the particular model may or may not have better bass. the loudspeaker and the room play a big part as well.imo.. mac is more organic...accuphase is more detailed. both are keepers.
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Accuphase compared to Mcintosh? Give me a break. What an insult to Accuphase. Mcintosh is crap compared to Accuphase. No way in the same league. But what's really funny is Mac is owned by a Japanese company, D&M Holdings (Denon and Marantz). Just one of many examples, you won't find teflon circuit boards in Mac, which have the lowest noise floor. Mac uses standard military grade copper/glass boards that are common in A/V Receivers. Accuphase is built with much better quality control, better execution in desigh scheme. They are what Mark Levinson was twenty years ago, and should be recognized as such. Mac is just a name nowadays and will never be in the same league as Accuphase. As far as performance quaility, Accuphase is up there with Soulution, Burmester, FM Acoustics, Boulder, BMC and Ypsilon. I would argue their C-3800 Preamp that just came out, is the best sounding SS Pre on the market, with a luxurious, rich texture thats closer to tubes that any other solid state PreAmp.
I respect Accuphase gear, and based on all that I have read, I would love to try one of their Class A amps. Nevertheless, I think that it has been proven in the past that jewel-like build quality is not a guarantee of "superior" sonics. Both companies produce high quality components that are known for their long term reliability and commitmant to customer satisfaction. Both companies also have loyal followers who enjoy their 'House Sound".
To call the comparison an insult is beyond partisan, it is just silly.
Off course its an insult..Mac is not Ultra High End, Accuphase is, and to compare the two and imply they are on the same playing field is absurd, and shows a lack of intelligence and awareness of who these companies are. Mac's top universal bluray player has three cooling fans in the unit, thats poor engineering. No other high end bluray player runs as hot. Good luck with the fan noise. There's close to 200 used Mac items for sale on Audiogon, which shows Mac does not have a high retainment of ownership as Accuphase does. If Mac's gear was world class in sound quality, there wouldn't be hundreds of used Mac pieces for sale on Audiogon, Audio Classics, Ebay, etc...an endless sea of used Mac stuff..as far as sound and build quality, Accuphase is a Rolls Royce and Mac is a Toyota Camry...
Mac is not Ultra High End, Accuphase is<<
>>to compare the two and imply they are on the same playing field is absurd, and shows a lack of intelligence and awareness of who these companies are<<
>>If Mac's gear was world class in sound quality, there wouldn't be hundreds of used Mac pieces for sale<<
>>Accuphase is a Rolls Royce and Mac is a Toyota Camry<<
You think like an Edsel
Accuphase's top Preamps are far more expensive and have a performance level way beyond Mcintosh for the following reasons. The circuit board material used in Accuphase's top model's is either Teflon or Fluorocarbon Resin which is very expensive and far more costly than the common green copper/glass boards found in Mcintosh. You will not find Teflon or Fluorocarbon resin boards in Mcintosh. Also, Accuphase uses NASA grade parts in their top models such as resistors, capacitors, and transistors that cost many times more than the military grade parts in Mcintosh. NASA grade parts have a defect rate 1/2 to 1%. Military grade parts have a defect rate between 3 and 5%. NASA grade parts always will result in a far superior sound, which is why Audiophiles who are aware of this will go the extra mile and buy components new or used with these materials knowing well the sonic results. This is why I state that Accuphase is like a Rolls Royce and Mac is like a Toyota Camry...SUPERIOR QUALITY!!!...you get what you pay for...
You really sound like you are desperate to prove that Accuphase is better than McIntosh, but the reasons that you come up with are absurd. Three cooling fans in a player proves bad engineering? If you are qualified to second guess their decisions, maybe you should be designing audio equipment yourself.
Th number of pieces of Mac for sale on Audiogon compared to Accuphase pieces is also without meaning in this case since Mac has much wider distribution, and therefore there are more pieces in circulation.
You are embarassing yourself.
I am not desperate to prove anything. Just open your eyes and ears. Look inside an Accuphase C-3800 Preamp on their website. The materials and boardwork are light years ahead of Mac. Mac is not bad stuff, just relying on old topology.
Mac has made no advances whatsoever in twenty years with new technologies in circuit designs or power supplies. The best sounding Preamps, regardless of price, based on their science and innovation, are the following, the Ayre KX-R, the Vitus SL-102, and the Accuphase C-3800, since they have a sonice character that portrays the very best of tube and solid state. There are many great products from Burmester, Boulder, Goldmund, FM Acoustics, Rey Audio, and Soulution, but these pieces lack the overall magic, bloom and emotion of the three I mention. All these companies have made great strides and advances with newer science and topology that has left Mac in the back of the train. Mac is old school that reached its pinnacle in the seventies, Mac makes great stuff but is simply not on the same level when it comes down to hall effect, holographic
3-D imaging and echo decay as the other brands mentioned.
