McIntosh MX-121 - any thoughts? - Page 3 - AVS Forum
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post #61 of 651 Old 02-14-2012, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post

Older models of Lambos actually shared a Nardi 3-spoke airbag steering wheel with the "NB" series Mazda Miata.

Well, scratch that. At least 6000 NB Miatas (the 2000 and 2001 Special Editions) has superior steering wheels to any Lambo, being wood-rimmed rather than leather-covered.

But your comparison is silly. Not having the most advanced version of the room correction system they're using is a serious demerit for this box.

Not sure which model Lambo your talking about that shared a wheel with the Miata. I own a few Lambos and non of them matched my friends Miata wheels.

But your point is well made that just because it shares specs does not mean that it is the same.

P.S. I have a full McIntosh and Focal stereo system in one of my Lamborghinis sounds amazing!

David

"You buy a Ferrari when you want to be somebody. You buy a Lamborghini when you are somebody." - Frank Sinatra
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post #62 of 651 Old 02-14-2012, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by rovingtravler View Post

Not sure which model Lambo your talking about that shared a wheel with the Miata. I own a few Lambos and non of them matched my friends Miata wheels.

I don't know them well. I find Lambos generally to be gaudy and insufferably nouveaux riche.

However, a friend of mine who was quoted a few years ago in Automobile Magazine about his experience with Lamborghini made the comparison to me.

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Originally Posted by rovingtravler View Post

But your point is well made that just because it shares specs does not mean that it is the same.

That was not my point at all.

My point was, if anything, opposite: unless Mac really messed something up, there is no chance the Mac part will sound the slightest bit different from the Marantz part.

The only way any of these parts can distinguish themselves is by either being colored by design (which isn't the Mac way, and isn't the case for the Marantz - though one could argue that the midrange notch imposed by Audyssey and common to both parts is a form of coloration by design) or by offering superior room correction software. This one appears to do neither.

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post #63 of 651 Old 02-14-2012, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post

I don't know them well. I find Lambos generally to be gaudy and insufferably nouveaux riche.

Considering many would say the same about Mac gear that is kind of funny.

David

"You buy a Ferrari when you want to be somebody. You buy a Lamborghini when you are somebody." - Frank Sinatra
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post #64 of 651 Old 02-14-2012, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post

But your comparison is silly.

Ya think?
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post #65 of 651 Old 02-14-2012, 06:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post

I find Lambos generally to be gaudy and insufferably nouveaux riche.

You forgot to quote the part where he asked for your opinion. Oh, wait, he didn't... Carry on.
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post #66 of 651 Old 02-15-2012, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by rovingtravler View Post

Considering many would say the same about Mac gear that is kind of funny.

Nah. I think of Mac as more old-school, to put it in automotive terms more like a Bristol, or maybe a vintage Jensen FF.

If you want an audio analog (hehe) to Lambo, I'd think something like Mark Levinson or Krell is more apt.

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post #67 of 651 Old 02-15-2012, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Tank_PD View Post

I would think for 6K they would have tried to offer a slimmed down version of Room Perfect. Similar to Anthem's offering of ARC at a lower price entry point.

Still wondering, why they are using a somewhat outdated Audyssey technology, which is nowadays only used in midlevel AVRs and not the newer XT32 version, which is sonically much more refined and corrects the room/speaker pairing a lot better especially in the bass region. Does not fit into the picture.
They would then share the same EQ system as the Marant AV7005, which has been broadly criticised for this decision.
Do they really use the Marantz AV7005 as a basis for their - much more - expensive processor ?
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post #68 of 651 Old 02-15-2012, 07:51 AM
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Yes, I can't see dropping this kind of coin on a unit with an outdated technology, why not put in XT32?
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post #69 of 651 Old 02-15-2012, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by saeyedoc View Post

Yes, I can't see dropping this kind of coin on a unit with an outdated technology, why not put in XT32?

