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Top flight multichannel amplifiers (or old 2 channel Macs?) for Cornwalls (and other home theater component considerations)


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OK, so I'm in the market for a multichannel amplifier (five channels) for my Cornwall theater system. 

 

Considerations: Will be a "musical use" system, not just for theater but for music purposes that will NOT fatigue the ears over time. This was an issue on the old Krell HTS/Outlaw 750 combo, and as the Krell died and a number of upgrades have been in the "idea" stage for some time, I have begun the "button pushing" and putting these ideas into reality.

 

Cornwalls are getting a complete refresh/rebuild, as will the balance of the HT, save for the screen, a Sony XBR 1080 that is fabulous looking and calibrated. In time I'll migrate to 4K but not an immediate consideration. Primary driver is sonics. Love the Oppo 93 but it sounds poor, a grating machine that despite it's wonderful picture needs improvement on the audio side (if not simply another processor it might sonically synergize better with, and I'll see if that's in fact the issue). 

 

But since the speakers are set and known, I then want to focus on the power supply for said speakers which I want to do once and like it for 20 years.

 

Having a like for old McIntosh power amplifiers and the beloved autoformers, I know those are a sonic fit, albeit not really practical. I have a pair of MC250s at 50WPC (actually do about 70 clean before they peak), and on a pair of Cornwalls would cover a lot/most situations. They need rebuilding, as well as another two channels of Mac added on. I was thinking a 2100/2105 on the main pair, a 250 bridged to mono on the center, and a 250 running the rear pair. If I followed through they could be amplifiers for life. Question is, am I buying enough power?

 

Cost: 2K to update the current pair of MC250, would be good for another 30-50 years, plus MC2100/2105 at 2.5K with proper rebuild. So about $4500, give or take acquisition cost and refurb on the 2100/2105.

 

Multichannel 200WPC "modern Mac", no autoformers. Seems to be late model (example: MC205) for about 4-5K. One chassis, one shot, all five primary speakers covered. Despite not having the autoformers these still seem to "review" such that they still have that "Mac house sound", albeit a more modern, more toward the neutral, yet having that "non-offending" aspect that Heritage and my ears really want. I've read a few "these amps grip the woofer differently than the older 250" sort of comments as well. I wonder what the "first watt" is like here, and how that all works out in practice. 

 

Concern/issue: Are these modern versions reliable? I also wonder, for anyone so informed on the details of Mac, if the non-autoformered amps act in a way that remove so many of the advantages of the old amplifiers (but primarily in terms of that first/lower wattage output, then as it ramps up throughout it's capabilities). In many ways, the 200WPC would seem rather OK in a home theater application where guaranteed clean power would be available and not run out of steam, yet have plenty of reserve and not sweating whether an MC250 might run out on peaks.

 

It's not really cost practical to buy all autoformered Mac amps at 200WPC levels either as they would be 15K-ish proposition costwise, none in multichannel as the side would be prohibitive.

 

That said, Im not oft at reference levels, but yet don't want to necessarily "castrate" the kit of power for no good reason, either.

 

Other options I've had mentioned are late model Classe, as well as certain early version Theta stuff that might be spilled by audiophiles upgrading yet said to be really smooth/clear/liquid (if not a bit Krellish) but yet good matches. In a two channel sense, I would be looking to tubes, Mac, or "First Watt" type of stuff, but I'm looking for some musicality and some clear/warm/liquid/smoooooooooooooth and don't mind spending some money to get it, in an amp that can lean "HT power" too.

 

Preamps considered: Late model (but not new) Mac, for sonic match considerations, Anthem and Marantz in the realm of new stuff I could run 4K/8K (with supposed promised updatability) with. I have entertained the idea of doing a late model Mac processor for sound match considerations (again, the Mac "house sound" suiting Klipsch) and just bypassing the processor picture-wise in the event of 4K, and the Marantz/Anthem as options that have the latest 4K and room correction software as to start off with all bells/whistles/toys/software in a more modern approach. 

 

It will be a 5.1 (or 5.2 because I have two sub cabs) and will never be Atmos/added speakers, just the 5.1/5.2 doing the basic 5. type broadcast, multichannel music, and occasional film we take in on the system.

