McIntosh MC300 or Odyssey Stratos?

I have a chance to get a McIntosh MC300 (originally purchased 1998) for about the same price as the Odyssey Stratos. I've considered the Stratos for some time but have yet to make the plunge. I've not been able to find much info on the web about the MC300s (alot for MC352 & 402s - which are way beyond my budget). Does anyone have experience with the 300s?

I've had a chance to audition the Mac and am quite pleased with the sound. Detail without being analytical, faithful rendering of timbral quality, liquidity and musicality, very muscular sound, good sense of the space around the sound, with good bass extension which is fairly well-focused, highs are not bright or brittle, great dynamic range and soundstage - it focuses the instruments quite well, it does a very nice job of making the ensemble textures clear. So far the only complaint I have is that the attack of the instrument (I've especially noticed it with piano) can be a bit muted.

I listen almost exclusively to classical chamber, solo and vocal music. I guess I'm wondering if I can expect the same sound profile with the Odyssey and how it might compare with the Mac (if anyone has experience with both).

My other equipment is a Cary 306/200 cd, Placette remote volume control, and Epos 11 speakers (which I'm hoping to replace down the line).

Thanks for any help.
for your current system, i would say the odessey is the best match. the mc300 used with the placette are not the best pairing.
i agree with jaybo,i owned 3 mc300's & while they were decent solid state amps they were not the best amps mac has made,i also tried running a mc300 with a passive pre & i hated it.
Thanks for your suggestions.

Why do you say the mac isn't right with a passive pre-? I've often heard people say that the Placette is great with tubes and I thought (never having even heard a tube amp) that the McIntosh was supposed to be close to tube sound.

so you dont think im a mac basher just trying to slam mac i'll point out that im a huge mcintosh fan & my rig is all mcintosh gear.

as far as i can figure is that when people describe mac amps as being very close to the "tube sound" it comes from mac amps having a weaker/smoother bass response than alot of other high end ss amps, mac amps do not have a hard hitting bass like like a krell amp for instance & the highs are not as sterile.

im not a big fan of any passive preamp & i do not care one bit for the sound when passive preamps are used with my mac rig,to me its like taking two steps backwards when i use a passive or a pre without tone controls.

please dont think im knocking your gear because im not but my experiences with mac & passive preamps were horrible.

No umbrage taken. My follow-up questions was just looking for a little more explanation of the sound people didn't like combining the Macs with passive pre. Your second response gives me a better idea of what you don't like.

At this point (1 week of sporadic auditioning) I really like the Mac for vocals (focused, voluptuous, good capture of the textural and timbral quality). The one instrument I'm still not convinced by is the piano (I don't get as palpable a sense of the "touch" of the fingers against the keys as I would like). I've got a feeling that percussive instruments in general might be more laid back with the Mac.

Thanks again for your help.
I know the MC300, as well as many other Mc amps, and I know the Odessey Stratos as well - I had one in my system briefly.

I agree the MC300 is not the best. The 352 is clearly better, and so is my 7200. I have tried all my Mc amps with passive pres and I don't like it either. Mc amps usually have a lowish input impedance to reduce noise and passive pres don't like that.

The Odessey was nice but kind of generic sounding. It didn't do anything wrong but it didn't do anything great either. I prefer my 7200 - better timbre, clearer imaging, more slam, overall more finesse. The differences however are rather subtle.

As far as Mc amps having a weak/smoother bass I would say it really depends on the model. the 7200 doesn't have autoformers and it has killer bass and high damping factor (200 instead of 40 for the MC300). So far, I feel the autoformers are the ones that contribute to the "tubish" sound more than anything since they level-match the output impedance. I have to say I really like the effect on the latest amps and will probably trade up eventually.

But with any amp - and particularly Mcs - you need to match it to your speakers. I am not familiar with Epos 11 so I can't say. The pairing of amp and speaker can make you or break you way more than the amp or speaker alone. Hook up a Mc amp to a soft speaker and the result will be a screwed up piano. Hook it up to a detailed and dynamic speaker and you will be in for a real treat.


Thanks for your detailed comments on the Mac. I'm still in the process of deciding. As usual the process is steadily moving my initial target price into the rear view mirror. Someone who knows the Placette recently recommended Edge amps.

Thanks again to all,
Hi gang,

I'd like to ask Aball what he things about powering a pair of 3.6 Magnepans with Mac gear. I have listened to a pair powered by a number of different pre and power amp combinations. I am open to any other brands so if there are better combos, please comment. I'd like to spend less than $5k on pre-owned gear. Also, I m interested in the thread because I love the mid and upper accuracy of the Maggies but have not yet been satisfied with the bass. The MAc/Maggie combo may not be what I'm after for vinyl only, Jazz, rock and motown. Please offer-up what you can!