Do true audiophiles own Mcintosh gear

It seems like all the high-end dealers I have bought from or talked to think that Mcintosh is living on it's past reputation. The 2 stores that carry it locally are more mid-fi stores than high-end. I have a friend that swears by it but he hasn't listened to his Mcintosh in over 2 years. What do you think?
Many people follow Mac gear..Like your freind,many swear buy it..I actually think it is a better product today than years ago due to competition..In the past ( years ago ) I always thought they were nice to look at ,but didn't offer anything special for sound..Today may be different,but for my$$$ I think you can do better for the money spent elsewhere..Just my 2 cents......
They are by definition "High End", based on price. I own an old one that synergizes with my vint6age Klipsch speakers very well.
I also own Von Scheickert Vr2s , JM lab Electras, Merlins.and more.... a few amps and ancillary pieces but am I an audiophile? I do have a habit of listen tomusic daily.
It seems your friend does not like music so he is not.
How would you define being an audiophile? If you don't like their amps does that mean they poor amps, there are many other to choose from.Including poorly made non linear ones in High End shops.
Is Gryphon OK? Is Accuphase a little to warm and liked by people not obsessed?
I have 1959 JBL C38s with the 030 driver package.Is that audiophile?
Finally I have found tube amps that make me very happy. I don't think anyone would find them to be midfi sounding if not told what was being played.
Hold on to your hats they are Chinese. -If you think my being a friend of the distributor is a conflict of interest take this with that in mind.- I truly found nirvana undoubtedly for a period of time,in the 4 X 6CA7s per block Cyber 800s by Opera/ Consonance. I just so happen to have bought a Consonance integrated years ago, from a different person.. But is that audiophile? I can't believe they aren't but you might think they can't be! Not enough harcores use them right, maybe they should (Audiofeil here on the gon is the authorized on line dealer. Norvinz also found on Audiogon carries and distributes the Cyber series)
e-mail me
What's a "true audiophile"?

I'd say the short answer is "Yes".

BUT perhaps one should define what is meant here by “True Audiophile” first. Eh?

Are audio nuts, (to supplant the aforementioned), only those who trudge the less traveled path? Buying only the esoteric and eclectic? Dwelling only in the neighborhood of one off makes, and back room productions?

Are they folks who simply pay far more than they should for audio gear, having items in their systems which preclude many from their purchase? I think snob would be a word best served were this purely the case.

Or are Audio nuts simply fanatics? Obsessed human beings which are chronically dissatisfied? Perpetually exchanging this for that and that for this, in order to acquire some perceived greater sonic bliss?

Or merely egomaniacs whose efforts are solely self effacing?

Or are audiophiles, yech, , those people who strive to gain the most performance from their audio systems? Those whose efforts are towards a sound which rivals the actual in it’s reproduction? Could it be they simply take great pride in matching the various aspects of a system to achieve an involving and exciting recreation of the sonic picture? Those people that do as best they can to simply put together something they feel is quite satisfying and enjoyable?

Just how much time, money, and attention to detail does a person have to invest to acquire the moniker ?

Beats me. I didn’t create the word. Nor do I like it’s connotation. Usually. Perhaps the genre should have classes. Some better definition more clearly separating audio hobbyist/enthusiasts into various levels of their neurosis or psychosis. . Like for example, A. A., B. A., & M. A..

The A.A. could be the Accidental Audiophile… which would be those persons who finding themselves in a reflective moment, exclaim, “I sure hadn’t planned on spending that much!”

The B.A. could be the Better than Audiophile that figures whatever winds up in his or her system is just Better than ______ .

The M.A. or Manic Audiophile would then be that group which finds themselves with more funds in their various systems than they have in their car or home.

Lastly, the PhD. A. The Phrustrated Audiophile which spans a broader category and contains those seemingly more experienced folk who contend their now system is not as good as one’s they owned previously and will need a lot more time and money to be ‘just right’!

