Why do no audio enthusiasts use McIntosh?

With the exception of some of there tube gear, not many really use this stuff(or admit to it anyway), I am mainly referring to there amps. They look pleasant, they look good on paper and have the price of high end gear, but I seldom hear anyone claiming to like or one day dreaming of owning McIntosh. I have never really listened to there stuff, no good word of mouth sort of scares me away from it, the only people who like it are those who sell it, an uncanny coincidence? I don’t know. Sorry it this has been covered many times in the past, I ran a search and could not find anything.
There is simply too much Esoterica in this site. If you compare the equipment owned by the Asylum inmates vs the people here you'll get the picture. DIY it's not an entree here. Also the questions on what they're doing and what's going on. Just my .02.
I'm not sure I completely agree with the esoterica argument, but this site is mainly made up of people that own products they've purchased FROM this site. Most Mac owners simply do not upgrade, and they keep their gear FOREVER. And besides, most Mac owners buy new and keep going back to their trusty Mac dealer for advice. I know because two of my best friends work at a Mac dealer...the people that buy Mac are their very best customers. Many of these same dealers offer buy-back programs for upgrades to better Mac equipment, and so instead of hawking their wares on the Gon, they simply take it back to the dealer. The same with Linn...not too many Linn products show up on the Gon either. Cheers!
Hmmm is Hueske on to something? What he is describing is the same type of person who swears by Bose and just goes back to the Bose dealer in the mall. Now Bose is complete junk. McIntosh is not, it is nice stuff. Could McIntosh be what a Bose person dreams of owning if their financial ship comes in?? You don't find any Bose on Agon either. Another similarity is there is a ton of both Bose and McIntosh on eBay, more than any other brands.
I'll agree with Sugarbrie on this one. I do think that Mac is what a lot of Bose owners dream of. Mac has been around for a LONG time, and many people who aren't educated as to what is out there hold that Bose is #2, Mac is #1. I know that quite a few people that purchase Mac do so on just a demo basis. They hear the Mac stuff, are blown away, and buy. I've been in my friend's store when they demoed Mac vs. Levinson. Top of the line on both sides (albiet the Levinson gear was much pricier), but we're talking MC1201 monoblocks for the fronts AND center on the Mac side. They were running that new Levinson No. 40 Video Processor (very, very nice), with two 336's and a bridged 334 for the center. Proceed Transport used on both sides. B&W 801's for fronts. The Mac gear was obviously ecplised in EVERY WAY by the Levinson. Even the saleperson dutifully pointed out everything that made the Levinson gear better. This customer obviously had no qualms about dropping 50,000 on this stuff, but in his mind the Mac was superior. Not necessarily by what he heard (he commented, yeah it does sound a little more open, or, I didn't hear that before!), but his purchase was made by the point that a: his father had owned Mac, and b: all his friends had bought Mac at this particular store. Done and done! His mind was made up before he even heard the stuff. Just like a lot of Bose owners I know. And how many times have you mentioned that you were an audiophile and the people responded "Oh, like Bose?" Yes, yes like Bose. Cheers!
One dealer around hear carries mcintosh. They said the type of clientele who tend to purchase the gear are older individuals who remembered mcintosh from the golden days so to speak. He said they get alot of docters and lawyers buying it since the name is familiar. They were building tube amps before the transistor was even born. But everyone buys there tuners.
To McIntosh investors, the debate over who has this weeks best amp or preamp etc. isn't a concern. They know that Mac is regarded to be among the finest sonically and that seems to be enough. Mac's obsession with over-building and the elegance that results is the appeal. Chassis chromed where no one will ever see, volume pots sealed in nitrogen atmospheres for 300 year mil-spec lifetimes, 1 inch thick hand silkscreened glass faces, all of that. I think it's like seeing a perfect vintage Benz or Cord or Dusenburg. It may not be a Ferrari, Aston Martin, etc., but it is just as much of a statement. Besides, have you ever seen a Mac stack of blue/green dials in the dark? WOW!
just a thought... thanks.
I read the above responses with great interest since I am a NEW fan of Mcintosh at the ripe old age of 24 (stereotype #1 dismissed). As an electrical engineer (stereotype #2 dismissed) on his way to a Ph.D. in the field, paying for school is my utmost priority. However I am an audio buff too and so I have been carefully balancing my finances to buy, what I consider, a nice audio system. Needless to say, I don't have $50k laying around to buy audio gear with so I have chosen very carefully what to spend my hard earned money on. I listened to MANY systems thanks to my interim job's many travel opportunities to large cities and have carefully considered each and every one with NO initial bias for any maker. A couple of my family members did have Mcintosh but i did not like the look a few years back and despite incredible reliability records set by their equip, I was not too impressed UNTIL, I heard a MC 352 and C42 on Paradigm Reference 100 speakers in Fort Worth. Wow! I was sold (and consequently bought all 3). I listened to it with a Proceed setup back to back (my post elsewhere on this site) on the same speakers and it was nice but I did HONESTLY like the Mc better because I have a fondness for warm and open music and found the Mc better in those regards, as well as for their distinctive look making them stand out in the "plastic box" crowd. As "Stasis" said, their over-engineering also won me over. If Mc has the passion for perfectly executing every last detail, then that passion is what I want to buy to satisfy my passion for passionate audio equipment. And to me, I don't believe the stereotype that only older doctors and lawyers buy Mc because I don't fit it as a Mc lover!
Also, I have looked inside many nice "audiophile" amps and preamps and from a design standpoint Mc clearly knows what they are doing (the autoformer is true genius). I have built several amps with nearly unmeasureable distortion (e.g. 0.0005%, 10-30kHz, it's not hard - they are just 1 big discretely-made power op-amp). So why then did I buy a Mc amp if mine was great? For the aforementioned build quality and for their reputation (which obviously has 50 years of merit) due to over-engineered details that make it much more special than my excellent sounding pile of wires. If any of you have a chance to visit Mc in Binghampton - you seriously should.
I will admit to fitting one Mc stereotype however: I will buy Mc equipment next time I upgrade.

