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Thread: McIntosh preamp?

  1. #1
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    McIntosh preamp?

    I am considering buying a McIntosh C2200 preamp. Does any one know any thing about the sound?

    Thanks!
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
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  2. #2
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    I am considering buying a McIntosh C2200 preamp. Does any one know any thing about the sound?

    Thanks!
    I've read that preamp was very good.....very quiet with a very neutral sound. Might be what you need. I am one that happends to like McIntosh...some say they are too warm....I find them very musical,
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


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    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Here is a great review on the C2200. The reviewer does not call the preamp warm but he says it is neutral. I like the fact that it has tone controls which can be taken out of the loop. It may not be the last word in resolution but it may be what I am looking for. I had a bid on a CJ ET-3se but the guy would never respond to me on audiogon.


    http://akdatabase.org/AKview/albums/...0%20Review.PDF


    I was a bit concerned about the output impedance being 500 ohms but I called Pass Labs and they said the X250 would be fine with an impedance up to 1K.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  4. #4
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    The C2200 is great. Easy setup, very quiet and I like the flexibility of being able to play around with different tubes. The tone controls w/defeat are extremely handy and could not do without them. Having 2 outputs is super for adding a subwoofer although it would be such a bonus to have a crossover for the main output and limit low frequencies to the main speakers but I realize that's rare for a stereo preamp. It does have the older style remote control which is fine but the following generation feels much better in the hand. Also I don't know why in the hell they went with the tiny 1/8" headphone jack instead of 1/4", this choice really chafes my ass to no end! Just mentioning it gets me irritated. Overall a great unit and I bet they can be had for a pretty reasonable price these days.

  5. #5
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Raven..why dont you go and get this? You will be in heaven I can assure you!

    Vincent - SA-T8 Symmetrical hybrid stereo preamplifier - Vincent-tac


    Vincent - SA-T8 - Tube Hybrid Stereo Preamp-Audio Advisor


    TAS 188: Vincent Audio SA-T8 Preamplifier & SP-T800 Monoblock Amplifier | The Absolute Sound


    And the story gets even better with the SA-T8 line preamp. It made a very positive first impression with its precise and speedy transient reproduction, pure midrange textures, and rhythmic drive. I did initially note a bit of grain and assertive brightness through the upper registers, but as the preamp settled in after several hours of break-in the rough edges essentially disappeared. The lower treble, however, remained a bit coarser texturally relative to the midrange. Despite the fact that this is an all-tube preamp, its presentation was both direct and broadband in nature. No deficiencies were noted as far as treble roll-off or bass extension. And most remarkable of all, it evinced a velvety black background, which allowed the music’s harmonic tapestry to unfold with crystalline purity.
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


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  6. #6
    Charm Thai™
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchmon View Post
    Raven..why dont you go and get this? You will be in heaven I can assure you!
    $2,500.00 for a featureless bare bones chinese preamp....eh, not so sure. Now used for let's say 1k then worth a shot.

  7. #7
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Oh, you dont have to be sure....I am! And your not Raven.

    Dont you have Castle Speakers?
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


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    Charm Thai™
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchmon View Post
    Oh, you dont have to be sure....I am! And your not Raven.

    Dont you have Castle Speakers?
    I do have Castle speakers (not sure how that relates to a preamp) and what's your problem with others posting in this thread? If you asked for opinions on a piece of gear you were considering buying wouldn't you want to hear as many comments as possible both good and bad?

    Minimalistic preamps have their place for sure but my point was the Vincent seems like a complete rip job at that price regardless how it may sound.

  9. #9
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheHills44060 View Post
    I do have Castle speakers (not sure how that relates to a preamp)
    Made in China....just like those Swan speakers you had/have.

    and what's your problem with others posting in this thread? If you asked for opinions on a piece of gear you were considering buying wouldn't you want to hear as many comments as possible both good and bad?
    Dont have any problems with peps posting in thread...but you where rude, when you didnt have to be.

    Minimalistic preamps have their place for sure but my point was the Vincent seems like a complete rip job at that price regardless how it may sound.
    Naw...not a rip at all...I own amp/preamp...the pair $4300.00 retail, and its very much under priced.
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


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  10. #10
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Frenchmon,

    I have considered the Vincent and it appears to be a great preamp from the reviews. I have always admired their gear and if I was starting from scratch I would probably go with them as they are a company that is a lot of bang for the buck with tube gear. But I think that I will get the most bang for the buck going used. I really wanted the CJ ET-3se (which is only slightly warm and not syrupy) but the guy on Agon was a dealer and would not respond to me. I think he sold it privately.