 

But since I know what the speakers are, I want to then work one step back, and power them properly.

 

Suggestions? Comments? Other ideas?

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Just my 2 cents from my many experiences with my changing Klipsch speakers and changing components.  I've narrowed it down to Marantz and McIntosh gear that sounds best to my ears.  If you are looking at mutli channel home theater setup get a high end Marantz receiver and call it a day and save thousands of dollars.  If you MUST have McIntosh gear somewhere for the looks put a nice Mcintosh tube amp off the preouts on the Marantz to your Cornwalls. The sound quality difference is negligible at best. (For my hearing)

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The Marantz and Mac gear does seem to be oft recommended. I'm likely if I go Marantz to buy separate power amplifiers, I'm not convinced the Marantz AV receivers are up to snuff re: power amplifier side, even the 5 channel separate offering they have currently has no listed spec for 4 ohms but it does for 6 and 8, and I'm extremely suspicious of that, especially when a Klipsch woofer at that woofer frequency is seen by the amp at about 3.7ish ohms.

 

Mac separates are better suited to this I'm sure. 

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Specs are a funny thing.  I run my Forte III's currently off of my Marantz receiver and I can drive everyone out of the house without much of a challenge, and the sound quality is excellent.  With the Cornwalls I'm guessing the crossover is sending most of the power to the LF driver anyways.  I would recommend just using the Marantz to start, my guess is you will be more than happy, if not, grab a Mac amp after that.

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I used to love Marantz equipment in the 2000s, but IMHO the brand isn't quite what it once was. Klipsch speakers aren't particularly amp picky in my experience, I have found the digital front end or analog source equipment to make more of a difference. That said though I have found Bryston and McIntosh to really be my go to amps for Heritage. Since heritage is super efficient they don't need a ton of power but enough where you have plenty of headroom and then some. Really any McIntosh from the last 11-12 years to current is gonna have their newer more transparent sound. I find Mac's older solid state stuff to sound far too mushy, warm and laidback. I used the MA5200 (has no Autoformers) for about a year and a half when I was strictly running 2ch with the KHorn 70ths and it was glorious. Dynamic, powerful, wonderful clarity and detail... just delivered the goods in spades.

 

When I integrated a few more speakers to merge HT and 2ch and picked up the MC206 6CH power amp it was a massive disappointment. Reason I went for the older 206 over the much newer 205 or 207 is the former being quite a bit less tall and fitting in the 7 5/8" opening and 8.1" total clearance in my media console. I figured it would sound like the 5200 just with 6ch''s. Boy was I wrong. Totally different sound signature. The newer Mac amps sound so much better. Like 10x better. I always loved Bryston analog and digital equipment and have found Bryston and Klipsch to be an amazing pairing especially for dual HT and 2ch use. Super transparent, clean and powerful sound. Not harsh in anyway, music sounds fantastic. Heritage I think benefits clean power solid state to help with bass extension and give them a bit more punch, slam and power with as flat and clean as frequency response as possible. Ended up with the Bryston 9BSST2, and low profile compared to the 205/207 so fit with opening in my media console. Has that new Mac sound but with 5ch outs. Would have loved to get the 205/207 but system/setup requirements made me go elsewhere. My entire digital front end and source components are all Bryston now with the exception of the Oppo. Amazingly built stuff. Not as flashy as Mac, but performance is right there with new Mac gear, probably even better.

 

That said, I think you would absolutely love the MC205 or MC207. I would definitely go in that direction and not even think twice about not having autoformers on it. It will still be very musical and will get out of the way and do what it needs to do. Shortly before the pandemic I heard the MC205 during a demo and was really impressed with it, sounded a lot more like the 5200 I used for awhile, which doesn't have the autoformers as I mentioned and loved with the KHorn.

 

Generally speaking Heritage sounds amazing with Class A and Class A/B solidstate. Accuphase, McIntosh, Bryston etc. All really good stuff.

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Ahhhh, yes. McIntosh, Accuphase, Bryston. The stuff audio dreams are really made of. 

