I’m not new to the forum, as I’ve owned a DSJ for about 6 or 7 months now and have pursued through various posts and info. Though I haven’t posted or had a reason to, up until now.
Like many audio enthusiasts, I was mesmerized by the legacy of McIntosh and the traditions they had established. I’m aware of the down turns, change in ownership and other activities. But, like a man of 300, I followed and supported them in battle. I never auditioned other pieces, prior to my first McIntosh purchase. I historically used a 5.1 system and that’s what I used for listening to music. A few years ago, I broke off and started piecing a dedicated two channel system together.
I started with the MA6700 and a set of B&W CM9’s. Shortly afterwards, I swapped over to a MC452, C50 and a set of B&W 804 D2’s. I then swapped the C50 out for the C2500, moved the B&W 804’s to the home theater and purchased a set of McIntosh XR50’s. All of which is running through a Shunyata Research Hydra, with Shunyata power cabling.
We recently had a new home built, which afforded me the opportunity to build a dedicated theater/ 2-channel room. I sold the B&W 804’s and purchased a set of Dynaudio Contour C4’s, added the Direct Stream Junior and a Nordost QX4. I also had GIK Acoustics build out an acoustical treatment setup for the room. Well, in the pursuit of perfection, like many, I always find something I’m not happy with or a frequency I’m hearing that’s out of place. It really all started with the DSJ.
I had a rather large vinyl collection, using a VPI Classic 2 and PS Audio NuWave, going into the DSJ, via I2S. I was floored and mesmerized by the transparency coming from my vinyl. I began A/B’ing my vinyl versus my digital running through the DSJ. I couldn’t tell much of a difference, so I dumped my entire vinyl set up and collection. The DSJ breathed new life into my collection, it was like hearing it all for the first time. Though, I recognized something was amiss in the audio. Not that it was muddy in the mid to upper midrange, it just wasn’t articulate, so to speak. I have a long history with Dynaudio and am familiar with the sound. Their speakers sound very organic and transparent to me. Not too high, not too low, but for me perfect. In fact, the McIntosh XR50’s reminded me of the classic Dynaudio sound, not much coloring and very organic. So, there is absolutely no way I’m getting rid of the DSJ, it’s going to my grave with me. But, it has me pondering dumping the MC452 and moving into the BHK 300’s. There’s just something murky at a little bit than louder listening volumes. Not distorion, per se, but just not defined.
My experience with PS Audio, thus far, has been nothing short of exemplary. I received a new DSJ with a bad network bridge card, they did an overnight for Saturday delivery…literally unheard of, ever. All of my interconnects are Audioquest Colorado’s/same lengths, the Shunyata is upstream from the QX4, power cables are the same lengths and the room is treated. There’s literally no echo in the room. So, it leaves me to staring at the MC452 as the culprit. Maybe it’s not in 100% agreement with the Confidence C4’s, not sure. Found a couple articles around using the MC452 on them, but nothing highlighted what I’m hearing. Though, I did read some commentary regarding McIntosh not being in 100% sonic agreement with Dynaudio speakers.
I know it’s not an apples to apples comparison, 2 channel, less power vs. mono blocks with more power; but what I’m not finding is clarity on what to expect if I swap it out. Sound comparisons, possible insights into what I’m hearing. I’ve had to heavily eq -3/-6 db in the 3khz - 6khz to remove most of the harshness, via JRiver. Not ideal, but it’s what I got.
Also, I did find this commentary on the BHK300’s, via an Audiogon poster, which I found to be somewhat odd…
"PS AUDIO BHK 300 MONOBLOCKS: Amazing amps. Tons of detail and really amazing midrange. the bass is amazing too, but the one thing i will say is that those of you with speakers efficiency of 87db and below you will not have all the “loudness” that you may want from time to time. These amps go into protection mode when using a speaker such as the Salon, but only at very loud levels. Maybe 97db and above. If you don’t listen to extreme crazy levels, these amps will please you in every way. "
The Confidence C4 Signatures have a sensitivity of 88db, 1 db above the rather ambiguous comment regarding efficiency. I don’t listen to “crazy extremes”, but I do like it loud from time to time.
Inputs, thoughts appreciated.