Every brand has its own "house sound" and you could call it whatever you want depending on your personal taste. I owned Mac amps and thought they were very musical but warm and laid back, where Krells are more forward sounding but not as sweet or musical. So you should pick your gear(s) depending on your taste and speakers.
Some people swear by Krells and others do the same with Mac, and nobody is right or wrong in this case.
if you have an accomadating dealer, he'll let you take gear home to audition for at least overnight. an extended listening session might give you a better sense of which sound YOU prefer. a good test is whether you end up listening for hours or if you get fatigued and lose interest. the super-detailed ('etched'?) sound can have a certain "wow" factor but may not be your cup of tea over the long run... it sounds like you're unsure of what it is YOU like and you'll be better able to determine this if you can audition the equipment at home, with YOUR room acoustics, and YOUR other components. hi-fi showroom demos are only useful up to a point!
i have owned both mac and classe gear and i wouldn't call mac gear slow. i would think it would depend on the amp and speaker combination. i have heard the larger macintosh monoblocks (1000's), the mc352 and mc500 driving the larger snell and krell speakers and they were not slow. i used to own the mcintosh mc202 amp and the ma6500 integrated. when using these pieces with my totem mani 2's, they didn't do the speakers justice. when i demo'd the mcintosh mc352 amp with the mani's, it was night and day difference. the 352's had the power to drive the mani's. i used to own classe gear (ca200, cp 47.5, cdp 1.5) and i would say that the classe gear that i have heard/owned sounds very similar to the mcintosh gear i have heard/owned.
i agree with nickt above, it is all about personal taste.
linearity is mac's signature. they favor no frequency. the result is a very neutral presentation. their tube amps are the same. of all the solid state gear in the marketplace they are more suited to long term listening than auditions. if the recording has it, they reproduce it. they add nothing.
They all sound the same if operating within their design limitations. I suggest a variation on double blind testing that calls for putting your head in a gunnysack with two holes of the exact same (notice the American redundancy) size for the ears. Listen to any amp, side by side, with whatever music you want for whatever period you want and then go to a mirror and try to say to yourself out loud the all have a "house sound".
You`d be slow too if you had dinosaur design autoformers (their term for output transformers).
Two words: system synergy. So many people don't realize it and your post makes it sound like you don't either. I can take the best amp in the world and make it sound fast, slow, mushy, analytical, bad or good simply by changing what it is hooked up to. IMO, the speakers play the largest role in deciding what amp to get but don't overlook the source, preamp, room and personal tastes which also need to be factored in.
Your only option is to experiment. I have owned Classe and McIntosh and find them more similar than different. My McIntoshes have the most natural pace and rhythm I have ever experienced and I attribute it all to my care in component matching - and not to the amps themselves. Good luck! Arthur
I guess that means Porziob doesn't like tube amps nor does he appreciate the complexity of amp/speaker relationships where a transformer can greatly improve signal integrity.
hmm, I have to say that mcintosh does have a sound of its own, but it is very natural as stated, straight forward raw. But this is more attributed to their preamps in my opinion, because just about any good amp in this class hooked up behind their pre's have about the same signature even as their own amps as long as the impeadance is within range to match well. Classe I have heard only one amp I owned from them and it was good but a little dry, but it was a small power amp and not the greatest preamp hooked to it. So it all comes down to you need to listen to any choice you make and go from there, they are both very much capable companies, however I will go on to say Mcintosh is overpriced to an extent compared to competitors, but its the Harley davidson name plate that causes that, not necessarily an overrated component.
Well, Matrix, having compared, among others, Classe, McIntosh, Linn, Naim, Densen-amps, and McIntoshs, all connected to my McIntosh C200-preamp, let me tell you that every amp has its own sonic signature. Secondly, after comparison with Krell, Jeff Rowland and Mark Levinson, not to speak of the like of Halcro, I´d say that McIntosh is one of the cheapest and most price-worthy of all big highend manufacturers.
prozak , hahahaha what a laugh.........not!
it never fails,there is always some shmuk who chimes in with somthing stupid to say about mac gear all the while they dont put up a single pic of what their running in their system, why is that ?
every time i see a guy like you post i invision a chineese made 40 watt intergrated from ebay hooked up to a pair of altec 14's,now thats bliss!
