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Got my speakers, amp, and cables...which pre-amp?

 

New member
Username: Nick_belsky

Post Number: 1
Registered: Nov-09
Hello all!

I have been piecing a small stereo system together for awhile now and have all the components I need except for one. I am having much difficulty deciding on a pre-amp. Here's the system so far and the pre-amps I have auditioned:

Totem Forest towers
White Zombie Cables
2 McIntosh MC2205 (bi-amped, maybe?)

I have auditioned pre-amps from:

Parasound Halo P3
Bryston BP5 and BP6
Cambridge 840
Arcam FMJ C31
McIntosh C220 and C46

Price range is pretty open (not Dynaudio Arbiter open )

I am toying with the idea of using tubes to power tweats and solid state to power woofers. Don't know about going that way yet though. I can play with that once I decide on a pre-amp.

Also, the pre-amps I've listened to have all been on various setups at different dealers or at a friend of a friend's house. How do I know what I am supposed to be listening for? I've never really had to shop around for pre-amps before...

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks in Advance,

NB
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13888
Registered: Dec-04
Phono?
How many inputs?
 

New member
Username: Nick_belsky

Post Number: 2
Registered: Nov-09
No phono. Right now it will be strictly one input, but maybe leaving it open to add multiple inputs at a later time. This setup will be a second system in my house, most of the AV is going through the "main" system. This system is being setup for audio only. I don't see me adding to it anytime soon, though... Never hurts to future-proof.

Also forgot to mention, I added a blu-ray to my AV system so I may move the FMJ CD player to the stereo system or may purchase another so I don't lose the CD quality on the main system... IDK about that yet though... IF I do buy another CD, it will be of equal or greater SQ than the FMJ.
 

New member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 3
Registered: Nov-09
Does it make sense to have a tube preamp with solid state amps? The McIntosh amps I have are borrowed for this system. I believe I wil be looking for a good amp/pre amp combo now... for purposes of good synergy. Any Ideas?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13896
Registered: Dec-04
Either tube or sand preamp are fine, depending on your preference.
If it is only single input, you could look at a line stage or passive preamp as well.
There is a lack of gain in a passive, but no necessarily an issue, depending on amp/volume desired.
 

New member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 4
Registered: Nov-09
I normally listen at a decent volume...I would guess-timate around 90-100 dB at times. From what I am told, the Totem's can't be ran for very long in the 110 dB range without causing damage.

Is there a strong amp/pre amp combo out there that has parallel outputs on the pre-amp for ease of bi-amping?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 11158
Registered: Feb-05
Any reason you wouldn't want to stick with Mac to match the amps?
 

New member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 5
Registered: Nov-09
I am using the 2205's on my main towers in my theater system. The MC207 is powering the Surrounds, Rears, and Center. I was considering pulling both 2205's to use in this stereo setup, but am reconsidering since I love the Mac's in that system and don't want to change it now I've thought about it more.

So, now I am looking into a combo. I have looked closely at an Arcam system since I will be using the FMJ CD33 as the source for the stereo system.

I am thinking about purchasing an FMJ C31 and quad amping the Forests with four P1's...

I am going to audition a quad setup at a local Arcam dealer early next week, they won't be on Totems, but we will play around with the P38's as well and see how much of a difference I can hear. I think purchasing a combo will allow me to get a better idea of what to expect vs only auditioning a pre-amp, but I may be wrong.

What are your guys thoughts on all of this?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 11163
Registered: Feb-05
Stick the Arcams in the HT, pull the Mac's out and match 'em up with a Mac pre for the stereo...
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13898
Registered: Dec-04
Being a Mac guy, I would have to agree.
You hve a lot of stuff there, NB, and Mac mono's running a HT seems like underuse to me.
 

New member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 6
Registered: Nov-09
Orignally, the MC207 powered the entire HT, I am holding on to the pair of 2205s for a friend and hooked them up until he has something to hook them up to again. I don't know when that will be though. He did mention that he thinks it will be shortly after Christmas.

That's the only reason I am looking into a combo now.

I fear that the Arcam's won't be able to push my Dyns as well as they are by the Mac's. Only one way to find out I guess.

