McIntosh and Thiels

Category: Amplifiers

I have MA 6900 on dealer loan. The cables and IC (RCA) are transparent Super MM technology. Jolida 100cd player. Speakers Thiel 2.3.
What I expierience is too soft and unfocused sound. The highs don't shine the way I would expect. They seem to be cut-out prematurely. I would even say now the set-up is high frequency shy. Everything is somewhat bloated and datails are not so obvious. Bass is soft and do not attack the way I expected. All that combine to relaxed but not engaging presentation especially in low volume levels. I tried different IC's and speaker cables but basicly it was the same.
This is all very strange to me. Prior Mac I suffered a little too much HF but bass region was better. I powered Thiels with some 6year old Pioneer HT reciver. I am realy confused. I also tried Musical Fiedelity A308 itegrated. The high frequences were awfully bright and the sound was too thin. How can this be possible that Pioneer seems better than MAC and MF? Pioneer is connected thru power transformer that changes 220 V to 110 V because it is a US version And I live in Europe (220V). Is it possible that power transformer gives pioneer advantage - MAC is connected directly to the wall.
I realy like the idea of owning MAC 6900. But now I do not think I can explain the huge cost of it given so little improvments and more drawbacks.
May be I am doing something wrong. May be someone can comment on this and help me out.
Is Mac realy softening the sound to a degree where a datail is there but bearly audiable? I can not help but feel that way. With pioneer in action I could hear IC and Speaker cable changes very clear. Now with Mac I can hear some but not so obviously.
Please Mac and Thiel owners do help me!
Some ideas:
1. How much power does the Mac produce? The 2.3's need at least 100wpc to really shine, and more is better.
2. Got a decent power cord on the Mac? 10 gauge or wider is important.
3. Are the 2.3's broken in? My 2.3's had no bass at all for the first 10 hours, then loose bass for the next 100 or so before tightening up.
4. Is the Mac an integrated or are you using a preamp? If the latter, please check output impedence of preamp compared to input impedence of the amp.
I have Thiels for +2 years and they are broken in.
Mac is 200 watt in 2, 4, 8 ohm load (autoformers)
I use it as an integrated amp.
I did not change the stock MacIntosh power cord. I did not hear much of a difference changing 1500$ Transparent speaker cables for plain wires so I did not think power cord can help. That set-up with Mac lost analitical properities. Everything seems the same. I used to hear clearly difference in quality of the recordings. Some were great sounding some were terrible to listen to. Now there are differences but not so obvious. I realy need the sound to open up and shine. It is closed in and dull.
May be my listenig room is to small? 4 x 5 x 2,4 meter ( 12 x 15 x 8 feet)
If you sound is unfocued, check if your speakers are in-phase. Everything you describe sounds like your speakers connected out-of-phase. Your Mc should give you pleanty of lows and Highs.
Good luck, Zoya.
The 6900 has some tone control/equalization functions built in. Is there a chance they are engaged and are causing some of problems you hear? With Thiels, a lack of focus and too-soft highs is almost unimaginable.
What taps are you using on the Mac?
You don't mention any other source component delivering these sound characteristics. Is it just the CD, if so maybe you should try a more nuetral interconnect. I have a Mc MX134 and MC352 and MC7205 and I have really a very fine detailed sound with very solid bass. I did notice a marked improvement in using Cardas Golden Reference and recently added Naim Speaker cable and further improved the bass. I have had 4 McIntosh pre amps or pre/pros and have found them to not to add any coloration to the signal path.
As Drubin mentioned make sure your tone controls are flat.
also let the Mc break in I have found Mc gear take a good 100-150 hours to settle in.
Thank you guys
Will do some changes and rearrange the set-up. Surely everything is connected the way it should be. The equalisation is set to flat mode.
Will let everybody know how things are
Another thing...
I discovered that left side radiator (right chanal)of my MA 6900 runs warmer then the other side. The difference is not huge but easily noticable. Do you think it is normal? Ventylation area is equal for both sides. I operate medium to low volume settings.
Well I did a lot of work and found that changing the speaker positions gave me what I have been looking for. It opened up the sound. It is still a little muddy but way better then it was.
I recently reset my tone controls to neutral and found my MA2102 tube amp sounds much better. This was a bit hard to do as I have always been a believer in 'a bit more is a lot better' when it comes to tone controls. But now my speakers don't pop when the bass is strong.
I think I have the answer. The power cord had bad construction i.e. Mac worked at reversed power polarity. Things changed to a lot better with proper p/c. I knew something must have been wrong - it was unimaginable to have such a low-fi with MAC. Sound did really open up, bass slams and is better controlled, highs are better extended. This is day and night difference.
Sometimes ago I was going to buy McIntosh to my Thiel 3.6 based on reputation.
I was not pleased fully with my MF A300.
Went to dealer and audition 6900 on some Totem Speakers with SACD/DVD DVP 999ES as source. It was mid-hifi, bloomy unfocused sound. Maybe speaker was wrong maybe cables I do not care I could not see any potential in this it sounded one class below my MF A300. I have checked a few other and ended buying Clayton M100. Definitely upgrade to MF A300.
Was woundering if you are pleased with the 6900. Do you think there would be improvement by going with the new 402 power amp?
cant believe you powered those thiels with HT receiver,thiels need current ,ever see the miniscule power supply and xformer in a receiver meant for bangs and booms of movies.thats mass market stuff