The MA6500 is a very sweet amp with tube-like qualities. Ultimately though, you will have to try it in your system and see what you think. Buying used, you can't lose any money on a McIntosh so it is definately worth a try! My buddy has a Vk-3i that is excellent - it has a sound similar to McIntosh preamps.
When considering Mcintosh be sure to listen to the latest 2102 tube amp. It can out perform just about anything in its class.
As a current McIntosh owner I have been considering the BAT amps. I recentley, at a local McIntosh and BAT dealer did a head to head comparison. Using the Mc MC501 Monoblocks against the VK600. As a Mc owner I reluctantly must confess the BAT sounded more detailed, precise and the bass was much quicker and deatailed whereas the MC sounded a little "muddy" in the bass. I never would have picked up on this, had I not done the comparison. Don't get me wrong I Love my Mc's and think they sound great, but I am considering a switch. But I do want to do another A-B before I do it will be hard to part with the blue meters and glass fronts. The speakers in the test were JM Labs grands, Boulder pre-amp and Accuphase CD. No slouches in the group. Let me add I considered JM Labs for speakers but always felt they we a little bass heavy untill I heard them through the BAT's.
You didn't say what the rest of your system is, other than speakers, and why you think you need an upgrade. As many have stated, the VK-60 is a superb amp. If you wanted to upgrade from that, you might want to somehow get to the VK75SE, slightly more power and keeping the magical BAT sound. Switching to SS, especially another brand, would require you to really listen first, to avoid making a mistake you might regret.
I agree with Rgurney, if you like the BAT tube sound look for a used 75se (or two 75se's which could be converted to 150w monos). If you really feel a need to check out SS amps, you might want to check out BAT's new VK220 or, better, their VK250 which can be upgraded to monoblocks at a later date.
Hey Theo - at which dealer did you do your auditioning? I would love to do that same comparison if it happens to not be too far from me. Thanks!
this is a good one, I own a fair amount of Mac gear and am curious to the BAT sound, never heard it though, at this level, you must hear them in your house,maybe tough to do but is the only way.
As a happy BAT owner I must say that I really like the look of the Macs. The blue lit meters are cool!
aball-it was in Denver at Audio Unlimited
Listened to the 501's and BAT at Audio Unlimited based upon your post above, and noticed pretty much the same differences you did. In fairness to Mac, however, I will point out that the BAT I listened to was not merely the VK-600, but the VK-600SE, which retails for $11,300, considerably more than the 501's. The BAT SE had the BAT-PAK and SUPERPAK built in - the sound was pretty amazing.
Do you recall if you heard the 600 or 600SE?
You know I don't recall ever being told. I was just told that is was the 2 channel version of virtually the same construction as the VK6200, which was what I would have been buying. ( I am tring to save some rack space ) But I would expect a 11K Plus amp to out perform a pair of 8K mono's. That may have been the case in which re-inforces my decision to stay with my Mac setup. For the time being, I still enjoy the sound of my 352 and I can wait before plopping down any funds right now. I want to look at a few other amps as well. The Jeff Roland mono blocks intrigue me in what they deliver for the size they are. They are priced about the same as the BAT. But I really am on hold for the moment, I am having pre-separation anxiety with my blue meters.
By the way had you been to Audio Unlimited before? They are great guys there and I would like to business there on a larger scale just haven't yet. Was going to buy the JM Labs 936's but went the Revel route instead. But I like the manner in which they do business. If wishes were amps dreamers would have Boulder Amps...but that is way out of reach for me. Thanks for getting back.
For rock music the best amp I heard was a Pass X series...very detailed and a forward, powerfull presentation....I bought the BAT VK500 because I liked it's open, detailed, not in your face presentation.It seemed to go well with all kinds of music...just a matter of taste.
Have you considered horizontal bi-amping with a SS amp on the bottom? Currently, I am running my jrs with a VK200 on the bass cabinet and a VK60 up top. You get the control & impact of SS bass and the incredible tube midrange of the 60; the best of both worlds...
Loonytunz, I've heard about other people using the same set up as you and they're happy as well. Being that they're both BAT products and Victor takes great care in his designs, was impedance or level matching an issue at all? It must sound great!
Gunbei, in all honesty, I won't know 100% until I get the jrs broken in completely, but I will say that so far I am extremely pleased. Until I ran the tar out of them for a good 50 hours or so, they sounded pretty course and restrained. Out of sheer laziness, the break-in is taking longer than it probably could. I'm using the SS amp for break-in duty during 'busy' time to preserve precious NOS stock, and patching in the 60 during 'happy' time. They are coming along nicely, though.
Impedance/level mismatches have been non-existant. FWIW, I'm running both sets of full range outputs from a 5i into each of the amps (the 5i is being fed by a D5; analog front end to follow soon...)
Soundstage width is breathtaking, depth & height are good while not stellar (I'm hoping for a bit more from the midrange as they approach completion of the breaking period and I refine their positioning), dynamics will downright scare the pants off you with a good full orchestra piece!
To quote a famous fast food slogan: "I'm lovin' it!"
Sounds awesome Loonytunz!
I'd been using a BAT VK200 for almost two years and just made the switch to a Bel Canto SET40 which had some pleasant surprises I wasn't expecting. I never realized a high powered SET could deliver such great bass. I thought I'd be losing a lot, but honestly for my taste the difference between the VK200 and SET40 in this department is quite small. I think a lot has to do with the speakers I'm using.
I had considered your biamp set up, but I just didn't have the room. So, it seems you and I may have gotten similar results with a slightly different approach. Once you get everything broken in to your satisfaction you might obtain even better results when you start tube rolling. I bet the all BAT system sounds great!
