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  • McIntosh MC275 still one of the best?

    The McIntosh MC275 has rightfully been heralded as one of the top ten iconic and revolutionary amps ever produced. Wondering if their current iteration (version VI) still stacks up with current amps, both mainstream and boutique companies... Is it so popular due to its "cool factor" and iconic status or is it truly top notch compared to others at or above its price point? I will hope to demo one soon, but wanted to get some opinions. Many consider McIntosh so popular because of its "brand," but wondering how the MC275 is viewed in the audiophile community on this forum....

  • #2
    What does the latest version sell for new now?
    Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mono) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

    Comment


    • Analog21
      Analog21 commented
      Editing a comment
      Can you ask your buddy which Cary model he owns? Curious if it is the CAD 120 S.

    • JCOConnell
      JCOConnell commented
      Editing a comment
      My friend is an authorized dealer of cary and VAS. His name is Ozwaldo Martinez and his email is [email protected]. The amp is the Cary Audio CAD-120S Mk.II At slightly lower power he also sells the excellent monoblocks VAS Citation 2 for less money for the pair. I think he said
      he can get these for you new or used. Ive known and dealt with him for years and he knows audio and is trustworthy.

    • Analog21
      Analog21 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks! I know Oz and is always a great dealer. I was planning on contacting regardless.

  • #3
    Originally posted by JCOConnell View Post
    What does the latest version sell for new now?
    $5500 for the latest version.

    Comment


    • JCOConnell
      JCOConnell commented
      Editing a comment
      well, if its a very high quality amp, the price is reasonable.

  • #4
    While there seems to be some improvements from generation to generation, it seems the current model is more similar to the earlier generations than different, which is why I wonder how it competes with modern-day amps on the audiophile market (I guess competing with Amps under $10k - such as EAR, VAC, Primaluna, PASS, Audio Note, Conrad Johnson, etc)

    Comment


    • Analog21
      Analog21 commented
      Editing a comment
      There are a bunch in that class of under $10k. Yes, PASS is SS but didn't want to limit my list to tubes per se. Though I will only get a tube amp most likely when all is said and done.

    • Analog21
      Analog21 commented
      Editing a comment
      The Cary Audio CAD 120 amp is another that has peaked my interest - thanks for the recommendation JCOConnell.

    • JCOConnell
      JCOConnell commented
      Editing a comment
      A friend of mine has a Cary stereo tube amp, don't recall the model, but its recent, that sounds incredible.

  • #5
    I would be interested in a comparison between the latest iteration and one of the early ones, both in terms of sound and build quality.
    When I was visiting with an old school tech guy here in Austin a couple weeks ago, he couldn't say enough about the build quality of the old stuff--and this guy was mainly focused on gear that was gigged, heavily used and schlepped around for sound reinforcement. His standards are different than "audiophile" standards, but in the era that company came into business, they employed standards, he claimed, that were consistent with military grade hardware.

    Comment


    • #6
      Originally posted by Bill Hart View Post
      I would be interested in a comparison between the latest iteration and one of the early ones, both in terms of sound and build quality.
      When I was visiting with an old school tech guy here in Austin a couple weeks ago, he couldn't say enough about the build quality of the old stuff--and this guy was mainly focused on gear that was gigged, heavily used and schlepped around for sound reinforcement. His standards are different than "audiophile" standards, but in the era that company came into business, they employed standards, he claimed, that were consistent with military grade hardware.
      So did much of the gear from way back in the day Bill. Look at Leak, your QUAD II amps, early Marantz, early Fisher gear. A lot of these people from the audio companies had ties to the military from their service. They all knew what expert craftsmanship was involved in building gear to mil-specs.
      Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

      Comment


      • #7
        I am not sure that the McIntosh 275 bears much resemblance to it's predecessor. The new machine is all PCB construction and if you youtube it.. you should be able to see a "how it is made video" on the construction of this machine. Pay special attention to how the speaker binding posts are attached for example.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HgS6gvokEI


        I think we should thank McIntosh for still producing the product.. but I believe there is a reason why good examples of the originals are more expensive than the current production outside of scarcity. Even so, at $5500 the current MC275 is a bargain I would think .

        The cost of labour and loss of knowledge with engineers like Sid Smith and Peter Walker long gone will mean that with few exceptions we won't get the attention to detail had in days of yore.

        Parts quality has definitely improved.

        The nice tight p-p construction and wiring harness techniques of my Marantz 8b, Futterman and Quad II are good memories though.


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        Phono: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
        Brinkmann Balance & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point ,FR64S, Brinkmann 12.1 , .Koetsu Jade Platinum,Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum, Lyra Atlas Lamda, Lyra Etna SL Goldfinger Statement, KLAUDIO RCM, HRSM3X
        Amps: Custom Direct Drive, Wyetech Topaz, Futterman H3 Quad II,Citation II, Marantz 8b, 5 ,2. Bedini 25/25
        Pre-Amps:Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
        Speakers: Beveridge Model 3 Direct Drive amps, REL S/2 x 2, Quad ESL pair
        Otari 5050BXII, DeHavilland 222

        Comment


        • #8

          What speakers are you driving with the amp? A friend uses an MC275 with his Thiel 2.4s and loves the combination. There are lots of reviews you can read:

          https://www.google.com/search?site=&...29%2Cnso-qnt-n
          Thiel 7.2s, Manley NeoClassic 250s, Wadia 850, MIT Oracle V3 speaker cables, MIT MI-350 Oracle interconnects, Black Diamond Racing Shelves and Cones in a dedicated room with ASC Tube Traps, Room Tunes and 3 X 20 amp dedicated circuits.

          Comment


          • Analog21
            Analog21 commented
            Editing a comment
            don't have a system at the moment... had to sell off a bunch of stuff for medical bills. Looking ahead as I build up my system piece by piece. Will hope to demo some speakers in the near future: Harbeth, Audio Note, Tannoy, etc.

