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post #1 of 21 Old 10-30-2009, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Attn all Mac guys, I need a helping hand here. I am putting together a 2ch system, and am about 95% sure I am going to go with a McIntosh Integrated. I have 3 questions though...

1. What are the sonic signiture differences between the MA6900, MA6600, and MA7000? Are some warmer than others, resemble the sound of other 2ch amps in their lineup?

2. Which way would you go given that the MA7000 & C220/MC252 combo are pretty much the same price, I don't have space constraints, and I am powering Usher Be-718's through Analysis Plus solo crystal oval interconnects and speaker cables.

3. Is the MA7000 simply a C220/MC252 in one box? Some say yes, some say no...opinions? Knowledge? Experience? The only reason why I ask is because this is Mac's entry level pre/ss amp set up, and I would find it curious if their flagship integrated didn't offer any sonic advantages.

My room is 12'x22', I will be sitting ~12' away, and I would like a setup that sounds closest to the MC402. If possible, I would also like the option to run my 2ch rig in HT bypass in the future should I need to do so. The only other integrated I am looking at is the SimAudio i7.

Any thoughts/experiences you have wrt the sonic differences between these options and knowledge of where the best value lies would be greatly appreciated!
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post #2 of 21 Old 10-30-2009, 01:18 PM
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I run all Mac and have had almost everything you got listed but I don't have the time right now to give you my take on the differences ...

Will post later with my thoughts and I would post your question here as well Mac/24/7....

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=54

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post #3 of 21 Old 10-30-2009, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Russ, I appreciate you posting this in another site, and I look forward to your feedback!

Cheers!
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post #4 of 21 Old 10-30-2009, 02:57 PM
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With all due respect xj. Correct me if I'm wrong, you've spent at least $1600 on cabling, I have never heard of Analysis Plus cables, so I checked their website. Your asking where to find the best value on this website after admitting you spent something like $1600 on cables?

I am a bit of a hypocrite, you see I just bought a Transparent USB cable for $100 not long ago and after it was suggested to me to think a little and investigate my purchase I have changed my outlook on cabling. I am sorry to make this about me, but I own $40 speaker cables bought on Agon for their look, and 2 pair of $100 each Synergistic Research IC's bought used too. I also just completed a listening test with $950 and $400 Synergistic power cords, I couldn't hear a difference in the power cords. I say hear a difference beause that is the instrument I use to measure my gear. My instrument is flawed and should only be trusted by me. So I don't express how my instrument tests equipment on this site.

Good luck with your next purchase I enjoy the look of Mcintosh equipment.
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post #5 of 21 Old 10-30-2009, 03:49 PM - Thread Starter
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I got the cables at a close out auction on e-bay for about 65% off MSRP as they were already used as well, but are in great shape, otherwise I probably would not have spent that money on cables, I would have put it into my equipment.
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post #6 of 21 Old 10-30-2009, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xj bandit View Post

Thanks Russ, I appreciate you posting this in another site, and I look forward to your feedback!

Cheers!

I think he meant that maybe you should post your question there as well.

At least that's how I read it.
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post #7 of 21 Old 10-30-2009, 05:12 PM - Thread Starter
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LOL, right, oops, will do.

Cheers guys!
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post #8 of 21 Old 06-08-2012, 04:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xj bandit View Post

Attn all Mac guys, I need a helping hand here. I am putting together a 2ch system, and am about 95% sure I am going to go with a McIntosh Integrated. I have 3 questions though...


1. What are the sonic signiture differences between the MA6900, MA6600, and MA7000? Are some warmer than others, resemble the sound of other 2ch amps in their lineup?


2. Which way would you go given that the MA7000 & C220/MC252 combo are pretty much the same price, I don't have space constraints, and I am powering Usher Be-718's through Analysis Plus solo crystal oval interconnects and speaker cables.