Let me ask this, are Macs generally the best performers in a stereo system? I used to have a pair of B&K mono blocks some years ago and wonder if B&K would match up well with the Forests or not? I am not very good with audio terminology when it comes to describing how things sound, but the B&K made instruments sound more upfront and emphasized. Perhaps slightly more so than the Mac's I have now, but it has been a long time since I've heard the B&Ks so my comparison may be skewed.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 11166
Registered: Feb-05
B&K makes a decent amp...not in the same league with Mac and Bryston. You have speakers that like power and you like volume, so if you can afford to feed them the best, why not do it.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13902
Registered: Dec-04
How much to keep the Mac amps...after storage, LOL
 

New member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 7
Registered: Nov-09
Hhhhmmm...Mac it is then.

I inquired about keeping them, he seems to want them back as soon as his divorce is final. He split up his audio equipment between 3 different friends so he wasn't forced to sell it and split assets, etc...

More than I knew I was agreeing to at first. I don't mind though, at least I can enjoy them for now.

I have been digging around into Mac's past pre-amps and such but am finding limited info. Do any of you guys know of a pre-amp that simply does two channels without a million bells and whistles? I prefer analog audio vs digital, seems like most of the newer pre-amps are doing the digital conversions.

You guys have any recommendations for any of Mac's older stuff or why the newer is better? Or at least what may match up with my speakers better than others?
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 3256
Registered: Feb-07
Now that you've tasted Mac, why not check out a McIntosh integrated for you stereo system?

Both Nuck and I have Mac integrateds for our 2 channel rigs and like them. Less cables too!

My 6300 is 100w, more than enough, and I think Nucks is pushing over 200.

Complete with mesmerizing blue meters.
 

Gold Member
Username: Mike3

Wylie, Tx USA

Post Number: 2221
Registered: May-06
Helping a friend screw his wife over?

I guess that is just scratching at the surface and you know for a fact she deserves half of all of this. Why even take sides in a situation that has nothing to do with you? What did she ever do to you?

Why is everyone else ignoring this and abetting it?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 11175
Registered: Feb-05
Just read it...not so good.
 

Gold Member
Username: My_rantz

Gold CoastAustralia

Post Number: 2635
Registered: Nov-05
Hey we don't know their reasons for the split, so let's not be too hasty to condemn. I have friends whose marriages have broken, yep the wives get half or accept a deal. In a couple of cases the wives deserved nothing - on the other hand, I know the guy deserved to lose everything, but that's not what happened of course.

Mates usually help each other out, at least they do where I come from. But personally, I'd stay out of it if I wished to continue a friendship with both parties.
 

New member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 8
Registered: Nov-09
I have already purchased all my cables and have them in hand. Talked the guy into throwing in a few extra so I don't mind the extra cables. Now, managing those cables is always fun (my wife's second biggest dislike). I have never looked into an integrated amp or really know what they are. What advantages are there other than fewer cables ?

Since I am looking for a combo, I am looking to setup an audition with a Bryston dealer as well. I called for info and they guy didn't give me prices, but said he would do 25-35% off on a packaged deal. I believe that is at least worth looking into. I was looking on the website and wanted to hear the BP 16 with a 4B amp...thoughts?

About the divorce situation, I don't care to keep a friendship with her. Not that I don't like her, but I never knew her before and never felt either way while they were married. I am no lawyer, but I can't see him being in any danger of losing his stuff anyway. She makes a lot more money and she was unfaithful. He split the equipment up about four months ago when he first was suspicious. Besides that, he still has the audio equipment in his home insurance policy, which the judge may call on if there is a huge dispute between assets.

Like I said before, I didn't know why he was lending them to me at first. He offered to let me borrow them to see if I liked them. About two weeks ago he filed for the divorce... So don't be too harsh on me, guys...
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13907
Registered: Dec-04
http://www.mcintoshlabs.com/products/979.asp
 

New member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 9
Registered: Nov-09
Thanks for the link, I will check it out. What were your thoughts on the Bryston combo?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13910
Registered: Dec-04
My thoughts on the bryston combo are that you should try to hear the Mac integrated.
 

New member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 10
Registered: Nov-09
I will give a call to the local Mac dealer on Monday and see if he has one to audition.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13913
Registered: Dec-04
The 6900is very different from the small integrateds, as it uses transformer-coupled outputs.

The link is to the Mac homepage, and the differences are laid out there pretty well.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 11
Registered: Nov-09
I was just looking over the owner's manual on Mac's website. This unit looks pretty impressive and may save me a penny or two. I know I can ask the dealer this too, but looks like I still would have the flexibility to add an additional 200w amp for bi-amping? The description on the site leads me to believe the sound is remarkably similar to separates, would bi-amping with the MA6900 make that difference even more noticeable or would the differences probably not be any more noticeable?

