Why do McIntosh come with cheap plastic remotes?

Any comments as to why Macs come with el-chepo remotes?
Somehow this just doesn't fit with the notion of elegant and robust gear.
You also have seen the same el-chepo remotes of Audio Research
supplied with the REF 3 REF CD 7
Maybe they assume that the end user will probably use a universal remote and the included remote needent be of high quality. But I must add that I have had a number of McIntosh pre-pros/pre-amps and the remotes we of a standard quality. My last peice MX135 came with a McIntosh backlit remote and a Harmony as well. So I assume that they have changed that? Too bad. And yes the ARC remotes are light duty at best, I agree.
For one thing, plastic is light and fairly resilient. I think a lot of members and professional reviwers make far too big a deal of the way remotes look and what they are made of.
Complaints about the way they are layed out or how they function are valid. Poorly designed remotes can be annoying.
Agree with Hansk46 and Theo, ARC take the cake for cheap remotes that are not remotely commensurate the with quality of its components. The remote for the CD-8 is an embarrassment. Why not add ARC to your thread title? The McIntosh remotes may not be perfect, but they're nicer than ARC. OTOH, compare, for example,Conrad Johnson's fine quality remotes (at least for my Act 2.2), now there's a company that accessorizes with pride.
Have to disagree that the remotes are somehow substandard. Both of my new Mc units (C50 & MVP881BR) came with back-lit remotes that work very well. The soft-touch coating on the plastic has a nice feel and doesn't collect dust like the NOS replacement remote I bought for my MAC 3. That one wasn't back-lit and had a glossy metal function ID plate on the top. It scratched the moment I wiped dust off it. All the remotes are readily replaceable through Audio Classics at about $50 or so. Considering the cost of the equipment and how quickly the magnetic contact closures fail regardless of what the external housing is constructed from, I feel Mc has done a smart thing.
I have three Audio Research devices. A REF 3 Pre-amp, A DAC 8 and a Phono 6. They all have the same type of remote. Although they are ridiculously heavy, remotes made from a solid block of aluminium like some, I believe that AR concentrated (correctly) on the actual equipment, like the amp, pre-amp, etc. The remote doesn't matter much to me as long as it doesn't fall apart and that it works correctly. Which they do work correctly. If you want a hefty, solid remote like Boulder equipment, they remember, you will pay for it. I don't believe it necessary to add to the price for this extra.

Does it work? Does if fail or break easily?

The remote quality issue becomes really important to me when certain functions can only be accessed from the remote. If the remote dies the gear can become useless.

For older gear it can be impossible to obtain a replacement should that become necessary.

Sometimes I order a spare as a backup (while I can) and also program a universal for normal use.
You can add Jeff Rowland to the list. My JR preamp comes with a small plastic remote that says 'Made in Korea' at the back. The preamp looks and sounds gorgeous but the remote is so out of place, a bit like having a plastic spoon in the midst of silver cutlery. I asked to upgrade to something more substantial but they don't have it!
I used to own an ARC Ref 3 preamp and indeed, the JR remote is no better than the ARC's.
I've some heavy remotes, some small and light remotes, and had a ridiculously large remote once. None have ever failed. So as far as I am concerned if the remote works well, cheap is fine. The guts are likely all pretty much the same.
I think finally that the remote should be considered as an extension or the unit, being of equal quality.

I'm not saying the remote should be metal, but at least of higher grade plastic design.

I own the Oppo 105. Bought an extra remote for only $ 12.00

Puts any McIntosh or ARC remote to shame. Same with Anthem remotes, great quality for the price.

Best one ever is my current Pathos Logos remote. Just a solid and gracious peice of wood with 4 unmarked buttons. Classy and in-line with the unit's looks and function.
I think finally that the remote should be considered as an extension or the unit, being of equal quality.

Well said Sonic beauty. Specially when you pay mega bucks for that unit.
The more I think of it the more I applaud an inexpensive but functional remote. The hi-end is infested with too much bling. give me outstanding quality and I could not care less what it looks like.
I think manufacturers are in a quandary about how high a quality remote to provide, and how closely the remote should match the look and feel of the host unit.

They take away design and engineering focus from the unit itself, where most of the quality and product differentiation should be occurring anyway.

Custom remotes are expensive to design and build, when most of the internals and controls are standardized anyway.

I think in a few years, some manufacturers will stop providing remotes all together, and in their place, provide smartphone and tablet apps.
My 1999 construction Symphonic Line tube pre-amp came with a skimpy plastic volume only remote.