    As far as the Mac goes, I just happened upon a C2200 that has only 150 hrs on it. The Vincent may be comparable in sound for all I know. I have heard mixed reviews on the tonal quality of the 2200. The reviews say it is neutral and some people say it is warm.
    The same can be said for BAT VK-51se that I am looking at. Warmer is what I want but not overly warm. The Vincent would probably give me what I want but I want a preamp that sold for $4K and above. There is definitely diminishing returns on the sound as you get above $3K but it is noticeable.

    One thing that I like about the C2200 is tone controls. It would certainly help with some of my Cd's that are overly bright or sibilant.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  11. #11
    Charm Thai™
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchmon View Post
    Made in China....just like those Swan speakers you had/have.
    Please get your facts straight. Castle speakers are now made in China (since 2010-ish so don't quote me) but they were manufactured in England for years and years. I bought mine in 2001 and wouldn't touch any of the new chinese Castle variants. There is no comparison between the two.

    The Swans are indeed chinese but they also happen to be super inexpensive and a value to my ears. I wouldn't recommend them for full time duty but for my application in a second system with sub they are just what the doctor ordered. I didn't want to make much of an investment.

    Dont have any problems with peps posting in thread...but you where rude, when you didnt have to be.
    How was I rude? I said my opinion was that it was overpriced for what you get and a much lower used price would be more inline.

    Now it's blatantly obvious you took offense to the me stating the Vincent was chinese made and you happen to own one. Not sure why that would bother you but don't worry you don't need to explain.

    Naw...not a rip at all...I own amp/preamp...the pair $4300.00 retail, and its very much under priced.
    That's fine and dandy. The more options for Raven the merrier and I have always enjoyed reading your posts but in the meantime don't take things so personally when someone puts in their 2 cents also. It's all good here, sheesh.

    Oh and raven i did experiment with the swapping tubes and the changes are evident when compared to the stock tubes. Sometimes better and sometimes just different. I didn't have any particular issues with the Mac tubes but I wanted to tinker. I think you have more experience than me in that area so I'm sure you already have your favs.

  12. #12
    Charm Thai™
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    One thing that I like about the C2200 is tone controls. It would certainly help with some of my Cd's that are overly bright or sibilant.
    Agreed 100%. The tone controls are absolutely invaluable in my experience. Heck even the balance knob is useful.

  13. #13
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheHills44060 View Post

    Oh and raven i did experiment with the swapping tubes and the changes are evident when compared to the stock tubes. Sometimes better and sometimes just different. I didn't have any particular issues with the Mac tubes but I wanted to tinker. I think you have more experience than me in that area so I'm sure you already have your favs.

    What Mac did you have and what tubes did you like? I am only familiar with all the 6CG7's, 6N1P's, 6DJ8's and 396A's. The Mac's use different tubes.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
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    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  14. #14
    Charm Thai™
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    What Mac did you have and what tubes did you like? I am only familiar with all the 6CG7's, 6N1P's, 6DJ8's and 396A's. The Mac's use different tubes.
    I currently own the C220 preamp but I had both the C2200 and C2300 in my own system for a while so I got to dabble quite a bit. First I tried Electo-Harmonix because they were a friend's leftovers. Oddly I didn't hear much of a difference at all which made me paranoid because I thought I must be missing something. It was my first tube swap so naturally i was bummed out.

    Next I tried some Ruby's that came from from a guitar amp and my first impression was that they hissed a lot more than I liked. Good crunch but I couldn't get over the background noise. Not sure if that was due to the fact that they were burned hot in the amp but nevertheless I was turned off.

    I borrowed some Svetlana's which I really liked but in the end I ended up with Gold Lions. I love a warm sound but these tubes gave me the best of both worlds and kept me from diving into the overly warm pool which I tend to do sometimes.

    EDIT: I never did get a chance to try Tung-Sol's which I have heard some favor in the Mac preamps.

  15. #15
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Was the C2200 detailed? Did it have good air, sound stage and transparency? Was it warm or more neutral? How as the midrange?

    Thanks!
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  16. #16
    Charm Thai™
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    Was the C2200 detailed? Did it have good air, sound stage and transparency? Was it warm or more neutral? How as the midrange?
    Let me address air and sound stage first. The best I can describe is that I wasn't hearing a big wall of sound crashing on top of me but instead I felt like was surrounded by music in different locations on different planes yet everything melded together without being mushed together into a conglomeration. The air was there because if I chose to I could easily focus on a particular instrument and analyze it then break my concentration and enjoy the piece as a whole. Not sure if that makes any sense but it's the only way I can explain it without resorting to all useless reviewer adjectives and terminology.

    Now as far as warmth vs detail that's a more slippery slope. My preference is for warmth over detail and i think I'd rate every piece of gear in my system from source to speakers to be on the warm side. What I can say is when I inserted the C2200 into the mix I didn't I feel like I turned my listening room into a quiet ski cabin with thick area rugs, giant tapestries and furry elk heads on the wall which rob high frequencies. You mentioned tone controls for taming sibilance, well the same cd's where I needed to turn down the treble with other preamps I still needed to do so with the C2200. Based on this I think it's has some pretty darn neutral qualities but since nothing is absolutely neutral I'd say a tick on the warm side.

