McIntosh MC2102 Tube Amp

BetaBeta Posts: 260
edited July 2016 in 2 Channel Audio
Back in 2008 I discovered this forum. I had acquired a pair of Polk RT2000i speakers and I was driving them with an AVR. Needless to say, the AVR had a horribly difficult time running those speakers. This forum started me on a long journey down the proverbial rabbit hole.

I've learned so much from this group. The members here are terrific and extremely helpful. One member in particular has been extraordinarily gracious and helpful sharing his knowledge with me over the years. Not only with me, but with many others.

I've been really fortunate to have been able to buy and try many different amps, preamps, speakers, power products, power cables, DACs, speaker cables, ICs and tweaks over the last 8 years. I haven't posted nearly as much as I should given how much I have learned and how much knowledge I have extracted from reading posts on this site. Part of the reason for my not posting many of my personal experiences is the fact that indulging in this hobby can sometimes be a bit over the top and I'm sensitive to the fact that many folks are struggling financially in these trying times.

The above being said, I've been encouraged to give back and share more.

Rather than sell many pieces I've gone through over the years, much of it was sitting in boxes, collecting dust and not being used. I was recently bitten by the upgrade bug again. Rather than keep amassing gear, I traded in multiple pieces in order justify in my mind buying another amp.

I've always wanted to try a McIntosh MC2102. Given that fact, I made the move and bought one. It arrived Thursday. I've never seen or heard one of these amps in person, so this was a pretty big leap of faith on my part. This thing is huge, heavy and built like a tank. Definitely a two person task setting it up. A friend came over today and we disassembled my entire rig and then reassembled it with the 2102 in the mix.

I've read some good and maybe some not so good things about McIntosh tube amps. As such, I was expecting this to potentially be a lateral move. Incorporating the 2102 into my system today was one of those instant "wow" experiences that happened within only moments into playing the first song. I could use all the typical audiophile words in describing how this piece sounds, but I'm not very good at that. What I can say is this amp is simply terrific! It's warmer sounding than I had anticipated, the soundstage is wide, deep and quite holographic. The base is surprisingly really, really good for a tube amp. Current power tubes are Tung sol 6550 reissues and the 12AX7s and 12AT7s are McIntosh branded. I have no idea what condition these tubes are in, but they sound great. A complete re-tubing of this piece is very likely in my future. I'm hoping for even better results (if that's possible) when I roll in new tubes. All said and done, I'm really happy about this addition. No second thoughts whatsoever. Like others, I certainly can't say that about a number of pieces that I have tried in the past.

Up until a week ago I was using MIT Shotgun S1.3 speaker cables and S1.3 ICs. Those went back to Joe Abrams last week and in route to me shortly are MIT Magnum M1.3 speaker cables and M1.3 ICs. I had the S1.3s in my rig for about 5 years. I can't say enough about how much of a positive impact they had. As such, I'm super excited for M1.3s to arrive.

Right now I am using Kimber 8TC speaker cables and MIT Shotgun S.1 ICs. I have to say, this combination is no slouch. I'm hoping the M1.3s will blow my socks off.

After going through multiple preamps, I have found my current ModWright LS100 with internal DAC to suit my tastes perfectly. I run Psvane CV181-T (6SN7s) and a 1967 Mullard rectifier tube in this preamp. I won't go on other than to say this is a remarkable (to my ears) preamp. I went all digital a few years ago and the DAC in the ModWright is substantially better than any of the stand alone DACs I have tried. This includes a Wyred 4 Sound DAC-2, Peachtree Audio, Cambridge Audio etc.

I like horn loaded speakers. Given space constraints, current speakers in the room are Klipsch RF-7 IIs. No doubt horns are very challenging to work with. Tubes on these speakers are an absolute must IMHO.

Tonight I have a giant smile on my face. As many have said in this forum, I have found that everything truly does matter. Synergy, amps, preamps, DACs, power products, power cables, speaker cables, ICs, tweaks and good recordings.

Unfortunately I can't figure out how to attach a correctly formatted photo. I apologize that it shows up sideways below. Any help correcting this would be most appreciated.

This sure is one heck of a fun hobby!

