Mac's BAD MATCH for 802D's?

I have recently purchased B&W 802D's to go with my Mac C46 pre-amp and MC352 power amp.

A very respected dealer in my area (who has been helpful to me in the past) insists that Mac is about the worst possible match for the 802's and swears I would feel "like a veil was lifted" if I instead switched to Classe, Ayre (I do have an Ayre cd player, which I love), Mark Levinson or Boulder Amp. I should note that he does not carry some of these brands so he wasn't just trying to "sell" me. I have to admit that although my system sounds very good, it's not as "open" sounding (transparent, or whatever the right audiophile adjective might be).

If anyone aware of an engineering reasons the Mac might not be as great a match to the 802's as other equipment might be?

Any thoughts on what might be the optimal AMP combination (in a $6,000- $11,000 range) match for 802's
I guess he doesn't sell Mac gear. I'm running Mac 501's with my 802D's My HTM2D with a Mac 501 and SCM-1's with a Mac 402 and it's heaven. Whatever you do if you do by Mac amps nothing less than 501 will do with the 802D's. Try this sight
I used a Classe CA2200/CP500 combo, Musical Fidelity kW500 integrated, McIntosh MA2275 and a McIntosh MC402/C46 combo with 802D's and the Mac gear performed the best of all. That said, I wouldn't say it was stellar, I suspect the aforemention 501's would be better.

BTW, use the 4 ohm taps on your MC352 if you are not already doing so.
I used to own the MC-501, C-2200 and the B&W 802D, and the 501's worked perfect with the 802D, I don't understand where this dealer is coming from, the 501's pushed the 802D with no problem, bear in mind I used the 4ohm taps
The best imaging I have ever heard so far was with MC501, C46, and 802D speakers. Your dealer is entitled to his own opinions and you can have yours. You don't have to agree with everything he says.

Thanks all for your input. By the way, what is the difference betwen running things at 4ohms vs. 8ohms?
The output taps on Mac amps (like the MC352) with output transformers adjust the output stage for the best impedence match with the speakers. It shouldn't hurt anything to try your speakers on each of the taps, and see which sounds best.

BTW, I just got an MC352 from Audio Classics last week, and love it. I'm using it to drive Martin Logan Ascents.
Tomehunt you can't go wrong with MC-501's and C-2200 all the way, heard this set up with 802D's like yours. I agree with Mmitch7711 and make sure you have them hooked up to 4 ohm tabs.
Just a question about using the 4 ohm taps. I have 802n's with a mac 352. Is this something I should try? Or can I damage the speakers.
You will not damage your speakers Larry and you should try it. I am not the foremost expert on this, but having owned N803's and 802D's, McIntosh told me to use the 4 ohm taps with these B&W's.

Someone can correct me if wrong, but the advantage of these different taps is for better impedance matching with your speakers and although B&W states these speakers in question as 8 ohms, they behave more like 4 ohm speakers, yes?
Yes. The problem is, from an amp's perspective, low impedances are hard to drive - not the high ones. Many (conventional dynamic box) speakers have a low impendance in the bass and a high impedance in the upper mids and highs. The average is a very rough 8 ohms so that is what is published in the manuals and brochures.

However, all the amp really sees is that 4 ohm bass impedance! So technical people will say, use the tap that corresponds to the lowest impedance of the speaker. In 90% of cases today this is about 4 ohms - especially true for B&Ws.

In the old days, speakers had a much higher impedance. There are several complicated reasons for this but to keep it short, they would often average 8 or even higher. If you look at old tube amplifiers, they all have 16 ohm taps and some even have 32 ohm taps! With the advent of cheap high-power solid state amplifiers in the 1970s, speaker designers gained some freedom and have since settled on a much lower typical impedance curve (again, for many reasons). This is why modern tube amplifiers only have 4 and 8 ohm taps - 16 ohm speakers are basically extinct and REAL 8 ohm speakers are not far behind.

Brianmgrarcom you are correct about what you said, most people don't know this.

I dropped by my freinds who I had mentioned in my first thread who has the Mac 501's and 2200 pre. with the 802D's. Well a freind of his was over and they had a Mac 1000 pre hooked up, unbeleivable. I have a VTL 7.5 and Audio Research Ref3 that I am going to be bringing them over to do a comparison. I couldn't stay for long today so we all agreed to get together tomorrow and do the demo so my freind gets to listen to this 1000 all night. I have to say what I heard was the best I have ever heard his system sound like.

Tommorow will be real interesting.

John his friend has the new EMM all one piece cd player which I have been wanting to hear, I have a Audio Research Ref7 that I will be bringing along also with some cables of course.

Virtual Dynamics, Stealth Sextet digital, Anniv Purist Purist cables.

I really am looking foward to this, I actually want to go over and start right now.

I'll post again once done.

That is quite a line up of gear Dev and sounds like a fun time!
Well it wasn't just one day but two, now that was fun.

Alot of different sounds happening, we did blind test so the others listening would not know what was hooked up for two days and then finally sat arround still with some music in the back ground and dicussed the out come. We all had our note pads in which we kept track.

Well there wasn't really any dislikes except from the owner of the 802D's because he wanted us to leave our gear.

Regarding pre's WINNER #1 Mac 1000 #2 ARC REF3 #3 VTL 7.5

Sources: We could not agree on this, I picked the ARC every time but at the same time really liked the EMM. The owner of the EMM was also mixed and the owner of the 802D's was just so confused because he was so over whelmed with everything he heard. It really depended on which combination was hooked up but I have to say hats off to McIntosh for that 1000, it's now on my list to have.

