Best vintage Mac preamp for phono use?

Discussion in 'McIntosh Audio' started by Alguymcgee, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. c_dk

    c_dk Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,510
    Location:
    West Michigan
    I think you should get to discover as we did back in 1980 the sonic advances Mac made in their new designs......I am looking forward to your impressions without my specific rememberences from decades ago.

    Moving magnet type cartridges frequency response can be affected by the capacitance the signal is subjected to most often by the turntables cabling. Mac started adding the capacitance their preamps "showed" the cartridge in the early 80s. I would not worry about it until you have overcome all the really important turntable setup procedures and then you will need a speciality test record and test gear to do anything analytically about it.

    A standard professional distributed load impedence for professional sound equipment is 600 ohms......Mac is just stating it recognizes this standard with the line out if you would choose to use it with a pro mixer, studio reel to reel or other such non consumer product. Since the line out is seldom used by most end users, they use the main and tape outs so it will not affect your use. If however you would choose to purchase a TOA distribution amp, add a paging microphone to call in the kids for supper and then hang a dozen background ceiling speakers throughout the bar, a narthex, a game room,etc. you can rest assured Mac has you covered with the proper output into that pro amp.
     

     

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  2. willie-aspen

    willie-aspen AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Is there some reason why one can't use a stepup transformer or a head amp with the C-2X or 3X preamps? Wouldn't that be much cheaper than buying one of the late 40 preamps? Audio Classics offers the ACP2 for $399.
     
  3. isotopesope

    isotopesope Active Member

    Messages:
    169
    Location:
    colorado springs
    @c_dk, thanks for your detailed explanations! i really appreciate it.

    i also found this description of phono capacitance interesting:
    i've been pretty pleased with my new Jico stylus.. going from a hyper elliptical to a shibata has given me a richer sound, with more mid-bass. however, there's always been a tinge of something lacking in my 113, but i suspect it has more to do with needing a full recap? the phono stage especially can sound thin, depending on the recording. i feel like i am always going between using the Loudness with bass at 0 the LF cut on, or no loudness with some bass adjustment.

    i am not quite sure what i'll do with the 113. part of me wants to get it fully recapped and then use it while i send the 117 out to also be recapped, as i'm sure it will need it as well. it needs the tuner aligned as well. i like the looks of the 113 better, and mine is in really great cosmetic shape, but am really looking forward to the better specs and added features the 117 has. mostly, i can't wait to try out the variable loudness! also tempted to try buy-amping. har har
     
  4. jbailey930

    jbailey930 AK Member Subscriber

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    888
    Location:
    N. Va
    Let us know what they do to recap your 113. I have a thread going now with updates we are making to filter caps and other assorted bits. Good luck!
     
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  5. isotopesope

    isotopesope Active Member

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    169
    Location:
    colorado springs
    @jbailey930 thanks! i saw your thread, so I'll subscribe and keep you posted with what i end up doing!
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2019
  6. isotopesope

    isotopesope Active Member

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    169
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    well, it arrived on Friday. only had to wait for UPS until 8:30 PM!! i think the pacing started about 6 PM. hahaha

    i am utterly blown away at the sonic improvements. i didn't anticipate this huge of an improvement. i feel like i also upgraded my speakers! it's almost like i hadn't heard them before. overall, it is more detailed with better separation and incredible clarity and a fuller sound. I AM OBSESSED WITH THE VARIABLE LOUDNESS! what a handy feature. it also seems to affect the music a lot differently than the MX-113.

    while the MX-117 does have much better specs than my MX-113, i think a big issue is just that my MX-113 is tired and needs recapped? i was constantly messing with the tone and loudness to find the sweet spot for various recordings. with loudness off, the MX-113 sounded a bit hollow, so i would typically increase the bass a bit. with loudness on, it was too booming even with bass at 0 and the LF cut turned on.

    does that sound symptomatic to old caps?

