Small world! Though I I’ve in Hawaii, have been a subscriber to Audio Excellence’s YouTube for quite a while - they are my favorite. Their videos convinced me to sell off all my PS Audio gear and buy the Magnepan LRS and a Hegel integrated (H90). I’m using the Border Patrol SE-i DAC with that combo. It sounds glorious, the best I’ve ever had.
Thinking ahead, the LRS need lots of current, which boxes me in a bit on amp upgrading down the road. Moving up the Hegel line would be a safe route. Thomas & Stereo (another Toronto YouTube star) recently had a LRS review video in which he loved the McIntosh MAC6700 integrated paired with them. That got me exploring the pricey world of McIntosh.
I asked Adrian Low about the McIntosh MAC5300 integrated. It’s $5500 and Crutchfield sells it, which means free shipping to and from Hawaii with 60 day trial - shipping both ways could easily be $600 otherwise.
Adrian said the MAC5300 would drive the LRS well, but because it doesn’t have AutoForm, the sound will be a bit brighter/ dynamic than the the $7500 MAC7200. Both are solid state. Adrian seems to think AutoForm is key to the house sound. In comparison, if I’m patient I can get the Hegel H190 for about $2800.
So I’m like geez, to get the true McIntosh sound I need AutoForm which is minimum $5000 for the MC152 Power Amp, or $7500 for the MAC7200. And all that got me to wondering if McIntosh is worth all that money!?
I absolutely want a lush, warm sound. I’m less interested in audiophile accuracy, and more interested in emotion and huge soundstage. I appreciate your feedback, I certainly do not want lean and dry. I always assumed McIntosh was the opposite of dry and lean, but I’ve never heard them before.