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Comments

  • boston1450boston1450 Posts: 5,928
    ox5rjbidkm1p.jpeg
    Randy in Maine
    CRS+ TL'd 198 tweets-RTA15 TL'd 198 tweets
    --All TL upgrades by WMG--
    Cs1000p-Yamaha-Parasound
    MIT speaker cables-Pangea powercords
  • Joey_VJoey_V Posts: 6,619
    Fantastic
    Joey's Gear:
    Current Gear:
    Torus RM15 -> Emm Labs DAC2x and TSDX Transport -> Cary SLP-05 preamp -> Boulder 2060 stereo amp (w/ Audioquest WEL Signature) -> new speakers
    Rotel RA1592 Super Integrated -> Sonus Faber Olympica 3
    Rotel RC1570 preamp -> Rotel RB1582 amp -> Focal Kanta 2

    Old Gear:
    Speakers: BW PM1 (3.5/5), CM10s2 (3.75/5), BW800D3 (5/5), Rockport Aviors (5/5), Sonus Faber Stradivari (5/5), BW 802D2 (4.5/5), Martin Logan Summits (4.25/5), Martin Logan Vantage (4/5), Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor (3.75/5), AV123 Strata Mini (3.5/5), ML Mosaic (3.25/5), Onix Ref1 (3/5), Sonus Faber Concerto (2.75/5), SF Concertino (2.5/5), Axiom M22ti (2/5), Polk LSi9 (3/5), LSi7 (2.9/5)
    Source: Squeezebox 3 -> PS Audio Digital Link III -> Cary 306/200 CDP -> Cary 306 SACD -> EMM LABS DAC2X/TSDX
    Preamplification: Rotel RC1070 -> Rogue Perseus -> Cary SLP98 -> Cary SLP98F1 -> Cary SLP05 (sold and then repurchased)
    Amplification: HK AVR330 -> Rotel RB1070 -> Rotel RB1090 -> Plinius SA102 -> Cary 211FE -> Classe M600 -> Boulder 2060
    Subwoofer: Infinity Entra2 sub -> SVS 25-31PC+ sub
  • Thanks for the write-up! :)
    Good stuff.
    Studio 2 equipment;
    Yamaha a-s2100 Amp, CD-2100 CD player, T-S500 tuner
    Loudspeakers: Harbeth p3esr, Polk RT7
    Cables: Aural Harmony Sonnet Interconnect II, WireWorld Equinox 7 speaker,
    Black Cat silverstar 75 ohm digital, Signal Digital Power Cord, PS Audio Perfect Wave AC-3,
    Pangea SE14, Voltz supplied interconnects
    Optional: Arcam DV88 DVD/CD (HDCD) player, Polk SDS-400 speakers
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 29,768
    Very nice write up, the Mac and the Modwright are good choices for horns. Seems to me you did a bang up job putting together a system that pleases you. Pop in more often and participate.

    If you'll excuse me for a second, I can't help but chuckle a bit. Not at you...at the "all amps sound the same" crowd or the "cables don't matter" crowd. Here we have a perfect example of what we have been preaching since day one. Someone who kept an open mind and simply tried some different things to accumulate pieces that floated his boat.

    Kudo's to you man, or maybe you should curse the person who threw you down this rabbit hole of audio, I dunno....but it's a fun ride eh ?
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    Tad 803 bookies
    Polk 500 surrounds
    Polk s35 center
    SVS SB-2000
    Sonos

    Music-

    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k 1430 amp
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    ERA D5 bookies

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable
  • gudnoyezgudnoyez Posts: 6,330
    Very nice looking gear you got there so what speakers you using now? It is an addictive but fun hobby, lots of people to help you along spending on your dime :o I merely came to Polks site to register my A5's the most expensive speakers I ever bought, why so expensive, because I have spent a lot of dimes on buying other stuff since joining the forum.
    Home Theater
    Parasound Halo A 31 OnkyoTX-NR838 Sony XBR55X850B 55" 4K RtiA9 Fronts CsiA6 Center RtiA3 Rears FxiA6 Side Surrounds Dual Psw 111's Oppo 105D Signal Ultra Speaker Cables & IC's Signal Magic Power Cable Technics SL Q300 Panamax MR4300 Audioquest Chocolate HDMI Cables Audioquest Forest USB Cable

    2 Channel
    Adcom 555II Vincent SA-T1 Marantz SA 15S2 Denon DR-M11 Clearaudio Bluemotion SDA 2.3tl's (Z) edition MIT Terminator II Speaker Cables & IC's Adcom 545II Adcom Gtp-450 Marantz CD5004 Technics M245X SDA 2B's, SDA CRS+

    Stuff for the Head
    JD LABS C5 Headphone Amplifier, Sennheiser HD 598, Polk Audio Buckle, Polk Audio Hinge, Velodyne vPulse, Bose IE2, Sennheiser CX 200 Street II, Sennheiser MX 365

    Shower & Off the beaten path Rigs
    Polk Audio Boom Swimmer, Polk Audio Urchin B)
  • erniejadeerniejade Posts: 4,212
    That is an amazing looking piece. I have a mc402 that I like quite a bit. I can only imagine how that 2102 sounds.

