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Vantage and Macintosh MC275 IV audition thoughts...

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kirkawall

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Hi all,

In between packing and unpacking my fragile Vantages, I've been listening to a number of cadidates to replace my aging Quad 909s. These have included amps from Naim, Cary, MF and most recently McIntosh. I borrowed three Mac units for comparative purposes: the MC6500 (integrated), the MC402 (enormous) and the MC275 (tubed). These were driven directly (not the 6500) by either the Mac MCD201 SACD player or the Quad 99 CD-P2 (excellent, giant-killing cdp/basic digital pre) via Chord Signature ICs and Speaker leads (excellent but soon to be sold). Music included a Vivaldi opera, various audiophilia from Pat Barber and a whole lot of music from Kathryn Williams, Massive Attack, Bill Evans and Julian Bream. All the Macs worked well but I preferred the direct connection generally. I began with the MC 275. Expansive soundstage, a wonderful immediacy, speed too and plenty of volume. I found voices -- esp. female voices -- to be extraordinary with this combo, alive, coherent, grainy. Piano too (Rubinstein Living Voice) was wonderfully timed and precise with a far more realistic decay than I get from my Quad. Not a trace of glare and Joni Mitchell's reedy highs intact. On Sinatra's moody "Wee Small Hours" disc I had a new sense of his phrasing and the midrage chestiness as he moves up and down his range that I'd heard only through my headphone/amp combo. Fabulous. Massive Attacl and Hendrix remastered had enough punch for me -- I had no sense of the amp running out of steam but then I did not go above 70 on the volume. I found this combo to be terrifically musical and engaging and could have listened for hours.

The 402s seemed to open things up a little and sounded louder at a lower point on the MCD201, as you'd expect. There was real drive from the 402 and tremendous midrange jump. The Massive Attack disk was genuinely menacing and had visceral impact. The 402 sounded great with Sinatra also but I preferred the MC275 for the smaller-scale stuff -- reminded me of the difference between the whole-cloth CLS IIz and the Vantages. In the end I had to switch back and forth several times to be sure which I preferred.

Dear readers, I ordered the MC275...


apologies for this amateurish review and best,



k :)


EDITED: to include the MCD201 player I also used!
 
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Joey_V

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Congrats on the 275! I have not yet heard any Macs on the MLs... one day I will though.

At this point, I'll settle for living vicariously through your (and other's) experiences. :)
 
R

Rik_Rankin

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kirkawall said:
Hi all,

In between packing and unpacking my fragile Vantages, I've been listening to a number of cadidates to replace my aging Quad 909s. These have included amps from Naim, Cary, MF and most recently McIntosh. I borrowed three Mac units for comparative purposes: the MC6500 (integrated), the MC402 (enormous) and the MC275 (tubed). These were driven directly (not the 6500) by either a Quad 99 CD-P2 (excellent, giant-killing cdp/basic digital pre) via Chord Signature ICs and Speaker leads (excellent but soon to be sold). Music included a Vivaldi opera, various audiophilia from Pat Barber and a whole lot of music from Kathryn Williams, Massive Attack, Bill Evans and Julian Bream. All the Macs worked well but I preferred the direct connection generally. I began with the MC 275. Expansive soundstage, a wonderful immediacy, speed too and plenty of volume. I found voices -- esp. female voices -- to be extraordinary with this combo, alive, coherent, grainy. Piano too (Rubinstein Living Voice) was wonderfully timed and precise with a far more realistic decay than I get from my Quad. Not a trace of glare and Joni Mitchell's reedy highs intact. On Sinatra's moody "Wee Small Hours" disc I had a new sense of his phrasing and the midrage chestiness as he moves up and down his range that I'd heard only through my headphone/amp combo. Fabulous. Massive Attacl and Hendrix remastered had enough punch for me -- I had no sense of the amp running out of steam but then I did not go above 70 on the volume. I found this combo to be terrifically musical and engaging and could have listened for hours.