Whatever their reasons (we don't know what they are), they certainly considered it but chose not to. It seems to be frighteningly similar to their MX150 at a fraction of the cost, with the focus on sound quality, so some things had to be compromised in order to reach that price point. You could argue, 'if the focus is sound quality, why not XT32' and you'd have a good point. I've opted to trust that their choices are appropriate for the big picture. I could be wrong, and I guess I'll know after I get it set up. Or, if the room correction works as it's meant to, I won't notice at all.
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post #70 of 651 Old 02-15-2012, 10:28 AM
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I wonder if there is the option to upgrade to the PRO version of eq...

Anyone know?

Bristol and Jennsen are out of business hopefully McIntosh sticks around.

David

"You buy a Ferrari when you want to be somebody. You buy a Lamborghini when you are somebody." - Frank Sinatra
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post #71 of 651 Old 02-16-2012, 07:48 AM
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I certainly hope, that from the previous chat on the few similarities that the MX121 happens to share with the Marantz AV7005, that people aren't suggesting these units will share a similar sound.

Paul
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post #72 of 651 Old 02-16-2012, 09:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by hidefpaul View Post

I certainly hope, that from the previous chat on the few similarities that the MX121 happens to share with the Marantz AV7005, that people aren't suggesting these units will share a similar sound.

Paul

Some are making this thinly-veiled suggestion (I suspect some are pissed off MX150 owners, others are Marantz owners, still others aren't interested in the progression of McIntosh), but there's no need for speculation: McIntosh has confirmed that the architecture is derived from their 150, the audio path(s) in particular. It isn't pulled directly from that box, but it's the little brother, no question.
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post #73 of 651 Old 02-16-2012, 03:31 PM
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I am trying to learn a little bit about what differentiates the "sound" of one modern processor from the next, like, in this case, the AV7005 and the MX-150. I thought they were supposed to accurately reproduce the source material and that the main difference in sound between processors was from the room-correct software or eq-ing. What other parts of the processor would make the MX-150 sound "better" or even "different" from the AV7005, other than the room correction software?
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post #74 of 651 Old 02-16-2012, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjackkrash View Post

I am trying to learn a little bit about what differentiates the "sound" of one modern processor from the next, like, in this case, the AV7005 and the MX-150. I thought they were supposed to accurately reproduce the source material and that the main difference in sound between processors was from the room-correct software or eq-ing. What other parts of the processor would make the MX-150 sound "better" or even "different" from the AV7005, other than the room correction software?

The problem or issue is that every piece in the path makes a small difference. Look at all the lower end units that use the same DACs but still sound different or the lower tier companies that use high end DACs or Video chips and still sound average at best. A pre/pro is more than the sum of its individual parts. It should have a synergy.

Now is one worht 12K another 6K and yet another 1K That is up to the end user.

I can say I have been to the Mac factory all be it a long time ago. It was amazing to see so many people actually doing the work.

David

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post #75 of 651 Old 02-18-2012, 08:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jjackkrash View Post

I thought they were supposed to accurately reproduce the source material and that the main difference in sound between processors was from the room-correct software or eq-ing.

It's far more complicated. I've never used eq or room correction with any of my processors and the differences between them have been vast. These corrective features (eq, etc.) are meat to help compensate for deficiencies in your listening environment, but they don't actually improve the clarity or definition of the sound as it passes through. Think of the efficiency of your car's engine. An inexpensive Escort might get 120 HP out of a couple liters of metal under the hood. Cheaper, inefficient parts steal power from the car as it works its way to the wheels. With better components and design, a race car will achieve many hundreds of HP from the same sized engine. The parts under the hood, and throughout the car, are substantially better at performing their individual tasks, and when brought altogether they dramatically improve speed and response.

With audio, as mentioned above, every component is trying to ruin the sound as it passes through. It's extremely difficult to build a clean signal path. As a hypothetical, one component which is 97% pure might cost $5 whereas another component, meant to serve the same purpose, but operating with 98% purity might cost $500. The higher you go, the more difficult it is to make additional improvements, and the value of each additional step increases exponentially. Movement up the lowest steps might run $20 each whereas movement up the very highest steps could cost you thousands for each rung.

i.e. -- move from $1K to $6K and the difference will be rather obvious. Move from $6K to $16K and many layman listeners won't hear any difference whatsoever. But there are people who'd settle for nothing less.

