Mcintosh amplifiers and preamps

Just trying to understand, how do you view Mcintosh amplifiers and preamps?



50 years last June, what is there to say? I like Mac? OK, I LIKE MAC!

LOL I've always had Mcintosh and collected Mcintosh. 30 pieces or so..

Thoren too.


Good stuff, great quality, holds its value and is reliable. Just not my cup of tea... the sound leaves me wanting for more of something, just never been able to pinpoint exactly what the something is...

Its good,  there are better.... there are much worse.  You can't buy a brand that holds its value better,  plain fact.   I wanted to buy a c22.... couldn't see one in person anywhere close.   It was $6000, ended up buying a leftover NIB Zesto for $3500 so it for me was a no brainer.

Honestly, when I tried to find a dealer I kept getting directed to Magnolia....  I went to the closest Best Buy and their representation of McIntosh was so pathetic it almost brought a tear to my eye.  Sad....   

I guess it's that time of month again to evaluate the relative merits/drawbacks of McIntosh gear. Oh, and don't forget to mention how overpriced it is! 

For my part, I like it. Simple as that.

@onehorsepony Do you like them?

Then buy them, you have to live with them.

I am not a validation bot.

You must be new here to ask a question like this on this forum! This place has more Mac haters than you can imagine. Roxy54, I share your comment!

I've owned Mac gear since 1978, and it suits my tastes just fine. It holds it's value quite nicely, thank you. Give it a listen!

Just trying to understand, how do you view Mcintosh amplifiers and preamps?

good stuff

easy to listen to

well made

cool meters and blue/green lighting


I love Mac gear and hope to own some pieces eventually. For long term value I would probably stay away from the gear that has built in Dacs (like the c2700, etc). Sure you can upgrade the module or not even use the dac, however, I think more long term value (money wise) would be better in just the analog only gear. 

25 years ago I paid 270.00 for this MX110z. I took it out of storage last year. I had never used it. I brought it up on a Variac over a 3 day period, cleaned the tube pins and cleaned the pin sockets. It sounded good. Within 2 days it sounded great. Never been touched 60 years old. It looks NEW. That is dust.. That is a Mac. DAC that!

I have a C2500, wonderful unit, in for repairs.. LOL I think it was my fault.. Jury is out on that one. I had a cable drop from a tube amp onto a class d bass amps, both were hooked to the C2500. It actually blew up a MC275, but didn’t blow the fuse in the unit. It also tripped a FA 20 amp house fuse. First time EVER. Weirdest thing I EVER saw. Hopefully the last time too. That was an Expensive boo boo.. If there is a banana involved, I shrink tube the connection, period! WELD it, glue it, do something to it..

The DAC thing is always the same, reclocking is just fine for me, I’m not a DAC fanatic. I'm just a Fanatic, you know the regular kind, run of the mill fanatic..

Merry Christmas..


great stuff, just a matter of preference...still use my Don Scott modified MR74 tuner regularly

Mac gear seems to enjoys a "Rolls Royce" type of mystique. Whether merited on a performance basis is subjective, but it sure holds value, and is certainly a name recognized for quality even by most regular non-audio people. I do like the way it looks, but don’t think I could ever justify the cost.

macintosh is one of the oldest most respected names in the history of hifi, the name was built through good sound good quality good aesthetics, for many baby boomers it brings back fond memories and good feelings as they grew up lusting after the brand, the look, what having a macintosh meant

modern day macintosh is simply building on that reputation and brand image, in light of the world having an ever more wealthy top tier, they are taking advantage, as any good capitalist would (not a value judgement, just a reality)

as such, this like some other brands are hifi gear and overt luxury lifestyle gear at the same time... audio jewelry in a way... once again, not good or bad, just is what it is

McIntosh C36, C2200 and MC7300. Original owner. Listened to every day. Could there be better, of course, but it is very satisfying for me.

