Mcintosh integrated amp MA6600 for B&W 803D - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 195 Old 06-12-2012, 06:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello,
Could please help me to advise if MA6600 fits well my 803D? As I understood from Internet, Mcintosh and B&W are good matching but most of voices stand for MC402. In this case I have to buy the good pre-amp as well, which nearly doubles the price of MA6600. Will this double price give also double sound improvement or MA6600 is sufficient enough for me?
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post #2 of 195 Old 06-12-2012, 07:06 AM
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wow... there's been quite a few posts lately regarding the McIntosh MA6600.

I own an MA6600 and use it to drive Paradigm Signature S8 v2's which appear to be Paradigms competitor to the 803D (though $1500 less expensive); they share similar dimensions, driver sizes and - most importantly - similar efficiency and recommended amplifier range. So, while your listening environment is likely to be different, I can tell you that in my case the MA6600 is near overkill in terms of power. ..Though I enjoy listening to my music quite loud, I have yet to see the meters crest 30-40 watts. ..If I were to drive my speakers to 200 watts (if even for just peaks) my neighbors would be breaking down my door. So, absent the need for the additional power on tap with the 402, what would be the advantage? ..It's impossible to imagine the MA6600 not being enough for your speakers.

Apart from the pride-of-ownership some audiophiles derive from having separate pre and power amps, I can't think of a single meaningful technical advantage separates offer over going with an integrated. Indeed, my last two experiences with separates were frustrating in that I was constantly struggling to get rid of excess hum/noise that I tend to believe came from the cabling joining the two together.

So... save yourself a ton of money and go with the integrated. And I don't believe for a second that the amplifier section of the MA6600 sounds different than than the 402.
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post #3 of 195 Old 06-12-2012, 07:34 AM - Thread Starter
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syd123, thank you very much for your so detailed reply. It makes me inclined for MA6600.
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post #4 of 195 Old 06-12-2012, 07:47 AM
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Have you considered the Krell S-300I?

I think you would find that it sounds at least as good for about half of the price.
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post #5 of 195 Old 06-12-2012, 08:02 AM
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..Or perhaps an NAD C375Bee for 1/2 the price of the Krell, or maybe an Onkyo A/V receiver for 1/2 the price of the NAD, or even an AudioSource for 1/2 the price of the Onkyo!

My personal feeling is that there are lot's of offerings that are far less than the McIntosh that sound the same. Indeed, so it goes these days: ..modern amps when operating within their design limits sound pretty much alike. Still... there are some solid reasons for buying McIntosh. To wit:

- Build quality. The unique feel of the knobs, switches, metal-work, glass-panel, etc.. is unmistakeable. Like those who buy an expensive watch even though they know it's no better at time-keeping, I enjoy the stellar fit/finish of this beautiful McIntosh amp every time I use it.

- Wattage Meters: Though perhaps not 100% accurate (McIntosh claims them to be >98% accurate) and often dismissed as needless, I love being able to refer to the meters to make sure that I'm well below the danger zone with respect to my speakers. ..But as I've said, thus far I have yet to move them past 30 watts and at that level it is crazy loud.

- Bass/ Treble/ Balance/ Mono controls are included with EVERY pre-amp and integrated amp. I can't fathom how any music-lover could abide owning gear that doesn't have this. ..The often made claim that these features negatively affect the sound, even when they are not in use, is pure audiophile quackery. ..When zero'd or off, they do NO harm, but when listening to a poorly recorded song (or a song with gimmicky stereo imaging) they can make the music soooo much more enjoyable.

- Heritage. I absolutely love the fact that Mac gear has been made for so long and through all the years a common aesthetic has been preserved. To me, the black glass face, silver-edged knobs, and backlit green lettering is striking without being gaudy.

- Hand-built in the USA. I'm no "Made In China" basher; indeed, I own tons of foreign built stuff and make no apologies for it. …That said, it's nice to own something built here in the US just 3 hours from my home.
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post #6 of 195 Old 06-12-2012, 11:42 AM
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I agree 100% and if it was me i would be looking for a used MA-6900 i know both units pretty well if you want SMOOTH go for the MA-6900 but if your preference is for more detail then go for the MA-6600 it's not because it's a newer model that it's better another one that would be even BETTER with your B&W is this one YES i have compared it with the MA-7000 the Classé CAP-2100 won big.

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post #7 of 195 Old 06-12-2012, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by MrAcoustat View Post

I agree 100% and if it was me i would be looking for a used MA-6900 i know both units pretty well if you want SMOOTH go for the MA-6900 but if your preference is for more detail then go for the MA-6600 it's not because it's a newer model that it's better another one that would be even BETTER with your B&W is this one YES i have compared it with the MA-7000 the Classé CAP-2100 won big.

