Not all equipment technology moves at the same pace. In my own experience amps/preamps might improve considerably only every 20 or more years- witness some of the beloved older stuff here from the big names. For speakers, I would say that 7-10 years might be about the limit as new technology and materials drives this category pretty intensely as does better measurement systems used by designers. Digital on the other hand seems to change/improve every 1-2 years with older $5000 performance levels becoming available at much lower pricing in the newer generations (likely due to the computer like nature of the beasts)The older high end DACs/CDs that still sound very good are usually due to the well designed analoque sections of these older units.
Had some similar gear as you are contemplating C712/Mc300 then the C100/ Mc500 and I must say its good sh**. I think the MC300 is the replacement for the 7300 or just a rename?? The c41 if I remember right was a full function top notch pre, almost bought one but ended up getting a c100 instead. Can't see you going wrong with the older Mcintosh, its age is irrelevant to its performance as good designs stand the test of time.
Electrolytic capacitors don't last forever.
There is something special about having truly well made gear. Components such as McIntosh even years and years old may prove more desirable. For myself a system's value must be looked at in terms of sound, build and pride of ownership. What floats your boat is what matters.
So haven't designs changed for the better?
As a fan of valves and vinyl, I'd say no.
Capacitors do wear out, but they can be replaced.
Jmcgrogan2, that was precisely my point. If the gear is over 10 years old, and the caps have not been replaced; it is not performing up to it's highest potential.
I think the cayin business model tells you to buy new. Cayin takes the classic designs and executes them with current state of the art parts, you get the best of the old and the new, at a great price. Then you can use the new purchase in about ten years to sell it used and start over. Mac's are great for sound, not value. I've never understood the 'pride of ownership' stuff.
Orpheus10: I think that is mostly applicable to power amplifiers.
Jmcgrogan2, you are absolutely right; however, my pre began to sound like beer that had been opened and left out all night, it was flat. After I replaced the caps, it came back to life and was like new again.
Speaking of beer, Australian in this case, I left an open can of Foster's overnight in refrigirator many times, and though in the morning it was not quite as good as in the evening before, it was still good.
Since I recently bought eleven years old Australian integrated, Redgum, I got in touch with the firm and asked them about capacitors and any other service recommendations. Do you know what the designer said? He said that it is very unlikely that I would have a need to do anything within the next ten years or so and told me not to worry unless I hear a change in sound, amp getting much warmer, noise from transformer etc.
Good older stuff is good. If it can be fixed I have no hesitation of getting it. In fact, I would only buy new if what I want is unavailable used. Except cartridges perhaps.
If you know what to buy, used stuff can be way better than new. My favorite example is the Spica TC50 speakers I bought in 1986. I tried a number of new, expensive speakers that were lateral moves from these. Typically, the newer sepakers had greater extension in the bass and treble and better dynamics, but much less natural sound. Other favorites of mine are Pass Labs Aleph amplifiers and Atma Sphere amplifiers, which, regardless of age, and for a price, can be brought up to the very latest standards.
"Mac's are great for sound, not value."
Really? I believe it's the sound that creates the value. McIntosh products are built to last a lifetime, thus the pride of ownership perception. Just look through the ads here on Audiogon for vintage McIntosh gear and the prices they are asking. Many are higher that they sold for new! Who's looking for vintage NAD, or Cayin for that matter? That's not a criticism of those two products, but if you are looking for the definition of value, if resale prices aren't an indication, what is?
i wholly agree with tonkay insofar as mcintosh value--mcintosh pieces are expensive but hold their value as well as anything on the market and aren't subject to the steep depreciation that affects almost everything else out there. (c.f. my 6-7 year old denon gear, which is probably worth 10% what i paid for it). given the choice you posed between older mac and newer nad i'd opt for the mac in a heartbeat--it's more reliable, better built, looks better will (to my ears) sound better and will be worth alot more when you're ready to sell. that said, there's a lot of hugely undervalued older stuff out there that's available for cheap and will still compare favorably to pricy modern gear.
i love this site, you get great answers that help soooo much. I think I know what I'm gonna do, I also want to add the Ryan from Audio classics has been awesome awesome awesome.
wait MX132 any opinions? Ill never use the DSP part but for the price the stereo output between that and a c series is a very fine line.