Upgrade to McIntosh

Hello everyone,

I am looking to upgrade my hi-fi sytem.I demod MC 275 recently and loved the tuby,warm house sound of Mcintosh.

I will be pairing them with Sonus Faber Olympica 1.

I am torn between MA352 integrated and MC275+C8 separates. The latter is obviously more costly but I am willing to go for it if there are advantages.

How would the sound differ? What would be the most notable distinction between the two system in your opinion?

Thanks in advance

My two cents: My instincts are to go with the separates in this case and, for that matter, in most cases, in general. However, either of these 2 power sources would me more than adequate for the speakers involved. I haven't heard the MA352. However, a friend and I spent approximately 4 to 5 hours of contiguous, concentrated, serious seat-time with the MC275, critically listening to several pairs of tower speakers I was in the market for at the time. I can't recall what pre-amp was being used but it was a MAC. There is no question, IMHO, that this is an outstanding sounding amp. I would expect that the MA352 would be just as impressive with the speakers involved. In the OP's position, I would plan to schedule some serious seat time A/B'ing both power sources and insist upon doing this with the speakers involved (e.g.  not something similar).

You guys rock! priceless input from all of you.

I was wondering if the general consensus about the ideal setup is tube preamp+solid state power amp, among Audiophiles, for reaching a warm,tuby sound without sacrificing controlled,tight and fast bass? Bu the lack of bass can always be compensated by a pair of subwoofers when running tube power amps?

On the other hand , a combo like C8/C22 tube pre and MC275 tube power amp seems to make many happy. I like listening music loud. I am eclectic.I love the 80s like Alphaville,Depeche Mode. I also listen to Jazz,Blues and Classic.

If only I could hear the MA352 tube pre+power amp hybrid. They dont have it where I am located at. @bjp9738 mentioned they found it a bit harsh in the midrange and lacking top end detail.

Should I hang up on the notion of tube pre+ SS power ?



All Mac. amps are U.S. hand made in Binghamton,N.Y. Parts are probably made in china and places around the world. But thats with every stereo manufacturer. As for your post . I'm using MC70 tube preamp thats a reintroduced MC22. Power is a SS MC452 and it's a beast. Soundstage is huge and crystal clear. MY speakers are Cornwall IVs and  I'm very happy. My only change to my setup would be to BI-AMP with a MC275VI tube for the uppers and the 452 for bass. Good luck

@wolfgangamadeusaudiophiliac This is most definitely a great conversation from everyone.

I play with vintage gear all the time. I prefer warming sound, I also like fast detailed tight bass.

I’ve bought new gear solid state power amplifiers and preamplifiers. What I found is I’m not a big fan of modern solid state amplifiers, I don’t like class D which is where the industry is going, due to cost savings.

Preamplifiers have improved low noise floor. Modern Solid State preamplifiers have that quality.

I have two very good vintage tube preamplifiers recapped restored. Marantz 7c & HK Citation 1. 

Both tube preamplifiers sound very good.

I’ve tried Marantz 7c tube preamp with Marantz 15, Marantz 16 Marantz 250. All solid state with Marantz sound. All been recapped bench tested. Marantz 7c took it to another level with them.

Mixing Mcintosh would be the same thing,

I’ve also tried Citation 1 preamp tube with HK Citation 16 150 watts Solid State amp. That combination sounds very good as well.

All tube amplifiers are not the same as like solid state amplifiers. Some are warmer tube sounding others can be cold and harsh.

Marantz 8b tube amplifier and solid state marantz amplifiers sound very close. Marantz 8b in its power range 35 watts, almost solid state sounding, tight bass, fast response, detailed highs etc.

If had power hungry speakers and wanted high volumes. Marantz 7c tube pre and marantz 250 or 500 amazing fit. But I only need 35 watts, sounds little more airy detailed to me.

Harmon Kardon Citation 2 tube power amplifier sound more like a tube amp to me. Still very wonderful. I would say If I need more power Citation 16 with 150watts fits the bill!

Now Marantz tube pre amp and power amplifier have a lower noise floor then the HK Tube system. I have La Scalas speakers, you will hear noise with tube period.. HK system I can hear hiss, completely normal.

I have a modern rotel RC-1580 preamp "wonderful preamp" sounds very good! Cheap, doesn’t add anything and it doesn’t subtract, Has tone controls, remote etc. One big positive it is silent, any amplifier i connect to it is silent or almost silent. Great with horn speakers.

If you want a low noise floor modern solid state preamp way to go, match it with vintage or new tube amplifier great results.

Based on what you want to do, what speakers you have. Mixing tubes and solid state have there benefits.

Mcintosh is great! I’ve had mc275 wasn’t for me, older McIntosh amps great midrange. I did a complete restoration on Mcintosh MX110 Jason Momoa has it now lol. Did a restoration MC240 and MC30. Build quality is wonderful! But wasn’t the sound I was looking for. Roger Russell is an amazing guy at Mcintosh.

Don’t be afraid to branch out, I have 1952 Pilot amps AA-901 sounds amazing, tried them with the rotel and Citation1. Wonderfull wonderful amps.

Back to new amplifiers, If I was going with new one it most likely would be tube.




Dang it wrote too much lol.




I have a c2700-275 combo and its quite nice. I'd definitely move up to the c22 or c2700 over the c8 unless you really like that look.

dac2 board is quite good for the money as well. ARC in the dac 2 board is also very handy if you have a TV in the same room. the options on the c2700 make it the best preamp I've used for options and flexibility.

The 275 runs hot.

both need better tubes then the JJ's ( i believe they are JJ's) MAC supplies as OEM tubes not bad for new tubes but lacking in so many ways. almost every negative I've read above for the mac tube gear can be related to those tubes IMO.