I bought some Electrostat/hybrid speakers and wanted to biamp them using my Mcintosh amps - when I called my speaker dealer to ask if I could try an external crossover to see if it would be a better situation he came over to check things out. I had my two amps hooked - one tube(2102) and the other the 352 - but hidden in cabinets. He was amazed at the sound and how natural and balanced it was and said the crossover would not help anything. I told him I was thinking of Mac amps to see his reaction. He said - never - and I couldn't get the sweetness I was now getting with what he thought were Mark Levinson amps because I had originally had a pair. When I showed him my amps he busted out laughing and admitted that he had never listened to Macs. He told me not to ever let this story out but as you can see I did not agree to that. A lot of vendors make good stuff and we all have sound characteristics we like and don't like. It is amazing how many people have opinions on gear they have never even heard. Look at the reviews on the latest Mac gear in Stereophile and you will see some very well known audiophiles giving them A ratings. To each his own - it is what makes this hobby fun. Graet gear that is built like tanks and very relaible with natural music sounding ability may not appeal to some.
A few months ago I was bitten by the Mac bug. It's hard to understand, but as you do some research you start to get pulled in and the next thing you know you want to sell all to build a Mac system and, I don't want to be too negative here, you sound like all the rest of the die hard Mac owners talking of Mac's "over engineering and build quality...".

I believe you can build a Mac system that sounds wonderful, but I don't think Mac has a corner on the market for engineering and build quality, in fact I recently owned a Mac C42 and it is a nice piece, but as far as the smoothness of the controls and their use, IMO, they were not up to the level of the Levinson I used.

So, I suppose the point of my post is to give my point to two views I see.

1) The original poster questioned why there are no audio enthusiests who use Mac, I believe there are. Mac is one of the players in the high-end arena. Like many manufacturers, they have some great products and some maybe not so great.

2) Those that are die hard Mac users, the Mac bug has bitten so hard it has brought blindness! I am talking from experience here. I was reading the comments of those who have used the same amp and pre for 20-30 years and wouldn't change, Mac is so musical, Mac's unique looks, etc. Next thing you know, there is no other brand.

As to the young man that just purchased the MC352 and C42, that was the exact combo I was looking to, and from my research this is a nice setup, enjoy them.

We all could be blessed by buying pieces that we were just so happy with that we didn't want to change them and enjoyed them for 20+ years!
The Mcinstosh stuff is ok, but not nearly as dead-solid reliable and overbuilt as everyone here seems to think. I have seen and talked to first hand a repair tech here in the Northeast, who works full time servicing equipment, all high-end stuff. At least 1/2 of the stuff he gets that is broken is Mc stuff. From his discussions, he finds it really not all that reliable at all, and build quality to be nothing special.

