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MJS
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Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple Macs.)

I know they are built to last, retain their value, and have cool blue meters, but I don't know much about their sonic qualities. They don't appear in many discussions, either.

What 5 adjectives would you use to describe the sound qualities of McIntosh amps?

Do 21st century McIntosh amps sound better than 20th century
McIntosh amps?

(First-hand experience only, please.)

Thanks!

Buddha
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

Totally idosyncratic, speaking for my own experience only...

1) Good in the midrange. I've always liked what Mc does with vocals. Even the solid state stuff.

2) Polite treble - it's there, but not too much so. Just as you start to think it may sound mellow, some piece of music will come along that calls for it and it will be all right there.

3) Good decay. Kind of the opposite of fast attack, the gear has good decay to quieter passages, and as the music fades, the sense of the room remains. Mc seems to be good at keeping the info around at low volume levels.

4) I don't think I've ever heard any Mc's in my life have bloaty bass. I tend to favor lean bass, and Mc's seem to have good bass speed.

5) Whatever combo of things it is that makes for lack of listening fatigue. Sounds nice, doesn't want to punish you, keeps you in the Hi FI room.

I'll be curious to see what others say. I'll probably hit my forehad and say, "Yeah! That too!"

commsysman
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

McIntosh power amplifiers sound about like a 20-year old Audio Research tube amplifier that needs new output tubes...; fairly good, but rolled-off, soft bass, pretty clean midrange, not the state-of-the art in transparency or sonic accuracy. Easy to listen to if you are not a real critical listener. Good if you have mediocre sources and don't want to be offended by the bad things they are doing....

On the other hand-

If you want absolutely perfect sound reproduction from 20 HZ to 20Khz, with incredible realism and tonal purity and bass so realistic it has to be heard to believe it, listen to the newest Bryston power amp, the $3500 3B-SST2. I think it is the best power amplifier I have ever personally heard, and that includes a number of highly-rated amps costing over $6000 that can't touch it!

mrlowry
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

Pretty much what others have said:

-Slightly rolled off top end which makes them sound a bit warm

-The bass has some plump in it that isn't strictly speaking accurate.

-Effortless sounding for the most part. They always handle a difficult speaker with grace.

I've always characterized them as an iron fist in a velvet glove. Their solid state stuff is voiced to be reminiscent of the sound of their tube gear.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

Saying McIntosh sounds like an Audio Research in need of tubes is akin to saying Jeff Rowland Design Group products sound like a defective Krell. The companys' house sounds are quite a bit apart and one person might prefer one sound but to say the other is in need of repair is absurd.

I would also disagree with the concept Mac voices their solid state equipment to sound like their tube gear. Having sold Mac for decades and after living with Mac for decades, I am in favor of saying McIntosh voices their equipment, either solid state or tubes, vintage or new gear, to reflect their concept of what live music sounds like. The esential sound of music hasn't changed in fifty years and neither has the McIntosh sound in its most elemental form.

McIntosh as a company prides itself on its linearity of response. In many ways there is nothing "HiFi" about the Mac sound though a Quad or Linn user might disagree based on "national" sounds. McIntosh is the quintessential American sound; big, dynamic, unforced, inviting and consistent. The soundstage provided by a McIntosh product is quite large and deep. The sound is very listenable and quite inviting. If there is listening fatigue with a Mac product in the system, it is the fault of some other product. If someone prefers a more obviously mechanical, analytical, cooler, or flashy "in your face" reproduction of sound, one that lacks the integrity and service to the music to be found in the McIntosh sound, then Mac will not be your cup of tea. Midrange reproduction, especially of vocals and acoustic instruments is about as good as it gets.

Mac is about sensible limits though a company that produces the very large power output amplifiers such as McIntosh is inclined to do gives "sensible" a different meaning.

If you are choosing a McIntosh power amplifier, be aware they utilize a circuit called "Power Guard" which makes the amplifier virtually impossible to clip. Most of the Mac solid state power amplifiers still run through autoformers which will make the amplifier less sensitive to the vagaries of today's widely varying speaker loads. Unless you choose quite poorly a Mac amplifier will sound like a Mac amplifier on almost any speaker connected to its terminals. Transparency has different meanings to every person and some are willing to trade a bit less transparency in one region for an abundance of the same quality in another region. Depending on your personal priorities I would expect you to find the "McIntosh sound" to be in with the best of the best when it comes to overall transparency. Bryston is a quite different sound than you'll hear from a McIntosh product, both having their respective fans but not many that find both to be the amplifier they would live with forever more.

I listen to my near five decades old McIntosh tubed power amplifiers nearly everyday and I have a solid state Mac integrated in another system. I hear a relatively new solid state Mac amplifier at least once a month. For the most part a McIntosh is a McIntosh. My priorities lead me to favor my tube amplifiers, my friend prefers the high volume potential of his 300 watt McIntosh. Any well trained McIntosh salesperson or the Mac factory reps can tell you how the product has changed over the years. However, once you know the "McIntosh sound" you will always be able to spot a system that has Mac gear even when you hear it from the other room.

commsysman
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

A friend of mine ran a high-end store in southern California for ten years or so, and for several years he had one of the better big McIntosh tube amps from the 1960's in the showroom. It was a trade-in that had been carefully bench-tested and retubed with top-quality tubes, and he kept it there for a number of years, because he frequently had customers ask how McIntosh amps compared to what he was selling at that time, which was primarily Audio Research and Audire. His speakers in the studio were primarily Magnepan, Martin-Logan, and Vandersteen.

After comparing the McIntosh sound to the sound of the Audio Research and Audire amplifiers, NO ONE ever had the slightest interest in McIntosh; it was quite clear to everyone that the McIntosh sound quality was markedly inferior.

MJS
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

Thanks all. Interesting input. I was just curious and have no intent of buying one. I've been around audio for 30 years and just never heard their amps in a home system.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple


Quote:
After comparing the McIntosh sound to the sound of the Audio Research and Audire amplifiers, NO ONE ever had the slightest interest in McIntosh; it was quite clear to everyone that the McIntosh sound quality was markedly inferior.

Everyone? Therefore anyone who ever purchased a McIntosh product was .. what? A deaf idiot?

You sound a bit like another forum member, if it measures OK, then it is OK, listening is unimportant.

I truly wouldn't expect any stock, decades old amplifier to sound "better" than a new item. Values drift on capacitors and resistors, the circuits are no longer exactly what was designed and built as new. Additionally, quite a few things have changed in audio since the 1960's. Take a look at the current MC275 - since there was really only one "big McIntosh tube amp" from the '60's this would likely be what your friend had or else he had an even older McIntosh amplifier - and compare it to the original 1961 version. Upgrades to the parts list have been made to bring the current amplifier up to today's audiophile expectations but the basic circuits remain largely unchanged from the original circuit design except for the accommodation of balanced inputs. The current MC275 is a somewhat better amplifier than the original with four decade old parts. However, the new amp is undeniably McIntosh and not that far from the original given the same tube compliment. (No one I know of, however, feels the new O.E. M. tubes are the sonic equal to the original - RCA's and Slyvanias - American made tubes used in the 1961 version.) Replacing tubes, even if the amp measures OK after the retube, will obviously affect the sound quality of a tubed power amplifier.

The current MC275 also remains on the Stereophile Recommended Components listing as a class A product.

To me this would indicate not "everyone" dislikes the McIntosh sound. So why are you so adamant that "everyone" does? If you don't care for the Mac sound, that's fine. If a hundred other people don't care for the Mac sound, that's fine too. McIntosh has still mamaged to thrive for over 60 years without you liking their products. We do not all have to agree there is only one component line that works. I stand by my original statement, "Saying McIntosh sounds like an Audio Research in need of tubes is akin to saying Jeff Rowland Design Group products sound like a defective Krell. The companys' house sounds are quite a bit apart and one person might prefer one sound but to say the other is in need of repair is absurd."

I would say that is being more than fair unless you really do feel the Stereophile reviewing staff has hearing problems or integrity issues or they are simply deaf idiots.

