WHOA This isn't what I expected.

I'll try to make this as brief as possible. I am bi-amping my setup because of the new speakers I am getting. I am initially keeping my old integrated amp (Mac MA-6500)to use with the mid/high speakers. I borrrowed/bought a Nakamichi PA-7 from a friend to try out with the bass speakers. The Mac can be used as a preamp for the Nak.

I don't have the new speakers yet, but was dicking around with my old speakers this morning. I wanted to see what the volume level difference was between the Mac and Nak. I connected the Nak to the Mac using fairly good interconnects (Audioquest Pythons)and used my existing speakers and speaker cables (Audioquest Volcanos)and connected them to the Nak. After listening for a while, I reminded myself of why I was getting new speakers. Then I connected the speaker cables to the Mac, and as expected, the volume did decrease slightly. BUT, the sound quality increased in everyway and was immediately noticed. The Nak did not hold a candle to the old amp, and in fact it sounded pretty pathetic.

Can anyone tell me if this should have been the anticipated result? Or do you think something could be wrong with the Nak amp? What else am I missing? Power cords? I don't know, other than there was a VERY big drop off in sound quality that I sure wasn't expecting.

Thanks for any input.
Isn't that one of the Naks that Nelson Pass designed? I wouldn't jump to any conclusions until your Betas arrive.
Elgordo: Nelson Pass didn't design the Nakamichi "Stasis" series, Nak simply payed to use technology that Nelson had patented.

Having said that, you can't judge any amp with significant levels of bias right out of the box and / or "cold". Leave it powered up for 2 or 3 days and then give it another listen.

Having said that, it's quite possible that you simply prefer the sound of your Mac. I've heard some people say that the Nak Stasis amps were "budget Threshold" amps and while others say that they are an abomination to the Threshold design. Most of the people claiming them to be a great bargain are those that own them and have never heard the real deal. I can't say either way as i've never heard any of the Nak offerings. Sean
I'm not surprised by your conclusion. The Nakamichi PA series Stasis amps were a major disappointment and don't even come close to the Threshold amps. In fact they are really not very good at all. I clearly remember having high expectations for a PA-5 I just purchased and sitting in wonderment at just how uninvolving, uninteresting and just plain mediocre it sounded. In a direct comparison with a B&K ST140 there was no comparison, the little B&K was the better amp by a wide margin. The Nakamichi's have great build quality and are beautiful but just don't cut it sound quality wise. The funny thing is that their SR series Stasis receivers are great sounding units, among the best receivers ever made, and superior to the Stasis seperates
here it is,plain & simple,its the mac,lets look at this for a minute,your using a "old integrated mac" & a nak from the stasis series which is supposed to be a fantastic amp & the mac blew it away & with good reason.

mcintosh is a far superior amp than nak,trust your ears & not all the hype,beacuse of some of the features that mac amps employ like autoformers & power gaurd most audiophiles look right past mcintosh.

if your gettin into ss gear i suspect that part of the reason is beacuse its less hassle than tubes,do you really want to start getting into gear that has to be left on all the time for it to sound good or let it warm up for 3 days prior to doing a demo? do you have to leave your tv on for 3 days to get a good picture? cmon.

when you get your new speakers try it again & ill bet the outcome is the same & if you still prefer the mcintosh then your path is clear.

i would go with my 1st impression,when you get gear that takes days & weeks for you to get used to that should tell you somthing.

not only is it fair to judge an amp when its 1st put into your system IMO its a must,1st impressions are important beacuse they tell you right off where your at.

you mentioned power cords,theese things should be the very last thing (if at all) you upgrade into your rig,it makes no sense to me to get a amp & be unhappy with the sound & right away start tweeking the thing.

when you do get the speakers in & try it again i would be very curious as to the results.

