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Mac 6100

 

Gold Member
Username: Stryvn

Wisconsin

Post Number: 1152
Registered: Dec-06
I wonder how the pre section of this integrated would sound paired with my MC 7300? Any comments on the phono section from anyone?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 13681
Registered: May-04
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The MA6100 is a Mac integrated amplifier. As such is sounds very much like any other Mac as far as their pre amps go. Its power amp sounds like most Mac power amps when it is running well within its power limits and with a not too difficult load.

You have to keep in mind that should you choose this combination you are pairing an integrated amplifier with a separate power amp. The McIntosh integrateds were typically sold either as an entry level into McIntosh or as a second system for a Mac separates owner. As such the separates do sound better overall and certainly have more flexibility in their pre amp sections.

The 6100 was from the second generation of solid state components in the McIntosh line. If you were to ask me would I prefer a first generation solid state pre amp (C26) over the second generation integrated used as a pre amp, I would tell you to use the later (second generation) integrated. I can't think of any first generation solid state from any manufacturer of that time that I would recommend to anyone - not even a Mac - though, if you must have first generation solid state, Mac would be my choice. Mac did not jump into solid state early on as most other manufacturers did, therefore, they saw and resolved many of the transistor's issues before they decided to use the devices in their products. Once they made the switch to solid state, however, they did so without looking back to tubes for another thirty years.

So, if I were looking for a solid state Mac pre amp, I would look at the latest generation of solid state I could find and afford and I would give preference to a separate pre amp vs an integrated if they were from the same generation of components.


On the other hand, if you were to ask me about other pre amps that would mate well with the MC7300, I would say there are numerous manufacturers who build or have built products copacetic to the Mac power amp sound. But they are not a McIntosh and you have to realize what you are trading off when you make that pairing. "Audiophile" pre amps are typically bare bones and often hair shirt. McIntosh hasn't built a bare bones pre amp in fifty years or more and I've never met a doctor/lawyer who liked wearing hair shirts.

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Gold Member
Username: Stryvn

Wisconsin

Post Number: 1153
Registered: Dec-06
Thanks, Jan.

Is the phono section the weak link in this integrated? I am currently running a Grado Blue MC on my 20 something year old Rega P-2.....will I need to switch that cart? Or maybe an outboard phono pre thru the tape input?

I think the 6100 has two tape inputs that would then handle the outboard phono and cdp.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 13683
Registered: May-04
.

I think you might have misread or at the very least misunderstood my comments. It's not a matter of any one component being a "weak link" in the 6100. The MA6100 was introduced when vinyl still was the main playback medium so the phono section is exceptionally good in terms of fulfilling the designers' aims for that component. Are there better phono pre amps available? Certainly. McIntosh themself made many phono pre amp sections that bettered the 6100's.

However, my point about integrated amps vs the separates is that you get what you pay for. McIntosh was not in the habit of seeing where they could cut corners, the 6100 was hardly a budget item in anyone's price scheme. Many clients were quite happy to own the MA6100 as their first taste of McIntosh sound and did not feel they had purchased a component that had cut corners or possessed a weak link.

However, Mac was in the habit of making their components better. Whether that was through the process of continually examining what they had already constructed or through the process of devoting more assets to a better product, they were in the habit of building components that met first their impressions of sonic and technical accuracy and second having a reason to sell more than one product or the same old product.

McIntosh didn't change their line up every year so when they introduced a new product they had to be convinced it did something an older or less expensive product did not permit. If you want to read into what I just said that there are weak links in the Mac products, then I have to say you are still misunderstanding my point.

You have to grasp the concept of balanced performance to see what I am saying. Would it make sense to put a $400 phono section in a $700 pre amp? (In 1972 dollars when you could buy a new car for about $1500.) Even if phono is what most clients will listen to? Let's consider this analogy, would it make sense to put an Acura NSX suspension in a Civic EX? No, but the design principles (and many of the same basic parts) of the Honda wishbone suspension exist in both vehicles. Is the Civic fun to drive with this suspension? Most would say it is. Is the 6100 any less of a pre amp because it was not the flagship model? Most people would be hard pressed to find fault with the 6100's performance despite being able to identify improvements in the flagship. You get what you pay for and you will use the product accordingly which means you will not be using a $20 cartridge with the flagship and you will not be using a $1,000 (in 1972 dollars) cartridge with the integrated.




A "Grado Blue MC"? "MC" as in moving coil? It doesn't exist. Grado cartridges are essentially a moving iron principle. Most people would generically cast them as moving magnets simply due to their higher output and loading requirements. Both would be inaccurate assessments of the Grado technology. Do some search engine work on "moving iron cartridges" to understand the differences.


"Or maybe an outboard phono pre thru the tape input?"

