McIntosh MX-121 - any thoughts? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 651 Old 12-28-2011, 09:23 PM - Thread Starter
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I realize that it's not out yet, and that info is scarce, but you guys are very resourceful and I figured that someone must have the lowdown.

Anything to add? Or any thoughts?
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post #2 of 651 Old 12-28-2011, 10:02 PM
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I have not heard anymore than you have I am sure. Kind of pricey for a processor, but obviously it looks nice next to their amps

I can understand a McIntosh amp owner with the cash being interested.

I wonder if they outsourced a lot of the work. That's a lot of complex functionality for a small company to manage. Are they affiliated with a larger company?

Has there been any mention of any room correction system?

There was some discussion here (http://www.audioaficionado.org/mcint...s-mx121-2.html)

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post #3 of 651 Old 12-28-2011, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post


I wonder if they outsourced a lot of the work. That's a lot of complex functionality for a small company to manage. Are they affiliated with a larger company?

Has there been any mention of any room correction system?

McIntosh is one of the brands owned by D&M Holdings, who also have Denon and Marantz.

I'd venture a guess that McIntosh will use their room correction suite "Room Perfect", which seemed to do a good job when Kal reviewed it in the MX-150. Of course, that is just a WAG on my part.

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post #4 of 651 Old 12-28-2011, 11:44 PM
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Thanks, I thought Mc was part of D&M, but did not want to sound dumb by assuming I remembered correctly.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #5 of 651 Old 12-29-2011, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

That's a lot of complex functionality for a small company to manage. Are they affiliated with a larger company?

I'm sure much of that technology will be adopted from their current MX-150, which is no slouch.
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post #6 of 651 Old 01-02-2012, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Having just read an essay and seen a photo tour of the McIntosh factory, I can't imagine that shared ownership would affect their stalwart processes one bit. They're all about heritage, and they seem like the type of company which would ward off that type of outside influence (e.g. using Marantz components against their will) into their assembly lines. Though the economy is tough and anything's possible.
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post #7 of 651 Old 01-10-2012, 05:00 PM - Thread Starter
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(...crickets...)

The 121 is being shown at CES. The impressive list of components is going to piss off a lot of 150 owners who paid MUCH more. It's not as robust as a 150, but nearly, and it's only $6K.
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post #8 of 651 Old 01-13-2012, 02:01 PM
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Dont bet the farm that Mcintosh will keep the MX121 up to date with timely updates!!

Who knows, next year they'll re-introduce another processor at half the price of the MX121 to burn those owners that bought one!

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post #9 of 651 Old 01-15-2012, 08:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by scanido View Post

Dont bet the farm that Mcintosh will keep the MX121 up to date with timely updates!!

Who knows, next year they'll re-introduce another processor at half the price of the MX121 to burn those owners that bought one!

In fact it's more likely that they will NOT introduce another processor at half the price, unless you have some insider's info which suggests otherwise? I realize this pisses off MX-150 owners, but that shouldn't tarnish the reality of the 121. McIntosh is simply adjusting to their sales figures, but they don't appear to give way to quality with this piece.

Immediately after hearing about the features of the 121 I ordered one. It will accompany Krell and Accuphase processors which I keep in other rooms. I'll get them all together for a shoot-out and post a review. I doubt it will outpace the Accuphase but I'm very curious how it stands up against the Krell. It will have better features but how will it rank in the category that matters most: sound.
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post #10 of 651 Old 01-15-2012, 09:03 PM
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Wouldn't be surprised if it's quite similar to the Marantz part under the skin. Maybe the same boards, but strung together in Binghamton rather than some Chinese village.

The multichannel amp they released also looks a bit cheesy. At that price, if they want to digitize the meters they should have a Retina display for each meter, not a few cheesy LEDs arrayed in a fan.

I know I would pay a lot of money for a modern, efficient (that is to say, Class D) amp with hi-rez virtual LCD/OLED "meters" and ~250W/7ch/8Ω. The electronics are just commodity parts, but I like the McIntosh look.

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post #11 of 651 Old 01-15-2012, 10:52 PM
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MX-121 is supposed to have Audyssey and not use Lyngdorf system used in the MX-150.

If you don't need 7 channels, then going to the MC205 (5-ch) is the same price as the new amp.

So, you can get the meters and spend half as much on the pre if it is more in your price range.

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post #12 of 651 Old 01-16-2012, 12:21 AM
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Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post

Wouldn't be surprised if it's quite similar to the Marantz part under the skin. Maybe the same boards, but strung together in Binghamton rather than some Chinese village.