But on the McIntosh owners being Audiophiles, per se.. Well, brand recognition is a big deal in sales, generally speaking. Brand loyalty is as well. when a maker like Mac has been around as long as they have there’s going to be a large following of previous Mac owners. Huge dealer network, OEM service, and after market resale. All of which keeps the name on many lips.

Audiophile status? Why not? That is always subjective.

I see Mac gear as a safe bet. Good quality. Yet pretty conservative stuff. Certainly in their line are those pieces which constitute high end performance and widespread appeal, and possessing new technology, as well as good build quality. Their availability for service, sales, and even refurbishing of older fare is surely a major statement… but THE preeminent maker of high end audio, and bleeding edge technology? I’d not go that far. A quality item in general? Yes, of course.

I would say this, if I did buy some McIntosh gear, it would be done with a great deal of confidence. I’d also shop around too, as I feel McIntosh is a tad over valued in my opinion, given their price to performance quotient…. But then, these days, what isn’t?

Maybe your friend, the McIntosh owner that isn’t driven to fuss and fiddle with his rig continually, is happy with It as is.

Isn’t that the goal? To wind up with something which needs nothing further to provide one regularly, much, by way of audio satisfaction?

I am envious of your McIntosh owning friend. he's sure saving lots of time and money on gear... and is side stepping the therapists couch too.
McIntosh owners are generally content with their equipment and are relieved to not be on the upgrade merry-go-round. Furthermore, the MC1201, MC501, MDA1000, MS300, MS750, MC275, and C1000 are all considered Best in Class.

This question was discussed here:
I have been infected with the audio bug for the last 50 or so years. I have always had some type of a audio system; some modest and some not. I have worked in the audio industry at the dealer level and sold the McIntosh line. I have owned both SS and valve systems of all brands and countries. Here is what I think: there are two types of audio people. The first likes to listen to equipment and the second likes to listen to music! The audiophile tends to be the former of the two and before the internet, they were the mainstay of the Hi-Fi industry; always upgrading or changing for one reason or another. Pick which one you are???? My 2 cents.
To a certain extent brands like Mac and B&W are living off their reputation. At most price points, a value minded buyer can find more for the dollar.

However, it is undeniable that both companies offer products of high build quality supported by an excellent distributor and retail network.

Oh yeah, IMO of course.
No,they do not.
Just to comment a bit further on Blindjim's excellent editorial, I find that in snobbery (and this applies to any field, not just audio) there is an inverse relationship between name recognition/availability and exclusivity. As a brand becomes more widely known it begins to lose it's cache among the cognoscenti

One of my favorite stories is many years ago I was buying a suit in a wholesale type tailor in the garment district of my city. A fellow was also there buying a tux. After he got it selected and measured for fitting, the tailor looked at him and asked what brand label he wanted in the jacket. They then proceeded to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of brand recognition. The problem was the most expensive brand was a name that not many people recognized so it would fail at impressing ordinary folk. So, the tailor recommended a slightly less exclusive but more widely known expensive brand. That way the fellow would impress more people with his fine taste in clothing.

McIntosh is excellent gear. It is well crafted, has a depth of support that is unequaled, and I've certainly heard superb sound from many McIntosh powered systems over the years.

The question is: are you listening to music, or are you impressing people? If the former and you like your Mc gear, the question is settled. If you are impressing people, then you need the audio equivalent of the tux discussion. First you decide what audience you're impressing and then you select the brand that best does that.

In My opinion Mac had a period not sure of the exact time line maybe mid 80-early 90's where they seemed to make good but not great ture audiophile grade great. I preferred brands like Audio Research and Conrad Johnson even Sonic Frontiers (when they worked). These companies and many other that we all know were dedicated to sonic perfection above all else.

Recently however I think it was late 90's MacIntosh took the gloves off and started designing some really great sounding gear. Awesome Massive power amplifiers that sounded as good as they looked.

Even more recently they set their mark on Preamplifiers.

I took notice of the C2200 a modern take on a revered classic the c22. I loved the look and it had all the features I wanted and more. But was this piece more sizzle than steak?

One of my friends was an ardent Mac fan, and some great press, convinced me to try one, In place of an Audio research preamp (unthinkable?)I figuired I could resell it and put this debate to rest if I did not like it.

