Mac attack? Is the candle worth the game?

Kpatch

Junior Member
I’m following-up on some rather disparaging comments made in another thread last week about McIntosh preamplifiers. I still have a Mac C32 Pre and a Mac MC 2125 ‘Power’ amplifier. And ... I was underwhelmed by them, odd, because the Mac fanatics highly praise this combo. They are now off-line parked on a shelf unused, a shame since they are so darn handsome. And they glow! I bought them three years ago from the original owner and have never had them serviced but thought about doing so. Now thanks to a tip from Mikey Fresh, (thanks Mikey!) I know of a reputable tech in NYS about 2.5 hrs away. But thinking about the recent negative Mac comments in the other thread - though none were about the C32 or the MC2125 - I’m now wondering if a servicing would be worth the expense or will I also be underwhelmed after servicing.

Thoughts?

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Tillerman

Junior Member
What are you currently running?
I agree that the Mac components are gorgeous, but it is also apparent how complex they are (i.e. switches, meters, pots, etc.). All of the complexity potentially has a sonic effect and maybe not for the better.
In my own system, I have migrated from comparable complexity in my components to a simpler system, which I am finding more enjoyable.
 

Kpatch

Junior Member
What are you currently running?

Well, it depends on the week and how strong my back is feeling. Much of what makes this a hobby for me is the frequent mix and matching and I do that often, especially true in these days of Covid seclusion. For now, in terms of power, I’m choosing from the below and pushing one of several big box Spendors or the D7. And I spin a lot of vinyl. But I understand and agree completely about the desire to migrate from comparable complexity to a simpler system and I’m certainly leaning in that direction.

Art Audio Quintet, 25 watt pentode version, 15 watt triode.
Audio Mirror PP1 Preamp

Van Alstine AVA Fet Valve 550 Ultra, 250W
AVA Vision SL solid state pre

NAD C372, At 150-watts per-channel

NAD D 3020 digital amp 30 watts

NAD M2

Cary CAD-280SA V12 Tube Amp
Cary SLP 98 F1 tube PRE

Cary SLA 70 tube AMP, 35w per channel

Rogue Perseus preamplifier
Odyssey Kizmet/Khartago mono blocks, 180 w per channel

Or the lovely, venerable Kenwood KA 8004, benched at 80 wpc.
 

Tillerman

Junior Member
Nice selection of sonic flavors.
I also mix and match gear, but have grown tired of maintaining vintage gear, which always seems to need periodic attention. Cost and time!
 

4-2-7

Smart Ass Member
Now thanks to a tip from Mikey Fresh, (thanks Mikey!) I know of a reputable tech in NYS about 2.5 hrs away. But thinking about the recent negative Mac comments in the other thread - though none were about the C32 or the MC2125 - I’m now wondering if a servicing would be worth the expense or will I also be underwhelmed after servicing.
Well first off negative comments on the internet are common towards mac gear, mostly from envy:smoke
But really some like to bash equipment they never owned, or can never own, and some is valid with early mac SS. I also don't listen to people on the net, I use my own ears, so include me with what follows.

First off never heard of the C32 & MC2125 being sonic giants, they are old enough and a cheaper buy in to mac equipment. Many buy this age of equipment because of the prices more than chasing SQ. The C22 & C11 is older and the fist MC275, MC60, MC30 are all older and would cost three times as much because they are sonic giants, not to mention tube power.

This is my thought, you may never like this older mac gear, I don't know how much rebuilding you could do to change the sound that significantly. I would worry about the ribbon wires in the C32, they are very fragile with age and almost impossible to replace. It's a common fault with this preamp, so I would also worry about it being serviced that can harm the wiring.

Have you done any mixing and matching the two mac units with other gear you have? Or have you only used them together?

It's going to cost a good bit of change to fully service your equipment so it is something to think about. Weigh the options of buying newer mac gear at a fair price and maybe sell what you have while it's still working. One thing about Mac is if you buy the good 2ch stuff in demand at a fair used price, you can use it and sell it later without loss. If you bought your units at a good fair price three years ago, I'm sure you can get your money back on them also.

My oldest mac equipment right now is my C100 preamp from 1998. This is a awesome preamp and the first flagship two box design. I kept this over newer tube preamps, it's that good.

Oops forgot about my Papa John MC2300 I bought because of it's historic value. It was a bummer the last time I pulled it out was for the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, it blew up and now needs to be fixed. I have the same problem with this, having someone I can trust to fix it. It's all modded for stage use and I really don't want to have much changed today as I feel it messes with history.
 
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ICTWoody

No longer a junior member
I had my C32 serviced by Audio Classics this year. It’s not a game changer preamp... but it has a lot of features and it sounds very good with my Dennis Had Inspire amp, which is all I’ve used it with so far. I’ll have my pair of 2205’s sent to AC at some point. I don’t expect them to be spectacular, but they’ll look badass and I don’t doubt they’ll sound good.

I just think they are fun pieces to own that will sound good and be impressive to look at.

I dunno.

- Woody
 

ICTWoody

No longer a junior member
Perfect, did it sound any different that you could tell Woody?

Yes. When it came back, both channels were working.

:-)

Honestly they fell in my lap for cheap and so I just sent it in to get it fixed. I told them to “do anything and everything they could to it” just so I would have peace of mind for as long as I own it and for anyone I might sell it too.

- Woody
 

Audionut

Next Round Is On Me
McIntosh has pedigree and has always put out a quality product. They hold their value better than most for good reason too. I believe woody has a similar setup he played pre and post refurb.
Edit; @ICTWoody right on que!
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
I would worry about the ribbon wires in the C32, they are very fragile with age and almost impossible to replace. It's a common fault with this preamp, so I would also worry about it being serviced that can harm the wiring.
@Kpatch is fortunate to be within driving distance of Audio Classics, so he doesn't have to worry about packing and shipping this stuff in order to get expert McIntosh service.
 

Kpatch

Junior Member
Thanks for all the helpful suggestions and advice. I’ll stick to the original plan of driving them to Audio Classics for a refurb. And to answer 4-2-7’s question, it’s odd but I haven’t done any mixing and matching of the two mac units with other gear - as I’ve done with everything else - and I’ve only used them together but I’ll switch them up soon.

But I also think that Tillerman is spot on and as much fun as I’ve had dealing with complexity, a simpler path is probably in my near future.

Thanks again,
KP
 
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