    Hey if you like horns, check out some of the newer jbl stuff. The ones I heard sounded darn good!.
    Lumin D1, KEF LS50 Wireless, Cayin scd-50T, LH Labs VI Dac, Technics 1200, Denon DL160, Jolida D9, HP I7 Laptop, Wireworld Eclipse 7, Wireworld Aurora, Wireworld Electra 7, Signal Magic Digital, Cardas Quadralink 5C, Velodyne SPL1200
    USB helpers: w4s Recovery

    HT: Elite SC27, Full Polk RTI setup.

  • WagnerRCWagnerRC Posts: 1,729
    Thank you for your post. It's all about enjoying life.
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 40,385
    Andy, thanks for sharing your journey. That looks like a beast of an amp, I hope you've got a good A/C system. ;)

    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


  • BetaBeta Posts: 260
    Appreciate the comments.

    Prior to this 2102, my system was being driven with a EL34 based tube amp. That amp was less powerful but highly modified and certainly capable of efficiently driving horns. Quite a noticeable and pleasant improvement in the lower end with the 6550s.

    I've never heard any Klipsch speakers sound this good. I've driven Klipsch (both the Heritage and RF lines) with quality solid state amps and solid state preamps. Not to bash on Klipsch (I'm a huge fan) but my personal experience with that combination was akin to having needles shot into my ears. Extremely fatiguing.

    Ironically, prior to picking up this 2102, I was just about to retire the RF-7 IIs for a time and swap in a pair of LSiM707s thanks to Polk and the friends and family event. That swap will have to wait for the time being.

    I'll sit tight with this current configuration and get a good fix on it. I'll then insert the M1.3s, allow adequate time on them and then post my observations with respect to that addition.

    Good point Jesse. This amp could be used as a space heater in the winter.




  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 2,528
    That's beautiful! When I was a kid I thought McIntosh gear was ugly...Now I think it's absolutely beautiful on many levels.
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
    Dual SVS SB2000
    Wireworld Equinox 7 bi-wire, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 IC

    Secondary Rig:
    Parasound P5, Audio Electronics by Cary Constellation
    Marsh a200s, Audio Elecrtonics by Cary Hercules
    Pioneer Elite DV-45a, Denon DVD-2910
    Klipsch Epic CF-1, Vandersteen 3CE sig
    Analysus Plus Oval

  • Mike ReeterMike Reeter Posts: 3,298
    Great write up! Beautiful gear! Although I don't envy your wallet when it comes time to re-tube ;)

    Your story is much like mine and a lot of others around here. Polk Audio and especially the Forums members has helped take this hobby (passion) to levels I never imagined.

    Enjoy the fruits of your labor, you've earned it.
    SDA SRS 2.3TL's/SDA SRS 3.1TL's/SDA CRS+4.1TL's and some other stuff
  • BetaBeta Posts: 260
    It’s been a while since I’ve checked in with a post. I still visit daily and learn so much from all you Polkies.

    I’ve added a few pieces to my 2 channel rig since I posted this thread. I sourced a second MC2102 amp and now run them in a mono block configuration. I picked up a pair of LsiM 707s during one the first friends family sales back in 2013 or thereabout. Due to life events, I only unboxed them about six months ago and set them up. Added a PS Audio P10 and 4 PS Audio PowerBases. Tonight I added a Cary SLP 05 with the Cary Ultimate Upgrade and a Cary DMS-500.

    Just started listening. The SLP 05 and DMS-500 sound terrific, even with stock EH tubes and before break-in. I moved out my ModWright LS 100 preamp with internal DAC, which is no slouch IMHO. It’ll be fun to compare these two preamps.

    It’s been about 10 years now since I was fortunate to discover Club Polk. The assistance and knowledge that can be had here is unrivaled in my experience. A big thank you to all that help keep this community going!
  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 2,528
    I've met some great people here, and, my life is better having found this forum.

