View Full Version : Fisher vs Mcintosh

03-26-2012, 09:21 PM
Being a huge Fisher fan and own a great 800C which I love, I have been looking at Mcintosh receivers and wonder why if they are so great (which I'm sure they are), Fisher tube receivers seem to go up in value but MAcs solid state goes down? Been looking at a MAc 4100 that supposedly sold for 2K back when new, now these go for around 700.00 Never owned a Mac, any advise here? I love my Fisher!

03-26-2012, 10:02 PM
you're comparing apples and oranges. Tube gear tends to go up, as the Post baby boomers are discovering them and Solid State is getting left by the way side. I'd say if you can get a 2K Mac for $700, I'd be all over it like stink of shit. Plus they still have Factory Service from what I understand.


03-26-2012, 10:04 PM
and while this is not tube gear, from what I have seen lately a MC2105 now gets 1400 dollars or more, they used to only get 700-800.

03-26-2012, 10:15 PM
Fisher was known for their tube gear. McIntosh made a few receivers but they weren't their best units, and it's not what they made their name on. Look at some McIntosh tube gear, and it's gone up more than the Fisher tube gear. IMHO even $700 is way too much for a Mac4100. I had one, there was nothing special about it except the price (again, my opinion).

03-26-2012, 11:11 PM

Well Fisher is the flavor of the month and what is "Hot" right now.

Mac stuff is "Warm" to "Red Hot" all the time.

I don't think anything Fisher has made since 1965 can touch anything Mac related.

And most Mac Amps run rings around equivalent Fisher gear.

Now is it worth the difference. Well that is a matter of personal opinion.


03-27-2012, 08:20 AM
According to a knowledgeable Mc expert here, the MAC 4100 was responsible for keeping a lot of dealers in business in the day- and was the cornerstone of many a McIntosh setup. In mint condition, they have no difficulty fetching $1,000 or more. Should you buy one, you'll have little problem cashing out should you decide to upgrade at a later time. A very popular and highly regarded unit. Generally speaking I haven't noticed much of a downfall in values of SS Mc, if anything they seem to keep moving up.

Fisher tube gear is collectible as well, but not quite to the extent that McIntosh is. Valves seem to be catching on more and more and Fisher is one of the more affordable ways of getting into them. Probably one of the most collectible Mc receivers is the MAC 1500. As a sidebar, it would be interesting to hear a comparison review between a MAC 1500 and Fisher 500/800.

03-27-2012, 05:14 PM
Thanks you guys, you all are a wealth of knowledge for me. I grew up with Fishers and will stick with them. Hard to fight the bug to explore MAc's though and frankly I can't listen to more than one at a time anyway!

03-27-2012, 05:19 PM
Thanks you guys, you all are a wealth of knowledge for me. I grew up with Fishers and will stick with them. Hard to fight the bug to explore MAc's though and frankly I can't listen to more than one at a time anyway!

MC240/SA100 and four speakers :music:

03-27-2012, 09:44 PM
I grew up with the opinion that McIntosh's were for guys who didn't have to ask that question................"How much is it"?..........and could afford to pay to have the work done by the factory if it broke, without thinking about the bank accounts.

03-27-2012, 11:12 PM
Forums like this have drawn a lot of attention to Fisher gear lately...I would say that's a big part of the recent Fisher price increase. It was super-expensive back in the day and very under-valued in the used market until recently.

Trends change & the Mac SS stuff will pick up steam again. I think the weight (expensive shipping) may be a factor in lower selling prices for the Mac gear.

My MX110 + MC2505 blow my 400CX2 & SA-300 outta the water...just sayin'

03-28-2012, 07:24 AM
I grew up with the opinion that McIntosh's were for guys who didn't have to ask that question................"How much is it"?..........and could afford to pay to have the work done by the factory if it broke, without thinking about the bank accounts.

I grew up getting my Mc stuff fixed free of charge at the Mac clinics if needed.
When I did have to pay for repairs, McIntosh sent free parts for the other section that would need attention in the future.

I have nothing but good things to say about the good old, far gone days of McIntosh. :yes:

03-28-2012, 08:50 AM
Both are good.
Both were way overbuilt.
Both used top quality components.
Fisher is a lot less expensive now.

I have no idea how both brands, when fully restored and optimized, would compare.