I really don't care for examples based upon "a friend had a shop" since those friends can really affect how a product is demonstrated. Here in Dallas and years ago a dealer (I suspect he even had a few "friends") who didn't sell Klipsch kept a few pair of the original Klipsch line (trade-ins) in the store for demos against his own Klipsch-cloned speakers. Of course the "real" Klipsch products always lost in his comparison. On the other side of town the authorized two store Klipsch dealer was selling at least two dozen pairs of Klipsch speakers each week. Personally, I sold five pairs of LaScala's on one Saturday with a few Heresy's and Cornwall's to boot. Now how do you suppose the other guy's Klipsch speakers were that inferior no one every wanted a Klpisch after hearing his demonstration? Well, of course those of us at the authorized dealer knew how that happened. I'm not saying your friend was dishonest but to use an unauthorized dealer as an example of how bad any product sounds is not being rational about the matter. Isn't it just a bit dishonest to sell off another product that you do not stock? Maybe it's just me but I would walk out of a dealership that pulled that stunt.

Yiangos
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

Jan Vigne,personally,i agree with you.I've never had the chance to listen to a Mac but it really pisses me off when ppl attack this brand.Mac is one of the oldests brands around and to exist that means ppl are buying their products
ie it is good.Now if the Mac sound is not to everyones taste that doeasn't mean they're not good.Same thing with your analogy regarding Krell VS JR.I own Jeff Rowland amps yet i'd never allow a single Krell component in my system save perhaps for their loudspeakers Anyways,as a certain reviewer said,macs are for music lovers,not audiophiles.
p.s. I am seriously thinking of replacing my JR synergy ii with a mac c-2300 and my Cary audio cd306/200 with a mac mcd-500 in the near future.I just wish i could evaluate them at home....

tom collins
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

Jan:

i meant to reply to your 2/23 post but got involved in other things.

that was probably the most thoughtful description i have yet seen by anyone in regard to a "house sound". my experience with mac is detailed below.

i have to say up front that my home listening is with british equipment so it probably colors my perception in this matter. with this out of the way....

i have listened to several mac systems at my dealer. the big system uses all top of the line with the big 1.2kw monos. this is probably $50,000 worth of front-end. i have now heard it with some of the big mac speakers (like 7 feet tall) and with maggie 3.6s. i have heard it with the mac turntable, cd and a nottingham space 294 (12 inch tonearm). i have wanted to love it, but at least with the equipment mentioned, have not been able to in either speaker configuration. perhaps it is the speakers or the room, but it did not really sing for me. i will say that they were using shunyata power conditioners and i know people who have used those devices who have felt that while they make the background blacker, they also dull the sound (i suggested they try it without). i also have listened to martin logan summits hooked to a mac 402 with tube preamp and cd. again it did not work for me. there was just kind of a radio sound to it.

now for a surprise. he also has a 275 with mac solid state preamp and cd player hooked to a pair of focal 1007be stand mounted speakers. this setup (probably the least expensive)just blows it out of the box. don't ask me why, as it seems to buck the hybrid trend of tube pre and solid amp, but the thing just flat kicks butt, high middle and even bass range (can't believe the tight controlled and low bass coming out of those little speakers). fwiw, i don't think they had any power conditioning on this set.

so, here is another opinion to consider.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

Thanks to Yiangos and Tom for the posts. Not everyone must like a product or a line to have a successful product that plays music well. We all bring to the table what we care to have on our plate. If a system does it for you, then great. If another system with mostly the same components doesn't suit your taste, then that's fine too. If you get serious about a Mac amplifier, ask the dealer to do some switching around, I suspect they'll do that much for a potential sale.

Otherwise, in any static display in a shop you are hearing one person's interpretation of what they find appealing. I always told my clients I never expected them to like what I like, their job was to determine what they prefer and then we'd try to find that in the numerous combinations of components and speakers available. The static systems were only a starting point. In some cases they were not really final combinations we would put together for ourself but simply represented the space confinements of "this sized store" with "this much gear" to display.

Not to make any excuses for why a product I like didn't make you weep for joy but just this weekend I heard three power conditioners auditioned at my friend's home who has the Mac solid state amp. The first task was to install a motor upgrade to his Linn LP12. A few discs proved the motor upgrade was a success we both agreed on. The Shunyata conditioner and power cable were put in place and I wondered what my friend had done to his system to make it sound so dull and closed in. A few discs later, we switched to a new PS Audio unit and the sound was remarkably better - one of those ten seconds into the first track sorts of "better". He then swapped a few power cords running to the conditioner and the sound once more changed back and forth between involving and clean to ho-hum and so-what. What my friend found remarkable was he had dismissed the now preferred unit earlier in the week (and right out of the box) and had placed it in his AV system to allow it to burn in as suggested by the manufacturer. According to him the difference in performance between then and now was huge. I'll have to take his word for this.

A new turntable motor and a different power conditioner fed by an already existing power cable and the system had an improved sound in virtually every area that counts.

No doubt system synergy is what matters.

tom collins
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

i agree with synergy. this dealer would probably let me take some of the demo gear home if i chose. yeah, does it like my cables and interconnects, does it like my preamp, does it like my speakers or the power in my outlets; million things. but,if they all are capable with the right set of perameters of sounding like that 275 did, they are definitely very good and i will sign up some day (need more power than the 275 with current speakers).

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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

I sold Mcintosh equipment here in NY at Harvey Sound on 45th street. We all have our bias, but the Mcintosh amplifiers, no matter what we thru at it, the sound was full, robust, gobs of reserve power, open and dynamic.
Now Bryston amps I like as well. Built to last like Mcintosh as well. However, I found the treble and upper frequencies to be a little dry for me. They need careful matching with the right speakers to avoid that upper frequency issue.

commsysman
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

1) WHO said anything about MEASUREMENTS?? WHO said listening is unimportant?? WHO said anything like "in need of repair"? You apparently feel free to invent any damn thing, and then attribute it to me! NONE OF THAT WAS IN MY ORIGINAL COMMENTS; NOT ONE BLOODY WORD!!!! Yet you throw all of that back at me as if I said it! Read what I said, dammit!! If you are going to attack something I SUPPOSEDLY said, let's quote it exactly and not invent something and pretend that I said it! Don't claim that I "sound like" some twit that obviously has opinions totally different from mine; that is idiotic and the worst kind of slander! If you can't respond honestly to what I actually said, you have no right to respond at all!

2) Like I said, in his listening room MANY people took the opportunity to compare the SOUND of the McIntosh to the SOUND of the Audio Research and Audire amplifiers, and it really was no contest; the McIntosh simply didn't sound that good, to me or anyone else! And the comparisons were direct A versus B comparisons; I used to "hang out" there on weekends when I was free, and I witnessed and even set up some of the demos; there was NO BS or trickery involved whatsoever; people had an absolutely fair comparison.

3) I HAVE owned McIntosh amplifiers, and I KNOW what they sounded like in MY system, and I have moved on to better-sounding equipiment. I currently have a Bryston 3B-SST amplifier, and no McIntosh I have ever heard has the sonic purity, definition, accuracy and freedom from distortion that it exhibits.

If you think that McIntosh has to be good because lots of people buy them, I would suggest that by that standard Kenwood and Sony must be the best thing going...lol.

Put a new Bryston beside your Mac and do a head-to-head test; if you are not deaf, you will get a new perspective on what is what! I cannot dispute that upgraded components etc. probably DO make the very latest model better than the best 1960s models. I admit that it has been at least 3 years since I heard a new one.

Furthermore, I never made a global statement (as you falsely allege; more of your distortion and inaccuracy) that "everyone" thinks that McIntosh does not sound good. What I said was that in all of the direct comparisons that I personally witnessed, EVERYONE that was involved in those direct comparisons found the sound of the McIntosh amplifier inferior; that is absolutely true and FACTUAL!

Jan Vigne
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

I don't care all that much for the Bryston house sound. There's nothing wrong with their take on how music should be reproduced but their sound just doesn't interest me long term. If it works for you, that's your business and your preference. But this ...


Quote:
Put a new Bryston beside your Mac and do a head-to-head test; if you are not deaf, you will get a new perspective on what is what!

.. really is horse shit.

I would also tend to pass on an Audio Research in favor of a few other brands. I can understand why someone would obviously prefer the AR equipment but it's not at the top of my list.

The thread was about the Mcintosh sound, not the sound you prefer.

I hope this closes the door on this bit of silliness.

commsysman
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

The man asked for opinions on the McIntosh "sound".