I also like the features as far as expansion for this unit. It may be a definite contender...
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13917
Registered: Dec-04
The 2nd preout is available for a 2nd amp. i use it as a signal for my sub amp.
I do not believe that a move to a Mac pre and 200w amp would be of enough benefit for me to hear.

The phono of the 6900 is as good as I have heard built in, but I am underdriving it, so the volume knob goes far over. Dead silent on dedicated power lines.

As far as expansion? hold on, flyboy. I would not recommend using an integrated for anything other than its intended purpose, that being a pre and amp.
Building around an integrated is not, in my opinion, using resources wisely.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 12
Registered: Nov-09
By expansion, I mean be able to add a turntable or additional audio source.

Bi-amping is something I will have to hear before making a decision. Once I hear it, it may not be enough of a difference for me to pursue. However, I like the way the MA6900 allows flexibility to do so if desired.
 

New member
Username: Brocjas

Albany, NY

Post Number: 6
Registered: Aug-06
Your post caught my eye. I have the Totem Hawks and was running them with the Arcam FMJ A32 Integrated, sounded great and seemed to have enough power for the Hawks. I recently upgraded to a Mac C2200 tube preamp and am running it through the amp portion of the A32 for now until I can $wing a Mac 352 solid state amp. I recently heard this combo at Audio Classics in Vestal and this will hopefully be the combo that cures the itch for while. I have not heard the 6900 but if it is on par with the other Mac equipment, I don't see how you could go wrong.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 13
Registered: Nov-09
Well, my local dealer does not have the 6900 in hand or on display. The closest guy with one is a couple of hours away. I don't know when I'll be able to make the trip.

Thanks for the info, Brian, that gives me a little more faith not only in the Mac, but the Arcam setup as well. I do love the FMJ product line, but hesitate to move to an entire Mac system. I always hear people say the equipment sounds beter at home than at the store...did you find this to be true as well with the Macs?
 

New member
Username: Brocjas

Albany, NY

Post Number: 7
Registered: Aug-06
Nick, my C2200 running through the amp portion of the Arcam integrated, for now, sounds significantly better than the FMJ A32 did on its own. To my ears it is a warmer sound than the FMJ. Better separation of the instruments being played and the bass is better defined and a touch more pronounced, which is what I was looking for.
I now know what some have talked about when they say a change in equipment or tweaks of some sort produced a difference in the sound that lessened or eliminated the listener fatique. While I did not think it was an issue with the Arcam, when I heard the Mac...the difference appeared.
The sound difference between the store and home will come when I eventually get the MC352 connected to the C2200. Based on what I have heard so far between the in store demo of the C2200 with the 352 and the C2200 with the Arcam, yes better at home, I quess that is where our ears have received their training to what we are playing the music through, if that makes sense, then that is where the improvement or degradation will be picked up on the quickest. Anxiously waiting to be able to get a solid state 352 connected to the C2200, if it sounds this much better now, the 352 can only upgrade the already improved sound quality.
Good Luck with the pursuit.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 14
Registered: Nov-09
That sounds great, Brian. I tend to like more emphasis in the mid bass and mid range, which is also my experience with Mac. I am starting to get even more anxious about getting the equipment now...
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13930
Registered: Dec-04
Nick, I missed it...have you decided on a unit to purchase??
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 15
Registered: Nov-09
Nuck, not yet. I am hoping to make the trip to audition the MA6900 next week as the local dealer didn't have one in house. I will keep you posted when I make the trip and how the audition goes...
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13933
Registered: Dec-04
Watch the pricing on it Nick, it is expensive.
However, I would not choose another high powered IA above it, given the expected 100 yr lifespan, LOL!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 16
Registered: Nov-09
I found the retail listed at $5k, is that what you have found? I also found a couple of used ones between $3-4k.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13935
Registered: Dec-04
I paid 4k CDN for mine, which is a 04 model, call it 25% for exchange and typical Canadian overpricing.
It has a list here of $6200

The unit is just robust and built to last.
The switching is super slick and will never, ever need attention. The pots a solid to feel and are fully sealed.
The phono is outstanding, even if I lack an input to match my HOmc Dynavector 10X5 cart. I am looking at an active linestage, but wait for new componants coming soon first.

I have one issue with the Mac, however.
The amp would not play the most difficult speaker loads at high power, and it shut down on heat.