Thenis, the OP asked about the comparative sound signature. I have the same curiosity about the sound signature. Did any of you rock throwers attempt to answer his question? Do any of you know the answer to his question?
For a thread with a dozen or so responses, this one is absolutely awful and non-informative. Oh I guess a lot of you don't like one another - very helpful to the OP.
Billimbriale..I'll answer the question regarding the sonic signature of Accuphase and Mcintosh, since I'm familiar with both and will get off the rock throwing plaform. Both Accuphase and Mcintosh have a very relaxed character and very smooth, and both image very well. The key differences is that Accuphase has better pinpoint imaging and detail and front to back layering. Accuphase has greater dimensional space that is typical with tubes. The top two Accuphase Preamps have superior bass than Mcintosh and sell for a lot more. The top Preamp costs $40K and the second one down
costs $29K. Mac's top two piece Preamp sells for $ 20K.
Accuphase gives a sonic character that is a better blend of tube and solid state than Mcintosh. Mac is more colored and Accuphase sounds cleaner and provides better spacial depth. The one area that Mac is no match whatsoever to the Accuphase top Preamp, the C-3800, is its brilliantly designed AAVA volume control. Its a fully balance dual mono gain control with a separate module for each channel that you will not find in the Mac.
Michael Fremer says Ypsilon preamp is the best there is. Anyone heard it? Never heard Accuphase, heard some Mac a few years ago, not their best stuff, and couldn't care less about the sound though maybe the cables were junk or not a good match. And it appears that both Accuphase and Mac are overpriced. More or same money as LAMM and Rowland? Give me a break.
Inna..Michael Fremer is not exactly on target. The respected review site, Dagogo, reviewed and tested the Ypsilon PST-100 in September 2009 and put it up against the MBL 6010. The reviewer, Ed Momkus concluded that the MBL was the better performer due to its superior dynamics.
The Ypilson is not cheap. Cost is $ 25K. You say that Accuphase and Mac are overpriced ? No way. It appears you lack knowledge on the three grades of parts in the Audio industry. Standard, Military, and NASA grade. I'll repeat again what I stated in this thread, that the NASA grade materials used in the Accuphase are extremely expensive, such as the circuit board material and parts, which is why their cost is high, and the quality of parts, integrated into a well execute design scheme, results in magnificent sonic performance. all your best world class Preamps that sell at very high prices, all use NASA grade parts and components due to their very narrow defect rates, resulting in better phase and linearity of the music signal.
Fremer might've got too excited and exaggerated it a little but I would think that most likely that Greek thing is really great even if they use junk grade parts; probably not. And his vote is not quite like everyone else's.
You say NASA grade parts? NASA itself has so many failures in addition to successes that you know what? I don't want similar grade parts in my amp. Military grade would do just fine.
Does NASA use a lot of audio parts? To NASA, NASA-grade parts means reliability, not necessarily sound quality, and the best grade of parts is effectively a certification of existing processes and manufacturers, establishing provable reliability and consistency of manufacturing processes and supply. If you read NASA parts procurement guidelines, you will find that they in fact specify use of parts up to and including 'mil-spec' parts of a grade called MIL-STD 975 Grade 1. If you care to read that giant PDF file, you will find capacitor specs starting about 20 pages in.
I think, if you dig through both docs, you will figure out that any audio manufacturer which went through the process of finding good-sounding capacitors and matched them would probably end up with better-sounding and more appropriate capacitors than those taken out of a NASA engineer's parts box. If you read the guidelines and the MIL-STD 975M file and come up with different analysis, I'm happy to be corrected.
The term NASA grade absolutely has to do with the quaility of parts and the rigid extreme conditions they can experience, it does not mean the same parts that are used in control panels in space ships, but the type of dielectric materials used in transitors, capacitors, circuit boards and their skin material. When combined, these type of materials and parts are much more efficient when dealing with severe heat and severe cold and have much lower defect rates and higher tolerance values. NASA is a term that reflects the type of high quality over the years that the military and aerospace apply to parts that result in the highest quality for communications, sound and observation. For example, Solen, Wima, Blackgate and Vishay are considered NASA grade quality and classification but are not used in military or aerospace programs but for high end audio products only. Again, its a classification term that applies to quality only. Besides, we are getting off subject, this thread is about Mcintosh and Accuphase.