You agree? ..With what are you agreeing?

So the MA6900 is smoother than the MA6600; what is the technical difference b/w the two that would account for this?? And when you compared them, where you "blinded" to which you were hearing and were they precisely gain-level matched, and (obvious point, perhaps) were the same speakers and same exact room used?? .Ditto on your comparison of the MA7000 to the CAP-2100. ..Not trying to harsh you but if your'e going to offer subjective opinions like this, it may be important to the reader to know the conditions under which the comparison was made. Otherwise, one (like me) might conclude that expectation bias accounted for the perceived differences.

What is not subjective is that the Classe lacks tone controls and mono switch which, as stated in my above post, have an impact that are very easy to hear and enjoy.

thx,

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post #8 of 195 Old 06-12-2012, 12:14 PM
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Hi Syd123, first i agree that the MA-6600 will be more than enough second the MA-6600 and the MA-6900 don't sound the same the first one being a forward sound you may like that i don't the second being a laidback sound wich i prefer both are good amps but don't sound the same that's all third the MA-7000 & the Classé CAP-2100 where both tested in the same system and in the same conditions i was very very surprised that whe both prefered the cheaper ( $5,500.00 ) Classé if you can call that cheap but to OUR tastes it wasn't even close the ONLY advantage the McIntosh had over the Classé was POWER 250 watts per channel over the Classé's 100 watts per channel but for the rest IT WAS A NO CONTEST.

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post #9 of 195 Old 06-12-2012, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by MrAcoustat View Post

i was very very surprised that whe both prefered the cheaper ( $5,500.00 ) Classé if you can call that cheap but to OUR tastes it wasn't even close ... IT WAS A NO CONTEST.

"Same system same conditions"

..So are you saying that each amp was PRECISELY matched to the same exact output level (using a db meter), with all tone controls set at neutral AND that you were blinded to what you were hearing, and that you found one to be so much better that it "wasn't even close"?? I find this very surprising. ..If it "wasn't even close" then I would have to suspect there was something amiss with the comparison, such as something wrong with one of the amps, etc. or, more likely, that there was even a small volume discrepancy b/w the two.

Are you aware that your extraordinary audio acuity could possibly earn you quite a bit of money. ...See the attached link. I have excellent measured hearing and a keen sense of musical nuance and yet I can't hear ANY differences during such a test, let alone a huge one as you suggest. As an FYI, thousands have taken the test, none have earned the $.

http://www.tom-morrow-land.com/tests/ampchall/index.htm
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post #10 of 195 Old 06-12-2012, 05:22 PM
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Well i'm sorry if you can't hear the difference between units why did you buy a McIntosh MA-6600 when you could have bought a nice cheaper integrated, if there is no difference i don't understand, if you can't hear the difference between a in your face sound and a laid back sound then it's ok BUT i can, sorry no hard feelings.

PS: I'm an old retired man i listend to music MINIMUM 40 hours a week BUT i could not do this with a FORWARD IN YOUR FACE SOUND.if that's your preference than good for you.

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post #11 of 195 Old 06-12-2012, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by MrAcoustat View Post

Well i'm sorry if you can't hear the difference between units why did you buy a McIntosh MA-6600 when you could have bought a nice cheaper integrated, if there is no difference i don't understand, if you can't hear the difference between a in your face sound and a laid back sound then it's ok BUT i can, sorry no hard feelings.
PS: I'm an old retired man i listend to music MINIMUM 40 hours a week BUT i could not do this with a FORWARD IN YOUR FACE SOUND.if that's your preference than good for you.

No need to apologize, and likewise I hope you'll forgive me for not believing that your test was sufficiently rigorous. ...You haven't answered my question, did you precisely match the output levels of both amps and were you blinded to which you were hearing? Again, I'm not trying to harsh you but I think it's a fair question. As an aside, I too do not like FORWARD IN YOUR FACE SOUND and I also listen to music almost 'round the clock.
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post #12 of 195 Old 06-12-2012, 07:52 PM
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The answer to your first question is yes and to the second is no i was not blinded but i was not told wich one was playing just telling the person that was doing the switching witch one i prefered the same with my friend he had both amplifiers on loan for two weekends and for my friend MONEY was not a factor i so much wanted the McIntosh to win because it's one beautiful amp but it did not the Classé for $2,500.00 less wass the clear winner and like i said before i was realy realy surprised.