Faced with load that is less than stupid, the amp is fine, however. My Gallo's just love this amp and it barely gets warm, after hours in Class A operation. Just supersweet operation, the remote works from the next room!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13936
Registered: Dec-04
Mac has also been exemplary with service, helping me with my speaker issue, tracking the unit, and changing ownership on their end.
No warranty, of course, but they will send pertinent emails, no spam.

At this price, honestly,there is a lot of pre loved stuff out there, lots of Mac included, but the price does not drop much, if at all. Thats part of the Mac thing, as well.

If you buy new, be sure that the dealer has an open for full exchange value, if you want more Mac, like seperates.

And keep in mind that Mac resells well for a reason.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 17
Registered: Nov-09
Thanks for the heads up. I will check and make sure they have the full exchange policy. The local dealer does not and refused to work with used equipment. I was a little surprised on how he emphasized it so much.

Even if it does run over $6k, it will still be under budget for the entire system.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13941
Registered: Dec-04
You budget like a single guy, Nick, I like.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 18
Registered: Nov-09
heh heh
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13967
Registered: Dec-04
Whats the plan, Nick?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 19
Registered: Nov-09
I have an appointment on Wednesday since I am heading south for the Holidays. There is a dealer near where we are heading so I can audition the ma6900. The dealer said he could have it setup where I can hear it bi-amped as well with a pair of Paradigm speakers. I am not a Paradigm fan, but I think I will be able to hear any discernible differences between the bi-amping and not. We'll also mix the preamp up with a Anthem AVM30 he has to compare the Mac to, that way I will have something to reference to with the unfamiliar speakers and such...

I guess I will have more for you after the Holiday, so until then...have a great Turkey Day!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 20
Registered: Nov-09
oh yeah, on another note, I found a guy who was trying to sell me a used Halcro Reference DM8 for $7k... Little more than I care to spend on one item though...
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13970
Registered: Dec-04
Halcro sounds like nothing else, you could pick one out of a noisy crowd.

Leaves me cold and sore.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 22
Registered: Nov-09
Cold and sore? I don't think that sounds like a good thing. I told him I'd take it if he threw in the DM38 as well; I am not holding my breath for that to happen.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 23
Registered: Nov-09
Well, I auditioned the Macs on Paradigm Sigs S6 on Wednesday. The 6900 alone sounded great, I liked it immediately. The dealer started out with the 6900 powering the Paradigm Sigs. The mids really stood out well. They reminded me of my C5s.

For comparison reasons, we hooked the Sigs up to an Anthem AVM30 and MCA20 amplifier after wards. The mids sounded..."muffled" in comparison to the Mac. Maybe muddy is a better word. We then biamped the Sigs with another MCA20. Sounded better, but very little difference.

The dealer just happened to have had a MC202 traded in earlier in the week, so we were able to have a good 200w match to the 6900 integrated amp to biamp the Sigs with a Mac setup...Wow! I can definitely say the separation between the tweets and woofers was much better cut and clear, I believe the slope as at 8 dB with just the 6900 powering the Sigs. In my opinion, the biamping made a good sounding setup sound great. That little bit of difference is well worth the extra power amplification.

I ended up getting the pair (MA6900 and MC202) for a packaged deal of $6k plus tax and shipping. The items should be arriving at my residence by Tuesday of this upcoming week. I will then get everything installed and get back with you guys. I am so anxious to get this hooked up it is rediculous.

The Sigs don't even compare to my Forests, IMO, so I have high expectations in my setup at home. The Forests sounded so much better even with the Macs on the Sigs. The Sigs have better grip in the mids, being a 3 way design, but still lacked in the lower end to me. Like I said before, they sounded "muddy" where the biamped Sigs with the Macs sounded very precise, clear and the imaging really seemed to open up more...

I can't wait to get home...my ears are tingling!
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 3330
Registered: Feb-07
Very cool Nick. You're going to have an unbelievably good system!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13989
Registered: Dec-04
Wow! Thats a lot of Mac, Nick!!

I hope you are as pleased at home as at the demo!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 24
Registered: Nov-09
I have high expectations after hearing the differences between the Sigs biamped vs just the MA6900. I expect the Forests to really shine biamped, but will have to see.

Sooo anxious!!! Tuesday, hurry up and get here...
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13994
Registered: Dec-04
What cables will lash up the amps, Nick?

