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Thread: Need some Tube Amp & Pre Amp recomendations

  1. #1
    Senior Member SUPERBEE's Avatar
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    Need some Tube Amp & Pre Amp recomendations

    Here is my delima...

    I have a WONDERFULL set of Mac 75s that were properly refurbished to factory specs in the late 80s and a very nice MX110 that was all orginal and in great shape as my main system since 1990. Over the years they have needed minor work and re-tubing but now my authorized Mcintosh service place says they can no longer guarentee their work due to the age and scarcity of parts. And certain things like the automatic gain knobs on the 75s no longer work in the "Auto" setting. I have to manually adjust them and my service people say they cant fix that. Also my pre-amp will cut out certain channels at certain times. It seems to be a contectivity problem even though I just spent over $500 on cables. I use this system frequently and I NEED it to work all the time without problem.

    SO..........

    I am thinking of 3 options and I am looking for suggestions.
    1) Sell all the vintage gear and get into new tube gear in which case I am looking for recomendations on makes and models

    2) Find a another Pre Amp like a C22, C20 or even some brand new one and see if it is just the 110 that is going south

    3) Go to a different service place even though they wont be MAC certified


    ANY help or suggestions you all could offer would be terrific.

  2. #2
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    There are 2 places for McIntosh service that are easy to recommend.

    Audio Classics in New York-Richard Modafferi, the designer of the MR-78 tuner, is part of this company.
    http://www.audioclassics.com/

    Terry DeWick is well known for his McIntosh service, located in Tennessee.
    http://www.mcintoshaudio.com/dewick_repairs.htm

    I would fix what you have.


  3. #3
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    I have mixed feelings about those vintage Macs... I too have had a few MX110s and when they are in top shape they are a lot of fun. I really enjoyed them though I never felt they were the ultimate in audiophile terms. The problem is that every year or so something else would go... I felt like I was always trouble shooting. I prefer to turn on the music and listen.

    For a second system or as part of a vintage collection, I would consider the vintage Mac stuff again. For my primary system I think I'd get something younger than my wife.



    Widget

  4. #4
    Dang. Amateur speakerdave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SUPERBEE
    1) Sell all the vintage gear and get into new tube gear in which case I am looking for recomendations on makes and models
    This might be a good option if you are not attached to having the collectible amps, but be sure to find some new equipment whose sound you like before you sell off the McIntosh. You have not said what speakers you use, so we don't know how much power you need. If you need a power amp as powerful as the Mac I would suggest you explore Audio Research and Conrad-Johnson first.

    Quote Originally Posted by SUPERBEE
    2) Find a another Pre Amp like a C22, C20 or even some brand new one and see if it is just the 110 that is going south
    If I understand your description of the drop out problem, it could be the source selector or volume control in the preamp that is the problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by SUPERBEE
    3) Go to a different service place even though they wont be MAC certified
    This might actually be what you need to do. The Mac Certification probably entails certain procedures, like using factory parts. Maybe you should locate a shop that specializes in restoring classic equipment. Nearby would be best, of course, but there are some with on-line visibility (Vacuum Tube Valley and Audio Classics, for example) that would involve shipping your amps someplace. I don't have experience with either of those I've mentioned, but they've both been around for a while.

    David

  5. #5
    Dang. Amateur speakerdave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget
    I have mixed feelings about those vintage Macs...
    Yeah, me too. The power amps were pretty crystalline, the preamps ok, but the tube tuners (mine was an MR65) were a PITA, though a very nice sound.

    David

  6. #6
    Senior Member Audiobeer's Avatar
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    I agrre with 10 watt. Audi Classic are great! I like your ideal of the C22.....costly these days. The suggestion of Audio Research was my favorite!

  7. #7
    Senior Member SUPERBEE's Avatar
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    Thanx All...


    I would like to keep this stuff up and running as I do LOVE the sound and look. It is currently powering 2 JBL Olympus (from 1958 I believe) Now I do have a JBL Paragon as a second system and I am just running a Marrantz to power that so MAYBE what I could do is move the old Mac tube stuff to the Paragon and get some new tube gear to run my main system

  8. #8
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    I have found the Atma-Sphere OTL (output tranformerless) amps & preamp to work very well with my paragon. The clarity and bass are outstanding & the imaging is excellent. My first reaction was how "quick" the sound was & where did that bass come from! I also have a Mcintosh MR-67 tuner that was modded
    by Richard Modaferri at Audio Classics. What a sweet sounding tuner, still has a couple of the original tubes.
    Stephen C.

  9. #9
    Junior Member boristhespider's Avatar
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    back to the mac factory?

    Hey Superbee,

    Have you considered sending your old mac stuff back to the factory to be gone over? I have a problem child c-28 pre that I bought used in the late 70's that never had a properly working phono circuit. I had it in for service three different places and no one could get it to work for more than 30 minutes at a time. I'd take it in and they would work on it and play it for me at their shop, but when I got home it would work for a while and then crap out. These were factory authorized places around the sf bay area. I finally gave up. Then a little more than a year ago when I got back into hi-fi stuff I pulled the c-28 out of storage to check it out. I sounded like doggie pooh!
    I was a little gunshy about taking it in to a local service place since I'd had several bad experiences and finally decided to see if the factory could work on my preamp. I went to their website and ended up contacting the service department. I sent it off and a few weeks later got it back and everything finally worked! New switches, caps, and cleaned pots and it sounds like brand new, and has been completely reliable for the first time since I've had it! Just a thought, but you might want to consider it if you are serious about keeping the old gear. I've also heard great things about Terry DeWick and Audio Classics. Good luck on your decision!
    Last edited by boristhespider; 10-25-2005 at 12:52 AM. Reason: problem with smilies!

  10. #10
    Senior Member GordonW's Avatar
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    We carry the VAC tube line here at work; I can unconditionally recommend it. Great stuff.

    Something like a VAC Auricle preamp, with a pair of the Auricle MusicBloc monoblocks (KT88 outputs, 80w/ch), would be a great combo... not cheap, but the craftsmanship and build quality is commensurate with the price...

    As far as used gear is concerned, I second the recommendation for Audio Research stuff. Something like a SP6B or SP8 preamp, and an amp like a D52, D70, D76, D79 or the like, would be quite rugged and sound great...

    Regards,
    Gordon.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    Yes VAC is very nice, also Cary if you have got the dosh.

    Ian

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