Speaker suggestions for a McIntosh MC225

Hi all,

I have an MC225 sitting here that I would like to use in a second system. I don't know where the system will end up, so I can't give any room dimensions. I'm not sure if I want to design the system for a particular type of music or design the system and play whatever type of music plays best on it (I like enough types of music to be happy doing this). It's a second system, so if it doesn't do it all it's OK. This is supposed to be partially a learning experience and partially an excuse to use the amp.

I just can't keep this thing around and not give it a pair of speakers that will let it sing. I've read a lot about this little amp and some consider it one of the best sounding amplifiers ever made (crazy statement, I know). The speakers should be revealing, fairly efficient, and cover a good portion of the frequency spectrum. I have heard, for instance, Quad ESL 57s with small tube amps and was not too impressed with the low end (I bring this up because I know that they're a perennial favorite with the MC225). Let me know what you've used with the MC225 or what you think would be the perfect match for a satisfying system for any type of music. I would love to hear your opinions.

Here are it's specs:
• 25w/ch stereo (actually 35w/ch), 50w mono.
• Frequency Response 18-30 kHz (+0 -0.1dB).
• Distortion 0.5%.
• Noise & hum -90dB.
• Output impedance 4, 8, 16, 150, 200 and 600 ohms. 600 ohm balanced to ground and center tapped. (2, 4, 8 and 16 ohms in mono).
• Output voltages 25 and 70.7V.
• Internal impedance less than 10% of rated impedance.
• Input impedance 250k.
• Input sensitivity 0.5V (2.0V with gain controls at dot indicator).
Seems to me that pretty much any medium to high efficiency, tube-friendly speaker will work well with that amp. Do you have a ballpark price range in mind?

The Quad 57 certainly isn't known for its bottom end. To get more bass, I used to take the feet off of mine and set its butt down on the floor, and then slump in my chair or sit on the floor to listen. With both me and the Quads on or near the floor, and no dipole cancellation underneath the Quads, the bottom end warmed up considerably.

I have my Klipsch La Scalas behind the mac 225 with fantastic results.If you have the space these are the way to go.The Mac runs these efortless,like a cake walk.
Good luck,

I've had a really satisfying experience with a pair of Tannoy dual concentric 3's powered by a pair of MC225s.

Very, very nice. I've used a tube preamp, and now I'm using a SS McIntosh C-41 as the front end for the VPI TT and a MacMini + Ultra Fi iRoc USB DAC combo for the digital.

Love it. Astonishing musicality. Cabling has made a big difference, especially with the USB DAC. Using a Ridge Street Audio for that. Very special, very nice.

:) listening,


Klipsch la scala or cornwalls for sure...
Ah how those old McIntoshes sound! I'm happy to have one myself, albeit a 240.

Eventually I am going to split my stereo up into 2. The Electras will stay with the Koras but for the 240, I am going to get a pair of Klipsch Cornwall III. Awesome sound, if not the most svelte looking speaker. Any of the Klipsch Heritage speakers would be great matches.

I personally feel that if you what to hear what this amp can really do, you need efficient speakers. I have "been there, done that" with mine and efficient designs allow its resolution to shine through way more than tough loads do. It can sound great with "regular" speakers but it won't be as good as when it has headroom to work with. Though I also have to say I like to crank it fairly often...

Options that would allow it to sing IMO, in no particular order:

Coincident (all models)
Reference 3A (all models)
ProAcs (smaller models)
Omega single-drivers (all models)
Horn Shoppe
Cain and Cain (all models)
Amphion Argon2
Zu (all models)
Triangle Comete ES and Altea ES
Reimer (all models)
Cabasse Java 350 and Farella
Living Voice (all models)
Tannoy Glenair and Reds

And if you really want to be astonished by your amp, send it off to have a complete overhaul. Those 40 year old caps are worn out and the bias resistors are probably out of spec. Not to mention getting rid of those selenium stacks for some latest-technology diodes (FREDs in particular). Trust me - you don't want a big cap to fail during operation! Besides, it will restore its power output capability, and probably even gain some. And since you've just done all that, you might as well tweak it with some small MKP filter and bypass caps on all the electrolytics. I rebuilt mine and it is now the most musically transparent amp I have ever heard.

Oh and one last thing: have you tried turning up the gain rather than using them at the dot indicator? I find the sound of mine to be clearly more dynamic when the gain pots are turned up to 2 or 3:00 rather than 12:00. Worth a try if you haven't already. Beyond that point, a little hardness develops on mine.