Hi Fi Pretensions...


I admit it. I'm a vinylholic who has stumbled on to my current system through going to house sales to buy LPs and discovering audio pieces here and there that seemed either cool looking or maybe better than what I had at home. There was little to no thought as to 'synergy'. My ears pricked up when I installed a McIntosh MX-113 and MC-2505 ($25.00 each) which blew away my Pioneer receiver. My LP collection was made anew and I was up all night listening as if for the first time. I then auditioned Vandersteen 2CEs shortly before a classified add popped up with the same. A white Adcom GFA-555 purchased for a song showed me what posibilities existed for bass. The VPI HW-19IV my girlfriend surprised me with and the McIntosh MC-275 from a house sale were the next components to illumine the world of HI FI for me. The MC-275 made my vinyl and even my few CDs sound 10 fold better than what I was used to.

Now my mind races with the possibilities presented through use of synergy. Do I scrap everything or is it possible to work in recerse? Piece by piece what should be my course of action to develop the synergy needed to have a decent analog based system? I have modest means (used is good) and want to more fully take advantage of my vinyl and few CDs. One possible problem is that I listen to music from all over the map (see my system for music and current system) from electronic to chamber music. Please forgive me for being a sheep in wolf's clothing but any advice will be gratefully appreciated.
ashra
Be happy with your current style of aquisition!
If you go out and spend a bundle on something with expectations of better sound, you will wind up dissatisfied and annoyed at the cash spent!
My rotten and worthless advice is to get a decent power conditioner, and some good cables. Keeping the stuff you now have for the time being.
Elizabeth, thank you for your candor. I can't say I'm unhappy with what I have it's just that I've given it little to no thought and find the results an improvement over my earlier systems. I sometimes wonder what I could accomplish if I really worked at it.
Thanks again!
Why don't you visit an audio store to see if what they have to offer better suits you? It's free for you to visit the store, explain your situation, listen to a few demo systems and LET YOUR EARS determine whether or not your current system is where you want to be.

Certainly, there are many that are very happy with their McIntosh systems similar to yours. Mac has a good reputation and even better re-sale. If you bought yours at Garage sales, you're really coming out ahead. Withstanding, there are many other manufacturers out there that are known for their exceptional sounding gear. To make assumptions that spending more money and "winding up dissatisfied and annoyed with the cash spent" is ludicrous. Pretentious or not, many have made the move up from their Mac gear, myself included in the lot, and haven't looked back. Before buying power conditioners and cables you owe it to yourself to see and hear what else is available. Determined by your finances, you may not be able to replace your Mac gear with better sounding gear. Then again, maybe you will. It is your choice, your hearing, your money. Listen to what else is available first.

As a side note, you haven't got much help on this because of the way you worded your "subject" field in your thread. HI FI PRETENTIONS sounds more like you are upset that anyone dare say that Mac isn't the best and that anyone saying anything else is just being pretentious. Once again, it's ludicrous. You scared many off from giving you useful advice because of your "Hi Fi Pretentions" title. One can assume that you are 1) looking for an argument or 2) only seeking advice from those who will agree that you should keep your Mac gear.
jes45@aol.com
Thank you for taking the time to read and most of all understand my post. My title refers only to my 'pretending' to be an 'audiophile'. It seems that many on the 'Gon" put a lot of effort to auditioning and matching components before purchasing. What I have done is buy what I thought were bargains, throw them together in an effort to get the most out of my vinyl. I have no allegiance to a particular brand of equipment, only to MUSIC with a prefrence for vinyl because I can obtain it so cheaply and I enjoy the hunt and the discoveries.

I have been thinking lately that if I enjoy my current system, haphazardly thrown together, what if I were to put some thought into putting a system together that optomises my penchant for vinyl? I fully realise that my knowledge and understanding of Hi Fi is at best minimal. I have McIntosh because it's what I've found on the cheap. I have not seen Jeff Rowland components at yard sales although I once saw a Conrad Johnson phono preamp but I did not know at the tme what it was and neither did the woman selling it.
I'm new to this and I 'm eager to learn as much as possible. At any rate it's ultimately the music that keeps me together. Thanks jes45@aol.com!
Sorry for the misunderstanding, Ashra, my friend. You must admit, you haven't seen much help on this thread. Hmm, wonder why? Could it be the title? Just a wild guess!

