In terms of the MC 275 VI, I've had a pair mono-blocked for several years, both purchased new. Absolutely flawless construction and glorious performance. No issues with tubes and if rolling is your thing, plenty of alternatives to select from various online tube stores. If you need to, do a little bit of research to properly match the 275 to the "right" preamp and speakers. For a preamp, I use the PS Audio BHK tube hybrid. In my opinion, there is no better tube power amp available near the price point. While I have no issues with the amp, I would be cautious if purchasing used. Over many years, I have worked with Audio Classics and never been disappointed. They test and inspect the used amps and tubes. In any case, if you're looking for a terrific tube amp, one that can be mono-blocked if you so choose, the 275VI is my top pick. There is a reason why the 275 is consistently on Stereophile's Class A list. Cheers!
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I had a Mk VI in my system for a while and it ran flawlessly and sounded great. I just needed more power for my speakers. This list is posted on the Pearl Audio website and you might find it useful:
Here are some new things on the current MKVI:
• High Speed Sentry Monitor circuit will shut the amp off if speaker wires are shorted or there is a gross impedance mismatch to the connected loudspeakers.
• High Speed Sentry Monitor Circuit will indicate a failed output tube by illuminating the three small tubes Red in front of the defective pair of output tubes, greatly simplifying maintenance.
• Small tube illumination for amplifier operational status indication. The three modes are sequential: Amber on warm up, Green when amp is ready for operation, and Red if an output tube fails.
• A stereo power control cable combined with a McIntosh preamplifier allows for the small tube illumination to be turned on or off using the meter light control trim function in the preamplifier.
• Power control input and output allows one button on-off operation from the preamplifier when used in an all McIntosh system.
• High Power Mono operation, MC275 has been designed for 150 watt mono use and comes with the jumper strap to connect the two channels together for mono parallel operation into 2, 4 or 8 ohms.
• Auto Off switch allows control of the new Power Save Circuitry which will switch the amplifier to Standby Mode approximately 30 minutes after there has been an absence of an audio signal.
• New Style Patented McIntosh speaker binding posts produce the very best connection with all speaker wire types and terminations.
• Higher Audio Performance Achieved. There were many subtle changes in circuits, and component values that were relatively unnoticeable by themselves, but totaled up to significantly improved performance.
I have KEF Reference 5 speakers. I went to the other end of the amp spectrum and am now powering them with Electrocompaniet Nemo monoblocks.
I thought about adding another MC275 to get the additional power I wanted while keeping the smooth sound they made, but with a tube pre (C1100) and tube phono, my room was already getting a bit warm in the summer.
I've had a MK IV, MK V and a MK VI in my system. All fabulous amps with equal build quality.
Personally I preferred the MK IV, which I felt was just a little more tubey than the MK VI. I also liked that the MK IV had attenuators and looked like the 60's MC275's.
The MK VI does have a little bit of a different sound signature - more bass, more detail, but I guess I was so used to my MK IV that I kept it instead.
I bought all of mine used from private sellers with no issues what so ever.
Only reason I sold it - I run my system as two channel and surround for at least 3-4 hours a night so I decided to go with solid state.
MC601's is what I have now and they're going nowhere. Had I have me room I would have kept the 275 for a secondary system in the future.
Interesting that this thread popped up now. I just bought an MA-8900 Integrated and when my dealer was installing it (it is part of a complete upgrade of my entire system), they could not get it to handle the switching to pass through mode (I use it to drive L/R speakers in my surround system). Every time they tried, it would literally lock up and not switch to any input. After hours of trying everything they could think of, they called McIntosh. McIntosh is building me a brand new one and working on a firmware update to deal with the switching issue. My dealer lent me their demo 8900 to use in the meantime and it's working fine. I think all the technology getting stuffed into audio equipment, much like mobile devices and computers, is doing more harm than good.
The good news is that the sound is glorious with my vinyl and digital (both Redbook and Hi-Res) music collection. I'm confident that McIntosh will deliver a perfect replacement that I expect to keep for a long, long time.
My experience with Mac is limited to a C2200 preamp and an MC2105 amp. While the C2200 was sweet sounding and practical, its build quality is no comparison to the MC2105; in this regard, build quality, they’re in two completely different leagues. The C2200’s meters had an issue that required servicing and in unplugging a pair of leads from the circuit board, the circuit board actually lifted from the frame, so flimsy is it. The MC2105, however, is built like a brick s....house, with a chrome plated, metal frame, rigid circuit boards and hd parts - mine was built in 1975 and still works flawlessly. So, at least in these two examples, there’s a significant difference in build quality between new and old.
I almost forgot my beautiful MR67 tuner (1967), it really is a work of technical art, unsurpassed in quality.
In general, build quality and sound quality are not commensurate, meaning: you can have a poorly built unit, of any brand, that sounds fantastic and/or, you can have an elaborately and well built unit that sounds bad. In other words, just because a unit sounds great doesn’t mean it is qualitatively built.
Build quality ultimately affects longevity!
Ultimately, the ideal is superb build and sound quality all in one!
About 10 years ago, I purchased a c-220 pre. The unit would out of nowhere, not respond to the remote or front panel controls, probably a software issue. For me software and a preamp do not belong together. I sold the MAC and never looked back. In the 80s and 90S I owned both MAC 1700 & 1900 receivers...great sounding, reliable gear. Things have changed in Binghamton, NY and not for the better IMO.
It has been my experience that the older produced McIntosh products sounded much better than the ones produced today.
There was a time when you would hear Accuphase, Conrad Johnson and McIntosh in the same conversation.
But all that changed, especially when they turned into:
Now partnered with a P/E fund Money things have never been the same...
I home-demoed a McIntosh C2500/MC452 last week and was less impressed than I expected to be with build quality. For some reason my expectations were higher. The preamp felt light-ish in weight and you can feel and hear the panels vibrate and settle when setting the unit down gently. In comparison I’ve noticed other gear at that price-point or even lower typically exudes a superior build quality with a far more solid feel. Bryston, Simaudio are two that come to mind that just seem way more solidly presented in terms of fit and finish. Simaudio gear seems built and presented like a supercar when inspected up-close. Also the non flush-mounted screws on the McIntosh C2500 chassis just seems cheesy at this price - why would they have done that? Finally I thought the spring-loaded McIntosh speaker terminals were spongy and didn’t offer the same sense of confidence and secure-ness that other brand’s terminals offered. Of all the gear I’ve tested recently at this price point, McIntosh is the only brand which I felt like the fit and finish seemed disappointing given its price point. Not to beat up on McIntosh too much - it’s not that I felt the build quality was bad persay, I just was expecting more given the emphasis on fit and finish other brands have. The Mac gear looked great (some argue looks the best) and I can see how some like the sound, but ultimately it wasn’t for me.
I've found McIntosh build quality to be excellent and perhaps even better than their older products. They are a vertically integrated Company and make many of their components. However, their components are far more complex than in the past leveraging fiber optics, digital controls and and advanced logic circuits. I'm not sure these new models will age as well as their older and simpler products. This is also true of autos and almost everything else made today. The new advanced technology is great but once the chipsets are no longer available, service might not be possible.