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post #1 of 15 Old 03-27-2012, 12:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,

Just thought I'd post my impressions of my new toy. I recently upgraded from an Audio Research LS-2 Preamp to a McIntosh C46. My first thought was that it would be a drastic change moving from Tube to solid state. I've enjoyed tube rolling in the LS-2 and have a wide selection of Bugle Boy tubes which sound great in their own way.

I was wrong. The Mcintosh sound is still quite warm...maybe not bloomy but rich and full. As I sat down in my listening position with some favorite music selections I know well, I immediately noticed spacing of the instruments. Everything seemed to have more air and the singers seemed significantly locked dead center. The ARC was no slouch. For a 21 year old Pre, it sounded and still does sound phenomenal. I'm very tempted to keep it to use for my office rather than sell it.

The next sensation that hit me was the extra umph in the bass. It wasn't in a rap style, boomy sense but the bass had much more presence. Certain tracks actually drove shivers down my spine.

For my equipment, I'm using a Cambridge Audio Azur 840C CD player and Azur 840W amplifier. I know the McIntosh-level audio folks are probably rolling their eyes, but it is a startingly great combination. The 840W amp operates in Class A until a certain level (which honestly I can't hear) and then switches to class B. I eventually plan on buying a McIntosh MC402 or 452 if I can hide the difference in cost from my wife but until then, this combination is providing me an incredibly enjoyable listening experience.

One last note...I am in LOVE with the way the McIntosh Pre looks, especially at night. Even my wife thinks it is beautiful.
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post #2 of 15 Old 03-27-2012, 09:46 AM
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Congrats from a fellow Mac owner! ..3 mos. ago I bought a new MA6600 Integrated and I couldn't be happier. ..The build quality, aesthetics, etc.. are top notch. ..And I dig that equalizer! It's baffling that minimalist designs that lack tone, balance, and mono switches have come into vogue.
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post #3 of 15 Old 03-27-2012, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Totally concur
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post #4 of 15 Old 03-27-2012, 11:38 AM
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Hi;

I had an LS2B for a number of years, and enjoyed it very much.

I subsequently upgraded to the LS16 and later to the LS26. Each of those upgrades was an improvement, especially the LS26 (now the LS27), which is awesome. Don't ever listen to the LS27, or you will go home with your credit card smoking... the sound is irresistable...rofl.

One upgrade you can do to the LS2B or LS2 which makes it sound nearly as good as the LS16 is to change the output coupling capacitors to the TRT Dynamicaps, which Audio Research installs in the LS27 and Reference 5 at the factory now.

These make a difference in the sound quality that has to be heard to believe; it is not a small improvement. With the Dynamicaps installed, you may find that the LS2 is on a par with the C46.

I installed the Dynamicaps in the LS2B about a year before I traded it in on the LS16, and what an improvement.

It costs about $120 for the 4 caps to upgrade a balanced unit, but you only need two to upgrade an LS2.

On another subject....

I bought the Ayre C5xe player for $6K about 6 years ago, and it was one of the finest-sounding CD/SACD players ever (and still is), but the new OPPO BDP-95 is even better, for only $1000!!!

IMO the BDP-95 makes every player from $600 to $25,000 totally obsolete! The sound quality is off the charts. Nothing else I have ever heard comes close (except the Ayre...).

Anyone who gives a rat's eyeball about CD sound should own one. The price is a steal.

BTW...virtually ALL power amplifiers operate Class A at low signal levels and then go to class B operation as the signal level rises; that is why they are called Class AB! All of the output transistors conduct with no signal or a small signal, which makes them Class A at that point. Increasing or decreasing the no-signal bias current can change the percentage of the cycle that is Class A or Class B.



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Originally Posted by timosmith View Post

Hi all,

Just thought I'd post my impressions of my new toy. I recently upgraded from an Audio Research LS-2 Preamp to a McIntosh C46. My first thought was that it would be a drastic change moving from Tube to solid state. I've enjoyed tube rolling in the LS-2 and have a wide selection of Bugle Boy tubes which sound great in their own way.

