Seeking Honest Opinions: Your Experience with McIntosh Audio Gear

I'm reaching out to this knowledgeable community to gather some honest feedback and personal experiences regarding McIntosh audio equipment. As many of you know, McIntosh has a storied reputation in the high-end audio world, known for their distinctive blue meters, impeccable build quality, and, of course, their sonic performance.

Whether you've had McIntosh gear in your setup for years or had the chance to experience it in some capacity, I'm curious to hear about your encounters. Specifically, I'm interested in:

  1. Sound Quality: How would you describe the sound signature of McIntosh gear? Do you find it warm, neutral, or something else entirely?
  2. Build Quality and Design: McIntosh is renowned for its craftsmanship. Has their build quality lived up to your expectations?
  3. Value for Money: Considering the premium investment McIntosh demands, do you believe the performance and satisfaction derived justify the price?
  4. Customer Service and Support: Have you had any experiences dealing with McIntosh's customer service? If so, how would you rate their support?
  5. Overall Experience: Would you recommend McIntosh to fellow audio enthusiasts? Why or why not?

Your candid opinions and personal stories will be invaluable, especially for those considering making a significant investment in their audio setup. McIntosh has a dedicated following, but every listener's ears and preferences are unique. Let's shed some light on the real-world experiences behind the brand's prestige.

Looking forward to your insights and honest opinions!

  1. Sound Quality: The modern equipment IMHO does not have a signature or colored sound. McIntosh is considered world class as it delivers the highest quality possible. Anything that is considered better is an opinion, and maybe different, but not better quality.
  2. Build Quality and Design: Really one of my top requirements. Solid quality of build and timeless design. With few exceptions, most of the units ever built can still be serviced and are still in service around the globe. 
  3. Value for Money: Great value! Built in the USA by American workers. You want world-class? This is a good value compared to so many esoteric brands that are priced for style, not performance or longevity.
  4. Customer Service and Support: Over the decades, never a problem getting a hold of real people at McIntosh, and factory authorized repair/service centers are all over the country as well... and yes I've had to have repairs (due to Florida storm issues, not the gear)
  5. Overall Experience: Can't beat the ownership experience. I recommend to most, but not for everyone, and not for every piece of gear. Budget is an obvious limit for many, but this is gear that can last you a lifetime, and looking back, it's a timeless style as well. I don't buy gear to impress anyone but me, but you can't really go wrong with the core offerings such as amps, pre-amps, receivers, etc. I'm not a fan of the pieces on the cutting edge of digital, so I always suggest alternatives when it makes more sense. I'm not a blind brand-loyalist, and I can smell snake oil from a great distance ;-) 

I think this will depend on which Mac gear we are talking as the Tube stuff and SS stuff are different.  I can talk a bit on the tube equipment that I have, I have a C2700 preamp and MC275 power amp I had a SACD player up until a few weeks ago when I sold it. 

  1. Sound Quality: Not warm anymore, rather neutral. very three dimensional sound, great sound stage width and depth,  bass is controlled, layered and surprisingly detailed. Mids are great over all, good tone, good detail, maybe a tad dry with factory tubes (JJ tesla). Hi's are extended and clean sounding not overly bright but not laid back as the older Mac's were. I suspect ultimate detail is not as hi has the SS due to tube limitations but i don't notice. Tone is good but maybe a little leaner then expected with the factory JJ tubes some upgraded tubes make a big difference. quiet no background noise at all (even with 105db speakers) usable volume range even with hi efficient speakers. 
  2. Build Quality and Design: design is traditional Mac you either like it or you don't but its stable and has been similar for decades. Build quality as you'd expect for the cost. quite nice if I do say. 
  3. Value for Money: I think the value is quite hi compared to many similar priced manufacturers. Higher then most I think, considering what you get for example in the preamp alone for features is well above what anyone else offers at similar money. Mac also enjoys one off, if not the best resale value out there in audio. 
  4. Customer Service and Support: Excellent as expected from a large company like Mac. 
  5. Overall Experience: I was never a mac Guy until I owned mac now I'm a fan of the sound for value proposition, its higher then most in the audio industry at these price points. 

well that's my 2 cents. I have not heard the new SS mac gear so can not comment on that. 