    I have used various Rotel, Adcom, Onkyo Integra, Creek, Bryston preamps in my system in the same room and the C2200 was my favorite.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheHills44060 View Post
    The C2200 is great. Easy setup, very quiet and I like the flexibility of being able to play around with different tubes. The tone controls w/defeat are extremely handy and could not do without them. Having 2 outputs is super for adding a subwoofer although it would be such a bonus to have a crossover for the main output and limit low frequencies to the main speakers but I realize that's rare for a stereo preamp. It does have the older style remote control which is fine but the following generation feels much better in the hand. Also I don't know why in the hell they went with the tiny 1/8" headphone jack instead of 1/4", this choice really chafes my ass to no end! Just mentioning it gets me irritated. Overall a great unit and I bet they can be had for a pretty reasonable price these days.
    I was just reading reviews on the latest big Rotel units and the same complaint from owners there about the 1/8 Headphone jack. It would seem that MFGs think that everybody uses cheesy ear buds or they save $0.50 on each unit by using the 1/8 in place of the 1/4 jack. Either way, that sucks.

  18. #18
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Thanks Hills! I am at the point that sacrificing a smidge of detail for the overall sound is worth it. I really like my X1 preamp but it is definitely missing some emotion to the music. The Mac is probably not as detailed or transparent but it sounds like it will fit the bill. It has XLR, tone controls, tubes and great reviews and heritage. It was an Stereophile class A component for what ever that is worth. And its lovely worthless blue meters.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi View Post
    I was just reading reviews on the latest big Rotel units and the same complaint from owners there about the 1/8 Headphone jack. It would seem that MFGs think that everybody uses cheesy ear buds or they save $0.50 on each unit by using the 1/8 in place of the 1/4 jack. Either way, that sucks.
    Wow what a sad trend. Even if for some ungodly reason I wanted to use 1/8 plug walkman headphones with a nice stereo preamp I'd still rather use a 1/8 to 1/4 adapter just for the snug connection and piece of mind. I'm always worried about that little plug snapping off.

    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    Thanks Hills! I am at the point that sacrificing a smidge of detail for the overall sound is worth it. I really like my X1 preamp but it is definitely missing some emotion to the music. The Mac is probably not as detailed or transparent but it sounds like it will fit the bill. It has XLR, tone controls, tubes and great reviews and heritage. It was an Stereophile class A component for what ever that is worth. And its lovely worthless blue meters.
    No problemo. I wish I had heard the X1 before so i could give you a precise A to B comparison but I've never known anyone with a Pass preamp however I think your gut feeling is on track. I agree that from the reputations of both companies one would think you may lose some of that initial Pass excitement and pop but gain some long term emotion and enjoyment with the C2200.

    As embarrassing as it sounds the glow of the Mac really does have a soothing effect. It would be strange for me not to see the blue and green hue cast onto the floor and walls in my listening room anymore.

  20. #20
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    Frenchmon,

    I have considered the Vincent and it appears to be a great preamp from the reviews. I have always admired their gear and if I was starting from scratch I would probably go with them as they are a company that is a lot of bang for the buck with tube gear. But I think that I will get the most bang for the buck going used. I really wanted the CJ ET-3se (which is only slightly warm and not syrupy) but the guy on Agon was a dealer and would not respond to me. I think he sold it privately.

    As far as the Mac goes, I just happened upon a C2200 that has only 150 hrs on it. The Vincent may be comparable in sound for all I know. I have heard mixed reviews on the tonal quality of the 2200. The reviews say it is neutral and some people say it is warm.
    The same can be said for BAT VK-51se that I am looking at. Warmer is what I want but not overly warm. The Vincent would probably give me what I want but I want a preamp that sold for $4K and above. There is definitely diminishing returns on the sound as you get above $3K but it is noticeable.

    One thing that I like about the C2200 is tone controls. It would certainly help with some of my Cd's that are overly bright or sibilant.
    Raven...I understand. Every mac I've heard was not overly warm. But as you know, one mans warm, is not the same as that other mans warm, so you may have to take a chance, have a listen to one, or go with some ones ears you trust. Right now the only person we know who has heard it is TheHill$4406. So you may have to go off his ears.
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


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  21. #21
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheHills44060 View Post
    Please get your facts straight. Castle speakers are now made in China (since 2010-ish so don't quote me) but they were manufactured in England for years and years. I bought mine in 2001 and wouldn't touch any of the new chinese Castle variants. There is no comparison between the two.
    Ok...good for you.