I was wrong. The Mcintosh sound is still quite warm...maybe not bloomy but rich and full. As I sat down in my listening position with some favorite music selections I know well, I immediately noticed spacing of the instruments. Everything seemed to have more air and the singers seemed significantly locked dead center. The ARC was no slouch. For a 21 year old Pre, it sounded and still does sound phenomenal. I'm very tempted to keep it to use for my office rather than sell it.

The next sensation that hit me was the extra umph in the bass. It wasn't in a rap style, boomy sense but the bass had much more presence. Certain tracks actually drove shivers down my spine.

For my equipment, I'm using a Cambridge Audio Azur 840C CD player and Azur 840W amplifier. I know the McIntosh-level audio folks are probably rolling their eyes, but it is a startingly great combination. The 840W amp operates in Class A until a certain level (which honestly I can't hear) and then switches to class B. I eventually plan on buying a McIntosh MC402 or 452 if I can hide the difference in cost from my wife but until then, this combination is providing me an incredibly enjoyable listening experience.

One last note...I am in LOVE with the way the McIntosh Pre looks, especially at night. Even my wife thinks it is beautiful.

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post #5 of 15 Old 03-27-2012, 09:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Interesting. How do I get dynamicaps and how do I install them? I've heard good things about the 95. I actually own the oppo 93. I bought the CA used on Agon for $850 and it gives me the added benefit of being able to be used as a dac as well.
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post #6 of 15 Old 03-28-2012, 06:01 AM
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You can get the capacitors from Parts Connexion. Click on "film capacitors' and Dynamicaps on their site.

The ones you want are the 10 microfarad/ 310 volt "Electronics" type.

They are the big caps at the rear of the circuit board, which you need to desolder and then install the new ones.


www.partsconnexion.com



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Originally Posted by timosmith View Post

Interesting. How do I get dynamicaps and how do I install them? I've heard good things about the 95. I actually own the oppo 93. I bought the CA used on Agon for $850 and it gives me the added benefit of being able to be used as a dac as well.

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post #7 of 15 Old 03-30-2012, 12:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timosmith View Post

Interesting. How do I get dynamicaps and how do I install them?

Save your money. The differences between functioning PP/PS caps is massively overstated and are at best very, very small. $100 for a pair of these is money wasted, especially if you have to get someone else to install them at added expense (doesn't sound like you can DIY).
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post #8 of 15 Old 03-30-2012, 07:25 AM
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Audio Research must be run by some very stupid people, I guess. They pay over $100 for a set of these caps to put them in their preamps. THEY certainly think they make a major difference or they wouldn't waste their money and reduce their profit.

When I installed these caps in 2 different preamps and the input stage of one power amplifier I heard a significant improvement in sound quality, but I'm sure you wouldn't have heard it, so you WOULD be wasting your money.


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Save your money. The differences between functioning PP/PS caps is massively overstated and are at best very, very small. $100 for a pair of these is money wasted, especially if you have to get someone else to install them at added expense (doesn't sound like you can DIY).

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post #9 of 15 Old 03-30-2012, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

Audio Research must be run by some very stupid people, I guess. They pay over $100 for a set of these caps to put them in their preamps. THEY certainly think they make a major difference or they wouldn't waste their money and reduce their profit.

AR know to whom they are marketing their over priced product. I bet they pay nothing like retail for them and considering the margins that are built into their product, the advertising value of a component that is reputed to have an affect is more than worth the difference.

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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

When I installed these caps in 2 different preamps and the input stage of one power amplifier I heard a significant improvement in sound quality, but I'm sure you wouldn't have heard it, so you WOULD be wasting your money.

Of course, resort to the ad hominem Mr 'I have to replace my 6H30s at 800hrs'. There is zero evidence that there is any audible difference between non faulty plastic film caps of similar type and value; you stating there is does not constitute evidence, but I bet you won't actually show any of that.

I have done a considerable amount of testing on caps in the 30+ years since I first read the Jung/Marsh article, as have others. Attached is a grab from one paper. Care to show something that counters it that is not argumentum ad verecundiam?
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post #10 of 15 Old 04-04-2012, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timosmith View Post

Hi all,

Just thought I'd post my impressions of my new toy. I recently upgraded from an Audio Research LS-2 Preamp to a McIntosh C46. My first thought was that it would be a drastic change moving from Tube to solid state. I've enjoyed tube rolling in the LS-2 and have a wide selection of Bugle Boy tubes which sound great in their own way.

