Does upgrading to McIntosh is really worth the expense? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 02-12-2013, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Dear all,

I currently own a Marantz SR7005 with only 1 year of use, I have a 2 ch Marantz amplifier to run a pair of B&W CM9 and I also have a pair of Infinity Beta 20´s and the corresponding center channel. Player is a Sony PS3, which I use for BD and music.

This is a nice setup, nothing fancy.

As a work bonus payment is coming, I think I can afford to upgrade to McIntosh gear, I can buy an amplifier and a processor to replace the Marantz.

My question is: Is this really worth it? would you do it? how big of a difference would I hear if I upgrade?.

I believe that if I would hear a big difference, I would go for it, but if I would hear no noticeable difference, I would stick with what I have and rather buy a XBR 950 65" tv to replace my old one.

Kind regards

Marco
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post #2 of 17 Old 02-12-2013, 08:20 PM
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McIntosh is definitely better than Marantz (and a lot more expensive!), especially in terms of build quality and in regard to power amps, especially if you listen to music critically, but with your speakers I think your Marantz gear is more than adequate. If it's any comfort, I think McIntosh's entry level pre/pro is based on your Marantz pre/pro. If you had B&W Diamond 800s I would say the McIntosh would be a worthwhile upgrade, but as it is now I would invest in better speakers before I would get better electronics. I would use your bonus toward the Sony TV you want.
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post #3 of 17 Old 02-13-2013, 04:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes I understand your point. Thanks for your input.
Which speakers do you think make a good match with equipment of this quality?
kind regards
Marco
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post #4 of 17 Old 02-14-2013, 05:50 AM
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I love my McIntosh equipment and would say an upgrade would be worthwhile. I had Marantz and going to McIntosh improved things a great deal. Unfortunately going down this slope will lead to future upgrades and expenses.
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post #5 of 17 Old 02-14-2013, 06:09 AM
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Start with a McIntosh 2ch amp. I have owned a few, and they are things of beauty. And the sound is really world-class. I'm not sure if McIntosh processors would be a very good "value" in the traditional sense. They are relatively expensive, and processors are quickly outdated. Amps however, can last decades, and as such have good resale value.
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post #6 of 17 Old 02-14-2013, 06:43 AM
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Hi Marco

What you are proposing, in essence, is upgrading from very nice consumer gear to specialist hi-end. The parts and designs in hi-end gear result in better sound quality (generally speaking) due to many factors, but among them are the power supply and the analog outputs. Those who design this gear are relying heavily on the "art" side of engineering (listening) and use measurements as an aide.

There are many, many factors involved here, but MOST importantly is your media room. Are going to position the speakers properly? Will your main listening position (sweet spot) be positioned ideallly? Will you make an effort at some point to acoustically treat the room? You can blow all the money you want on gear, but if the couch is pinned against the back wall and the speakers are stuck against the front wall or near the side walls (or in the corners! ugh) then you will never hear what you paid for.

As for the gear, there are trade-offs. The new Marantz AV8801 is going to work virtually flawlessly. You can run Audyssey and call it a day. On the downside, this flagship does not have the analog output design that you will find in, say, a Cary Cinema 12 or a Bryston SP-3 (or presumably a Mac). Nor will the Marantz have a DAC implementation of a Bryston. Nor will it have the power supply design. Etc. But.....you are now getting into "boutique" gear. If you believe that Audyssey performs some kind of magic which you can't live without, then forget about hi-end. I would NEVER eq a great pre-amp and amp driving great speakers. Trims and delays...bass management, etc for home theater...sure. But not EQ. That's why cylinder bass traps are for. And a rug. And proper speaker positioning.
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post #7 of 17 Old 02-14-2013, 08:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psycho Marco View Post

My question is: Is this really worth it? would you do it? how big of a difference would I hear if I upgrade?.

You won't hear a meaningful difference. The McIntosh stuff will look a lot cooler, though. That is a perfectly valid reason to do it. Indeed, my pick would be better-looking audio kit over a big TV.
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Originally Posted by jh901 View Post

Hi Marco

What you are proposing, in essence, is upgrading from very nice consumer gear to specialist hi-end. The parts and designs in hi-end gear result in better sound quality (generally speaking) due to many factors, but among them are the power supply and the analog outputs. Those who design this gear are relying heavily on the "art" side of engineering (listening) and use measurements as an aide.

Incorrect all around.

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post #8 of 17 Old 02-14-2013, 09:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your input. Indeed looks are really important to me, but also performance, and in order to spend +10k in 2 pieces of equipment, I would need to hear a real improvement.