AFTER OWNING A PAIR OF KRELLS AUDIO STANDARDS I BOUGHT A PAIR OF MCINTOSH MC-1201s AND NEVER LOOKED BACK THE MACS BEAT THEM ON EVERYTHING AT A THIRD OF THE PRICE 10-YEARS LATER.THE KRELLS ARE SLOW TO ME NOW.
Bigjoe is soooooooooo right here. I own the MC402 amp and just love it. It is the finest amp I have put into my system. So effortless and natural. Anyone who has owned this amp knows it is world class. Forget the brand, forget your bias, forget the price, forget how it looks - I forgot my point:-)
Oh, just listen to it man! I have owned Thor, JC1's,Classe,Blue Circle, Bruce Moore, Joule, CJ,Cary,Wright Sound and on and on over many years. The MC402 is the real deal even with the polarizing Mac brand name on it.
Some things are subjective and sometimes things are just plain true. The truth is this amp from Mac is a top contender. Any honest audiophile after hearing it cannot say otherwise. I am one of those who thought Mcintosh was old school and not real high end, but rather make pretend high end for those who like the looks and history of Mac. I was wrong - big time wrong.
No , it's not slow. It is wonderful sounding. Yep, sounds like music to my ears.
The newer Mac gear seems much more refined than it's older brothren. The old Mac did sound slow and fuzzy too me. The new stuff like the 1201, 602, 501 sound pretty darn good.
I'm I fevering to own one..not hardly ..as always YMMV.
I have yet to hear any two amplifiers that sound the same..I guess it's my imagination.LOL
As usual everything is system dependent.
I'm not sure if I was just attacked or what but I own mcintosh gear and sorry if I offended anyone... But regardless mcintosh also holds its used value so that has a big thing to do with purchasing it for me, and that is the reason to the harley reference.
Sorry, looks like my post was very slow, I don't think it was directed at me, why is does it take like a day to get administration approval sometimes?
matrix, your harley analogy was spot on,ive heard gear i liked better than mac but i always think to myself what will this peice be worth in 5 years & that kills the dream.
i try hard to only buy mac gear & harleys & ive rarely lost one red cent on either of them plus both sound great!
I' m abooouttt to firrree uuupp my 5 0 1 's eveeen theeeeey are slooooooooooow theeeeey suuuuuuuuit meeeee.
LOL..God spare us guys with tube amps...
What do folks mean by slow? The Mac MC402 I have is not slow like a Cary tube amp (older ones). If an amp has meat and body, then one calls it slow. When an amp is more threadbare, then some mistake this for speed. Well the newer Mac amps play as fast as any amp. Great thing is they do it with body and soul. Bass is full, the midrange is wonderful and the highs never overbearing. All I know is the Mac 402 in my system plays a 4 minute song in 4 minutes. If it did so without tonality, meat and decay it would not be faster, but rather a Sears MCS receiver.
I fully symphatize with Grannyring opinion !
I fully agree too as MC 402 owner.
I noticed from Audiogon you sold your Wright Sound amps and got a McIntosh 402. Are you using the 402 to drive the IM Bens? Or did you sell the Ben's too? Just curious. I've embarked on a SET type system and your experience would be quite helpful.
No doubt Mac is solid / standard gear, if you are looking for a certain flavor however than there are many choices, and from what I have gotten out of this hobby nothing is right or wrong it just depends on how you listen and want it to be presented to you.
Heeeeyyyyyy.... my last post was intended to be an email to Grannyring. Did I screw up or did Audiogon? Are they implementing a new feature?? What's going on here!?!?!!?!??! :)
Bwhite, Who Knows??? The posts take so long now many times yours is in line behind 3 others you can not see, and then it would be irrelevant to post anyway making us all look stupid, for example if someone answers the question you do too, but they have not actually allowed the post of the original answer and yours shows up after theirs because they were both pending.
Has anybody taken a stop watch to measure the "speed" of different amps?LOL