I was wrong. The Mcintosh sound is still quite warm...maybe not bloomy but rich and full. As I sat down in my listening position with some favorite music selections I know well, I immediately noticed spacing of the instruments. Everything seemed to have more air and the singers seemed significantly locked dead center. The ARC was no slouch. For a 21 year old Pre, it sounded and still does sound phenomenal. I'm very tempted to keep it to use for my office rather than sell it.

The next sensation that hit me was the extra umph in the bass. It wasn't in a rap style, boomy sense but the bass had much more presence. Certain tracks actually drove shivers down my spine.

For my equipment, I'm using a Cambridge Audio Azur 840C CD player and Azur 840W amplifier. I know the McIntosh-level audio folks are probably rolling their eyes, but it is a startingly great combination. The 840W amp operates in Class A until a certain level (which honestly I can't hear) and then switches to class B. I eventually plan on buying a McIntosh MC402 or 452 if I can hide the difference in cost from my wife but until then, this combination is providing me an incredibly enjoyable listening experience.

One last note...I am in LOVE with the way the McIntosh Pre looks, especially at night. Even my wife thinks it is beautiful.

This is interesting, as I have an Audio Research LS3 and am (to my mild surprise and consternation) beginning to think about moving to a McIntosh C48. Mind you, the LS3 is solid-state (too bad ARC doesn't make SS preamps anymore). The LS3 has been serving well since 1994, and there's no need, in absolute terms, to replace it. But now with Mac amps and CD in my system, I begin to wonder. Possibly I'd experience something similar to what you have. I'm not made of money, and the $2000-more C50 wouldn't make sense since the difference is in features not performance, so I give more thought to the C48; but the meters are cool and it's an 8-band eq (like yours) rather than the 5 bands in the C48. Do you have much use for the equalizer in your C46? It looks like a nice piece of equipment.
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post #11 of 15 Old 04-04-2012, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

Audio Research must be run by some very stupid people, I guess. They pay over $100 for a set of these caps to put them in their preamps. THEY certainly think they make a major difference or they wouldn't waste their money and reduce their profit.

When I installed these caps in 2 different preamps and the input stage of one power amplifier I heard a significant improvement in sound quality, but I'm sure you wouldn't have heard it, so you WOULD be wasting your money.

Still waiting for one well designed and produced cap to blow another out of the water.

From Erse X-Pulse, to Solen, to Bennic, to Sonic Cap, to Clarity. There isn't a one listed out of these brands that is going to bash the skull in of another in my experience.

I would LOVE for you to come out and submit to a single blind of three different cap manufacturers in a tweeter circuit on something like the RS28-A or F (Usher designed tweeter for Parts Express) and get your input on the sound of each one and then you pointing out the the expensive 'boutique' brand. You would have to do this stone cold. BTW don't even bother bashing this tweeter. It is a very well respected driver.

Maybe at the Parts-Express GTG in Springboro this summer or the central Kentucky GTG in November.

An audiophile likes to talk about how much they spent and how good it sounds.

A DIY'er likes to talk about how little they spent and how good it sounds.

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post #12 of 15 Old 04-30-2012, 08:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timosmith View Post

Hi all,

Just thought I'd post my impressions of my new toy. I recently upgraded from an Audio Research LS-2 Preamp to a McIntosh C46. My first thought was that it would be a drastic change moving from Tube to solid state. I've enjoyed tube rolling in the LS-2 and have a wide selection of Bugle Boy tubes which sound great in their own way.

I was wrong. The Mcintosh sound is still quite warm...maybe not bloomy but rich and full. As I sat down in my listening position with some favorite music selections I know well, I immediately noticed spacing of the instruments. Everything seemed to have more air and the singers seemed significantly locked dead center. The ARC was no slouch. For a 21 year old Pre, it sounded and still does sound phenomenal. I'm very tempted to keep it to use for my office rather than sell it.

The next sensation that hit me was the extra umph in the bass. It wasn't in a rap style, boomy sense but the bass had much more presence. Certain tracks actually drove shivers down my spine.