I must admit, I am happy for you, and jealous!
Thankfully, I have no more room for amps, LOL!

I do not think I have read of that setup before, actually.

Looking forward to a full write-up, pics and impressions!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13995
Registered: Dec-04
What years are the amps, Nick?
The 202 isnt on Macs website, I assumed a 303 @200
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 3334
Registered: Feb-07
http://audio-database.com/MCINTOSH/amp/mc202-e.html
 

Gold Member
Username: Mike3

Wylie, Tx USA

Post Number: 2234
Registered: May-06
http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?ampstran&1264380621
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13997
Registered: Dec-04
nice standard Mac amp, with autoformers.

Nick, your deal looks better and better...
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 25
Registered: Nov-09
The MC202 was made around 1999, I believe. 200w x 2 @ 2, 4, and 8 Ohms. The links above give good info as well as pics. The dealer said the guy who traded it in was upgrading to a MC402 and was the only owner.

Originally, he wanted the full $5k for the MA6900 and $2k for the MC202. I talked him into $4500 on the MA6900 since it was a demo and $1500 for the MC202 since there were a few very minor scratches on the casing in the rear (no one will ever see them).

I will be using White Zombie Zero-Point-Zero cables. I have been very pleased with them since I bought them for my HT about 2 years ago. Also using the left over Kimber Kable leads for the speakers themselves.

In case anyone is not familiar with White Zombie...
http://whitezombieaudio.com/

I did think of one problem that has come up though. The audio shelves I have put aside for this project may not be suitable. They have glass shelves in it and are rated for only 55lbs. The MA6900 is roughly 75lbs and the MC202 is roughly 65lbs. I will probably have to go shopping again before Tuesday...

You guys have any recommendations or weblinks to good audio furniture that would support that kind of weight? I also forgot that I should have a power conditioner / regulator to route everything through... Got too excited about all the equipment, I forgot to look into the equipment to protect it all!
 

Silver Member
Username: Jazzman71

Phoenix, AZ USA

Post Number: 976
Registered: Dec-07
http://www.steveblinndesigns.com/

http://http://www.mapleshaderecords.com/index.php
 

Gold Member
Username: Mike3

Wylie, Tx USA

Post Number: 2237
Registered: May-06
Nick, I could not get the 2nd link above to mapleshade... to work.

M.R. has had success with glass shelving but it does not always work out in terms of how it affects the sound of your components. If you are on the first floor and do not have a basement (in other words not a floating floor) a simple platform would work very well. Think thick cutting board on spikes.

As to power conditioners, you do not mention what you have but most conditioners suck the life out of your system. I suggest you try the McIntosh gear straight from the wall socket as well as through the power conditioner to evaluate for yourself.

There are some conditioners that work with all of your gear but that requires experimentation and can be costly. YMMV.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 14002
Registered: Dec-04
I would definitely be thinking dedicated circuits and checking for clean power and grounds.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 26
Registered: Nov-09
Thanks for the links. Looks like some great equipment stands and racks.

Michael, something I was never aware of was the differences you've mentioned in shelves. This system will be directly on a wood floor on a second floor. So it will be a floating floor. Spikes are only needed on carpet, right? I am using glass in my current HT system also on a wooden floating floor. I haven't experimented with wooden shelves or anything with it so I don't have anything to compare it to. The amp and components stay cool on the glass. What would be recommended for my setup for the stereo in the upstairs bedroom?

Also, the MapleShade Records link listed Clearview Strips; I have heard of them but never used them. I will try plugging into the wall and see what I get. I know the power outlets in my room are on the same breaker as three other rooms that do not have any components plugged in the wall outlets. However, the light switches are on the same breaker. So in a sense, the Macs would be on a breaker that has very little use other than the lights. I'll have to have the AC power and grounds tested to see how "clean" they are...
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 14005
Registered: Dec-04
Nick, welcome to the other side of your investment. I suggest that you look into the wiring and see about access for new circuits.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 27
Registered: Nov-09
I have a friend whom is an Electrical Engineer. He is coming out to test my lines and look at adding a dedicated circuit to that room. He can't get out here until next weekend though, so I may have to put off the actual install and setup until I get the electrical straightened out and also get some good stands or a tower in here as well.

At least I didn't blow my budget on the stereo equipment. I still got cash on hand to get this setup right the first time. Is there anything else I have forgotten that is critical to this setup?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 14010
Registered: Dec-04
Yes, inviting me over with a bottle of Scotch.

