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  • My System
    Klipsch Forte III
    McIntosh C41
    McIntosh MC152
    Rega Planar 6
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    Schiit Modi 3+
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  1. I am making fun of all of us (including myself) on how serious we take this hobby and the actions and statements that leads us to make -- not passing judgement. But thanks for making my point.
  2. You can hear a difference between amps? Interesting.... Confirmation bias is funny thing (says the person with a multi-thousand dollar stack of McIntosh electronics). The lies we tell ourselves and the purchases we make to feel superior over one another.
  3. For what it's worth, I went from an McIntosh MX110 and MC240 to an McIntosh C41 and MC152 (vintage tube to modern solid state). I am running Forte IIIs. I did not notice a huge difference between tube amp vs solid state amp. The differences I observed was better and tighter bass. I am not sure if its the solid state topology driving this or the increase in watts -- 55 to 200+. I came away thinking the Forte's like watts. Now, on the preamp side, I did notice a big change. I chalk this up to the much lower noise floor of the C41 compared to the MX110. Did I lose some tube magic? Yes. But, what I got back in return was sharper, clearer, mids and highs. However, at very loud volumes, it was not subtle or soft with the solid state vs the tube pre. This might be an artifact of the Forte IIIs themselves? Both the tube and solid state electronics worked very well with Forte's. Good luck on your journey -- you can't make a wrong choice.
  4. I don't have experience with Klipsch Cornwall's and McIntosh, but I do have experience with Forte IIIs and McIntosh. Initially, I ran my Forte's with an MC240 and MX110. I switched out the MX110 for C41 (more modern solid state pre-amp) and eventually replaced the MC240 with an MC152. First, you really can't make a bad choice. Tubes vs solid state will likely sound different and so will modern vs vintage. You should listen to all the different combinations your are considering if you can. I choose the modern route for ease of use and reliability. I do trade-off the tube magic, but in exchange, I get a more clean and detailed sound (the modern gear has significantly lower distortion and higher SND and I believe this makes a difference with the highly efficient Forte IIIs). I also find more watts for the Fortes controls the bass/woofers better -- which I prefer over the tube amp. Tube amps typically have lower dampening factor than a solid state amp and that could matter to you (depending on your sound reproduction preferences for bass). This maybe less of a factor for you than it was for me, as the MC275 likely produces close to 100 watts, which is significantly more powerful than the 55 watts the MC240 bench tested at but still far less than the 250+ watts the MC152 can produce. The difference in damping factors between a modern MC275 and MC152 still remains, however. I did feel the tube setup tamed the Forte's at high volumes (>85db) better than the solid state. But from what I read in the differences between the IIIs and IVs this issue might already be solved with the improved crossover network and less of a concern. A lot of folks are happy going with a tube pre and a solid state amp, so that is also always a consideration if you like a little bit of both the tube and solid state flavor (which sounds like you are considering). Both the MC152 and MC275 (modern versions) and are designed competently and distortion will not be audible. The MC152 is closer to the state of the art of modern amplification if that matters to you. Lastly, tube amps cost more to operate, generate more heat, and require replacing tubes. With my MC240, I replaced output tubes about once a year which cost about $200. I bet output tubes last longer in an MC275, but cost of operations (both in the amount of heat it produces, electricity it draws, and the need to replace tubes) exceeds the cost of operating the MC152. I can also vouch for the guys at Audio Classics. Always first class service from them. They restored my MC240 and MX110 and set me up with my C41. They also recommended the MC152 with my Fortes when I wanted to make the jump from tube to modern solid state.
  5. You are living my dream life. I hope I was not to glib about my watts comment. I loved my classic McIntosh tube gear, but changed it up because of my current lifestyle. I have a young daughter who I worried about around hot tubes. And now working from home, the stereo is on all the time. I went through a set of output tubes in the MC240 last year because I was home and listening to the amp so much. Completely agree with Klipsch. My dad has magneplanar’s, 3.6s, and he was very skeptical when I got the Forte’s but changed his tune upon listening. When I heard the harbeth slh5’s 6 or 7 years ago I thought they would be my next speaker. After hearing and living with Klipsch, I am not sure if I could ever give up the dynamics they provide. I love live music. I went to 4 live shows last month, including seeing an orchestra play at the Kennedy Center. Klipsch, for me, comes the closet to replicating live music in my home. A big plus in my book. Have fun with all your gear and great systems! One day, I hope I also have several different flavors of sound in various rooms.