About four years ago I worked for Magnolia at Best Buy and got to hear pricey Mac electronics paired with KEF Blades in a dedicated room just for that system.  I’d heard the Blades before at shows and found them to be very neutral and natural-sounding transducers, but the Mac gear made the Blades sound like mush with my audiophile demo material that I know very well.  It was overly warm and the top end was veiled and rolled off and sounded nowhere near as good as what I heard at shows.  Very disappointing.  Maybe the Mac sound signature has changed over the past four years, but I kinda doubt it and would approach with caution.  Just my experience FWIW.

i haven't listened critically to mac gear since the 2010s, and i do recall it sounding warmish/mellow at the high end--i can't opine as to sq of their current stuff. i will say, per @glennewdick above, that its resale value is off the charts--i don't know any other brand that comes close. which on a certain level makes it a very good value, since you can always resell what you don't like, often at a premium.

I have had many Mac pieces through the years

integrated Separates and Tubes.
I love my MA 252 great for vinyl and steaming smooth sound.
My bedroom set has a MAC 6700 perfect for what I need in that room

have been very impressive. I would say get a preamp if you are going to use a MC cart.
As many have mentioned the resale value is high and rather easy to sell.
Build quality is high and customer service has been a pleasure to deal with.

Can't beat MAC on price/value ratio nor for resale and service. Sonics and and build quality can be bettered but only by EXPENSIVE stuff like VAC or Boulder etc. I recently heard the top of the line preamp and it is one of the best preamps I've heard including price-no-object competitors, if you were looking right now that preamp would be near the top of my recommended audition list.

FYI I own Gryphon electronics.

Macintosh is a well respected and loved company by many folks. Their equipment is very well made, looks cool, and retains its value well.

It is not remotely neutral sounding. It is very heavy on the midrange and bass and is excellent for systems designed primarily for rock music… to thunder and hit your chest with bass. But not to come across as harsh… hence extended midrange. But it lacks detail. I consider it to be the muscle car in the audio world.


I have multiple times over the last decades decided I loved the look so much I was going to invest. I would go to the dealer and audition whatever the latest was. Each time, I would within seconds be so disappointed with the sound quality. No nuance or detail of a natural sounding soundscape. Lacks sophistication and detail. I have a dealer / friend that carries it now. I frequently it is playing. A few years ago he was excited to say that, they had really improved and have a more well balanced sound. I got very enthusiastic. It took ten seconds of listening for disappointment to overcome me. This does not mean you will have the same reaction. As I said, many people love the sound. It has unique strengths. It does what it does really well.

Let me reiterate… you put this stuff with some big B&W speakers and it does rock as best as it can be done and Blues You are just engulfed. With the accentuated bass and mid-range you can turn it up loud without the treble being uncomfortable. Great sound for this music. But for jazz, classical, etc. it really lacks the finesse, nuance and balance.


Do not think I am someone that is into systems that scrape details… I am not at all. I want natural, musical sound reproduction, with details in proper proportion… and especially musicality. With over ten years of 7th row center at the symphony and another ten years finding every opportunity to train my ears to what real venues music sounds like, I really do not like “the high end sound” of overly trebly and bassy sound so that triangles and cymbals become solo instruments and the guy plying the cello that moves his foot sticks out. Hence I slowly zeroed in on the equipment I have to be faithful to natural sound and make all music sound great… yet be forgiving.


I have Never owned a Mac piece or Moon.  But I have purchased several other lower end pieces from my local dealer over the last 15 years and they deal on both Mac and Moon as well as other, But their high end rigs are based around these 2 platforms.   As a customer good will I  have been granted many auditions with their higher end gear.   If  and when I have the resources to upgrade and I choose to purchase new,  it will be Moon.  