For my equipment, I'm using a Cambridge Audio Azur 840C CD player and Azur 840W amplifier. I know the McIntosh-level audio folks are probably rolling their eyes, but it is a startingly great combination. The 840W amp operates in Class A until a certain level (which honestly I can't hear) and then switches to class B. I eventually plan on buying a McIntosh MC402 or 452 if I can hide the difference in cost from my wife but until then, this combination is providing me an incredibly enjoyable listening experience.

One last note...I am in LOVE with the way the McIntosh Pre looks, especially at night. Even my wife thinks it is beautiful.

I re-read this post, and since the LS2 was (I believe) the tube version of the LS3, perhaps I should expect an improvement if I got a C48.
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post #13 of 15 Old 05-01-2012, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prepress View Post


This is interesting, as I have an Audio Research LS3 and am (to my mild surprise and consternation) beginning to think about moving to a McIntosh C48. Mind you, the LS3 is solid-state (too bad ARC doesn't make SS preamps anymore). The LS3 has been serving well since 1994, and there's no need, in absolute terms, to replace it. But now with Mac amps and CD in my system, I begin to wonder. Possibly I'd experience something similar to what you have. I'm not made of money, and the $2000-more C50 wouldn't make sense since the difference is in features not performance, so I give more thought to the C48; but the meters are cool and it's an 8-band eq (like yours) rather than the 5 bands in the C48. Do you have much use for the equalizer in your C46? It looks like a nice piece of equipment.

Honestly besides spinning the knobs a couple of times to hear the change (which is noticeable), that's about it. I leave the knobs in neutral and it sounds great.
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post #14 of 15 Old 05-02-2012, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinjuku View Post

Still waiting for one well designed and produced cap to blow another out of the water.

From Erse X-Pulse, to Solen, to Bennic, to Sonic Cap, to Clarity. There isn't a one listed out of these brands that is going to bash the skull in of another in my experience.

I once heard a difference between an expensive cap and a reasonably-priced poly cap (I think Solen, but may have been Dayton). (In a speaker crossover, not an electronic power supply; I am not retarded enough to willy nilly replace parts on a functioning electronics box.)

The difference, as you probably guessed, was that one of the two caps was significantly out of tolerance.

As you likely also guessed, the offender was NOT the reasonably priced one...


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BTW don't even bother bashing this tweeter. It is a very well respected driver.

I'll bash the tweeter.

No 1" dome on a 4" flat faceplate can be a high-fidelity reproducer.

Now, take the motor/diaphragm and put it on a waveguide that matches the directivity of the next driver down in the crossover region, and I bet it will be pretty good.

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post #15 of 15 Old 05-02-2012, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinjuku View Post

I would LOVE for you to come out and submit to a single blind of three different cap manufacturers in a tweeter circuit on something like the RS28-A or F (Usher designed tweeter for Parts Express) and get your input on the sound of each one and then you pointing out the the expensive 'boutique' brand. You would have to do this stone cold. BTW don't even bother bashing this tweeter. It is a very well respected driver.

Maybe at the Parts-Express GTG in Springboro this summer or the central Kentucky GTG in November.

Something very similar to this was done in 2004/05 at DIY speaker builder meetings in the Washington DC area and again in Dayton, OH. I was at the DC meeting. If I recall, two or three different speakers had switchable tweeter filters built-in where the only thing different was the make or type of the caps. A number of different caps were tested, cheap non-polar electrolytics (NPE), cheap metalized polypropylene (MPP) such as Bennic/Dayton, and high-priced boutique caps. The testing was done in a single blind manner, and the speakers were of very good quality.

At the DC meeting, among some 40 listeners who each did at least 12 repeats of listening tests, no one could reliably tell the difference between any of the caps. Later at the Dayton meeting, the results were similar. No one could tell the difference among caps. Following this there was a huge debate over caps on the discussion boards, but as far as I know, no one has produced any results different than these.

One other clear conclusion did come out of this testing. The cheap NPE caps, when measured for actual capacitance, were very often more than 10% out of spec. Usually the MPP & other film caps were within 1% of their rated value. So to successfully use cheap NPE caps in a crossover filter, you might have to buy 10 or 20 just to be certain of having 2 that were in spec and close to each other in value. It was everyone's conclusion at the meeting that the least expensive MPP caps from Bennic or Dayton were the best ones to use.
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