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Mcintosh integrated amp MA6600 for B&W 803D - Page 7

post #181 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by math-geek View Post

HeHeHe!

Pretty childish way to respond for a "67" year old person.

Pusrchasing amplifiers manufactured by Krell, Classe', McIntosh, etc...is a lifestyle choice as is buying beautifully made speaker cables. I purchase electronics based upon performance, build quality and asthetics. I purchase speakers based upon sound quality. I heard a Mac MA6900 powering a pair of B&W 802Ds and the system sounded fantastic! The equipment was beautifully made, it looked outstanding! Generally people with the means to own high-end speakers and amps owm very nice homes and asthetics are important to them. I bought Dynaudio for the sound, I bought Krell for the power and eye candy it provided.

There you go. That is audio buying the right way for the right reason. I once owned a pair of B&W 802's myself. They are excellent.
post #182 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by sh25ep View Post


This is simply not the case.

If you believe that modern amplifiers sound alike then:
A. You haven't actually listened to them.
B. You assume that because the specs are the same, then they must sound the alike.
C. You're testing them wrong.

Just to be clear. Not all modern amplifiers sound alike. Those with flat frequency response and inaudible distortion do sound alike. We tested several lower end tube amps, for instance, that had a sonic signature. But they didn't have a flat frequency response and their distortion was in the audible area. Also it is possible to overdrive and amplifier and overdriven amplifiers certainly do not sound the same as those being used within the design parameters. So, yes, we've listened to them but we tested them without hearing bias. I don't assume that, if the specs are the same, then they will sound alike. I confirm that without question from personal experience. No, it is you who are listening to them wrong If you allow hearing bias to affect your reaction to their sound or lack of sound.

I understand the audiophile love of amplifiers. I've been there and done that. I don't have a problem with people enjoying one amplifier over another. I just hope that they do so with the right knowledge and for the right reasons. Like many others, I like the look and panache and history of the McIntosh line. Nothing wrong with that.

 

Indeed, nothing wrong with it at all - so long as the buyer knows that he is paying for things not connected to the sound quality. In that regard, an Emotiva amp of similar power will sound the same as a McIntosh amp of the same power when used in the same circumstances. But that doesn't mean someone might not prefer owning the latter, for all manner of good reasons. The problem arises when people assume that a 6 grand amp is better than a $600 amp in terms of SQ, which is kinda what I think sh25ep believes. 

 

I'd extend your remarks above to say that all modern, solid state amplifiers, that are working within their design parameters (not clipping) and that are not broken sound indistinguishable from one another. Blind ABX tests confirm this time after time after time. As you know, amps are relatively easy things to design and manufacture and have been for decades. If they take the incoming signal and send it out unchanged, other than in amplitude, how could they sound 'different' to each other?  This is something the 'audiophiles' can never really answer.

post #183 of 195
If you don't hear a difference, then it's all in your head.
post #184 of 195

Back in "the day" I sold McIntosh equipment (late 70's-early 80's) and always thought the amps sounded most "neutral" with a wide variety of speakers, and have lusted over their equipment ever since.

 

I just completed an electronics upgrade, going from the NAD Masters Series (M3, M4 & M5) to a McIntosh MCD500 SACD/CD player and MAC6700 receiver and am pleasantly surprised how much smoother the McIntosh equipment sounds...not to say the NAD equipment was not excellent, but the MAC just doesn't seem to have a particular "sound".  I have also found that I can listen to the MAC all day, without fatigue.

 

I believe the amp in the MA6600 is the same basic design as that in the MAC6700 (which has a tuner and some other features, like a built in DAC, different headphone amp, etc.).  The 6600 should make those B&W's sing!

post #185 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by ejr1953 View Post

Back in "the day" I sold McIntosh equipment (late 70's-early 80's) and always thought the amps sounded most "neutral" with a wide variety of speakers, and have lusted over their equipment ever since.

I just completed an electronics upgrade, going from the NAD Masters Series (M3, M4 & M5) to a McIntosh MCD500 SACD/CD player and MAC6700 receiver and am pleasantly surprised how much smoother the McIntosh equipment sounds...not to say the NAD equipment was not excellent, but the MAC just doesn't seem to have a particular "sound".  I have also found that I can listen to the MAC all day, without fatigue.

I believe the amp in the MA6600 is the same basic design as that in the MAC6700 (which has a tuner and some other features, like a built in DAC, different headphone amp, etc.).  The 6600 should make those B&W's sing!

That describes expectation bias about as well as anything I've read.
post #186 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by sh25ep View Post

If you don't hear a difference, then it's all in your head.