what Dean_Palmer said.  I bought a new BIG unit, and it needed a bias adjustment right out of the box.  McIntosh folks were easy to talk with directly, embarrassed and extremely helpful, handing me off to the unit's primary designer.  It shipped to their suggested repair facility 850 miles distant.  Turn-around was 2 weeks. Zero cost to me, along with a loaner offer than I declined.  It has worked flawlessly since and runs amazingly cool for the massive power.  I have another Mac piece that has fabulous performance and flawless performance for many years.  Both units work amazingly well with a wide variety of speaker designs and efficiencies.  Like many, I had never owned a Mac piece but was always intrigued and drooled over them as a "yoot."  Once I got my first piece, lightly used, I was hooked.  The second giant piece, was a bucket list thing, and sure, for the money, I might have done better elsewhere.  However, this piece will never leave my possession and will be handed down to some lucky family member.  I've no doubt it will be working perfectly 30 years from now.  If something should ever happen, it will be meticulously taken care of by McIntosh themselves if one desires.  Even though they've changed hands, and may change hands again, what other company can fulfill on that level?

I had a SACD player up until a few weeks ago when I sold it

@glennewdick  , I know this is the amp/preamp forum, and I also know there is a digital forum, but I have been really curious about the Mac SACD player for a while now.  What did you think of it?  (I opted on the Maranzt SA10 instead, although I idn't want or need streaming capability.)



I own the MA8900 integrated amp which I love.  As far as directly answering your questions:

  1. Sound Quality: I would describe my system likely on the slightly warm side of neutral but with plenty of detail.  It has a wide, tall and deep soundstage, excellent imaging, transients, decay.  The midrange is excellent as well and probably slightly more forward.  I do not find the bass to be “fat” or bloated, there is plenty of it and it’s full but still a bit punchy (I have a couple of REL subs I run as well).  The treble is a bit rolled off but there’s still plenty of airiness and detail.  It suits me given that I am susceptible to fatigue from too much treble.
  2. Build Quality and Design: My integrated is built like a tank and weighs about as much at ~75 pounds.  I love the blue meters and the green logo and font.  It has a bit of a retro look which I enjoy.  I’ve heard several complaints about the knobs being plastic and the pots not having a “click” or resistance to them.  The knobs are milled aluminum and it did take a little getting used to spinning them but I really like them now.  McIntosh has a reputation for outstanding build quality which is my experience in the short time I’ve owned it.
  3. Value for Money: Price of entry is not cheap but there is plenty of value with respect to quality of build, quality of sound and resale value.  I don’t think any other brand has the same resale value.
  4. Customer Service and Support: I have no experience with service as my integrated is only a few years old and has needed no service.  I will say that the company still supports every model they made and would expect stellar service if I needed it.  I did email customer service when I first bought the unit, which I bought used, and they promptly replied to my question.
  5. Overall Experience: I would absolutely recommend McIntosh for all of the reasons stated above. I love my integrated, it does everything I want and more.  It has a quality phono section which I haven’t even gotten into yet as I exclusively stream at the moment.  It has an excellent head phone section as well which I think can be turned off. I don’t use it often but enough to speak well of it.  It is not to everyone’s liking/taste but I would strongly encourage anyone looking to build a system to go audition components on the McIntosh lineup.

Other members have already provided details on each bullet point, and there is nothing that I can really add that hasn’t already been said. I will add to the discussion, however, that I would not trade, sell, or give up my MC-225 built in 1963 for anything (unless someone offered me $1,000,000 -- then I could buy a couple more 😂).


I believe your question really needs to be divided into two sections: Thoughts on McIntosh tube gear vs McIntosh Solid State gear. And even with that division, you could further break it down into VINTAGE tube gear vs RECENT tube gear. At least to my ears, McIntosh tube gear from the 1960 -- 1990 sounds better than their newer gear. Maybe it is confirmation bias. Me wanting the gear of my youth to sound better. I don’t know. But it just does to me.


I would absolutely recommend McIntosh gear.  In the history of Hi Fi equipment, you would be hard pressed to find a brand that has held its resale value like McIntosh.  For pete's sake, vintage amps are now selling for thousands of dollars more than they sold for new decades ago.

Back in the late Seventies when the small manufacturers/underground hifi was taking off McIntosh was considered stuff for the Carriage Trade! Pretty much still is!

I am a McIntosh owner of many years.