 

Accuphase doesn't really fit here, nor does Luxman, as the multichannel thing just isn't their thing. Much like the other aforementioned, all really good stuff known to be good on Klipsch but in their cases just not their game. 

 

I'm one who has had a goodly number of lesser experiences with certain amps on Klipsch. I think a number of those amps spoiled the brand in the minds of many, and believe that voicing is critical. Definitely not in the "all amps essentially sound the same" camp - every piece of gear has a sound, it's just the way it is, especially on the audio magnifiers that these speakers are. Refinements are noticeable and audible.

 

Bryston is a company I am really impressed with, and point of fact took a foray into Bryston-land so to speak, to see what they were all about - some years ago. Back then  - this being mid 2000-ish - the lesson that seems to stick with me was that Bryston is awesome IF paired with a Bryston preamp. The example differences were NOT subtle, the smoothness of the Bryston pair never seemed that evident when paired with other brands. The idea was "Hey, I like Bryston amps, use them with someone else's pre". That never seemed to work out in any real sense, I listened to sample systems and discussed this with other Klipsch/horn/similarly tuned audio enthusiasts and that seemed to be the conclusion I came to. Bryston amps seem to come off dry until mated with their pre - then it's OMG that's fantastic sort of territory.

 

So on the Bryston PREAMP, it's the SP3, and the approach is that they upgrade the thing by sending it back, meaning any example on the market worth looking at is 8K+. Now I'm in for about 12K, and that's the low side, where on the Mac I'm looking MC205/MX151 or MX160 (IOW, a generation or two back such that I get the Mac pre for audio purposes) and just do the end around on the 4K, which I'm not even into yet as I have really good 1080 stuff calibrated to the hilt on the video side, making it less urgent to even worry about 4K. 

 

One thought is that the MC205 seems to be really well thought of, sixspeed's commentary being appreciated in its specificity. It mirrors a number of other commenters on that amp - but on other speakers, seemingly giving good results on all but the most power hungry speakers.

 

The MC205 seems very attractive and a super-safe play, then working backward to find a proper mate. Great power amps are always valid. If I opt for the MX151 route I know I would be happy as hello with the sonic pairing, and could turn it and move on with the pre since the cost to obtain is much more modest than the current 10K+ these latest, high end preamps are placed in. I'm looking to get what others may spill, so to speak, more focused on a solid audio presentation and knowing I can end around the thing if I go 4K. If I go with another preamp the MC205 would have merit, I think, it seems others have used different preamps with good results on those.

 

I am interested in how far back (or forward) in the Dolby Digital decoder progression to decode the Dolby Digital "plus", which is apparently the way they are broadcasting via Netflix and other providers. It was initially supposed to be backward compatible to simple 5.1 Dolby Digital decodes, then it wasn't - apparently the new standard needing certain more advanced decoders. I'm looking for some clarity on this.

 

I had another poster on another forum suggest a Mac C45, which is a 7 channel analog unit  (two such inputs) plus a host of 2 channel analog and phono ins. Take the decoder elsewhere, use the disc player/display/some sort of external surround decoder and run that output analog to the multichannel analog C45. Maybe find a unit that can just be a processor and let the C45 rule on 2 channel. 

 

But just not enough "chorus" from the Klipsch types, at least yet when it comes to alternate preamps that might mate well with the Mac amp. Thinking it's worth attempting to roust them out, or any others with experience and their opinions. There's always an assumption that the Mac, Bryston, Classe, Theta will be stellar, especially when using matched components/same brands together, but I'm wanting to pinch some cost on the pre - one reason being this will never be more than a 5.1/5.2 system anyway. I want the kit to down mix to 5.1/5.2 whatever reasonable/widespread formats that are out there, but to do that in the latest Mac/Classe/Bryston (not to mention Datasat, Tinnov, Lyngdorf, and a host of the high end players) is a five figure pre, and I'm not convinced that my system will be complex enough with enough 4K components installed to justify the five figure pre. In four years if I end up 4K and really goops have 4K HDMI switching, I'll part with the Mac that had mostly depreciated (so I won't lose much) and get say an MX160 that has 4K - if I really gotta have it. I went 19 years with no video switching at all, I'll bet I can do pretty OK with an HDMI 1.4 standard to at least get the basic audio functions programmed in, then end around the pre for the couple 4K sources that are actually being used......