03-28-2012, 09:15 AM
Both excellent, the McIntosh better in some ways. I have owned and loved both and enjoyed both makes. The Fishers are still great tube bargains though getting pricey and they are reliable if kept serviced. And they are also sweet sounding. Love their sweet midrange and highs really well.

03-28-2012, 10:00 AM
My first "real" piece of gear was an 800B given by my grandfather. It was very heavy and very well made. It even had FM/AM stereo which allowed you to tune seperately and play AM and FM through each channel. I believe a few stations broadcast "mostly" left and right through AM and FM. There was even a stereo reverse switch in case the transmitters got them backwards. It even had a "phase reverse" switch- in the event you wired your speakers wrong- I'm assuming. I used to get Sylvania 7591s for $20 which was a lot of money back in '79 (to me). None of the other tubes seemed to go bad.

It's interesting the similarities in design between that receiver and the MAC 1500. I believe the prices were about $350 for the Fisher and $500 for the MAC and I think they both used 7591s for the outputs. I could be dead wrong here but I'm guessing the same percentage difference between the two exists today valuewise, all other things equal.

03-28-2012, 10:46 AM
I like the 800B actually better than the MAC 1500. And a receiver I would love to own. I love Fisher tube and early SS gear. And the Fisher 800B is all tube, the MAC receivers were all hybrids and the MAC 1500 has a SS preamplifier section.

03-28-2012, 11:05 AM
And the Fisher 800B is all tube...

Is that right? Now I really regret selling it...:tears:

(Oh well- I was 16. Another of my many youthful mistakes) lol

*Even back then with the so-so speakers I had, I realized the Technics SA-500 I replaced the 800B with- had nothing of the 800's sweetness and musicality.

03-28-2012, 02:08 PM
It's pretty fortunate that pricing is affected by rarety as well as performance. Fisher sold stuff by the boatload, unlike Mac. We are pretty lucky to have such a huge choice of 50 year old Fisher receivers to get. I remember having a friend who had a MAC1500- it looked and sounded nice but it was not significantly better (if at all) than a comparable Fisher.

It's equally amazing that the Fisher stuff still looks great after 50 years. My kids will still be using my 400 in another 50 years, if there is still decent FM to listen to by then.

Still I do love the vintage patina of the MAC's, too. Is there such a thing as MAC tarnish? They all seem to have that same interesting color patina on the chrome.....not sure that I can describe it. No other brand seems to look like that as it ages.

03-28-2012, 02:24 PM
You need to compare apples to apples. Mc never made a all-tube receiver or integrated amp while Fisher did. Years ago, and even recently, Fisher tube gear hald little value. I remember the time when a used tubed Fisher and early SS units were not worth the shelf space for resale value. The depreciation finally bottomed out and prices started to rise.

Mc recievers do not go back into time, the period of when hybrid tube/ss was out. The 600-T receiver is the only comparable in the Fisher line up so research the market for these and then compare it to the 1500 and 1700. I think you'll fine the Mc has not depreciated compared to the depreciation on the 600-T and current values.

Mc does depreciate but at least the vintage gear the depreciation bottomed earlier than most competition and prices stabilized and tend to for at least some period and before stating to appreciate. Mc has less a collectors market while having more of a user market so appreciation may not be as rapid except with the earliest tube units and only more recently has it seems the early ss units are finally crossing the line into the collector status.

03-28-2012, 02:26 PM

Lets take a comparison

Fisher FM-1000 (Near 2000 restored with the crazy prices)

Mac MR71 (Around the same price)

To be honest the Mac is better laid out and a better deal.

The Fisher is massively inflated and maybe 6 years ago when it was 300 or so a GREAT deal.

Anyhow .. many many ways to slice this.

My point is that the Mac stuff has been consistent in price and Fisher stuff is over priced.

And to echo something. Which one of you is lining up to pay top dollar for anything Fisher Hybrid. ??

You keep trotting out Mac hybrids and comparing them to all tube Fishers.

Fisher was a better value and a excellent performer for the dollar but rapidly that is changing and its not because Fisher is better. Its because of a certain level of crazy speculation being done over seas.


03-28-2012, 02:44 PM
Lots of valid points here.

