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Visited the MacIntosh factory today in Bigamhton NY


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In the middle of NY State... It was amazing! They make every single component on the premises except for resistors and capacitors basically. They even cut the glass panels themselves and assemble circuit boards with components with automated machines. There is a lady there who hand-makes tranformers with an antique wounding machine developed by Frank McIntosh more than 50 years ago. She has been doing this for 38 years...

At the end, I got a demo of the reference system in their demo theater. We listened to a live Pink Floyd from Pulse, in stereo as I elected to avoid surround. Each of the two XTR2K reference speakers has 6x 12" bass woofers, and an array of more than 100 of medium and high frequency tranducers. Each is powered by a MC2KW mono amp, 2,000W each, and each is made of 3 large units. Total cost of amps + speakers alone: $160,000...

The employee really played it loud, but it was very clean and extremely full, not directional at all, concert type of presence.

He got kicks out of the fact that we briefly clipped the power surge protector of one of the amps, which clips at 8,000W...

Great experience, and I came home with a C40 pre-amp (circa late 90's) which I bought from AudioClassics, a great outfit that is the largest second hand dealer and repair center for McIntosh products, and located 10 miles away from the factory. AudioClassics was also an amazing place; they have pristine inventory of virtually any McIntosh product made in the last 60 years. Great service and client friendliness, I highly recommend them.


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Anything ... just play it LOUD!!!




...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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I'm sure it sounded great.


Generally though, why do so many hifi shops demo so loudly?


Few months back I had a bose home cinema demo. Was just curious.

It was so loud that it was far from comfortable to listen. I was impressed by some of the tech but demoing so loudly ruined the experience.


HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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Not to sound like a jerk, but what can you realistically expect from Bose? They are a marketing company, not a serious speaker manufacturer, and they represent indeed the quintessential example of the mediocre Hi-Fi store in the mall next door.


We're talking about McIntosh at the mothership factory here...

As far as loudness, this was totally under my request, and it was not at all deafening. We're talking about a $200,000 system in a perfectly sound optimized room, and I was sitting a good 50 feet from the speakers. The sound was extremely full and powerful, but absolutely no distortion at all. In fact I was surprised that it briefly clipped, although there was no impact on the sound. A big bass thump or a low keyboard note at 40Hz can surely send a large power requirement. I would say the average RMS looked more like 300-500W. The blue Vu-meters on the 2K amps are so large that I could seem them well from 50ft.


Anyways, it was really great, I only wish I could have listened to a SACD or a 24/192 download, but their file server unit was not connected.


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I'm McIntosh all the way, although not a "purist", no tubes (yet).

Now I have the C40 pre-amp (which replaced a traded-in C38), connected to a MC7300 (2x 300W) for bass and a MC7150 (2x150W) for medium+high going to bi-amplified vintage JBL 4350's. I haven't listened to it yet, but I will over the week-end.

What I discovered is that most McIntosh used gear from a serious dealer (AudioClassics in NY, or goes for about 40% of the prices when new, and will have from 3 moth to one year warranty from the service center. To me, that's actually a very reasonable and low risk way of getting into McIntosh ownership at 40% of new prices. This gear is seriously built like a tank, and seeing the production facility only confirmed that view. BTW, forget about buying such gear on eBay, as one leading dealer/service center) told me that 70% of his repair flow is from eBay buyers who got stiffed with non-functioning equipment.


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