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post #13 of 195 Old 06-13-2012, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by papalam View Post

Hello,
Could please help me to advise if MA6600 fits well my 803D? As I understood from Internet, Mcintosh and B&W are good matching but most of voices stand for MC402. In this case I have to buy the good pre-amp as well, which nearly doubles the price of MA6600. Will this double price give also double sound improvement or MA6600 is sufficient enough for me?

I had one customer listen to the C48/C452 in comparison to the MA6600 and he chose the separates right away (with no prodding from me). I had another clip the MA6600 while listening to 805s. It all depends on you.

B.
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post #14 of 195 Old 06-14-2012, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by MrAcoustat View Post

... if you want SMOOTH go for the MA-6900 but if your preference is for more detail then go for the MA-6600 it's not because it's a newer model that it's better another one that would be even BETTER with your B&W is this one [Classé CAP-2100] ...

I don't think anyone on earth, in a blind level-matched test, is gonna conclude that an MA-6900 is "smoother" and an MA-6600 is "more detailed." The only people I've ever known to say stuff like that with a straight face have been dealers and those corrupt yahoos from the high-end magazines.

Could you actually imagine the engineers at McIntosh saying, "I dunno, boss, we ran some tests, and the 6900 is smoother, but we somehow lost the 6600's detail. We can't account for it. Where'd those pesky details go? The bench data reveals none of this! How can it be?" More likely they said something like this: "These things sound alike under objective conditions, which was our goal. They're ready to produce. We'll let Marketing decide how they want to spin the new model."

As for the Classé, great build quality, but they don't know anything about amplifier-circuit design that everyone else doesn't know.
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post #15 of 195 Old 06-14-2012, 02:04 PM
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As for the Classé, great build quality, but they don't know anything about amplifier-circuit design that everyone else doesn't know.

Well said on all counts Mr. 322

And to put a finer point on your question, what is it that Classe knows about amplifiers that makes its sound a "NO CONTEST" winner over McIntosh or any other brand? To me, "NO CONTEST" suggests some huge margin of difference. ..It continues to surprise me that when all credible evidence suggests that differences b/w amps are essentially imperceptible, that some still claim them to be HUGE. If it was indeed a HUGE difference, then something was probably wrong with one of the amps (like tone controls not zero'd, polarity was crossed with one of the speakers, etc...), OR, more likely, they were NOT precisely level-matched.

As for Brian B's contention, I'd also like to know in precisely what way did the far pricier C48/MC452 Mac pre-amp/amp combo sound better than their integrated when both were within their operating range? ..And I'm sure it's possible to make the MA6600 clip with ANY speaker - just as it's possible to make ANY amp clip - but what was the sound pressure at clipping?? Unless the room was completely anechoic or monstrous, it was probably some insanely loud volume that would cause hearing damage if sustained for more than a few minutes. 200 watts/ channel is a ton of power and more than enough for any but the most insensitive (read: poorly designed) speakers. And, in most rooms, with most speakers, increasing amp output to 400 watts only nets a few extra decibels of clean output.
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post #16 of 195 Old 06-14-2012, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by syd123 View Post

And to put a finer point on your question, what is it that Classe knows about amplifiers that makes its sound a "NO CONTEST" winner over McIntosh or any other brand? To me, "NO CONTEST" suggests some huge margin of difference. ..It continues to surprise me that when all credible evidence suggests that differences b/w amps are essentially imperceptible, that some still claim them to be HUGE.

Maybe it's semantics, but I too would interpret "no contest" to mean "not even close." 'Course I'm nothing if not a reasonable person.

Unfortunately, claims of vast differences among electronics (or -- *sigh* -- speaker cables or interconnects or power cables) is the calling card of the "audiophile" (a self-bestowed term for which there are no qualifications or credentials). The idea that a Classé amp sounds vastly different from a McIntosh amp (or any modern solid-state amp of comparable output) sounds fishy at face value. It demands explanation, preferably one associated with quantifiable measurements. So how does an "audiophile" explain such things? Usually he doesn't. The "audiophile" just makes claims and upholds them without regard whether those claims stand to basic reason. "Audiophilia" is a religion; it's not a place for critical thinkers. (Well, unless "trust your ears" counts as critical thinking.)

By the way, I have no issue with McIntosh or Classé. I positively love McIntosh's iconic style, and I own B&W 700-series speakers (same parent company as Classé). In fact, I especially like Classé's new CP-800 preamp -- not for the way it "sounds" (it doesn't have a discernible sound) but because it has a buitl-in DAC and bass management. I hope that starts a trend.
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post #17 of 195 Old 06-14-2012, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Brownstone322 View Post

The idea that a Classé amp sounds vastly different from a McIntosh amp (or any modern solid-state amp of comparable output) sounds fishy at face value. It demands explanation, preferably one associated with quantifiable measurements. .

