Alright Arny... As someone who recently spent heavily on a McIntosh Integrated, I feel I need to speak up for those who buy this brand
And other than this one premium-brand indulgence, I don't own ANYTHING that would be considered such a boutiquey brand. ..No Tag Heuer or Rolex watches, no Harley, BMW, Viking stove, no expensive Pens, etc.. etc...
Firstly.. I'll make no attempt to decipher what you're showing there with the covers off of both a McIntosh receiver (which looks to be like 20 years old, by the way..) and a Denon; I'm not an EE or even much good with a soldering iron so if what you're saying is that the bits and pieces that make up these two amps are of similar quality, I'll take your word for it. That said... There ARE operational differences that I've noticed b/w my new Mac Integrated and just about EVERY other amp I've ever owned or still own (this includes Bryston, Peachtree, B&K, Onkyo, Denon, AudioSource, NAD) ..You've read about these (and commented on them) before. ..But for those who haven't, here goes:
- With my Mac amp I hear no hum and only the faintest hiss (ear pressed up to tweeter) when cd player is paused and volume turned all the way up. ...With all previous gear I would hear plenty of hiss (audible from listening position) and hum with only 1/2 gain. Does this matter when listening to music? No, but it bugged me all the same.
- Cross-talk b/w channel: Again, with cd player paused and volume at full gain, with all my other amps I could hear music from adjacent channels. ..Not so with this (or the other Macs I've listened to). Again, you'd never hear it while listening to music, but I figure they (the engineers) should know how to eliminate it completely.
- Signal balance is perfectly maintained as you turn down the volume, with EVERY one of the other amps I've owned (except the NAD C375bee) one speaker would go silent before the other;
- Build quality. The unique feel of the knobs, switches, metal-work, glass-panel, etc.. is unmistakeable. Like those who buy an expensive watch even though they know it's no better at time-keeping, I enjoy the stellar fit/finish of this beautiful McIntosh amp every time I use it. Denigrate me for this if you will.
- Wattage Meters: Though often dismissed as unnecessary and not 100% accurate (McIntosh claims them to be >98% accurate), I love being able to refer to the meters to make sure that I'm well below the danger zone with respect to my speakers. ..But as I've said, thus far I have yet to move them past 30 watts and at that level it is crazy loud.
- Bass/ Treble/ Balance/ Mono controls are included with EVERY McIntosh pre-amp and integrated amp. I can't fathom how any music-lover could abide owning gear that doesn't have this. ..The often made claim that these features negatively affect the sound, even when they are not in use, is pure audiophile quackery. ..When zero'd or off, they do NO harm, but when listening to a poorly recorded song (or a song with gimmicky stereo imaging) they can make the music soooo much more enjoyable.
- Heritage. I absolutely love the fact that Mac gear has been made for so long and through all the years a common aesthetic has been preserved. To me, the black glass face, silver-edged knobs, and backlit green lettering is striking without being gaudy.
- Hand-built in the USA. I'm no "Made In China" basher; indeed, I own tons of foreign built stuff and make no apologies for it. …That said, it's nice to own something built here in the US just 3 hours from my home.Edited by syd123 - 6/22/12 at 7:03am