The 402s seemed to open things up a little and sounded louder at a lower point on the MCD201, as you'd expect. There was real drive from the 402 and tremendous midrange jump. The Massive Attack disk was genuinely menacing and had visceral impact. The 402 sounded great with Sinatra also but I preferred the MC275 for the smaller-scale stuff -- reminded me of the difference between the whole-cloth CLS IIz and the Vantages. In the end I had to switch back and forth several times to be sure which I preferred.

Dear readers, I ordered the MC275...


apologies for this amateurish review and best,



k :)
MC 402 works really well with the C2200 tube pre-amp. The 275 is a little underpowered but it's only 75 wpc vs 400. For low volumes, it works but will fall short for dynamics at higher volumes
 

Robin

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MC 275 amplifier with ML Vantages...

kirkawall,

Excellent discription of the sound and qualities of the MC 275 with ML Vantages!

I have been anxiously awaiting someone to write a discription of just what the MC 275 is like with the Vantages or the Summits and you have done it... Confirming, what I had been wondering / believing all along, that the McIntosh 275 would perform superbly-fantastic with ML speakers. ;)
So vocals and piano sounded cool and clear? Wow... that's just Great! :D

When I auditioned the MC 275 with B&W 800D's the sound was simply wonderful as well. Excellent smooth tubed sound. The timber / imageing of the vocals and horns were simply amazing. From that time on I have been dreaming of what the MC 275 would sound like with ML's newest electrostatic speakers...

I'm still planning to audition other tubed amplifiers, but the MC 275 is totally awesome. IMHO you made an excellent choice. :)

Thanks again for you wonderful review of the MC 275, as auditioned with your Vantages.

You really made my day... :D
 
R

Rik_Rankin

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Robin said:
kirkawall,

Excellent discription of the sound and qualities of the MC 275 with ML Vantages!

I have been anxiously awaiting someone to write a discription of just what the MC 275 is like with the Vantages or the Summits and you have done it... Confirming, what I had been wondering / believing all along, that the McIntosh 275 would perform superbly-fantastic with ML speakers. ;)
So vocals and piano sounded cool and clear? Wow... that's just Great! :D

When I auditioned the MC 275 with B&W 800D's the sound was simply wonderful as well. Excellent smooth tubed sound. The timber / imageing of the vocals and horns were simply amazing. From that time on I have been dreaming of what the MC 275 would sound like with ML's newest electrostatic speakers...

I'm still planning to audition other tubed amplifiers, but the MC 275 is totally awesome. IMHO you made an excellent choice. :)

Thanks again for you wonderful review of the MC 275, as auditioned with your Vantages.

You really made my day... :D
75 watts PC is not enough power if you listen loud. This is especially true in a big room. The B&W takes less power to drive. You need at least 100 watts.
 

kirkawall

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Robin said:
kirkawall,

Excellent discription of the sound and qualities of the MC 275 with ML Vantages!

I have been anxiously awaiting someone to write a discription of just what the MC 275 is like with the Vantages or the Summits and you have done it... Confirming, what I had been wondering / believing all along, that the McIntosh 275 would perform superbly-fantastic with ML speakers. ;)
So vocals and piano sounded cool and clear? Wow... that's just Great! :D

When I auditioned the MC 275 with B&W 800D's the sound was simply wonderful as well. Excellent smooth tubed sound. The timber / imageing of the vocals and horns were simply amazing. From that time on I have been dreaming of what the MC 275 would sound like with ML's newest electrostatic speakers...

I'm still planning to audition other tubed amplifiers, but the MC 275 is totally awesome. IMHO you made an excellent choice. :)

Thanks again for you wonderful review of the MC 275, as auditioned with your Vantages.

You really made my day... :D
Robin,

Many thanks for the kind words. I've very much enjoyed your posts and learned lots from them -- though your recent ML and Tubes post was what tipped me over the edge towards the MC275 IV so perhaps I should send you the bill...

