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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:14 am 
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Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 7:14 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Toronto, ON, CA
Hi everyone,

I'm a newbie when it comes to high end audio and I'm wondering if you could help me find a good *value* tube preamp / SS or Tube Amp to upgrade my Mcintosh MA6200.

Here is the system
DAC: Chord Mojo from 2009 IMac (through USB)
Vinyl: Rega RP-1 w/ Performance Pack
Pre/Amp: Mcintosh MA6200 integrated
Speakers: Dynaudio Excite 16
IEM: Shure SE215
12 gauge unfinished speaker wire

I don't need more volume so to speak. I really like detail, but overall emotion is what I'm going for here. 95% of my listening will be redbook cds, with 5% vinyl thrown in. If hi-res ever comes down in price, it would be nice to have something I can grow into. It isn't that my system is lacking in an obvious way, but I'm thinking about building out a second system and would like to try something new.

I'm hoping to go used, so I can find equipment that holds its value or even appreciate (like my MA6200 has). To this end (resale), I'm also hoping to stay with strong brand recognition (Mcintosh, Bryston, ARC, etc) unless there is something really amazing from a boutique shop I should consider.

My budget is $3000 tops, but much less would be preferred. I don't want to go overkill on my amp when the rest of my system is mid-fi at best...


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:46 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:20 pm
Posts: 301
Location: Delta, BC, CA
Check into Balanced Audio Technology (BAT) or Modwright, they do both... and there are good prices on used... read, broken in..


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:56 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 3:38 am
Posts: 481
Location: Vaughan, ON, CA
For a good value tube preamp, I have been very pleased with my Blue Circle 21.1 with two vintage Amperex 7308/6922 tubes. It mates well with a SS amp.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:41 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:02 am
Posts: 1070
Location: Kingston, ON, CA
How about a pro amp, like the Yamaha PC 4002M? 430W into 8Ω
Pro amps represent great value in 2 channel audio.
$1,750: http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/649357982-yamaha-pc-4002m-power-amplifier/

The best bang for your buck preamp under $2,000 is the Doge 8 $1,200: http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/649366300-doge-8-lp-preamp-silver/
While it also has a very decent phono stage, it is very much tube dependent. I had great success with mine (when I had it) using Shuguang Custom LX 12AX7 or Psvane 12AX7-TII.

Total cost: $2,950

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:05 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:07 am
Posts: 136
Location: Repentigny, QC, CA
Mcintosh MA6200 may be already beyond this,
but I use a Antique Sound Labs ASL pre- LH01 with
a gainclone power amp (based on IC LM3875) and it all sounds great to me!

You're looking at less than a 1,000$ total.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:55 pm 
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Location: St. John's, NL, CA
The Audible Illusions is a classic preamp that was once voted by the Absolute Sound as one of the very best. It's still well recognized and highly desirable. They resell readily. And it's well within your budget.
http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/ ... and-relay/

If you wanted a true classic and were thinking of getting an ARC power amp at some time, how about the ARC SP-6? Again, well within your budget.
http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/ ... amplifier/

By the by, if you're interested in the AI pre, just check to make sure the one being sold has a phono stage.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:39 am 
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Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 7:14 pm
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
The more I look into the options, the more I realize I don't want to move away from Mcintosh.

How many Mcintosh WPC do I need to properly drive my Dynaudio Excite 16? I would also like to make sure I end up with something that I can grow into.

Can you folks recommend a good value pre/amp set up from Mcintosh history? MC30s? MC225/240/275? Do these have enough power?

I like the look of the pro audio gear, but my room isn't huge and I'm worried about the fan noises. Is there a sonic advantage to pro gear?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 6:15 am 
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Your Mc is one of the better ones they made. You might be looking at a pretty high end upgrade to noticeably improve upon it. The choice of solid state power largely comes down to your speaker match. I find those quite tight and dry sounding. I would tend to go with a big warm sounding power amp like an Accuphase or keep your Mc for the time being and use it as a power amp.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:56 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:16 pm
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Location: Georgetown, ON, CA
Driving a solid state amplifier with a tube preamplifier is generally a mistake, unless the power amp uses J-FETs for the front end. If your preamp has output buffers, the little sand ones, and has a low output impedance your could drive almost any amplifier.

I had a pair of McIntosh MC-40 amps that sounded dry and hard, even after a complete rebuild / upgrade. Sold them on. The MC240 and MC275 are the best sounding McIntosh tube amplifiers and should have enough power for your needs unless you really want to crank it. Then it would be the MC275 amp. I was authorized warranty for McIntosh and am pretty familiar with those products. You really can't go wrong with a rebuilt McIntosh tube amplifier.

-Chris


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:55 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 3:38 am
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Location: Vaughan, ON, CA
+1 for Audible Illusions
I have one in my main system and am very satisfied


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 6:40 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:37 am
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Location: Vaughan, ON, CA
anatech wrote:
Driving a solid state amplifier with a tube preamplifier is generally a mistake, unless the power amp uses J-FETs for the front end.

Hi Chris, Are you referring to an impedance mis-match between pre and power amps? Or is there more to it re: J-FETs?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:38 am 
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Location: Edmonton, AB, CA
I'd recommend replacing that dac first and foremost!


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:09 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2011 4:39 pm
Posts: 81
Location: Toronto, ON, CA
At $3,000 this mac combo will likely be out of reach but when they made the MC252 I saw some good reviews regarding a C220/MC252 paring.

Here's one review on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpJq7hGmcA8

McIntosh discontinued both but they might come up on the used market, or you could ask some McIntosh dealers to keep you in mind should they come across either of these.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:03 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 28, 2010 5:56 pm
Posts: 1241
Location: Milton, ON, CA
Why limit yourself to Mac? Lots of other options that are just as good or better.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:36 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 5:34 am
Posts: 451
Location: Toronto, ON, CA
I would look for pres other than mac. Lots of good tube pres - i would look to audible illusions as well - maybe copland - preamps by vac and ear are great too but might stretch the budget unless you get lucky.


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