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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013

    Ever been super bummed equipment didn't live up to your expectations? (McIntosh)

    So ever since I was about 13/14 I can remember going into my first high end audio store and seeing McIntosh gear. I thought it looked cool then, and still do now. The blue meters sucked me in.

    Back then, I had little idea of what sounded good. But I've always wanted to try a McIntosh amp. Obviously here 30 years later I know just a bit more about audio.

    So while I've owned a few amps the past few years, I had a chance to pick up a good used deal on a McIntosh MC352, quad balanced etc.

    Brought it home, had an issue with a meter, but the dealer said he would take care of that. Told me to listen and make sure I wanted it.

    Well... I WANTED to love it. Instead, I felt my Harman Kardon Signature 1.5 that's about 18 years old (freshly tuned up though, and that made a difference) outperformed the McIntosh.

    I felt that through the midrange they were similar, but that the H/K had better bass control (it does put out a crap-ton of current) and frankly was a more exciting amp. It also controlled the speaker a lot better when pushed (and it's rated at 200wpc vs 350 for the McIntosh).

    It wasn't that the McIntosh was a bad amp. It was "fine" looked great but for what it costs and everything I've read, it was just a big letdown.

    Fortunately the dealer was good about it and I was simply honest, said I trusted they would take care of the meter but it just didn't impress me enough to keep it.

    So Kudo's to the dealer and no issues with McIntosh per say, I'm sure it would run forever. But man, it was a pretty darn big letdown.

  2. #2
    Administrator Tracy Rainwater's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    I too have always loved the look of McIntosh gear, but never have shelled out the cash for it. However, there are those who use their amps and preamps, and wouldn't own anything else.

    Sounds like you were working with an awesome dealer, though. It's great that he let you take it home and see how you liked.

  3. #3
    Owner-Publisher Jerry Del Colliano's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    West Los Angeles, California

    I have a TON of respect for McIntosh including their legacy, their current branding and product distribution.

    My story with them came out of NOWHERE when my money manager in CT found a 1964 McIntosh tube amp and a solid state preamp in the basement of his buddy's house. I traded him a new Marantz 7.1 receiver for it and then sent the unit to Audio Classics who are well known to the the place to restore old McIntosh gear. Steve and his team did a bang up job on the amp. I traded them the preamp for parts needed for the amp.

    Ultimately, I got the amp and Andrew Robinson and I played with it. While it was cool and VERY retro - it just couldn't compete with today's best amps - especially from McIntosh themselves.

    I put the amp up on and found a collector in Asia who was happy to buy it. I broke even on the deal. We got an article out of it and all is good in the world.

    Read this from

    Here are some photos Andrew took.


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