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Your dealer is crazy. While Mac has indeed changed hands the owners did not seem to screw with the company and indeed during the D&M to Fine Sounds transition a fair amount of money went into the company as evinced by the amount of new product developed. In the latest transition, it is owned partly by Charlie Randall who is an operations guys initially who has been there 20+ years and is generally known as a protector of the Mac heritage and value proposition. He has been CEO for a number of years. The other investors seem to be very focused on putting money into the company and developing it furhter. I would have no resistance to buying a new Mac piece from the quality perspective. I might have some on the price side and from the pov of design (e.g. the new MA5200) but if you like some of their stuff and are fine with the price I would not hesitate. You can also read alot about their stuff at the McIntosh Forum on AudioKarma.org.....lots of info there. Finally, there are other brands that are probably as good as McIntosh but Parasound would not be one that would come to mind. I like buying American, like the Mc house sound (and the blue lights), find their stuff damn near bulletproof and that it retains value better than most other brands. Its conservative in development but to me the sound it puts out sounds like music. Just my $.02
The dealer was the one that sold me the C1's and I don't believe he was actually comparing McIntosh to Parasound but wanting to make a sale and knew it was in my price range. I am new into higher grade audio. The first brand I ever saw was McIntosh and was immediately drawn to those beautiful blue meters. Ever since then its been downhill and as much research as I could do. I blindly never even looked at the history of McIntosh owners and just believed in the quality. Then he tells me his belief that it wasn't the same and I had look into it myself.
I have always liked Parasound but searching for the last couple of days I have ruled it out as an amp replacement. This seems to change frequently but as of right now I'm back the MC402 and Pass Labs X250. I just want to an amp the will go best with the C1's. The more I read, they seem to need alot of power which makes me lean more to the X250.
It really is good to hear that Mac hasn't lost sight in quality through the years of transition.
Ditto Joekapahulu's remarks. Mac has gone through several owner changes, but all have left Mac alone to do their thing, and all seem to have infused a lot of money into their investment. Mac's laser-cutting machine for the glass faceplates is just one of the things Mac benefitted from by Clarion's ownership. So don't worry about Mac, the quality is still there, regardless of what your dealer inferred. I do have a problem with the pricing of the newer pieces, to where it's getting to the point that "Joe average" has to sell the farm in order to own the new stuff. That aside, Mac's look is second to none, and oh, those beautiful blue meters! "The sound is like music", not fatiguing, and a pleasure to listen to. So have no fear about buying that new amp you want, you will enjoy it for many years to come.
I have owned a few Mc amps and more recently I had a MC352 that was a product of McIntosh when Clarion owned them, then traded in for a MC402 which came out of the D&M era. The 402 is a much better amp in all areas of sound reproduction. As mentioned above they are now owned by the same company that owns Audio Research, Sonus Faber to name a few, so I expect only better will come out of Binghamton in the coming years.
It seems that no matter who owns them that the engineers at McIntosh are allowed to produce the best product they are capable of designing. As far as what will drive the C1's best, your ears and budget will be the deciding factors.
As one who has owned the Pass X250.5 as well as the MC 402, and 3 other Mac amps, I would strongly advise you to hear both in your system before purchase. The Pass was thin and electronic sounding in comparison to the Mac 402. Of course, that is to my ears and my taste, but the difference was plain enough to advise caution. Both companies offer great customer service though.
First of all, I really appreciate everyone's input. This was my first post on here and it has been very helpful. I would love to audition each amp but I cannot afford a new Mac amp and I don't have a Pass dealer close to me. At this point I was leaning towards the Pass x250 for the price. I am looking for something around 2-3k and a decent MC402 is at least 4k. I'm currently using the MC150 and it seems somewhat flat and was hoping that was because of the cables. Right now I'm just using generic 12 gauge wire. I am about to purchase some Transparent speaker wire.
My main question for someone that has owned the C1's and hopefully paired them with a mac amp. Should the MC150 be enough to properly power them? I hear so much about the C1's being power hungry and I feel like the 150wpc isn't enough. If it is enough than I know to look somewhere else for the problem whether it be cables, placement, source audio.