Help putting together a little system with McIntosh MC 30s

So, it’s been over 10 years since I lived in a house where I could listen to music with no neighbors to bug or had lots of cash to splash around on big systems. I went to Brazil on a one month vacation and never came home. I’m back in the US selling all my big speakers and heavy Pass Lab amps.

While clearing out my storage unit I came across an old pair of amps and thought I could get a few hundred bucks on Craigslist for so I blindly listed them for $1,500……big mistake - within minutes I was inundated with offers and I knew I had Fked up on my pricing.

I did some research and found these little McIntosh MC 30s are very desirable and are great amps. I know live in an apartment in São Paulo with thick walls and only one neighbor to bug and am now thinking about bringing these with me in my case.

Somewhere in storage in Brazil I have a great tiny pair of speakers I bought years ago off Audiogon, really great and I think they were Scandinavian - can’t remember the brand but I think the model are called “The One” (any ideas anybody as my brain is to rusty now)?

Anyway, I neither have the money or the passion I once had and I don’t want to go down that (very fun) rabbit hole of gear again but If anybody can think of the name of those little monitors I have over in Brazil that would be the first part of this puzzle.

Do I need preamps? and would these MC30s pair well with “The One”.

Sorry to be brain dead trying to remember the name of my monitors but they were highly regarded maybe 12-15 years ago and are probably in better condition than my brain these days and I’m optimistic some old-schooler on here will remember what brand they are .

Thanks in anticipation


Ok guys, I found it - Totem “The One”

im completely out of touch with audio these days and would like to know what (small) player I might want, do I need a pre-amp, and will the MC30s pair well with the Totems?

This stuff will ideally have to fit in my carry-on case.

Yes, you will need a preamp. If it was me, I'd sell the Macs and get a nice tube integrated amp. 

I had the original Totem Ones and thought they were a great speaker in a small space.

Thanks guys - since posting the MC30s I’m seeing only glowing reviews about these and to be honest there is something nice about owning something that might be about 60 years old. I’m not particularly stuck on them being tube amps and these days I’m striving for something sounding good, not necessarily great as I know myself too well and will end up down that rabbit hole again. Apparently the MX 100 would be a good addition to these amps from what I am reading.

Another thing - that preamp might cost me $3000, both that and the MC30s will probably require constant work…..if I sold the MC 30s for say $3000 and saved spending another $3000 on the pre could I do better for $6000 in todays market sound quality wise in a small package that I could bring on the plane with me?

@thomastrouble , it would be different but who knows if you would like it more.

Why not get a Paradigm PW Link preamp/streamer on sale and try it out. The ARC room correction is fantastic and you could run the streamer from an app on your phone. Super simple, inexpensive and you could start using your equipment right away.

Thanks Kota, but excuse my ignorance- I’m not familiar about these - is this a system people have moved onto since CDs where something like a Tidal subscription is used - is this higher sound quality than CDs?

Cant bring more speakers with me and intend using the Totems I already have in Brazil

Yes, that is correct, the Paradigm PW Link is both a preamp and a streamer. You can connect a CD player via a digital input or analog. You can stream music from spotify, tidal or many other services with an app. I use it in my desktop system and my speakers sound fantastic:


For setup you would connect the RCA out of the Link to the RCA input of your amps. Connect your Totem speakers to your amps. 

Then you can simply play a streaming service with an app on your phone, a tablet, or a computer. You can connect a CD player with either the digital or RCA input. 

This preamp also comes with room correction software and a microphone so your speakers will adjust for your room. Let me know if you have questions but for the sale price this is a very good deal. Most preamps, even expensive ones, don't have room correction software.

Hey Kota that sounds great - do you use this? How does Tidal sound compared to CDs?

Ok, so now I see I’ll have to put the MC30s in for servicing but while I’m only here in the US for a brief period and chatting on here has given me other ideas also as I would like to bring a little Paradigm system back with me (going down that rabbit hole again!).

The Paradigm seems like a great idea and cheap too! Sometimes I like to use a subwoofer and I have a nice one in Brazil - can I run this with this set-up? I’m guessing I’ll need an amp for this - any suggestions for a great but small amp for this set-up?

@thomastrouble , it is very easy to connect and they are on sale. It has a port on the back for an ethernet cable or you can connect it via wireless. If you want to use the room correction it comes with a microphone which you plug into a windows computer to run. You can also download the manual for a quick read from the Paradigm website to help. To connect a subwoofer you will need to use a sub with speaker inputs as the Link doesn't have a sub out port. Run the ARC room correction after you have connected your sub:


@thomastrouble , do you have a powered sub or do you need an amp for your sub? I thought you were going to use your mcintosh amp?

Cool Kota but…..I’ve been researching today and came across one in-depth review where it was rated badly and advised people to look at other offerings - I’ll see if I can dig that review up and see what you make if it. My problem right now is I’m slaughtered morning til late at night working and only getting very little time to dig into this but I really respect you for the time you have put in to help me Kota!

Paradigm also owns Martin Logan which sells the same preamp under the name Unison, here is a review:


It was an audio science review from what I remember if you want to check it out Kota

Just noticed it doesn’t support Apple Music files - while I’m running around doing chores I will 90% of the time be listening to this though - any updates to support this?

@thomastrouble the Martin Logan Unison does Apple Airplay, get that one instead. Everything else is the same. The guy at ASR recommended the PW Link too, he just didn’t like one feature. The other review I posted a link to says:

I simply loved the MartinLogan Unison. It lets you convert virtually any analog or digital audio component into a multi-room audio node using your choice of DTS Play-Fi or Apple’s AirPlay. The inclusion of ARC is icing on the cake that enables the gear it’s connected to to deliver the best performance possible from the room that it’s in. The Unison is a no-brainer recommendation.

Wow Kota - I just messaged a friend to explain to him the effort you put in for me - this has got to be the best community on the planet, just really great people on here!

thank you

Any recommendations of where to buy this?

I had Mac MC30. It is specialy sounding amplifier. It has very pleasant natural tone. It controlled my speakers better than 175Watt Plinius 8200 integrated that I had in the same time. 

MC30 has very height input sensitivity. So I used it with not expensive cathode follower Croft Micro preamplifier. 

@thomastrouble , you can buy it right from the Martin Logan website at half price, just click the red button in the middle (add to cart):

Oh oh, just read a review stating that I’ll also need an amp with the Totems or move up to the Forte to use with these passive speakers ……any suggestion for an amp for these speakers that I can fit easily into a carry-on, or would it make more sense to bite the $199 I paid for the Unison and buy the Forte, I’ll be driving the Totems and a 12” sub.