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Thread: McIntosh 275 Tubed Mono Blocks...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Robin's Avatar
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    Thumbs up McIntosh 275 Tubed Mono Blocks...

    Well, I drove to my favorite Audio Store. Not the Magnolia Hi-Fi, I usually visit, but the "Audio Video Showroom", in Santa Rosa, California. Anyway, I was their to talk with them about the Anthem D1 and D2, which I did (Thank you Joe...) Well, to make a long story short, I asked them if they had any tubed mono-block amplifiers. They had a pair of Stereo / Mono McIntosh 275's (set-up in mono-block mode), they in turn were hooked-up to a McIntosh MCD201 SACD/CD Player, with leveler, no pre-amp. this player sent the signal directly to a pair of B&W 800D speakers. The manager put on a SACD of Cris Thile - "All Who Wander Are Not Lost" (track #7)... All I could say was "Oh my God!" What beautiful, rich, warm tones and clarity of sound image. It was so tight and crystal clear. Each high note and each bass note had depth and a smoothness, so mellow and alive with fullness. The Mandolin was vividly pure as was the horn notes. It was like these instruments were being played in a jazz club on Lincoln Blvd. in Calistoga. I was sooooo blown-away...

    I was so moved, I actually started to tear up a bit. No, I'm not a drama queen... I was just trying to imagine what these beautiful sounds would sound like on my Ascent i's at home. This tube sound was so moving and as close to live music as I have ever heard. The sad thing is this store doesn't even carry Martin Logan speakers anymore. I guess they used to a year ago. The Manager got my attention, after I dried my eyes. He told me these mono-blocks did sound even better on ML's. I guess, he had heard this set-up with Ascent i's they used to carry in the store.

    The McIntosh 275's cost $3,900.00 (USD) new from the store. The good thing is, I could use one McIntosh 275 in stereo mode, then later (when I had more funds), acquire another McIntosh 275 and use both as mono-blocks.

    The McIntosh MCD201 left a wonderful musical impression on me as well. Being able to be played SACD / CD's without a pre-amp employing built-in leveler, as a more direct signal path really sounded fabulous. I think he said it was $3,400.00 (USD) new in the store. I kept thinking, I got to get me one of these.
    Last edited by Robin; 05-28-2006 at 01:23 PM.

  2. #2
    Forum Administrator twich54's Avatar
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    Good morning Robin, yes the 275 is a classic piece for sure. Generally speaking I'm not a huge "Mac" fan but that particular unit does something for me as well. My Dealer (Overture Audio) is a Mac dealer and back late last fall when I was vasilating between the summitt's , vantage's and B&W 803D's I listened to it driving all three, it proved itself worthy on all of them !!! If memory serves me I believe it still had the "old fashioned" speaker terminal connections, not easily compatible with modern bannas or spades ???
    Dave

    System #79 - Analog is Alive and Well, if in doubt, click the link below !

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  3. #3
    Senior Member Robin's Avatar
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    Default MC275 an up-dated classic...

    Quote Originally Posted by twich54
    Good morning Robin, yes the 275 is a classic piece for sure. Generally speaking I'm not a huge "Mac" fan but that particular unit does something for me as well. My Dealer (Overture Audio) is a Mac dealer and back late last fall when I was vasilating between the summitt's , vantage's and B&W 803D's I listened to it driving all three, it proved itself worthy on all of them !!! If memory serves me I believe it still had the "old fashioned" speaker terminal connections, not easily compatible with modern bannas or spades ???
    Good morning Dave, yes the newest updated design enhances the performance of the classic MC 275. This newest version of the MC 275 is called the "Series IV" and employing the very latest modern design technology. The Old-fashioned point-to-point wiring has been replaced with glass-epoxy printed circuit board, which I was told, ensures the lowest noise and the highest operational consistency. I don't know what the older version sounded like but this newest Series IV, sounded incredible... Additional circuit refinements to the Series IV enable use of the widest variety of output tubes without sacrificing performance. You are correct about the old fashioned speaker terminal connections, no banana connections here as they kept the old classic connections from the classic 1961 original design.