Do you have the space open enough to move the speakers around a bit?
 

Silver Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 662
Registered: Oct-07
Nick,
clean, dedicated circuit a near-must.
Just try listening with stuff plugged into a circuit with a refrigerator or lamp dimmer.

The purchase of a 'Kill-a-Watt' meter will allow you to keep track of system draw and more importantly total voltage to the house. The local big box store has 'em for about 25$. Meter is for temp use only for audio uses.

If you hire an electrician out, make sure he brings a 'megger' to check ground.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 14011
Registered: Dec-04
How is the listening floor, is this a room hollow underneath?
If so, then a more solid foundation of speaker support might be in order, with layers of tasteful wood and insulators.
The appearance and effectiveness may conflict.
 

Gold Member
Username: Mike3

Wylie, Tx USA

Post Number: 2239
Registered: May-06
Nick, to expand on Nuck's point, my Gallo Ref. 3.1s sit on 3 hardwood cutting boards and 1 piece of MDF which are spiked through the carpet to my 2nd floor media room floor. I cut a piece of shelf liner or kitchen drawer liner between each piece of wood to bring continuity to my homemade "platforms". What this did was to isolate my speakers from the floor as I found that the floor was sucking half of the energy out of my speakers much to the frustration of my wife who would be sitting in the family room below me hearing almost as much as I was hearing in my media room.

The shelf liner is a rubbery substance that comes in a roll, is perforated, and serves to keep items on shelves or in drawers from sliding all over the place.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 28
Registered: Nov-09
Nuck, there is no Scotch in my home; however, there is a bottle or two of Crown Cask No. 16 and maybe a little Crown XR left. The No. 16 is my favorite though.

There should be plenty of room to move the towers around. The wall will allow about 14-16 feet. So there should be plenty of room.

My engineering buddy works for beer and mentioned bringing a megger when I spoke with him. He is somewhat of an audiophile as well, but hasn't invested as much as I have (or am doing now).

I believe I will look into tower stands and some of the audio towers that I saw in the links mentioned above. They look like they should be sufficient for my needs. Not that I am against DIY, though. I saved tons of cash in the past doing so .

The Forests came with the ball bearing feet. Would those not be sufficient vs. putting another stand under those? The floor is indeed hollow below. There is another floor below and I doubt there is very much, if any, insulation between the floor boards and the ceiling.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 14014
Registered: Dec-04
As Mike says, and can be inferred, the ball feet would indicate the desire for your speakers to be mounted to a solid base.
The bearing mount is not really for carpet.
I suggest that you try some solid foundation before the big gear comes, this could be an eye opener.

Several layers of plywood are sufficient, and the anti-slip material in between layers is cheap to try.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 29
Registered: Nov-09
I'll begin making phone calls tomorrow and perhaps grab the MC2205s and start playing with pieces of plywood and some of the kitchen drawer liners I still have laying around from another project. I will have to experiment some as well.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 42
Registered: Nov-09
ok, I got a chance to play around the past few days. I found some really eye opening, or rather ear opening, information. I got my gear in on Tuesday and got to work playing around with speaker stands. I started out putting everything in my bedroom as planned and did a quick setup and listen. I removed the ball bearings and let the speaker sit flat on the floor. Also tried this with the ball bearings on it. I was dumbfounded at the differences!

Because of the significant differences, I took the gear down into the basement in a similar sized room that has a concrete foundation under the wood floor. Even greater differences! Doing this demonstrated the acoustic differences in foundations for me. How do I solidify my foundation in my room? I tried some of the suggestions from the forum.

I tried some plywood with a rubber mat in between and then tried it with the drawer liners. The towers sounded better than without the stands but couldn't get the results that were close enough for me, in comparison to the concrete foundation. I also ran out to the Depot to get some samples of different types of wood to try in experiments. I got some Birch, Oak, Maple, and Mahogany. I can't quite put my finger on it but the Maple really seem to make a difference to me...sounded the closest to the concrete.

I am looking buying some stands made from maple also because my Forests are in Maple. I also went to my local Mac Dealer and got the MPC1500 power controller. My buddy came out today and we ran a dedicated outlet to my room. the ground and power are pretty clean but not as clean as he would have liked. He found the roughness coming from the main line into the house. He did some thing (I have no idea what) but got a much cleaner signal. He also replaced the grounding strip in the breaker box. I ran out and got the MPC1500 while he doing all that. The signal after it is almost perfect (according to my buddy). The 1500 really cleaned up the leftover junk in the line...kudos to Mac!