    I don't feel the need to tweak the crap out of everything to get a tone i am happy with with the MX-117.

    it's in quite good cosmetic shape.
    [​IMG]
    (never mind the Adcom speaker selector box.. it's not in use)
     
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  7. jbailey930

    jbailey930 AK Member Subscriber

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    ^^ nice case too!
     
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  8. isotopesope

    isotopesope Active Member

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    169
    Location:
    colorado springs
    thanks! it's an L52 and in great shape. I had my MX-113 in it prior.
     
  9. c_dk

    c_dk Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,510
    Location:
    West Michigan
    Now you know how I felt back in 1978-1979, going from a Pat4 to a C26 then a C32.....

    Now can we intereset you in a proper turntable calibration and a new cartridge? My job back then was to make sure you had the same feeling with those upgrades also......

    The MX113-115 were all based on the basic C26 circuits. I have been experimenting with a C26 project now for a few years to get it closer to the more modern designs that then can be implemented in the MX series. Quieting down the single rail PS by a ungraded recap has been working well towards that goal.
     
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  10. isotopesope

    isotopesope Active Member

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    169
    Location:
    colorado springs
    yeah, i definitely consider a better TT, but not sure which route to go and not quite ready to take that plunge yet.

    i like vintage and i like autos, but not set on either... i'd probably still keep the Kenwood, as it is quite wife friendly. i doubt i would be willing to spend more than a grand though, as i'm a tight wad.

    do you have any recommendations?

    i gravitate towards Sota's or AR's. I like the looks of the VPI HW-19... i also am interested in Clear Audio's offerings in my price range. i recently saw a recapped Yamaha YP-D8 on craigslist that really grabbed my attention. It sold quick though. but again, not at all sure which route to take.
     
  11. c_dk

    c_dk Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,510
    Location:
    West Michigan
    I don't do that any more......you just made me remember back in the day.... that is find products a group of sales people can stand behind to make their payments and put food on the table.....

    I do like the isolation theories behind Sota and other well thought out suspended suspension tables.

    The newer AT cartridges seem to track well when put throught the testing, calibration and diagnosis like we did back in the 70s and 80s.
     
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  12. perryinva

    perryinva IS it vintage????

    Messages:
    2,279
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    The YP-D8 is a great table. I alternate different carts in it with my C33. I concur the phono stage in the C33 is superb. ANY table or cart I've used with mine (I have 2) sound better than in other gear I have, including my MAC1900, Marantz, Nakamichi & Pioneer receivers. It was a major improvement over my Terry restored C28 as well. I didn't realize the capacitance & impedance were so low on it, so that explains a lot.
     
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  13. isotopesope

    isotopesope Active Member

    Messages:
    169
    Location:
    colorado springs
    that's encouraging to hear you're so happy with that table. what cartridges are you running with it? what drives your cart swaps? mood or musical choice?
     
  14. perryinva

    perryinva IS it vintage????

    Messages:
    2,279
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    I have 4 carts that I rotate on that table, mainly my mood, but often just because I’ll read something here or other audio sites about a certain album or cart and want to try it out. If something doesn’t sound right to me, I will swap carts or tables and see how much of it is the album vs the cart/tip. I run 9 turntables on 5 systems, and I get piqued by the differences. On the YP-D8 I usually only alternate a late 80s van denHul HOMC Boston 1 cart, an few year old Denon DL-110, an ‘80s MA 530MP or a V15II with an HE or EVG tip. On the same system I have a Mitsu LT-30 which I alternate a V15III with a Jico SAS/original stylus or EVG and an MA 3002. So sometimes I will put copies of the same album on both tables and compare similar or distinctly different carts and tips on the two tables. On each of my systems I usually put a linear tracker and a traditional arm table for the fun of it. I avoid the less than stellar LPs with the expensive tips, and have EVG tips for that for the Shures. I want to get some more different carts from different manufacturers over the next few years once I am retired and can really spend more time playing with them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
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