Disappointing On Mcintosh......help


 3 Months ago  I went to NYC and stopped by the WOM  and auditioned several MCintosh gear...........and left a bit disappointed or not impressed...then I told myself   " lets give a second shot"  and went today to a  HIFI store and again Good room accoustics10K speakers , MC Preamp , MC Amplifier........ and again  the same disappointment I felt 3 month earlier.

Is that the "warm" sound people reffer to about Mcintosh?  
The sound is ample, base is powerfull  but the the sound is simply  not to clear, the hights are not too "crisp"  It sounds like the treble is set at 3 and needs to be adjusted at 9 or 10.
It seems like  the sound is  coming through a thin layer of paper ...that is the way I describe that sound.  

Then 20 minutes later I auditioned a Parasound A21+ and a JC5 and the sound was more clear and the highs were crispier

Whats your take on my experience?  or That is the MC "warm sound? 
E450909e 6723 4058 b7e8 b73fec83af27cydrone
As a Mac owner, I would say no. 
Cydrone

what is the specific model of the mcintosh?

i myself heard a disappointing mcintosh pairing with
dynaudio and sonus faber but heard a fantastic mac
combination with b&w speakers.
It was McIntosh Mc152 and MC312 with Sonus Faber Olympic and Adia. But I heard later a Parasound A21+ and Sonus Faber and it was day and night. The Parasound was way way better
Your mind thinks one thing, yet your ears tell you otherwise. Move on.
You demoed systems and they weren't to your liking, so you tried other system demos that did appeal to your ears. This is exactly the process. No need to question why since you as the buyer get to make the final vote with your hard earned dollars. Be glad you live in a city where multiple demos can be had within walking distance.

McIntosh is the favorite whipping boy here on audiogon. I get it, they're Harley Davidson but without the reliability issues. While costly, they're establishment and not esoteric enough for those willing to spend that kind of money. 

It sounds like your're heading in the right direction for your preferred sound. I would chalk up the WOM experience to system synergy. While they're in the same organization,  I wouldn't pair Mc gear with Sonus Faber.






The only Mc electronics I heard for any length of time was with Triangle speakers, and the combination was a vicious ear drill to my ears.

I recently heard the smaller Mc monitors and they were literally a joke. They had a buzz resonance that was apparent in even their larger speakers.
“I wouldn’t pair Mc gear with Sonus Faber“.

Or ARC gear with Sonos Faber. Every demo I’ve heard with SF speakers, I came away unimpressed. The sound was flat and lacked any emotions...so I wouldn’t call MC as a warm sounding gear, actually quite the opposite.
@cydrone  Why do you think you're "supposed" to like McIntosh?  There are so many alternatives out there...go find something appealing to you instead.
Personally I've never been impressed with mac gear you either love it or hate it. Friends own the 452 amp and it has never impressed YMMV
I had the same experience years ago.  I walked into a McIntosh dealer and listened to a system that included McIntosh separates - can't recall which ones.  I was surprised that I just wasn't impressed after all the years of hearing about the vaunted McIntosh amplifier.  Even my guitar hero Jerry Garcia used them.  Unfortunately. that system didn't appeal to me.  My son is at school in Binghamton NY and I have wanted to visit the McIntosh factory and try a listen session again.
McIntosh is geared to the warmer side. When matching darker speakers ( Sonus Faber) with McIntosh, you need to use the tone control. I have Dynaudio Special 40 and a C47 preamplifier. I have the treble ajusted to +8 db on most of my music to get the level of highs I like.

With brighter speakers, let’s say like Focals, I would not need to. Maybe +4 db on treble would be enough.
Some say the Paradigm Persona speaker is bright and hard to listen to, I heard the 3F paired with a McIntosh and it sounded anything but bright very detailed smooth sound I loved it but I am sure others would hate it that's  what makes the audio world go round so buy what you like.
I only have a C2500 pre-amp.   It's sounded slightly muddy with stock McIntosh branded JJ tubes when I fired it up for the first time.  I put in Gold Lion 12AX7's solved my issues.
I have MC152, and I also had Benchmark AHB2 and Hegel H20 before. Overall MC152 is better than both in my system. AHB2 is accurate but lacks emotion and soundstage. H20 has stronger bass but not clean as the MC152. My speaker is KEF R7.
Best McIntosh demo I’ve heard is at Noho Sound with their multi piece preamp, mono blocks, TAD DAC and large TAD speakers. Consider checking them out the next time you are in NYC. The WOM house looks gorgeous design wise. I haven’t been but would like to check it out sometime. 
cydrone
Is that the "warm" sound people reffer to about Mcintosh?  
The sound is ample, base is powerfull but the the sound is simply not to clear, the hights are not too "crisp" It sounds like the treble is set at 3 and needs to be adjusted at 9 or 10.
It seems like the sound is coming through a thin layer of paper ...that is the way I describe that sound.  