I also think I found a CD player. I posted in another section but no one responded... I found a nice Luxman DU-7i for cheap. My question was is Luxman's newer lines as good as their older lines? I am very familiar with their older stuff...
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 14023
Registered: Dec-04
Clean power and a solid speaker foundation...MPC1500. Nick, you are doing a lot of things right!

Next up is looking at speaker placement and room treatments, after listening for a while.

I have no Luxman experience, so I still cannot comment there.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 43
Registered: Nov-09
Only thanks to you guys and the dealers I've been dealiing with. So far so good. Looks like we are in the home stretch now...almost there!
 

Gold Member
Username: Mike3

Wylie, Tx USA

Post Number: 2240
Registered: May-06
Nice work Nick.

I understand the differences in the concrete versus floating floor. You indicated that you wanted to get your sound as close to the concrete experiment and that the Maple gets closest to it.

What is it about the sound you got on the concrete that you are trying to emulate?

FWIW you should try Bamboo too.

As to the CDP, you do not appear to be getting a lot of help regarding Luxman. Might want to think about why that is...

Cheers.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 44
Registered: Nov-09
I am assuming no one has any or much experience with Luxman. They tend to run on the very high end of the price spectrum. But IDK, I may be wrong. This unit has dual, switchable internal DACs, but is a multi-player not just a CDP.

I understand the differences in vibration of particles and how floating vs concrete absorb sound (vibration). Unfortunately, I am not fluent with audio terms but I will give it a go... it seemed to me that I was loosing all vibration on the floating floor vs having too much on the concrete. I believe some resonance is good but there is a fine line. Building the stands sounded better on the concrete. That is what I am getting at and am trying to emulate on the floating floor. I had 4" of Maple stacked and it made my Forests sing...
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 14036
Registered: Dec-04
cool!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 45
Registered: Nov-09
I just realized something... I have the following in my home at the moment:

Mac MA6900
Mac MC 202
Mac MC 207
Mac MPC 1500
Mac MC 2205 (two of them)

I think I just realized I am a Mac Guy!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 14054
Registered: Dec-04
Photos, Nick.
We need pics!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 59
Registered: Nov-09
Out of town for a while on a project for work...will post pics when I get back!

On another note, I believe I will just use my Arcam FMJ CD player for the time being. Unfortunately, I won't be home for a while to enjoy it!
 

Silver Member
Username: Jazzman71

Phoenix, AZ USA

Post Number: 984
Registered: Dec-07
"I got some Birch, Oak, Maple, and Mahogany. I can't quite put my finger on it but the Maple really seem to make a difference to me...sounded the closest to the concrete."

Many with much more experimenting history than I will ever do swear by maple over any other material. Even better with heavy brass footers.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 64
Registered: Nov-09
I have been surfing the net about that and seeing a lot of people saying similar things about the maple. Perhaps there is something there... and perhaps Bamboo too!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 14096
Registered: Dec-04
DIY a set of bookshelves with the losers!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 68
Registered: Nov-09
Yeah, I can set the DIY up in the kid's rooms
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 14164
Registered: Dec-04
Did you volume yourself to death, NB?
 

Silver Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 109
Registered: Nov-09
Unfortunately, no. I haven't been able to enjoy my new setup since I "had" to run out of town on a last minute project for work. I will be able to go home for the 24 and 25, but have to return on the 26th. With all the fam and all coming in, I may not even have time to have a good listen. The project should be done some time in January...the sooner the better. It is killing me that I can't sit down with a bottle of crown and get absorbed into the stereo... Plus I should be getting my Steven Blinn designs (thanks to you guys) rack in around the middle of January too. I ended up getting one of the double-wides with six shelves, 2" maple shelving, no wood trim on the frame... can't wait for that either. My wife says my 4" maple speaker stands came in the mail yesterday too (from Mapleshade Records, thanks to you all again!).

Can't wait to get home and put it all together for the last time...for a while anyways
 

Silver Member
Username: Nick_belsky

North Canton, Ohio USA

Post Number: 124
Registered: Nov-09
Shiste!

I knew this was going to happen!

http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?intatran&1266269428&/Mcintosh-MA-6900-

BTW, I blew my budget by almost $4k...
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 14231
Registered: Dec-04
Thats a good deal right there!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 14415
Registered: Dec-04
Are you ded NB?
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