Position of the listening spot is important, I know that, I had to place my subwoofer in about 5 different locations in order to find the best place. Unfortunately, I live in a small apartment with only one big bedroom, in which aside from my bed, I have a futon and the tv and music gear. I can move things around a bit, but I don´t have too much space to do it. I have to adjust to the space I have (even do the bedroom is quite big).

Considering the processors, I concur with the fact that they get outdated very soon (and lets not talk about tv´s, which get outdated every 6 months), not like an amp or a pair of speakers, which you can use for many years or decades and will work like a charm.

Probably spending in a pair of B&W 800 series is not an option as my CM9´s are quite new (about one year), perhaps my best bet is to leave everything the way it is and save my money for my retirement LOL.

who knows?
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post #9 of 17 Old 02-14-2013, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post

You won't hear a meaningful difference.

Incorrect all around.

You have no experience in hi-end audio, so please refrain from misleading a forum member.

I've been upgrading my two channel audio system off and on for 20 years and the leap in sound quality from consumer gear (Best Buy) to the hi-end is astounding. I do feel badly for those who refuse to experience hi-end for themselves, but why try to keep others from the experience?

Take a look at the Bryston SP-3 thread and you will find that members are experiencing the real deal.

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post #10 of 17 Old 02-14-2013, 11:27 AM
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In regards to the TV...why the Sony? Have you looked at the Panasonic VT series? Maybe my hatred of LED blooming is causing a bias.
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post #11 of 17 Old 02-15-2013, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Stump909 View Post

In regards to the TV...why the Sony? Have you looked at the Panasonic VT series? Maybe my hatred of LED blooming is causing a bias.

Ok, I will take a look at it. I was deciding between the samsung 8 series and the sony xbr. The samsung is 1500 bucks cheaper, but the looks on the sony is far nicer IMHO.

I like sony stuff I think but will take a look at the panasonic.

Regards

Marco
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post #12 of 17 Old 02-15-2013, 02:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jh901 View Post

You have no experience in hi-end audio, so please refrain from misleading a forum member.

I've been upgrading my two channel audio system off and on for 20 years and the leap in sound quality from consumer gear (Best Buy) to the hi-end is astounding. I do feel badly for those who refuse to experience hi-end for themselves, but why try to keep others from the experience?

Take a look at the Bryston SP-3 thread and you will find that members are experiencing the real deal.

I think this is the beauty in audio, this is a very subjective matter, for some people it would be worthless to make the jump to hi end, to others it won´t. I have only heard once a McIntosh geat and it sounded awesome, but it was played with a pair of 30k speakers (each).

Regards
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post #13 of 17 Old 02-15-2013, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam S View Post

Start with a McIntosh 2ch amp. I have owned a few, and they are things of beauty. And the sound is really world-class. I'm not sure if McIntosh processors would be a very good "value" in the traditional sense. They are relatively expensive, and processors are quickly outdated. Amps however, can last decades, and as such have good resale value.

I would totally agree. I had my MC252 running my Monitor Audio GR20's and noticed a huge difference even with my old Marantz SR18EX. I have been upgrading ever since and always feel I have heard a huge upgrade each time. I am a big fan of the MC501's for left, right, center. I have two MX119's.

I have ordered a Bryston SP3 but I was looking closely at the MV8801. I think the MV8801 with McIntosh amps would be great!
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post #14 of 17 Old 02-15-2013, 06:17 PM
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I always strive for balance in a system, and I see your current system as balanced. The problem with upgrading to a McIntosh amp (which looks and sounds awesome but isn't a "value" piece by any means) is that you'll then want new speakers (at least B&W 803s and HTM2 for the fronts if you like B&W) and then a new preamp and then a new source and then you have a totally new (better) system, but you've spent two or three or four or more times what you originally were going to spend.

Getting a new TV (I think the Sony is great if you want an LCD or a Panasonic if you want a plasma) and saving for retirement (not so fun but necessary) is a better option unless you're prepared to spend a bunch of money in the next year or two.
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post #15 of 17 Old 12-26-2013, 09:22 AM
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I always believe in "you get what you pay for" so, that means, McIntosh may cost a lot more but to my experience it is worth it, And yes, if you are an audiophile person, you will hear the difference specially after a new Mac gear has been broken in.
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post #16 of 17 Old 12-26-2013, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by miketuason View Post

I always believe in "you get what you pay for" so, that means, McIntosh may cost a lot more but to my experience it is worth it, And yes, if you are an audiophile person, you will hear the difference specially after a new Mac gear has been broken in.

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post #17 of 17 Old 12-26-2013, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by miketuason View Post

I always believe in "you get what you pay for" so, that means, McIntosh may cost a lot more but to my experience it is worth it, And yes, if you are an audiophile person, you will hear the difference specially after a new Mac gear has been broken in.

High end dealers must love you.
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