Again...very well put.

And I too very much like the look and feel of Classe gear, though it's disappointing that they no longer have an integrated amplifier. ..But I do like the idea of integrated bass management and DAC (if only for the sake of reducing cable-clutter and the number of components). ...I also admire the look/feel of Sim Audio gear - another Canadian company - the 700i Integrated is beautiful and built like a tank.
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post #18 of 195 Old 06-18-2012, 07:02 PM
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Ok guys , your right ALL amplifiers soud the same, i must have made a mistake i'm sorry, give me a break i'm a 67 years old NOVICE i will learn with time.

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post #19 of 195 Old 06-19-2012, 05:10 AM
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Ok guys , your right ALL amplifiers soud the same, i must have made a mistake i'm sorry, give me a break i'm a 67 years old NOVICE i will learn with time.

That's not what I believe. ...More accurately: I believe that present day amplifiers which are engineered for accuracy will, when operating within their design limits, sound alike. There ARE circumstances when they may not, for example: when tone controls are employed or when driven into clipping, or if malfunctioning. Credible studies support this claim.

You, on the other hand, believe that differences can be SO extreme that one amp clearly outperforms another - or, as you put it, "NO CONTEST".

So that I may become a believer, other than the two mentioned here, can I ask that you please do me this favor and give the brand and model number of two currently (or recently) available amplifiers that you have heard under precisely level-matched and blinded (no, this does not mean wearing a blind-fold, it means being kept from knowing which is playing) conditions that sounded so profoundly different that anyone with properly functioning hearing is bound to hear the difference? ..In other words, a "NO CONTEST" kinda difference. ..Given that my hearing measures well, and that I have vast experience with music, I will surely hear a difference, if one exists.

btw: no need for all bold. smile.gif
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post #20 of 195 Old 06-19-2012, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by syd123 View Post

That's not what I believe. ...More accurately: I believe that present day amplifiers which are engineered for accuracy will, when operating within their design limits, sound alike. There ARE circumstances when they may not, for example: when tone controls are employed or when driven into clipping, or if malfunctioning. Credible studies support this claim.
You, on the other hand, believe that differences can be SO extreme that one amp clearly outperforms another - or, as you put it, "NO CONTEST".
So that I may become a believer, other than the two mentioned here, can I ask that you please do me this favor and give the brand and model number of two currently (or recently) available amplifiers that you have heard under precisely level-matched and blinded (no, this does not mean wearing a blind-fold, it means being kept from knowing which is playing) conditions that sounded so profoundly different that anyone with properly functioning hearing is bound to hear the difference? ..In other words, a "NO CONTEST" kinda difference. ..Given that my hearing measures well, and that I have vast experience with music, I will surely hear a difference, if one exists.
btw: no need for all bold. smile.gif


You're right i'm wrong, what more do you want.?????
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post #21 of 195 Old 06-19-2012, 08:20 AM
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Your right i'm wrong, what more do you want.?????

What more do we want? I'd settle for "you're" (minus the bold).

Seriously, though, "all amps sound the same" is your own strawman, because no one actually makes that claim. But lots of people do say that "modern solid-state amplifiers operated within their limits sound the same," because their measurable differences are minuscule and below the threshold of audibility. Those kinda measurements set a high bar to clear. The fact that some self-anointed "audiophiles" insist that they (inexplicably) can hear what sensitive test gear cannot detect isn't very persuasive.

For what it's worth, I've owned several Class A/B amplifiers and now a Class D amplifier (admittedly a different species), and I don't hear any differences. They all sounded great. But make note that their specs for noise, distortion and frequency response are essentially interchangeable.
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post #22 of 195 Old 06-19-2012, 09:54 AM
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Your right i'm wrong, what more do you want.?????

I would love for you to stop typing in huge bold font.

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post #23 of 195 Old 06-19-2012, 11:01 AM
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I would love for you to stop typing in huge bold font.



No problem this is my last post, class D, what a joke

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post #24 of 195 Old 06-19-2012, 11:08 AM
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No problem this is my last post, class D, what a joke

Stated with the intellectual depth of a true "audiophile."
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post #25 of 195 Old 06-19-2012, 01:35 PM
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Ok guys , your right ALL amplifiers soud the same, i must have made a mistake i'm sorry, give me a break i'm a 67 years old NOVICE i will learn with time.

Hmm, 67 years old. I know many people your age whose hearing is so far gone that they couldn't hear a small difference even if it was audible to a far younger listener. Are you sure that you aren't just imagining that you are hearing differences?
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post #26 of 195 Old 06-20-2012, 12:10 AM
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Stated with the intellectual depth of a true "audiophile."