    The interesting aspect of this tubed amp., for me is I would be able to use it with my Ascent i's immediately, in stereo mode as the power output in stereo with both channels operating at: 75 watts into 4, 8 or 16 ohm load. Then, when I can afford it later on, I can purchase / add another MC 275 amp and use them in mono-block mode with the power output in mono (parallel), which is: 150 watts into 2, 4, or 8-ohm load.

    It is exiting to me, because given the incredible sound I heard from the MC 275, I would be able to finally add tubes to the path. Especially to my Ascent i's electrostatic panels, which I believe would really make them sing even more than they currently do... I just know my Ascent i's are capable of so much more given the beauty of beautiful the proper tubed power amplifier.

    I'm torn though, I want so many things form my system right now... An Anthem D1 (D2), a Blue-Ray player, a new source - SACD / CD player (like the MCD201) or Tubed mono-blocks.... It's hard to decide what I to save-up and actually purchase first, second, third etc. Can you or anyone out there, give me counsel in this area?

    Sleepless in Calistoga...

  4. #4
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    Default Now you've done it...

    Congratulations! You've just gotten yourself on a slippery slope once you're exposed to "lighted glass" Looks like you're serious about tube amplification so you should take your time and audition a wide variety of amplifiers. The Mac 275 is a classic design (albeit modern implementation) and it's very good, but there are other units you should listen to find out which one(s) fit your preference. You should try BAT, Cary, Audio Research, Conrad Johnson, Manley Labs, etc... to get a feel for how the various designs & implementations match with your system. Furthermore, you should consider having your P5 powering the bass and the tubes focusing on the panels only. The rationale being that you don't need a whole lot of power for the panels, minimum of 30wpc, and the sweet spot is 50-75wpc. Keeping the part counts down to the minimum in a simpler design will go a long way in getting that pure signal to come out on the Logans.
    Given that there are too many things on your list, go slow and plan out your system. Your P5 amplifier is a good piece already and the Blu-Ray is...delayed a bit, so you should consider a good tubed pre-amp as a starting point. Once you have a good pre-amp in place, it's much easier to build your system around it.

    Good Luck
    Spike

  5. #5
    Senior Member Robin's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Excellent Advice...

    Sike,

    You are quite correct, I've been bitten by the Wonderful Glowing Glass - Magic... I hope never to recover either... Thank you for your wonderful encouragement and advice. I will take it too. I plan to audition and listen to more tube amplifiers. I had a glorious experience that's for sure and I plan to keep that tubed sound, I heard from the McIntosh MC275, in my soul as I look at all that is available to me. It may take me a while, but I'll get there someday... It all a part of the fun, the audio quest and search.

    I love this strange and wonderful hobby we all share.

    Thanks again Spike.

  6. #6

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    Sam T. of Steroiphile had those same Mac's powering some Aerius speakers for years - was his standard.

    I read elsewhere that they match up well with Martin Logans.

    Tubes are great but they might roast you in that little room.
    George; Architect
    Aerius 1992 vintage
    Tube powered at last!
    System # 42
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robin View Post
    ....... I'm torn though, I want so many things form my system right now... An Anthem D1 (D2), a Blue-Ray player, a new source - SACD / CD player (like the MCD201) or Tubed mono-blocks.... It's hard to decide what I to save-up and actually purchase first, second, third etc. Can you or anyone out there, give me counsel in this area?

    Sleepless in Calistoga...
    Robin,

    What is it that you like so much about the Anthem D1/D2 ... or dislike? I am trying to make up my mind about it. Would very much appreciate your honest thoughts.
    Ben
    System # 165 : Summit/Descent i/Stage/Passage

  8. #8
    Senior Member Robin's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Anthem D1 / D2...