Just because Mc products haven't changed style with the times (e.g., love it or hate it looks... most of it I dont' care for personally), doesnt' mean they are built the same as they were, or even all that well in general. Vintage looks = vintage looks. Nothing more to be inferred there. I am friends with a couple of Mc Dealers, and have seen/used/listened to the equipment extensively. The only product I really liked and would consider buying was the MC275 reissue amp. Everything else has been tubby and loose sounding (the tube amps). The solid-state amps (MC600, etc.) are better, but still not a match for the Levinson, Classe, etc. that I compared with. Overall, the Mc 'house-sound' is dark, and flabby in the bass. Tube choices could be better too, most of them are ho-hum kt88s and kt90s, not what I'd prefer personally. (more of an El34 person myself).

Agreed that the bug bites some people to induce deafness/blindness to other, obviously superior, choices. People buy Mc for several reasons, but it's not something I'd go out of my way to own. There is occasional speculation on their stuff too, notably the MC275 reissue and the Mc2000, both of which havent' really held their value or appreciated as expected. (to wit: the blowout prices of them here on Agon on occasion.)

Mc owners remind me of the typical mid-life-crisis Corvette owners. It's the closest analogy I can come up with.

To my recollection the Japanese rate their audio equipment not by cost or by design, but by passion. How much enthusiasm and enjoyment is experienced from such components is the measure. Clearly this is not the whole requirement for rating audio components but a major part of the process. With this in mind, it is understandable why people love their McItoshs.
I have been to the dealer in Binghamton you are referring to, I was wondering if I missed something, I guess not. I have a very respectable system(60k+, only 20 years old-me not the system), I have heard lots of gear, and I thought that it(Mc) looked cool and some of it had high prices, but Ed’s last comment makes a lot of sense. I have worked on too many Vette’s and they are one of the worst cars on the road-IMO- though tons of people swear by them, uncanny! They fit into my favorite audio category(I need to come up with some sort of real name for this ‘problem’ a lot of gear has),The it’s like being hit up side the head with a pillow case full of dimes-sound. breathe taking, you can only imagine. ~Tim
I have had alot of Mac equipement ( MC 75, MC2300 , MC 2155, C28 , C11 , MX-117) And let me tell you the Mcintosh is really a tube lover. Even now in their solid state electronics they use output transformer instead of having the transistor driving the speaker directly wich result of some sort of tube sound but limited with the output transformer ( tried the Mc 2300 300W/ch on B&W Matrix 801 and the amp meter was always near the 300 watt output when my little Marantz 250 125W/ch had not problem at all driving the B&W even louder) But when it come to OLD mcintosh tubed stuff they are really special my setup was the folowing : C-11 tube preamp , MC75 tube amp pair driving old JBL L100 century. And let me tell you the their was someting magic in the music, I can't describe what but it was one of the best sound I've heard even now (MY curent system: YBA 2HCDT AMP , YBA 2 preamp , JMLAB mini utopia speaker, all wired in transparent reference. Also keep in mid that Mcintosh are not ment to be played LOUD when you listen to a MC at low volume they are great but when you push them a little bit the sound become fuzzy and all the instrument merge to made a big noise.
I think the name of the problem is "justification." When you dump a pile of money into your dream system it must sound good because you are then past the point of no return and can't go back - you can go forward by "upgrading" (I hate that word because eventually the playing levels out with only miniscule bumps) however, wherein it all starts over. It is easy to fall in this trap but to realize it is the first step. I always thought of people who continually search for the better system as not having spent enough money on it yet! My final two cents....
A Mac Amp is one of the best I have seen and hear of. As I own a range of tube gear as well as solid state and a tuner MR78. The reason it is not on a high end unit list is that the sound does not match the other amps etc. Krell, Mark Levinson,Audio Research etc.It has a veil that that some how has no definition.As for solid state amps they are the best in terms of built. The Mac parts inside is not what you will find in say Audio Research(Mili Spec.)But they are built that they over exceed their specs.They have a good resale value compared to the others in the State as well in the Far East(Singapore). It has the same reputation as say a Rolex to other more expensive watches money can buy.
And the man on the street will take a Rolex then any thing else, Period. I had one time gave up all my Mac equipment. But by the end of the day I regret pathing it. That I had to buy them back again.Look around where would you find a forty year old equipment where you still get spare parts for it.It may sound good but not in the High end calibre. But
heck! who sits down for say two or four hours listening. A Sony will do if you are working round the house.
A Mcintosh Fan and Owner.
Joseph Lazaro
Well, most people on this site do, in fact, listen to music for extended periods. As for your coincidence, it is not. Third, you should not compare old mac to new, for numerous reasons, mostly having to do with musicality relative to the competion at their respective times. If you want to buy a SS amp with drive, with very good workmanship (read: craftmanship), want very decent reliability and resale, then, please, oh please, look at Pass XL series or the Lamm 1.1 hybrids.
Actually, we have been quite impressed with the latest generation of Mac amps. For the most part, they are extremely good and as for reliability, they are still better than many of the other high end units out there. Having had tons and tons of amps come thru over the past many years, the Mac amps have always struck me as extremely musical and involving. Maybe not the most accurate, but very very enjoyable. Also, I find Mac owners are amongs the very rare breed in audio...happy!