Then 20 minutes later I auditioned a Parasound A21+ and a JC5 and the sound was more clear and the highs were crispier

Whats your take on my experience? or That is the MC "warm sound?
It's why a tube amp's most challenging/degrading component is it's output transformer, (and why Mac's sound like that). Why OTL's kill them but also have their own problems

They're (Mac's) are soft and cuddly, dynamically challenged, and frequency extreme neutered.
Why someone would want to put an output transformer on a "perfectly good designed" solid state amp, is a wonder.
All it serves to do is make it sound like the above tubes, does make it bomb proof though, or it can also hide that the solid state amp is a bad design without the use of the transformer. 

Cheers George  
Heard McIntosh w sonus Faber.

 Delightful, about put me to sleep. A nice sound, relaxing,
i do not like shrill at all.
Delightful, about put me to sleep. A nice sound, relaxing,
i do not like shrill at all.

So is Mall and lift music.
Cheers George
@georgehifi 

they auditioned Animals by pink floyd, and a few songs from The Wall. it sounded amazing, i mentioned in another post, this is the same time i brought my then 2-3 year old grumpy kid in a stroller with me to audition.

 As soon as the music started playing, he stopped crying , this is a no BS truth. he made a few whimpers, but after i swear less than 20 seconds, he was silent, and his eyes were heavy, falling asleep, i myself was kicking back next to him, and was so relaxed, the tone, sound, was just amazing.  i can not afford macintosh, or songs faber, this is why.
  
  i was enveloped and thought the sound was absolutely amazing.

 naysayers be darned, it was a great relaxing, warm, sound.

 i may be a lot of things, according to a lot of people, but NOT a liar, or a story teller.

 this is what brought me to my Energy RC-70's, and their extremely warm sound. 

 if i could  have some Mac Monos, i would in a heartbeat!
maybe someday,...... til then, im thoroughly enjoying my other amps and preamps.  

 maybe its just me,......i do not like high pitched, i enjoy the warm sound, as my RC-70s' are rolled off at 600hz or 600 mhz, or whatever they are, im not a know it all,.....i just know when i auditioned the rc-70s' i had goosebumps, and the hair stood up on my arms and neck. THEN I knew i needed them.

their my grails. until i have the money for Dynaudio C-4s'

 enjoy the music !!
So appropriate to me this thread.  6 months ago my Classe SSP-800 failed for the third time.  Decided NOT to waste any more money on old DAC and multi channel extras.  So I set off to find a new DAC and Pre amp, and love warm smooth sounding music WITH great resolution and clarity.  I know.  Like many I was drawn to McIntosh and stopped by Binghamton NY to audition the new pre amps.  So many terms here strike a chord with me, especially the blanket analogy!  Veiled, dull etc also.  And to be fair the SF speakers are that way to me as well, and I have auditioned them with nice electronics.  So then, as I was still looking, I had the opportunity to bring a C2700 tube preamp home for trial.  Same thing.  Veiled, warm, dull.  I bought an Auralic Vega G2 DAC and an AudioNet Preamp.  Amazing.  So resolving, but non fatiguing.  Doesn't put me to sleep because it is interesting.  With my Classe CA2300 amp they bring my Revel Ultima 2 Salon 2's to life.  I did want to like the Mcintosh though.... and those Sonus Faber's are so pretty...  :) Ken
Like with any equipment there is good combos and bad. The Mac/B&W paring is quite remarkable to my ears.
It's about system synergy and personal preference.  U have had a Mc tube preamp for over 9 years, and I love it.  In the context of my system, and my preferences, it works.  I get all the details without excess edge, brightness or glare.  YMMV.
Have tried multiple times to appreciate McIntosh gear. Paired with Klipsch K-Horns bad, with B&Ws bad, with Martin Logans really bad. The only demo I have heard that I thought was half decent was McIntosh tube gear with Magnepans.