    Nice setup you have. I have a fondness for McIntosh gear though I've never heard that particular model amp.
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
    Dual SVS SB2000
    Wireworld Equinox 7 bi-wire, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 IC

    Secondary Rig:
    Parasound P5, Audio Electronics by Cary Constellation
    Marsh a200s, Audio Elecrtonics by Cary Hercules
    Pioneer Elite DV-45a, Denon DVD-2910
    Klipsch Epic CF-1, Vandersteen 3CE sig
    Analysus Plus Oval

  • BetaBeta Posts: 260
    edited May 28
    I can't see my post from earlier tonight. Hope I didn't inadvertently delete it?
  • haimochaimoc Posts: 1,016
    McIntosh tube amp is the most attractive and solid tube amp. Its VU meters are magic!
  • Msabot1Msabot1 Posts: 2,114
    Love my MC240...does very well with my pair of JBL 120Ti's..My eldest son has been drooling over that amp for years and I keep reminding him that the only time he will get hold of that amp is when I'm in a box and planted...
  • nooshinjohnnooshinjohn Posts: 18,234
    Msabot1 wrote: »
    Love my MC240...does very well with my pair of JBL 120Ti's..My eldest son has been drooling over that amp for years and I keep reminding him that the only time he will get hold of that amp is when I'm in a box and planted...
    You could request that you be buried with it. ;) :p
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Mono-blocks, TriangleArt Reference SE with PS Audio NuWave Phono converter, Walker Precision Motor Drive, ClearAudio Stradivari v2 cartridge and Origin Conquerer Mk3c tonearm, Polk Audio "Signature" Reference Series 1.2TL with complete mods, Pass Labs X1 two channel preamplifier Signed by Poppa himself, PS Audio PerfectWave DAC MkII, Krell Evolution 525a CD Player, Pioneer Elite SC-65, Oppo UDP-205 Blu-ray , Sony XBR70x850B 4k, Polk audio AB700/800 "in-wall" surrounds

  • gfonggfong Posts: 1,049
    Looks awesome, bet it sounds amazing.
    2 Channel Setup: Unison Research Simply Italy Tube Amp (2 x Shuguang Treasure 6CA7-Z/ 2 x Mullard CV4003/M8136/12AU7, Klipsch La Scala speakers, Rega RP6 Union Jack Edition w/Exact Cart TT, REGA ARIA phono stage, Sony SCD-CE595 SACD, APC-H10.

    A/V Setup: Sony STR-5400ES AVR, Sony KDL52W5100 TV, Sony BDP-S770 BluRay, Nvidia Shield Pro

    Connections: Atlas Navigator All CU, Atlas Voyager All Cu, MIT EXp 2 speaker cable, AudioQuest NRG-2 power cords, Sennheiser HD 598 Headphones.

    gfong aka Greg Fonger
    True North Strong and Free... Canada
  • minerminer Posts: 1,091
    When you retube I highly recommend the Gold Lion gold pin reissues. A great bang for the buck. Nice system you put together.
    [
  • alucidideaalucididea Posts: 103
    Beta wrote: »
    I went all digital a few years ago...
    I’m curious as to where you derive your music. What kinda of sources are you using? Do you stream from any higher-res sources or do you have everything in house?
  • LegenderLegender Posts: 471
    Very nice upgrade path you've taken. Not one for slackers. Nice setup and thanks for sharing. Congrats on the sound you've accomplished.
    Music: Oppo103 - Parasound JC2 - Parasound A21- SDA 3.1
    Theater: Denon 3808 - B&K 7500/Emotiva XPA-3- RTi12, CSi5, RTiA7x4, PSW505
    Sleeping: Marantz 70005 - Harman Kardon 2400 - SDA 2
    2 Channel: Cary 306 SACD - Canary Audio 906 - Pass Labs x250 - PS Audio Perfectwave DAC, Polk LSiM705, SVS SB13 Ultra
    Office: Dell Optiplex, Emotiva XDA-2, Adcom 5500, LSiM 703
    Spares: Yamaha CA-810; LSi 15; Kenwood Basic M2a, Yamaha M60/M80, Polk Monitor 7, SVS SB13 Ultra
  • BetaBeta Posts: 260
    miner wrote: »
    When you retube I highly recommend the Gold Lion gold pin reissues. A great bang for the buck. Nice system you put together.

    The 12AX7s in my amps are Gold Lion gold pin reissues. They do sound nice. The 12AT7s are NOS Mullards. The KT88s are Shuguang Treasure black bottles.
    alucididea wrote: »
    Beta wrote: »
    I went all digital a few years ago...
    I’m curious as to where you derive your music. What kinda of sources are you using? Do you stream from any higher-res sources or do you have everything in house?

    I've ripped most of my CDs into iTunes via Apple Lossless. I'm also using TIDAL's HiFi option.

    I was originally going to purchase Cary's DAC-200ts. After extensive dialog with the folks at Cary, I decided to go with their DMS-500. Thus far, I'm really happy I made that decision. I'm still trying to figure out all of the DMS-500's options. I'm actually really impressed by how good the sound is by simply streaming songs via Bluetooth from my iPhone.
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