I suspect the only accurate comparison is on monoblocs and stereo amplifiers.
Both would have to be restored for the comparison to actually be true and probably have a comparable tube complement.
So, compare a 6L6 output to a 6L6 output and a 7591 output to a 7591 output.

03-28-2012, 02:48 PM
I agree with Brian's statement- values of tube Fisher seem to have been increasing lately. It's curious thing that they took so long to do so as we're talking 50 year old gear here. Very underappreciated and undervalued likely due to Fisher's relatively high product output and little to due with a lack of performance (IMHO).

My curiosity having been piqued by this discussion, I took another look at some 800s and found two that were sold for over $1,000. Almost unheard of a couple years ago. (They were the C model, not the B which seems less common) The 500s were a lot less though.

03-28-2012, 03:01 PM
As I said comparing hybrids to all-tube or SS is not apples to apples.

As to the price increasing of Fisher, part collector feaver, part realization that Fisher units both tube and SS were quite innovative and very good to excellent while Mc really did not concentrate on other than the separates and the tuner/preamps. It only was in the receiver and integrated amp market to have exposure and an entry point. Where as Fisher used the receivers more as an equal to its tuner, amp and separates lineup.

I've do love the 1700 and 1900 but would go with a 4100 if I were to go with and want a Mc receiver but, would first go to the early high end Sonys that were as well built and sound better. I had the Fisher 600-T receiver but it needed caps so gave it little time in system to prevent damage. It was good but from experience even with the capping, I do not doubt it would come up to the 1500 or 1700 for the most part. I did part with it before having it done but kept the TFM tuner and TX300 amp that makes up the 600-T and maybe one day will have them go through as both need recapping and I'd have them totally recapped due to age and reputation of the German caps they used.

As for values of the Fisher; I think you have to look at the engineering and quality of construction. 1st rate. As good and in some cases I think better than Mc. The company especially when they introduced their SS units with varactor tuners and presets and things like shielding. Their short comings were German sourced caps, early adoption of wave soldering that left cold solder joints until they nailed it down and in some cases plug in transistors that sadly are higher maintenance as to needing cleaning. Also, their early units used germanium transistors that were more failure prone than the later silicon. Working units tend to be fewer per thousand than Mc. as to the SS but they came out earlier than the Mc units.

As Mc did not have all-tube receivers, the contest is between Sherwood, Fisher and Scott. Scott and Sherwood were smaller companies and tended to be more regional based though of course Fisher's primary market was NYC but just NYC was larger than the Boston and NE market population wise and Chicago and region. The west coast was pretty much H-K, a consideration the hipping costs increases and product pricing when crossing the rockies in either direction. Also, Fisher covered more price points than either Scott or Sherwood. Sherwood for instance had only 1 fm and one am-fm receiver. I do think in absolute terms the Sherwood actually is the best of the all-tube receivers including the 500c and 800 Fishers while as a New Englander I also prefer those beautiful rotary dial Scotts, especially when there is soft illumonation on them. Scotts are between under the radar and coming out of the closet while the Sherwoods are a bit more out of the closet but not by much; they are hard to accpt because of the faceplate, love it or hate it, not being tall like the others and their simplicity of design that makes some think they were Muntzed which is far from the truth as they were the results of a purely engineering company with little spent for marketing.

I find the Fisher receivers good value for the money even at today's going prices that is a mix of collector and user pricing, whether tube, hybrid or SS but not necessarily the best sounding in any one category.

03-28-2012, 03:13 PM
As Mc did not have all-tube receivers, the contest is between Sherwood, Fisher and Scott. Scott and Sherwood were smaller companies and tended to be more regional based though of course Fisher's primary market was NYC but just NYC was larger than the Boston and NE market population wise and Chicago and region. The west coast was pretty much H-K, a consideration the hipping costs increases and product pricing when crossing the rockies in either direction. Also, Fisher covered more price points than either Scott or Sherwood.

I find the Fisher receivers good value for the money even at today's going prices that is a mix of collector and user pricing, whether tube, hybrid or SS but not necessarily the best sounding in any one category.

Not to digress but did Marantz tube gear fit anywhere in this picture?

03-28-2012, 03:28 PM

Not to digress but did Marantz tube gear fit anywhere in this picture?

Way over priced as well. No disrespect to anyone owning it as they are excellent performers. Its very much like Fisher (Well not as much) and speculation has driven the prices to madness levels.