To my surprise I love it.

The C22 is crisp detailed and has a wide sound stage. I would not call it bright but it sounded brighter than my Audio Research in a good way! There may be few if no other preamp that offer the hookup flexability and remote control that this piece offers

So Yes in my opinion Mac now makes Audiophile grear that sounds true to the music. and you can purchase a complete matching system from one manufacturer including HT , dvd, tuners..and new stuff matches cosmetics of classics like MR78-80 Tuners

PS they have the nicest people working in the sales and service department, and like Audio Research they repair almost any piece they ever made at reasonable prices! Mac even upgraded my tuner for free when they serviced it(Unlike Mark Levison's $ 1,200 plus repair minimum #$^&^#$^&# ) more on that story to follow!
The question is: are you listening to music, or are you impressing people? If the former and you like your Mc gear, the question is settled. If you are impressing people, then you need the audio equivalent of the tux discussion. First you decide what audience you're impressing and then you select the brand that best does that.

One of the best descriptions I've seen in ages about this hobby. With a little tweaking, we could list other brands to put in the Mc catagory. Might be a useful exercise.

Granted, the Mc willl impress the great unwashed also(gheesh, even Blose will do that), however they are excellent quality pieces, and retain their value well.

While undoubtedly someone will come along and take offense to retained value as an indicator of something (anything), the fact that Mac sells VERY well used here vs. the flavor of the month stuff that can barely be given away, speaks volumes.
Vintage Mac gears were great.
They were the best looking amp back then as well.
Although they might not be the best sounding at that era but they're sure one of the reference amp in that era.
The Monos like MC30/MC60
The stereos like MC225/MC240/MC275
Many of the modern amps still don't sound as sweet as these vintage amps.
The vintage tube Tuners is still one of the best.
MR67/MR71 still sounds better than many of today's top tuner.
The preamp are decent as well. The C20/C22 were the best from that time.

So, it depends are who you are and what you listening to, the gears may vary as preference may vary.

I've taken a pretty extensive tour of tube amplification over the past 35 years, and am currently running three SET systems with tube pre-amplification. None if this gear is McIntosh, but not for lack of audiophile quality from that brand. That company did suffer a product crisis in the 1980s into the early 1990s, but you can't be too hard on them for that. During the same period, the aural horror of Krell was introduced to us, Audio Research sound got progressively colder and ascetic, and the CD was still finding its way to quality in the entire chain from digital recording to mastering to duplication to playback gear.

However, you'd be hard-pressed today to hear a better amp at any price than a McIntosh MC1201 monoblock pair, and its smaller brothers in the "quad differential" range aren't slouches. The MA6900 integrated is one of the more musical integrated amps of any topology. Their push-pull tube amps are among the best of that topology. And the preamp range gives you a good range of transistor and vacuum bottle options delivering essentially the same balanced, musical, penetratingly revealing sound. I don't find satisfaction in any of McIntosh's speakers, but for some other makers' speakers, there's no better amp than a Mac.

I am not sure if audiophile own mcintosh,but seem like all the financial analyst and investment banker all own mcintosh.

Recently I listened to Mcintosh's reference system at a local audio dealer. I was buying some speaker wire. The system cost 200,000 dollars and had monoblock 2000 watt amps and seperate preamps. The speakers had 6 12" woofers and a line array of 24 2' midranges and 36 1" dome tweeters. It soundede very very good and life like.

So I would say Mac gear is " Audiophile " gear, a lot more audiophile then I am.

MAC is nice gear; but is also in many ways a status symbol.

Like many people who buy a BMW and only commute back and forth to work in it.