It will be interesting to see how much of the sound quality of the 150 can be retained by the 121.
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post #76 of 651 Old 02-18-2012, 09:53 PM - Thread Starter
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From McIntosh, regarding the differences between the 150 and 121: "primarily giving up features."

150 vs. 121 shootouts won't be easy to come by as it'll be tough to get them side-by-side.
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post #77 of 651 Old 02-19-2012, 04:44 AM
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Mac is very nice hardware, I only wish I could easily afford to buy it. Which is why most mac ownes buy mac cause they easily can. Most don't know much about audio or cars, just how to make lots of money. If its over priced and hard to get, the rich want it, cause the poorer 99% can only dream about it.. Mac is just another way to tell people I'm loaded... And thats a good thing in my book...
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post #78 of 651 Old 02-19-2012, 08:15 AM
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Ok Joe, I get it, there is I suppose a certain "cache" to owning one of these units.... However, I am not rich by any stretch of the imagination but I will certainly consider this unit, pending reviews/evaluations and doing some personal critical listening.
I am perhaps lucky that a local dealer will have this unit in as soon as it becomes available. I was at their showroom on Saturday and I fell in love with all the McIntosh gear. They had quite an extensive selection. I may even be able to take one of their 2 channel pre amps home to see how it performs with the rest of my gear. I really want to test the product before I commit to such a large sum of money for an audio product.

Paul
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post #79 of 651 Old 02-19-2012, 09:02 AM
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I'm seriously not trying to start anything, I'm trying to understand what makes one processor "better" than another regarding how it sounds, putting build quality aside. I have owned some performance cars and have a pretty good understanding of what made them "better" regarding performance. They had bigger brakes, better tuned suspension, a better tuned engine, more torque, more HP etc. The differences between my jacked-up Audio S4 and my wife's Camry were immediately obvious to anyone to got behind the wheel and I could open the hood and show people where the extra money was spent on performance parts and actually measure the performance differences with a stop watch and a speedometer. (I think better/more durable construction is a separate issue from performance/sound quality and, while obviously a desirable trait, just not what I am interested in for this discussion.)

Now, with a pre/pro, I guess I'm not a 100% sure all the functions it performs and what parts of that process make it better. Putting vinyl records aside, my picture of what a processor does is take Ones and Zeros that fly into it through a cable and channel them to a DAC, and the DAC converts the Ones and Zeros into a line-level analog signal that is supposed to accurately estimate the analog signal that existed before the signal was converted to Ones and Zeros. The processor also regulates the level of the analog signal and sends it to the amplifier, which determines how loud the sound is coming out of the speakers. The modern processor also does things like room correction/equalization and functions as an HDMI switchboard for all the input devises and has fancy networking features like Airplay, etc.

So, what attributes of a processor should I look at to evaluate what makes it sound "better"?

Off the top of my head, and having a poor math and engineering background, I can think of things like: (1) better DACs and a more powerful/better processing to convert the ones and zeros into an analog signal; (2) better insulated or shielded parts and electronics, to keep the noise floor low; (3) balanced outputs and XLR connections for a better connection and lower noise floor; and (4) better, more powerful room-correction software. Is there anything else I should be looking at when evaluating a processor that could make it sound better? Is my conception of what a processor does reasonably accurate?

I'd like to learn these things just to better understand what I am buying and where my money goes when I pay for performance parts. I am pretty happy with my Denon 4311, but I also want to understand what I might be missing out on, and I don't really have the opportunity to just go listen to a bunch of different gear for comparison purposes. And I obviously don't begrudge anyone who buys expensive, well built gear, for whatever reasons they personally choose to buy the gear.

Thanks for your time,

Jack
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post #80 of 651 Old 02-19-2012, 11:47 AM
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Because room acoustics and the interaction between speakers, sub(s), room and listenig position(s) play such a vital role in final SQ, that should be one of the major attributes to consider in a current processor.

After this speakers, sub(s) plus positioning them take a good second place, and in a distant view amplifier(s) and peripherals are the least relevant things which make up a great sounding system.
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post #81 of 651 Old 02-19-2012, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joehonest View Post

Mac is very nice hardware, I only wish I could easily afford to buy it. Which is why most mac ownes buy mac cause they easily can. Most don't know much about audio or cars, just how to make lots of money. If its over priced and hard to get, the rich want it, cause the poorer 99% can only dream about it.. Mac is just another way to tell people I'm loaded... And thats a good thing in my book...