I was reading up a few years history on the Ayre DX-5 thread when all of a sudden I noticed…no postings from anybody above, to say nothing of the tender mercies of diomania, DS-21. It's inconceivable such a juicy target has escaped so long…

-is that thread moderated/filtered?
-is blu-ray outside of the "patrol beat"?
-are the DX-5 participants so far gone as to not merit even an attempt at their salvation?
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post #27 of 195 Old 06-21-2012, 06:03 PM
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Stated with the intellectual depth of a true "audiophile."

HeHeHe!

Pretty childish way to respond for a "67" year old person.

Pusrchasing amplifiers manufactured by Krell, Classe', McIntosh, etc...is a lifestyle choice as is buying beautifully made speaker cables. I purchase electronics based upon performance, build quality and asthetics. I purchase speakers based upon sound quality. I heard a Mac MA6900 powering a pair of B&W 802Ds and the system sounded fantastic! The equipment was beautifully made, it looked outstanding! Generally people with the means to own high-end speakers and amps owm very nice homes and asthetics are important to them. I bought Dynaudio for the sound, I bought Krell for the power and eye candy it provided.
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post #28 of 195 Old 06-23-2012, 02:00 PM
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This for sure is my last post, if you are the owner of a MA-6900 it should be very easy for you to compare it with the MA-6600 and let us know if for YOU they soud the same on your system, because for ME when someone compares B&W with Paradigm's i have SERIOUS doubts on their hearing, so please come back with an answer if you do compare. Thank You.

PS: I will no longer post, but i will continue to read your posts.

Chord CPM-2600 amplifier
Chord One cd player
Acoustat 1+1 speakers
Life without Acoustat is possible BUT senseless
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post #29 of 195 Old 07-12-2013, 03:31 AM
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I know this is and older thread but I just had to post because of a couple of reasons.
I've ran across this thread more than once over the last few months. So, it must be relatively easy to find if one is looking for Mcintosh information.
And given that, other people might be finding it easily also and reading it. Then, they might be leaving the thread with the general impression that all modern amplifiers sound alike.

This is simply not the case.

If you believe that modern amplifiers sound alike then:
A. You haven't actually listened to them.
B. You assume that because the specs are the same, then they must sound the alike.
C. You're testing them wrong.

If you are in camp "A", then you shouldn't be posting your opinion of different amplifiers.

If you are in camp "B", then you need to understand that there are different levels of quality of electronic parts that have the same specs. For example, a 22uF capacitor that costs $50 is going to sound better and different on your tweeter than a 22uF capacitor that cost 50 cents. They both have the same spec but are different quality.

If you are in camp "C".... well you might not even know it.

First, the wire. If you're using lamp shade wire from the hardware store for your speaker wire, then this is not going to be sufficient to test out different decent quality amplifiers with. The reason is that low quality wire can drag down the performance of decent quality amplifiers (as well as the entire system) and as such, make different amplifiers sound alike.

Second, the switching. If you are using a switch box of some kind to switch the amplifiers on the fly, then this is not going to be sufficient to test with either. Much like the wire, the switch box can drag down the performance and make the amplifiers sound alike. The only good way of switching to different amplifiers is by physically disconnecting the speaker wires and moving them from one amp to the next.

Lastly is the point of level matching. The only level matching you need to do is to match the perceived volume of one amplifier to the next. Perceived volume. This is the volume that YOU think that the amplifiers match at. No volt meter, no watt meter, no db meter is needed. The reason is this...At what frequency are you supposed to volt / watt/ db match? Even if you volt / watt / db match over the entire frequency range (using pink noise), different people still hear different frequencies in different ways. And different amplifiers put out different frequencies in different amounts in different ways. For example, one amplifier might be a little hotter in the mid-range while another might be a little bumpier in the bass. All the the bass and treble controls set to flat and with both amplifiers working properly.

My thanks to the old man and his insight comparing the 6600, 6900, and Classe. It helps to know that somebody has heard a difference between the the Mcintosh units and also his thoughts on the Classe.
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post #30 of 195 Old 07-13-2013, 01:53 PM
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You probably don't need to hear from me, as I admittedly don't know anything. But I've read (and read, and read) the endless debate on this subject on this forum, and I've seen that the other side has already addressed all of your points.

This includes evidence that a) wire does not make a difference b) blind, level matched amplifier tests have in fact been performed without using a switch box and no statistically significant audible difference was revealed and c) the point of level matching is to eliminate "perceived" level, since studies have apparently shown that listeners pick the "louder" sound as the "better" sound.

Not trying to argue with you here. Just pointing out that others have addressed these issues.
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