Thinking of adding 2-channel amp - AVS Forum
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Good morning everyone,

I am new to this forum and was hoping for some opinions on a potential upgrade I was thinking of. I currently have a Pioneer SC-07 driving a Vienna Acoustic speaker system (Beethoven Baby Grands for front) with a Martin Logan Depth sub. I was considering making an upgrade to a McIntosh MA6600 two-channel amp for listening to music and using the Pioneer to process the surround for movies. I'm not quite sure if I'll hear enough of a difference musically to justify spending the $6K on a McIntosh amp. I've had a demo of a McIntosh (albeit it wasn't the MA6600) and it sounded great, but it wasn't in my home so I can't compare with the Pioneer. Any opinions on making the Mc purchase? Would the sound be that much better? I will be using an Oppo BDP-103 for CD's and a V-DAC II for streaming audio.

Cheers!
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Anyone...?
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:02 PM
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Is the dealer willing to let you try the amp at home and return it within say a couple of days if there's no real difference? 6K is a lot to spend and not know if it will make a difference.

"What do you mean it's too loud? My ears aren't even bleeding yet!"

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Old 01-23-2013, 12:14 PM
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Well, they are 4-ohm speakers, but you have an old flagship AVR that probably does them justice. Room treatments might make a bigger difference, or if you want newer room correction you might consider a newer Pio or perhaps one of the Denons with XT32 instead. Pretty sure if you bring a $6k amp in the house you'll hear a difference, real or imagined... Depending upon your finances, you could try a cheaper amp like Emotiva or Outlaw.

I respect Mac a lot, and have heard a lot of their equipment over the years (though never owned any), but have never really liked their amps. My last listen (couple of years ago) still left me thinking there are other, better amps for equal or less money. The Mac gear looks cool, however, and a lot of people really like them. To each his own. smile.gif

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Good points. Thanks for the input. I have read a few blogs about how the SC-07 may or may not drive the Vienna's to their full potential (seeing as how they're 4 ohm and the SC is rated at 6 at the low end). I wanted to make sure I had a unit that could do them justice. I would certainly like a higher-end amp, but not one that you're paying through the nose for name only. I don't care for bells and whistles, but musicality is a must! biggrin.gif
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:00 PM
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Although they have risen significantly in price I have always liked Bryston. That said, one member got rid of his Bryston when he got a newer AVR and hasn't missed it (on Salks, however). I decided to go value-wise and save money for the kid's college fund and bought an Emotiva XPA-2 to drive my (4-ohm but much less efficient than yours) Magnepans. In my small'ish room there is essentially no difference between using the XPA-2 and my Pioneer SC-27 at the volumes I usually use. (That was not the case with my previous Sony AVR.)

I honestly do not know what I would do in your shoes. My gut says to try one of the new Denon 4520s based on all the positive feedback here, and for me that is probably where I would put my money. Gets all the latest decoders, bells and whistles, arguably best room correction, etc. And I'd have money left over for an XPA-2, or pair of XPA-1's, if desired.

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:16 PM
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As a fellow VA owner, may I say you have a great pair of speakers Manicaudio. I also know that VA's can really suck up the power and thrive on it. I had a Pio Elite SC-25, very similar ICE amps as in your SC-07, and found that it was strained when pushing my 4 Ohm Viennas. I added a Parasound 5125 and no problems whatsoever. Basically I can get as loud as I please and no strain on the amp. It never breaks a sweat. And that is comforting for me to know.

The above being said, I assume you are looking for a 2 channel integrated amp to incorporate into your existing multi-channel HT system? Therefore whatever integrated amp you choose should have an HT Bypass feateure for seamless integration. I do not believe the MA6600 has this feature. There are many, many other makes and models to choose from that will improve your 2 channel performance for music and adequately power the VA's for either 2 channel or HT applications. So I am curious why the McIntosh 6600 at 6K? I could think of 1/2 dozen models at 1/2 the cost of the MAC that will get the job done with your VA's and have an HT Bypass feature

Don't get me wrong - I agree with the route you are pursuing. You need more power to make the Beethovens really sing and a quality integrated amp will do the trick. I am just wondering why the MAC when there are a lot of other high quality options. Two that immediately come to mind that would rival the McIntosh are the Musical Fidelity M6I (3K) and Marantz PM11S2 (4K). They just don't have the blue power meters.

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Old 01-24-2013, 07:02 AM - Thread Starter
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All very good comments, thanks very much! My "reasoning" for looking at McIntosh is that they are legendary AV equipment manufacturers. I don't want/need excess power for my set-up. I was looking for quality power. I wasn't sure if Marantz, Denon, or Pio could supply that. I would rather have less "power" but more quality than more "power" and less quality. I thought the Mac could give that to me. I will certanly explore other options based on your comments to compare. smile.gif
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:29 AM
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You're welcome. I agree with you on the quality part - I too place high value on gear of high quality that will last and be dependable. Macs are built to extremely high standards and designed to be heirloom pieces that can be passed down. At 6K, it better be! But there are many others that are of equal quality too at far less cost. And would have the HT Bypass feature that you need for proper integartion with your HT system. The Mac does not even have this.

Yes, I would strongly suggest exploring other options and products. The Marantz I recommended is one of their reference models built a the reference factory in Japan to meticulous standards. The Musical Fidelity is a UK high end audio manufacturer and the build quality in these are outstanding. In other words, while there is no dispute about McIntosh's quality but they are not the only game in town. Good luck and have fun as you start your search.

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Old 01-24-2013, 07:38 AM
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There are many high-end amplifier manufacturers if you do not want inexpensive. Might be worth picking up some audio magazines and looking through AVS and other forums (Whats Best Forum is another that comes to mind).

Audio Research, Boulder, Bryston, Classe, DartZeel, Krell, Levinson, McIntosh, Moon, Parasound, Rowland, etc...

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:40 AM - Thread Starter
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I can't wait to hear the Marantz. The only hi-fi store near me is a Magnolia Hi-Fi, which carries MAC, but also carries Marantz. I will see if they have the reference gear there. I don't recall seeing any Musical Fidelity equipment. I will give a listen to all! wink.gif
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:45 AM - Thread Starter
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DonH50, yes, I was thinking of Classe and Krell also. It's not that I don't want inexpensive...I've just been burned by not following the old adage of, "You get what you pay for." smile.gif I also intend to at least give the Marantz a listen!
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:25 AM
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I did not include Marantz Reference only because you already had it on your short list; by all means check them out! I still love that old gold look.

Above a fairly low entry-level price point, I have seen problems with amps ranging from (in today's dollars) maybe $500-$1k to ~$20k. Everyone can have a bad day. Fewer at the higher end, and generally build quality at least tracks price, but sonically I have found little difference for 10x the price except in special situations. Probably my cheap system (Pioneer AVR, Emo amps, Magnepan speakers) and ears of clay. I am fine with my Emotiva's but freely admit if I could afford them there would probably be ARC, Bryston, or Boulder sitting there. smile.gif

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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