I gave my opinion based on considerable experience with those amplifiers.

So did you.

So far, I have not felt the need to attack your opinion of the sound; it is yours, and I respect it.

You, on the other hand have attacked both my opinion and my integrity, and falsely attributed things to me which I clearly never said, and then proceeded to attack me based on those lies which YOU invented. I leave it to the objective observer as to whose behavior deserves censure.

commsysman
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

The "Bryston house sound": as you so nicely put it, is called accurate reproduction and complete lack of distortion.

As many of the comments other than mine have noted in this forum, the McIntosh sound includes "rolled-off" or "soft" highs and bass that is far from accurate; no problem if you prefer that; no problem at all (but it is ridiculous to pretend that it is accurate reproduction of the input signal...).

commsysman
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

I think that it is absolutely SAFE to say that you will NEVER do an actual fair head-to-head comparison between your beloved McIntosh amplifier and a new Bryston 3B-SST , OR a current model Audio Research tube amplifier either. You just couldn't handle it.

You have your head firmly in one place, and facing the reality of the results would be too unpleasant to contemplate; you just couldn't take it; especially if others were present and gave you their honest opinion of how your precious Mac really sounded against superior equipment.

Ignorance is truly bliss; be happy.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple


Quote:
As many of the comments other than mine have noted in this forum, the McIntosh sound includes "rolled-off" or "soft" highs and bass that is far from accurate; no problem if you prefer that; no problem at all (but it is ridiculous to pretend that it is accurate reproduction of the input signal...).

And yet ...


Quote:
The current MC275 ... remains on the Stereophile Recommended Components listing as a class A product.

I don't have a copy of the RC issue in front of me. I seem to remember other Mac products having been included on that list. I could easily be wrong since I am not looking at the current list but I don't remember any Bryston product on the list.

Why are you being such a PITA about all this?

Buddha
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple


Quote:
I think that it is absolutely SAFE to say that you will NEVER do an actual fair head-to-head comparison between your beloved McIntosh amplifier and a new Bryston 3B-SST , OR a current model Audio Research tube amplifier either. You just couldn't handle it.

You have your head firmly in one place, and facing the reality of the results would be too unpleasant to contemplate; you just couldn't take it; especially if others were present and gave you their honest opinion of how your precious Mac really sounded against superior equipment.

Ignorance is truly bliss; be happy.

Well, this is odd. In the apparently zero sum game of audio, I like McIntosh and those other brands, all three!

Now what? Do you I have my head up my bum when I like the McIntosh gear, but suddenly become astute when I think an AR or Bryston product sounds good!

If someone loves the sound of his amp, that should be a completely adequate endorsement!

I like redheads...AND brunettes...AND blondes....

I meant my comments about McIntosh as compliments. I own a Mc amp and preamp, even.

Plenty of room in the pool!

mrlowry
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

Buddha-

Ironically McIntosh, Bryston, and Audio Research are probably my three favorite matches for big Magnepan speakers. Yes, they all bring something different to the table but they all "work" when it comes to creating musical enjoyment with the Maggies.

commsysman
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

You keep coming back to the fact that the CURRENT MC275 incarnation is rated highly, but you did describe your own amplifiers as being "near five decades old", so that is not the same thing...by your own admission.

When the original question of "the McIntosh sound" was raised, I think it was fair to assume we were NOT talking about the one amplifier that has been brought up to modern standards, but the bulk of the amps that have been made over the years and which are still around...like yours. You can't and don't claim that they are identical, so quit trying to have it both ways. You already admitted that they are different.

And the fact still remains that you attacked MY opinion; not the other way around. I stated my opinion, and you could not let it stand without a massive attack, which was largely based on things you falsely attributed to me, but which I never said!

If you look at my original two posts, they were entirely my opinion and my experience; there was no reference to your opinion and no criticism of it and certainly no attack on anyone else's opinion. You could not let that stand. You obviously felt so threatened by my free expression of my opinion that you not only had to attack me, but also to invent things I did not say to use as fuel for that attack.

Apparently anything you want to say about McIntosh is OK; anything that I say demands that you falsely accuse me of things I didn't say so that you can then discredit me, and stoop to calling my opinions "horse shit".

Excuse me for defending myself when attacked; I will always try to set the record straight when someone lies about what I said and then uses it to fuel a diatribe against me.

Given the things you have done and said here, calling ME a "PITA" is incredibly funny. I will leave all of the childish name-calling to you, as well as the unprovoked attacks, lies, and distortions.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

Sweetie-pie, you've done nothing but attack me personally for the last six posts. So let's drop this charade of indignation, OK?

No one else is agreeing with you.

Look around.

You see what I posted in my first response as an attack. I see that as silly posturing and an unwillingness to bend to the realities of audio. I stated quite clearly that claiming a well regarded line had sound quality similar to a malfunctioning product was absurd, and it is. Any reasonable person could understand that and wouldn't have made your inital remark in the first place. I did not attack your opinion, I voiced my own opinion which is not in argreement with your opinion. There is room for more than one opinion about the sound quality of any product. It happens all the time.

I can sit in front of a system and hear something not point for point identical to what a friend in the next seat detects. This is audio and we all have our own preferences. You don't seem to want that freedom for other people, to hear what they find relevant, you want only your opinion to stand. Why? If I disagree with you, this is what results? Pages of insults?

That too is absurd.

Why would a "malfunctioning" product as you call it make it to the Recommended Components listing? Not just once but several times. The current MC275 is not a fifty year old product but it does employ for all intents and purposes over forty year old circuit and transformer designs. It is more than representative of "The McIntosh Sound". ST has reviewed the various incarnations of this amplifier from the original re-issue of the Gordon Gow version in the early 1990's to the current production MC275 and has done comparisons against an essentially original model on several occasions. These are his words as much as they are mine and they are the words of anyone familiar with the McIntosh sound through the years. Twisting words here is not going to change that fact in your favor.

When I updated my amplifiers to contemporary parts, I did not alter the basic personality of the McIntosh amplifier I had purchased. I changed no circuitry and I left the original transformers, I simply replaced old parts with newer parts where old parts would have required changing. You could say I did nothing more than a major service to the amplifier.

No one familar with the Mac sound thought the finished amplifiers were anything other than McIntosh amplifiers. I merely brought the circuitry forward to be where McIntosh intended after several decades of drifting capacitor and resistor values. Comparisons against other Mac amplifiers in the shop proved the sound of both amplifiers remains inherently McIntosh. I can compare my refurbished amplifiers to my basically stock solid state amplifier and hear "The McIntosh Sound" from all of them. So, please, don't try to turn this into something it is not. I had a vested interest in retaining the McIntosh sound I began with. I'm not so sure your friend with the audio shop had the same interest when he retubed and auditioned his trade in amplifier.

Did he re-tube the entire amp? Or did he just replace the outputs and run with old tubes in the front of the amp? Even at dealer cost it would run about $200 to replace all the input and driver tubes, phase splitter and output tubes with decent, not top quality, new tubes that were unlike the vintage tubes that came with the MC275. That's not an unreasonable investment in a trade in Mac amplifier since the big Mac C275 sells now for over ten times its original retail. That should tell you something about "The McIntosh Sound" and how it reflects a malfunctioning amplifier.

I've tried several times to allow you the possibility various people can feel differently about various products but you've rejected that as unacceptable unless everyone feels the same about each line as you do. That is also absurd! Even the various Stereophile reviewers all bring to the table their own priorities and each has a distinct system that fulfills those needs. They do not all own the same components and I don't remember any of them owning a Bryston as a reference product. That may be incorrect and it doesn't really matter if they do or ever did. We get to choose the system that makes us happy regardless of the HiFi Taliban you represent who can only allow that which they approve.

There is no such thing as ...


Quote:
The "Bryston house sound": as you so nicely put it, is called accurate reproduction and complete lack of distortion.

If that were true, then even your example of Audio Research topping the McIntosh would be worthless. Bryston could be declared the winner and we could all go home to other pursuits.

That ain't gonna happen.

I'm absolutely baffled by your bullheaded insistence that we all hear what you hear and all hear as you hear. No exceptions allowed!

Do you truly feel the Stereophile reviewers who put together that list of recommended components are deaf idiots? That would appear to be the only explanation I can see.

