What Would You Do?

What would YOU do? I'm not satisfied with my current system but I'm ready to jump off this bandwagon with something I like. Right now I have a McIntosh MA6500 (not the glorified MA6900) integrated amp, Tannoy D500 speakers, old Tandberg tuner and an Arcam CD92 cdp. Something doesn't work and I'm pretty sure it's the Arcam cdp because I briefly ran it through a splendid CI Audio DAC and it was much improved (I just sold this because I love simplicity, but I did love it). I bought the McIntosh for biased reasosn (I loved them as a kid so when it came time to get a real system I went Mc, even after auditioning many amps) as well as the Tandberg tuner (I could not afford a Tandberg receiver as a kid). This system plays in a large Craftsman style room with lots of beautiful original wood, but rugs and furniture help soak up the soundwaves.

My office system sounds better: Rega Brio with Rega Planet cdp and Soliloquy 5.0 speakers. I love the sound of the Rega cdps so I'm opting for a Jupiter cdp for my main system. I've heard them both and the Jupiter is that much better.

Here's my thinking: Monarchy SM70 Pro with an FTAudio passsive preamp (with the Jupiter). Why? Because I like supporting small entrepreneurs and both of these products have impressed me. I already ahve the FT Audio preamp thinking I would use it in a different set up. But this adds the complexity seperates

Or: Sim Audio Moon I-5. I love this integrated amp too (but the industrial design is another story) and it's a tad better than the...

Magnum Dynalab MD-208 receiver which sounds wonderful and has a great tuner (I DO listen to FM radio) (and the design is beautiful), but my god, I came all this way and got another receiver? Simplicity. This and a Jupiter would be simple and beautiful.

I love my Tannoys right now so those are staying. I could also, I suppose, upgrade to the McIntosh MA6900 with its sweet, warm sound.

I would like to keep this equipment for a while, but would probably like to leave room for upgrading in the future so I can have fun again the future.

By the way, I highly recommend Aimee Mann's Bachelor No. 2 which has provided background for this message.

What would YOU do? I appreciate the wise words of this community. Thanks.
I would definitely buy the 6900 and the new 85 tuner. No one makes better tuners that will return more of your dollar than Mac.
Dump the Mac and purchase the SimAudio. Or better yet, check out the Odyssey Stratos amp and Tempest preamp. Each sells for $1k and comes with a 20 year warranty. And you would probably have to spend thousands more to even come close to the sonics and power of the Odyssey's.

odysseyaudio.com has the url's for all the rave reviews done on this amp. For another $1k, you can order a monoblock pair of the Stratos.

I don't think your problem is the MA6500. I am convinced you will not find a better overall integrated amp that will provide you with more accurate sound and owner satisfaction. I've auditioned both and don't think the MA6900 is worth the extra bucks unless your speakers are very low impedance and hard to drive. I own the MA6500 and Arcam CD92. The sound is piped through a pair of JM Labs Electra 915.5's and I am happier than ever with the performance of the system. Of course, there are certain cd's that don't sound quite right which I attribute to the quality of the recording. It sounds like you are dead set on keeping your Tannoys. This may be your undoing. I was a long time Klipsch fanatic that swore there was none better until I took the time to compare within my system. You may be surprised with the results when you experiment with different speakers. Also, don't rule out speaker cable. It CAN actually make a difference. Talk to a long time Mac dealer. He should be able to point you in the right direction.
Check on the output impedance of the Jupiter! If it's the same as the Planet (around 10 kOhm) it's a very bad match with your passive. Had a Planet hooked up to a Placette passive for a while and it sounded terrible (passives work better with a low source impedance). BTW - and I hope it's not inappropriate to mention: I have an I-5 for sale.
I am more convinced that it would be too easy to find an amp superior sonically to the Mac. :)

Stehno - I have to ask you a question. On many threads, you suggest to people they try the Odyssey products yet you have also posted that you've never heard them. This doesn't make sense to me. What's up? ...I'm just curious.

How can you post things like, "Or better yet, check out the Odyssey Stratos amp and Tempest preamp. Each sells for $1k and comes with a 20 year warranty. And you would probably have to spend thousands more to even come close to the sonics and power of the Odyssey's."

"...check out the Odyssey Stratos amp at odysseyaudio.com. You'll see some excellent reviews on this amp at their website. amp is fast and powerful, very highly rated and comes with a 20 year warranty."

And another - this is the one where you proclaim you've never actually heard the amp, "Check out the $995 Odyssey Stratos amp reviews at odysseyaudio.com. I've not heard this amp, but from what all others say, it should blow away any other amp near this price range."
To follow up on Bwhite's questions to Stehno, have you ever heard the Mac 6500 Stehno? I have read nothing but good from happy owners. I have heard this amp in the store a year or so ago and it sounded pretty nice to me.

This is where some replies to Audiogon can be frustrating, I suppose that's why we need the masses, to keep us all in check.

