Jump on the VAC ASAP the others are second.
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Heard that statement so many times on various forums. Is the VAC hype for real? I honestly leaning heavily towards all VAC but there is no way I can audition one in the country so I have to buy blind (or deaf in this matter LOL). The dealer is not willing to have any on display and those who owns VAC are mostly discrete people not willing to entertain a stranger (I wouldn’t).
I am a bit skeptical because I have been disappointed before. I bought MC75 after a very long hiatus based on many reviews favoring MC75 even compared to the mighty MC2301. I am disappointed because while I agree it’s a fantastic little amp and I think it’s hard to find better sounding tube monos for the price (I paid $7500 new pair) it is still no match to my long sold Cary 805C driving SF GP from 17+ years ago. I remember I can’t stop my goosebumps on my old system and that Cary pumping 25 watt less than the MC75.
Let me tell you. I’ve had a lot of high end audio equipment over the years and the McIntosh MC2301 Monoblock amplifiers are very special. That would definitely be my choice and I have a pair sitting in my listing room. I’ve had top of the line Jeff Rowland Monoblock, Chord Monoblock, Audio Research Ref. 600 SE, 750 SE, and 250 SE, Cary Audio CAD805 AE, Mark Levinson ML 33 and Krell Evolution. I chose the McIntosh MC2301 Monoblock with my Wilson Audio Speakers. It will very well be the last tube amplifier you will buy. I’ve heard over and over the VAC top of the line equipment. To me they sound lean and that’s not the sound I was looking for. Your speaker choice is very dependent of the amplifier you will purchase. I know the VAC looks nice like the McIntosh does but don’t let that be your deciding factor. Let your ears do the telling. The only other amplifiers I would suggest is the MBL, Dan D’agostino, Boulder. I hope this helps.