McIntosh MR78 upgrades?


I have an MR78 that's working well. 

I can bring it to Audio Classics, and for about a grand, get the power supply and audio section upgraded, and the tuner will be aligned. 

There's another shop, maybe 2 hrs from Audio Classics that does a power supply upgrade for $250, plus an alignment would be billed based on actual time on the bench. So let's say $350-$400. 

Is the audio section upgrade worth $600? Would be most interested to hear from people with Mac tuners that have had them modernized. 
F9a2a63c acde 473a 8c75 c87d9394e755zavato
I have only heard my MR 78 with the mod as I purchased it with it.  I would not even have considered one without.  My tuner sounds amazing.    As good as vinyl or tape.
This is an easy question. Send it to Audio Classic for the Richard Modafferi modification. Well worth the money, plus unlike other modifications, this will add value to your MR78
I picked up my MR71 for peanuts in the early nineties and cosmetically it happened to be excellent. The electronics were not good. I had the Modaferri mod done with the alignment, and it sounded great after that. Later, I sent it to Sam Kim in Montreal, and he worked his magic on it. After that, I no longer craved for the coveted Marantz 10b.

A few more thoughts about this. Does the tuner equal my vinyl front end? No way. And, I do have concerns that FM may be on its way out. Plus, I moved into a new home, and now need to do the roof antenna reinstallation. Right now, my tuner sits on my rack looking pretty, while I'm trying to figure out how to fund other needed system improvements.

Still, I'm driven to get this all done, because that's what it's about for me. So, yes, the expense was worth the results.
Kenny
I disfavor mods in general, but the Modafferi MR78 one is different. Richard was heavily involved in the design of the RF sections of the tuner, and his mod of the 78 is more like an update, he putting everything he has learned about tuners in the intervening years into your 78. He also installs new, better RCA jacks, adjusts and aligns everything, and includes performance test results of your particular tuner.
Kenny - FM definitely on the way out  I have a roof antenna and a signal sleuth and I only get 2 stations (I am 60 miles east of NYC so college stations for me). But, they do sound marvelous.  
Cerrot - I read a rumor, and I think it was here on Audiogon, that one of the Scandinavian countries has eliminated FM altogether?

I do get the public radio stations, which is what I listen to. So, jazz, classical, and alternative. I really don't care for the rest. Even, my daughters stopped listening to "their" music stations, as the music has become shallow in mind and body in their opinions. I'm digressing.

Many of the antenna manufacturers are no more, or they just manufacture what's popular today. I own an SE Engineering antenna (no more), but I'm in the hunt for an old classic Channel Master or equivalent.

l wonder, if by the time I get my act together with roof/rotor/antenna, will there be a signal!!!? - LOL
Kenny


zavato - I uploaded Richard's test results sheet after his modification of my MR71 if you're interested. It's temporarily added to my system's pictures. I'm sure their are many guys here, and probably yourself as well, who can analyze those results. I thought this might be helpful for you to determine what to expect from the mod.

Kenny

kennythekey
Cerrot - I read a rumor, and I think it was here on Audiogon, that one of the Scandinavian countries has eliminated FM altogether? ... l wonder, if by the time I get my act together with roof/rotor/antenna, will there be a signal!!!
It's not just a rumor - Norway has shut down almost all analog FM. But that's easier to do in a tiny country such as Norway than in a large one such as the U.S. FM radio remains a huge industry in the U.S. and it's not likely to go away anytime soon.
Kenny- thanks! Interesting. Wonder how it tested before the mod!

I used to have a magnum dynalab tuner that that went through a factory upgrade at about $800 and I doubt I could hear a difference.

I did discover that one of my panel lights- a "festoon bulb", whatever that is, is out. 
I found the MR71 on a heap of discarded gear at a used audio joint. I'm not sure if it even tested before the mod.
Kenny
Kennythekey-
The MR71 looks great in that maple case. Is that a Mcab.com custom?

My later model is looking tired and shedding.
I like the look of the base instead of footers also.

Your RM modded 71 must sound amazing. My stock box plays great. It has been refreshed/NOS tubed. I have the RM mod on the wish list. 

tablejockey,

The cabinet was made by High Quality Reproduction Cabinets who specialize in the classics. They offer almost any veneer, and I wanted the Birdseye Maple. Extremely happy with their work, and I still have an original Walnut cabinet that I picked up, but it's also a little tired looking.

When I get it hooked up, I will seek some advice about tubes for rolling, because I can't even tell you what's in it now.
Kenny

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Kenny-

I believe you just want to fuss with the 2 audio output tubes-6BL8.

The others are what was used to ad/align to spec?

Once changed, adjustments are off?
Right, good point. It would be nice to find a local guy to do realignment, so when a tube needs to be replaced, I'm not shipping the tuner off somewhere.