  1. Sound Quality: Very good. Some variance between select tracks will be heard, which is to be expected.
  2. Build Quality and Design: Nothing IMO to set it apart from the gamut of similar cases, except the ever-present teal color. To me, what’s inside the case is indistinguishable from any other brand until the music starts playing.
  3. Value for Money: This is complicated because my unit was free. And marked as NFS by the manufacturer. 
  4. Customer Service and Support: I’ve never needed it and honestly don’t expect I ever will. No reason to suspect it’s anything < sufficient, though. 
  5. Overall Experience: Great. It’s one of the best demo CD’s I’ve owned. 😆

I recently set up my Dad's new MA 8950.  Awesome Amp,  definitely one I would be proud to own.  

I'm new to McIntosh but have been very impressed across the board. My setup is mostly vintage gear, Altec Lansing Model 19 speakers with Quad Jubilee Tube amps. I have two pieces of Mac gear, the M1100 phono preamp and their new MQ112.

  1. Sound Quality: Very impressive. The MP1100 is super clean and detailed, with no noise. The MQ112 is extremely useful in improving the sound quality of some lesser recordings, while adding no color if bypassing for better ones (UHQR etc). 
  2. Build Quality and Design: Excellent. Clearly built to last decades. The MP1100 has more features than I've been able to take advantage of, which is great as I expand my system with additional turntables and cartridges. 
  3. Value for Money: I think it depends on the unit you are buying. I think their Amps are very fairly priced and as pointed out earlier hold their value really well. You can't say that about most audio gear that plumets in value after the purchase.  
  4. Customer Service and Support: Excellent presales support from the two dealers I've worked with. None of my gear has needed service but I wouldn't expect any. 
  5. Overall Experience: Its a keeper!

Sound quality is warm and not neutral their autoformer is a not a good transformer and a design that colors things too much. Pass slabs is better if you want that warm sound but better build and even Pass is entry level hifi. McIntosh is midfi sound at hifi price.

Build quality is kind of junky and their Autoformers have issues.

Parasound has better value for money and doesn’t break ever!

Customer service is a joke it takes forever to order an amp now after Covid. One dealer I know dropped them they would send 1 mono block instead of 2 and wait 3 months before the other monoblock came.


I comes down to what you pair them to.  Preamps, source and speakers.  That can change the sound of any component so you will receive general opinions but unless you take the time, as with any system, you don't actually understand the true potential.

Other that that, they are beautiful, engaging sounding, built well, and for value, well price is up to you to determine the overall value, but they hold their own.  Contact SkyFi audio in Ridgewood New Jersey for more info.

Happy Listening

Mcintosh is good bang for buck I buy all mine used except for mi502 they went to the dark side class d about 500 watts 8 and near 1k 4 ohms I like it but everyone is different.have had no problems. See if local dealer can demo or find audiophile group that has one in house to demo.

Sound is individual perception and McIntosh has many fans as well as detractors.  I will say that my combination of 3.6 Maggies paired with MC501 mono blocs and a C220 tube preamp has served me very well in 5 different locations in 3 homes over the past 17 years.  

While I love very old blues, 60s / early 79s rock, it is Eva Cassidy that blows everyone away.  As my wife likes to say, it is as if she is in the room singing for us.

Synergy is everything IMHO, YMMV, but my gear quest ended when I found this combination.  I have had zero issues and having bought my McIntosh gear used, it could be sold for at least what I paid, not that I would ever sell.

All these are the reasons McIntosh has a large group of supportive fans.  Not all share this view, but there are differing views on sound.  Reliability, support and value are rock solid.

I had a McIntosh system back in the 80's and then got divorced and drifted away from audio. Now retired I got back into audio about 5 years ago and invested in all McIntosh C2700,  MC611's, MP1100, MCD600, XR100, MPC1500. My turntable is VPI. I couldn't be happier with the sound. I cannot quantify the sound with other systems as I did not have the opportunity to listen to others. I do not live near any hifi store. As far as service, I have never had any issue with a McIntosh unit except for my initial turntable that needed new belts. FWIW.

Paired with the right speakers and when listening to the right music, Mac gear can be very impressive. Unsurprisingly, those who own this gear love it, those who don't...don't. I prefer a little more detail and a little less bloat.

