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McIntosh?

watchnerd

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#1
I've never owned, nor even heard (as far as I recall), McIntosh gear. And they're rarely reviewed in the audio press.

I've always liked the looks of some of the more subtle models, and the vintage stuff especially.

But how is the quality?

Are they audio equivalent of Harley-Davidson?
 

Blumlein 88

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#2
I owned one of the old original MC240's, and the MR110 pre/tuner. Those things were gorgeous. They oozed quality just looking at them. The controls had a wonderful feel. They sort of reminded you of a bit of lab test gear made into audio gear and made beautiful. They lit up in a most pleasing way. Just a classy A #1 product. At one time they even were technically better than most. They also were literally built to last a lifetime and more.

In absolute terms, the tube amp was pretty good, but not great. The preamp tuner however was very, very good.

Now I also have had an early SS tuner. That thing was technically fantastic and still looked, functioned and lasted as I described above.

Their SS power amps have been anywhere from mediocre to pretty good. I have had hands on a few of those too.

Now until the early 1970s or the end of the 60's I don't think I have seen their equal. There were odd pieces that were a bit better in some ways, and even some well built beautiful gear. But overall as a complete package I don't think they had an equal in those days.

The latest gear I had any time with was from the mid-1980's so about today's gear I can't really say. They would appear to be living mostly on reputation if you asked me.

Not a big fan of Harley Davidsons so I would rate them better than that, but I get what you mean by it.
 

amirm

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#4
Here is a snippet showing how they assemble one of their amps:


I am not a fan of their look but I can see how many would be. I like the big meters but everything else is too much.

On sound, I find them to sound excellent at shows because they are one of the few high-end products that have built-in EQ.

Together with B&W, they are the only "mass market high-end" products there are. They have managed to get scale and are automatic money makers for any shop that sells them.
 

A.wayne

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#6
Vintage Mac has it's own appeal and is a bit like Harley in that they hold value and historical status , where its not like Harley is they were always considered SOTA in their respective time slot and can still Hold their own today..


Regards
 

watchnerd

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#7
Vintage Mac has it's own appeal and is a bit like Harley in that they hold value and historical status , where its not like Harley is they were always considered SOTA in their respective time slot and can still Hold their own today..


Regards
The Harley comment was in reference to McIntosh current production, which are noteworthy in their bulkiness, archaic topologies, energy consumption, and price.
 

tomelex

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#8
I like their looks and they sound fine from my experience. An enduring product signature look, can't think of anyone else who sustained their looks this long. Its pretty impressive when you have a full suite of their gear, if you like their looks that is.
 

hvbias

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#9
One guy I trust implicitly, Kevin Gilmore at Northwestern, who has designed a bunch of electrostatic and dynamic headphone amps (IMHO the greatest audio engineer I know up there with Pass) says great things about them and he doesn't suffer fools. I also have respect for a company that will stand behind ancient products whether it's SS or tube.
 

Fitzcaraldo215

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#10
I have always thought McIntosh credible, rock solid, classic and conservative to a fault. Who cannot love the iconic 275 tube amp on looks alone. I do think their performance, though quite good, was never considered quite tippy top. But, they were the preference of the country club set for many reasons, though, as usual, that was not
about ultimate performance.

The tradition is passed down from generation to generation, much as the ad copy for Patek Philippe watches now suggests, as though McIntosh was a lasting lifetime investment in superior sound. And, their ownership has turned over many times. Was that not a Japanese car audio company that owned them for awhile? And, I do not even know who it is now, still Denon? But, the quality tradition, service and support of even old, old gear continues.

The Harley comparison is dead wrong, I think. In audio, they are the Rolls-Royce, an always luxurious car whose performance was never tippy top, but , in Rolls' own words, it was always "adequate".
 

watchnerd

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#11
The Harley comparison is dead wrong, I think. In audio, they are the Rolls-Royce, an always luxurious car whose performance was never tippy top, but , in Rolls' own words, it was always "adequate".
They're not expensive enough to be Rolls Royce and the sales strategy is similar to Harley -- target middle aged upper middle class men with luxury toys that are pricey, but within means, that evoke the objects they drooled after in their youth.

Goldmund is a brand I'd liken to Rolls.
 

watchnerd

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#13
I like their looks and they sound fine from my experience. An enduring product signature look, can't think of anyone else who sustained their looks this long. Its pretty impressive when you have a full suite of their gear, if you like their looks that is.
One guy I trust implicitly, Kevin Gilmore at Northwestern, who has designed a bunch of electrostatic and dynamic headphone amps (IMHO the greatest audio engineer I know up there with Pass) says great things about them and he doesn't suffer fools. I also have respect for a company that will stand behind ancient products whether it's SS or tube.
If you had $5k-7k to drop on a "do everything preamp / DAC" (analog, digital, phono, headphone), would you buy a McIntosh go a different direction?
 

March Audio

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#14
Is it the green tubes?
And font

My comments might come across comic, but I really do find their appearance awful. So old fashioned and crass. no appeal to me at all. Iwould look elsewhere based on this alone.
 
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Jinjuku

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#17
If you had $5k-7k to drop on a "do everything preamp / DAC" (analog, digital, phono, headphone), would you buy a McIntosh go a different direction?
I would go pro-audio for that. There is stuff in that price range that is going to blow past a MC Pre
 

Sal1950

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#18
It would appear that the new Italian owners of McIntosh agree, from this official McIntosh display at the Munich show:
Seeing as Harley-Davidsons are the most coveted bikes anywhere in the world, maybe there's something going on you don't understand? Of that I'm sure. ;)
 

Blumlein 88

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#19
Seeing as Harley-Davidsons are the most coveted bikes anywhere in the world, maybe there's something going on you don't understand? Of that I'm sure. ;)
Well, I would have liked the display much better if they had used a Ducati myself. :D




Or maybe they should have used the Harley this way:



 
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Sal1950

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#20
Well, I would have liked the display much better if they had used a Ducati myself
I love the Duc's, own 2 over the years.
But when it comes to the ladies, ladies love a man on a HARLEY. :p
You should have been with me this night after the show! :eek:
TitanGirl.jpg
 

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