Hi everyone. I wondering if anyone has heard one of these and compared it to the MA7900. Seems like the same amp with the exception of minor cosmetic changes and the upgradable DAC. The 7900 is much cheaper, so I'm hoping there's not much difference. Would appreciate any observations out there.
I bought the MA8900 and after a week, I'm not impressed. I wish I kept my Hegel H360. The Mac looks amazing, but the sound quality is disappointing. It seems to gloss over a lot of the detail in my favorite recordings, and it makes music sound lifeless and dull...like listening to AM vs FM. It's beautiful to look at, but it's pretty disappointing to listen to. Don't buy blind like I did! I got mesmerized by the looks, plain and simple.
Ive had it for a few weeks now. I've been hoping for a miraculous change in sound quality, but I don't see that happening. It makes me sad to listen to music now. an expensive lesson indeed. I'm giving it a month before I put it up for sale and search for a used Hegel.
Sounds like the McIntosh is not a good match for your speakers. Try a different speaker output impedance port, 4 ohm vs. 8 ohm, regardless of the speakers nominal impedance as that made a big difference in my system with different Mac amplifier. Also try different power/speaker cables and see if that helps. Dull or lifeless is not commonly associated with McIntosh gear, especially their amplifiers.
You said "it makes music sound lifeless and dull". I have a McIntosh MA6500 powering Martin Logan Vantages and the synergy is very good. I've never heard Mac sound like you describe although I've heard it sound soft in with some speakers, which is not to be equated with dull. Perhaps your speakers do not pair well with McIntosh.
That integrated has a 5-band tone control. Use that to tailor the sound to your liking and you are done. And you'll still have the beautiful blue eyes to look at.
kalili also makes come good points, especially the different speakers taps; try them all.
I'm using an Aurender server and plugging it straight into the Mac USB port. Speakers are Harbeth Monitor 30.1s. Speaker cables are probably 10 feet each. I don't think it's an issue with cables because the same cables were used with both amplifiers and the sound is dramatically different.
To me (and I emphasize that this is MY opinion, and I'm not trying to stir up a well-worn debate or hurt anyone's feelings), the Mac sounds unnaturally warm and flat. I notice a real loss of subtle detail and "air" to use an overused and silly audiophile term. I find myself turning up the volume thinking that the missing details are there, just at a lower level. But they are not. It's as if the information is somehow glossed over, perhaps by the autoformer output stage. In short, the musical excitement is not the same for me.
But to be fair, a lot of people prefer the warm, smooth sound that Macs are known to deliver and that's 100% okay. I suppose it's akin to a romantic tube amp. I'm just finding that it doesn't suit my listening preferences. The Mac sounds obviously colored to me, and I don't get the same emotional involvement with my music that I had with the Hegel. But thanks to all on this forum for your suggestions!
BUMP, I just bought the h360 and after mentioning it to a fellow music lover he asked me if I had listened to MAC gear to which I replied "I can't find a dealer that will let me take a mac home", and sometimes you just know when it's as good as it gets. Hegel just came out with a h190 that sounded even better than the h360 in my system (more immediate) but my speakers need more than 150 wpc so if you're going back to hegel listen to the h190.
What did you end up doing? I heard the 8900 at a dealer in October and started a thread here asking for opinions. It was paired with Wilson speakers and Nordost cables. You can read my impressions here:
I have heard with my ears, the same shortcomings of the MA6900, which prompted me to buy the Yamaha AS2100 and matching CDS2100. I guess you have to spend much more to have sound that betters the Hi End Yamaha integrated amps when buying Mcintosh. I think 6K for the amp and 6K for the pre amp.
Mcintosh is making a lot of low end gear that cost a lot for the money but is within reach of the more affluent middle class. So you either have to save more money to buy the good stuff; at least 12K or buy really good used gear or go elsewhere, like I did with Yamaha hi end gear.
judgmentday"Before buying this McIntosh I'd definitely would audition the Classe CA-2300 or Bryston 4B3 or even the Rotel RA-1592" Classe is out of business
with no readily apparent consumer support for its previously existing products
and the Bryston is a power amplifier not an integrated amplifier which is what the poster hear is inquiring about.
I have heard the 8900 but not the 7900. I also heard what they call a "receiver", I think it was the MAC 6700. The two that I heard had all kinds of power, but didn't seem special in terms of musicality, sound stage and imaging, and/or moving me.
Now, at AXPONA last weekend, what DID bowl me over and sounded awesomely musical was a Mark Levinson 585 integrated. No, it doesn't have tone controls and all the features of the 8900, but I quickly forgot all about those after hearing the ML 585. It was paired with the new Revel F228Be speakers and OMG, the sound was incredible.
I just got one a week ago, traded in my and c388 160watt int amp. this thing is amazing! sounding better every day,,, the 5 band equalizer makes this the real deal.....I purchased the fiber optic cables today and was disappointed, the analog cables sounded better to me for cd and Bluesound streamer............very pleased!