03-28-2012, 03:48 PM
Right up there with McIntosh. Back then I was 100% a Marantz tube person and would not give Mc shelf space as long as I had a Marantz unit that was for most of the time. Sledom was without a 10b, 7c and a pair of 9s. I did for a short time have a set of Consullettes with stereo adapor and a pair of 5s and in some ways liked then better than the 7c and 9s. I thnk the 5s may have been Saul's finest amps. SOme find the 8/8b better than the 9s but I ran my 9s in triode mode as they were switchable and compared to the 8b were better but at a high cost as in triode they were 35 watts, the same as the 8b. The 8b is the most common and no slouch. For those liking triodes, the 8b is rewirable to triode and came in the 8b instructions, Good for half power. A customer has one in triode on a set of K'horns and the marriage was wonderful. He had an unmodded 8b and the difference was noticable even to the untrained ear.

When Marantz moved into the SS world while Saul was still there, I was not as impressed but the 18, 19 and SLT-12u as well as the 20 and 7t were enough to keep me there but, the 15 and 16 were disappointing at best especially after Mc introduced the MC250. While the 7t was IMHO better then the 24 and maybe as good as the 26 the 28 was clearly to me better and why I finally went over from Marantz to MC and bought the 28 and 250 for my personal main system not associated with my business. The last 10b left the house and I had to decide on whether the 20b or a MC and after listening to the 20, 20b, MR74, MR77 and MR78 I finally decided on the MR77. The MR74 was the best sounding but was getting long oin the tooth, the newer 78 was the worst sounding but best on DX'ing that I did not need. The 20 was neck in neck with the 20 and the 77 with the 20b. It seemed on a cost per sound with the salesperon discount sided with the Mc so the MR77 was decided on.

When the replacements for the 7t, 20, 15 and 16 came out things get confusing. The 16b was a serious contender and the bugs of the 15 and 16 worked out. But the new lineup of tuners and preamps were defintiely a major comedown in sound and quality. It seemed until the 500 amp came out that Marantz was willing to not try to really compete as a tier 1 player preferring to sell to the tier 2 market with a line of lesser units. Admittedly, from time to time they did come out with something that clearly was a competition killer such as the 24 tuner/preamp, the 2230 receiver and 1060 amp. While the o'scope tuners after the 20/20b were nothing but hype, the lesser non-scope higher end tuners were decent but not great. I liked the 112 but many tuners were better. From memory the 2230 was made up of the 1060 amp and 112 tuner so was a bargain with a great amp and quite a decent tuner. One of the better market buys, even today.

Marantz never had a tube receiver so not any apples in that basket. Hope it is responsive to your question. Just a personal opinion.

03-28-2012, 03:57 PM
The tube Marantz was tier 1 with McIntosh while Scott, Fisher and Sherwood were in tier 2 per the raters back then. Persons considering a Fisher sledom were swayed to Marantz on a cost basis as well as different market targets; Fisher generally sold to the well healed old money similar in profile to Avery and crossed over to professionals. Marantz was more audiophile oriented as was Mc though they also invaded the Fisher professional market of lawyers, doctors etc. and up and comers who liked to show off whereas Fisher buyers were more old money who did not like to show off as much. Again generalities but you had to look at their marketing targets of the time and their success in their marketing. Sherwood and Scott were more targeting their regions rather than marketing to wealth or population profiles so garnered a smaller market share but tended to have more saturation in thier home regions.

03-28-2012, 04:05 PM
Wow Brian.
Thanks for that watched it unfold perspective.

03-28-2012, 04:07 PM

Well Mcintosh company is still largely what it was when it started out. I can't say the same for Marantz , Fisher , Sherwood , Harmon Kardon etc ..

Also I am mainly carping about price because I think that some people (Present company excluded) get the wrong idea about audio worth by what something sells for.

Meaning Fisher stuff in particular suffers from what I call mass pricing hysteria.

Not like Beanie Babies mind you but still flavor of the month so to speak.

And maybe I want sane prices so I can enjoy the better Fisher stuff at a price it should be rather than what it is because of hysteria.

Selfish yes but I know more than a few people who wish the hysteria would subside.

And another thing. I was snarky about the Tube Marantz stuff. Call that jealousy. Its out of my price range so I in a immature moment took a cheap shot at it.

