I agree, the MX120 is not only built better but will sound better on 2 channel.
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I just made this same decision, and went with the mx120. Unfortunately, mine arrived with 2 tone control probelms and is still with Audio Classics for repair. I'm hopeful they can fix it.
If you're buying used, try to buy from someone with plenty of good feedback and someone who is actually using the gear on a daily basis. The gear flippers don't really do much more than plug a unit in and look for lights. Unfortunately, the flippers appear to be outnumbering the fans here.
There is NO guarantee that the Mclntosh will be the better unit. Many "high-end" boutique companies are simply exploiting brand-name association to give an air of quality and somehow justify their much higher prices. (in fact that high price is an integral part of the marketing strategy) Take the first reply in this thread for example... has he even ever seen one or let alone heard one to make that statement? That's the power of marketing and brand recognition. It's the unstoppable gut feeling you get if I was to say Jaguar or Toyota. You simply can't help yourself.
Have a read of this cheap mass-market brand blu-ray player that Joe sixpack average that lives across the street from you will be using... www.(remove)hometheaterhifi.com/blu-ray-players/blu-ray-players-reviews/sony-bdp-s590-blu-ray-player/page-4-on-the-bench.html
Now have a read of a review of an $8k Mclntosh blu-ray player that would no doubt have many people lusting after it from just nothing more then seeing an ad for it in a glossy magazine... www.(remove)hometheaterhifi.com/blu-ray-players/blu-ray-players-reviews/mcintosh-mvp881-universal-blu-ray-player/page-4-the-mcintosh-mvp881-universal-blu-ray-player-on-the-bench.html
Before you fall for the hype, you really should simply just judge each bit of gear on its own merits regardless of the name on its face plate and the pricetag.
A good idea to buy and return if it misses the mark. I did exactly that and have to say it has and continues to impress me. I use an outboard dac for two channel and the av7005 in pure direct mode...but mostly I listen to multi channel sacd now. Still bypassing all the room correction circuitry...to me it sounds a little better. Regarding tweaks, I run an Elrod power cord to it...replaced all internal fuses and applied some anti resonant damping sheets under the sheet metal cover. YMMV on these...I didn't spend any time comparing them...I've done too much of that with cables albeit with excellent results. The unit was great before I did any although I never bothered with the stock cable knowing how much impact a good or great cable can have. Good luck.
Kiwi2, great post!
McIntosh does make expensive and high quality products, check to see if there is a firmware update to the MVP881. Then again, ask yourself, "What is missing?" when you demo the gear.
It's no secret, D&M Holdings, the parent company of Denon, Marantz and ,yes, McIntosh shares several internals. However, there is more to the McIntosh than the others. Case in point AV7005 and the MX121, the HDMI board is the same, according to McIntosh, but the power supply, chassis and wiring is all American McIntosh.
What's in a name? :-)
Most people who critique hi-end companies because they believe they over charge for their products, do know how to look at the big picture, they are only fixated on the price not considering all the aspects of why it cost what it cost.
One reason for the cost of a Premium product is the dealer network, cheap run of the mill electronics are not sold via a dealer network. The dealer must make money to keep his doors open. The dealer is there to help the customer choose the right gear for his needs. Have you checked out how much is cost just to rent retail space, plus the cost of having demo units on display for customers to audition. There are even more cost involved. Some dealers have been run out of business buy those who have no problem stopping in a store and have the dealer show them all the gear they have. The dealer spends all this time (which is money) with a customer only to have the customer leave and go online because he wants a better price than what the dealer is charging. I realize that you are not obligated to purchase anything from a dealer just because you stop by, that is his job, but it would be unethical to use a local dealer to test out gear with the sole intention of buying it on-line.
Next is the build quality of high end products, yes some parts are similar to some mass produced unit, chipsets, transport mech, etc. The chassis is not the same, the Power supply Is not the same, these are items that can cost a lot especially when they are not mass produces.
Sony, cranks out 1 million Blu-Ray players at a discounted price of X-Amount" per unit and will make a total profit of "X-Amount". However, high end companies by comparison only produce 5000 units each year and thus need to raise the price of the units considerably to make a similar profit.
You also pay extra for a better looking gear instead of some cheap black box that is built by under paid employees in some third world country, but on the other hand most hi-end companies are made in their respective countries buy employees that are paid a fair wage.