3. Is the MA7000 simply a C220/MC252 in one box? Some say yes, some say no...opinions? Knowledge? Experience? The only reason why I ask is because this is Mac's entry level pre/ss amp set up, and I would find it curious if their flagship integrated didn't offer any sonic advantages.


My room is 12'x22', I will be sitting ~12' away, and I would like a setup that sounds closest to the MC402. If possible, I would also like the option to run my 2ch rig in HT bypass in the future should I need to do so. The only other integrated I am looking at is the SimAudio i7.


Any thoughts/experiences you have wrt the sonic differences between these options and knowledge of where the best value lies would be greatly appreciated!

1. Don't know but I'm gonna go on a limb and say not much

2. integrated is that simple- it's well thought out to integrate well. and if you wanted a MC252 or a MC2K you can always add it on later.

3. I've concluded that it's the same, and McIntosh's biased opinion designed to sound better.

I would get the MA7000 because it looks better, yes, I am vain.

McIntosh Labs! What am I listening to?
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post #9 of 21 Old 06-09-2012, 08:57 AM
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Looks do matter and Mcintosh gear looks fantastic...
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post #10 of 21 Old 06-10-2012, 05:07 AM
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I own an MA6600 integrated. ..I used to have separate amp/pre-amp gear (B&k gear, then Bryston) but from now on, I'm sticking with Integrateds. ..Less clutter and expense, and fewer cables which often results in less hum and grounding issues. ..I chose the MA6600 over the MA7000 b/c of it's newer processor-controlled pre-amp section. With the MA6600 you can trim the input sensitivity for all inputs so that volume levels are maintained as you switch inputs. This is important for me b/c our cable box output signal is wayyy stronger than either my music server, dvd player, apple tv, etc.. Also, you can dim or turn off the meter lights on the MA6600. While the bright meters are often a welcomed sight, they can be distracting while watching movies, etc..

The 50 watt differential is meaningless as I have yet to turn my 6600 up beyond 30 watts. ..And at that level it is insanely loud. If I attempted to get the needles to crest 100 watts, I'd have the neighbors pounding on my door. I do like the looks of the handles on the 7000 though... Oh, and the MA6600 is $2000 less. As for audible differences, I very much doubt there are any.
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post #11 of 21 Old 06-10-2012, 05:18 AM
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How have you configured your MA6600? Analog inputs? DAC to Analog Inputs?

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post #12 of 21 Old 06-10-2012, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oOOBillO0o View Post

How have you configured your MA6600? Analog inputs? DAC to Analog Inputs?

Not exactly sure what you're asking. ..I have a Mac Mini that I use as a music server. ...I connect the digital output of the Mac Mini to the digital input of the Arcam rDac. The analog outputs of the rDac are connected to the Music Server input of the McIntosh. Additionally, I have a DVD player and cable box which connect to analog inputs of the McIntosh.
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post #13 of 21 Old 06-10-2012, 11:38 AM
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You got it! That is exactly what I was asking. I'm debating between the two. I would do the same technique you did. Any reason not to use your cable box and DVD player digital out to your DAC? Or Hook the Mac Mini, DVD player and Cable box via HDMI to the TV. Then use the TV's digital out to your DAC?

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post #14 of 21 Old 06-10-2012, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by oOOBillO0o View Post

You got it! That is exactly what I was asking. I'm debating between the two. I would do the same technique you did. Any reason not to use your cable box and DVD player digital out to your DAC? Or Hook the Mac Mini, DVD player and Cable box via HDMI to the TV. Then use the TV's digital out to your DAC?

...I elected to take the analog outputs of the TV and the DVD player into their own analog inputs on the MA6600 because the Arcam rDac does not have a remote. If I had a DAC with a remote, I might have done just as you described.