Just telling you how I heard it.
Listen to as many systems and speaker sets in various combinations as you can. You first must find a sound that pleases you. Without that, the rest is pointless. FWIW, I prefer to start with speakers. It is an approach that has served me well. 

Using it, for me, in my environment, I put together a mostly Mc system that I would happily compare to systems costing far more. That said, I haven't found a pair of their speakers that work for me. A pair of Magico S3s with a C1000 and MC300 tube power really rocked my world during a demo in Buffalo, though. Then the $$$$$ reality kicked in. Sticking with my old monitors still produces highly enjoyable results. YMMV as others have mentioned. 

Moral of the story is that you have to figure out what you like. Until you do that, all the rest is gas. This is an expensive hobby, and no one has a perfect answer. It's your money so please yourself. 

Listen around and enjoy the process. Buy what you like. Forget the rest. Happy auditions!
Cydrone.....you're exactly correct
I use to own Mcintosh 601 mono blocks and C52 preamp with modify klipsch KLF 30 and RF 7II never impress sold them and  bought Parasound A21+ and P6 preamp it was day night 
the only possible answer is klipsch and parasound has great synergy because it was unreal 
McIntosh has been putting lower quality parts in for some time 
look at the tons of $5 red wima caps ,
they are not even close to being more then average , resistors also 
for a company that charges over $5 k 
for all seperates  nice meters that’s it 
the top hybrid parasound designed 
by bascum king blows it away sonicly
i sold !McIntosh and have worked on 
upgrading products calling modding .
mc looks great but sonicly for the $$ could be much better.
I have a McIntosh MAC6700 receiver and I use the tone controls on it as well as a Schiit Loki to cut the midrange (The McIntosh bass and treble controls seem to do a better job than the Schiit, but they don’t have a midrange control). Every once in a while I listen to it flat and I don’t like it at all - similar to what you describe. But when I tweak it to just how I like it, I couldn’t be happier. I am running it into Klipsch RF7-III’s which are probably a bit brighter than most speakers to start with.

A lot of purists say you shouldn’t adjust the sound from the album/tape/CD/stream because that is how the artist intended it. I say make it how you like - it is your ears and money!

-Geoff
I see the McIntosh haters are out in full force tonight.  I have 2 Mac systems and very seldom have to use the tone controls but if the recording needs a boost then I use them.  I have never heard dull or shrill sound from my systems.  I had a couple of guys over 2 weeks ago, one of them is an Audiogoner and both loved my 2 systems.  My Audiogon friend has Pass Electronics and Magnepan 3.7i and VPI table.  He loved the sound of my system, and no, he wasn't being polite.

Don't diss Mac because of a bad demo.  It is well made, lifetime lasting, excellent sounding equipment.  Everyone here may not like the brand, but they sell a lot and I am glad I bought from a big company who can take care of my equipment for years to come.  A distant friend just had them make a new glass front for his 1971 tuner.  How many other companies can or will do that?
Hi
McIntosh products offer great fit and finish quality, long term service ability and high resale value. They have not sought  to produce high performance products in decades
@hoytroskap...…………………………...

Funny you should mention that, McIntosh as of late has gotten rave reviews in Tone Audio, TAS, Stereophile,  plus many online reviewing  sites.  Are you saying the reviewers are lying or that they and I are deaf?  Have you ever owned McIntosh?  That was quite a broad statement to make without backing it up.
Synergy is everything in audio.  That, plus we all have different views of what type of sound gives us joy.

For Me, McIntosh MC501s paired with a tube Pre Amp (C220) driving 3.6 Maggies have been magic for more than 10 years.

I went through a lot of gear to get what I (emphasis on I) found the right match for my Maggies.