Look, what you are arguing is circular, contradictory and illogical. First you claim your friend had a vintage Mac amplifier that was typical of McIntosh quality because it was bench tested. I assume that means it was measured for power output, obvious noise and gross distortion. What else would you do on a test bench? Now you claim you never said it was measured. You say this amp "had been carefully bench-tested and retubed with top-quality tubes, and he kept it there for a number of years" because your friend felt (for his purposes) this specific amplifier (with replacement tubes of "top-quality" but original passive parts) represented current McIntosh quality. If that is not what your "friend with the audio shop" felt, then he was being unfair and not entirely ethical in his presentations. Now you want to argue the amplifier your friend auditioned for people couldn't possibly be representative of McIntosh quality because it was an old amplifier. Either you - and your friend - felt this one amplifier was representative of the bulk of the McIntosh line or you and your friend did not feel that to be true.

I'm not the one trying to have this issue too many ways.

Previously you posted this ...


Quote:
After comparing the McIntosh sound to the sound of the Audio Research and Audire amplifiers, NO ONE ever had the slightest interest in McIntosh; it was quite clear to everyone that the McIntosh sound quality was markedly inferior.

That's your emphasis on "NO ONE". That's your post that says "everyone".

Later you posted this ...


Quote:
Furthermore, I never made a global statement (as you falsely allege; more of your distortion and inaccuracy) that "everyone" thinks that McIntosh does not sound good. What I said was that in all of the direct comparisons that I personally witnessed, EVERYONE that was involved in those direct comparisons found the sound of the McIntosh amplifier inferior; that is absolutely true and FACTUAL!

Now we're down from a very collective and inclusive "everyone" who auditioned that one specific amplifier to only those people you witnessed. How many would that be since you do not claim to have worked at this shop? Maybe three? Five? Ten? How many? Not that it matters, even a dozen hardly qualifies as your original "everyone". Did your friend with the audio shop haul this amplifier out for "everyone"?

Why?

Did he let those huge transformers fully warm up? I can hear differences through my amplifiers for the first two days after they have sat cold. Did he do a thorough cleaning and retensioning of the amplifier and all the connectors, sockets and switches as any vintage amplifier requires on a regular schedule? Did he use the same speaker cables? That would be difficult since the original Mac terminal strips from 1961 won't fit a modern oversized spade lug. So did he use different speaker cables? Maybe not quite as good speaker cables as were on the other amplifiers? The same with interconnects. The high end audio jewelry of even a decade agao would have a tough time properly fitting the old Mac tube amplifier's nickel plated RCA inputs. Back in 1961 interconnects came with red and white molded plastic plugs as a give away with most equipment. Did your friend use give away cables with the other amplifiers? How about the stock power cable? On the original MC275 this would have been a molded plastic, two pin plug on the end of a captured 18 A.W.G. zip cord wire, about what you'd use on a low wattage lamp and not a hi end amplifier today. No aftermarket or even updated power cables for the Mac, eh? Did he lug a 75 pound amplifier from room to room or just make it easy on himself and show the Mac on whatever speakers were close? Did he tend to give the Mac a bit less of an advantage just to help his cause? Did he hook the big Mac up to speakers that would operate well with a vintage tube amp with a not so low output impedance? Did he possibly connect the Mac through the wrong output tap? Did he truly play fair? "Playing fair" in this case would mean the Mac was on all the time the shop was open and hooked to a pair of speakers and it was auditioned only when it was an appropriate match with the speakers being used. If this isn't how your "friend with the audio shop" auditioned the Mac, then he was cheating. If he unplugged the Mac tube amp between each comparison, the Mac was at a disadvantage. If you can't answer all of these questions or even if you can, if the Mac wasn't really shown to its best advantage - like some sort of isolation under the tube amp to minimize vibration - you can see why I discount stories that originate with a "friend who has a hifi shop".

I'm afraid I can't make sense of a story that has so many qualifiers which come forward as your account of this one trade in amplifier is challenged or so many distortions of reality when it comes to what is acceptable to a broad swath of listeners.

Why don't we try to wrap this up here? There are and have been several pieces of McIntosh's current or most recent line on the Stereophile Recommended Components list. That is, as you like to say, a fact. If you are so absolutely certain the Mac sound is that of a malfuncting product, do you also feel the Stereophile reviewers responsible for compiling that list (and ST who still to my knowledge uses a current version MC275) are deaf idiots?

I believe that is a fair question to be answered by someone so dead set in their opinion about this product line and so certain about the value of another.

Kal Rubinson
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple


Quote:
Even the various Stereophile reviewers all bring to the table their own priorities and each has a distinct system that fulfills those needs. They do not all own the same components and I don't remember any of them owning a Bryston as a reference product.

I do in my weekend system and I believe that LG has some big Brystons in his system. I have a McIntosh in my other system. (Is that a bumper sticker?)

So?

Kal

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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple


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(Is that a bumper sticker?)

Probably not, but I would assume you do not hear the McIntosh as being a malfunctioning product.

Kal Rubinson
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple


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Probably not, but I would assume you do not hear the McIntosh as being a malfunctioning product.

You know I cannot comment until the review is in print.

Kal

commsysman
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

You just can't quit with your misrepresentations, can you??

...you put "malfunctioning" in quotes and claim that I said it....

"as you call it"?????????

Where and when did I say that?

On what date?

In which post?

I NEVER said it!!!!

You claimed I said "malfunctioning"; NEVER SAID IT!!

You claimed on 2/24 that I depend on "MEASUREMENTS"; NEVER SAID IT!!

You claimed on 2/24 that I said "needs repair"; NEVER SAID IT!!

You claimed on 2/24 that I said "everyone thinks McIntosh sounds bad"; NEVER SAID IT!

I could continue, but there is no point; you are either one seriously confused person who can't be bothered to check what was actually said, or you are a blatant liar; its hard to tell which from here. In any case, you blatantly and repeatedly mis-state my positions and have not apologized in any way for doing so when confronted with that fact.

What you have done about 5 times here is take YOUR OWN RHETORIC; YOUR WORDS, NOT MINE, and attribute them to me.
That is freaking ridiculous!

You are so confused you don't know what you are talking about. You are going around in circles, chasing your tail, attacking the hyperbole that YOU USED to attack me, and ending up acting as if I said those things, which I didn't.

There is no point in me responding further to your increasingly ridiculous essays, since at least 70% of what you attribute to me is simply FACTUALLY WRONG; you repeatedly claim that I said this or that when reading my actual posts proves that I said no such thing. The last time I had someone distort and twist things like this, it was DUP at his worst; are you trying to emulate him, or what?

And, without going into all of the details that you question about the comparison tests at the audio store, I will just say that they were conducted in a professional and fair manner using the same high-quality interconnects for all and equipment that was always left on 24 hours a day except on those rare occasions when the store furniture or the equipment configuration was undergoing a major change. The main room (about 30' by 40') was set up with a multi-shelf hardwood room divider down the middle with 20 to 30 pieces of equipment on its shelves and 3 or 4 sets of speakers total set up (on the side walls and back walls of each half of the room) at any given time, with large-conductor Audioquest speakers cables from the center to the speakers so that pretty much anything in the middle could be connected to any speaker as needed. It was set up to allow for comparing pretty much anything in the room A VS B with the speakers available. Anyone who ever saw that setup and observed how things were done would find no fault whatsoever with the procedures. All of your quibbling about those tests is silly and a pathetic attempt to find some fault where there was none. Everyone concerned with doing those tests was certainly well aware of all of the issues you bring up, and your attempts to portray them as incompetently performed (or dishonestly performed) are insulting, stupid, and laughable. As a matter of fact, Bob, the guy who ran that store, may have hurt his bottom line quite a few times because he was honest to a fault with people; he would often answer their questions 100% honestly even if it meant he was likely to lose a sale because of it. His honesty and integrity were very impressive.

commsysman
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

If we start a catalog of the things that ol' Jan doesn't know, can't remember, or doesn't take the trouble to check on properly...well, let's just say it could be a major project, from all indications...lol.

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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

All a matter of degree, I think.


Quote:
You claimed I said "malfunctioning"; NEVER SAID IT!!

You said: "McIntosh power amplifiers sound about like a 20-year old Audio Research tube amplifier that needs new output tubes..."