I am old enough to know its the good stuff and still is. And I would be doing cartwheels if I owned some of it.


03-28-2012, 04:09 PM
Sadly, or happily to have been there in the industry way back when so a different perspective than today where my interest is not so much the equipment but, just easy listening and a solid reliable system even if not anything like I used to enjoy.

03-28-2012, 04:14 PM
Very fascinating to hear the stories from the early days of hi-fi from a veteran of the industry like yourself. I came along quite a bit later as I'm sure you can tell and am steadily developing an appreciation and respect for what some consider the early golden era of hi-fi. My grandfather was an ardent music lover and audiophile which began my trajectory into the field as an early teen. I wish I knew more around 10 years ago when my grandparents house had to be sold along with the contents which included a pair of EV Patricians in mint condition. It makes me sick to think about that now but there was simply nowhere for me or anyone in the family to have kept those mammoth speakers at that time. Sorry to go off tangent here.

Anyway your statements about Marantz make perfect sense: In O'Brien's book, The McIntosh Clinics 1962-1991, the only other amplifier that consistently made manufacturer's specification (other than McIntosh) was...Marantz.

03-28-2012, 04:48 PM
Okay, I now understand a bit more of your issue. I agree that there are few companies today that go back to the relative beginning such as McIntosh that still retain thier original quality, if any.

Collector hysteria today is crazy and in most cases as to a number of brands and periods makes no sense to me but, I am not a collector for the most part. I have found a number of companies under the collector companiest and models that are far better but either held little market share or marketing clout back then and hence not something collectors had wanted back then, Some companies that were widely sold in the upper levels and into the mid-fi market have lost their collectibility because of their later offeerings and declines. There are those who are in the middle.

I do not understand as persons I think over pay: 22xx and later Marantz, except the 2230, their preamps after the 7t, their tuners after the 20/20b and integrated amps save the 1060 and power amps after the 16/16b.

Brands I've found being underpriced for the quality: Philips Lab Series receiver and components, Sherwood SS tuners, amps and receivers US made through the SEL series and including the later HP units, Early Fisher SS and the short lived hybrid and, Sony early entry SS units such as their totl receivers throught the STR6065 and separates of the time including the scarce tuner/preamp, H-K dual mono receivers the x30 sereis and the 401 and 402 amps.

Some brands not on the radar where some lines at least should be given consideration: KLH 5x series not for necessary high end quality but for sound in local hipopulation areas where 5-gang tuners not needed. The 27 should also be included though it is a collectible for those who know of it. EICO tube units and even their later Cortina SS line. The Cortina lineup for the same reason as the KLH. Mattes SS, just an unknown company and units are very rare. Quality easily as good as McIntosh and 1st gen SAE. Talking of SAE, the 1st gen amps and preamp. The matching tuners seem to get all the attention. There are a lot more some would proffer based on experiences such as Superscope, Technics, etc. Not necessarily high-end but amongst units that rise to the top and near top of the mid-fi pond. A number of Superscope units were rebadged Sony as to their tape units and Marantz as to their tuners, receivers and amps. If I were into this market, I'd probably look at the Superscopes for enjoyment but probably as not appreciation on the market at least in the short terms. Some of the 2nd named lines such as Technics/Panasonic and McIntosh/Stereotech fall into this grouping.

03-28-2012, 05:38 PM
The thing to look for is a synergetic system that is not fatiquing, one you can listen to for hours at a time without losing interest or thinking about other things, i.e. it can draw you in. It may be more colored than one may think. Balance is the key.

Many start with a small system and work our way up but at a certain level most will find it cost more and more for minimal improvements and at some time the money is spent on other things such as source material. I've seen persons spending thousands of dollars for a minimal db increas in spl where the system will not benefit. WHile the same guy will not spend a penny of something like DGG mint condition LPs, many in wrapper (yes, not a hypothetical).

I went to an exptreme; started out with a mono Motorola telvision, changer, radio console mono system. 1st stereo was a pair of E-V Aristocrats with Quad II amps a 22 preamp and the mono FM Quad tuner with mpx adaptor. Can not remember the tt but, think it was a Weathers with Grace arm. From there fell into the let's go for better trap until I had access to almost anything on the market since I owned 4 stereo stores and took advantage of it greedily.

