View Full Version : McIntosh MX-110 vs Fisher 400 CX-2


ivan100000
08-16-2009, 03:05 PM
Gentlemen--

I'm at a bit of a preamp impasse and I'd like to defer to some of you experienced audiophiles, if I may.

I own both an MX-110 (w/ panlocs & cabinet) and an early 400 CX-2 (brass faceplate, walnut cabinet) though I'm short on space and I kind of need the $$ so one must go. I bought both nearly 20 years ago from the original owner and both are in 9/10 condition.

When I a/b the preamps, they sound equally good to my admittedly lo-fi ear. I never listen to the radio, so the FM feature on the MX-110 won't factor into the equation.

All things considered, any opinions on which of the two I should hold onto & which I should part with?

Thanks, and have a nice weekend.

radioactive
08-16-2009, 03:30 PM
tough call as they are both sought after .the mx110 will bring the most money although the fisher aint too far behind.since you say that they sound as good as one another and dont need the fm id sell the mx110.if it came down to looks then it would be the other way around and id sell the fisher.


oh fwiw if you would of got those fairchilds on ebay they would of sounded great with the mx110.

702retrotodd
02-26-2014, 07:15 PM
tough call as they are both sought after .the mx110 will bring the most money although the fisher aint too far behind.since you say that they sound as good as one another and dont need the fm id sell the mx110.if it came down to looks then it would be the other way around and id sell the fisher.


oh fwiw if you would of got those fairchilds on ebay they would of sounded great with the mx110.

I dont know if this guy has been looking at current prices but a nice 400 cx-2 is almost three times atleast double the price of a mx 110z. I can put my 2 cents in since i own both. Both restored to perfection. Both are 5 stars.10 out of 10. both sound incredibly warm and detaled. both have a magic midrange.The mx 110 z version had 25% more bass. big factor IMO. the fisher had the most natual mids of both but the mx 110 had a magic about it.hard to describe... if i had to choose it would be tuff!!! I would probably go with the fisher and change the 12ax7's to sylvania triple mica 5751's.both are as good as a Marantz 7c IMO. I run a restored Mcintosh 240 with 5751's and the MX 110. It is utterly fantastic.Oh and by the way i like my 240 way better than my MC 30's. Better in every aspect. Even better mids IMHO.(Both are just fanfreakin- tastic) preamplifiers.

radioactive
02-26-2014, 08:12 PM
I dont know if this guy has been looking at current prices but a nice 400 cx-2 is almost three times atleast double the price of a mx 110z.

Well if you looked at the date of this thread i was going by 2009 prices which were current at the time.:smoke:

diamondsouled
02-26-2014, 08:34 PM
Well if you looked at the date of this thread i was going by 2009 prices which were current at the time.:smoke:

Whoa, thread resurrection. :D

Junk Audio
02-26-2014, 08:40 PM
These preamps are going through the ceiling. 400cx is the next Marantz 7c.

kyle
02-26-2014, 08:55 PM
I had an MX110 for about 2 years and I couldn't understand why people like them. I thought it was soft and indistinct sounding. With these types of equipment, if you have to replace everything (caps, resistors, sockets etc) to make it sound good the consequence is that it's worth nothing afterwards. Nobody wants to pay the big green for your mods. I've got a Conrad Johnson preamp that is in the same boat, classic piece with no resale value if I replace any parts. Even top of the line parts.
I say, if it sounds good to you, great. If you think it needs work, sell it and buy something better or something you can work on without devaluation and with a clear conscience.

gadget73
02-26-2014, 09:00 PM
I always thought that was kind of stupid, but I accept it as a fact. Keep something original but functionally useless and its worth money. Make it work right, but cause it to be non-original and its worth less. I must be one of those whackjobs that would rather use things than look at them. I have no need for shelf queen equipment or trailer queen cars.

kyle
02-26-2014, 09:09 PM
I always thought that was kind of stupid, but I accept it as a fact. Keep something original but functionally useless and its worth money. Make it work right, but cause it to be non-original and its worth less. I must be one of those whackjobs that would rather use things than look at them. I have no need for shelf queen equipment or trailer queen cars.