YMMV 
Building high performance products does not insure economic success
Long term service, high fit and finish quality,  and high resale value are qualities which lead to a long term customer base. The viability of the magazines today is tenuous and I believe they are primarily promotional vehicles. Should you wish to investigate it, which would be time consuming but not difficult, I believe you will find their parts costs, other than those related to cosmetics, are unusually low in comparison to most competitive products
Parasound JC5. Precise. Vivid. Electric. A21 with fuse mod and aftermarket power cord not far off. 
Like Audio Research never used cheap parts. There are numerous threads about reliability problems of their volume control ( cheap chip). And they all swear this brand is better than McIntosh. Even Primaluna uses better volume pots ( ALPS). The guy from Upscale audio has whole youtube videos comparing their inside favorably to ARC...

You buy a McIntosh 9k, you resale it for 7k.

You buy an ARC 14k, you resale it for 7k.
...... What a joke .....
Long time Mac owner, 501’s for 15 years matched with CJ ET5 and driving Thiel CS6.  Great sound!  Mac takes a beating, oh and all MIT cabling which gets about the Same Treatment.  
Mac owners have a deep pride of ownership, love the sound and nonowners think the brand isn’t high end.  That about sums it up. 



I’ve own Mac gears for year and heard lot of combinations of Mac gears and speaker. So far for me one of the best combo with Mac amp and preamp are the Vandersteen speakers, not just warm but great soundstage and sounds very natural, instruments are all well balanced.
Mac and B&W are very synergistic. Very nice rich overall sound with the tweeter tamed a bit. 
 But I will say that I formerly owned the MC2102 (100 WPC tube amp) and the C1000 3 piece preamp with Wilson Watt Puppy 7s. I was determined to purchase the MC 2301 monos. When I went to my local dealer and listened to a full Mac system with my preamp and the 2301s , I was ready to buy. Then my dealer suggested swapping out the upper tier Mac electronics for a mid level Audio Research preamp and amp---just for a listen. I was a bit insulted at first --as I was a died in the wool Mac tube fan having owned a number of Mac components and I thought the salesman was a bit presumptuous to suggest that I might prefer an ARC system which I assumed he preferred at less than a third the price of mine.--I was astonished about how much better the ARC system sounded, especially in the midrange. I heard  previously unheard detail on numerous test cds I brought with me. These were cds that I had listened to hundreds of times.  I could count the background singers on one Van Morrison track when before they sounded as a massed group. I heard each individual voice and how the harmonies were constructed. This type of detail added to musical enjoyment. On another track from a David Byrne cd, I clearly heard low level detail in the midrange that I had never heard before. And the sound was not harsh, just revealing and much more transparent than Mac with a light touch of sweetness.
I went back home to my system and listened again to those tracks. Even knowing what I was missing and listening for them--the sounds were simply not there--masked by a slight scrim over the sound that makes Mac easy on the ears but far from transparent.
I was upset at the time as I knew that I had to sell all of my Mac gear and go ARC. That conversion occurred years ago and I remain glad that it did. 
Try Kimberkable Sliver Steak on your Mc
Equipment or Marantz equipment. 
Also with the Silver Streak add Kimberkable
12 TC speaker Cable...
I bought my first Mc unit just this past month. It is my first true audiophile integrated and I am very happy with it. I considered Pass Labs and Hegel, the Hegel I would have been able to afford...Pass...not so much. My MA8900 sounds great. I have a pair of Cornscala's working with the Mc and they sound great...for the time being. Different speakers are a possibility within the next year or so, but accessories like a Roon Nucleus or Rock will probably come first. McIntosh rocks the house.
I personally do not know what people see in MacIntosh.  I think Parasound is better.  I aua/ditioned my ARCAM AVR 550 and the ARCAM AVR850 and compared them with MacIntosh and the ARCAM AVR850 blew its doors off.  I like their G amplification technology, as I believe the first 50 watts are pure A amplification.  I have never thought MacIntosh delivers the upper end detail I like to hear.  It is way over rated in my opinion.  Be curious to know what speakers you like and what price range you might consider.
Mcintosh Gear,
I'm a tube guy, but not a snob. I've paired a lot of Mcintosh PreAmps with lots of of Mac, and others, amps.  The newer gear, that's Op Amp based, is not the Mac gear of old.

I use a C2500, MX120 with VTLs or OLDER Mac tube gear, in a system or two.  I had a MX150, I did the upgrade. NO TONE CONTROL. oops!!!,  Back to the ol MX120, I've never looked back. I'm not a big surround guy. 3 or 5.4. is about as much as I can stand. That Mac (MX120) and just about whatever I PLAY THROUGH it, WORKS well... BUT  the word WARM is not what I'd call ANY of the new gear. I sold  600s then the 1.2 for just that reason.  I've looked a the newer MX series and ALL their C series, I'll stick with what I have and save 25,000.00 or so...