Many want you to see their MAC gear, not necessarily hear it. Still nice stuff...
I have owned a number of Mc peices for the past 12 or so years. I can't say I am an audiophile per se, but I do love
music. I love to hear it at it's best in reproduction for the limits of MY budget. I belive that my system sounds as goos as it can given the limitations of the room. I feel that I have made an investment in good gear. The Mc gear in my systme can be topped in performance for the same money, but I feel it's durable as well. It will sound that good in ten years or more. I think you get what you pay for with McIntosh and it can be considered "high end" for it's price point. I am sad to see it in "mid-line" stores, but I lay that at the distributor's feet. They get so anxious to place an order and collect a commission that they don't hold out for higher end shops. All the years I have done business here on AudioGon I have watched that the Mc gear holds it's value. There must be a demand.
All just my opinion and experience of course, no contradiction intended. 2 pennies on the counter..
Mcintosh is for the long term quality seeking music lover, not the insecure tail chasing audio nerd, yes Audiophiles own Mcintish, and Audiophooles take jabs at them for it.
I cant say I agree with Mcintosh being a "status symbol" the way a car can be one, most non audio people have no idea what it is and what it costs, at best if they see it in your home they might confuse it with Macintosh and think it is a computer etc.

I own some Mac gear and like it alot, I also have other gear and enjoy them too. I like equipment but I listen to the music foremost. If being an "audiophile" is switching preamps every month, or listening to just a handful of cds, over and over to get the image "just right" on the gear you are trying....then count me out.

I prefer gear that lets me kick back and enjoy the music, from Zappa and lots in between, I think Mac does that very well, and yes I like the way it looks, but the sound and musicality is the first order of business,for any gear,regardless of the name.
If you've ever been to CES and compared the MAC showroom against the other audiophile rooms, you definitely get that Mercedes Benz dealership feel at the MAC rooms (more like suites).

They are not trying to impress audiophiles with that setup. They are definitely trying to sell status.
I've got nothing against Mc's and their sound, but I do have a question. Would their sales suffer much if they no longer had all those pretty blue lights and VU meters?

I suspect that audiophiles would recognize their quality for what it is, but the folks looking for impressive and status gear to be admired by friends (not audiophiles) would pass. I like little black boxes with glowing tubes sticking out! :-)
This question seems to pop up every couple years. I guess Mac has been around so long that all kinds of opinions, myths, etc. have been perpetuated through the years. In this hobby a salesman or friend can say something to someone just starting out in the hobby and it be taken as an absolute and passed on.

Like many companies, Mac has had their good and not so good. As someone alluded above, Mac grew a great reputation in the yearly years of audio. But they had some lean years in the 80's and early 90's, this being my opinion. Since the late 90's I believe they have been producing some great products.

Like any hobby, you will have those that do not agree.

Anyone can look at my system and see I have Mac, but those claims made above that state I own it for status or to impress don't work for me.

Also, I have owned many other brands through the years, Levinson, BAT, Rowland, Pass, MF, I didn't just buy it because of some lore of old. But I do admit Newbee, I like the looks, including the blue meters. :)
Whom, interesting thread.

What is the true definition of a true audiophile?

Myself it's all about music and trying to recreate the ultimate sound within my space. No piece of gear is perfect nor the best and every persons individual tastes will differ, that's why there is so much gear available. I don't care what the brand name is but I do have concerns of reliability of the product I choose.

A high end dealer where I'm located always has Mac. 1201's, 501's, pre C1000, da1000 and usually a server (300 or latest 750 as a source) in their main room with Lev., Krell, Cary and others comparing. Every time I seem to drop by the Mac gear is playing and the others are sitting not being used, why?

To me right now I have lived with the Mac. 501's and 300 Server and have to say they are marvelous products, are they the best? What is the best? Are they reliable? Yes. Do they have a pleasing look? Yes. What I can say is I just turn them on and forget about them and enjoy what they can provide which is music.

I have tried allot comparing costing two, three times the price and still have them in my system.