The Plinius M8 pre-amp (that I am currently using after mildly frying the SL with a bad tube) has a foot-long solid aluminum remote that I could use to bash in the skulls of any burglars seeking to steal my gear. My only concern with it would be fumbling it into (and through) my glass coffee table.
In hi-finews , april 2014( England ) an anouncement of the ARC CD6 tells us a heavyweight alloy IR remote is included !Well , well is ARC also a reader of Audiogon.Good !
I like the shape and feel of my mac remote. It's interesting that they added weights inside, so even if it's plastic is has just the right amount of weight to feel good in my hand.
It should be made of titanium and have mini-me meters with an option to turn them off.
On the upside of cheap remotes - had my LM-215 CDP remote been made out of cheap plastic instead of "brick-like aluminium" my vintage coffee table would not have a sizable corner dent in it from dropping it less than a foot from the surface during a listening session...
Good news , ARC also has a metal remote for the ARC REF 3
preamp and also for the REF CD7.
Visiting this thread from 2 years ago. I still find it unjustified to have cheap remotes on mega-dollar gear.

When you put your name on expensive audio, there should only be one quality standard across the board.

However well a cheap plastic remote can work, it is an extension of the product.

Ever seen a brand new Omega or Tag watch with a cheap $15 expendable wrist band on it instead of solid link stainless steel? Doesn't affect how the watch works of course, but still totally impossible.
I'm on the fence on this one.
Part of me says quality gear should come with a quality remote.
But the other part appreciates the option to save the money, especially if one is planning to use a universal remote.
My Modwright came with a cheap and cheesy remote. The metal one was a $200 option that I passed on.
They bumped the price up $500 last summer but it now comes with the metal remote standard.
If you want elegantly and solidly constructed remotes: buy Balanced Audio Technology gear. My VK-D5 came with one, carved out of a solid aluminum billet. The, "guts" are absolutely NOT at all the, "same" as any other, being of the same high quality construction, as the main unit. The sole downside would be a replacement price, which I understand to be around $500.00. On the other hand; mine has been functioning perfectly, since 1998, as has the CDP(or all else would be irrelevant).
Visiting this thread from 2 years ago. I still find it unjustified to have cheap remotes on mega-dollar gear.
Then don't buy it? Is there another executive action I'm not aware of?

When you put your name on expensive audio, there should only be one quality standard across the board.
maybe in there market research MAJORITY of customers don't care.
01-03-15: The_rang
I'm on the fence on this one.
Part of me says quality gear should come with a quality remote.
But the other part appreciates the option to save the money, especially if one is planning to use a universal remote.
My Modwright came with a cheap and cheesy remote. The metal one was a $200 option that I passed on.
They bumped the price up $500 last summer but it now comes with the metal remote standard.
I'm sure McIntosh will bump up $500 for a quality remote if there's demand. Nothing is free and someone has to pay for it.
I have a C2500 purchased as NOS factory sealed box in January of this year. The remote does not look like the one in Users Manual and it appears to have been upgraded during the production cycle.  The ID number is HRO85 and it's of the same high quality as my Esoteric gear. 

I agree that many "High End" products come with cheapo plastic remotes, who cares? Given the choice between plastic and one hewn from a meteorite at $2000 cost, I know which one I'd choose.

 It's about the music folks and how does the construction material of the remote effect that?

My remotes for my CD player and streamer are plastic, and my Kavent/Vincent preamp remote is solid aluminum that I'm certain could withstand a steam roller…all work fine and their differences are such that I can recognize them by touch when groping in the dark. Wasn't "groping in the dark" a Springsteen song?
The worst remote in from older Musical Fidelity.  It was very cheap and they used a RF format that does not allow a user to replace it with a universal remote.  I really liked the 308cr pre-amp and would still be using it if the remote was still alive.  That remote was so bad, I took out to the garage and beat it to bits with a hammer.  Outstanding Therapy! 

to joecasey: your comment ''maybe in there market research MAJORITY of customers don't care "

The majority of customers buy at big-box stores. That's what the market resarch says. I don't agree that high-end audio folks don't care about quality running through with every part of a product including the proverbial remote. You will have your McIntosh fan that will buy mac because it may be their ''dream'' amp. But nevertheless, buying a 5-8K integrated that comes with a (their cost) $7.95 remote is an insult to the customer. And why do they get away with it? Because the brand is strong and still in demand, and frankly because they don't HAVE to supply anything other than a cheap remote. The product will sell whatever is supplied with it, because they can get away with it.
What I hate about most fancy remotes are 2 things:
A.To heavy.
B. You need some special screwdriver to remove the batteries. 
Long lived thread