    The Swans are indeed chinese but they also happen to be super inexpensive and a value to my ears. I wouldn't recommend them for full time duty but for my application in a second system with sub they are just what the doctor ordered. I didn't want to make much of an investment.
    Also...good for you.


    How was I rude? I said my opinion was that it was overpriced for what you get and a much lower used price would be more inline.
    Ok...thats your opinion...I don't share that.

    Now it's blatantly obvious you took offense to the me stating the Vincent was chinese made and you happen to own one. Not sure why that would bother you but don't worry you don't need to explain.
    Its not a secret its Chinese made...infact at the ShengYa factory. German owned and designed in Germany and built at ShengYa factory for cost. I would hope you understand some great products come out of China...its a global market you know.


    That's fine and dandy. The more options for Raven the merrier and I have always enjoyed reading your posts but in the meantime don't take things so personally when someone puts in their 2 cents also. It's all good here, sheesh.
    Perhaps I took offense of you saying its over priced when infact I know they are under priced. Not that I want them to raise prices, but thats the reason they went to China....cost. Perhaps I read a negative tone when I should not have.



    Oh and raven i did experiment with the swapping tubes and the changes are evident when compared to the stock tubes. Sometimes better and sometimes just different. I didn't have any particular issues with the Mac tubes but I wanted to tinker. I think you have more experience than me in that area so I'm sure you already have your favs.
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    W10 i5 Quad core processor 8GB RAM/Jriver 20/ Fidelizer Optimizer/ iFI Micro DSD DAC-iUSB 3.0/Vincent SA - T1/Vincent SP-331 MK /MMF-7.1/2M BLACK/MS Phenomena ll+/Canton Vento 830.2

  22. #22
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheHills44060 View Post
    Agreed 100%. The tone controls are absolutely invaluable in my experience. Heck even the balance knob is useful.
    I have tone controls on my SA-T1 and never have to use them. I find the Telefunken, Valvo, and Kobe TEN tubes give all my music a neutral sound that is never to bright and I never hear any sibilant. Now with Gold Lion tubes its a different story.
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


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  23. #23
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheHills44060 View Post
    I currently own the C220 preamp but I had both the C2200 and C2300 in my own system for a while so I got to dabble quite a bit. First I tried Electo-Harmonix because they were a friend's leftovers. Oddly I didn't hear much of a difference at all which made me paranoid because I thought I must be missing something. It was my first tube swap so naturally i was bummed out.

    Next I tried some Ruby's that came from from a guitar amp and my first impression was that they hissed a lot more than I liked. Good crunch but I couldn't get over the background noise. Not sure if that was due to the fact that they were burned hot in the amp but nevertheless I was turned off.

    I borrowed some Svetlana's which I really liked but in the end I ended up with Gold Lions. I love a warm sound but these tubes gave me the best of both worlds and kept me from diving into the overly warm pool which I tend to do sometimes.

    EDIT: I never did get a chance to try Tung-Sol's which I have heard some favor in the Mac preamps.
    In my system the Gold Lion where leaning towards more of a lively presentation pared with NOS Telefunken than I cared for in my preamp. And Mullards/Telefunken where great until I put the NOS Valvo tubes in the amp. Those Valvos are great! I am now waiting a set of Tungsram NOS.

    Raven...what tubes are in the McIntosh?
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


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    W10 i5 Quad core processor 8GB RAM/Jriver 20/ Fidelizer Optimizer/ iFI Micro DSD DAC-iUSB 3.0/Vincent SA - T1/Vincent SP-331 MK /MMF-7.1/2M BLACK/MS Phenomena ll+/Canton Vento 830.2

  24. #24
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    Thanks Hills! I am at the point that sacrificing a smidge of detail for the overall sound is worth it. I really like my X1 preamp but it is definitely missing some emotion to the music. The Mac is probably not as detailed or transparent but it sounds like it will fit the bill. It has XLR, tone controls, tubes and great reviews and heritage. It was an Stereophile class A component for what ever that is worth. And its lovely worthless blue meters.
    Raven..are you still missing some mid range texture with the X1?
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    W10 i5 Quad core processor 8GB RAM/Jriver 20/ Fidelizer Optimizer/ iFI Micro DSD DAC-iUSB 3.0/Vincent SA - T1/Vincent SP-331 MK /MMF-7.1/2M BLACK/MS Phenomena ll+/Canton Vento 830.2

  25. #25
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    St. Charles Mo
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    3,271
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    W10 i5 Quad core processor 8GB RAM/Jriver 20/ Fidelizer Optimizer/ iFI Micro DSD DAC-iUSB 3.0/Vincent SA - T1/Vincent SP-331 MK /MMF-7.1/2M BLACK/MS Phenomena ll+/Canton Vento 830.2

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