+1.

Their processors aren't anything revolutionary; they're very nice, but they're still drawing from the same pool of commodity parts as everyone else (like Denon and Marantz are, like Harman is, etc). This isn't to say "don't" - if you like the look and have matching components, it's a very appealing option ("all McIntosh" rooms are very imposing, visually, the $100,000 price-tag might be a bit rough for some people to swallow though). That said, you can easily spend less for the same.

It's your own choice, but I wouldn't get too hung up on the "they're obsessed with heritage and this and that" blah blah - they're a business and their goal is to make money.
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post #13 of 651 Old 01-16-2012, 09:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post

Wouldn't be surprised if it's quite similar to the Marantz part under the skin.

In fact I would be very surprised. What evidence do we have that McIntosh would share a large percentage of their components with another company merely because it's owned by the same parent corporation? Some do this, some do not. McIntosh isn't exactly the type. So what "evidence" - proof - do we have?

I had Marantz's top-of-the-line processor here for a day (returned it immediately because it sounded merely "good"). The 121 is expected in a couple of weeks -- I'll also describe it as compared to my memory of the Marantz.
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post #14 of 651 Old 01-18-2012, 02:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post

In fact I would be very surprised. What evidence do we have that McIntosh would share a large percentage of their components with another company merely because it's owned by the same parent corporation? Some do this, some do not. McIntosh isn't exactly the type. So what "evidence" - proof - do we have?

I had Marantz's top-of-the-line processor here for a day (returned it immediately because it sounded merely "good"). The 121 is expected in a couple of weeks -- I'll also describe it as compared to my memory of the Marantz.

Ignoring that your description will mean nothing (that dog don't hunt), can we cut the brand-worship out?

You claim that McIntosh "isn't the type" and that they "care" - got any proof to substantiate this? You're the one making the claim after all.
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post #15 of 651 Old 01-18-2012, 01:12 PM
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Maybe just post a picture of the inside and we can all see what the part/build quality looks like.

No reason to guess either way. Since D&M&Mc are under the same umbrella that offers the ability to get better deals on part quantity. That should help reduce the price, nothing more...

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post #16 of 651 Old 01-18-2012, 03:21 PM
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From what I have been told the only thing Denon/Marantz about the MX121 is the HDMI chip set. The rest is McIntosh. It will use the Audyssey room correction rather than the Lindorff room correction. It will be a 7-channel processor
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post #17 of 651 Old 01-18-2012, 03:33 PM
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One thing that would be critical for me is to have balanced outputs on all seven channels to run to the amplifiers.

I sure don't want any unbalanced cables over 4 feet long running to an amplifier, which I would want to have located near the speakers.

That is one nice feature of the Marantz AV7500, but I would assume that a McIntosh unit would also have them.

Too bad Audio Research doesn't make one yet; made in Minnesota...ay-yup.



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Originally Posted by Webomatic View Post

From what I have been told the only thing Denon/Marantz about the MX121 is the HDMI chip set. The rest is McIntosh. It will use the Audyssey room correction rather than the Lindorff room correction. It will be a 7-channel processor

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post #18 of 651 Old 01-18-2012, 03:47 PM
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It will have a pair of balanced inputs and a full set of balanced outputs for each channel.

It will have two HDMI outputs, and will have the AirPlay feature onboard.

Looking at the cut sheet Mac sent me last month
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post #19 of 651 Old 01-18-2012, 06:33 PM
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One thing that would be critical for me is to have balanced outputs on all seven channels to run to the amplifiers.

See below.
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post #20 of 651 Old 01-19-2012, 07:03 AM
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See below.

It looks like from rear panel hookup posted that this unit is 7.2 which is two subwoofer output. That is fantastic because it really takes two subwoofers for right and left channels to dial in the room correction to sound properly especially for dedicated audio listening. From what I understand that the analog secton of this piece is all discrete electronics like their dedicated preamplifier line. These two factors are critical to me because it will serve as a center hub of my system that is all ultra high end audiophile components that I use as home theater and critical audio listening in stereo or multi-channel mode. Also, it looks like all the input and output features that i want seems to be convered with rear panel layout. So I think I will hold off upgrading my Krell HTS 7.1 to the Cary Cinema 12 now which is an excellent piece but is 7.1. Just wondering when MX121 will become available.
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post #21 of 651 Old 01-19-2012, 09:04 AM
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Looks fairly similar to the AV7005 from the back. The individual blocks are in different places, but labeling and layout is identical within blocks. Few features don't overlap, obviously, but still, looks very similar.
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post #22 of 651 Old 01-19-2012, 09:32 AM
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I hope the analog preamp is as good as my MX-119's.