Do I detect the "I gotta have it now" syndrome creeping in? You are going to buy a vintage integrated amplifier only to use it as a pre amp and ignore the power amp section and then also ignore the phono section of the pre amp section. That leaves you with a volume control. A what? price volume control? $500-600? Does that make sense even if you get the 6100 for less money? You'll then spend money for the phono pre amp and the connecting cables and have a more complicated system than you - don't misunderstand the word - deserve. I'm not a fan of cables running in every direction and connections in the dozens that can ozidize as they will with the nickle plated RCA's on the 6100. And then you'd be asking which phono section mates well with the Mac volume control ... er, integrated ... no, pre amp ... well, what you will have and be using from what you have and the solid state Mac amplifer you just acquired.



I think if you sat down and thought about this for a few moments, you'd find a better way to invest the same amount of money. Possibly not, it's your money.

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Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 12701
Registered: Dec-04
Change the cart and use the Mac phono.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stryvn

Wisconsin

Post Number: 1154
Registered: Dec-06
I guess I did not phrase my question very well.
I did not read anything into your comments, I do not feel, that did not exist. It was more of a straight question as to how is the phono section of this integrated. Your point about the amp being built and sold at a time when vinyl was king was one that I had not, but should have, considered when I posted the question.

Yes, I do plan on using this integrated for it's pre only. It is the all Mac sound I am looking for here while getting my Rotel pre out of the chain. It is also my intention to use the 6100 phono section but am more questioning compatibility between my Grado Blue and the Mac phono in the 6100. If this is known to be not compatible I would like to know up front. Is the Grado Blue delivering what the 6100 input is looking for?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 12703
Registered: Dec-04
No. The moving iron of the Grado does not provide the required voltage.
This means a phono stage, a step up transformer, or a replacement cart.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 12704
Registered: Dec-04
http://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/home-audio/68275.html
 

Gold Member
Username: Mike3

Wylie, Tx USA

Post Number: 2010
Registered: May-06
http://www.roger-russell.com/c26pg.htm

http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?preatran&1249561788&/Mcintosh-Preamp-C26- /-C-26-/-C

Possibly email or just call this person to see if they would split out just the C26 and ship at your cost.

http://austin.craigslist.org/ele/1206278805.html


This one is supposedly an improvement over the C-26

http://shop.ebay.com/items/?_nkw=C-28+Preamp&_sacat=0&_trksid=p3286.m270.l1313&_ odkw=C-28+Pre&_osacat=0

You could drive down to see this one plus he is willing to barter;

http://chicago.craigslist.org/wcl/ele/1229165486.html

You can call on these three;

http://eugene.craigslist.org/ele/1214847352.html

http://rochester.craigslist.org/ele/1185788124.html

http://denver.craigslist.org/ele/1198349606.html
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 2690
Registered: Feb-07
Interesting post Stryvn. I've tossed around the idea of someday, and I emphasize the word someday, picking up a McIntosh power amp (tubes maybe), and using my 6300 as a pre. Or evening bi-amping using the 6300 and power amp, but I'm not sure if gain would be an issue between the 6300 and a Mc power amp.

Jan?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 13684
Registered: May-04
.

"No. The moving iron of the Grado does not provide the required voltage."


It would be unlikely the Grado cannot drive the Mac phono stage to full output. Grados, like most moving iron cartridges have slightly lower output voltage than many moving magnet cartridges. But, as I said, most people would simply lump them into the mm group due to their reasonably high output voltage and their loading requirements.

47kOhms will make most Grados happy as an input load though some people like to run different impedance loading - YMMV.

The Music Direct ad for the Blue states a 5.0mV output spec. Look at a Shure M97 moving magnet and it states a 4.0mV output. So there is no problem running the Grado into the 6100 input. Keep in mind any Mac pre amp has a linear taper volume control and it will be set higher than the vc on the Rotel due to the Rotel's audio taper vc.


Also what you have managed with the Grado running into the Rotel is IMO put a BandAid on the sound of one of those units. The Grados are by anyone's estimation not bright sound cartridges, they have a warmth that some mc fans hear as rolled off. Whether the mc fans are just too used to hearing the rising resonances of a mc or not is up to you to decide. But the Grado sound is a liquid midrange with complinentary lows and highs, a balanced sound if you like the Grados - which I do. That is also the sound of the Mac to most ears. You can either wind up with too much of a good thing or just the right balance of complimentary tactics. I can't predict which it will be but the Grado into the Mac will not sound like the Grado into the Rotel.


And, Nuck, you really need to get off this idea that moving magnet or moving iron cartridges should be run into a step up transformer. Transformers work for low output mc's but not for high output mc's or mm's or mi's due to the loading requirements and the fact such designs simply should not require a step up device. If you are in need of more output from any cartridge other than a low output mc, you made a poor choice in the first place. If you want to run a separate phono pre amp with higher sensitivity or more gain, that's up to you but step up transformers are not for high output cartridges.



I read the posts I made five years ago and I wouldn't change much other than I said the 6100 and 6200 have output autoformers, which they do not.


If I were looking for a reasonably priced vintage McIntosh pre amp, I would be considering either a C28 or a C32. I really wouldn't be wasting my time and money on an integrated used only as a pre amp.

http://www.audioclassics.com/brand.php3?brand=McIntosh&p=0


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