I'm wondering how these comments are adding up for zavato? It seems that no matter what we have, we keep messing with it ($cha-ching-$cha-ching). - LOL

zevato - IMHO, no matter how much you put into a tuner, it's still a tuner. It will never sound as good as a fine turntable or digital source.
Kenny
Kenny, you're right, and part of my issue is that in my area I really have only 2 stations that sound good. So I truly question whether the full blown mod is worth the money vs just recapping the damned thing. 
Richards MR78 mod includes increasing the tuner's alternate and adjacent channel selectivity, which improves it's ability to pull in closely-spaced channels cleanly.
Decided not to go the Audio Classics route. Selectivity is not an issue where I live and and I only have a handful of stations worth grabbing. Given that, I'm doing the recap and alignment and easily saving $600 in the process. That's solid $ to spend on music. 
So I heard from the folks that I brought my MR78 to for recapping. They advise that some of the caps inside are just a few years old, and some are original. Apparently someone tinkered around inside several years back. I'm told the work was neat and high quality caps were used. Curious that whoever did the work a few years ago only replaced a few caps. 
I had some good tuners in my audiophile life (Naim NAT01, Sequerra Ref) and still have a Tandberg 3001A for sale and a recently acquired Leak Troughline 2 (shipped to London Sound for check restoration and alignment) with De Paravicini stereo decoder, but never a Mac yet.
Sure one day I will have one but hesitate between MR78 and 77. I heard the "77" would be more musical sounding than the "78" model (without mods).  Did someone on the forum comared them ?

So- to update this old thread I started years ago, the cap and LED work I had done in 2017 turned out to be $125 or so. In March 2020, but before NY went into lockdown, I sent my tuner to AC for Rich Modaferri to wave his magic wand over it. I’ve had my tuner back for a while now. It was worthwhile and dealing with Rich was both a pleasure and enlightening 
cleeds, I am not in any way challenging your statement that FM radio is a "huge industry" in the US, but with all respect can you explain the why and how that works?  Thanks.
lewm
cleeds, I am not in any way challenging your statement that FM radio is a "huge industry" in the US, but with all respect can you explain the why and how that works?
Sure, @lewm .
There are more than 10,000 FM radio stations in the US and more than 6,500 of them are commercial operations. There are also about 10,000 translators. Total annual revenue, including the non-comms and about 4,700 stations on the aging and struggling AM dial, is about $20 billion.

Radio station ownership has undergone substantial consolidation since the FCC changed the rules in the mid-90s. Just a handful of owners - iHeart (which used to be Clear Channel) , Cumulus, Entercom and Townsquare - own the bulk of the major stations. And some of the non-comms are also owned by sophisticated and well-funded entities.

So even though the industry is facing many challenges to its profitability, including the impact of Covid on ad sales, FM is big business, and it relies on the huge installed base of analog FM radios, especially in cars. Many of these listeners are "casual listeners" who enjoy FM for convenience. The industry couldn’t get them much interested in so-called "HD Radio" and that may help explain why no one seems to have any appetite for fiddling further with FM.

The AM side is another story altogether though, and there it is possible that it could evolve over time into a digital-only band. There is a pending FCC rule that would allow the first steps towards that.
"I heard the "77" would be more musical sounding than the "78" model (without mods).  Did someone on the forum comared them ? "
Back when these were current models I was a salesman and sold both.  The MR78 was hands down the better tuner overall, but if a person did not live in an area with a lot of multipath, the MR77 worked as well, sounded as good, but not better.  The current modded MR78, however, is just better in every way.  I hate to say best, but in my experience it easily is a match for a properly working Sequerra.
Thanks, cleeds. You obviously know the subject quite well. Nowadays and for about the last 8 to 10 years, most new cars come with the capacity to receive SiriusXM. In my case, I tried SiriusXM in my car, on a lark, and now I am really hooked on it, to the extent that I don’t even try to tune in AM or FM stations, except for one sports station in my area on AM and one PBS station in my area on FM. So I would expect that SiriusXM might be a threat to FM , especially as and where the primary use for FM is to broadcast music with some fidelity. Music and PBS/NPR.
I guess I'm getting into this conversation late. Just sending my MR-78 in for the Modafferi mod. Got his office unit from our kids pediatrician 20 years ago when he retired; he kept the MR-80 he had at home. It has served well, but the quarantine has me listening to more FM. Looking forward to the change. My cousin, a retired Boeing engineer responsible for avionics for the 787 (yes, I used to tease him about Li-batteries), has the MR-74 and we've done a side-by-side comparison. He likes his and I like mine: who can argue with that? I guess we'll do it again when the 78 gets back. The two main stations that I listen to mostly are classical (PBS) ands a distant independent (jazz). I support both and suggest that as an important way to keep FM on the air.