 

The B & K is attractive in the sense they have a good "rep" being good matches. I DO appreciate the mention. The bad news is they went under 10ish years ago, not that they are out of the question, but I do wonder about what options would be realistic. If I found an example that had the proper rebuild there's definitely a case to be made. That's a highly specific item to find, but know full well such stuff exists. I recall rebuilt Nakamichi Stasis (Nelson Pass inspired) examples being around some years ago, where people took the trouble and had the knowhow to have the work done the way it should (so the amp is good for 20 years). So mayyyyyyyyyybe if the right one came along, I might bite - I've been told that a goodly number of those in existence are due for reworking. There's a handful of those era amps that I am open to under the right circumstances.

 

I have the B & K in the similar camp as I do some of the older Krell/Classe/Theta stuff I've looked into, that similar 15/20 years ago era where a 5 channel amp got the appropriate restoration/full service love that would make it worthy of purchasing and being able to live with it for 20 years. If I can find the right one it might save some coin on the amp side, but yet knowing that good amps are no free ride.

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I've been running a McIntosh MC-58 for several years now that I got used on ebay.  It's a great sounding multi-channel amp with extreme flexibility that won't break the bank.  It has 8 channels that you can optionally bridge together for double the power.  I have channels 1&2 bridged to power the left channel, 3&4 power the right, 5&6 power the center, 7 powers the left surround and 8 powers the right surround.  Each channel also has an input voltage selection dial that is very handy for impedance matching your pre-amp with super sensitive klipsch speakers.  

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5 minutes ago, mark1101 said:

I have a couple of McIntosh 8207s.  I have been very happy with them.  Highly recommended.

 

Yeah, I see a few of these around the forum. You also have some experience with the MC250/2100ish series of amplifiers, right? I'm wondering what you think of those amps (and you had yours reworked too, right?) and what those would compare to an amp like an 8207, or an MC205. I only ask as I have a pair of MC250 already here and am looking at refurbing those.

 

4 hours ago, Frzninvt said:

This would do the job and only $850 from a forum member.

 

 

 

 

 

That makes me go hmmmmmm.....got an appointment now and some reading to do here....

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Looks like the preamp has been selected (McIntosh MX151) - the right piece, the right example, the right seller......

 

So I have this thought......

 

Mac MC2100 for mains (stereo)

Mac MC250 bridged mono (center)

Mac MC250 Stereo (rears) in a five Cornwall HT (to which the 5 main speakers will not change and added speakers besides sub=s will not be in any future plans)

 

I have two MC250s in possession which would be rebuilt, even knowing where I can take them to, I would add an MC2100 to the pile and have it reworked to match, good for another 25 years thereafter.

 

OR

 

Mac MC205 (modern Mac, buy and plug in, good for 20 years)

 

OR

 

possibly something on the order of the suggested above, something good/somewhat vintage/rebuilt. Open to a. number of amp solutions, like the Sunfire suggestion as they have a rep for being liquid. I'd wanna investigate a rebuild, though on a 20 year old piece but those might be a possibility......

 

If I buy a Mac though, I know it will "fit".....higher admission cost though 🙂

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My local dealer, who sells both Anthem and Marantz as well as Heritage Klipsch (they had LaScalas in their own room OMG I about fell on my a55 over the sight of that) says don't. Thinks Marantz is better voiced for Heritage. Of course he has none of this stuff in stock, and neither does anyone else, so I'm sorta left looking at higher end pre-pros of a generation old, where the audio is luscious and I'm not stuffing my ears fulla cotton balls from the horrid 2 channel performance. Not that I'm unwilling to wait for an Anthem AVM70 or a Marantz 8805 if I thought the product was a "match" or worth the wait but when I have a guy literally telling me not to WRT Anthem I think he might know something I don't, or suspects what I do (voiced too energetic through the mid-upper registers). The line isn't any longer or shorter for any of the brands in his stable so I really don't think he cares one way or the other but there did seem some meeting of the minds when I came to the discussion of "voicing".