You've recieved assistance from two of us, one suggesting that buying better gear is a waste of money (ludicrous) and that you should buy a power conditioner and cables. The other tells you to use your own ears, visit a few audio stores and determine if your finances will allow you a viable improvement. Thanks for taking the time to fully understand my post! Good luck in your quest!
Upon serious consideration this is a much more challenging topic than it appears at first blush. I think those of us that rely on our audio systems for musical pleasure, rather than for purely sonic thrills are looking for a system that will allow us to more easily connect with their music on an emotional level. For me that has occurred twice in my 30+ years as as a vinylholic and audiophile; when I began all of this at 13 and assembled my first "serious" system, and at the beginning of last year when I acquired my latest stuff. I'm sure that my initial period of contentment was due to my having few preconceived ideas and being totally jazzed at being able to play my music, relatively full range for the first time. My latest spell is the result of a quantum improvement in my system such that it now possesses very few limitations. Therefore, I conclude that I have spent the better part of 30 years attempting to replicate the "surprise" that that first system provided, and I had to wait that long to put something together that transcended my normal expectations of musical pleasure. The lesson for others may well be that the path of the audiophile is one of foolishly questing for the unattainable, and not entering the search for "better sound" is the wiser choice. I think the more valuable lesson is that great things are worth the work and the wait.

So where to start? Used is good. No truer words have been committed to this site. Without knowing how big your room is and how loud you like to listen its difficult to make anything other than generic recommendations based on my taste. However, I will say that while I like the turntable and speakers, and the Mac stuff is okay, I've never been a fan of the Adcom 555. I have found it to make voices sound distant and canned, and highs to sound wiry, particularly strings. The bass is potent though, as you've noted. The Vandy's have the capacity to play full range with real authority with the right amplification, but they really, really sing with tube amps. You might want to look at a Van Alstine modified Dynaco ST70. The original is from the 60s and 70s and is one of the most popular amplifiers ever made, so they are relatively easy to find. The problem with the originals is wooly bass that is not particularly extended, or tuneful. The Van Alstine mod banishes most of this, and makes a great mate for the Vandy's. They are also pretty cheap. Good units go on sale on Audiogon for much less than $600. I have heard this combination in several systems and have found it unfailingly musical. Good luck!
Silab. Thank you for responding. I do enjoy my system as it is forgiving (by no means perfect) of the diverse genres of music I throw at it. I'm driven to seek change by my readings on the Gon. and believing that a paradigm shift may occur were I to make consious efforts toward synergy. I don't seek the ultimate or megebuck system. As previously stated I'm of modest means and ultimately it's the music that interests me. I believe that I may be able to sell my Mac MC 275 for close to $2,500.00 or more. My thought is putting the cash toward a pre power amp combination that would be a good foundation for a system with future upgrades on turntables and accessories.
My listening space is in a Victorian house with 9' ceilings. The area is approximately 18'X 22'. I also have 2 sets of record shelves 8' high on 2 walls. The other shelves are in a closet and down the length of the hallway.
Sometimes I like to rock out and others jazz and acoustic music is played.
Silab. Thank you for responding. I do enjoy my system as it is forgiving (by no means perfect) of the diverse genres of music I throw at it. I'm driven to seek change by my readings on the Gon. and believing that a paradigm shift may occur were I to make consious efforts toward synergy. I don't seek the ultimate or megebuck system. As previously stated I'm of modest means and ultimately it's the music that interests me. I believe that I may be able to sell my Mac MC 275 for close to $2,500.00 or more. My thought is putting the cash toward a pre power amp combination that would be a good foundation for a system with future upgrades on turntables and accessories.
My listening space is in a Victorian house with 9' ceilings. The area is approximately 18'X 22'. I also have 2 sets of record shelves 8' high on 2 walls. The other shelves are in a closet and down the length of the hallway.
Sometimes I like to rock out and others jazz and acoustic music is played.
I appreciate any experience you would care to share.
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