They are okay, I think in modern standards there are better, Much like Harley Davidson they are a legacy brand, not that great. I call HD motorcycle Driveway Ornaments, McIntosh is a rack ornament. Now here is the real question.

Do you like McIntosh?

If so what’s with the question, enjoy it, who cares what other's think.

I never owned Mac before. Last feb I bought a pair of Mc611 and c49 to drive my Kef Blades. The Mac amps brought the blades to life at low volume, added layers of detail and bass that create an open soundstage that's unique and fulfilling.

Mac doesn't support MQA, but tidal is dropping it anyhow so, as much as I enjoy it mqa'a going bye bye. 

Equipment: MA352 Hybrid Integrated Amp,  MCD85 SACD/CD player

Sound Quality:  Very subjective topic, depends on room and other equipment, but in general more natural, very detailed compared to other equipment owned.  An audible difference for the better.  If its there the MA352 will reveal it; even standard CDs sound better in the MDC85; SACDs sound is outstanding.

Build Quality and Design: Both items heavy and built like a tank.  Outstanding fit and finish.  Top grade connectors, knobs and display.

Value for Money: I'm sure you'll find many great sounding alternatives at the same price point. But hard to beat resale value and you can be assured you'll find service and replacement parts as long a you own your McIntosh. 

Customer Service and Support: Called twice for features, configuration questions; you'll get a real tech not a call-center.  They know their stuff and will go beyond to help.

Overall Experience: Never regretted the purchase; probably the last IA I will own.

Owned McIntosh for a long time, off an on for decades:

  1. Sound Quality: above average, a little warm to neutral, but a bit much on the mids and bass... great for rock music, but prefer other equipment for a more balanced approach.
  2. Build Quality and Design: Dislike all the lights and meters. So damn bright and flashy. Design is done well though and their build quality is average compared to other hifi equipment at similar cost. (still pretty good though)
  3. Value for Money: It is average to good. I know Americans will point out the 'made in usa' makes it great... but it doesn't necessarily mean anything.
  4. Customer Service and Support: Fantastic. Here is where they remind me a bit of Bryston, "have a problem, no problem we will look after it for you for a reasonable price".
  5. Overall Experience: 6/10. But I have moved on to what I feel is equipment that have more honest and neutral presentations.

I feel like McIntosh is what you buy when you want to say you have hi-end equipment but aren't really someone who researches and listens to a lot of different equipment. While it is still good equipment, once you audition others, you will soon find out that perhaps McIntosh isn't really what you want or need. But still good.

I have been a McIntosh owner for over 30 years. 

I will state that when I would visit stereo / hi-fi stores over the decades (when we still had hi-fi stores!) and salespersons would ask what I had for a system, I was embarrassed to some degree to state that I owned McIntosh due to the comments and that I would get.  Not sure where that really came from...other than the assumption that people disliked the colored, house sound from years ago, the logo font choice and the blue meters.  McIntosh, seemingly more than any other stereo manufacturer, has indeed generated a fair number of detractors that really dislike these products.

I still remember a few clubs/bars in my area in the '90's that would have a McIntosh amp behind the bar running the sound system.  All beat to heck, lights burned out, top of the amps battered for years of setting stuff on them, but still operating year after year.   

My mid '70's MC250 amp is still going, and my Clarion years MAC preamp is still 100% functional.

Right on jheppe815. Mac equipment is solid, as well as the resale value. Unlikely to take a hit on the buy in cost other than general inflation.

 I have multiple Mac pieces. It sounds "warm" to me. I have nothing to compare to. My ears love the sound and I suppose I could "upgrade" but what would be the point. My ears and brain have come to accept my Mac equipment as audio nirvana. Would just turn into a rabbit hole with many dollars needlessly spent. 

SQ - I have owned four different McIntosh combinations over the years and I would consider their sound quality to be solid, punchy, clear and powerful, never shrill.   

BQ - just outstanding.  Beautifully crafted and very unique.  Touching McIntosh equipment always invokes a sense of quality craftmanship.  Some bash the meters but what a distinctive brand identity.  They are also incredibly reliable. 