1- earlier comment about an expensive Omega watch with a cheap strap? Uh, yes. NATO straps 

2- I have 3 remotes in my system 2 metal, one plastic. Battery replacement- plastic remote is easy- slip off battery door. Metal remotes? One needs a Philips screwdriver the other an Allen wrench. None have ever failed. The only remote I have ever seen fail was one that was thrown at a wall. The wall was fine. It was a plastic remote 
Those NATO straps are actually quite expensive zavato, although I agree that they look terrible.
NATO straps from OMEGA are a lot. Go to Watch Prince- $20! Any NATO strap is really a cheap thing. Some cost a lot, though. 
Post removed 
Absolutely needs to be of same quality standard as the base component . It is the main interface with the unit after all. You pay 10k for a pre and operate it with a $20 remote would only occur in audio. The logic that the manufacturer is putting the dollars into the unit is not compelling to me. ARC about the most shameful in my experience. Hopefully they have also evolved beyond the lightweight stamped metal chassis of the Ref 3 era which was the last one I owned. A look at the total Ref 3 package told me that they had enough left in funds to provide a nice remote. After all, the money is either in your pocket or theirs. ARC certainly not alone in this practice I'm sure.

I really don't agree with the argument that the remote must be expensive or heavy, etc.  As long as it works and doesn't fall apart is all I care about for the remote.

I feel that the actual audio equipment such as the amp, CD Player/Transport, Pre-Amp, Tuner, etc. are what the manufacturer should really concentrate on .

If you want a unnecessary and expensive remote, then write the manufacturer and maybe they will make one for the one's that want that and are willing to pay extra for such a device.

For me, I believe it is a waste and I for one, don't want or need it.

Again, as long as it works, is reliable, doesn't fall apart.

to each their own.  But, the extra costs for such an expensive device (see Boulder) is a waste to me. this is status only and has absolutely nothing to do with sound quality.

My opinion only.


Actually on a pure operational level, it also has to do with ergonomics, comfort in hands, not searching long for that mute button when needed, being able to not overshoot or undershoot the remotes volume level etc...a well designed remote does not do anything for sound and I agree.

But a well-designed remote does contribute to enjoyment and the overall enjoyment of using your sound system.

And for me this hobby is all about enjoyment.

And the remote is of course a natural extension of the gear’s quality, and brand-manufacturer’s value. It’s ok if this has no value for some, but still, you won’t find a TAG watch with a cheap $20 extensible wrist bracelet, let alone a Rolex with the same. And wrist bands don’t contribute to the watch’s performance, and some won’t care if the bracelet is stainless steel, or solid links or not. But you won’t find them cheaping out to save a few bucks like some audio manufacturer’s insist on doing on even quite expensive gear.

As someone said on this thread, only in audio....
Quality of the McIntosh remote is inconsistent with the gear it controls.  I've owned dozens of other brands and never experienced this. Seriously, they should take a closer look at this.  
I own a couple Tag watches, and they are jewelry as much as they are a functional time piece.  As long as the remote functions and doesn’t break, I’m happy with it.

As a ten dollar watch from  Walmart keeps time just as well as a 3K Tag it hardly seems an analogy to audio .
And expensive watches are NOT jewelry but ego trips , usually seen on wrists of insecure people which is often an analogy to Audio purchases .
I am surprised to read so many just don't care about the remotes. I for one do. The remote is an extension of the piece I just purchased. The design, quality and functionality should be equal to the piece. My pre-amp is in the six grand range and the remote in the ten dollar range. Many years ago I was a house painter. I painted the inside of closets to the same quality as I painted the room. Did most people care? No but I cared. Every aspect of my work should be at the same quality. This isn't a hard concept to grasp and the manufactures should wake up to this.
Totally agree with the OP! A quality remote should be part of the experience of using a high cost component. 

A few years ago I was car shopping and looked at Mercedes Benz. While it drove nice, inside were buttons and knobs that, to me, were made of cheap plastic and did not feel "right" compared to the rest of the car. Needless to say, I passed on buying it. 


Your comments are surprisingly ignorant and vitriolic. Having been in jewelry and watch retail for many years, I can assure you that there is a larger percentage of fine watch buyers/collectors who purchase their watches for their own enjoyment than those who do so to impress others, although those people certainly exist, and some actually admit to that motivation.

There is a certain group of people, usually but not always men, who have a great respect for the design and workmanship involved in fine watches. We should all be thankful for these people, because without them, this great art would certainly die. An analogy could be made with vinyl records and fine turntables.