Michael Fremer says Ypsilon preamp is the best there is<<
He gets one vote like everybody else.
Not that I agree one way or another with anything that MF has to say, but I would say that not all votes are created equal. Listening to many pieces of equipment over many years is a valuable part of having one's opinion matter more - in theory; though it does leave open the question of whether you have the same listening tastes and preferences, but all things being equal, depth of experience and exposure does lend more weight to a person's opinion. In fact I value your opinion to the extent that you have many years of experience with various pieces of gear --- that is worth something.
I switched from McIntosh to Accuphase after I did some side-by-side comparison between my MC202 and my friend's A20. The MC202 is rated at 200 wpc (smallest model with autoformers), and the A20 is rated at 20 into 8 ohms and 40 into 4 ohms.
I was shocked at the improvement I got from the Accuphase. Maybe it's because it's class A, or maybe it's just because I like the sound signature better, but after a couple of days I couldn't go back to my Mac. The Accuphase was just so much smoother and more pleasurable to listen to. Hardly any drop of in the bass department, either, which I found most impressive.
I wound up buying an A50 here on audiogon. New, I could never have afforded one. One of the best purchases I've ever made.
I wasn't comparing anything to the A50, and the MC202 is as close to a match to the A20 as you're going to see. Remember, Accuphase is grossly marked up here in the US. The A20 was built in 1995 and listed for approximately 320000 yen, which is around $3900 US. The MC202 was built in 2003, and listed for $3300. Both fall at the bottom of their respective manufacturer's amp line-ups.
Also, I'm not saying one is better than the other. I'm only saying that, to my ears, I thoroughly enjoyed the Accuphase over the McIntosh. YMMV..
You'll have to forgive my skepticism. 'Quality' as NASA defines it has nothing to do with the sound quality of a part in a particular application. Parts' 'efficiency' in dealing with extreme conditions has nothing to do with electrical 'efficiency' and has only to deal with reliability in meeting specified electrical properties/values within an acceptable minimum range of error under a variety of adverse conditions. The fact that all those parts you mention are 'considered NASA grade quality and classification but are not used in military or aerospace programs but for high end audio products only' means what exactly? Who determines that they are 'NASA grade' if they are not so deemed by NASA?
Nevertheless, I agree that Accuphase uses better-sounding parts, on average, than McIntosh.
Boy...how dumb can you get?..quality as NASA defines it has nothing to do with sound quality ?..Dead wrong..example..a medium NASA grade capacitor from V-Cap can cost up to $ 300 per cap..due to its dielectric materials..speed..and clean sound they are known for..more liquid..a lower grade cap with the same capacitance with cheaper dielectric materials costs $ 30.00..who determines their NASA grade?..the circuit and layout designers and the companies they work for..thats who..why do you think 100% OF ALL HIGH END COMPONENTS HAVE NASA GRADE PARTS.. BETTER SOUND QUALITY..if that were not the case the high end market would be dead and Audiophiles would just buy their electronics at Radio Shack...
Additional note..I first learned of the term " NASA grade" in Stereophile back in the eighties, when a reviewer examined the inside of an amplifier and stated "very impressive..NASA grade parts throughout"..also T_bone,..you agree that Accuphase uses better sounding parts?..when you already stated that NASA quality has nothing to do with sound quality..how absurd!..you missed my whole point..and that is the term "NASA"..refers to the very best quality in materials used in high end parts, as used in Accuphase, which results in superior sound quality.
Taters..Absolutely they do..its a standard of quality.. NASA does not certify or deem these standards..but were the first to develop high quality parts for electronics for Aerospace and Military applications that had a major influence on High End Audio in the 60's and 70's..setting a standard for the High End Audio companies to draw from.
Audiozen - Since you say McIntosh in not Ultra High End and Accuphase is, perhaps it would be helpful to look at the history of Accuphase. Wasn't Accuphase called Kensonic Laboratories, Inc.? My E-202 said Kensonic on the back. Didn't Kenwood still own part of Kensonic until the 1990's? I don't see much Kenwood equipment in the realm of Ultra High End. Just as a note - I have owned McIntosh gear and Accuphase gear and enjoyed both with little to critisize. One thing I can say about the old Mac gear I owned, however, is it was bullet-proof and never broke. I do, however, recall having my E-202 back to the shop on several occasions.
