I guess it would help if i told you what Mcintosh power amps I'm interested in. That would be the Mc 252 and Mc 302.
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I would settle with an Ayre V-5xe if I could find a black one for the right price (my preamp is black). However, I think I would rather go with a Mcintosh amp. I've been around Mcintosh equipment pretty much my whole life and love the way their amps sound which is why I'm toying with the idea of buying a Mcintosh amp to go with my Ayre pre.
You may be able to get a used MC352 for $2200. I have been told the matching has to be a 1:10 ratio pre output impedance to amp input impedance
When matching preamps to power amps, a general rule of thumb is for the load (amp) input impedance to be at least 10 times higher than the source (preamp) output impedance to provide a suitably flat frequency response. Many prefer using a minimum ratio closer to 20 to 1, or having an amp with input impedance 20 times or more greater than the preamp output impedance. YMMV.
If the impedance issues are within reason then I would guess it will sound good. Mac amps and Klipsch speakers have a certain synergy that is well known. I own some older Mac and Klipsch gear and can attest to the combination. Ayre sounds pretty clean and nuetral to my ears so I can't see why it would be a problem.
As a long time McIntosh owner I would take a serious look at the MC352 or a MC402. They will have a much quieter background than the 252 or 302. McIntosh does not incorporate their double balanced circuitry in the 202,250 or 302. And with any Ayre Pre I think you will hear the difference. You don't mention budget but I see 352's here all the time in the 3K range and the 402's in the 4-4500 range.
Thanks for the replies. The impedance ratio is the main thing I want to make sure I get right as it seems to be crucial when matching components. Is there an easy way to compute the impedance ratio? I tried searching it but was unsuccessful. The Ayre website lists the Ayre K-5xe(my preamp) as having an output impedance of 55 ohm per phase. The input impedance of an Mc352 20 kohm unbalanced and 40 kohm balanced. I'm not sure what to make of these specs, but it appears that maybe this isnt the best match? The Ayre V-5xe has an input impedance of 100 kohm per phase
I think the MC402 is a little bit outside my price range. The MC352 appears to be within the price range. I will definitely consider this amp when making my final decision. What gives the Mc252/302 a less than quiet background vs the MC352/402?
The output impedance of the Ayre preamp is quite low, and will be far lower than, and therefore completely compatible with, the input impedance of virtually any power amp, including the ones you are considering.
Regarding your recent thread about hiss levels, however, the way things were left I would have some concern that after changing amps to one of the McIntosh's you are considering you might still find that excessive hiss is present.
Al, I have currently disconnected my XLR cables and am using my Audioquest Emerald RCAs for now. I have found that this reduces the hiss to tolerable levels. When using XLR cables the gain increases from 4db to 10db using the Ayre preamp, which makes a noticeable difference to my ears.
I know that Ayre amps will work best together. However, from my experience the Mcintosh will sound better with the Klipsch speakers I am using and plan to keep for a long time. Ideally I would like to have a Mcintosh MC3XX and an Ayre V-5xe to hook up to my system and compare back to back before making a purchase. I don't think any of the dealers around my area would let me do that because I have purchased all my gear on Audiogon, Ebay, etc. and not from them. Some of the dealers around the Seattle area can be kind of snoody if you know what I mean.