First off, McIntosh bashers need not respond. The synergy of this system is outstanding.
I think I have my system pretty well fleshed out now, and love what it is doing for me. But, I have my eye on my weak link. I have a few thoughts, but I'm Interested in objective, and somewhat random comments from some insightful folks here.
My Habits: Love listening to vinyl most of all. Don't know exactly but have over 3000 LP, I think, and keep getting more. Obviously do lots of streaming too via Tidal > Roon. Also on thousands of CDs of varying quality.
My Room: Open main floor Floor plan to the kitchen and formal dining room. Open space has 9 foot ceilings, with fabric chairs and carpeting. No need for any room enhancement identified. Still sounds great. Lucked out on that one.
Anyway, where is what I have:
(1) McIntosh MT5 Turntable
(2) Sumiko Palos Santos Cartridge
(3) McIntosh MP1100 Phono PreAmp
(4) McIntosh C1100 2-piece PreAmp
(5) McIntosh D1100 DAC
(6) McIntosh MCT 500 CD/SACD Transport
(7) McIntosh MVP 901 A/V Player
(8) McIntosh MC2152 70th Anniversary Amp
(9) McIntosh MPC1500 Power Controller
(10) Sonus Faber Lillium Speakers
(11) Roon Nucleus
(12) Sonore Signature Rendu SE w/ Optical Feed
(13) All Connected via Clarus Crimson interconnects, power cables and Balanced Cables
(14) Will avoid the details on isolation, AC outlets, etc. for now.
Choose a number, product or idea. Have fun with this one.
"Long haired, freaky people, need not apply" or dismiss my enjoyment of McIntosh. [btw - anyone remember that song quote?]
What weakest link? based on the details you’ve provided, it sounds to me like you have a superlative audio system.
I don’t understand McIntosh haters either. You know what...It’s probably because they can’t afford it. Probably a noob on the other side who ordered his reference DAC from aliexpress for 200 bucks. And...got his speakers and amp at a garage sale. And he lived with his grandma to save up a few grand for cables. 😆
You can always upgrade speakers - but then again, you need a reason to.
If you enjoy your system, just keep it and love it.
Signs. Just heard it on the car radio the other day. As long as you're asking about the weak link, if you really like what you have, a good rack or other amp stand can bring out more of what's good in the components. I've been doing this for a long time, but I only recently became aware of what's being left on the table when you don't optimize what they sit on. So that's my guess.
I disagree that your room couldn’t use some treatment. I have a similar situation and room treatments made a huge difference. It took some convincing, wife wise, but very worth it. The problem you will have is echo, with high ceilings it does happen. You need to tame those a bit. Otherwise, unless you are just bored (part of it) leave your system the way it is. The room treatment stuff is cheap overall and can be made to look like anything you want. Call GIK, they will help you. There are tweaks, a Schumann resonator made a difference in my room, you can mess with cables, if you are into vinyl look at other carts, or perhaps a new phono stage. The only limitation is $$$.
Acoustic treatment no longer has to be unsightly panels and tubes. Synergistic Research HFT Speaker Kit improves image focus and brings out effortless detail that makes speakers disappear. I choose (14). Put HFT on the speakers, put the speakers on Townshend Podiums. Huge upgrade!
My vote is for the room. Open floor plans are the worst for audio systems. You say you think it sounds good, I say you are only getting (at best) 60% of the potential of your system. It may not be something you can change, but I’d be aware of that shortcoming.
I would change/alter several things. I would sell the C1100 and insert a Trinnov Amethyst. I think you can do much better in the turntable department. An SME or Sota with a Schroder or Reed tonearm and Ortofon Windfeld Ti cartridge. Everything else is fine. With the Trinnov you can insert Subwoofers any time you want, It has excellent bass management.
Long haired freaky people need not apply? I tucked my hair up under my hat and went in to ask him why. He said, "You look like a fine understanding young man, I think you’ll do!" So I took off my hat, said, "Imagine that, me working for you!"
The links are strong, and equal. It is the lack of stuff holding them together that could use some work.
The only thing I would change out is the dac. The wyred for sound 10th anniversary dac is much better. It is one of the most analog sounding dacs that I've heard on the market and it beats up on much more expensive dacs like bricasti cord Cos 1 Sim audio. Check out the reviews.