 

It's all about the "voicing", as it were, and I'm sniffing around stuff that has that "rep", albeit if maybe not all accurate in that. But if I were looking for a descriptor it would be 

 

"resolute yet wet" - as "dry" gear tends to have the cotton balls out again. "Clear, authoritative power absent grain, hint of "richness".

 

Had a guy on another forum tell me he had an Anthem AVM60 then 70 into a Mac 205 and really liked the results, this after a few combos with Mac and Anthem both. Said the Mac seemed to juuuuust shave off any stridency of the Anthem that absence of hash in the Mac being an apparent benefit.. 

 

Places like Crutchfield let you buy and return if you don't like as well, but most mainline brand higher end pre-pros are really in stasis as the factory that makes the processing chips burnt last fall, and there were defects in the new gen HDMI hardware that apparently have to be reworked. This is why nobody has any of these from certain companies and my local dealer has stacks of orders/money down'd on both Marantz and Anthem gear already, like 20 deep on each brand. When I walked in and told him I was looking for a pre-pro he just gave me that "look".....

 

It's like people lined up to beat Tom Brady. It's a long line. So pre-pro land is more fun than a root canal, but in the end I think I'm more in the "recent higher end unit for sound purposes" camp as this will never see more than 5.1/5.2. and don't yet have anything running 4K, and if I do I'll end around the pre to the TV and back with an ARC cable. That's as "far along" as I'll likely need. I'm also discovering that a lot of these new preamps have the legacy connections disappearing, all the more reason to look one gen back as the input jack packs are really diverse. 

 

I'm really "grinding the gears" on a can't miss amp, because I know full well that I would possibly move the pre-pro along when needs require. Make the digital part the "flex piece" and buy that with the depreciation already behind me (and more sound per unit dollar) and hit a home run with the amp that will mate with and stick around for the longer/20 year haul if I flip the preamps/digi end. Trucking around and sampling 5 channel amps is some serious lift, and I would like to get it right the first time.

 

Liking/sniffing more around:

 

ATI (is "warm" a term associated with these guys? Always thought of them as a little more clinical/analytical, (I have an Outlaw, which is NOT the same, but shares a lot in common with ATI and factory/build).

McIntosh (just got a feeling this is the no brainer aside from the added cost)

Classe (high admission cost OR need refurbish, really suspect these are good)

Theta  - same as Classe, Dreadnaught worth if it were rebuilt, could buy a Mac for same price and make it easy, though). 

Bryston (would do with Bryston pre, pre out of my price league so they're out of the running)

 

First watt's gotta be good.....

 

I don't discount the B&K, Sunfire, as well as a few other circa 2000 units (Theta Dreadnaught also in this category) in that a 20 year old amp likely needs a rebuild. If I find the right rebuilt one, or know where to take it (the appropriate amp brand guru, so to speak) that's not out of the question either, but admittedly outside the world of Mac lost track of who those people are or if even still around. I'm not against it albeit more of a project at that point....

 

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I had two MC 250s, and I still have 2 MC-2100s (reworked by John Warren).  Love them all.  250s are sweet, and so are the 2100s.  But that's a lot of amps to be playing with, and adjusting.

 

Bear in mind I was using them for active Jubilees and MCM setups.........not HT.

 

They have a more vintage sound, but very pleasing and enjoyable IMHO.  Also, not as clean and clear, but potentially more 3D soundstage presentation than the modern big power s/s Macs depending on a few variables.

 

I got into the 8207s to reduce the number of amps and adjustments and up the sound quality for active systems.  Worked well as a strategy.  I think I have a cleaner, clearer presentation with slightly less 3D soundstage than when using the vintage MACs.  No plans to change yet.

 

I have two other "tube only" systems............vintage tubes on one, and modern tubes on the other using lascalas and cornwalls.  So I have a very good idea about sound stage.  These systems really have it.  I just don't get anything quite like that from the big power Mac s/s I have found.  I have had a few of these.

 

Obviously, I am a two channel guy.  But I have all the equipment for an awesome HT, actually two of them.

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ATI makes stuff for a lot of people, including Monoprice, which has some killer gear for the money. But ... none of this stuff is the same as actual ATI. Their two channel Signature amp was on my short list for a long time.