The newer C2500 I have, got Sparco regulators and rollable opamp sockets installed, THAT was a real game changer. The warmness of the Mac WAS BACK or you could tinker a bit and roll a tubes also. The machine became a lot more forgiving and gained a BIG plus in my stereo world.

I paired the SS amps, (600,1.2) with the older, Tube (MAC) preamps,
OH MY, LYIONS, and TIGERS and BEARS. It was like a dream come true. BUT what about that nice remote control, and never having to clean pots again.... It was ALMOST worth giving up, for "that sound". The phono section, of the old Macs when worked, are just one of the best.
Vinyl has still got a big place in my systems.

I seldom sell a Mac preamp (just money in the bank), BUT that MX150 upgraded, CJ, VTLs an AR pre amps, have come and gone, along with a hoard of SS amps.   Accuphase (that is a great amp) Pass, AR, VTLs, MC30s, 60s, 225, 240, 275s, Ampzillas, and now Nord, Class Ds Rev D, buffer boards. 

I still use my older Pre Amps (with the SAMRA touch). They are the BOMB, C11s,20,22 (same as the 11). The C20s I use I've never heard anything CLOSE for under 10,000. They just have to be REBUILT right.
Paired with the Nords, VERY good match indeed. WONDERFUL.
EVERYTHING other than the Mac, VTL tube gear, and one pair of SS Pass MBs, all were pulled out of service on the Power amp side.  I'm just blown away how a light weight amp can be so versatile with just an op amp roll. AN RUN COOL.

I'm a planar person from about 500 hz UP, round speakers 500 down. If there is a problem they will show you, noise comes to mind,
EAR BLEEDING, bright, cotton in the ear speakers. When their right
Oh WOW.. Just heaven...

Syrup, molasses, and just SLOW with a lot of the SS Mac power amps. Sure look nice though, ay? Tube amps, whole different world, I like they'er tubes gear with horn style speakers, C20, MC60s a pair of Corner horns, or La Sals, Get out of here... heaven. !970s all over again. Purple Haze all in my brain, Excuse me while miss the train. Jimmy H.

All about the right combos, ay
I have not been impressed with most McIntosh equipment, especially the solid state, but I have heard the 275 Mk. VI is a good amp.  I have heard it demoed and it did sound good.  I prefer Audio Research, but that is usually more expensive.  As far as Parasound goes, it has always been extremely good sound for the money.  They used to have reliability issues, even with new gear.  (I used to sell Parasound gear and we had a LOT of issues)  Are they more reliable now?  
I have a C47 preamplifier and it passed the dac direct to amplifier test of resolution. So those who say McIntosh is veiled compared to ARC are just full of it... or just tried older McIntosh pieces or their warmer tube preamps...

What kind of test am I talking about ? You connect a sota dac direct to your amplifier with sota interconnects. That gives you the ultimate resolution you should get from your dac. Then you add the preamplifier you want to test in the mix. It’s very easy to ear if you loose any resolution in doing so. If you don’ t loose anything compared to the dac to amp direct link, then your preamplifier is transparent to the source. Add to that the benefits of a preamplifier in the chain... a bigger soundstage, better dynamics and bass weight, a denser midrange, etc. Everything else another preamplifier can bring ( like ARC or any other you may like ) is either color, euphonics, and prat...to the taste of the listener.

That confirms the latest magazine tests of McIntosh solid state gear. Like the Absolute Sound review of the C52 preamplifier.


A few months ago I was in the market for a stereo overhaul.  I was leaving behind a NAD Master Series system, composted of the M3, M4 and M5, coupled with Sonus Faber Venere 2.5 speakers.  Also in the mix was/is a Gold Note PH10, Acoustic Solid Metal 111 turn table with their WTB213 tone arm, fitted with a Benz Micro Wood L.  The TT sat on Acoustic Solid's dedicated isolation platform.  There was mishmash of different cables, some Cardas, some High Diamond.