    Quote Originally Posted by benleeys View Post
    Robin,

    What is it that you like so much about the Anthem D1/D2 ... or dislike? I am trying to make up my mind about it. Would very much appreciate your honest thoughts.
    benleeys,

    As you know, I do not currently own the Anthem D1 or D2 processor. I do appreicate how it is built. These are the things I like about the the Anthem D1 and D2:

    1). The Anthem company stands behind their product, as well as the ML company.

    2). The Anthem offers up-grades of older processors to the newer model i. e., D2 up-grade to D3...

    3). I have auditioned the Anthem D1 with the Anthem P5 and they sound excellent together. Since I currently own the P5, it would be an excellent match.

    4). The porcessor just is wonderful with HT and reproducing the sounds / dynamics the film maker intended. Amazing sound to my ears.

    5). Quality matterials, electronic design and craftsmanship. An excellent piece of high-end HT gear.

    Joe or Zippy ~ currently owns the D1. He has excellent prespective and insights on the D1 and D2.

    HTH

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robin View Post
    benleeys,

    As you know, I do not currently own the Anthem D1 or D2 processor. I do appreicate how it is built. These are the things I like about the the Anthem D1 and D2:

    1). The Anthem company stands behind their product, as well as the ML company.

    2). The Anthem offers up-grades of older processors to the newer model i. e., D2 up-grade to D3...

    3). I have auditioned the Anthem D1 with the Anthem P5 and they sound excellent together. Since I currently own the P5, it would be an excellent match.

    4). The porcessor just is wonderful with HT and reproducing the sounds / dynamics the film maker intended. Amazing sound to my ears.

    5). Quality matterials, electronic design and craftsmanship. An excellent piece of high-end HT gear.

    Joe or Zippy ~ currently owns the D1. He has excellent prespective and insights on the D1 and D2.

    HTH
    Many thanks for your comments, Robin. It's good to know that an item in one's system never become obsolete too soon, especially with some notable manufacturers coming out with a new 'reference' every 6-12 months these days.

    Basically, I'm looking for something that will serve as a high-end preamp for 2-channel audio as well as HT processor without compromising too much as against a good dedicated preamp.

    If you are reading this, Joe, I would also be grateful for your experience with this piece of equipment.
    Last edited by benleeys; 03-24-2007 at 12:54 AM.
    Ben
    System # 165 : Summit/Descent i/Stage/Passage

  10. #10
    Banned nsgarch's Avatar
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    Robin, see my speil on my new MC275 on my member system (#40) page -- last post.

    Neil

  11. #11

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    Funny I did not see this thread when I posted about my listening experience with the 275s run mono on a pair of 802D speakers. I was less than impressed with the sound

    This was run on an all McIntosh front end and I have had a bit of experience with the B&W speakers...... I'm starting to feel that I may just not like the "McIntosh sound", as it is the 3rd time I've heard an all McIntosh system and not been very impressed..... audio is a funny thig isn't it?

    Just goes to show just how odd this whole "audiophile" thing can be I assume!

    <- Wishes Audio were cheaper, so he could buy it all!!

    Member System #144

  12. #12

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    Even loving my Krell as I do, I am sorely tempted to jump on this deal...

    BAT VK-150 MB $5,500

    Less than half retail on a top-shelf amp that's only 1 year old... very tempting. The seller is located on my side of Texas, so a road trip is theoretically possible. A local audio-buddy has this amp coupled to CLSIIz, so I know for a fact this amp is a dream with Logan ESL panels. How would it work with the Summit? Hmmm...

    Slap, slap! Stop it, Brian! Go take a cold shower.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robin View Post
    Well, I drove to my favorite Audio Store. Not the Magnolia Hi-Fi, I usually visit, but the "Audio Video Showroom", in Santa Rosa, California. Anyway, I was their to talk with them about the Anthem D1 and D2, which I did (Thank you Joe...) Well, to make a long story short, I asked them if they had any tubed mono-block amplifiers. They had a pair of Stereo / Mono McIntosh 275's (set-up in mono-block mode), they in turn were hooked-up to a McIntosh MCD201 SACD/CD Player, with leveler, no pre-amp. this player sent the signal directly to a pair of B&W 800D speakers. The manager put on a SACD of Cris Thile - "All Who Wander Are Not Lost" (track #7)... All I could say was "Oh my God!" What beautiful, rich, warm tones and clarity of sound image. It was so tight and crystal clear. Each high note and each bass note had depth and a smoothness, so mellow and alive with fullness. The Mandolin was vividly pure as was the horn notes. It was like these instruments were being played in a jazz club on Lincoln Blvd. in Calistoga. I was sooooo blown-away...