I just bought a pair of Pass X-600.5 to compare, almost double the price of the Mac 501's and I'm also looking at getting the Cat JL2 Sig. which again is allot more. I personally find matching gear is very important, so far I have been very successful mostly using tube pre's with solid state amps. It's like a recipe, you have to try different ingredients to ultimately get the end result you are after but in the end someone could still say you are either lacking some salt or there is too much.
I think taking away the lights, meters and glass panels would cause Mc to lose some of it's attraction. But the quality and sound would remain. It's a package that sells and changing it could cause many to look elsewhere.
Nothing innovative about Mac gear, nor is it tremendously musical. In fact it sounds like very goo old class B electronics..not particularly exceptional in any area, nor a total disaster in any either..just OK!
Dave_b ,and you have owned how many Mac amps or preamps?
Dave_b we all have our own opinions and you obviously don't like Mac gear but saying Mac sounds like old class B electronics and is not musical tells me that you have not heard it in a proper system. My experiences differ from yours and I do own a Arc Ref3 like you, I brought it over to friends place who has a Mac C1000 in his system and I preferred the Mac C1000.
Cool, I sold my Ref 3 already. I had the 501's and c1000 with an MF A5 front end into C4's from Dynaudio. I've owned alot of stuff and I stand by my comments that Mac is OK but not special in any way.
I am curious what mid fi shop is selling $5000 amps? Sounds bogus to me. Taters, what are the names of these 2 stores?

And a dealer that doesn't carry McIntosh bad mouthing McIntosh? Who would have thunk it? LOL Would it have anything to do with them trying to make a sale? This seems like a no brainer. Sure McIntosh isn't for everyone, but neither are any other audio products. It's about what sounds right to you.

Taters, use your own ears with an openmind and stop listening to hi-fi salesmen. You will be much happier in the long run and have your bank account will appreciate it.
WWW.Records what I said is not Bogus! Shelleys Stereo is a mid-fi store that carries Mcintosh. There other lines are Yamaha, Rotel, Adcom, Rega, Arcam, etc, etc. That is mid-fi as far as I am concerned. The other store Audio Concepts also carries Mcintosh. They are also a mid-fi store that carries similar products to Shelleys. There is only one hi-end store that I know of in Southern California that carries Mcintosh. I think he carries it because he has a large Asian clientele and they seem to like Mcintosh.
Why don't e\we all take our toys and go home and listen to music!! BOL on whatever it is that floats your musical boat.
Nice troll of a thread!!
What a total waste of time and typing.
Are there any hi-fi stores amoung this list of Southern Cal. audio/video shops? Maybe all but 1 are (what you consider) mid-fi? In your initial post, you only mentioned McIntosh being carried by 2 (what you consider) mid-fi shops, but admit in your next post that there is (what you consider) 1 hi-fi store that carries Mc gear, with a disclaimer it is just because of the Asian clientele.

Taters, it is your intent that I really question by posting this thread in the first place. If you don't like McIntosh for whatever reason, that is fine. But like it or not, McIntosh is one of the most loved and respected lines of gear in the world.

As far as Shelleys Audio and Audio Concepts, to me them carrying McIntosh makes them a Hi-Fi store that carries brands to satisfy a wide range of audio/video customers. Sounds like a reasonable market strategy to me.
Dave, after following your threads for a while it seems you change equipment alot... and top dollar stuff too. I would be hard pressed to find many Mac products that cost as much as the new and improved again MIT 2.2 speaker cable you use. That could influence your comment about Mcintosh which is only your opinion and IMO is a ridiculous statement.
It's somewhat ironic and amusing that a Krell owner questions whether or not Mac is high end.
I have owned alot and I calls 'em as I sees 'em! In retrospect, Mac was at least warm and friendly sounding. When I spout off it's from passion, experience and an absolute perspective..don't take it to heart. Even though my Krell Evo and ARC Reference stuff didn't deliver, I do love the Krell KAV/Res 2 Colloms or Harley?...they even had to mention the 400xi as superior in some respects to the $50k stuff! See my 400xi review for more insight into my twisted brain (:
Brand is for the fashion conscious. I don't think you have to be fashionable to be a true audiophile although if you are very fashion conscious and shun Mcintosh because it no longer carries an aura of exclusivity....more fool you!
>>read Colloms or Harley?..they even had to mention the 400xi as superior in some respects to the $50k stuff!<<

I could care less what any of them think.