Wouldn't that be a malfunctioning amp?


Quote:
You claimed on 2/24 that I depend on "MEASUREMENTS"; NEVER SAID IT!!

I'll give you that one, I don't recall seeing that part!


Quote:
You claimed on 2/24 that I said "needs repair"; NEVER SAID IT!!

Again, wouldn't a 20 year old product in need of new tubes need 'repair?' We can quibble about whether tube replacement is considered the same as repair, or not, I guess.


Quote:
You claimed on 2/24 that I said "everyone thinks McIntosh sounds bad"; NEVER SAID IT!

You said: "After comparing the McIntosh sound to the sound of the Audio Research and Audire amplifiers, NO ONE ever had the slightest interest in McIntosh; it was quite clear to everyone that the McIntosh sound quality was markedly inferior."

I could see how someone took it the way you claim you didn't say.

This all seems like a matter of degree. You were obviously disparaging a brand someone else likes. Then we fight about it. It's how forums work!

commsysman
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

The fact that an amplifier (or preamp) needs new tubes is ABSOLUTELY NOT saying or implying that it is "malfunctioning" or "needs repair"!!

My Audio Research LS-2B preamp, for example, would need its 6922 tubes replaced at about 1000 hours of tube usage.** I would know this because it would start to sound a bit "mushy" in the bass and lose a little bit of clarity and definition overall; this was a subtle change, not something that hit you over the head suddenly. Its performance was reduced noticeably, to a very critical listener, but it was NOT "malfunctioning" and it was certainly NOT "in need of repair"! I do not see how a reasonable person can equate the two things.

Furthermore, Jan put the word "malfunctioning" in QUOTATION MARKS, and claimed that I actually SAID it, not something like it, and that is not a "more or less" thing; he is claiming to QUOTE me, and it is a word I never never used. His quote is, to be quite precise, a falsehood; a lie; wrong, incorrect, and not true!

If you read my original post (HAS anyone??...lol), I referred to some less than perfect performance characteristics in the bass and treble; I submit to you that if it was "malfunctioning" or "needed repair", it would have gross distortion or hum or NO output whatsoever; it would, in other words, be in a condition where it was not reasonable to continue to use it at all.

As for the "everyone" reference that has been beaten to death here, my statement was that EVERYONE WHO HEARD A DIRECT COMPARISON between Audire and Audio Research amplifiers and McIntosh amplifiers at a particular audio store agreed that the sound of the McIntosh was not as good as the others. Now THAT word "everyone" refers only to that
specific group of people described. For Jan, or you, or ANYONE to take that and say that I was referring globally to "EVERYONE!!!" without any limitations whatsoever is sophistry and distortion of the original statement and its quite limited and specific context.

**...By the way; one little bone I have to pick with Audio Research is the tube life they propose in their literature. In the LS-2B owner's manual, they claim that tubes should be good for 10,000 hours before they need replacement. In my experience, performance drops off noticeably at about an estimated 1000 hours (about 1 year for me...). My current preamp, the LS-26, needed new tubes at exactly 826 hours (it has a cumulative "tube hours" function in the display electronics). You MIGHT be able to use a set of tubes for 5000 or 10,000 hours, but the sound quality would certainly fall off markedly, based on my listening experience. That hardly seems appropriate.

Buddha
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple


Quote:
The fact that an amplifier (or preamp) needs new tubes is ABSOLUTELY NOT saying or implying that it is "malfunctioning" or "needs repair"!!

My Audio Research LS-2B preamp, for example, would need its 6922 tubes replaced at about 1000 hours of tube usage. I would know this because it would start to sound a bit "mushy" in the bass and lose a bit of clarity and definition overall. Its performance was reduced noticeably, but it was NOT "malfunctioning" and it was certainly NOT "in need of repair"! I do not see how a reasonable person can equate the two things.

If you read my original post (HAS anyone??...lol), I referred to some less than perfect performance characteristics in the bass and treble; I submit to you that if it was "malfunctioning" or "needed repair", it would have gross distortion or hum or NO output whatsoever; it would, in other words, be in a condition where it was not reasonable to continue to use it at all.

As for the "everyone" reference that has been beaten to death here, my statement was that EVERYONE WHO HEARD A DIRECT COMPARISON between Audire and Audio Research AMPLIFIERS amplifiers and McIntosh at a particular audio store agreed that the sound of the McIntosh was not as good as the others. Now THAT word "everyone" refers only to that
specific group of people described. For Jan, or you, or ANYONE to take that and say that I was referring globally to "EVERYONE!!!" without any limitations whatsoever is sophistry and distortion of the original statement and its quite limited and specific context.

No problem, I was just trying to see how the two points of view could have been arrived at from the same posts.

I hope that didn't seem flame-like.

commsysman
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

Not at all. No offense whatsoever.

I just wanted to clarify those things.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion; they are NOT entitled to distort or falsify what I said so that they have a basis to blind-side me with nonsense of their own making! That is what DUP used to do routinely, and I hate to see someone pulling the same thing on me here; that is crap!

Jan Vigne
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

Why are you so pissed about this? You are still taking up your posts by personally attacking me and defending this friend of your's with a hifi shop. The former is bullshit and the latter isn't relevant to the sound of the McIntosh line. If you care to use that one example as the prima facie example of McIntosh sound, then you've done that. Why go on and on and on?

The case could easily be made for an amplifier that doesn't sound good to be "malfunctiong" even if it only requires tubes. If it requires new tubes it will not be operating up to spec, power output would drop and T.H.D. and noise would increase and the amp would go into premature clipping. That is "malfunctioning" in most people's opinion. However, that is not what I said. It's what you said ...


Quote:
McIntosh power amplifiers sound about like a 20-year old Audio Research tube amplifier that needs new output tubes...

Now possibly you'd like to rephrase that sentence to more accurately reflect the performance of the amplifier or more likely you might just prefer to say you never said what I just copied from your orignal post. Whatever!

Same for a bench tested ampliifer, wouldn't it have been measured? If not, how would they have decided the amplifier was up to spec? Please tell me what you think they would have done on the test bench if not measure the amplifier's performance? So aren't you relying on a gropup of measurements to make this proclamation the trade in amp was operating properly and could be considered to be indicative of "The McIntosh Sound"?

If they didn't confirm the amplifier was operating with sufficient power output, low noise and low T.H.D., why would you intentionally show that amplifier? If test bench measurements are all you require, then that doesn't really speak to how the equipment actually reproduces music. I've had excellent tubes in my amplifiers and I've had crappy tubes in my amplifiers and the crappy ones stil measure as operating to spec. I worked with a service tech who put International Service white box,no-brand tubes in virtually everything he serviced. These are the crappy tubes I use when I need to check the amplifiers' operation. They do not produce sound quality similar to the tubes that either came with the amplifiers - which I still have - or the tubes I use for everyday purposes. But they meet spec and they work. This is one of the most important reasons why Mac eventually stopped retubing vintage amplifiers at their store clinics, the quality of tubes required to maintain what McIntosh felt was consistent with "The McIntosh Sound" were no longer available or were only available at much higher prices than the International Service tubes. Mac wasn't going to sub low grade tubes just to have a working amplifier. If sound quality is your concern, a tube - even a "top-quality" tube - can be in spec and still not sound good in a specific piece of equipment. Do I need to give further examples? How about some "top quality" Chinese tubes that didn't stay in my amplifiers for a single day? How about the "top-quality" tubes used by Audio Research that are voiced for a different type of sound than
"The McIntosh Sound"? "Top-quality" is a rather meaningless word in this case.

I'll tell you what, since you feel this is so damned important to your case, tell me what tubes your friend with the hifi shop used in the amplifier. What ouptuts? You said only the ouptuts were replaced. So the original inputs, drivers and phase splitters were still being used during these demonstrations? These tubes were how old at the time? Twenty or more years old? And you're comparing this to a new high end amplifier and expecting what? If the front end tubes were replaced, what small signal tubes did they replace and with what brand? Or do you only know the tubes were "top-quality"?

What will it take for you to see that one example from a friend with a hifi shop isn't the best example? I'm not here to bash your friend and he may have been quite honest overall but IMO it is not honest to keep a discontinued product from a line you do not stock to sell off to your own lines. You obviously feel differently and so once again we disagree. But why are you taking this so personally? This is just hifi after all.