    I was so moved, I actually started to tear up a bit. No, I'm not a drama queen... I was just trying to imagine what these beautiful sounds would sound like on my Ascent i's at home. This tube sound was so moving and as close to live music as I have ever heard. The sad thing is this store doesn't even carry Martin Logan speakers anymore. I guess they used to a year ago. The Manager got my attention, after I dried my eyes. He told me these mono-blocks did sound even better on ML's. I guess, he had heard this set-up with Ascent i's they used to carry in the store.

    The McIntosh 275's cost $3,900.00 (USD) new from the store. The good thing is, I could use one McIntosh 275 in stereo mode, then later (when I had more funds), acquire another McIntosh 275 and use both as mono-blocks.

    The McIntosh MCD201 left a wonderful musical impression on me as well. Being able to be played SACD / CD's without a pre-amp employing built-in leveler, as a more direct signal path really sounded fabulous. I think he said it was $3,400.00 (USD) new in the store. I kept thinking, I got to get me one of these.
    Robin, you strike me as someone who is more into music than video. As I look at your equipment list I am struck by what great equipment you already have! I think the most cost effective thing for you right now would be a tubed preamp for two channel magic! Just my two cents worth.
    Wherever you go, there you are... Buckaroo Banzai
    System 186 HERE

  14. #14
    Senior Member Robin's Avatar
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    Thumbs up A Tubed Pre Amp...

    Quote Originally Posted by tonyc View Post
    Robin, you strike me as someone who is more into music than video. As I look at your equipment list I am struck by what great equipment you already have! I think the most cost effective thing for you right now would be a tubed preamp for two channel magic! Just my two cents worth.
    tonyc,

    Yes, I agree. Your are right-on. And you are quite correct, I do love music... Friends have told me that I have a fabulous collection of jazz CD's & SACD's. I just wish I had all of my jazz CD's / SACD's on LP's...

    I am saving-up for an excellent tubed pre-amp, either ARC LS-26 or Ref III, or maybe a Cary Tubed 05, or maybe a tubed BAT ~ any of these would be used of course. I was also thinking about purchasing a source (used) CD/SACD player for music only, like the Esoteric 01 or 03... Maybe a McIntosh 201 or a McIntosh CD/SACD player model which is newer / better, I am not sure yet but these are my latest audio leanings...

    I just keep saving and working, working and saving...

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robin View Post
    I am saving-up for an excellent tubed pre-amp, either ARC LS-26 or Ref III, or maybe a Cary Tubed 05, or maybe a tubed BAT ~
    Better save A LOT, isn't that Ref III like $10k! WOW! NICE Pre though! MAN oh man! Not sure I want to the hassel factor of tubes, but I would LOVE the sound of them!

    Hey, I checked out the Halcro HT Pre that they sell last night...that bad boy has full on HDMI switching (it is still glitchy from reporst though) and a BUNCH of inputs, a built in scaler to 1080p for ANY input and costs a mere $10k too! YEOW! Maybe someday... Will wait for HDMI 1.3/1.4 and a black case vs. the silver / champagne color that is their standard and ONLY finish right now.
    James Morrison
    Martin Logan Prodigy, Theater, Ascent, Script, Descent
    Rotel RSP-1098; Rotel RMB-1095, RB-1090, RB-1050
    Rega P2 w/ RB300 and Exact, Richard Gray Power Co. - Substation, Pole Pig, 400 Pro, 400 Mk II, 400
    http://www.martinloganowners.com/~td...ead.php?t=3175

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