The Sound Broker
We went to the McIntosh demos at the T.H.E. Show in Vegas (CES).

We where not impressed. They had some 6000+ watt stereo system that was like >$200k. They talked specs for 40 minutes and played the system for 30 seconds. Seriously! We also went to the HT demo. Same story. Specs, specs, specs. They played the movie for 1 minute. Both systems sounded like something I wouldn't pay money for. I had always thought Mc was the Creme de LaCreme, I now think differently. I'm glad they came to T.H.E. Show so I will never waste my money on their "specs."

Paradigm was the exact opposite. They make you listen, not bore you with stupid numbers.
I sure would like to know how Mac got this "Creme de LaCreme" reputation, at least to many. Through the years I have read numerous comments from people that had a life long desire to own Mac gear as they held it in the highest esteem; I sometimes wonder if Mac never changing the essential look of their gear set them apart in some way in the eyes of some.

From my view, no facts here, just opinion, in the early / mid 1970's Mac did make gear that may be considered the "Cream", but certainly through the 1980's and early 1990's I don't see this as the case and far from it. That said, since the late 1990's it seems Mac is building gear that is once again exceptional.

I speculate some of these people heard a system in the 1970's with Mac gear that made a huge impression on them and through the years Mac gear has always stood out to them, as its looks haven't changed much.

To the previous post, sorry to hear the Mac presentation turned you off so bad, but before you abandon them, I recommend you get another (proper) demonstration, it seems to me, as I stated above, Mac is making some very nice gear these days.
Although some audiophiles can't understand it, "Look and Feel" of the equipment is important, and MacIntosh has always been the best. And some of the sonics are very good, if not the absolute best. Cost is relatively high, but for some people this is a non-issue.
Here are 4 possible reasons, the actual answer to your question Tim might be a combination of the 4 reasons or might be something else altogether:

1 - Mac make some really good sounding gear (MC500 mono's, 275 re-issue, even the 252 sounds good), but they also make some rough sounding gear too, like the 6500 and 6900 integrateds, and some of their tube amps. Having rough gear in your portfolio doesn't help when you're trying to sell the good gear (image / perception).

2 - styling isn't to everyone's tastes, it's almost military looking.

3 - Mac gear appeals more to the older generation and relies on 'nostalgia' to sell.

4 - People who frequent sites like audiogon are often in a constant state of flux with their systems and they're in here looking for the latest/greatest deals. Maybe Mac owners are just so damned satisfied with their gear and they're sitting at home listening to great music.

They are just possibilities to think about. I don't want to debate why I think the 6500 and 6900 don't sound very good.

Well, I was 23 years old when I got my first McIntosh. That was 4 years ago. I love the sound, the looks, and the presence McIntosh gear has. If you don't like it, look elsewhere.

Not everyone likes the same thing. Why is that so hard to understand?? I am amazed how there is so much "mine is best so yours is crap" attitude around here.

Personally, I don't spend much time in audio forums anymore. Rooze is right with that comment. It used to be fun until I realized there is no absolute like some make you think. Now when I browse posts, I generally laugh and shake my head. So many people have no confidence in their opinion. I find that strange but, hey, whatever floats your boat.