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Have question? I have klipsch reference theater pack +2 the plus two are the same speakers as the  The rest of the theatre pack speakers in him using those 2 speakers as Dolby Atmos speakers. My AV is a Yamaha RX v685 7.2 receiver and when I use the YPOA to set up the speakers and system it set the 2 speakers that are the the front  Presence speakers it sets him as large speakers in the rest of the speakers it sets as small. Should I set the front presence to small also or leave them set yo large it does set the crossover at 80hz 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/19/2021 at 1:04 PM, mark1101 said:

I had two MC 250s, and I still have 2 MC-2100s (reworked by John Warren).  Love them all.  250s are sweet, and so are the 2100s.  But that's a lot of amps to be playing with, and adjusting.

 

Bear in mind I was using them for active Jubilees and MCM setups.........not HT.

 

They have a more vintage sound, but very pleasing and enjoyable IMHO.  Also, not as clean and clear, but potentially more 3D soundstage presentation than the modern big power s/s Macs depending on a few variables.

 

I got into the 8207s to reduce the number of amps and adjustments and up the sound quality for active systems.  Worked well as a strategy.  I think I have a cleaner, clearer presentation with slightly less 3D soundstage than when using the vintage MACs.  No plans to change yet.

 

I have two other "tube only" systems............vintage tubes on one, and modern tubes on the other using lascalas and cornwalls.  So I have a very good idea about sound stage.  These systems really have it.  I just don't get anything quite like that from the big power Mac s/s I have found.  I have had a few of these.

 

Obviously, I am a two channel guy.  But I have all the equipment for an awesome HT, actually two of them.

 

 

I did some further digging on this amp mating thing, and with some of the stuff you discuss here. I'm a circuit idiot but know what sounds good and where the "safe play" typically is WRT some gears on these speakers, but in an attempt to ferret out some finer points on this - because after all, we're spending some real money here - that we (to the extent possible) have an understanding of these points, even if only in theory when the audition isn't really possible. But some things seem to be taking some focus:

 

I talked to Absolute Sound in MN (an authorized Mac shop who specializes in rebuilding the early SS era Macs) about incorporating these into my theater, and mating them with an MX151 or similar, vs doing the obvious and just getting an MC205. The 205 is the same era, matches perfectly in terms of Mac's modern vision of this as well as electrically/everything else. But as I have a pair of MC250 and could add to those and have Absolute Sound or a similar place rebuild them, I asked them of the issues and possibilities, thinking that I could, in part, use what I have.

 

Much to my surprise, they also said the 250/2100 rebuilt would image better than the 205 (I really doubted this but have read/heard it twice now), but would have less authoritative "grip" on the woofer in a ported cabinet, but again when considering that the amp would be rebuilt and the Cornwalls supported by bass reinforcement cabinets that his might be "overlookable" and maybe downright desirable, as the rounded bass of the 250/2100 is most musical and tuneful and not a problem, at least to my thinking. Absolute Sound tended to think it would be less of an issue/less discernible after rebuild, that in part the "tubbiness" is the age of the amplifier that will freshen up in part with proper electrical work.

 

There also wasn't a compatibility issue with the new pre into the old amps, apparently the old preamps don't always play well with the newer amps, however (but that's 60's/70's era preamps) but this scenario here checks out too. 

 

But the modern "Mac" is easier in the rack and the dials as you mention, and made in the same era. Even in the modern "sound" Mac still fits Klipsch well, at least "by the book". I also have a bit of an oddity in that if I went the old way ideally I should find a mono - say a Mac 100 to place between the 2100 to be that third center channel. Only 380-odd were made though, but I could strap a 250 to mono and use the spare in the 2 channel room or otherwise.

 

But it seems for opener's sake the initial "move'" seems to be to pursue a 205 or similar Mac and see how it gets along. It takes a bunch of variables out and simplifies the building and listening process. I'm still going to have those 250s rebuilt as well, as I have a tube system/setup/room, and a pair of 250s are always welcome around as a backup, or to experiment with in the HT and put some of these concepts to actual demo. So I get a good deal of that tube sound/"fatter midrange" it seems you get from the vintage, so that itch will get scratched as well. Mac amps hold value too, so it's a safe if not long way around to audition in home and move it along if not so impressed.

