Inherited 21 piece of vintage McIntosh and need help building a system


Hello.  I was fortunate enough to inherit a huge collection of mac stuff from my uncle, but although an audiophile, I'm out of my element with vintage stuff.  Here is a list of what I have to work with:

C28 preamp

two C20, stereo tube preamp

two C8's mono tube preamp

MC2002, Solid state amp

MC2200, Solid state amp

MR67, FM Stereo Tube Tuner

MR 71, FM Stereo Tube Tuner

MR74, tuner

MX 112, tuner preamp

1700 tuner

1900 tuner

MA5100, integrated amp

two MC 60's, tube amp

MC 240, 40WPC amp

MC 250, 50WPC amp

Sansui 500A

Dynaco SCA-35

HK A220

 

Linn axis turn table

Technics SL-1950 turntable

Mac XL10 speakers

Utah A70-A speakers


Any suggestions on what the best pairing would be out of these?  I can't use all of it so some will be posted once I get a system built.

Thanks for the help,

Brent



brenthardy
Maybe start with the speakers?

Then you can listen for yourself, and see how much cabling and other issues you are willing to live with. :)

For instance,  you could make a really nice system with the integrated amp alone, a nice music streamer and turntable.

Do you like records or FM? I personally am 100% digital, with streaming from Tidal and ripped CD's my sources.

What you sell you can convert into new speakers, streamers, TV.

Best,


E
I should also mention, speakers are the first to go. Surrounds rot or break, crossover caps get too old. Unless you are absolutely in love with any of them, I would sell them first, get speakers you really like, then see what electronics you want to keep, and can live with.

For all these components, anything you keep you should consider getting recapped. Electrolytic caps dry up and break down after 20-30 years.

Best,

E
You should give this place a call. I’m sure they will help you out!
http://www.audioclassics.com/
Are are you kidding me? McIntosh gear is highly regarded, I am sure you will have a very sweet sounding system when some of the components are refurbished. Good luck and maybe you can think of your uncle while you listen. Just a thought...

That's a great collection of McIntosh gear. Once you figured what you're planning to keep, please let me know if you decide to let go of your MC2200. I have a pair and am looking for a third to use in a potential home theatre set up. Thanks. 
Make no mistake! That is a fabulous bit of kit. :)

I just think the speakers may be the one thing to start upgrading, and then decide what you want to keep. That's a full stereo store's worth of gear.

Best,


E
Second Audio Classics as a reference source and the advice on the speakers.  Look those over very carefully before giving them a try, and then only at a very modest level to see if they still have any life left.

That said, the first basic rig I'd put together would be the C20, 2 x MC60 and MR71.  For speakers, a set of pre 1975 Klipsch or Altec Lansing would do nicely IMO.  I don't personally care for either of the turntables.  The only suggestions I would offer there would be belt drive with a Grace F8, F9 or comparable Ortofon MM cartridge.  A Grace arm would be a perfect compliment, table permitting.

Your uncle had a great sense of value and thought very highly of you indeed.  My condolences on his passing and congratulations on his elegant bequest.
FYI: The 1700 and 1900 are receivers. They both include amp,preamp,and phono sections!

Thank you all!  I'm starting to dig in and turn things on and see what functions as is and what needs some work.  I'm in Boise, ID and I haven't found any help from the high ends shops so I figured I'd start here.  Concerning the speakers, those are just want were passed on.  I can hook up to several different pairs of Martin Logans, Polks, or cheap Bose but I thought I would stay in era.  I have pugged in the XL10s and they still sound good. 

My goal would be to pair the best parts together for single system that I can play via cd or digital sources.  I don't have any records and am not familiar with the vintage equipment (run mostly anthem gear with the Martin Logans).  The music is main bands of the same era like Zeppelin, Floyd, GD, etc if that matters.

effisher: thanks for the suggestion.  I'll start playing with that.  I'm not sure if I know how to put the tubes in right so we'll see how that goes and hopefully I don't blow anything up!

Any special power considerations?


Thank you again...I'm sure I'll have more questions moving forward.  I'll check out audio classics and see what they say.  I also have boxes of parts, manuals, and marketing stuff that I don't even know where to start with.  Is that of any interest to mac enthusiasts?

Brent

Hi,
you are extremely lucky to have inherited this gear. Go to Jeff Day's Blog, he writes for Positive Feedback as well as 6 moons. Jeff has a lot of The McIntosh stuff you have and writes often about it. Jeff also have used audio classics as well as vintage tube amps.com. Again all your stuff is valuable. Lotta' good Mac restoration out their. Start with Jeff Day.
I meant to say, vintagevacuumtubeaudio.com above. Mikirob 
I’m starting to dig in and turn things on and see what functions as is and what needs some work.
If any of the components have not been powered up in several years, and certainly if they have not been powered up in a decade or two, they should absolutely not be simply plugged in and turned on. The AC voltage that is initially supplied to them should be brought up slowly, over a period of perhaps 8 hours or so, using a Variac or other device that can provide variable AC voltage and that has an adequate current rating. That would allow electrolytic capacitors to "re-form" gradually, reducing the likelihood that you would be greeted with a lot of hum when you try to put the component to use. It would also reduce the likelihood of secondary damage occurring as a result of an existing defect, especially if you periodically check for signs of anything overheating as the voltage is brought up. Things to look for would include electrolytic capacitors or transformers that get hot, and power tubes whose plates glow red.

Also, as a general rule tube power amplifiers, tube integrated amplifiers, and tube receivers should not be operated without a speaker or equivalent load being connected, especially if the component is processing a signal.

Regarding your original question, many excellent comments have been provided above. While I’m familiar with just some of the components you’ve listed, I would particularly second Effischer’s singling out of the MC60 amplifiers and the MR71 tuner, which I know to be excellent performers if in top condition and/or well restored. And I and many others here can vouch for the vintage Grace cartridges he mentioned.