Can't believe this came back from late 01(hard to believe how the years just seem to fly by!), and yet still no "answer"- damn it!
McIntosh is similiar to Timex...."It takes a licking but keeps on ticking" so to speak. Mac gets its fair share of barbs for its audio, but from what pieces I've listened to they aren't all that bad; further, Mac gear can be handed down to your grandchildren and still produce to its rated specs. My best Bud has 27year old Mac gear that is a pleasure to sip and listen to all evening. Looking at prices of his Mac gear here on A'gon....he can almost break even on some units or make money on others if he sold his system compared to what he paid for it 27yrs ago...Now, that is saying something again isn't it!! So Mac gear must be crap..right?

Come to think of it...Mac hasn't been sold, folded, merged, kicked into Retail...down capped, or even transferred to China like so much of our other "High End" stuff has suffered over the past few years. Now that says a lot also...doesn't it?
Well, Goodsie, sold and merged McIntosh has quite a few times already, the last time in March 2003, when it changed hands from Japan-based Clarion based to D&M, the Japan-based holding that owns Marantz, too. Only these guys were clever enough not to ruin McIntosh
Looking at these threads, I find it hilarious that Levinson, touted as far above McIntosh, has transferred its interestes to home theater, can't service their products in any reasonable amount of time, and have products like the 331-333 with their capacitors leaking all over the place. I've owned Levinson, Krell, Pass Labs, Threshold, Rowland, McIntosh, BAT, Sim Audio, and gone round and round the merry-go-round. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. Personally, when I went into the Mac room at the 2002 CES, I had to leave. It was horrible. But, needing to try it just once, I bought an MC-602. I loved it. Paired it with a Sim Audio P-5 preamp, B&W 803's, and was quite satisfied. (Never even came close to tapping its power) I love Levinson's preamps, (owned a 32) really couldn't stand the thin, sterile sound of their amps. My own opinion, here. The point, ladies and gentlemen, is that after owning many of the "high end" brand's amps (ain't the used market great?) I've come to the conclusion that it comes down to personal preference, room, speakers, cables, etc. Why argue? Buy and try. In your own home. A dealer's room will never sound the same as yours. That's the beauty of Audiogon! I'm trying an MC 2101 tube amp next. If I don't like it, I'll sell it, and try something else.
I feel McIntosh is to audio what Harley Davidson is to motorcycles. Harleys are not the most confortable,refined, fastest or the most reliable machines (as say, a top product from Japan), yet they are well made and offer good value. They are, however a piece of American history, and as such sell for probably more than they are worth and keep their resale values up there. Plus, they have quite a loyal following. Above all, they have ''soul and character'' something beyond the reach of many high-end products, as good as they are ( Accuphase ? ).

In audio, McIntosh do not do all of the ''audiophile tricks'' as some esoteric brands, and many other manufacturers can claim to being better than Mac's in one area or another. Still, they are well-built, coherent and well-balanced products, and have lasting power. I would take any Mac over a Sim Audio product any day of the week. And that's not even taking in consideration that 10 years from now, a Mac will still be a Mac, and the SIM will be 10 year's ago's flavour of the month, just like a Mercedes is still a Mercedes 20 years later, and that the Caddy becomes an old gaz guzzler. There we go, from motorcycles to cars to audio, classic brands are always a good buy, just like Macs. They may not be the very best at everything, but merit our attention and respect !
I am an audio enthusiast and do use Mcintosh, The Harley analogy is pretty interesting and has alot of merit, I might add my own. To me some Mac amps etc are like a Ferrari (yes Ferrari). Those who have driven one (I have had the good fortune to drive 5,never owned one though) always seem to want to come back to them. The are not the fastest, most powerful, ultiamte handlers etc BUT, they just seem to do a whole lot right and put a smile on your face.
Same with Mac, take the 252 amp, I would compare that to a say a Ferrari 308gt4 (which is the least expensive Ferrari you can buy) and also is Macs entry level amp. Maybe not the most detailed, deepest bass etc BUT, it makes me want to listen to music more...same with the 308gt4,wonderfully designed by Bertone, driving one simply puts a smile on my face and makes me want to drive it some more. Both Ferrari and Mcintosh have put out super cars and super amps respectively.

