It seems that people are of two camps when it comes to McIntosh amps. When I mentioned to some dealers that I was considering a Mac amp they chuckled. I assume you are thinking about the MC602. I auditioned this amp at home over a long weekend driving my Thiel CS7.2s off the 4 ohm taps and found the Mac to be very powerful and uncongested sounding, and even more at ease then my Bryston 7B ST monoblocks playing large scale symphonic music at loud playback volumes. Tonally the Mac sounds very natural, strings never get edgy, thin sounding, or steely like most of the other amps I have tried, and there is tonal color and harmonic richness present that is lacking in some of the current high tech designs. It also sounds very delicate for a big amp. It never seems to get physically very warm, has no mechanical hum, and is dead quiet. On the down side its bass is not quite as impactful or as subterranian as some of the current high tech designs. The Mac also doesn't have the same razor sharp resolution, although it sorts out detail very well and never sounds homogenized. I also wouldn't go as far to say the Mac is totally neutral, I thought the treble was slightly 'off the mark' sounding on some CDs. I am still considering this amp. To my wife's ear this is the best amp I have auditioned to date (other amps auditioned ML No. 336, Classe CAM 350, and Krell FPB300). I did encounter a severe ground loop hum when I turned on my Bryston 5B ST for HT. If I can't get past this issue I'll have to eliminate the Mac from my short list. Oh yeah, the big blue meters are pretty cool to watch as well, but really not necessary. The meters indicated that I needed about 60 continuous watts to maintain a pretty good playback volume on my Thiels.
thanks tom_munro, the 801's in my opinion, will give you clarity,and warmth only if the electronics have these characteristics. what i seek is great control, delicacy, and warmth at the same time. the bats are great, but just wanted to keep my options open. oh yeah, my dad is a big mac fan. so all i hear about is mac these days. thanks again.
What concert hall are you going to use these in? I run my N803s with a Conrad Johnson MF2500 in a 18x26x8 ft. room and I think it's barely large enough for coherent sound. At any rate, the Macs can probably handle the 3 ohm MRI.
Tom_Munroe As per another thread on Krell it is suprising to me how some find Mac objectionable. I for one don't. McIntosh solid state is well engineered and quite good. I can only guess the chucklers are the ones that really haven't listened first hand which is so prevelent in high end audio. I suspect many make verbal comments on what they have heard from others rather than what they have actually listened to in a familiar system. To Avnut I say consider the macs but only because you have heard them and know in your own mind. Don't rely on the approval of others in your decision.
the reason i ask for fellow audiophiles' advice or experience is because the mac dealer in my town does not do in home demos. also, if i buy it and dont like it, they will only give me my money back. they are supposedly the highest volume mac dealer in the world. if i decided to buy, my investment would include a pair of mc-1000's and an mc602. over 20k. i refuse to buy at retail if all they do is type the order in the computer and ask how i'll pay for it. thats why im looking for outside opinions. thanks
i made a mistake....they ( the dealer) only offer in home demos.
i made a mistake....they ( the dealer) only offers inhouse credit. sorry, too much egg nog and brandy!
Well for a serious prospective 20k buyer I don't know if that is the best business practice especially buying at retail prices. The only way to know for sure is to listen with your own ears. You need work something out with these order takers and make them earn their money or look elsewhere and let them know. If they don't care, well there isn't much you can do about that type of attitude.
Obviously you have a lot of money on your hands, so I would skip the Macs all together. I've heard the 801 matched with krells 600c and it sounded wonderful. It was in a large 20x35 room and the room still seemed too small. These speakers were also meant to be played loud and do not sound that great played soft. Either way, I have never heard of a hi-end dealer that didn't allow in home demo's. I would not buy from them, because obviously they are trying to trap you. Also, most dealers will give you at least 15-20% off when you spend this kind of money. Dealers I deal with will give you 15% right off the bat on $1000 gear. There is approximately 30-45% margin on this stuff so you should be able to save yourself a few thousand bucks.
I have the 801 Matrix III's powered with Levinson amp/pre and they sound great. I have listened to the N801 with Levinson at the dealer, again great sound, but can't afford the upgrade to the Nautilus right now. I can't help with the sound of the Mac/N801 combo because I've never listened to Mac gear. I do second, third, fourth (or whatever we are up to) the dealer comment. If you are considering spending this kind of loot and he won't let you borrow the amps for a few days find another dealer. There is probably a reasin he claims to be the No. 1 Mac dealer. Once youbuy you are held hostage. Keep the Mac or buy somthing from the guy. Find another dealer....fast.
I listened to a pair of 801s through a Mac amp and pream ( i forget which amp bu t if memory serves me.. whcih if often dont..the amp had 4 6550s per side) and a meridian cd player. I found the sound to be pretty sterile and lifeless. Warmth was not an descriptive term that remotely came to mind. The fault may lie with the dealer who's help is generally clueless. All cabling was monster (it's the best man!...their words not mine) and the set up for that system looked far from optimum. However, I also listened to a pair of 803 through a CJ rig at the same shop and that sounded pretty good. I'd definitely want to try them at home for a while before i parted with that much cash.
McIntosh amps and B&W 801's will each shine in their own well matched systems, but my experiences with the two is that the Mac's do not have enough of a damping factor to mate well with B&W's, which can make the combination a bit laid back for some and not as controlled or dynamic in the bottom octaves as other combinations. Your mileage may vary, as we all hear differently into the music. If you listen to the combination and don't have a problem with this parameter, then I am sure the smooth highs and large soundstage will keep you up for many a long nights listening sesions. Have fun
Mac + B&W = HEAVEN
Using a vintage 200w/ch. Mcintosh MC2205 with my B&W Matrix 802s3. Wow never thought it could be so good. Beat 90% of the sound at AXPONA audio show.
Being a Mac amp owner (although its in the crate at present) and having heard the 800 series too many times IMO that combo is the wrong way to go.I would go with faster amps.Mac is just too slow and colored(famous mac house sound)and with the speakers you have adding more of what you already have is a bad option.Krell/Levinson/Pass come to mind and the list is really endless,but Mcintosh never.Speed ,resolution,bass control is what I would think your looking for to help the 800s
Well said. For 801 speakers (doesnt matter what series) krell is the way to go. Been listening my 801D today with evo 600e and was like a hurricane in my room when cranking loud, and surprisely never sounding bright or harsh! Incredible how amazing Priest, Motorhead and Metallica sound there!