Let me be clear, I am not saying this person wouldn't be happier with another amp setup, but I would surely compare first before getting rid of it; my post is more questioning Stehno's comments against the Mac.
Smith likes the Tannoys, the Tandberg & his Mc, so let's see what our collective wisdom can come up with keeping (most/all) of these items. I, for one, would opt for a used cdp -- the likes of Audio Aero, Electro, the small Lurne... maybe even a Linn. Some of these cdp's can work linked directly to the amp -- but you have a passive anyway, so no problem there.
I'd then look into cabling, PC's, and speaker (re)placement. Then, I'd *consider* upgrading the Mc...
Good luck!
Bwhite, you wont believe it, but most of the posters on the a-gon haven't audition most of the 'gear' they recommend for someone else. I noticed that some unlike 'heroes' of the A-gon even make up the stories about 'gear' that have never heard, never mind own. Stehno went ahead and said up front, that he never heard Odyssey electronics, just read about it. That confession alone, makes him honest and credible Audiogon member. cheers!
You know, there is an important point being made here. I would like to think that anyone who makes any buy/sell recommendations involving audio gear that can cost someone else many $'s should always, without exception, mention that they have not heard such gear if that is the case. I have read 100's of posts over the last year because audio gear interests me for whatever crazy reason, and except in a few cases would not have realized what Eldragon stated above about people giving opinions on equipment they have not heard.
Eldragon - perhaps I have been naive. I have always believed that the majority of posters on audiogon actually did own/audition the components they speak of. I mean, what do they have to gain through these recommendations?
Maybe you're right...

Stehno has always been a stand-up guy who offers very good advice - I've read numerous posts by him and always felt he was giving people valuable insight. After reading several of his posts, I investigated Odyssey's products and they do in fact seem like a "value" product.

Of course it's a matter of personal preference but I disagree completely with the "Dump the Mac" comment. It is obvious by Smith2's post that he enjoys the "sweet,warm sound" since it is stated more than once about McIntosh.

Anyhow... McIntosh makes very good amplifiers - in fact I believe its the old MC3500 which is considered by many to be one of the all time greatest amplifiers - ever! But.. Hey!!! I've never heard it!! :)
Bwhite, thanks for the kind words.

The main reasons why I do and will continue to suggest the Odyssey Stratos include:

1. Upon research(without hearing them), I came this close ---> <--- to buying the monoblock pair last Spring and even placed the order with Odyssey and then cancelled.

2. International Audio Review reviewed this amp and about 20 others and rated this amp in second place. Over ML 33H and Krell FPB 300 and a slew of others. TAS and others have also had rave reviews. Not that I put tremendous stock in reviews.

3. Stratos owners claim the same wonderful things about these amps. Therefore, possibly substantiating some to many of the reviewers claims. Not one negative comment about these amps have I found yet. I know two people who own them and they too have said excellent things about the Stratos.

4. According to the reviews and owner comments they are powerful and fast.

5. They are only $995 each. And most people who ask for amp opinions are on a tight budget. Based on what I think I know, I'd recommend these for most anybody's budget.

6. They come with a 20 year mfg'ers warranty.

7. They come with a 30 day money back satisfaction guaranteed.

8. In my biased research and from what little I've discovered about the Stratos, there appears to be few amps that can match the sonic performance of the Stratos or the 20 year warranty at any price. Some reviewers have made this same claim.

9. They look good. (I have seen pictures).

10. They can only be purchased online or calling Odyssey directly. Therefore, it would be hard to hear them in person.

11. America has become an opinion-based society and this is an opinion based (open) forum. Therefore, I believe I am as entitled to be as wrong as many of you.

I've also never driven a Porsche 911 but from all that I've heard and read, I could whole-heartedly recommend one if somebody had $200k budget and asked my opinion on which sports car I'd purchase.

I've also never ran smack-dab into an 18 wheeler, but I could whole-heartedly recommend that some of you not do so and nobody would find fault with my opinion.

And the risk of purchasing the Stratos is small. If, per chance, one did not like the Stratos for some reason, it's not like they sold the farm to buy it. Any risk should be minimal. If, however, TAS's golden ear award is deserved, then it could be the bargain of the year!!

Hope this helps.

As for the Mac, I've listened to several of their amps and one integrated (not analytically) and whatever systems they were in I simply was not impressed. Then I started reading a few reviewers comments about the Mac line.

Just like any piece of equipment, the Mac isn't for everybody. The Macs are very good looking, however.

Mcintosh equipment is very good! I have owned them in the past and currently using the Odyssey Stratos monoblocks. Both amps are very good. For the money, the Odyssey is a winner. To me, the Odyssey amps compare favorably to the higher price Mcintosh, Krell, and Classe amps, which I think are some of the best amps on the market, regardless of price. Beware of anybody telling you that Mcintosh equipment isn't any good, they don't know good sound when they hear it!
Here's your problem, ditch the Craftsman style, and go Art Deco! The uniformity of the style and tne symetry of the design will have a better shaping effect on the sound waves as they reach your ear. Try it, youll like it.