Anyway, I can't wait for the MC275 to get here! Guessing that a mono pair will be even better, at 150 watts a side. Important I found to ensure that whoever sets the MC275 up makes sure to hook the speakers up to the 4 ohm taps. I had no problems getting plenty of loudness out of the MC275, unlike the poster above. The amp puts out close to 100 watts into 8 or 4 and when run as monos 150 into 2 ohms. Before actually hearing these I was genuinely worried that they could not drive the Vantages -- they do, and beautifully. YMMV, of course, depending on what you listen to and how loud. I wonder whether the notion that MLs require immense quantities of power/current/voltage might be less true for these newer models? I had no trouble driving the Vantages with my friend's Cary SLI80 (40 watts), even with large-scale music like the New World and Massive Attack's Mezz. I have no doubt that a 500 watt pure-tube amp would be a sonic revelation with the Vantages/Summits but that's way out of my league. I think that the MC 275/Vantage combo is a bargain and one well worth demo'ing. I'm guessing that similar-powered/spec'd tube amps might also drive these Vantages well. I can't comment on the Summits and although I did listen to the Vistas, they were in a very badly set up HT room and sounded like it.

best,


k
 

roberto

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Rik_Rankin said:
75 watts PC is not enough power if you listen loud. This is especially true in a big room. The B&W takes less power to drive. You need at least 100 watts.
Hola Rik, with all respect I don't agreed with you on this. The Vantage sensitivity allow us to use low power amps with no problem...I have a customer that uses a triode mode amp with only 30 watts/channel and the sound preasure level is very good, louder than my CLSIIz that I have with an amplifier of 200 W/ch. You should give it a try with low power amps with the new Vantages or Summits...this feature of high sensitivity (92dBs/2.83V/m) is a blessing. Happy listening,
Roberto.
 

Robin

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McIntosh Tubed Power and Grace...

kirkawall said:
Robin,

Many thanks for the kind words. I've very much enjoyed your posts and learned lots from them -- though your recent ML and Tubes post was what tipped me over the edge towards the MC275 IV so perhaps I should send you the bill...

Anyway, I can't wait for the MC275 to get here! Guessing that a mono pair will be even better, at 150 watts a side. Important I found to ensure that whoever sets the MC275 up makes sure to hook the speakers up to the 4 ohm taps. I had no problems getting plenty of loudness out of the MC275, unlike the poster above. The amp puts out close to 100 watts into 8 or 4 and when run as monos 150 into 2 ohms. Before actually hearing these I was genuinely worried that they could not drive the Vantages -- they do, and beautifully. YMMV, of course, depending on what you listen to and how loud. I wonder whether the notion that MLs require immense quantities of power/current/voltage might be less true for these newer models? I had no trouble driving the Vantages with my friend's Cary SLI80 (40 watts), even with large-scale music like the New World and Massive Attack's Mezz. I have no doubt that a 500 watt pure-tube amp would be a sonic revelation with the Vantages/Summits but that's way out of my league. I think that the MC 275/Vantage combo is a bargain and one well worth demo'ing. I'm guessing that similar-powered/spec'd tube amps might also drive these Vantages well. I can't comment on the Summits and although I did listen to the Vistas, they were in a very badly set up HT room and sounded like it.

best,


k
Kirkawall,

Thank you for the kind words. :)
When I auditioned the MC 275's with the B&W's their were two MC 275's hooked-up in mono to each 800D speaker at 150 watts / channel. What was cool was the MCD 201 SACD / CD source driving the MC 275's directly. It was tres cool sonic nirvana... :D I also love the fact that you did have the opportunity to audition the Vistas with McIntosh tubed gear as well, even though it wasn't the most optimum set-up...

If I was to acquire McIntosh I would hope to audition them at home first as you have done. ;) You'll have to tell us how everything sounds once you've set-up your new MC 275... :D
 

swerlein

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MC275 and Vantage Help

I saw your post earlier about the MC275s and wanted to ask a few questions. I too have the ML Vantages and have 1 MC275 for each speaker running mono. The sound is incredible. However, I don't feel that I am getting the full range of audio since I have a Pioneer Elite VSX-94TXH receiver and the Pioneer Elite BDP-95FD Blue_Ray DVD player that I watch movies and listen to my CDs with. The Pioneers just don't seem to have that good of a processor for audio. I am saving up to purchase the McIntosh MX120 receiver with the MDX1000 CD player. Do you have any suggestions on additional items or cables that I should be adding to my system to make it perfect? Any help you could give me would be greatly apreciated. My email adress is swerlein@comcast.net

Sincerely,

Scott
 
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