Value - McIntosh is too expensive but when you add in most pieces ability to hold their value, I think it changes the expense to benefit ratio.  Seems you can always get your money back and in some cases more.

Customer Support - never had to use it but I hear it is exceptional.

Overall - I would highly recommend McIntosh to most listeners.  I just have confidence that Mac gear delivers in most all situations.  It may not be the very best of the best, but when you consider everything involved, it's a hard to be brand. 

No one has mentioned convenience. I have a M/X 123 A/V processor that controls my audio and video. It came bundled with Apple Music, so no separate streamer, DAC, etc. necessary. My audio is powered by a McIntosh 275 tube amp. For movies, etc,, I use a MC8207 seven channel solid state amp. Coupled with a MAC4BACCH filter, it sounds better than a million dollar system I recently heard at a very high-end dealer in New York. I cannot over-emphasize how much the BACCH adds to my system.

A little different perspective. I have bought almost all of my audio components used. I’m the second owner of an MC352 that I use to drive Quad 63s. When I moved on to Sound Lab electrostatics, I bought two MC2500s, each bridged to mono 1000 watts. The 2500s have a slightly brighter signature than the 352. But all sound great and are built like tanks. I really couldn’t be happier with their sound and lack of distortion. Also, looking at the audio market places, it appears all three of my amps have appreciated since I bought them. 

A friend and fellow audio traveller has a stunning system built around a new Mac integrated and Sonus Faber Olympica speakers. Marvelous sound. 

With over 50 years in this hobby, the only piece of equipment I truly regret selling was my MC240 power amp, which I sold to finance my first home theater. I'm now at least 5 upgrades past that in my theater, and would love to still have that MC240 for my 2-Channel rig.

Bottom line: if you're shopping for the long haul, you probably can't do much better than Mcintosh. 

Totally agree in general with: "Can't beat MAC on price/value ratio nor for resale and service..."

I use the MC 901 mono amplifiers which allows me to biamp my speakers. The speakers are B&W and I use transparent cables and power cords and and an above average pre-amplifier and streamer dac. I don't use mcintosh pre-amplifier because I hate looking at the stupid green light all the time and I'm not sure the quality of the processors is as good as other manufacturers Plus I don't like the way it's configured for a home theatre bypass which turns off the TV screen when you're listening to stereo when using home theatre bypass which really sucks.

You really need to biamp and use quality interconnects to get the best out of any system. Especially B and W speakers. I thought about using a tube amp from VAC or CJ but I was concerned that the bass wouldn’t be what I wanted. Really wanted to biamp using tubes and solid state and McIntosh was the only company that could really do it given what their skill set is. So far it’s working out.

My only complaint as I mentioned in another thread is that the stock tubes they use are crap and I’m in the process of evaluating new tubes.

If you have issues with the amplifiers good luck getting them repaired very quickly.. McIntosh support of warranty centres is not where it needs to be and the length of Time you need before it’s fixed could be several months and very uncertain. I’m not sure why they use Best Buy to sell their products using Magnolia. That’s disappointing in my opinion and cheapens the brand.

Reliability was a big factor in my purchase decision and strong dealer support which is the case for me at least.


I've owned the C2600 Pre-amp and MC 302 Amplifier and I enjoyed listening to music at home more than ever (at that point) 

  1. Sound Quality: It sounded good.  I enjoyed the sound immensely and the difference between McIntosh sound and others to me is a bit of transparency - in comparison to my Moon gear it's less detailed and dynamic.  Note, I never thought anything was missing until I was evaluating purchasing a MC 462 as an upgrade.
  2. Build Quality and Design: I never had an issue with quality and if you like their design it's definitely something folks appreciate/enjoy.
  3. Value for Money: Yes, specifically after experiencing resale.  I pushed my budget to acquire and I sold the gear for 85% of what I paid for it.  
  4. Customer Service and Support: I only had one interaction with customer service because I bought a demo unit.  They initially refused my warranty - their email message provided me a phone number.  I called them, they answered, we spoke about my situation and the person did some more research and then let me know my warranty registration was accepted.
  5. Overall Experience: I recommend you listen to as much stuff as you can and you buy what you like.  I won't recommend McIntosh but I won't recommend you buy anything you don't enjoy listening too!