Do we know if you can bypass Audyssey?

I believe the MX-150 moves the analog inputs to digital and then runs them through Lyngdorf.
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post #23 of 651 Old 01-19-2012, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post

In fact I would be very surprised. What evidence do we have that McIntosh would share a large percentage of their components with another company merely because it's owned by the same parent corporation?

That is what a rational company would do with commodity parts like A/V equipment, yes. And I suspect there will be more of that at DRM as time progresses.

However, given the picture Prof. Rubinson posted it seems that at the very least the layout is different.

There's no real advantage to be had by "going it alone." Except perhaps in loudspeakers, because there we're no longer talking about commodity electronic parts. I would love to hear the current McIntosh speakers with their arrays of black-domed Aura Whispers. That's a fantastic little driver.

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I had Marantz's top-of-the-line processor here for a day (returned it immediately because it sounded merely "good"). The 121 is expected in a couple of weeks -- I'll also describe it as compared to my memory of the Marantz.

I assume such "listening" was not properly even level-matched, let alone blind.

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post #24 of 651 Old 01-19-2012, 01:43 PM
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So I think I will hold off upgrading my Krell HTS 7.1 to the Cary Cinema 12 now which is an excellent piece but is 7.1.

The Mac also has a useful roomEQ.

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post #25 of 651 Old 01-19-2012, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by wagnerc View Post

Do we know if you can bypass Audyssey?

AFAIK, every product with Audyssey has the ability to bypass it.

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post #26 of 651 Old 01-19-2012, 10:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Webomatic View Post

From what I have been told the only thing Denon/Marantz about the MX121 is the HDMI chip set. The rest is McIntosh.

I was told the same thing this week.
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post #27 of 651 Old 01-19-2012, 10:57 PM - Thread Starter
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I assume such "listening" was not properly even level-matched, let alone blind.

You are assuming, yes. I'm an audio engineer by trade so I don't come at this casually. The required science consisted of playing my reference albums and judging with my ears. It sounded "good" but, for this location, where a 10-year-old Krell currently lives (great sound - outdated functionality), I'm wanting more. It was a large step backwards in every way, which shouldn't be surprising.

The 121 is being purchased with the option to return it if it's not up to snuff. We shall see.
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post #28 of 651 Old 01-20-2012, 08:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

The Mac also has a useful roomEQ.

I'm surprised it only has MultEQ XT on board, though. No mention of Pro calibration, either, but perhaps at this level it is assumed someone will come over and use the professional version to get the most out of the software.

MultEQ XT is useful, yes. But lots of parts today ship with XT32 at much lower prices, and of course in that range there are the Anthem and Anthem Statement parts with their arguably even better room correction software.

Really, in a released-in-2012 $6000 part, not having the current flagship version of Audyssey's room correction software is a puzzling shortcoming.

Perhaps it has the DSP horsepower required for XT32, and updating it to 2012-worthy spec is a firmware update away. Or there was simply an error in the spec sheet.

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You are assuming, yes.

And, from what you subsequently posted, my assumption was entirely correct. Thank you.

According to your own words, you did not attempt any sort of controls (blind listening is best, but precise level matching is absolutely required to make valid comparisons between parts) that would make "listening with [your] reference albums and judging with [your] ears" anything but a waste of your time. Your "explanation" pointedly did not mention sticking a multimeter in the output ports of both parts to ensure that they were matched to under known just-noticeable-difference (JND) thresholds across the band.

Being an "audio engineer by trade" is, of course, entirely irrelevant. Though one would perhaps expect an "audio engineer" to understand basic concepts such as listener bias and the effect of small level differences on perception of sonics...

Now, if you are really talking about the Krell with no EQ (I assume it's it's too primitive, oops I mean "purist," to have such things) compared to the Marantz after running Audyssey, then what you heard is actually just probably rather large frequency response differences. The McIntosh will be no better than the Marantz in that case, because they run the same version of Audyssey.

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post #29 of 651 Old 01-20-2012, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
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...

Interesting decorum. I can't hear a word you're saying over that axe you're grinding. Find a way to get past that, contribute something relevant to the topic, and I'd be happy to continue in a useful dialogue, but I won't spend time proving or disproving bullet points that only you feel are important to me.
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post #30 of 651 Old 01-20-2012, 09:41 AM
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I have read that the mac 121 does have XT32. Is that not correct??
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