Can't really put it all into specific terms, I know I just like what they both do.
let me start by saying i am a big fan of the mc2000, mc275, and mc2102, although i have not heard them. my impression of them is they are unique, ingenius designs in tube audio.

now here is my attempt at Tireguy's original question based on my experiences with the mc1201, mc501, and ma6500:

1. the mcintosh sound is too safe, it tries to please the general public, not ultra picky audiophiles/enthusiasts. so my impression of mcintosh owners is they are somewhat lazy buyers. they didn't want to do the research and extensive auditioning to find what other brands can suit their taste better. i don't blame them as not all of us have the time to sort through thousands of reputable brands for great audio. they just took the easy way out by settling on a sound that has no major flaws, but not very special either.

2. on the other hand, common audiophiles love to try gear, love to do research, and are damn proud of their work. they are eager to show their good taste by choosing exotic, expensive, and less-known brands (to the general public). they also look for that special something that makes music come to life for them. not to say that mcintosh doesn't do that for all, but to me, it is harder to gear match to create liveliness with mcintosh gear.

once i was very excited going into auditioning the esoteric ux-1 with the mc1201, c2200, and mcintosh tower speakers, i came out so disappointed after hearing a fast, detailed, but boring sound. it could have been a lot of things (not enough burn-in, bad synergy...). but that experience kind of killed mcintosh for me.

the mc501, b&w signature 800, wadia 861, and c2200 setup was not impressive to me either.

but i must thank the ma6500 for helping me purchase the b&w signature 805.

my apologies if i offended anyone. please remember i am still a big fan of some mcintosh gear.
I have always liked the look of Mac, but in the UK, there really is'nt much exposure. The small London High end show was on last week and for whatever reason, at least 4 rooms were using the new Mac integrated tube or Transistor amps. They really made a nice sound in all the systems. I was'nt the only person who thought so, I heard appreciative comments from a number of visitors like me. I am very tempted, but will retain my loyalty to Conrad Johnson, I could'nt think of losing my Premier 17.
It's an interesting question, why are some perfectly good brands dismissed as being Lo-Fi, perhaps there is too much snobbery in our hobby.
I have the MAC 2102 amp and C2200 pre-amp and they're wonderful with my Vandersteen 5As Tried Audio Research, Krell, Linn, Cary, VTL(Vacum Tube Logic), Conrad Johnson, and Qucksilver, but bought the MACs. I've never looked back. It all depends on what you like. And for me, MAC sounds great!
wow thats some company you heard it against, funny thing is i do own both Mcintosh, VTL and some Linn gear, I concur I like Mac the best, but i also like VTL especially on my Khorns...and the linn for the money sounds very good, never heard quicksilver or CJ. But if I had to have only one set of electronics...it would Mac.
VTL is outstanding. All the brands I tried were killer. I went through a 3 month listening process. Settled on the Mac gear because of reputation for longevity, looks, and they sound great! Again, it just depends on what you the buyer likes. Don't let the sales staff try and influence you. They aren't buying this expensive gear. Research and listen at home!
Szuntinglee's analysis of a Mac owner sounds like a "think tank" marketing summary based on singular opinions and taste rather than extensive research.

No offense intended here either but In such a subjective hobby with close to an infinite number of combinations and possibilites with regards to component matching I don't buy into definitive statements and labels with audio brands. How can you? Subjective being the key word here, what's spicey to one is mild to another...just different tastes - no labels.
Jimbobtex, of the other brands you tried which did you like the most..and least, thanks
While I doubt I would own all McIntosh throughout my system, I am exceedingly happy with my 2102 amp. On this unit McIntosh did err when they used Chinese input tubes and these really hurt the permormance as they kept the amp from being as good as it is.

I think the greatest improvement I ever made to my system came when I rolled some electro harmonix and NOS Mullard tubes into my 2102.
The last I heard they have been making amps since Day 1 and thousands are using them.Thats like saying why are no bike enthusiasts using chaps??? Not alot of interest on 1 website doesnt really cover much of the WORLD....
Hi, I'm a big fan of McIntosh gear and have been for over a decade.