McIntosh reignited my love for music - and as far as I'm concerned that makes them alright with me.  I moved away from the brand and I'm sure I was replaced with another happy customer.


Honestly, I’ve heard Mac gear at dealers too many times to count over the years and have heard it sound just fine but never seems to fully grab me. But that’s just me. It holds value very well compared to many others it seems so that is a big thing. As are the looks which I do tend to like.

The three things I know about McIntosh gear:

1 It holds its resale value incredibly well.

2 Their components tend to be built to last a long time.

3 I'm not a fan of the McIntosh "house sound".*

 If I wanted to try McIntosh gear, but wasn't sure if I'd like it, I'd buy used. Then it can be sold with little to no loss, maybe even at a profit if you got a good deal.

* #3 should have no bearing on anyone's decision, except mine.

I’ve owned my 1962 McIntosh MR65B FM tuner for close to 20 years. The MR65B is the first all tube stereo tuner manufactured by McIntosh. It’s all tube, built like a tank, sounds great, and IMO the MR65B is very nice looking. Mine also has the original walnut cabinet.

McIntosh has always been sold as a high end audio product line and is presently owned by a private equity firm (according to Wikipedia).

The first "real" Hi-Fi system that rocked my audio world was powered by McIntosh. That was 45 years ago. Blue meters were on my bucket list for my home system for the next 40.

My interest in audio developed into a career that spanned 40+ years and, yes, we became a "Mac" dealer somewhere around 1982. I would classify the Mac experience as a dealer as one of the group of vendors I could count on one hand being in the "never let us down" category. This includes the customer/end user.

I got my wish in 2016 when I sold my business. When presenting a list of current inventory to the prospective new owner, I made it a point to tell them they can have anything they want -- EXCEPT the Mac stack on display. The separates I had at home that esthetically reassembled a mix of military surplus and vintage laboratory instruments were replaced with those beautiful faceplates and bouncing blue meters.

As one would expect, we had the opportunity for "shoot outs" on many occasions with "similarly-priced" gear. I would say overall that the Mac gear held it’s own. The inner Hi-Fi nerd in me classified the sonics of the Mac gear as "not quite as revealing" as some world-class gear.

Okay, I know the next comment is going to make some heads explode. But here goes: I found that audiophlle fuses can make a significant sound quality improvement in Mac gear (that utilize fuses). The sound becomes more "analytical", revealing, more detailed, and brings instruments and voices more into focus. For me, the sound nudges a bit closer to the agility I have experienced in other renouned high end brands. For Mac owners, with the fuse upgrade, you may find yourself in the room with a more transparent, revealing, and rewarding musical experience. For non-Mac owners who love the brand, esthetics, and build quality, but Mac doesn’t quite get you there sonically, a couple hundred buck investment may result in Mac checking ALL of your audiophile boxes.

I’ll also say that McIntosh has done an admirable job of staying relevant for many decades. It’s a balancing act that few have navigated successfully.



the MAC SACD plyer i had I got in a trade deal and only tried one SACD and maybe a half doz CD's. So i can't rally talk about sound as i didn't even use the internal DAC in it. I sold it shortly after getting it as I stream now for digital. 

I think it probably depends on your other components. I have 611 monos, with B&W 802D3 speakers. My sources are an Esoteric N01XD streamer and a Clearaudio Performance turntable. That combination works well. Bold, natural, and detailed with clear separation. Heaven to my ears.

I had Mac’s most recent solid state preamp and actually preferred the $599 Topping A90D in terms of sound quality. The Topping had a significantly lower noise floor and just overall superior resolution. Of course the Mac felt and operated like a more premium product and has a good built-in DAC.

The other times I’ve experienced Mac gear I was never blown away, but in those systems I couldn’t really isolate what was contributing what. Most of those systems were rather laidback and mellow sounding which aligns with the general consensus of the Mac sound. The best systems I’ve encountered have not happened to have any Mac gear in the chain.

My overall impression is that much of what one pays for with the brand is the name and legacy.

