McCormack dna-1 upgrade or no

I have a McCormack dna-1 with a older gold rev a mod to it and I was thinking about sending it back to McCormack for another upgrade.From what I understand the next step would be around 2500.Should I do the upgrade or sell the dna-1 take the money from that and the 2500 and upgrade to either a new or used amp?

I use Nht 2.9 speakers Btw.Thanks Bob


I really like the combo

The question I haven't seen an answer to is, what about the sound of your system would you like to improve by changing amplifiers and/or speakers?  IMO, McCormack amps sounded good in stock form.  Your Revision A Gold should have improved on the stock amp considerably. 

However, McCormack upgrades are not for everyone.  They do cost money, so the question you have to ask  yourself is, "what could I purchase new or used for the same all-in cost?"  In addition, the upgrades take time.  Steve and Patrick do their best but they have a lot of customers and the process is staged, with some of the work relying on others to complete, like powder-coating chassis, ordering key parts like the low-noise transformers they use, ordering custom faceplates, and other steps in the process.  Finally, those who say you will lose much of the upgrade cost on resale are mostly correct, which means you should do everything you can to figure out what you want and whether the upgraded McCormack amplifier is likely to provide it.  If you don't like the sound of your McCormack amp now, an upgraded version is probably not going to be much better for you.  However, if you already like the house sound but want improved refinement, lower noise, improved high frequency clarity, improved bass definition, and more depth/dimensionality, then the upgrades should push you further towards your goal.  Some options can have a significant impact on the level of improvement, such as going from a single amplifer to monoblocks or installing the much larger low-noise transformers in the DNA 0.5s.

As expensive as my upgraded SMc monos were, they provide sound quality from my system that I had previously not achieved at anywhere near the price, including monoblocks from well-regarded manufacturers priced at about $17K (new) for the Claytons (upon their last issue) and about $34K (new) for the Lamm amps (current pricing).  Some might even say the SMc amplifiers are a bargain.

I had my DNA-1 Deluxe upgraded by SMc Audio 21 years ago.  The improvements were considerable resulting in a more refined, nuanced sound yet with much more responsive dynamics.  Music really came to life.  Last year, the 20th anniversary of the original upgrades I called Steve on a whim just to pick his brain about what had been happening with their upgrades for the last two decades.  Steve's story to tell was quite compelling. He had the good fortune of running across some well healed audiophiles who wanted the best regardless of cost leading him to have to carefully consider such a challenge.  High customer expectations!  Steve talked of all SMc was able to learn about the possible and fortunately many of those innovative circuit designs were able to trickle down to the  amps of those of us who have budget constraints.

So away my amp went again!  Once back and run in a bit, for what I paid, I realized what a bargain SMc had offered me.  Now a finely polished diamond was amplifying with authority across the frequency spectrum.  The soundstage or space was as vast or limited as intended by the recording artist.  A fantastic value!  I will never part with this amp.  Is it the best amp one can get?  Who knows?  I'm sure there are many designs that are its sonic equal or maybe even better but as I listen to the vinyl of Pink Floyd "The Later Years" enveloped in a vast wash of great tunes I just relax and enjoy as the music takes over the room.  Good stuff indeed.

I’m glad to read about your experience’s and am glad you guys are honest.

I have no doubt that once I send it off it will be the best I can afford.I put together my system on a budget and have done what I can to upgrade through the years,I have always said that’s it’s really nice to be able to pick up the phone and talk to the man who’s name is on the amp.

I had my 22 year old DNA-1 deluxe fully rebuilt last summer. It sounds amazing - quiet, relaxed (and detailed at the same time), with an impressive, life-like three dimensionality to voices and instruments.



My original DNA-1 was purchased in 1994 and gone through 3 upgrades. The only remaining original part is the heat fins. I am considering the power block upgrade because separate power supplies on my LTA preamp and Lumin streamer do make quite a noticeable improvement. Any DNA-1 owners have experience with the power block update. I can easily live with my present DNA-1 which has great clarity, musicality, tonal balance and deep slams.