Makes the point that either positive or negative results can be the result of expectation bias.

The rock solid way to gather evidence about this effect is to do listener training with tests that *have* to produce positive results to varying degrees. If you give the listeners something to try to hear that is well above threshold, you can be pretty confident about firing the ones that hear no differences.

I've done all this many different ways, and what I found is that most people do pretty well, and the people who have been doing DBTs for a while generally do a good job.

Blind testing is work and if you aren't interested or have poor hearing there's a strong tendency to lose interest.

Like I said, most people are good listeners - these kind of strategies fail to support the idea that there are golden ears who are simply worlds more sensitive than everybody else.

Well known golden ears can be among the worst. I presume that their well-honed skill is translating prejudices into prose, not so much actual critical listening to reliably detect small differences.

Experience also supports the idea that learning how to hear differences is a skill that sighted evaluations don't strengthen, while blind tests are good at strengthening the skills of good listeners. The thresholds don't change that much but the reliability sure does.
Edited by arnyk - 11/21/13 at 8:58am
post #187 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Makes the point that either positive or negative results can be the result of expectation bias.

The rock solid way to gather evidence about this effect is to do listener training with tests that *have* to produce positive results to varying degrees. If you give the listeners something to try to hear that is well above threshold, you can be pretty confident about firing the ones that hear no differences.

I've done all this many different ways, and what I found is that most people do pretty well, and the people who have been doing DBTs for a while generally do a good job.

Blind testing is work and if you aren't interested or have poor hearing there's a strong tendency to lose interest.

Like I said, most people are good listeners - these kind of strategies fail to support the idea that there are golden ears who are simply worlds more sensitive than everybody else.

Well known golden ears can be among the worst. I presume that their well-honed skill is translating prejudices into prose, not so much actual critical listening to reliably detect small differences.

Experience also supports the idea that learning how to hear differences is a skill that sighted evaluations don't strengthen, while blind tests are good at strengthening the skills of good listeners. The thresholds don't change that much but the reliability sure does.

I've found that to be true on a personal level. I've lost my expectation bias over the years from blind listening tests and I rarely suffer from it any longer. If it's an audible difference I hear it. If it's an inaudible difference I usually do not. While my hearing is no better than anyone elses, my listening skill is generally much more accurate that that of people who have not gone througth bias controlled tests - i.e. subjective magazine reviewers. I think also that the more people get involved in biased testing, the worse the bias becomes. Older experiences seem to feed new listening experiences. Bias controlled testing fixes all these things.
post #188 of 195
While I realize that this thread hasn't been responded to in a few months, I did want to relate my own experiences here...
I am 61 years old and have been purchasing, listening to and enjoying audio equipment all my life. Not that this makes me any kind of expert, just providing a little background.

I had been using a Denon 130wpc receiver to drive a pair of $800 Paradigm booshelf speakers and a JBL subwoofer when I decided to upgrade my system into something of an audiophile system. The very first thing I did was purchase a pair of B&W 600 series speakers. As I listened through the weeks, I noticed that the high frequency sounds all sounded a bit harsh, fake, irritating in a way. So, I looked into going to a new amp, all set to purchase a Rotel integrated amp which I thought would help.

What ended up happening, is that I compared the Rotel to a Macintosh integrated (MA-6300) and immediately noticed that the Rotel really didn't seem to sound much different than the Denon that I had been using. The McIntosh on the other hand seemed to treat the highs much better. They sounded smoother, more natual. Still not great but better.

Well fast forward a few months an I saw a deal that I just could not refuse. A pair of B&W 802D speakers for $9000. I bought them and to this day still use them with the MA-6300. Am I totally satisfied? No I am not as the MA-6300 STILL sounds to me a little strange in the high areas. Doing so research in during the next few weeks, I noticed a common complaint about the MA-6300 in that it tends to have slightly harsh highs. Ummm, this is exactly what I experience with it, and it is exactly what I experienced with the Denon I had used for years before.

So, I went to my friendly audio dealer, the same one who I purchased the 802Ds from and did some comparison tests...with the MA-6300, a McIntosh tube amp, and two Mac 600 watt monoblocs.

My conclusion? I am honestly not sure just how anyone can make the argument that all amps sound the same. Period. The differences weren't even subtle, they were obvious. I then went ahead and listened to even more amps and then concluded that no two of them sounded even remotely the same.

