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Old 01-13-2022, 06:45 AM
Matteo Matteo is offline
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Default MC1502 vs 2x275VI vs MC2301

Hi guys,

I am relatively new to AA, I have never actually posted anything but cannot hide that I have been reading systematically the Mc section of the forum for interesting insights... amazing body of knowledge here!

I decided to open this new 3d to ask you guys for advice...

We are living a strange period and the pandemic makes everything more difficult, particularly driving around to visit audio shops and listen to new gears. On top of this, and I go back straight to the title, the MC1502 is relatively new and at least here in Europe not so many dealers have it on demo. Deliveries are also limited in this period.

I am about to pull the trigger for a new amp, or two . I had, since few months ago, a system formed by 2 x 275 VI, a C2500 pre-amp. My speakers are the shiny Guarneri EVO walnuts which are basically the only components left beside the digital source - a NADAC+PLAYER+POWER - and an MPC1500. The speakers are keepers for me, I love them. The room is not that big, around 400 square feet although the system is installed on a side of it with good overall results. I got a good offer and decided to sell the amps and pre-amp to refresh my system , although I was very happy with my re-tubed 275s. their mid-range was amazing!

The MC1502 is intriguing and would probably be more than enough to drive my speakers. I could re-voice it with excellent tubes (TFK 801S, EAT KT88 Diamond...) which I have already (used on my monos). Probably (much) better than the 275 monos. Any though about this?

What keeps me awake at night is that the price tag of an MC1502 would compete with a recent (2-3y old) couple of 2301s. Of course they are different animals, but also more challenging to be positioned in the room, moved around and with a much larger footprint. Cannot imagine shipping them for repairs. I would not want to go for new gears in this case, I think the new model will be launched soon, but I cannot on the other hand wait indefinitely and use just my headphones...

The 275 were fine and I did not feel the need at the time to have more power, but even when I had only one 275 it was fine, before discovering how much better it was with the second one in the rig

No doubts that the 2301 are in a different league, but my doubts are, does it make sense with my speakers/room to go for the 2301s, I mean, would that quality and power reserve difference become evident within the first let's say 25W thus offsetting the hassle of placing those big boxes in the living?


Thank you!!

Matteo

Last edited by Matteo; 01-13-2022 at 07:03 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-13-2022, 02:14 PM
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FreddieFerric FreddieFerric is offline
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Hi Matteo. You have a lot of great questions and I really have no answers for you other than to say that I have an MC1502 on order right now. I chose it over the MC462 partly because I wanted to get back into tubes, but also based upon the stellar reviews the 1502 has gotten.

I believe there are a couple of members here who are running 275's in bridged mode. If memory serves, the belief is that the older MC75's sound better. I believe we have a member here who has bridged 275's but would like to get into the 1502 under the right circumstances.

The MC2301's are a whole different animal and they are amazing. We just had a member here who sold his 2301's recently due to downsizing. Perhaps he can chime in on his experiences with them. I believe he was also running Sonus Faber speakers as well, so his views would be most valuable to you.

I will post a full review of my MC1502 once it arrives, but that is not expected to happen until some time in March.
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Old 01-13-2022, 04:24 PM
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Welcome Matteo. I’ve never heard the 1502 but did this review of the MC 2301 and MC 275V here:

https://www.audioaficionado.org/show...+Tube+Magic%94

You might find it helpful.

Tom
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Old 01-13-2022, 05:03 PM
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Matteo, welcome to AudioAficionado!
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Old 01-13-2022, 06:36 PM
Matteo Matteo is offline
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Freddie, Tom and Bart thank you !

A lot of food for thoughts!

As quickly mentioned above, I had a 275 VI in my system. Reading the review posted by Tom (thanks again for the link, great piece!), I recall now having read it some years ago, but probably under a different light and without the experience I had with my 275s. It's much more insightful now than then.

Few years after the first amp I added a second, pre-owned; its tubes were basically gone so I took the opportunity to start rolling the tubes on both. I recognize myself in every single word of the 275's part of the review. I really enjoyed the mid-range and the amp's warmth, the liquid vocals, but only if I think back to what I got with my final setup, with TFK 801S, Teslas ECC83 and E.A.T KT88 Diamond. Less with stock tubes, definitely more muddy. Also changing cables (Nordost H2 for both signal and speakers) brought the system in the direction I wanted, with more air, clarity and detail.

