New to hobby: McIntosh D150 w/ McIntosh Amp vs. Rotel Separates


New to the forum and hifi hobby. I am looking to build a system but having trouble finding which direction to go in. I use a Sonos Port as my source streaming Tidal and wanted a 2 channel system that I wouldn't have to manually turn on when I wanted to play music. 


I found that the Rotel RC-1572 MKii preamp had a signal sense feature which would do this and have purchased that. I also have a McIntosh D150 DAC which has a power trigger in which the port can trigger on. 


My amp was a Rotel RB-1050 and I was trying very hard to like the McIntosh paired with it because in my mind I'm thinking this is a more expensive brand and piece so it should be better, but it sounded too bright to where it was almost painful at high volumes. With the Rotel preamp I didn't have this issue. It sounded great and was much more laid back.

I was wondering if the D150 wouldn't have this issue if I paired it with a McIntosh MC152 or any McIntosh Amp. I have had older Rotel separates that were given to me by my dad and have always wanted to eventually graduate to McIntosh.

My other option is getting the Rotel RB 1582MKii and pairing that with the RC 1572 Mkii and being done with it. 

My question is, since the McIntosh D150 isn't a true preamp but a DAC rather with Preamp capability, should I stick with the Rotel or should I pursue the McIntosh route? I've seen that the D150 & MC152 pair is common so I was thinking that the Mcintosh D150 and Rotel pair might be causing the brightness issue. Running B&W CM9 S2 speakers. Thanks!


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I can’t comment on the McIntosh D150 but I own McIntosh MC462 and have had a number of Rotel amps over the years (still use them for surrounds in my theater).

Anyway run what sounds good to you. McIntosh does not really come into it’s own until you get into their high power amps with autoformers. That is where you get into the McIntosh sounds.

McIntosh often outsources their internal DAC to other brands. Probably just a sabra chip found in many other brands. Their theater processors are made by Marantz then they use their own input and output stages.

anyway McIntosh is fine (I own them so no hate) but it is over priced on the lower end. I find the C53 preamp and MC462 and higher amps very good but again lots of stuff cheaper just as good.

now in truth I would run what you have and change your speakers. Your speakers are simply bright and forward. I have owned the 703s which is very much like your cm9 and I am 100% sure they are the bottle neck in your system. Very uneven respond and will be setup critical as they have a number of issues.

Disclaimer, big Rotel fan here. I use the RB1590. The RB1582MKII would work great with your RC1572MKII and the CM9 S2 speaker, which is fantastic.

Rotel makes some of the best affordable pre/amps available with excellent power supplies and build. Good luck with your search.







I think you need to broaden your horizons.  Listen to a few other brands:

  • Ayre
  • Luxman
  • Pass
  • Arcam
  • Bryston

Work is cut out for you.  Hard for others to advise your circumstances.

Welcome to the "hobby "

To get a better pre power combination than the Rotel you will need to spend a lot of money. I had a similar combination which I replaced with Vincent Hybrid Pre / power, less bright with better soundstage.

I have had many super expensive amp and pre and by accident I got a Rotel combo


I was shocked at the sound quality, sound stage,

and sheer enjoyment!

just a very well kept secret!


zero listening fatigue 



I am with the idea of different speakers. A general fault of many cheaper speakers is brightness. Also consider the wire you are using. I had some older McIntosh stuff years ago that was really wonderful I should have kept it. Still have a couple of there old timers. My first system was Rotel separates that was a really bright system and I finally figured out I had really bad speakers. I had a pair of paradigm studio 100s god they were bad.  Those speakers ended up costing me a lot of money as I started down the road to trying to get a system that sounded good. If I had a decent entry level system I might really likely of just keeping it that way.  

I'm not sure if I'm following the OP completely.  You're using the McIntosh D-150 as a DAC and running into the Rotel RC-1572?  Or not using the RC-1572 and running the D-150 as DAC and preamp into the Rotel 1050?  Doesn't the Rotel RC-1572 have a built-in DAC?  Have you tried using that instead of the McIntosh DAC?  Is the sound still too bright for you?

I had a McIntosh MC152 for a couple weeks to demo.  It sounded nice, gave a little of that McIntosh sound, but I didn't feel it was worth the price.  Was better than the direct coupled amp in the MA352 integrated, but did not stand up to the MC462.  A lot of people think the modern McIntosh sound is this warm, tube-like sound.  Not really.  Their tube amps don't even really sound like tubes.

I own both McIntosh and Rotel gear.  I would look at the 1582 MkII over the MC152.  You could even go with the big boy, RB-1590 and still come out almost $2k ahead over the McIntosh.

I have a Mcintosh receiver with built in DAC that I enjoyed for many years, but then recently added a Bryston DAC and I really like what it does for the sound.  I agree with @erik_squires that you should consider some other brands also.  But I understand the lure toward Mac and the hypnotic effect of those blue meters.  Good luck and enjoy the journey.

My only experience with a Rotel + B&W system was painful and very short-lived. 



Your preamp is paired with the 1582mkii everywhere I look...YouTube, reviews, I'd say go for it! In fact the ra1592 mkii is bases on the 1582 Amp and tests showed it produced peaks of 1.7 kilowatts into 1 ohm!! 

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