For meters, Luxman. I love mine. :)
- 69 posts total
- 69 posts total
Most of the time, amplifiers are only using a fraction of the output that they're rated for. Take the case of amps richly biased into class A: often they never leave A to slide into AB. Up to a point, some increased headroom is good--think V8 over a straight 6. The 302 is overkill: horses for courses. BTW, B&W and Mac are often sold in the same store; is Mac what the store is pushing you towards, because you can do better for your $$?
For speakers, I picked up B&W 805D3 tabletops with stands. 88 dbSPL sensitivity, 8 ohm. They recommend 50-120W @ Ohm for the amp power on their site.More significantly, IMO, you would be pushing **the speakers** to near the max. Note that B&W’s recommendation for amplifier power, stated fully, is:
50W - 120W into 8Ω on unclipped programme
Meaning that its ability to handle **continuous** power (which is how the amplifiers are rated) is certainly much less than 120 watts, at least if the speaker is to provide reasonably undistorted sonics. Which also seems consistent with the fact that it is a small (28 pound) two-way speaker having a 6.5 inch woofer.
Finally, there are undoubtedly a great many design differences contributing to sonic differences between the three McIntosh amplifiers you are considering. I would not let your decision be dominated by the presence or absence of autoformers, or by any small handful of design characteristics. I would start by researching what amplifiers others use with the same or similar speakers, and what speakers others use with these particular amplifiers.
Good luck. Regards,
P.S: Note also that the MA5300 has a specified dynamic headroom of 1.8 db. Which means that on the peaks of typical "unclipped programme" being played at high volume the amp should be able to provide approximately 150 watts, not just 100 watts.
In other words about 25% more power than the speaker is rated to be able to handle, even on a short-term basis. Which seems to me to be a reasonable margin.
100 watts per channel could be enough but not that particular Mac. It sounds strained at higher volumes compared to other more robust 100 WPC amps.
200 WPC should be enough, I have heard that combination and it sounds excellent, the Mac takes the edge off the diamond tweeter nicely.
the 300 WPC amp would not be overkill but for your listening distance it will be more of a luxury / icing on an already very nice cake.
As a lesson more power is not completely about more volume. It is about sound quality and life-like dynamics and speed at lower volume too. Think very good bass and attack at low levels. The amp makes this happen.
Some people like the jump factor dynamics in high efficiency speakers - you can get this with lower efficiency and higher power.
While the 7200 will be very nice, my ultimate recommendation would be a Mac tube preamp paired with their 200 WPC power amp. Boosts the spend but sounds like you have it, this would make your system golden.