          • mkuller
            mkuller commented
            Editing a comment
            My advice would be to find speakers you really like first, then match an amp to them, after trying a few.

        • #9
          Originally posted by kcin View Post
          I am not sure that the McIntosh 275 bears much resemblance to it's predecessor. The new machine is all PCB construction and if you youtube it.. you should be able to see a "how it is made video" on the construction of this machine. Pay special attention to how the speaker binding posts are attached for example.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HgS6gvokEI


          I think we should thank McIntosh for still producing the product.. but I believe there is a reason why good examples of the originals are more expensive than the current production outside of scarcity. Even so, at $5500 the current MC275 is a bargain I would think .

          The cost of labour and loss of knowledge with engineers like Sid Smith and Peter Walker long gone will mean that with few exceptions we won't get the attention to detail had in days of yore.

          Parts quality has definitely improved.

          The nice tight p-p construction and wiring harness techniques of my Marantz 8b, Futterman and Quad II are good memories though.


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          That 8b is pure sex. (for us geeks).
          My McI MX110z is a total rat's nest- so much stuff crammed onto one chassis.

          Comment


          • kcin
            kcin commented
            Editing a comment
            Call me a geek then...

        • #10
          Stereophile liked the current version of the MC275 enough to give it a Class A rating in Recommended Components. I've read a few other glowing reviews as well. So, yes, it can still be considered one of the best.

          Comment


          • #11
            It's still the best McIntosh amp I've ever heard. I had one, and bought a 2nd one to use as mono, but unfortunately, it didn't work that well when bridged. Lost a lot of the magic.

            But still, it's more like a 90W amp, so pretty beefy there.
            Disclosure:
            Alma Music and Audio - La Jolla, CA
            Aqua Hi-Fi - Audio Research - Audioquest - Audionet - Audiopax - Auralic - Aurender - Bergmann - Brodmann - D'Agostino - darTZeel - Devialet - DEQX - ELAC - Evolution Acoustics - Hegel - iFi - Innuos - IsoTek - Kii Audio - Koetsu - Kronos - Kubala Sosna - Kuzma - Larsen - Linn - MSB Technology - Music Hall - Ortofon - Solid Steel - Technics - Wharfedale - Wilson Audio - YG Acoustics
            [ http://almaaudio.com ]

            Comment


            • Analog21
              Analog21 commented
              Editing a comment
              Great help! I had the Primaluna, so at least I have a good reference. I think I'm going to want to put more money in the preamp than sink everything into the amp. The MC275 seems like a possible step up but not crazy money. Thanks Alex.

            • kcin
              kcin commented
              Editing a comment
              If you can, try to audition a Audio Research REF75 same power but far more resolving IMO.. You can probably find good used examples at the level of of the Mc pricing.

            • Analog21
              Analog21 commented
              Editing a comment
              thanks for the advice on the Audio Research. Will look into it. This will definitely be a process.

          • #12
            I also don't believe that the current production MC275 amps have output transformers of the same quality as the originals. They are not wound the same way if memory serves me correctly. On the other hand, they do have better quality caps and resistors than the original and include balanced inputs.
            Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

            Comment


            • #13
              I didn't want to recommend the ARC REF 75, as it's almost twice the money... But if you can make it, it's definitely a great purchase!
              Disclosure:
              Alma Music and Audio - La Jolla, CA
              Aqua Hi-Fi - Audio Research - Audioquest - Audionet - Audiopax - Auralic - Aurender - Bergmann - Brodmann - D'Agostino - darTZeel - Devialet - DEQX - ELAC - Evolution Acoustics - Hegel - iFi - Innuos - IsoTek - Kii Audio - Koetsu - Kronos - Kubala Sosna - Kuzma - Larsen - Linn - MSB Technology - Music Hall - Ortofon - Solid Steel - Technics - Wharfedale - Wilson Audio - YG Acoustics
              [ http://almaaudio.com ]

              Comment


              • #14
                I had an ARC REF 110, the circuit topology is very similar to the REF 75 and it was very good sounding but not what I would call a 'classic' tube sound, it was more SS (in a good way). the other thing is that its balanced only and a non-starter if you want to integrate a REF series amp with single ended preamp.

                Comment


                • mep
                  mep commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Probably not the new one.

                • Analog21
                  Analog21 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  mep,

                  can you name some current model tube amps that aren't SET amps that have the classic tube sound?

                • kcin
                  kcin commented
                  Editing a comment
                  A used REF 5SE and REF 75 would be a nice combo.

              • #15
                These Oldies are still good enough for me. I had no chance to listen to the newly build MC275's but to compare them is of no use to me. One time in your life you have to settle down with what you have and luckily I reached my Audionirvana.

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                Reg. C22CE: Changed for the line part from the Siemens ECC 801S to the Brimar 6060 and WOW, this was it! Phono runs with Philips E83CC SQ. What an increase of fine details to the before used Sovtek 12AX7LPS.


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                Reg. MC275CE: Finally I switched from the build-in (at the time I purchased the Amp) Siemens ECC801 S to the Westinghouse 12AZ7A and the Performance increased directly.


                Main Amp drives a high sensitivity loudspeakers by the 8ohm output, this means nearly no load at all to the MC and it performs really quick with full details allover the range.
                Pre - McIntosh C22CE, Main - MC275CE, CD - Cary Audio CD303, Turntable - Thorens TD125 MkII, Tonearm - Schick 9,6, Cartridge - Ortofon Wood A, SUT - Sculpture A Mini Nano, Speakers - Dynamikks12,

                Comment


                • Ossidian
                  Ossidian commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Stunning examples of High Fidelity, you have great taste!
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