Reviewers are entertainers.
Sounds the the original poster is chasing a name brand every audiophile will applause to. Sorry that Mac in audio is not the same Mac as Iphone or Ipod.
It is hard to define a "true audiophile" since everyone can have their own opinion about who should/shouldn't consider an audiophile.
If you really passion about something then price and name brand doesn't matter. This is where DIY comes into play.
If you go to the diyaudio forum then they wouldn't think any commercial product can be any good.
I also owned Mac and heard Jadis and used krell and ML and PASS. Sure I have tried hundreds of cables before as well ( some cost up to 5K.) In the end, it is not how much you spend or which brand is the best. It is what goes into your ear that matters. Is Mac gear make you a geek or an audiophile? ( you became audio fools if your ear is based on name brand ) No. It is how things sound to you and not the wallet. A true audiophile owns good sense of what sounds good and doesn't care about meter measurements.
I agree reviewers are mostly entertainers..merely mentioned a couple of the senior more honest ones as an aside, not to be taken as an indication of my audio religion. Synergy of components and an ear for live music to guide oneself is ear, then no reference point! As I mentioned, I've gone with a lesser system because I've found it more musical...not for brand or dollar snob value. DIY is probably great fun if so inclined. All the stuff I've owned was great stuff, but my need for musical satisfaction took me full circle..I am happy with less becauase sometimes less IS more!!
Dave_b, Things does require a journey for your realization : )
Less might be more. That's why DHT SET amps had became a recent trend.

Happy listening.
"Do true audiophiles own McIntosh?"

No, true audiophiles listen to their gear while McIntosh owners listen to music. Ha! cliched response I know, but why does McIntosh always suffer this crap?
>> but why does McIntosh always suffer this crap?

I addressed this above: "...there is an inverse relationship between name recognition/availability and exclusivity. As a brand becomes more widely known it begins to lose it's cache among the cognoscenti."

If you think about it, McIntosh is one of the oldest audio electronics brands still in production. Marantz sold out in the 1970's and most of the other original "audiophile" brands from the Mc era are long since gone. They fulfill the above truth about high-end products in a way that few others can.

I have no horse in the McIntosh race - I don't own any of their equipment but have always had great respect for the company.
Nice shot! I don't own McIntosh gear but I know where your coming from. Again, well said.
My journey in the listening chair has been ear opening to say the least. One thing stands out however from the sea of gear...class A designs sound more natural and have greater presence i.e...older Krell, KAV Krell and Evolution Krell (not evo). Tubes can be pleasing but give me just a little to much frequency extreme anomalies and a reduced sense of presence or tension. Mac is one of many solid state/tube manufacturers that make reliable good sounding gear, and that's ok. Mac can be warm, full and reasonably able to convey the essence of the just doesn't give you goose bumps! I believe high end audio hit it's peak in the mid 90's and is being gradually dismantled in favor of ergonomics, current trends and alternative technologies. When I was growing up on vinyl and Bozak speakers, everything sounded amazingly full, dynamic and tonaly correct. My current rig gives me the same feeling on even redbook. Whatever you own, enjoy it and let each find their own yesterday.
i own a mac 275 amp. it is not a particular tube-like sounding amp. it is an amp many audiophiles would like if they took the time to listen to it.

i intend to sell it within a month.
i own a mac 275 amp. it is not a particular tube-like sounding amp. it is an amp many audiophiles would like if they took the time to listen to it.

i intend to sell it within a month.

Good luck - it seems Mcintosh in no longer an audio fashion statement (according to some views on this thread)....better dig those bell bottom jeans out of the cupboard to keep up with the Jones'!
This all reminds me of an favorite...

The sheik he drove his cadillac
He went a cruisnin down the ville
The muezzin was a standing
On the radiator grille

The shareef dont like it
Rockin the casbah
Rock the casbah
If someone wants to become audiophile & the only thing stopping you is a fact that you don't own McIntosh gear - I will gladly sell you my amp. so you can become one.


Your truth path to paradise

Nice..I am a Clash fan too....lets face it who isn't!!!

Are you into Razorlight?...kind of a punky clash sound with a little rock opera/pop kinda polish mixed in...worth listening to, IMHO.