To make this just a bit more clear, you are the one who has hung his hat on this one decades old, trade in amplifier your friend with an audio shop used for comparisons. I originally said I didn't put any faith in such stories and would walk out of a shop that tried to demonstrate how poorly a product line they do not represent operates - particularly when they would be using a discontinued product. When your friend with the hifi shop was using this decades old, trade in tube amplifier was McIntosh even selling tubes at that time? If not - they didn't produce tubes for over two decades - wouldn't your friend have been just a bit ... well, dishonest? Wouldn't he have been a bit less honest if he used an amplifier that wasn't really suited to driving the speakers he was demonstrating?

I still have reservations about this set up - leaving the amplifier on for the several years he kept it in the shop for comparisons, it would then need more new tubes if left to run 24 hours day, or the large guage AudioQuest cables that would not have fit the 1961 connectors - I really don't feel you have your story all that straight.

Even if you do you are missing my point here. We are also back to ...


Quote:
As for the "everyone" reference that has been beaten to death here, my statement was that EVERYONE WHO HEARD A DIRECT COMPARISON between Audire and Audio Research AMPLIFIERS amplifiers and McIntosh at a particular audio store agreed that the sound of the McIntosh was not as good as the others. Now THAT word "everyone" refers only to that
specific group of people described.

And that group would be how many? The ones you observed. That's what you said here ...


Quote:
What I said was that in all of the direct comparisons that I personally witnessed, EVERYONE that was involved in those direct comparisons found the sound of the McIntosh amplifier inferior; that is absolutely true and FACTUAL!

After you get done insulting me for what I can see as no good reason other than we disagree about the sound of components, you insist "everyone" must agree with your opinion. I do not. If you prefer the obviously solid state sound of the Bryston line and I prefer the "The McIntosh Sound", we are both entitled to our own opinions. I promise I won't show up at your doorstep to listen to your system and I assume you'll provide me the same courtesy. We can each like what we individually like and be none the worse for the matter.

Why is that so difficult for you to get over?

commsysman
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

I guess you just can't read! I have explicitly stated twice why I am annoyed with you, and you don't get it?

What I object to is the fact that you distort everything I say rather than engaging in a fair-minded discussion of the facts at hand, and repeatedly mis-quote me. I don't know too many people that would NOT get pissed off about that.

I made my statement about the tests at the store because I thought they were relevant to the discussion; nothing about them would ever have been repeated if it were not for your infantile insistence that no such test could possibly have been proper and fair and come out that way! For you to criticize ME because this has gone on and on is hilarious; it was entirely your doing!! You repeatedly try to belittle tests that were done as responsibly as possible by knowledgeable people, simply because you can never admit that the results may have been perfectly valid. And as for your repeated insistence that the speaker cables can't have been connected properly, that is so ridiculous that it is exasperating! The cables at that store all had banana plugs on them, and various gold-plated Cardas adapters were attached to any amplifier that needed them so that the banana plugs would fit on. Just about all of the high-end stores I have been in do it that way, because constant screwing and unscrewing of lugs is a pain in the butt and too time-consuming...duhhhhh.

And now you are carping about the tubes that were used in the McIntosh? As far as I remember, the amps were completely re-tubed (not just the outputs), and I think that is what I said before. I was not the tech who did it, so I can hardly be certain, but I know that they WERE checked with a distortion analyzer and biased for best performance on the bench.

Next you will surely want to know how long the speaker cables were (to the nearest inch), what the thermostat on the wall was set to, what speakers were used, how far apart they were, and what music was played on what equipment; and then what?

And I don't give a damn if "a case can be made" that something might be "malfunctioning" da da da.... The fact is that you MISQUOTED ME and don't have the decency to apologize.

And here we have another blatant MISQUOTE!! "you insist that everyone agree with your opinion"???

Now just when and where do you get that from?

I never said it, and it certainly isn't true.

I not only don't insist, I don't give a damn. As a matter of fact, if you were to agree with one of my opinions, I would have to seriously re-examine it for major flaws.

The only thing I insist on is that I have the right to speak without being misquoted, attacked, and harassed.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple


Quote:
The cables at that store all had banana plugs on them, and various gold-plated Cardas adapters were attached to any amplifier that needed them so that the banana plugs would fit on. Just about all of the high-end stores I have been in do it that way, because constant screwing and unscrewing of lugs is a pain in the butt and too time-consuming...duhhhhh.


Quote:
Did he use the same speaker cables? That would be difficult since the original Mac terminal strips from 1961 won't fit a modern oversized spade lug. So did he use different speaker cables?

I guess you can't read either. The original McIntosh tube amplifiers from the early 1960's had "terminal strips" for speaker connection. You can see them here; http://www.audioclassics.com/detail.php3?detail=MC275&nav=cat

It should be obvious that not only can those terminals not fit a large gauge spade lug such as a Cardas - something reviewers have commented on numerous times - it would be impossible to make a banana plug work with a terminal block meant for no more than a 16 A.W.G. lug. There is no provision for a banana plug on this amplifier since bananas were the province of the test bench in 1961, meant only for quick connect/disconnect and not as a high quality connector.

Your friend with the hifi shop must have made other provisions for the Mac amplifier since all the cables at the shop had bananas. And it couldn't have been a large gauge spade lug. Not going to happen.

And, if you want the best demonstration of your high end equipment, you take the time to fasten and unfasten proper cables.

DUHHHHHH!


Quote:
And now you are carping about the tubes that were used in the McIntosh? As far as I remember, the amps were completely re-tubed (not just the outputs), and I think that is what I said before.

OK, so now we have even less chance of the amp sounding like the original from a few decades earlier. In case you doubt this, I can swap the just the pair of 12AU7's in my amps or just the 12AX7 phase splitter and end up with a different sound. That's what tube rolling is all about. Have you ever read a review where the tubes were swapped and suddenly the amp came to life? Like I said, I'm not claiming your friend with the hifi shop intentionally screwed with the sound of this one decades old, trade in amplifier, but swapping tubes is a matter of arriving at the sound you want to have. If you want to sell off the discontinued amplifier from a competitive line you do not represent, well ...


Quote:
I was not the tech who did it, so I can hardly be certain, but I know that they WERE checked with a distortion analyzer and biased for best performance on the bench.

OK, so the tech didn't have anything to do with this amplifier, but you were a tech in this shop? But the amp was "measured" with a distortion analyzer? So it was measured - and your friend with the hifi shop relied on distortion measurements, right? Just distortion measurements? - and the distortion measurements are what determined this amp was the equivalent of a new McIntosh amplifier? And those distortion measurements alone, to your knowledge, determined this one decades old, trade in amp with new "top-quality" tubes of unknown brands made this amplifier representative of "The McIntosh Sound"? But this was a tube amp. Was McIntosh selling tube amps at the time of this demonstration? If they were, then your friend with the hifi shop had a three decades old amplifier from a competitive company he didn't represent and that he was trying to sell off of that he was demonstrating against new product he wanted to sell.

Do I have that right?

And you don't see a problem with this comparison? On a pair of Magneplanars or Martin Logans, you don't see any issues with this comparison against a decades old tube amplifier?

You're sure this amp was producing "The McIntosh Sound"? Because the Mac tube amps are fixed bias amplifiers and couldn't have been "biased for best performance on the bench" without internal parts swapping.

So, now we have a decades old, trade in amplifier with replacement tubes all around that couldn't have used banana plugs or large gauge spade lugs and couldn't have been biased for best performance on the bench without swapping parts.

Do I have that right?

We have a decades old, trade in amplifier that cannot accept banana plugs or spade lugs, with tubes of unknown origin and not checked by "the tech"(?) that is being kept around the shop for a few years to sell off of against new high end equipment. This amp is retubed how often over these few years? I ask this because you yourself state ..


Quote:
In the LS-2B owner's manual, they claim that tubes should be good for 10,000 hours before they need replacement. In my experience, performance drops off noticeably at about an estimated 1000 hours (about 1 year for me...). My current preamp, the LS-26, needed new tubes at exactly 826 hours (it has a cumulative "tube hours" function in the display electronics). You MIGHT be able to use a set of tubes for 5000 or 10,000 hours, but the sound quality would certainly fall off markedly, based on my listening experience. That hardly seems appropriate.

