Like

McIntosh MA-6100

 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New york Usa

Post Number: 331
Registered: Dec-03
Hi All,

I just found one in mint condition, at a really fair price. I could't pass on it. I know all the specs, rep and so forth, but has anyone out there lived with one? HOW DOES IT SOUND??? Jan, are you out there?
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Rick - How does it sound? Very good question.

First let me take you back to an entry from several months ago that referred to a Mac 6100:

https://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/home-audio/14790.html

Read my comments from April 06 and 10.

The 6100 was a mid 70's piece of equipment. It was the first all solid state integrated that Mac produced. So you can say it was a first for Mac and may not be the best that McIntosh has ever offered. And you would be correct, the 6200 came along after jsut a few years to update the design and was technically a better design. But I'd rather have less than great Mac than an awful lot of what has been passed as great hi fi from most other companies. Mac has always had a very clear idea of what music sounds like and no Mac product has ever strayed from that idea. One of the things that I think sets them apart from the rest is you can hear any Mac product and recognize it as McIntosh. Is that good or bad. It's good in that Mac never went for flash. That left them with many reviewers saying Mac was just carriage trade merchandise, purchased not because of quality of sound but because it was expensive. There were customers I sold to that bought Mac because they finally could. But I don't think I ever sold a piece of McIntosh to anyone who hadn't wanted Mac since the first time they heard one or saw it in a store display.
Mac just has never been flashy in the sense of, "Wow, that is a great hi fi". Mac has always been great in letting you hear the music. While other amps, particularly solid state equipment was trying to impress you with this or that quality, Mac just went about their busines as usual. It is interesting that now Mac is finally showing up in the magazines again after being absent for decades. The quality that made Mac famous in the first place is now being recognized as a relaxed, here's the music you requested type of sound. The current "Stereophile" has a review of a new Mac s.s. amp and two comments struck me as the quintisential Mac review. The first comment about the review period stated the amplifier showed all the high end prima donna diva qualities of a man hole cover. No muss, no fuss, just put on the music and sit back. The other comment was how Mac holds its value over the years and that is due in no small part to Mac's commitment to service no matter how old the equipment is. The comment I would add to that is a reason Mac holds its value so well is Mac is Mac. That sense of Mac has always sounded the same, or more likely, not sounded the same as anyone but Mac and that is the sound of music.
OK, that is glowing, but, now you need to realize that the 6100 is now 30 years old. No matter what else, it is the equivalent of a very good car you could have bought 30 years ago. Carbuerators not fuel injection, leaf springs not a wishbone suspension and fold out vent windows not dual zone climate control. In the past 30 years the materials used to build good amplifiers has changed drastically. Today any good amp will use poly type caps not paper in oil like they did in the 70's. There are no metal film resistors in the 6100 and no toriodal transformers. (But those autoformers are the best.) But the parts were selected with as tight a tolerance as possible in the day. The switches are mechanical not electronic, that means that contacts and inputs and outputs will be subject to oxidation. But the Mac was built to be used as a laboratory instrument. So parts were chosen for their durability and quality. You would be hard pressed to find any contemporary of the 6100 that even approached the construction standard of the Mac. Not even close! But it's a Hurst four speed shifter compared to a manual shift gated automatic with paddles on the steering wheel connected to a six speed transmission with computer locked shift points. It's a H60X15 on 7" rims compared to a 255R19 on 11" rims.
All that is to say it sounds really quite good if the Mac sound is your type of sound. If you think you are finding the one amplifier that will eat up every piece of equipment that has been built in the past 30 years you will probably be disappointed. (If you found a mint MR2300 that might be a different story. 300 watts per side, 123 lbs., the Grateful Dead used to have 30 of them as their touring sound system.) The 6100 by comaprison to the 2300 obviously was a less expensive amplifier. Not a less expensive design, Mac didn't do less expensive designs. But there was a clear reason you would buy a 2300 instead of a 6100 other than money. The Mac sound was very consistent from model to model but you got what you paid for.
What the 6100 will do is give you a (probably) different perspective on sound than you have had before. Not flashy, not the last word in detail, at first you will think slightly rolled in the highs until you realize most other amps are wrong and you will take a while to understand the bass of a Mac. But if you catch on to what Mac does right you will find many other manufacturers have it all wrong. If you listen to Tupac you may not enjoy the amp. It doesn't crash and burn well. If you listen to Bob Marley you will finally get what reggae is all about. You will be looking for the ganje, man. Paul Desmond's clarinet will never have sounded better.
Can you find better? Sure. Mac makes better. Will you enjoy the 6100? I would make a bet you will. Will it cost you anything to try? Probably not, if the amp is in good shape you can probably use it for three years and still sell it for what you paid today.
And is it in style? Oh, yeah, retro cool. I still think the Mac faceplate at night is THE best looking hi fi ever made. Buy it, get the walnut cabinet and listen to free hi fi for awhile.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Looking back at my comments from April I think I probably would lead you to think the 6100 has Mac's Power Guard circuitry. The 6200 was the first integrated to use that circuit, if I remember correctly. But you still get the autoformers.
If you want another opinion give the folks at Audio Classics a call. They are old Mac employees for the most part and can tell you more than I will ever remember about the 6100.
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New york Usa