As for resale value, it seems some pieces simply hold their value better than others. I had to take a substantial hit on the resale value of the Mac preamp even despite the fact I bought it used for thousands less than retail. 


We sold Mac audio gear in our store back in the 1970's. We also sold ARC, Halfer, B&O, Yamaha, Maggies, Klipsch, JBL, Levinson, Linn, and more. Back then Mac would come in the stores and set up a test bench with clad blanket covering the table where the equipment brought in by customers for tested. I also toured the factory. Built quality was impeccable. Sound was also very good. (MC275) 

Mac decided they needed to make everything audio. (Cassettes, CD's, turntables, Dacs, surround systems, etc) Once they started down that road, the reliability went out the window.  I now consider there amps and pre-amps to still be extremely well built, reliable, and sound good (not ampung the best, but good). The rest of there products I would never purchase.  

If McIntosh were a car company they would be Porsche, but made in America. Sure there are Ferrari’s and sexier components out there to rival. There are also the Lexus equivalents that come close and punch above their weight.  

In the end it’s a quality product that works as advertised in its class. 

The rest is subjective and subject to pairing like anything else. 

A lot of their amps measure objectively worse than amps priced MUCH MUCH cheaper. Not that they're bad amps by any means, but you're paying for name and esthetics.

I have several intergated amps that i do a rotation. I have always wanted a Mac with those blue meters.  I purchased a Ma 352 which is a hybrid. So I have Pass, Accuphase, Hegal. I noticed that when I rotate the Mac, it tends to stay in play the longest. Can’t quite put my finger on it, but there is something about the sound that I much enjoy. 

I had a C27 preamp for several years, bought refurbished. Here are my comments:

  1. Sound Quality: Very pure; certainly not warm. Everything was good although the phono stage, to me, had a bit of harshness built in.
  2. Build Quality and Design: Build quality was second to none. Beautifully constructed with the highest-quality parts.
  3. Value for Money: As I said, I used it for several years and liked it mostly. At the time, it did every think I asked of it and did it very wel. 
  4. Customer Service and Support: Never had to have anything fixed.
  5. Overall Experience: I think the new ones are rather garish with their lit tubes and all. I think they have gone overboard and right now, the only pieces I'd recommend are the C22 preamp and the MC275 amp.

After going through several power amplifiers to pair with my Cary SLP-05 preamp including Parasound JC5, Pass Labs XA25 and Pass Labs XA30.8 I wasn't getting the sound out of them that I was after.  

I decided to try the McIntosh MC 312 300 WPC 120 db S/N solid state amp.  when I saw a good deal on a store demo model.  

  1. Sound Quality: How would you describe the sound signature of McIntosh gear? Do you find it warm, neutral, or something else entirely?  > The sound quality is robust- fast paced and incredible speed and dynamic changes on a dime.  It has excellent transparency and bass authority but the kicker is an incredible soaring midrange that is as clear as daylight.  High frequencies are  not rolled off yet are smooth and pristine.  Sound stage is sufficiently large, well defined and spacious.  The sound is so clean and without a hint of grain.  Finally found my amplifier!
  2. Build Quality and Design: McIntosh is renowned for its craftsmanship. Has their build quality lived up to your expectations? >Build quality is flawless.  Connections are accessible and of high quality.  I will be able to sell this thing for more than I paid for it (if ever) for the rest of my life!  It is almost too heavy though, not a big deal unless I ever sell it. 
  3. Value for Money: Considering the premium investment McIntosh demands, do you believe the performance and satisfaction derived justify the price?  >I consider the value competitive with anything in its price range if not higher.  Again resale will always remain very high on McIntosh amplifiers.   
  4. Customer Service and Support: Have you had any experiences dealing with McIntosh's customer service? If so, how would you rate their support? >n/a
  5. Overall Experience: Would you recommend McIntosh to fellow audio enthusiasts? Why or why not?  >Absolutely.  Sound quality on the latest gen solid state amplifiers is as good as I could ever want and I flat out love it and the sound.  I have had many tube integrated, tube power amps, class A amps, high bias class AB amps and the Mac sounds the best to me!