I had the Nak PA-7 about three years ago. I do not know the load that the Betas present, but I would be very, very careful to attempt to drive them to very high levels, for what I remember is that they were not necessarily as powerful or capable of driving difficult loads. I had a pair of 88db monitors hooked up to them, 6" and 1" domed tweeter. They clipped a few times...mind you I did not drive them at very high volumes either. The Nak is a decent amp for what it is, but if the betas demand high current, then, the Nak will not be up to the task.
Sean - Thanks for clearing up the "urban legend" of the Nak amp. I've never even seen, much less heard, one. From what people ask for them they didn't seem like a bargain, even if they were a "baby Threshold". Angiemima - I hope your "borrowed/bought" leans more toward the "borrowed".
That Nak was so bad, I believe Threshold sued them to stop selling it. Nak had licensed the "Stasis" design, then low bid the build quality & put a thick faceplate on it...
I remember seeing a PA-7 sitting on a used shelf at a store I worked at.It looked like a million bucks sitting there.Built like a tank.I opened it up and thought the layout was a little messy.With krell gear and counter point gear looking like the layout meant something.Then I fired it up one slow night.I ran it with a Marantz 67se and used the Micro Mcormack headphone drive as a preamp.Back then B&W had the "P" series and we had P5's in the store.I hooked it all up and wow did it sound like crap.So I swapped a B&K ST-140,just to see if something was up.I now use three B&K ST-140's in my hometheater system as a six ch. system.Someone bought it because it looked great.No, I didn't sell it.
This is yet another "McINTOSH RULES"thread.

there are lots f really well regarded amps out there. there are are a lot more die-hard MCIntosh fans around here
I picked up a PA-7 cheap a few years ago. It makes a pretty good subwoofer amp (its current use), but I don't like it as a full range amp. It might work on the bass section of your new speakers.

As for durability, I know a guy who used one for years to drive a pair of Apogee Duetta Signature speakers, so I guess they have some stamina.
IN 1988 I was at a dealer in Mpls looking and the subject came up about the PA5 and PA7.He said they sounded wimpy.That of course is/was 1 mans opinion.I never heard them myself.A lawyer would probably call this heresay.I say trust your ears to be sure of anything.Good luck,Bob
I owned a Nak PA 7 for 15 years; one of the first ones and until recently I sold it. I used it with B&W 801 SII speakers and it sound okay. But I did not pay $$$$$$ for it. I can say one thing for sure: I hads no problems with it--not like my Mark Levinson that had to have caps replaced with 2 years--so who has the better quality?
Thanks to everyone for their responses. I was concerned there might be something wrong with my PA-7. I will give it a chance with my bass speakers, but I will also get something else to compare it with.
The MA6500 is a current model and is direct coupled, no autoformers. All McIntosh SS amps since the 70s have Power Guard, Sentry Monitor, and turn on inrush protection, etc.
Pa-5 and Pa-7 are different, soundwise. Not to continue trashing the PA-7s, but for what is worth, it does not sound horrible, per se, but it does not have the stamina to be expected for the mass of the amp. There are those out there that swear by the PA-7..for what I remember, when I connected to some towered speakers, with a decent preamp, SFL-2 and NOS...with a trio of racing cones, underneath the Nak, it did have a certain slam, that other amps, more expensives amps did not have. Just remember, the amp is worth about 700-1000 used, and how many amps out there that are about 15 years old can hold such a value in the used market? Good as a back up amp, but never as the ultimate reference, I will say. Careful to expect them to produce current, they cannot.
Let it warm up properly, about an hour, then test it using quality classical musics from label such as Telarc...
I own a PA7 since 1986, driving a pair of B&W 802 FS, built my own passive volume control BEFORE anyone and the internet that showed you how to do it. I took great care in room placement and treatment around the speakers, and it sounded wonderful.
I have recently upgraded to Nautilus 802, thought that although the Nak can drive it plenty loud, but I wanna try something different just to make sure my N802 is as happy as it could be. So I borrowed a Pass Labs X150...
Well long story short, the Pass is wonderful and crystal clear, powerful deep bass and lack of hardness in the midrange, typical of many SS amps. In fact it sounds EXACTLY similar to the Nak, so...
I bought a second Nak, biamped my speakers and not looking back since. So much for Nak bashing although if i have money, a true Pass amp is in my wish list. Thank you, TN