I'm sure you realize that nearly all of your post is purely opinion, which you're entitled to. Unless you can cite facts?

In MY opinion, yes, Mac is a brand that many buy to be cool, but I'd "guess" that the bulk of Mac owners actually have a discerning ear and can recognize and appreciate the tangible advantages of such a high-caliber product. Sonic quality, not craftsmanship, though Mac has that, too.
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post #82 of 651 Old 02-20-2012, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by jjackkrash View Post

I'm seriously not trying to start anything, I'm trying to understand what makes one processor "better" than another regarding how it sounds, putting build quality aside..........

Thanks for your time,

Jack

Hi Jack, the question you are asking can be somewhat subjective and differs substantially considering who you ask.
In general, better DACs, boards, power supply and architecture should provide a better overall quality in sound from the respective product, with all other things being equal.....and by this I mean you are comparing two pre amps for example but in the same room with the same speakers, wiring, power supply etc. At this point swap out a 1 K unit with a 6 K unit. Will you be able to hear a difference, maybe, maybe not, but i am willing to bet that 99% of listeners will hear SQ differences. Now, are those diferrences worth a 5 K difference in cost? That is completely up to the individual who purchases it.

It's though to judge this sort of thing at times. I am currently looking for a pre amp. I have looked at the Integra 80.3, Marantz AV7005, Rotel 1572, Carry cinema 12 and now the McIntosh MX121. Funny, the less costly units seem to perform the basic tasks well and with very good sound quality, where as the more expensive units seem to suffer from issues that should not even exist in todays units, but are critically aclaimed to have superior sound. It's hard to find a unit that has all the bells and whistles of the lower priced ones and with superb sound. Or maybe the MX121 is that unit that finally bridges these two worlds. We will have to wait and see.

Paul
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post #83 of 651 Old 02-20-2012, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post

I'm sure you realize that nearly all of your post is purely opinion, which you're entitled to. Unless you can cite facts?

In MY opinion, yes, Mac is a brand that many buy to be cool, but I'd "guess" that the bulk of Mac owners actually have a discerning ear and can recognize and appreciate the tangible advantages of such a high-caliber product. Sonic quality, not craftsmanship, though Mac has that, too.

I've listen to mac many times, there hardware sounds no better than most other highend gear with the same specs.. Mac speakers do have a mac sound, It all great gear at ludacris pricing. The fit and finish costs, but the sonics can be had for much less.. Its one of the pecks in life, if you have to ask what it costs, than its probably not right for your budget..
When you walk into a new car dearship you wouldn't likely see the ferrari next to a ford, with audio, mac just may be parked next to denon, onkyo.
Now that mac is using mid level Audyssey, mac just may have the sound of the commoners audio. That day that "the help" says there stereo sounds the same... Mac is mixing blue blood with commoner's blood..
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post #84 of 651 Old 02-20-2012, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hidefpaul View Post


Hi Jack, the question you are asking can be somewhat subjective and differs substantially considering who you ask.
In general, better DACs, boards, power supply and architecture should provide a better overall quality in sound from the respective product, with all other things being equal.....and by this I mean you are comparing two pre amps for example but in the same room with the same speakers, wiring, power supply etc. At this point swap out a 1 K unit with a 6 K unit. Will you be able to hear a difference, maybe, maybe not, but i am willing to bet that 99% of listeners will hear SQ differences. Now, are those diferrences worth a 5 K difference in cost? That is completely up to the individual who purchases it.

It's though to judge this sort of thing at times. I am currently looking for a pre amp. I have looked at the Integra 80.3, Marantz AV7005, Rotel 1572, Carry cinema 12 and now the McIntosh MX121. Funny, the less costly units seem to perform the basic tasks well and with very good sound quality, where as the more expensive units seem to suffer from issues that should not even exist in todays units, but are critically aclaimed to have superior sound. It's hard to find a unit that has all the bells and whistles of the lower priced ones and with superb sound. Or maybe the MX121 is that unit that finally bridges these two worlds. We will have to wait and see.

