arrive. Still haven't decided on the right pre of course.
    Could I use the pas 2 to test them out? I know to have speakers connected before powering them up.
    Would it be a good test, to at least try them out, with the dc blocking caps should the impedance be alright?
     
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  8. BillWojo

    BillWojo AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Wow, your on your way to a kick ass system! Those Altec's should sound awesome on the Mac's.
    The MC30's should be a nice step up on the Dynaco's as well. Compare the specs on each, the Mac wins hands down. I don't think Mac made any tube monoblocks that are not considered top notch in the sonic's department.
    I can't answer the question about the blocking caps but a stock PAS would work fine. If I'm not mistaken, the caps are just there to stop any DC input and the AC music signal passes through. You shouldn't hurt anything by trying it and I think you will be pleased with the results.
    Tell us more about the MC30's. Are they relatively fresh or have they been stored in an attic for 30 years? That's my concern at the moment. You have the rest covered very well. I'm getting excited for you.

    BillWojo
     
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  9. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

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    I've used my Altec 14 with hybrid SS/tube MAC1500 receiver, MC240 + MX110, MC30 + MX110, as well as MC2505 + MX110 all with excellent results. Believe it or not, I actually like them the most with the MAC1500. The rolloff characteristics of the Model 14 seem to work exceptionally well with the MAC1500's loudness compensation but the MX110's comp isn't far behind.

    Any of these combinations should be a winner with the Model 14.
     
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  10. zenarrrow

    zenarrrow AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Me too I am......

    Here is some info on the pair.
    McIntosh MC30 pair,in good working condition,both amps are fully restored,new CE main electrolytic capacitors,new power cords and thermistors added for power supply protection,all coupling capacitors are original capacitors except we found six caps in leaking condition was replaced NOS Sprague Black Beauty caps,some out of spec resistors replaced,,both amps have Telfunken 12AX7's ,US version tubes and TAD 6L6GC's all other tubes are US versions,We strive to retain the original sound of these classic gems,All restoration work preformed by the audio experts at Audio Exchange Atlanta,Ga.Very nice sounding classic McIntosh MC30's
    Screen Shot 2018-04-19 at 2.47.55 PM.png Screen Shot 2018-04-19 at 2.43.58 PM.png Screen Shot 2018-04-19 at 2.43.46 PM.png

    I would rob my pas of the nice Telefunkins and upgrade any tubes that may be lacking of course. A little rust on the chassis and transformers, but all in all not too bad. Nothing that won't be addressed before long any how. Sound is priority of course.
     
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  11. BillWojo

    BillWojo AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Very nice, they are about in the same shape as mine with some light pitting on the chrome. Doesn't bother me as the price was right. I could never have afforded them if they were pristine.
    I run Tele's in all the small signal tube positions except for the 12BH7 position, those are vintage USA and the power tubes are a nice set of GE.
    Tube rolling doesn't have as much effect on these amps as some other amps. After reading all I could about it I just went with the Tele's and called it a day.
    So when are they being delivered?

    BillWojo
     

     

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  12. zenarrrow

    zenarrrow AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I believe they haven't yet shipped and I hope tomorrow they will be. So hopefully a week or close to it.

    I see where you can buy reproduction chassis's, and side plates, etc. If I ever want to go that route. Really not too bad of shape, all things considered, I think they could be a lot worse. I am glad you told me about the tube rolling, very good to know. Do you think the tubes included with the ones I am getting will be fine ? What do you think of it at first glance, and in the description, electrically? Sorry for the line of questioning...haha.

    I wish I had bought a pair 15 years ago....do you think the prices will continue to just skyrocket? Not too many are showing up lately. I am thinking about draining my 401K and just investing in McIntosh Audio gear.

    Great, now I am second guessing myself.... jk, I love the mono block vibe. I will keep a lookout for one of these, looks very cool, and I imagine it sounds good really good. Glad to hear they all kicked it with the 14's. I am certain the mc30's will do them justice as well. I am glad to know others enjoy the 14's with mcintosh gear. Gives me confidence.
     
  13. damacman

    damacman Blown and Injected Subscriber

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    A preamp may be the most personal choice in our systems. No one preamp is right for everyone. It took me 25 years of looking for it before the C200 found me. Of the dozens and dozens of tube preamps I've owned, only the Marantz 7c would have another chance in my rigs.
     
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  14. ernie richau

    ernie richau AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    +1 on the marantz 7c. It is fantastic. Although I have never tried mine with a mc30 I can say it's wonderful with my 2205. Even better with the 8b.
     
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  15. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Smart Ass Sponsor Subscriber

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    I would look for C100, C200, C500, C2300 for older mac preamps that have a remote.

    I would also try one thing at a time and with your system maybe other brands of preamps. I have been surprised by other quality gear made in the mid 90s though the 2000s that are unique pieces but fly under the radar. Some things can be had for 100s opposed to 1000s. Joe we can talk on the phone again, maybe tonight/ this weekend.

    Yep, so we have to think about staging and stereo preamp because it will be the heart of the system, the controller to do everything we need it to do. All the while staying out of the way and not stepping all over the signal being generated in the front end.
     
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  16. Crestwood23

    Crestwood23 keep on chooglin' Subscriber

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    Agree with this. I’m a sucker for matching components especially with the Mac stuff because it all looks so cool together. But if you’re not dead set on having an “all-Mac” system there are a lot of other cool preamps out there that will compliment the MC30’s nicely. I own a beautiful and fully restored MX110 and have used it with everything from my Marantz 8b to an MC225. I also have a early 2000’s Juicy Music Blueberrry Xtreme preamp, and I must say that sonically it’s really no contest, the Blueberry just sounds bigger, clearer, with tighter, puncher and more tuneful bass. The phono stage in particular is incredible, and the overall sound paired very well with every vintage tube amp I’ve tried it with. For critical listening and to truly reveal more of life’s secrets, going with a more modern pre like this would be the way to go IME. The Bluberry was also less than half the price of the MX110. :thumbsup:
     
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  17. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

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    Frustrating isn't it? lol. Keep in mind one man's opinion is not everybody's - I'm sure there are probably others who tried the same receiver with the same speakers who didn't like the combo, to say nothing of using the loudness comp. :rolleyes: I can only report my ears found the combo of the MAC1500 with the 14s to be something truly special. Interestingly, the MAC1500 came to me along with a different pair of Altec horn speakers - all purchased at the same time in 1966 by the original owner. Even with those other Altecs, nothing sounded as good with them as the MAC either - again, to my ears.

    Keep in mind a subwoofer can benefit the Model 14 significantly and many owners often employ one in their M14-based systems. The MX110's [mono] center channel output would come in very handy in making sub connections.
     
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  18. zenarrrow

    zenarrrow AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    You guy's are the best... just sayin'
     
  19. damacman

    damacman Blown and Injected Subscriber

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    A sub caddy? I ran my 14s on a Spectral DMA-50 for a long time and while they didnt play flat to 20Hz, they were quite pleasing on the bottom.
     
  20. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

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    I never ran a test record with the 14s but I'd be surprised if they were flat to 60 Hz. A few others have reported similar experiences with the M14 here on AK. I once read Altec created the LF-1 and LF-2 to compliment the 14, 15, 17, 18. I sure wouldn't mind finding an LF-1 or LF-2 to use with the Model 14.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2018
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