Ditto. That's why I got rid of the MX110. Somebody else wanted it. The odd thing is that I saw the same unit online several times and I knew it was mine because it had a sticker with a number on it from a local repair shop that had been out of business for years. The price did go up every time it was sold.
Myself, I use stuff or lose it for the most part. Except my Altec bits.

Destructor
02-27-2014, 06:05 AM
After I replaced/upgraded some parts in my MX110 I realized I had lowered its value to the point of being nearly worthless. I then put it out with the trash.

dcgillespie
02-27-2014, 06:54 AM
There are those who will have a bottle of fine wine primarily to say they have a bottle of fine wine, but can obviously never enjoy the actual wine itself, because then they wouldn't be able to say they have a bottle of fine wine. Apparently, there are some audiophiles who look at their equipment the same way. It all depends on your priorities, and whether the prestige of owning premium, virgin equipment trumps the enjoyment of proper operation and premium sound reproduction -- or not. You can't have your cake, and eat it too!

Dave

cduarte
02-27-2014, 07:15 AM
I had an MX110 for about 2 years and I couldn't understand why people like them. I thought it was soft and indistinct sounding. With these types of equipment, if you have to replace everything (caps, resistors, sockets etc) to make it sound good the consequence is that it's worth nothing afterwards. Nobody wants to pay the big green for your mods. I've got a Conrad Johnson preamp that is in the same boat, classic piece with no resale value if I replace any parts. Even top of the line parts.
I say, if it sounds good to you, great. If you think it needs work, sell it and buy something better or something you can work on without devaluation and with a clear conscience.

if you had the opportunity to listen to one that was functioning properly, any concerns about its collector value would go right out the window. My mx110 and mc225 are both restored (and horrors modified) and they sound fantastic, which is why I purchased them. My mx110 is far from soft and indistinct sounding, in fact it sounds so good it's in full time use replacing a modern preamp. I buy my gear to listen to, and have zero concern for future resale.

HVHiFI
02-27-2014, 07:17 AM
Damn Dave, can you hit the nail on the head any harder.

You've got a tough decision to make and I don't know how I would go about it. I've heard the Fisher and it's midrange is brilliant to say the least. Never heard the Mc, so I cannot offer my .02 but I'm sure it is at least equally as nice.

Junk Audio
02-27-2014, 07:56 AM
I call bullshit on the devalued thing, People flip over the restored equipment provided it really is running correctly. It was only back in a day when the Japanese were the big buyers that stock only was desirable.

kyle
02-27-2014, 09:19 AM
There are those who will have a bottle of fine wine primarily to say they have a bottle of fine wine, but can obviously never enjoy the actual wine itself, because then they wouldn't be able to say they have a bottle of fine wine. Apparently, there are some audiophiles who look at their equipment the same way. It all depends on your priorities, and whether the prestige of owning premium, virgin equipment trumps the enjoyment of proper operation and premium sound reproduction -- or not. You can't have your cake, and eat it too!

Dave

I take a middle ground on these things. I don't have unlimited funds to trash equipment that someone else may pay a heap of cash for in an unadulterated state. I also make most of my own equipment like amps and pre's so if I get a vintage item it's more likely to stay original and get sold off after a short period of play.
I have modded my share of vintage stuff over the last 30 years and seen the resale prices first hand so I think I'll stick with my method and sell the collectors pieces and build better sounding equipment myself. It's not that hard to do and there's no magic making tube circuits that work well. The exception would be radios which are somewhat more complex but I don't listen off the air at home so it's not an issue.
Naturally if you think your vintage equipment is doing what it should and you don't care about selling it then you should update, upgrade or mod as you see fit.

dcgillespie
02-27-2014, 09:38 AM
Kyle -- I think your position is quite reasonable. I too build most of my own gear, but do keep some original equipment that I only repair as needed -- and then by only replacing the original part with a similar quality/value part. This has nothing to do with resale value, but very much wanting as much as possible, an original specimen to act as a reference -- this to see just how good some new fangled modification really is, against the original stock product.

Dave