Were the tubes in the decades old, trade in Mac that was kept around the shop for a few years to sell off of replaced frequently? I ask because it would just about have to be if the amps were running 24/7 as you say they were. New stock, particularly the stuff everyone preferred over the decades old, trade in Mac, would be sold before the tubes needed to be replaced but a tube amp running 24/7 that hung around the shop for a few years to sell off of, it might not get that same degree of attention, eh?


Quote:
And here we have another blatant MISQUOTE!! "you insist that everyone agree with your opinion"???

Now just when and where do you get that from?

I never said it, and it certainly isn't true.

You certainly insist that I conform to your opinion. Am I not a part of "everyone"?


Quote:
You have your head firmly in one place, and facing the reality of the results would be too unpleasant to contemplate; you just couldn't take it; especially if others were present and gave you their honest opinion of how your precious Mac really sounded against superior equipment.

And this ...


Quote:
If you want absolutely perfect sound reproduction from 20 HZ to 20Khz, with incredible realism and tonal purity and bass so realistic it has to be heard to believe it, listen to the newest Bryston power amp, the $3500 3B-SST2.

That wasn't meant to suggest the Bryston is perfectly accurate? Why wouldn't "everyone" prefer perfectly accurate? But you are convinced we would all like the Bryston amplifier? Because of its "absolutely perfect sound reproduction"?

Do I have that right?


Quote:
3) I HAVE owned McIntosh amplifiers, and I KNOW what they sounded like in MY system, and I have moved on to better-sounding equipiment. I currently have a Bryston 3B-SST amplifier, and no McIntosh I have ever heard has the sonic purity, definition, accuracy and freedom from distortion that it exhibits.

And we are all expected to agree with that?

Try this, was Mac selling tube amplifiers when your friend with the hifi shop was demonstrating this decades old McIntosh tube amplifier? Have you ever heard any decades old audio product that was competitive with the best of modern day high end? I haven't. I've heard very good stuff that is in need of updating to bring out its best but I know what decades old audio gear sounds like. If you have all the experience you claim, I would think you would also.

If you have owned a McIntosh ower amplifier, you should have known about the terminal strips. Mac stereo power amplifiers use autoformers and they all require terminal strips for speaker connection which enables the user to select the correct output tap. You should have known the Mac tube amp from 1961 couldn't have accepted banana plugs or large gauge spade lugs.

And please answer this ...


Quote:
I HAVE owned McIntosh amplifiers ...

Why the hell did you buy something that "sounds like a 20-year old Audio Research tube amplifier that needs new output tubes"?

You went from McIntosh to Bryston and you expect us to believe you have your priorities straight about what live music sounds like?

Really?!

Jan Vigne
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple


Quote:
The only thing I insist on is that I have the right to speak without being misquoted, attacked, and harassed.

Just in case you haven't noticed, I have not personally attacked you one single time in my last posts. In my opinion, I've not insulted you at all. You have repeatedly insulted me however.

I've questioned your recollection of this one incident. That is not an attack if you care to make this the corner stone of your reasoning. I've not harrassed you, I've said you probably do not have your facts straight about this one incident. If you do not care to be "harrassed" in this manner, you can stop posting at any time.

Finally, if you do not care to be misquoted, stop changing your story with every post. I'm posting your quotes, I am not the one making this stuff up.

commsysman
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

I can assure you that adapters were indeed installed on the terminals of the McIntosh amplifier in question, and that the adapters were specifically designed to allow the banana plugs on the speaker cable ends to be plugged in to this amplifier. It really is a simple thing; the ADAPTER screws onto the McIntosh amplifier, which it is SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED FOR, and the banana plug plugs into it; it works perfectly because it is specifically designed for EXACTLY THIS PARTICULAR APPLICATION; this seems to be a concept too difficult for you to understand, since you keep blithering about the spade lugs not fitting the McIntosh...duhhhhh... (by the way...before you address this issue...the terminals are indeed closely spaced; you install one 45 degree banana adapter angled upward off to one side and the adjacent one angled upward off to the other side of the strip to avoid shorting out adjacent connectors...). I believe that Cardas still makes these adapters; there is a picture of them in the 2006 Music Direct catalog on my desk. Since you pretend to know just about everything about McIntosh, I am shocked that you are not already familiar with them. But in any case, we DID have them in place at that time, and they worked just fine; they DID indeed allow us to just plug the banana plugs on the speaker cables right in; I was there, and I was not hallucinating.

If you question this one more time, I will forced to conclude that you are a moron. Based on your last two posts, it will not take a great leap of faith to reach that conclusion anyway. If there is anything coherent or reasonable in them, I guess it is well-hidden; I can't discover it.

By the way; the reason I bought that McIntosh amplifier (in the 1980s), was because I was then at the same level of knowledge you are at now; I didn't know any better.

To be fair; the McIntosh I had at that time was probably at least as good as the other junk I had in my system at that time; nothing I had at that time was all that good. But we do move on as we get smarter; at least most of us do....

Jan Vigne
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

And so that proves Bryston is better than McIntosh? Your "assurance" that this time, this one time, your story is correct?

You've proven your opinion is correct by what means? By personally insulting me again, by never answering my numerous other questions, never discussing the sound of the lines but only insulting me, ignoring the fact that only a handful of people you "witnessed" not "everybody" preferred new gear to old on difficult to drive speakers, by swearing to your friend with the hifi shop's integrity, by focussing on this one decades old, trade in amplifier with unspecified tubes that could not have been biased for best performance without parts swaps, that was not being produced or carried by your friend with the hifi shop at the time he used it 24/7 for several years to represent "The McIntosh Sound" against decades newer, fresh from the factory gear that he was trying to promote over McIntosh, that he represented old equipment as being the equivalent of new equipment, by all that you've proven what you own now is better than what I prefer?


Quote:
To be fair; the McIntosh I had at that time was probably at least as good as the other junk I had in my system at that time; nothing I had at that time was all that good. But we do move on as we get smarter; at least most of us do....

The fact that Cardas supposedly once made adapters that worked with terminal strips, though you can't find them now, proves your opinion? The fact the Mac was working through more adpaters than the new gear proves your opinion of "The McIntosh Sound"? The fact you, after "not knowing any better" what live music sounds like, after having repeatedly purchased "junk", have found a new religion that appeals to you more than your old religion, is proof you are right and everyone who feels otherwise is wrong and uninformed or downright stupid? The idea that pairing a more obviously solid state sound with your speakers that are somewhat soft on top and bottom is more "perfect" because you prefer it proves no one should prefer "The McIntosh Sound"?

How's that work?

How about you answer this one from way, way back in this thread, one you have ignored twice so far;

There are and have been several pieces of McIntosh's current or most recent line on the Stereophile Recommended Components list. That is, as you like to say, a fact. If you are so absolutely certain the Mac sound is one of "a 20-year old Audio Research tube amplifier that needs new output tubes", do you also feel the Stereophile reviewers responsible for compiling that list (and ST who still to my knowledge uses a current version MC275) are deaf idiots? Or do they just not know any better?

(

Quote:
(by the way...before you address this issue...the terminals are indeed closely spaced; you install one 45 degree banana adapter angled upward off to one side and the adjacent one angled upward off to the other side of the strip to avoid shorting out adjacent connectors...).

The spacing between terminals on this terminal block is not the issue here. The size of the individual screw terminals is the issue. The individual terminals from 1961 will not accept modern, large gauge cables or spade lugs. [You'll have to tell me since I don't know how your story will go this time, did Cardas sell adapters with spade lugs no larger than 16 A.W.G.? And you're friend with the hifi shop outfitted this decades old, trade in amplifer that wasn't representative of a line he was competing against with these adapters just so he could sell off this one discontinued amplifier? Really?! And you have no problem with this approach?] Would you care to try again since this issue of terminations is what you now hang your entire argument on? You may conclude I am a moron, that is your right. You seem to reach conclusions quite rapidly and without much rational thought. I would think I have raised a sufficient amount of reasonable doubt about this decade's old amplifier your friend with this hifi shop ... yada yada.

I have already reached my conclusion about your argument.