  6. Thanks for sharing your perspective. You are the first person I have read that has both Devore and Klipsch heritage speakers. I have Klipsch Forte III's, although I was very keen on DeVore Orangutan 93s when I was contemplating my purchase in early 2019. At the time, I lived in Brooklyn in the same neighborhood of John Devore and thought it would be apropos to pair some of his speakers with the vintage McIntosh tube gear I had at the time (MC240 and MX110). I could not swallow the high cost of the Devore speakers, and because I was in a Brooklyn apartment, I went with the Forte III's. I have been very happy. But, also curious about what I might have left on the table. I am now in a Washington D.C. apartment, so a larger speaker like the Cornwall IV is still likely a no go (although I do have a living room that can fit them). The Forte is more appropriate and to me, still sound very good. The dream of the Cornwall's lives on... On the electronics front, I moved on to more modern McIntosh gear -- MC152 and a C41 (both solid state). To my ears, this was an improvement. For those of us that value low distortion, and high SND -- I guess that is to be expected? I also find, with the Forte's at least, that the right amount of power is more like 150 watts per channel than 55 watts (that I was getting with the MC240). Sure, I only use less than a 1 watt durning my listening sessions, but I find having more power controls the speakers better. And the bass, in particular, is more solid/present. I don't recall the math exactly, but if you want to experience the full dynamics of music listened to at or near live performance levels, you need the headroom only more watts can provide. For example, taking the Forte's sensitivity of 99db to achieve the dynamic peaks of an orchestra (which I wont be doing in my apartment) in the 110s db range, you would need around 150 watts on tap. There is a reason folks are putting 450+ watts on 85-90db efficient speakers. And using math (logarithms baby!) many efficient speakers (>95db) could stand to be fed some watts. I have been hanging around this forum long enough that I know this perspective would not run afoul of PWK (in fact, I believe it is exactly what he recommended) Anyways, appreciate your first post here. Welcome!
  7. This topic is always so interesting when it comes around. I tend to accept a part of my audio habit is enjoying an illusion (delusion?). But hey, people enjoy getting high or drunk for entertainment too. Listening, at least below a certain DB level, does not cause physical harm. None of us are really smart enough to scientifically test (or identify what we should be testing) to ferret out our own audio preferences. Clearly, some have made progress. The ones that get a piece of it right, PWK, for example, are geniuses that stand the test of time. Not many of those. The most solid ground I have found is that I don't know much (and neither do you). In this vein, psychoacoustics quickly becomes a pursuit of what it is like/what does it mean to exist? A twist on a classic philosophical thought experiment comes to mind -- if a tree falls in the forest how does it sound to you? To me? And if neither of us are there, does it make any sound? Like most existential questions we humans try to answer, we run out of answers fairly quickly. Best to be honest about this point. Why prolong suffering combating our own collective ignorance? You know, just enjoy the music man... The other part of this hobby is aesthetics. I found aesthetics (I am defining this term here as beauty for beauty's sake) a reasonable way to navigate purchase decisions. I will pay more for pristine engineering. I, for one, find immaculate design and engineering is art for art's sake. Whatever you feelings may be about Apple, they have seemingly found success with a version of this approach. The other point is narrative and history. Like the posts above about the relationship between PWK and Gordon Gow. That matters to me. If my living room is going to be dominated by $$$$ in stereo equipment, it should be like a high end piece of art with all the aesthetics, beauty and story you would expect with that. If you invest in state of the art technology found in modern gear like McIntosh, Benchmark, and Purifi (many others qualify here for sure) you can have confidence the design/engineering expresses the limits of what we know about audio reproduction (at least from an amplification perspective). At the end of the day, gear is still an appliance and I would advise to make decisions accordingly. Purchase the most technically perfect gear you can afford. At this point, the limit of our ears and our knowledge of psychoacoustics are likely the true limiting factors. I know we talk about it here sometimes, but the real conversation probably should be around room design instead of amplification (at least beyond a certain threshold). My acoustician friend with his fancy degree in acoustic engineering has convinced me of that. Music fills and interacts with a room, a room does not fill and interact with music. With all that said, what choices have I made and why? I had the privilege of inheriting a McIntosh MC240 and MX110 (that a subsequently had restored by Audio Classics). I turned these units over and replaced them with modern McIntosh gear (C41 and MC152). Could I have gotten gear as technically competent for less (i.e. Benchmark, Purifi, etc.)? Yes. However, for me, a part of this hobby is akin to art installation/aesthetics/story -- as much as it is about sound/engineering. You know, I want it all (don't we all). And for the right price, you can get a lot. My new gear is more technically competent than the 60+ year old gear it replaced. Can I hear sonic differences? I don't have the skills, patience, or desire to say for sure. If I said I could hear a difference, I would have to acknowledge that it is likely attributable to my own personal audio illusion. I do know, my gear looks great (to me) and will be trouble free for decades and will hold its value. What else could I want from an artful appliance? If I was forced to make a recommendation, I should say prioritize the pre-amp. Most modern amps are technically sufficient and often times it is the preamp that is lacking. On paper, at least, that was the case with the MX110 v C41. I will also say, if I did notice a difference in sound between my modern and classic gear, swapping out the MX110 was it. As always, enjoy the journey, the music, and have fun!
