McIntosh MC-2300 amplifier or... ?


I tried searching on the web for info on this, but apart from some specifications I didn't find much in the way of listening experiences.

Please be gentle.

I'm looking to "upgrade" more for the sake of trying new things than a necessity. I currently have an Integra DTR 6.5 (2005? 2006?) that does a decent job for my home theatre and when run in Pure Audio mode (switches off all video processing) does a decent job for stereo music.

I have often heard that having a dedicated amp, especially for stereo really opens up the soundstage and in general you get better clarity of music etc. I would use the pre-out on the Integra for the Left and Right channels to connect to the stereo amp whatever one I end up with.

My budget is no more than $1000. Used or new.

That said, there's someone local selling a McIntosh MC-2300 for around $1000. I know they were made between 1970 and 1980. Would this be a good way to dip my feet into a stereo amplifier? Would this be a downgrade from the Integra considering the age?

Would it by wiser for me to spend the grand instead on a new amp by Emotiva or Outlaw or something similar?

Any input is welcome. If you think it is silly to go with MC-2300, I would like you to tell me so I don't waste $1000.
Not a waste at all. It's a great amp. If possible though, try before you buy, or at least make sure everything is working.
1000.00 is a good price if the amp is in an 8 condition. Ask when it was last serviced and who did the work. All the big Mc amps from that era are in need of a re-cap/service work
Good points, both of you. Thanks for the input. I've contacted the owner, but am yet to hear from him. I'm kind of on pins and needles because I'd really like to score this behemoth.

Just to be crystal clear, the MC2300 will be pulling double duty - it will be used during movie watching too. It should be up to the task, right?
If you don't need the extra power, don't expect too much, if any improvement, especially in the high frequency range. Around 1975, I bought one new. It lacked in the treble range. The output transformers was the problem according to others. The output transformers were said to have a slow transient response, and was said to make the highs sound limited, making it sound like it didn't go all the way to 20 kHz.

Tube amps use output transformers, and the better ones don't have this problem. In the past couple of years, a friend and I compared a couple of other early MAC amps, and still noticed the same problem, hooked up to totally different gear.

Other than age, and the possibility of some tired parts, the amp was musical, and enjoyable except for that high frequency problem. I think is was Accuphase that used this problem, for a selling advantage at the time. Onkyo and other receivers lack in the highs, output power is far less, that can cause problems, but they are still musical, at least some of the ones I've heard.

So, if you don't need the extra power, you might not find much that will impress you, by going to the MC-2300. A lot of receivers have a problem with 4 ohm speakers. The MAC won't, if it performs right. If it was better in the high frequency range, it may provide a better improvement, sonically.

There should be other newer amps out there that will give you more sonically. A lot of people say that Emotiva and Outlaw aren't quite up to what others can do in this price range. I use tube amps now, and haven't kept up with the latest solid state amps enough to recommend one.

The MAC amps were built like tanks, and it weighs over a hundred pounds. If you buy it, bring a friend to help move it. It was hard for one to move I remember, even though I was younger then. Even Rock bands and Discos used them because of their build quality, and reliably in its day.
Hifitime - Thank you for a very detailed response. The original buyer never responded even after me contacting them a couple times. If he's not interested in making money, whatever.

Do you recommend any tube amps for my specific case then - music and double duty as front left and right home theatre speakers? I might be able to swing up to $1500 if absolutely need be.
Maritan, If you went to tube amps, it would be best for two channel music only. They wouldn't match very well with solid state, in a home theater system. And, an all tube theater system costs a fortune. You would need all the speakers to be tube powered. Also, tube amps like efficient speakers in general. Speakers that run around 8 ohms, and fairly efficient, meaning they don't need that much power to play loud enough.

Some people switch between a tube amp for the front two main speakers, and then switch back to the solid state for home theater. That gets to be a pain though, and risky. A tube amp needs a speaker load on it whenever it's on. So if you accidently switch a tube amp on, with no speakers, there a risk of ruining the output transformers. That gets costly.

I'm guessing there must be solid state amps out there that would do better. A lot depends on your speakers, and other gear too. If your speakers are good at revealing things, a better amp may work. The Integra's preamp section may limit it some too. Also, if your speakers like a lot of power, or are 4 ohms, an outboard amp may make a difference for that reason. A lot depends on your gear you have, and what your looking for.
I have had MC2300s over the last 12 years and I can say with confidence that I learn more and more about these amplifiers as time goes by.It is one of the best amplifiers that Mcintosh had ever built. The ones that come into my possession have always been thoroughly refreshed by the legendary Syd Beaumont of Ideal Innovations in Woodstock, Ontario. Newer and better power transistors - re-built driver boards - Better Power Caps - Every circuit checked and newer/better parts installed, including resistors, connectors and the use of shielded wiring where necessary - too many to list. One unit took me about 2 years - but well worth the money and time. they would be good for another 40 years. I have 2 units now and they are simply amazing. I use them with C20 preamps and a series of different JBLs - stunning.