Good luck as you proceed. Regards,
-- Al

You are a very lucky man. You have some nice tube pieces and the MC60 and 240 are prized amps. Keep them.
1-start with your favourite music source; vinyl, cd, radio
2-decide how much space you have for listening
3-I would keep the mac speakers and sell the utahs
4-keep the mr74 tuner--at least until you decide if you will listen to fm radio.  Sell the mr 67 and mr 71 and mx 112
5-keep the 2 c 20's and sell the 2 c8's and the c 28
6- sell the 2200, 2002, 1700, 1900
7-keep the mc 60's and the mc 240 and you will be able to switch these later for listening comparison.
8-sell the ma 5100, mc 250, sansui, dynaco and HK
9-keep the linn and sell the pioneer
10- Now comes the most important recommendation:
       USE the profits from the sales to have the mc 60's , mc 240, and the mr 74 to have the Mac factory upgrade all of these--and hopefully you have the original boxes they all came in as those boxes are worth their weight in gold!!!@
12-When that is done, you will have a system of the highest quality and maybe some cash left to buy a mac cd player and maybe some really good interconnects as well as speaker cables.
13-finally- you could order a set of caps to upgrade the speaker crossovers and have someone in Boise area solder them in.
Some here will disagree with my all-tube selections but wou cannot go wrong with this assessment

this is a correction to my last post:  keep the mr 71 and sell the mr 74.
you may have to go to portland or bend or salt lake city for upgrade help
The absolute best place  for the Mac 60's is my living room . Sorry for your loss . An audiophile friend of mine runs two systems , and each of his children have a system to learn from . Vintage tuners are always in need of an alingement amongst other things . But the amps and pre amps that you have are nice . Find a local Mac Daddy to advise you and can continue an American Legecy , your uncle will be smiling from Heaven 😊.
The folks on audiokarma.org will be very happy to help you sort things out, especially in the McIntosh forum....
Audio classics! Give them a call!  They are awesome to work with as the other folks on here said.
Almarg nailed it.

All you need is a variable AC voltage source, generically called a Variac. And a couple of garage sale speakers to load your amplifiers, or a couple of 50 watt 15 ohm resistors, or better yet, both. Do an initial powerup with the resistors in place of the speakers, ramping up the voltage slowly as Al suggested, let the amp cook, power the amp down, then connect the garage sale speakers. Don’t hazard your inherited speakers until you know the amps are working.

Good luck - although you’ve already had a good slice of it!
Sell them, put the money into a long term investment plan .
  Lucky, lucky guy. I have twelve McIntosh pieces, some vintage, some modern, some tube, some solid state.  They are in use in three different systems. Before you start selling components based on suggestions from this site, you may want to carefully determine your needs and carefully listen to the components you do have. Let your own ears decide, and don't blindly follow the advice of others. 
I have had Mac gear in the past.  I would be inclinded to keep the best tube pieces and make sure you re-furb or test everything to factory specs.  It's ok to start with the speakers first and find something you really like and then plug in the mac stuff to make sure it's compatible.

Condolences on the passing of your uncle. If you have any doubts about using the tube gear, I would also keep the MA5100 ss integrated and the best ss tuner. This way you can A/B tubes against solid state. If this were me, I would keep both solid state and tube so I could swap between the two.

Currently I have a MA6200 ss integrated and a tube integrated together in my system that has been ideal.

Whatever speakers you decide to go with can be used in both systems.

As much as I’d like you put the MC2200 up for sale I recommend you consider keeping it. In all the components you have its the only piece that will come to your rescue if you ever decide to try power hungry speakers like Martin Logan or something else with a demanding impedance curve. A pair would even be better but one will be quite adequate. Put one of your tube preamps in front of it and you’ll be all set.

I have nothing to add since I do not know anything about vintage McIntosh. But...

I have been a very happy owner of an MA6500 SS integrated for over a decade now. I can tell you that it powers Martin Logan Vantages very well. And to the reason I posted, I've had Anthem in my system and it was not even a little bit close, the Mac is just better in all regards. Please take this as my humble opinion and not as an attack.

I'm truly sorry for your loss but obviously your uncle thought much of you. You've been blessed by his generous gift. I hope that it will be a tremendous blessing for you. And that you'll have a lot of fun along the way.

Do take Als post seriously. He is very well respected in these forums.
Condolences on the passing of your uncle. It sounds like he knew what he was doing. Don't you know what he was using in his main system?
Thinking outside of the box, you mention that vintage gear isn't really your thing. So if your not sentimentally attached or feeling like you're betraying your uncle, you could just sell the gear and with the proceedings look around and get a more modern setup that's more tailored to your taste.  (Not to get into a discussion about vintage vs modern gear)...

In a perfect world you could find someone/business who would buy the whole lot from you for a fair price. This wouldn't be the best way to maximize the monetary potential of this, but it would save you a ton of time and possible frustration.

Just a thought...
I kind of agree with Elrod. You have to REALLY like this gear to keep it. Requires care and feeding due to age.

That's why I was suggesting to stick with the integrated, and a tuner or streamer, and sell everything else, where it will go to some one who really DOES want it.

Also, your own tastes may get really excited by something more modern, or more home theater friendly.
If I were going to make a single system out of that gear I probably would keep the integrated and get a horn loaded system, either vintage JBL or Klipsch or Altec Lansing. :)

That would make a really great sounding combination, and discussion pieces as well.


THANK YOU ALL!  Guys this is really some great advice here.  I know I need to dig in before I make any hasty decisions, but having a starting place is very helpful.  I'm sure as I dig in I'll be posting more and I'll check in with some of the other groups as well.  more soon....