Any questions, ask and I'll try to answer for you.
Thanks for replying back Dev, I was wondering what happened to you. It sounds like you all had a good time. No doubt that when you try and introduce many different variables it can leave ones head spinning.
That is the first comparison test of the C1000 I have come across. It is really cool to hear it won in blind testing with such "acclaimed" competition! The C1000 is on my list to have as well...although I will have to wait till I get a job first!

By the way, was that C1000 with the SS or tube power supply?

Briangrarcom, I noticed you have W/P 7's how long have you had them and what has been your best sound with what equipement set up. I actually just recently replaced mine with Eggleston Andra 2's. Have you ever heard the Andra 2's?

Regarding heads spinning it was only the actual owner of the 802's, his freind new what was going on. I find some people always favour what they own, I'm not like that hey if it's better then it's better.

There is lot more to do then what we did, cable changes and especially speakers. Now I don't want any B&W owners to be offended but I'm not a fan and I belive that was the weak point in the whole system set-up but my freind likes them so were trying to assist him in getting the best sound he can and thats what is all about.

It was intertaining but I now want to be able to do the same at my place especially with the Mac 1000 and EMM cd player.

The owner of the McIntosh and EMM has Wilson MAXX 2's which one of my friends has also and I like his set up. The MAXX 2's being alot better in many ways then the W/P 7's I use to own.

For my main listening room this is a speaker on my list along with Savoys from Eggleston.
Aball, don't jump to conclusions this is only the beginning. "Synergy" I believe may have had a part in this comparison, it wasn't night and day differences. I am going to be able to listen at my place with different speakers and gear. I have ARC Ref300 mono blocks and also the Mac 501's.

The owner of the Mac and EMM equipment, he has a Dart 108 but I don't really understand why he went with a Mac 1000 pre. I am looking foward to hearing his set-up.

Your question regarding SS or TUBE power supply, I preferred the tube but also liked the SS. The speakers were the main issue for me, I actually use to own a pair of these along with prior B&W's top of the line speaker so I know that B&W sound. I have just moved on and found that I am looking for a different sound just like I did from owning the W/P 7's to the Egglestons, hey you never know I might end up with the MAXX 2's for my main system
Dev, I like the friends you hang around. :)

I have had the WP7's since November ('06) and I have only had one other amp setup on them besides the Mac gear and that was a Rowland Concentra II. I don't know if the CII was a bad match or what, but it couldn't hold a candle to the Mac gear; I purchased the CII planning to sell the Mac gear to offset the cost of going from the 802D's to the WP7's, but the difference between the CII and the Mac separates was huge and my lovely wife let me keep the Mac gear, with strings attached. :)

I have not heard your Andra's; where I live there isn't much around.
Brianmgrarcom, you diffently made the right choice from the 802D's to the WP7'S. I also owned that same Rowland piece when I still owned the WP7's and know what you refer to but it wasn't a bad match it's the unit. I tried it with other speakers also and was very disappointed. Rowland gear sure is nice appearance wise, if it could only sound like it looks. You have to try the Mac 501's on your WP7's, you will be in for a surprise.
Brianmgrarcom, you diffently made the right choice from the 802D's to the WP7'S.
I wholeheartedly agree Dev.
You have to try the Mac 501's on your WP7's, you will be in for a surprise.
Tell that to my wife! :)

I was surprised at the performance of the Rowland, I had one before and thought better of it back then. Interesting that you had the same setup.

I purchased an MC352 a few months ago for my 1980 B&W 801 speakers. After reading the above thread I want to say Thank You, Thank You!! As I just swiched from the 8 ohms outport to the 4 ohm outport and the improvement in sound it magnificent. I was thinking of investing in a pair of 802D but I don't think I'll bother now.

Thanks again.
Thats excellent Shiprepair!
Brian, I did go and listen to a pair of 802d and with the set up in the shop I preferred my old 801. It wasn't fair to the 802d as the turntable set up and preamp was rudimentary to say the least and even when listening to a CD it wasn't up to the old 801s playing vinyl. Interestingly the dealer did not offer to let me audition the 802ds at home. I thing the improvement would have been marginal if any.

However in chatting, the dealer recommended trying the 2ohm connection on the mc352 to the 801s. I did this on return home and I must confess, I also installed 2 Mallard tubes in my Jolida phono amp. I could not believe the result. I'm in awe. I have never heard such bass, clarity definition and translucency. I feel I have a new pair of speakers without forking out $12,000.00.

Thanks again as you set me on the right track.
That is interesting Shiprepair, it makes me wonder what the results would be if I tried the 2ohm taps, a friend encouraged me, but I never did.

Isn't it awesome when a simple tweak makes a difference as big, or bigger, that changing a piece of gear!?!

I still have fond memories of hearing your speakers at an audio store; I spent a lot of time at that store through the years, those were the first to wow me.
I use a MC402 with a pair of B&W CDM 9NT (replaced by the 700 series). I am currently using the 8ohm tap. I recall trying the 4 ohm tap when I first received the amp and found the sound was much more dynamically restrained. Perhaps the CDM series are much easier to drive than the Nautilus models. However, I will give the 4ohm tap another try tonight after reading this thread!