  8. My gal is three and loves the music and the stereo. When I had to send the MC240 for a repair, she was pretty devastated and asked about the stereo everyday -- "Is it fixed?" That was enough of a rationale/justification for me to make the switch to solid state. She has also figured out how to turn everything on and off and asks me to play her music all the time. Her preference is for records, I try to play her favorite album (which is Jamie XX these days) digitally and she is having none of it. She also exclaims "I like it loud!" whenever I turn the music down a little. It's never too early to get them into the hobby
  9. I run Forte IIIs and recently made the switch from tubes to solid state. I went from a restored McIntosh MC240 (tube) that put out about 55 watts to an McIntosh MC152 (solid state) that puts out over 200 watts. The quote above from Westcoastdrums sums up the changes I experienced making the switch to solid state/more power. I did not make the changes for sonic reasons -- I wanted modern trouble free gear that I did not have to care for (really I did not feel comfortable with my toddle running around hot tube gear), but I have been pleased with the results of more power. I always expected more bass with the Forte's than I was getting with the MC240 and giving them more watts certainly has helped in this department. If you have an inkling for more power -- I say scratch the itch and see if you like it. As others have suggested, you can experiment with low cost solid state and see if it delivers the goods. No need to part ways with your tube amp. For me, in an ideal world, I would have both, to fit my mood. Alas, at this stage in life, I only have space and money for one type of amplification. Enjoy your sonic journey and have fun!
  10. Good luck on your sale and on the new Lc Scala's! I would love to move up to Cornwalls (currently have Forte IIIs). I am in Washington D.C -- but with plans to move down to Charlottesville in the near future. Timing does not workout for me this time around -- hope you find a fortunate buyer soon. I very much look forward to your future write-up on the Cornwall v La Scala showdown.
  11. Can't comment on equipment either. However, on my Forte III's I went from McIntosh tube amp (MC240) to McIntosh solid state (MC152) and noticed similar improvement in the bass. The highs and mids are not not as lush with the SS amp and the effervescent/ethereal tube magic is missing/diminished. Instead, the highs/mids, while still very smooth, are more crisp. I also confer the ideal situation would be multiple setups or bi-amping. Good luck and have fun!
  12. Bi-amping would be cool! I still have my MC240 (have not let it go yet). In an ideal world, I would run the Fortes active with solid state on the woofers and tubes for the horns and DSP to tailor to my listening room. One can dream…
  13. I don't have experience with the type of tube amps you are infested in. I do have experience with Klipsch Forte III's with both a solid state amplifier and a tube amplifier and I can speak to the differences I discerned. I hope bringing my solid state experience into the safe place of the tube forum is not too offensive. Apologies if what follows is inappropriate for this setting. I originally ran my Forte's with a restored McIntosh MX110 and MC240. The MC240 bench tested at 55 watts at 1% THD (similar to the power of your tube amp). Lots of tube magic/goodness. I transitioned to more modern McIntosh solid state pieces; C41 and MC152. Note, the MC152 bench tests around 250 watts -- so significantly more power than MC240. The result? Tighter, punchier bass with more kick. The warmth of the tube amp sound is still present and the system is quieter (thanks to the better SND; 90 vs 118db). Does it have the same magic as the vintage gear? I don't think so. The evanescence/ethereal atmosphere the tube combo provided is replaced with a more detailed sound. In an ideal world, I would have both a solid state combo and a tube combo. For this period in my life, modern solid state gear fits my life style better (I have to pick one or the other). My recent experience with more watts, also leads me to believe the woofers on the Forte's like and benefit from power. If I was running a fully horn loaded system like a Klipschhorn or La Scala, I wonder if the benefits of a tube system would shine more brightly? I will not pretend to have the technical expertise to fully explain/support the why. But, I do wonder if the size of the Forte woofer likes the higher damping factor (control) a solid state amp can provide? With a fully horn loaded system, damping factor is no longer a concern. Good luck on your ventures in tube gear. The glow of tubes and the music they make, really brings a smile to ones face and a lot of joy. Have fun!
  14. I hear you on McIntosh prices. I inherited vintage McIntosh tube gear (MX110 and MC240) and paid to restore them. I moved onto more modern solid state gear MC152 and C41 at used prices. I discovered a toddler keeps me busy enough and layering 60+ year old tube gear on was not the right life style choice for me (I did enjoy the tube gear for 8+ years, which kept my audio budget necessarily low through grad school). Going this route has allowed me to mostly circumnavigate McIntosh sticker shock. Part of selling my old McIntosh gear recently/now is trying to time the peak of the vintage McIntosh gear market. Want enlightenment? Dig up what an MX110 and MC240 traded for in 2001. I do ask myself, from time to time, if I should have picked a more affordable route and pocketed some coin. I did contemplate the class d path, among others. Hence, my confirmation that the hypex could make a lot of sense (based on my own research and weighing my own recent purchasing decisions).
  15. Agreed! Was not suggesting this as an option! I am McIntosh fan boy -- but not that big of one. I mentioned that McIntosh uses hypex chips to further validate the suggestions above -- it really is a solid choice.
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