Originally Posted by stephen_bj
Well gents that was an interesting and entertaining read for the night.
No kidding. I'd also add bizarre to the list of adjectives. I came here looking for some information - possibly some wisdom. I don't know about the OP's Q - let's hope he got something out of it.
I recently picked up an MC152 - pretty low end for McI stuff, but what I needed. Are there suitable amps for less money that sound as good? I think the NAD M25 I just added sounds as good - maybe better in some ways. I think the Marantz MM8077 that I replaced was dreadful in comparison. Did I have a preconceived bias? No - actually it took me well over a year of dissatisfied listening to decide that the "way cool" marketed MM8077 that I thought would be the bomb was not so way cool for my setup.
Now I am really enjoying the system - what changed? The amp - that's all. That all amps sounds the same seems like some diabolical insider gag to vex people. You have a box full of components, with all sorts of competing topologies, various layouts, attention to detail or not - how could they possibly all sound the same? And someone attributes that to the speakers? Seriously, if I connect my same speakers to two different amps, all things being equal, and one system sounds better than the other - because of speaker interaction or not, it still comes down to something different with the amp - something I hear - I'll call it sound - and I'll call it different sound. At some point we're going to have connect them to some speakers, so how they interact is important.
So was the M152 worth it? Yes. Overrated - perhaps, depends on who is rating it. Was it expensive - "ish", but not crazy - not $38K cable crazy. There's crazy audio stuff, but McI is not that crazy (OK, their cables seem crazy too!).
And I was buying more than the MC152 amp - I knew that was going to be solid - too many years in a competitive industry at some point would have otherwise exposed the emperor's new clothes by now most likely. Solid amp, no B.S., but I was also buying into the heritage, the styling, those cool meters (which some don't like and that's fine, but I do). When I brought in the NAD to fill out the other channels, I tested it out for a few weeks also powering the mains and it was fantastic - as nice as the MC152. Had I purchased it before the McI, I probably would have stuck with it all the way around - but I am fond of the meters and for no good reason other than I like them and the amp sounds great and is built beautifully (as is the NAD for that matter). I had no bias there either - never even paid any attention to NAD products, but I was looking for an amp and it came up on the short list and all the research I did was encouraging - I got a 60 trial and it's a keeper.
So now I'm considering a C47 or a C52 to raise the game on my 2-channel listening - not whether to, but which. I was hoping this post would be helpful. Oh well...