Post Number: 332
Registered: Dec-03
Thank you Jan. I was drawn to this amp, like being drawn to the mother ship. I think you are one of the few, who can really understand that statement. Old dogs don't need to try to be cool with the retro thing. We have been there, done that. I am a true believer, and am only interested in the music. Let me live with it for a bit, and I'll give you my impressions. Cheers!
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New york Usa

Post Number: 333
Registered: Dec-03
Jan,

I must have had a senior moment. I went back to the 4/6-4/10 posts. I think they were some of our first exchanges. My apologies for not remembering.

One last thing. I am still undecided on my speaker choice. I was all set to pull the trigger on a pair of QUAD 12l's. I had trouble with the SPENDOR 3/5 power handling of only 70 watts, but it looks like that is a moot point now. The mids of the 3/5's are very seductive! Can you help me out here? Which ones with the MAC?

Thanks again in advance.
 

New member
Username: Cornelius

Post Number: 10
Registered: Jun-04
Rick, I wish I could give you advice on speakers! I have a 6200 and I'm really happy. Congrats on getting a great piece that will never go out of style both visually and as a functioning piece of equipment. I've owned enough skinny little amps that quickly lose their style and are only replaced with an improved version leaving me with dated performance!

Yeah the 6200 has Power Gaurd, but I bet yours has the same basic sound. What I notice most was how refined the sound is. I think it's the "black background" that I've heard reviewers mention in various articles. That dead silent background just lifts the music and gives it a true 3-D quality. It's the first amp that I've owned that reminds me of my Dad's old tube integrated that I grew up with. Real smooooth.

Oh yeah, the phono section was designed when LPs reigned supreme - it sounds excellent.

Feel free to post a review!
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New york Usa

Post Number: 334
Registered: Dec-03
Thank you Cornelius. After fooling around with this stuff for 34 years, it feels good to get back to the roots, so to speak. I'm going to use the 6100 as part of a second, music only 2 channel system. I'm really looking forward to it. I'll be glad to post a later review.

P.S. Welcome to the forum. Cheers!
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Rick - Not having heard the Spendors I would still give them the first choice from everything I have read. The Quad's seem to be very good at many things while the Spendor seems to be very good at not drawing attention to how good it can be. That was the quality that made the old BC-1 Spendors such a wonderful speaker and a speaker that many of us remember hearing and wanting to own. There appear to be some dynamic restrictions with the Spendor but other than the occassional piece of music that might not be a good choice for realistic playback levels with the Spendors they seem to just get the music right. It should be a terrific combination with the Mac if you're not looking for hi fi sound.
The difference in sound betweent the 6100 and the 6200 is all but insignificant. The 6200 was a technically better design. Mostly just the passage of time made it technically better, components got better and production techniques improved. To look at the two open chasis side by side you would see a cleaner amp in the 6200. The sound of the two, as I remeber was only different in that the Power Guard circuitry meant you could drive the 6200 slightly harder as the P.G. would not let the amp clip. But I would be happy to live with either.
You've probably seen this site but this is a good review of the Spendor.

http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/0601/spendor35.htm
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New york Usa

Post Number: 335
Registered: Dec-03
Thank you Jan! There will always be seat and a beverage of your choice at my house. You are welcome to come over for a listen any time. Heck, give me an address, and I'll drop ship the Mac to you for a listen. Cheers!

A Mac and a pair of Spendors it is. Maybe sometimes you do get smart in your old age......with a little help from friends! LOL!!
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Well I didn't do much you're the one who still has to pay for them.
Let me know what the system sounds like when you get it all put together.
By the way, I prefer 18 year old Chivas. I have found music always sounds better when accompanied by a few glasses.
« Previous Thread | Next Thread »

Facebook

Shop Related Deals

Directory

Main Forums

Today's Posts

Forum Help

Follow Us