 

But it's still just "thinking out loud" until I get the preamp, which appears to be about a week out......

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  • 2 weeks later...

Preamp (MX151) is here. Went to TX to get it, pristine example. Totally worth keeping it out of the hands of the shippers, it's perfect and it stays that way from acting as the courier as much as possible 🙂

 

On 5/19/2021 at 1:04 PM, mark1101 said:

I had two MC 250s, and I still have 2 MC-2100s (reworked by John Warren).  Love them all.  250s are sweet, and so are the 2100s.  But that's a lot of amps to be playing with, and adjusting.

 

Bear in mind I was using them for active Jubilees and MCM setups.........not HT.

 

They have a more vintage sound, but very pleasing and enjoyable IMHO.  Also, not as clean and clear, but potentially more 3D soundstage presentation than the modern big power s/s Macs depending on a few variables.

 

I got into the 8207s to reduce the number of amps and adjustments and up the sound quality for active systems.  Worked well as a strategy.  I think I have a cleaner, clearer presentation with slightly less 3D soundstage than when using the vintage MACs.  No plans to change yet.

 

I have two other "tube only" systems............vintage tubes on one, and modern tubes on the other using lascalas and cornwalls.  So I have a very good idea about sound stage.  These systems really have it.  I just don't get anything quite like that from the big power Mac s/s I have found.  I have had a few of these.

 

Obviously, I am a two channel guy.  But I have all the equipment for an awesome HT, actually two of them.

 

 

This post really has me reading - and rereading - again.

 

So I took the trouble to hook up one of my existing MC250s to the main pair of Cornwalls to do some sonic tests, not just generally but also testing some woofers I am evaluating. 

 

I have to say that I could live with that sound by and large, save for some midrange mild "clutter/finish" that I suspect is the old caps still in the unit. I am curious, if you know, and if you evaluated it, how much change the rebuild that John did for you bring, in terms of cleaning up some of the details? My cap rolling experiences on tube amps (and even Mac in particular) as well as rebuilds seem to bear out that a rebuild would clear that up quite a bit. If so, I could certainly deal with the added complexity of the level matching, etc - IF the rebuilds bring sonic benefits (I'm sure they do to some extent). But I wonder, if you did comparisons sonically between the original and rebuilt versions if you have any commentary on the sonics before and after. What would you say regarding the sonics of your rebuilds in terms of the added benefits, or are they essentially similar/the same just better electrically (which isn't so bad either).

 

I am particularly pleased with how the MC250 - even in original but operable original state, handles the speakers at low volume, the bass/heft/body of the presentation not falling apart as the volume gets reduced. I suspect these would play very well together with rebuild. It certainly makes a case for it - "Don't forget about us."

 

I took a "run" at two MC2100 and got the bid door slammed in the proverbial face, the cost seeming to make it a good way to go - until it  wasn't 😞 I also had a trio of MC205 slip through the fingers, cluttered in logistics by the preamp acquisition (too much to chase in one five day period) albeit two weren't really close to "closing" if that makes any sense. One was and was six hours late closing on an NOS 205. Ouch.

 

The MC205/255 etc is an easier choice, no wait for rebuild, but still "unknown" vs the "known knowns" of the autoformered 250/2100/2105. The comments above are encouraging, and added with it.......an easier "flip" if I went that route and decided the autoformered was the better way. But I'm still open, but I keep running out of leads as I've chased a few and come up empty handed. 

 

But that's OK, anything worth having is worth the work, and the ball got moved a bunch closer to the goal line with the progress made this week. Speaker gaskets, etc etc in the house, a couple other items on order but it's all moving along. Oh, and the condition the Parts Express box was in when I got home from picking up that preamp was all of the justification I needed for picking up that preamp in person in the first place. My wife shows me the box and says "yeah, that's why you pick up the more expensive stuff." It's a good thing the contents weren't "destroyable". But it was more than a reminder, and a quick answer as to why I would do something as crazy as driving a thou to pick up a perfect glass faced Mac. 

 

 

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