Paul

I am looking for a Pre/pro and have been looking at some of the same names as Paul. The current front runner for me is the Anthem av50v. The retail is about the same as the mx-121. I have always wanted mcintosh but I don't want to drop the cash on it if there are better products for the same money. Any thoughts on Anthem vs Mcintosh?

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post #85 of 651 Old 02-20-2012, 07:40 PM
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I have an AVM50v and have owned MAC in the past. The AVM's ARC (room correction) is great much better in my opinion then XT probably better than XT32 and on pare with Pro depending on who you talk too. Knowing MAC there menu structure in the newer machine is better looking. OIt really depends on the feature set you are looking for and what is important to you. What features do you really want and what are nice to haves... and what do you not really care about at all?

All the air play and internet stuff is nice and is missing from the Anthem. Also the Anthem does NOT pass through HDMI when off, which would be a nice feature. No hieghts or wides. The 50v and D2v are great but they are on their last legs as far as upgradeablilty. Other than 1.4a I donot see Anthem keeping them around more than 2 years. All the modern things in the MRX line and in the Mac 121 will be in their next line probably the D3 and the AVM 60.

David

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post #86 of 651 Old 02-20-2012, 09:11 PM - Thread Starter
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If Audyssey is upgradeable via firmware (and I suspect that it is), I predict that they'll upgrade to XT32 eventually, once the 150 gets closer to its retirement, or Audyssey releases an upgrade. Better room correction is one thing which gives the 150 an advantage. If both units will coexist, and Mac says they will, there has to be a reason to buy the more expensive 150.
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post #87 of 651 Old 02-20-2012, 09:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post

In MY opinion, yes, Mac is a brand that many buy to be cool, but I'd "guess" that the bulk of Mac owners actually have a discerning ear and can recognize and appreciate the tangible advantages of such a high-caliber product. Sonic quality, not craftsmanship, though Mac has that, too.

LMAO!!!!!!! You know, people who love bose think the same way. It's marketing pure and simple. I bet you spend all sorts of money on rca's and power cords too
Mac is super nice looking gear, my bro in law sell them but if you think for 1 second that the majority people buying them are "audiophiles" you are sadly mistaken my friend. The majority of people are rich guys who are buying it on reputation, I've seen it first hand to many times to count.
They are also very brand loyal once they have a mac product. My BIL wagers 70% of gear sold is repeat customers. You are buying a name and a good piece of gear at a substantial dealer markup, nothing more.

We all do it. Buying designer clothes, cars etc. Theres nothing wrong with it, just that you know that a $600 pair of jeans vs a nice pair of silvers for $120 come down to a label and not actual quality. But you want peoiple to see the name, a status symbol.

Blasting brown notes for 10 years and counting!

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post #88 of 651 Old 02-21-2012, 07:18 AM
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Ok guys, so back to topic, when is this unit actually going to ship out or be at retailers?
I can't wait to hear this MX 121.


Paul
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post #89 of 651 Old 02-21-2012, 08:48 AM
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Paul,

Thanks for taking the time to answer my question. I'm sorry if things got off track a little.

Jack
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post #90 of 651 Old 02-21-2012, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N8DOGG View Post

Mac is super nice looking gear, my bro in law sell them but if you think for 1 second that the majority people buying them are "audiophiles" you are sadly mistaken my friend. The majority of people are rich guys who are buying it on reputation, I've seen it first hand to many times to count.

Never said they were audiophiles -- said they can hear the difference. A person may have no sense of value when spending their money, but it doesn't mean they have no sense of hearing, and to suggest that wealthy folks don't understand audio is ludicrous.

Mac is the "cool" brand, no question. Many people buy it to be cool, no doubts there. But does it sound good? Indeed it does, and that's the point. If it were cool and sounded average, we'd have a discussion.

My 121 will go in a closet in the basement never to be seen again. The appeal, to ME, is the feature set, brand reputation, and (hopefully) general quality and warmth of the Mac sound. If it doesn't meet the last criteria - the most important - it goes back.
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