It is your story and your conclusion I am questioning. It is you who chooses to make this personal. Why?)

commsysman
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

OK; I give up; when I plugged those banana plugs into those adapters on that McIntosh amplifier, I must have been hallucinating. That explains it. I must remember to send a letter to Cardas and tell them that Jan says that those adapters don't exist and couldn't possibly ever have existed, so they had better quit screwing around and get them out of their catalog before Jan really gets on their case.

By your repeated refusal to accept that an adapter could ever be engineered to fit those screws, you have absolutely and irrefutably proved not only that I am wrong, but that every McIntosh owner who ever bought and used those adapters was also hallucinating, and that when Music Direct was selling them in 2006, they were hallucinating too. They probably still sell them, so I suppose that their supply of magic mushrooms must still be holding out.

There is a pattern emerging here; there seem to be a number of accepted realities that you do not care to come to terms with. It took me a number of exchanges with DUP before I figured out that reason and reality were not quite what he was interested in; I see now that you are a member of the same club. It is unreasonable to attempt to reason with the unreasonable, so I am done trying. Have a nice day, and don't burn yourself dusting those antique amplifiers.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

And so you end with insults and your assurance the adapters were available as proof Bryston is superior to McIntosh?

That's it?!

That's your "proof"?!!!

That's all you have?

How's that work?


Quote:
when I plugged those banana plugs into those adapters on that McIntosh amplifier, I must have been hallucinating.

Am I correct that in this version of your story it was you who carried out these demonstrations you witnessed where "everyone" preferred the other equipment? You connected this amplifier that was measured only on a distortion analyzer to assure it was representative of decade's newer equipment you did not carry or wish to be sold against your own lines?

Well, that would explain quite a bit wouldn't it? Like why this issue has never been brought forward until now? Uh-huh, I'm seeing things more clearly now. As you say, reason and reality are not "everyone's" strong suite.

I would really like to know why didn't you answer the question about the Stereophile reviewers? It would seem to be a simple conclusion for someone so adept at reaching conclusions.

commsysman
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

I can't imagine why I would want to answer a question that Kal Rubinson already answered; Stereophile reviewers DO have and use Bryston ampifiers. I guess you already forgot the answer, since it was an inconvenient fact in the belief system of your separate universe.

If I want to be amused by any further nonsense, I'll know exactly where to look for you.

Full of sound and fury...signifying nothing...ROFL.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

Is that supposed to be an answer to whether the Stereophile reviewers are deaf idiots when they place McIntosh components on the Recommended Components listings? Did you forget the actual question so soon? Or can you not read, as you have accused me of not being capable of doing well?

My question was not whether reviwers review Bryston. That would be a silly question, of course they do. And it is an accepted high end line, as is McIntosh. But they are not similar in sound quality. If the above is your answer to how or why McIntosh components have won favorable comments and recommendations from the Stereophile reviewers ...

OK, I don't get it.

Do you think the Stereophile reviewers are deaf idiots or simply don't know shit when they hear it? That seems to be a fairly simple question at this point.


Quote:
There are and have been several pieces of McIntosh's current or most recent line on the Stereophile Recommended Components list. That is, as you like to say, a fact. If you are so absolutely certain the Mac sound is one of "a 20-year old Audio Research tube amplifier that needs new output tubes", do you also feel the Stereophile reviewers responsible for compiling that list (and ST who still to my knowledge uses a current version MC275) are deaf idiots? Or do they just not know any better?

How about answering?

And you can find me under any posting with my real name on it. I don't hide my real identity.

commsysman
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

"OK, I don't get it"

Yup; you sure don't.

When I was teaching, I learned that after answering the same question three times, there is little chance that trying again will be of any use whatsoever.

You have had your answers over and over; you don't understand because you apparently can not (or WILL not) understand, and I have no more patience with one who seems incapable of comprehending.

Any more posts by you will NOT be answered. You get an F; sign up next semester if you want to try again.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

Your answers have been about the speaker connections to a decade's old amplifier.

I wasn't asking for an insult, I know they will come from you without provocation. And I wasn't asking for a clever response, I know they will never come from you.

Do you think the Stereophile reviewers are deaf idiots or simply don't know shit when they hear it? That seems to be a fairly simple question at this point.

There are and have been several pieces of McIntosh's current or most recent line on the Stereophile Recommended Components list. That is, as you like to say, a fact. If you are so absolutely certain the Mac sound is one of "a 20-year old Audio Research tube amplifier that needs new output tubes", do you also feel the Stereophile reviewers responsible for compiling that list (and ST who still to my knowledge uses a current version MC275) are deaf idiots? Or do they just not know any better?

No one here could feel you've answered that specific question. Only avoided it five times now.

How about answering?

Why are you afraid to answer it?

Jan Vigne
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

It's a simple "yes" or "no" answer.

Why are you afraid to answer the question?

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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

My Dad has the MC275 in his system(Thorens Table, Magnepan MMG) . I have had it in my house several times. I have also owned bryston products for years. I use the 4b in the studio to drive my BW and Quads for mixing/mastering.

The differences I hear...

Bryston is noiseless, full of detail and very open.. makes it ideal for applications where one needs a "magnifying glass".

BUT

I aint gonna spend hours listening to it. The sound is honest, but a bit on the dry, sterile, boring side. Having owned many different iterations of bryston products, id say that this "dry" "open" "fully extended" but "boring" and "cold" sound is the bryston house sound.

For long periods of listening, Id rather have my tube amps any day. The 275 is sweet, forgiving, and like a cuddly blanket, comfortable and familiar. Brystons dont belong in hifi. they belong in the studio.

commsysman
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

You use a Bryston in the studio...where you presumably need lack of coloration and accuracy...but you don't prefer that for listening? HUH??

I guess if one has source equipment at home that produces "cold" or "dry' sound, that IS what you will hear coming out of the Bryston; it can only reproduce what it is fed.

The Mac will certainly round off the rough edges if the sources need that filtering; they ARE good for that.

If "warm and cuddly" is your definition of high fidelity, then I'll bet you like to look at all of your pictures through a gauze screen; most of find that to be the exact opposite of high fidelity. The DEFINITION of HIGH FIDELITY is "true to the original"...that means ACCURATE, not rounded off, filtered, or warm and fuzzy...!!!

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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple


Quote:
You use a Bryston in the studio...where you presumably need lack of coloration and accuracy...but you don't prefer that for listening? HUH??

Nope. my bryston(and solid state gear in general) is boring, cold, and clinical. I dont use that many condensor mics either, much preferring tube or ribbon types.


Quote:

I guess if one has source equipment at home that produces "cold" or "dry' sound, that IS what you will hear coming out of the Bryston; it can only reproduce what it is fed.

irregardless of the source material, the bryston is boring and cold. great for analyzing, not for fun. sort of like a hospital or laboratory.


Quote:

If "warm and cuddly" is your definition of high fidelity, then I'll bet you like to look at all of your pictures through a gauze screen; most of find that to be the exact opposite of high fidelity.

I wonder just why it is that so many thousands of people prefer tube to solid state gear, vinyl to cd, reel to reel tape to digital? because there is something in those "unfaithful to source" components that touches a nerve in them. the definition of "high fidelity" varies from person to person.

its cool that you enjoy your bryston amp. I use mine all the time. just not for extended listens.

commsysman
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

I AM using the latest version of the 3B-SST2.

I think that there is reason to believe that my amplifier is substantially different-sounding than the amplifier you have. Bryston claims that the current version is considerably better-sounding than previous versions, and I am also told by some experienced people that the 3B is better-sounding than the 4B in general.

Apples and Oranges...????

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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

Bryston still has a "house sound" which I describe as clear and open/detailed/fast, but not very fun or "inviting".

Solid state amplifiers just (imo of course) dont have the "mojo" of tube amps, arent as fun.


Quote:
I AM using the latest version of the 3B-SST2.

I think it is probably substantially different-sounding than the amplifier you have. Bryston claims that it is considerably better-sounding than previous versions, and I am also told by some experienced people that the 3B is better-sounding than the 4B in general.

Apples and Oranges...????

commsysman
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Re: Can you describe the McIntosh "sound" ? (I don't mean Apple

So...your position is that every Bryston amplifier has to sound the same?

There is no possibility that their engineers have made major improvements to the sound?

Hmmmmm.

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