My McIntosh MC7300 amp was originally bought by my father in the early 90s and I'm still enjoying it as much as I was back then. The logo bulb finally burnt out after 12 years of use and they fixed it for free AND paid for UPS 2day back and forth!!! Where have you heard of a company fixing 12 year old, out of warranty equipment for free including shipping? (this amp weighs almost 100lbs)

There are many fans of McIntosh, many even call it a cult. A high-end audio can not stay in business for over half a century without any fans. Listen to them yourself, you just might like it.
I definitely don't belong in the "lazy" category (as described by Szutinglee). My choice was based on research and lots of listening. I upgraded from mid-fi Arcam integrated/amp bi-amp combo to a simple MA 6200 Integrated. I went with Mac for improved sound, customer service, the look and vibe (I wanted the simplicity of an integrated and couldn't hang with another skinny little plastic box that would be out of syle in 6 months).

The only other experience I ever had with Mac gear was at The Hit Factory studios in NYC- some of the rooms used big ol' solid stade Mac amps. I was amazed at the improvement in sound quality from the Arcam bi-amp setup that I was using before - I would like to move up to seperates. Mac isn't the last word in HiFi, but I still think they have a place among serious listeners.
My own experince: I used to work at a store which sold both Mac and Sunfire, among others. We demoed these lots and the Mac kills the Sunfire. No doubts. However, Mac tube gear with the stock tubes (275 2102...) was killed by a Air tight amp we brought in one day.

Just our experince at the store.

Recently, I stopped in to listen to the McIntosh MA2275 Integrated at a local dealer. It was thrilling! Some forty years has passed since I last listened to tubes – a product of a home brewing friend of my father’s. In that instant, I knew what had been lost (at least, for me) over all those years to solid state “cleanliness” and digital “convenience”.

To be sure, this Mac incorporates elements of all three in its presentation, but its output is pure, warm analogue. At $6200, it comes in at five times what I can afford, but that McIntosh audition sure pointed the way for me in a quest for affordable tube audio. Mac is back – and back as a class act.
I had not seen this thread before and found it fascinating reading as I have owned a Mac in the past, MA6500, which being an entry-level integrated, may cause some to argue it is not a "real Mac".

Anyway, I did like its sound. I did like its looks. I had to sell because it was underpowered, which seemed funny given its 200 wpc rating, and I am now using a 100 wpc amp which performs better into high volumes.

But reading the above made me think about why I liked it... and that is that it was easy to listen to! I think they deliberately avoid audiophile characteristics so that much analysis is not done to the sound. Even mags like Sterophile say things like "it didn't seem to have much detail, but it wasn't missing any either" (not a direct quote, just from my memory of the 501 review). Huh? Either it has the detail or it doesn't, no? But then again those guys are masters of equivocation.

Back to Mac... I think the 'lazy' comment does have some validity. These are people pleased by other things, but what is wrong with that? They like the look. They like showing it off to their friends (it has to be admitted that they look impressive, and expensive. Guaranteed to impress the unwashed masses). I had a party at my place during the time I owned the 6500 and it was all "oohs" and "aahs", and I hadn't even turned on the damn thng yet! And not one of these people had ever heard one before, but had heard OF Mac.

So if I appear to have contradicted myself, so be it. I did 'like' the sound. I did not 'admire' the sound. Which is better? Horses for courses, as they say.

Mac makes a good living out of its image and its sound. Let's grant them their niche and admit they do the Bose thing very well, and btw were doing it before Bose was in diapers.

Oh, as to reliability, the 6500 I bought was a dealer demo. It was shipped to me with one bulb burned out, less than 1 year old.

As to the Mac lovers not frequenting this site, who the heck are all those people who posted "I love my Mac" or similar?
Many of today's audiophiles like the quick fix type components, or anything that is popular at the time. Well, McIntosh has really stood the test of time. They are "The Company" that started "Systems Engineering". Among other firsts, They also offered a high-end, fully remote controlled system, While other Companies were saying a remote System would jeopardize their systems integrity. While other Companies have gone thru several design changes (cosmetically, that is), McIntosh has retained the Blue meters, The Glass facecovers, and the All Black Chasis cover, and from what I heard at the CES show their Components will be awfully hard to beat.
Most "audiophiles" like to listen to the equipment, "does it have higher highs, more air, more this and that" me I get off listening to the music, and the equipment that plays it...musically...over the years I have heard LOTS of stuff....I own 5 pieces of Mac gear....they aren't leaving my house....quite frankly their gear nails it....musically.