While I understand people who claim that all amps sound the same...theoretically they should I suppose, what I don't understand is how they can actually still make that claim even after listening to several different amps using the same speakers. And no, it's not subtle things like changing head position etc. The differences I have heard were so obvious it almost makes me wonder if the hearing in people who make the claim is just not very good.

Something of a proof to what I am saying is the fact that I had defined what I didn't like about my original Denon, and still experience in my McIntosh (the shrill high notes) and THEN AFTER having defined it, saw others with the same complaint. Well, if what I was experiencing was something in my own imagination, then how is it that others also have the same complaint having listened to the same equipment? When I listened to the 600wpc McIntosh monoblocs, I did not in any way shape or form experience the same shrill highs. As a matter of fact, of all the amps that I did audition, the only three that exhibited this behavior were the Denon, the MA-6300 and the Rotel that I listened to...and the McIntosh 6300, while still exhibiting this sound, still sounded far better than the Rotel.

So again, I just don't get it. While I believe that everyone here is saying what they truly believe and have experienced, so to ME it's like night an day with some of the comparisons. Is it just possible that people have different hearing capabilities and to some there is a difference and to others there isn't?
post #189 of 195

I'm 60 and have lusted after McIntosh equipment since working at a recording studio in college, later selling their gear at two high-end audio shops.  Back in the day, I noticed the difference you mentioned with the high frequencies, the amps with autoformers sounded smoother to me than those without.  I believe the MA6300 doesn't have autoformers, so that might be the "smoking gun".

 

I listened to an MA6300 driving a set of PSB towers and to me, they sounded a little shrill.  Not being familiar with the PSBs, I wasn't sure if it was the amp, the speakers, or the interaction between the two.

 

Last Fall I took the plunge and bought an MCD500 SACD/CD player and a MAC6700 receiver.  The sound (driving a set of Totem Fire monitors) is very warm, very "tube like".

post #190 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay968 View Post


My conclusion? I am honestly not sure just how anyone can make the argument that all amps sound the same. Period. The differences weren't even subtle, they were obvious. I then went ahead and listened to even more amps and then concluded that no two of them sounded even remotely the same.

I don't know of anyone that claims all amplifiers sound the same - at least not on this forum. Tube amps, for instance, almost always sound different from solid state amps. The reason is that they have audible distortion. When we talk about amps sounding the same we are always talking about modern solid state amps with measured distortion, noise and variance from a flat frequency response in the inaudible range.

In order to test for audible differences you need to do a bias controlled test or your hearing bias will control your reaction to the sound. In the case of comparing a tube amp to a solid state amp, a blind test usually isn't necessary because the differences are definitely audible. I've owned a total of 5 tube amplifiers in my audiophile days. 4 of them had obvious sonic signatures and one was indistinguishable from a solid state amp. Hope that helps clear things up.
post #191 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay968 View Post


My conclusion? I am honestly not sure just how anyone can make the argument that all amps sound the same. Period.

I am honestly surprised that you apparently haven't received the memo:

Nobody well informed says that all amps sound the same.
Quote:
The differences weren't even subtle, they were obvious. I then went ahead and listened to even more amps and then concluded that no two of them sounded even remotely the same.

So tell us about how you did your comparisons?

Were levels matched within 0.1 dB at least at say 1 KHz?

Were you able to switch between the amps you were comparing very rapidly - say within a second?

There is a well known human bias to hear differences when there are none, even if the two items I just mentioned are OK. What did you do about that?
post #192 of 195

I've found most nice audio systems are comprised of several "moving parts", the electronics, speakers, and the environment they are played in.  I agree with what's been posted here, that you can't make generalized statements about how this amp sounds like this and that amp sounds like that.  Plus, what it comes down to, as you get into the higher end with the equipment, is that it's tantamount to being somewhat like a "musical instrument" and open to all sorts of subjectives.  I happen to like the way my equipment sounds in my living room.  Someone else might enjoy something that sounds different.  That's what makes this hobby so great!  It seems like we are "never done", with upgrades!

post #193 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

I am honestly surprised that you apparently haven't received the memo:

Nobody well informed says that all amps sound the same.
So tell us about how you did your comparisons?

Were levels matched within 0.1 dB at least at say 1 KHz?

Were you able to switch between the amps you were comparing very rapidly - say within a second?

There is a well known human bias to hear differences when there are none, even if the two items I just mentioned are OK. What did you do about that?

holy double speak batman
post #194 of 195
Not really. One does not exclude the other.
post #195 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by CruelInventions View Post

Not really. One does not exclude the other.

That seems clear from the actual words used. I'm thinking that someone is struggling with denial, and is reading what they want to read.
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