I would say in the direction the 2301 are described in the review. But reading it now, again, that section seems to say that even though the amp is better under many aspects, it's giving up some of the magic the 275 is producing with its smoothness. Maybe I am oversimplifying here. Tubes are not straightforward and maintenance / failure free like SS, so if opting for 2301s means being much much closer to SS amps than to a tubes one, considering all the "issues", it might not be the way to go for me. On top they are really huge!

It makes me think that probably the re-tubed 275 monos were overall a good compromise. At a certain point I also though about keeping one 275 and add a SS amp (e.g. an MC462) to alternate, it might have been not a bad idea then. But now they are gone and starting from scratch is an opportunity I would take to try something different. In the worst case they could come back... maybe the VII iteration? The priority is in any case to try to " solve" the problem with one or two amps only.

Well, the 1502 kicks in now with its 200+ (measured) tube watts, I assume with a pure tube design, no hybrid. I have seen as well "stellar" reviews, a couple to be sincere of which one on youtube from AE. I am wondering how a re-tubed 1502 with TFKs, Teslas and E.A.Ts could sound... . I really like its retro look, barbecue grill aside. It kicks in for two aspects: the first is the warmth which might well be in between the two amps (with overall improved performance including signal-to-noise compared to the 275s), the second being the power... while I fear 2301s could be an overkill for my speakers, and the 275 monos just right for the Guarneris Evo, the charm of the mono-blocks driven directly by the variable output of my DAC/player is tempting, otherwise I would not be here with my doubts...

Indeed, hearing the reasoning and impressions from someone who downsized from 2301 to something else would allow to add another piece to the puzzle!

Last edited by Matteo; 01-13-2022 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 01-13-2022, 07:00 PM
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If I'm not mistaken, Jon (JWJW) has some experience with the 1502. If memory serves, I think he found it quite sublime.
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Old 01-13-2022, 08:41 PM
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I believe that I am the member that just recently sold my MC2301's due to retirement, moving to a smaller home and downsizing - actually eliminating my primary 2 channel system. Just to give you some background in my amp preferences, I started with one MC352, then went to two MC352's which to me was better for my B&W speakers which were biampable. Then to MC601's which I had for a few pair of speakers. I tried two MC275 v6 which sounded better with two than one - putting in better tubes did improve the performance but not enough for me so I sold the MC275's and kept the MC601's. I then went to MC2301's to power my SF Strads which was my preferred set up so far. Upgrading the tubes in these amps also improved my performance. The last upgrade I made was to purchase 2 more new MC601's that were made while McIntosh was making the MC901's. These sounded much better to me than the older MC2301's especially with upgraded tubes.
That was my experience but they are all gone now.
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Old 01-13-2022, 11:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PMCH View Post
I believe that I am the member that just recently sold my MC2301's due to retirement, moving to a smaller home and downsizing - actually eliminating my primary 2 channel system. Just to give you some background in my amp preferences, I started with one MC352, then went to two MC352's which to me was better for my B&W speakers which were biampable. Then to MC601's which I had for a few pair of speakers. I tried two MC275 v6 which sounded better with two than one - putting in better tubes did improve the performance but not enough for me so I sold the MC275's and kept the MC601's. I then went to MC2301's to power my SF Strads which was my preferred set up so far. Upgrading the tubes in these amps also improved my performance. The last upgrade I made was to purchase 2 more new MC601's that were made while McIntosh was making the MC901's. These sounded much better to me than the older MC2301's especially with upgraded tubes.
That was my experience but they are all gone now.
Thanks for the reply Paul. Your MC2301's where the amps I had in mind. I followed your listing (speakers included) until everything was moved on.

Hopefully your downsized system will bring you many years of joy and happiness.
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Old 01-13-2022, 11:13 PM
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I’ve owned both the 275v6 in mono blocks and a 1502.
The 1502 kills the 275 pair….and the 275’s are spectacular!
The 1502 is an extraordinary (EXTRAORDINARY!) amp. Next level amp for sure. Buy the 1502 and pocket the 2301 $$$ savings or buy another toy…
Wish I would have kept mine.
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Last edited by JWJW; 01-13-2022 at 11:16 PM.
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Old 01-14-2022, 01:00 AM
Soro86 Soro86 is offline
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I am new to McIntosh and lucky to be enjoying a 1502 for past 6 months. Big change coming from VTL MB 250 all triode amps. My impression is a cooler mid range, highly detailed but not fatiguing, and great bass compared to the VTL's. Also going from a Premier 16 to Backert Labs Rhumba made a big difference. Bigger soundstage, greater instrument separation, and rhythm that feels right on. The 1502 is solid, dead quiet, beautifully built, and drives my ESL 11A's with ease. Good luck!
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