No. 10 is what I would change. For the money the largest pair of Ohm Walsh speakers would be an ear-opening experience. 3 - D imaging from any spot in the room! No need for subs. I have a smaller pair and they indeed have the magic of placing the performers right in the room! Leave all the rest of your system be!
I dont see Buttkickers on your list , obviously money is no object for you , I have 2 buttkickers mounted to the springs of my sofa and give you an extra layer I never thought possible, Dont knock it till you try it, im at about $13k on my system total and I probably have more clean bass than you Im not bragging , I also have 2 PB16s SVS , Im setup for more theater but come here for ideas, you guys spend boatloads of cash but cant watch a movie on it , its a hobby for me too and I dont mind parting with the cash im not cheap at all , if i want something and see a need for it I have it , I went to the finest showrooms in my area to try to get excited about 2 channel but I get great sound coming from my Center . Why would you want to intentionally hear voice sound coming from 2 speakers 2ch its not natural by nature , we go thru all the trouble of converting zeros and ones back to analog to send it to 2 speakers (2 voices) , Im sorry guys a High end center and a nice amp sounds like the performer is singing to me center stage the way it should be , call me a noob I guess 2 ch overrated I said it.
Buttkickers dont have to be for movies , I listen to music and am blown away how good it sounds and feels. I use LFE units 9hz but they do sell Concerts for the aristocrats in the room. does anyone else use butt kickers let me know, Im pretty sure Millercarbon uses them cause I see 2 Dayton sa-1000 amps in his system photos and there only good for buttkickers .
@pgaulke60, Without hearing your system I would have no idea what a weak link would be. Looks well thoughtout to me and bassed upon your comments such as "No need for any room enhancement identified" I won't go there. I'd be very interested in knowing your thoughts on what you think the weak link is?
Thank you all for the responses. They have been great, and mirror lots of my thinking.
At this point, I am thinking my MT5 turntable is the weak link given all the vinyl I listen to. I'm looking to upgrade the turntable to something on par with the rest of the components. And yes @millercarbon, I will be looking as better isolation to the turntable.
I would love to get the MC901 amps but just don't have the floor space. It is my living room after all. Maybe in the next house! But would love them.
I appreciate the ideas around room acoustics. I should borrow a couple of panels from my dealer and see if it will make a noticeable difference. I am looking at new window treatments, but I hear they don't have a real noticeable impact.
@yogiboy I think the hat sounds like a good idea. I already have the coffee mug.
@tablejockey and @mijostyn Looks like you two take the prize with the Analog weak link. I'm on that page too, but I can't say I dislike my current turntable.
@knollbrent Thanks for the one snarky comment. Expected it from MillerCarbon. But Yes, I listen to my system 4-6 hours/day. Lots of LPs thrown in the mix.
Thanks again to everyone for their ideas. Helps me quite a bit.
Weakest links are your DAC and turntable. More often than not, companies that specialize in design/manufacturing these components are better performing. There are much better DACs in the market nowadays that would better suit the level of your system. Also, because you listen to vinyl substantially, your will also benefit from a turntable + tonearm upgrade. At $15k, the VPI HW40 would likely give you a good price/performance boost.
C’mon brother. Be honest, what you really wanna hear is others’ oohing and ahhing and enjoy listening to them discussing so many different pieces of YOUR stuff. Exactly who is here that’s heard your system but you? No one else I’ll bet, so for someone else to pick out your system’s weakest link without hearing all of it would be based on what? You’ve clearly spent many yrs while educating yourself and spending thousands of dollars. You’re looking for a weak link??? It’s easy to see if you look.
To my way of thinking that's a very good system so I hesitate to use the term weak link because of its negativity. I tend to agree with KennyC that testing out new TT's and DACs offer you the greatest opportunity to hear a different sound, whether you like the alternatives is anyone's guess but both of those are central to everything you play. Budget is obviously another consideration, there are some very affordable yet outstanding ladder DACs and if your budget is large, ring DACs might just make you into a digital convert 🙂
I am going to pick on the Sumiko Palos Santos. I am not much of a fan of Sumiko to start with. I took a huge step up from a Blackbird to a ClearAudio Titanium and never looked back. I currently have a Goldfinger V2 Statement, and will never look back.
If i have to finger what's most audiophile weakest link it definitely goes for room acoustics.
You can fix this with passive measures or with electronic measures like ARC or the much better Trinov. after fixing the acoustics problem that your not even aware of you won't believe it's the same sysytem.