"Back in the Day" I started with a Dynaco ST70 and as soon as I could afford it I moved to a MC 240 and after that a MC 275. Each step "Back in the Day" was a quantum leap in improved sound. I got to the point that I soon owned 3 MC240's, 3 MC275's and an assortment of McIntosh preamps --- and still do !
I will admit that my present system has taken turns to more modern equipment, but I still own tri-amped speakers and fantasize about employing ALL of those McIntosh amps to drive them into Audio Nirvana! Age and a lack of physical space are confounding that dream.
A special shout-out goes to a special favorite, an MC32 preamp which has every audio nuance at your fingertips. I remember fondly, a shootout between the phono sections of my MC26 preamp and an older MC110 Pre/Tuner. The old MC110 won, hands down ! Tubes, don't you know ?
I had built a duplicate set of speakers for a dear friend who coveted mine, and we, at one time, had a showdown between his Marantz 8B amplifier and my McIntosh MC275 amp. They BOTH were superb, but we both agreed that the Marantz was more "clinical" and the McIntosh was "sweeter". Remember --- same speakers !
MacIntosh equipment is something you can live with for a long, long time without longing for change. Is there better equipment ? Measurably, perhaps ---- musically, perhaps ---- esthetically, perhaps ---- and on, and on and on.
This hobby has given me some of the more pleasurable times of my life, and it continues to give --- every day.
I spent my career as an orchestral musician and can honestly say that the joys of performing in a 100 piece symphony orchestra were, on many occasions, matched by sitting in front of what I considered to be a great audio system. Don't lose sight of that aim of our beloved hobby. Music is the aim ---- equipment is the vehicle that gets us there. Cheers to all !!