While on the subject of inputs, one of the neat features of the MA6600 is that you can turn off any input that is not in use. ..That way, you don't have to scroll through a bunch of unused inputs as you switch b/w, say, the Music Server and TV.
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post #15 of 21 Old 06-10-2012, 06:23 PM
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I have not listened to those integrated amps from McIntosh, but I did audition MC601 monoblocks vs MC501 monoblocks vs Rogue Audio M180 tube monoblocks quite extensively this weekend. Everything was driven from an MSB Platinum DAC IV with upgraded power supply and MSB preamp. Output was with Nordost balanced XLR. Speakers are Kudos Cardea C30.

Much to my surprise, there was a major difference in audible quality comparing the entire lineup. I knew the Rogue would have it's "tube" sound of course, but I was not expecting to really enjoy the MC601 as much as I did. The Rogue was not a good match for the Kudos speakers. It was very rolled off and "soft" sounding without much detail at all. This was unappealing. I think part of this was due to the fact that the amps needed to be biased. On the other hand, the MC601 had a lot of detail, far more than the MC501 that it may end up replacing. It had much better controlled bass, much more detail, and a more transparent performance than the Rogue M180 and especially the MC501.

That being said, I am not a McIntosh fan at all. I was auditioning these pieces with another gentlemen for his system. But I was very much surprised at the level of improvement from the MC501 which I have heard many times and compared to many other amplifiers (MSB S200 being one of my favorites), to the new MC601. If you can audition these various McIntosh amps, I think you may find that they do in fact sound quite different.
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post #16 of 21 Old 06-11-2012, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by syd123 View Post

...I elected to take the analog outputs of the TV and the DVD player into their own analog inputs on the MA6600 because the Arcam rDac does not have a remote. If I had a DAC with a remote, I might have done just as you described.
While on the subject of inputs, one of the neat features of the MA6600 is that you can turn off any input that is not in use. ..That way, you don't have to scroll through a bunch of unused inputs as you switch b/w, say, the Music Server and TV.

syd123,

How did you calibrate the levels of your integrated? I read in the manual it says to set the CD trim to 0.0. However it doesn't tell you to use a source as a reference. For example pink noise or a reference tone. Sure we can do it by ear, but it be nice to have a SPL meter and a reference source. thanks.

Bill

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post #17 of 21 Old 06-11-2012, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oOOBillO0o View Post

syd123,
How did you calibrate the levels of your integrated? I read in the manual it says to set the CD trim to 0.0. However it doesn't tell you to use a source as a reference. For example pink noise or a reference tone. Sure we can do it by ear, but it be nice to have a SPL meter and a reference source. thanks.
Bill

..I did it by ear as it's not important that there precisely the same. ..I left music server as "0" then adjusted Phono, Tuner (Squeezebox Touch), TV, and DVD to match.
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post #18 of 21 Old 06-11-2012, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by syd123 View Post

I own an MA6600 integrated. ....With the MA6600 you can trim the input sensitivity for all inputs so that volume levels are maintained as you switch inputs. This is important for me b/c our cable box output signal is wayyy stronger than either my music server, dvd player, apple tv, etc.. .

What cable box do you have? How do you have the dynamic range compression set?

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post #19 of 21 Old 06-11-2012, 04:36 PM
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What cable box do you have? How do you have the dynamic range compression set?

Motorola 7216. I have compression set to medium. Otherwise some commercials are twice as loud as the program material which can be quite disconcerting. We use our apple tv for all movie watching.
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post #20 of 21 Old 06-11-2012, 04:48 PM
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Ah, that's a Verizon FIOS box, right? Does the audio get substantially louder when you switch from medium to heavy compression?

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post #21 of 21 Old 06-11-2012, 05:33 PM
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Ah, that's a Verizon FIOS box, right? Does the audio get substantially louder when you switch from medium to heavy compression?

Yes... ..It's Verizon, and it's a pain in the neck. ..Though I don't think Verizon is to blame for the wild dynamic swings. I think the blame belongs to the networks and the deals they've struck with their advertisers about ratcheting up the volume for commercials.
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