For over 40 years I was on the audio merry-go-round buying and selling for the next one hit wonder and losing money in the long run. Like many here, I felt Mac was for doctors and lawyers who did not know anything about audio but liked expensive and pretty electronics. Boy was I wrong. It started for me when I bought a used Mac Integrated amp from Audio Classics to replace the Parasound Halo integrated I was using. 2 weeks later, I bought a Mac SACD player and tuner. This was all in my office system.

Three months later, I was totally thrilled with my Mac purchases and thought “why not redo my main system as well.” So, I contacted Audio Classics again and bought a Mac tube preamp, a 300wpc Mac power amp and their newest top of the line tuner. This all happened between September 2017 and March 2018. Both my systems sound incredible and I am finally wanting no more. There is a rightness to the McIntosh sound that really gets my toes tapping. I wish I had bought into the brand many years earlier as it would have saved me money over the long run.A big plus is that the equipment I bought sells for much more now than what I paid for it. I LOVE McIntosh!

Have had a lot of high end gear over the decades. The McIntosh was always satisfying to own and beautifully made. It has a good reputation and I understand why after owning a couple pieces. If for some odd personal reason it does not suit your taste you will generally recoup your money guaranteed with resale value. Very very few brands of audiogear command that kind of respect.

I have a simple question: looking at the front of a Mcintosh MC2205 or other similar amplifier, is the VU meter shown on the left actually the LEFT channel? I just bought an MC2205 and the ad stated that the left channel was inoperable, but from the pictures they posted, it is the meter on the RIGHT that was not working. I just want to be sure whether I need a left or right VU meter (or circuit board possibly, and those are specifically noted as different board P/Ns- they are not interchangeable apparently). Thanks to all!  

Graduated HS as Honors student in1975 and the couple who owned the store I worked at gave me a Mac MA5100 for my graduation playing thru Bose 301s. Over the next few years I changed to Rogers LS speakers and Philips TT. Loved that amp and sound. Dated a girl whose dad used a complete Mac system, alternating between a MC275 and 2150. Loved that even more. When I decided to go to grad school sold all the gear along with my guitars. When I grad I had limited money so I moved to Ohm, SAE and Technics and over the 25 years after various other brands including, CJ, ATI, Yamaha, Acurus, Blue Circle..most sounded good but didnt always last. About 10 years ago, I stumbled over some some gear, MA5100, MC250, Ohm Walsh and sent it all to be refurbed. Use it all to this day happily. WIth updates including some newer caps and transistors both amps sound very nice, a little warm but with detail, much improved resolution and more power than each claims. I have other gear from various manufacturers running in systems and swapped in and out but I always enjoy my Mac. Not the most resolving but sounds real. I used different preamps at different times and some were real eye openers especially CJ tubes. None Mac. THat may be the last thing I get to finish things off...although I do still think about how good that MC275 sounded AND how hot it ran. I can sell the Mac pieces and break even maybe even make a few bucks which i cant say about most of the other gear. Doesnt matter but it does say something about the products quality and durability and brand value. I have listened to some modern Mac and liked some pieces but not the prices as a retiree. I still do wonder about their MC352 and 252 hybrids but never heard them. The fact of remotes being included is attractive with a bad back. I think Mac is not for everyone, no brand is. It is all individual. I have heard Krell and Bryston and didnt get it. Same for Hegel which sounded dark to me. Listen to it and if you like the sound and price and aesthetics that is what matters for you. ALL audio is personal. Just like cars, houses, jewelry, music etc.


nice post! and well said

i attended damien high in honolulu wayyyy back 🤙

many ways to find happiness in this pursuit of ours, key is to try different things, determine (and be honest with yourself about) what you like, don’t let others’ opinions color your sense of what is good


McIntosh has an attractive meter display, holds its resale value, easy to sell if a user no longer wants them. In a world of high end audio, no one builds a hifi system around McIntosh.

In 1972 my wife and I bought a Mac 2105 power amp.  It has never been repaired or  refurbished.  It is still playing in my son's basement party room.  For half a century it has played music every time it is turned on.  I imagine it is in great need of recapping, but despite that it has been reliable as an anvil.  I don't think many brands could equal that.