For much of this time I had as a personal permanent home main system the 10b, 7c, a brace of 9s and multiple KLH Nines with the Marantz SLT12U and Revox A77. I sold off all but 2 sts of the KLH Nines, a pair of Cornwalls and a set of JansZen Z824HPs that had crept into my personal system over the years when I decided to look for something totally reliable (thinking SS) as I was exiting the industry and looking to downsize and sought a replacement system switching ultimately to the Mc system that I only recently sold. By that time I had realized as much as I loved the Marantz/KLH/Revox system the original system that got me started came so close I could have started with. I then decided on a long term do not change system and hence the swithc to Mc based on their reknown for long term trouble free reliability and decided to to spend of source material.

More recently as use decreases and age increases, I am again having to rethink the system and there was a competition to see how minimal and small physically could I go and still enjoy to closely as I did the big system; an interesting journey. To date, it now is made up of my system list below but it is a work in progress. I also enjoy a KLH 27 and pair of ADS L-300s but there is a larger spead between them and the listed system largely b/c of the speakers. If I dump the small(er) Wharfedale W70s on the Sherwood, thought the result is a completely different sound, it does get a little closer to the KLH/ADS. I also am wrestling with the Philips receivers vs the Sony STR 6102, 6055 and little 6945 and the Sony amp and tuner vs. the Yamaha set and even more vintage Fisher 1st gen SS pair. Speakers are more limited b/c of size. Original Advents will go in favor of The Smaller Advents that to me sound better, ADS, Klipsch Heresys II for low level listening with low power needs while the Wharfedales and Bozaks that I'd love to keep will just take too much room if we move to a small condo or apt after David finally moves and we decide to go into retirement. Issue is how far can I go in downsizing without losing the enjoyment of listening vs. having something others drool over. The big issue is whether to finally move from reocrds as they take up room with a table and move to digital (yuck). I have never liked computer generated music and mp3 so they are not an option unless I move into a closet. Downsizing without loss of enjoyment is interesting maybe more of a challenge than going into the other direction.

03-28-2012, 06:32 PM
After years of immersion in the world of hi-fi (or pretty much anything else for that matter), I can well appreciate one taking a more balanced and relaxed approach to the field.

Of the numerous discussions I've read here, I find this one of the most illuminating. Someday I'd very much enjoy finding a book (if one exists) that details the evolution of the hi-fi industry, significant breakthroughs, the players (both winners and losers) and everything between. If someone knows of such a work, I'd be very interested to know of it.

03-28-2012, 07:29 PM
It's a book which needs to be written in a compelling manner. It's a great storyline in the hands of a good writer with the cast of characters in this business. Some history here. Marantz Company was a full equal competitor to McIntosh and equally revered by the carriage trade and professional studio use. That legend came to a crashing halt in 1964 when Saul Marantz was forced to sell the Marantz Company. The reason was monetary losses suffered due to the introduction and production of the legendary 10B FM tuner. He was not able to sustain any profit on the tuner due to selling it for too little money relative to the cost of manufacturing it. This tuner was really too far ahead of it's time to be sellable under $700-$800 and it sold for far less. So, Saul Marantz sold Marantz to SuperScope in 1964 and Marantz broadened their line and sold gear at many price points from budget receivers to high end SOTA separates and all points in between. Marantz has since had periods from excellent broad line components to junky low end gear with the name to the resurgence in the name to middle of the line gear to superb high end separates again.

03-28-2012, 08:41 PM
Brian, I'm following what you say.
I find my journey similar though I'm still somewhat on the acquisition side.
The only thing I differ on is believing that speakers have come a long way in the last decade. The changes in materials, such as using kevlar for piston drivers, and computer aided enclosure design in bracing, have driven the availability of quality speakers. Not all are stratospherically priced, but I suspect they're one of the last respits of retail margins.

03-28-2012, 09:31 PM
I find my journey thru audio happiness is my 800C, although I still want a FM1000 etc. I love the look of Mcintosh analog tuners (old school) but have never owned one. I have found a Fm1000 but the price is 2600.00.... I think I'd have to be nuts to buy it. Also I am 61 and would have no one to leave it to. I will stick to my 800 and make it the best I can..and it sounds great as I am typeing this. I consider myself lucky to have what I have, love this Forum..