I guess we can officially consider this thread jacked... ;)
I've not had the chance to audition any Bel Canto gear, but the Proac pairing would seem a little different given the relatively low sensitivity of the 2.5s. Just goes to show you, synergy is the cat's meow.
While I would like to make some hardware changes to my system, I really am enamored with the all BAT system, as is my wife. As I've written in a number of other posts here, she is a fairly serious enthusiast as well. Unfortunately, she also becomes emotionally attached to stuff (thankfully, or I might well be single.) That makes it more difficult for me to suddenly decide I need a different preamp or source component. Maybe one of these days...
The tube rolling has been in progress for a while now. In my travels, I've decided that a pair of Tung Sol 5881s in the 5i, and a pair of RCA red base 5692s in the 'critical' positions of the 60 are keepers.
Several iterations of lesser 6922s and their variants have proven lackluster in their respective units, but I have my eye on some Amperex PQ 7308s for the D5 and 5i that I hope will end my search (I'll probably have to sell some blood to complete the transaction.) In the coming weeks, I hope to obtain the last piece of the puzzle; some 40's Sylvania 6SN7 GTs for the remainder of the positions in the 60. I haven't had the chance to play around with 6SN7s much, so I'm kind of anxious to see how the Sylvanias work out.
At that point, I hope I'll be able to listen for a while before I decide to change anything else! I know my wife probably has similar hopes...
Yeah, I love the 6SN7 tube. I've been using a 6SN7 based Blue Circle BC21 for quite a while which I even preferred to a BAT VK3i I once owned. What I seem to like is what deHavilland Audio calls the "big tone" sound of the 6SN7.
I was a bit apprehensive about a loss of this characteristic when I bought an eXemplar Exception II a couple weeks ago. I was surprised to find this preamp also exhibits the expansive and full-bodied sound of the BC21.
In my experience 6922s by in large create a huge soundstage, but lack the full bodied midrange presentation of the 6SN7. It seems the VK60 will help create the big tone sound with its 6SN7s. My favorite versions of this tube are all from the WWII era. Sylvania, RCA, Ken-Rad, etc.
I can completely understand your wife's attachment to certain pieces. I don't plan to sell my Blue Circle preamp. I like that little guy.
Within the last two months I have went from a Mcintosh mc352 to a Bat 75se. Not to dog on the 352 but the 75se left the 352 in the dust on EVERYTHING but power. Here`s a thought sell the vk60 for around 1800 add your 2000 upgrade savings add 400 and your at a used 75se, you wont reget it. David
to Cylinderking...what preamp are you using
Had a Mac c42 for 2 year`s moved to a BAT 51se a year ago. David
Cylinderking: Don't feel like you are dogging on the McIntosh. You are comparing BATs that cost more than double what the McIntoshes retailed for. I'd certainly hope the BATs are better! Arthur
Heard BAT and Mac solid state, as mentioned above, and liked the BAT better. Then I heard the McCormack fully balanced DNA-500 and that's what I purchased. IMHO it has the best characteristics of both at a better value than either. Was a little leery given all the glowing reports, but in my system, it works great and throws less heat than the Big BAT. Current output is actually similar to the BAT and wattage is higher (500w/900w into 4 ohms), which my Whisper speakers crave. They have come alive!! Now the Preamp/tuner search begins......... (it just never ends, does it?)
Theo, et al
I was torn between BAT and Mac as above, but heard the McCormack DNA-500 and now own it. Lots of power and current, but also great presentation - open, detailed with excellent control of the bass - more similar to BAT than Mac, but less $$$ than either. Also runs cooler than the BAT and will actually fit into a rack. Finally hearing what my Legacy Whispers can do.
I'm about to add a paire of JR's to my system. Actually, replace with.... I've got all BAT power. VK5i, VK500 W/BP. I'm pretty sure given the fact the speakers I'm replacing are the same efficency as the JR's things should be not too suprising.... Classic rock exclusively on tube gear? Amazing.... I listen to all types of music, save hip hop & rap. ...at this point with the intro of the JR's I'm looking to add foucus and more bottm end tightness...if the soundstage improves any at all in width, ht, or depth, I'll just go next door and listen to it.... I'm totally satisfied with the BAT sound. For me it has everything I want. ..and with what I've heard the the JR's being capable of I'vm very much looking forward to getting them pluged in.... about my only concern is the addition shortly of a sub to replace my old thumper... I like the bottom end and mid... as BAT stuff goes if I were to upgrade at all only the 600 interests me. or the 600SE. That's it. I've for me found the secret in everything starts with the pre, and source. Better that, and things get better in a hurry.... just like when I added the PQ US 7308 WHITES along with the Tungsols 5881. magic. Absolutely remarkable.... and all this on a pair of Phase TECHnology PC 10.5's about 8 - 9 years old.... so consequently adding the JR'S has me a bit excited.... I do wish you well and as for the Mac thing.... I heard all but the tube amps they offer... although, just on Paradigm & Mac speakers..... Taht MC 602 is no slouch. but until you get to it, nothing reallly jumped out at me... didn't hear the mono's. I bought my vk500 strickly on say so.... never heard it... it actually came down to teh mc352/mc402, or vk500/ vk200 x 2.... well you know what I have, and how pleased I am with it... and actually if I got the notion or input from a few folks that said the JRS' or about anything else would be drammatically improved by howizontally biamping with a apir of vk500's .... well guess what I'd start looking at doing...?
in BAT SS the control, body, openess, and detail come acrosss as liquidly coherent.... it'd take a lot to get me to move off BAT...
Heh Jim...we have very similiar systems except I have the VSA db99.....we even have retubed our pre's the same way! I may try SET sound since I don't need the massive power of the VK500 anymore....your VSA 4Jr's do need power however and the 500 should be a terrific match.
for sound, they are both up there among the best money can buy. if you expect to live with it for years, well the mac is in a league of its own.