I can obviously get pretty dumb.... I am actually responding to your
why do you think 100% OF ALL HIGH END
If 100% of all high end components have "NASA grade" parts, then
why bother making the comparison between Accuphase's better "NASA
grade" parts compared to McIntosh' "NASA grade" parts?
Making that distinction is meaningless.
And if V-CAP tells me their caps are NASA grade, but the "lower grade
cap" with the same capacitance with cheaper dialectric materials also
tells me their caps are "NASA grade", then why bother? And the $5
cap? It too could be "NASA grade." The appellation "NASA grade"
doesn't mean any guarantee of quality such as the quality in the V-Caps.
Methinks you are missing the point... I am simply saying that "NASA
grade" means almost nothing in terms of sound-quality, and now that
you have confirmed that 100% of high-end components use "NASA
grade" parts (which I will not disagree with), your original comment is
rendered meaningless. I can absolutely guarantee you that NASA does not
perform listening tests on their caps in audio circuits to determine whether
certain caps meet "NASA grade" standards or not. If you can
provide evidence to the contrary, I will retract everything I said. However, I
think you are relying on some Stereophile reviewer's mid-80s hyperbole.
Your definition of "NASA grade" seems to be the rough equivalent
of "it's really really good." My definition of "NASA
grade" is those parts which meet the specifications of MIL-STD 975M,
which are roughly unchanged in the past 15 years, and remain US DoD
guidelines because the US govt does not abide by 3rd party independent
testing in many cases still. Having read the NASA procurement guidelines
"for fun" a while back, I can confirm that I fully expect high-end
audio components use "NASA grade" parts, because that means
that the failure rate of the electrical components in my equipment is probably
low enough to allow me to plug them equipment in safely.
I fully expect they do. In fact, I would expect they have all made efforts to find
good-sounding capacitors within a certain price point of "NASA
grade" parts so as to improve the sound vs the less-good-sounding
"NASA grade" parts. I also expect that all Japanese high-end mfrs
would use parts which would meet or beat "NASA grade" specs for
performance and reliability, despite being made in Japan. Oops... I forgot,
Black Gates are made in Japan. As are Nichicon...
T_bone..your comments in the novel you just wrote are redundant..all these issues have already been answered..in reality, NASA was influenced by high quality parts that were taken from circuit boards removed from the dash boards of the UFO's that crashed in Roswell on July 4th, 1947 on Matt Braswell's farm..we can thank the Aliens for High End Audio..God bless those little grey's...
T_bone..I have studied the Audio industry religiously for many years..going all the way back to the invention of two channel at CBS Labs in 1934..the three classifications of component parts has been referred to and discussed in many articles and reviews I have read over the past 25 years, and not just a one time discovery from Stereophile hyperbole..and is a term that is common knowledge with Audiophiles who were members of the State Audio Society I belonged to for several years..and is also common knowledge amongst circuit designers..it appears that many Audiophiles who have responded to this subject on this thread, lack the education and awareness of these standards, and never have taken the time to study parts designs and how they are classified, have to mask and cover up their ignorance with cynicism.. those who are not familiar..need to get beyond " college level audio syndrome" and delve deeper and study the classifications of Audio parts which will give you better insight why those, who can afford, buy exotic designed amps and preamps costing $ 30K or more for the very reasons I have discussed..many of my Audiophile friends are aware of NASA grade as common knowledge..Where have you been?...
It is interesting that in two long conversations about all things regarding amplifiers with two great amp makers both said the thing is really about great circuit design with particular boutique parts being a distant second, it simply was not part of what they considered critical to their designs. Of course reliable parts that hold specifications is important, but not sure you need NASA requirements to get that. Might not hurt, but the NASA thing, for audio applications, sound more like it is coming from the marketing department than the engineering department.
Audiofeil, I too am humbled by the level of experience demonstrated, and the perfection of the logic presented; it is not often that logic forming such a perfect circle is presented in such depth and with such vigor. I certainly have been schooled. I shall retreat to my corner and ponder my navel (which is surely not NASA grade - robust, circular, and enduring though it may be).
As to the OP's questions:
1) It depends on the integrateds. In general, I find Accuphase to have excellent bass, but to be a little rolled off in the treble. If I had to choose between top of the line Accuphase and TOTL McIntosh, I would choose TOTL Accuphase any day of the week.
2) I find Accuphase's 'house' sound signature to be quite detailed but slightly 'softened', and lacking in dynamics. I find McIntosh sound signature to be less detailed, and more 'round' - perhaps similar weaknesses but more pronounced.