I was eyeing Sonus Faber' Olympica III speakers and either a McIntosh integrated (MA8900 or MA7200) amp or a Moon integrated, like the 600iV2 or the 700iV2.  I opted to keep the TT, NAD M4 (tuner) and the Gold Note PH10, and replace all of the cables with Cardas Clear Cygnus.  

The place where I bought the speakers also carried McIntosh.  I still remember my conversation with the sales person about amps, and he asked me if I liked a "warm" sound?  That is such a subjective adjective that I had no reference point, other than the same term is often used in describing guitar amps.  "Warm", in the lexicon of guitar amps, usually translates into tubes or "tube-like".  In other words, not overly bright, not PCB based circuitry.  Needless to say, there's an endless array of tonal possibilities between those two points.  The sales person was also steering me towards Hegel, another decidedly high end product.  He did not use the words "warm" or "bright" when discussing Hegel.

I had done some research on Simaudio, the Canadian owner of the Moon line of audio products and had read many decent reviews.  Reading published reviews, I find, is not always to be the best measure of a products' actual performance: I find that reviews can be overly biased, usually not critical enough, especially with these bench mark products.  I don't think I ever read a single negative review about either McIntosh, Hegel or Moon products.  Reading reviews on audio components is a lot like reading reviews on wine:  they are filled with colourful adjectives, designed to invoke a virtual listening experience with our ears.  With both audio and wine, however, in order to understand what the writer is telling us, we need to understand what those words mean, what they translate to in real life.  If you don't like vanilla, for instance, the wine writer's use of that word in describing a wine is not going to be of much use to you.  What if you don't like "warm" sounding speakers, that place that delivers the sound from the amp?  Hell, what if you don't even know what "warm" means!!!

I decided to comb through the various audio sites, such as this one, and read buyer's reviews to hear what actual owners had to say about their purchase. When comparing owner reviews of those who bought either the McIntosh (integrated) or the Moon (integrated), the response was disappointment at the McIntosh for being too warm, "muddy" and that translated into a lack of dynamic range, lacking detailed highs.  Many buyers openly admitted to buying the McIntosh, purely off reputation and the love of the blue lit power gauges.   

When I told the sales associate at the store where I bought my speakers that I was going with the Moon 700iV2, I couldn't believe how rude, inappropriate, and misinformed he was.  He sounded like he was personally insulted, and that McIntosh was a far superior product.  This is the same guy that appeared to suggest to me that I might not like the McIntosh for its "warm" sound.

All in all, I have no doubt that McIntosh makes an excellent product, built to last a life time. Maybe audio tastes have changed, maybe not  On the front panel, Moon delivers you a simple product: there are no tone controls, much like the NAD M3, another award winning amp. I have never found the urge to be able to dial down the treble or the bass.  The tone is rich, and balanced.  Bass and drums sound like a bass and drums should, as does horns, pianos, stringed instruments, and so forth.  The Moon 700iV2 (and the 600iV2) are described as "musical".  The words "warm" or "bright"  seem to be absent from writer's reviews.  Since purchasing the Moon 700iV2, I have not been left the least in looking for another sound.  Happy camper.
Whats your take on my experience? or That is the MC "warm sound?


No. It is Religion (in a way, the American Answer to Linn).
Each his own. There is a US Forum, when you write something negative about this gear, you will be kicked out from the owner (he owns a boatload of it).




Recently auditioned Mcintosh, Bryston, Simaudio, PrimaLuna amps mated to Sonus Faber, Fyne Audion, audiovector, Kef, dynaudio. At this point the Mac/Sonus pairing is the winning combo, to my ears, with my music. Musical, sweet, huge soundstage, detailed, foundation cracking bass. 
hmm. can’t argue with what someone hears but i think an expanded list would have shown that better is the enemy of good(mac). just don’t think that mcintosh has the detailed high end sound that once heard is impossible to forget. also apparently the service isn’t so hot either. imo
Lots of McIntosh haters posting in this thread. For the record, I hate overly detailed sound.   I can do without that extra brightness that is all the rage now.   The manufacturers do it on purpose to have too much detail. That way, you will never be satisfied with the sound and will constantly be spending more and more money.  
As the supporters of this hobby get older and die, manufacturers need to come up with new ways to keep us spending.  Overly detailed sound is one way for them to get more money.