Need good amp pair for Mcintosh C504 preamp

Jason Anderson

Jason Anderson

Enthusiast
Level matched? All eq defeated? Sighted?
Level matched to my ears. If you listen to music in the same spot for years, you will know the difference.
EQ flat and then played with settings as I do not listen to the EQ flat.
little bump on the low with these speakers on the Mcintosh. Large bump on the low for the pioneer. Little bump on the low for my Marantz as well....
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
If there's even a 1 dB difference the louder one can be perceived as sounding clearer and cleaner. 1 dB isn't always enough for you to register a change in volume but it can definitely color your subjective impressions. There is A LOT to account for when discerning differences.
Not to mention our capacity for audio memory is fleetingly short. I'd bet the farm you could not perceive a 1db difference in the time it takes to switch the units in and out. Level matching only scratches the surface on the problems there were with your listening test too. If you did the switching and it was sighted then you're perceptions are already altered.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
Level matched to my ears. If you listen to music in the same spot for years, you will know the difference.
EQ flat and then played with settings as I do not listen to the EQ flat.
little bump on the low with these speakers on the Mcintosh. Large bump on the low for the pioneer. Little bump on the low for my Marantz as well....
Tell you what. You do a proper DBT, come back and tell us about it. I thought I had a pretty good grasp on expectation bias and the placebo effect, until I really dug into it some more. Read up on it. Your brain is a filter and has a powerful grip on your reality.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
Here's an example of a proper DBT. Pretty entertaining read actually.


Here's another good one, tho it was more about cables than amps, but this is what always happens when folks make those claims. They fail to consistently pick the "better" one. Every time.


Oh, and for the record level matching by your ears is not, NOT an accurate way to do it. There's no substitute for a sensitive spl meter. Even .5 dB is enough to color impressions without perceiving the change in volume!
 
everettT

everettT

Audioholic Ninja
Here's an example of a proper DBT. Pretty entertaining read actually.


Here's another good one, tho it was more about cables than amps, but this is what always happens when folks make those claims. They fail to consistently pick the "better" one.


Oh, and for the record level matching by your ears is not, NOT an accurate way to do it. There's no substitute for a sensitive spl meter. Even .5 dB is enough to color impressions without perceiving the change in volume!
There is another good one out there, but I can't find it for a week now. Sighted comparisons are always skewed.

This thread has some insane technical posts with Dr Toole, Dr.Olive, and many others. It's long but worth reading.

 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
Level matched to my ears. If you listen to music in the same spot for years, you will know the difference.
EQ flat and then played with settings as I do not listen to the EQ flat.
little bump on the low with these speakers on the Mcintosh. Large bump on the low for the pioneer. Little bump on the low for my Marantz as well....
What @Pogre is saying is that you are not a reliable judge, even to yourself!

We all have biases, and defeating a bias in incredibly difficult.

If you actually see the gear, then you have an expectation bias, thus the need for double blind testing.

The amplifier has a single job to do--to AMPLIFY the signal! This means an exact copy of the signal, just at a larger magnitude, while adding and subtracting NOTHING from the signal. If you want to add/subtract from the signal, there are other tools for that job role.

So, if an amplifier is running within its limits, any amp would be expected to sound the same as any other.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
There is another good one out there, but I can't find it for a week now. Sighted comparisons are always skewed.

This thread has some insane technical posts with Dr Toole, Dr.Olive, and many others. It's long but worth reading.

I think it was you who I got the Matrix link from, lol.
What @Pogre is saying is that you are not a reliable judge, even to yourself!

We all have biases, and defeating a bias in incredibly difficult.

If you actually see the gear, then you have an expectation bias, thus the need for double blind testing.

The amplifier has a single job to do--to AMPLIFY the signal! This means an exact copy of the signal, just at a larger magnitude, while adding and subtracting NOTHING from the signal. If you want to add/subtract from the signal, there are other tools for that job role.

So, if an amplifier is running within its limits, any amp would be expected to sound the same as any other.
Yup. And I mean NO disrespect nor am I implying you don't hear what you hear. Like I said, I dug in and did some deep diving into the placebo effect and was very surprised how little I knew about it. Your brain can literally make you see, hear, taste things that simply aren't there. Sometimes even when you KNOW it's a placebo it still gets you. That's why we do double blind. Sighted tests are notoriously inaccurate.
 
Jason Anderson

Jason Anderson

Enthusiast
Not to mention our capacity for audio memory is fleetingly short. I'd bet the farm you could not perceive a 1db difference in the time it takes to switch the units in and out. Level matching only scratches the surface on the problems there were with your listening test too. If you did the switching and it was sighted then you're perceptions are already altered.
I think it was you who I got the Matrix link from, lol.

Yup. And I mean NO disrespect nor am I implying you don't hear what you hear. Like I said, I dug in and did some deep diving into the placebo effect and was very surprised how little I knew about it. Your brain can literally make you see, hear, taste things that simply aren't there. Sometimes even when you KNOW it's a placebo it still gets you. That's why we do double blind. Sighted tests are notoriously inaccurate.
I think that we have some miscommunication going on.... I said that the Pre-Amp in the Mcintosh sounded better than the Pre-Amp in the Pioneer... I am currently using the power amp section of the Pioneer for the Mcintosh Pre.

I get it- but are you saying that the same SPL level Class D amp would sound the same as an A or AB at the same SPL? Or even a Tube amp? Or just the amp class would sound the same?

If I have time, I have a 90's Onkyo and a 90's Harmon Kardon that both sound pretty good as well (I do not throw things away...). Not sure if the Onkyo has a Pre-Amp input though.... I will dig up my SPL meter and try some A/B testing. I can not believe that they will all sound the same at the same level. I used to use 85 dB for mix down years ago but then created my room to sound how I wanted to hear it back.
 
everettT

everettT

Audioholic Ninja
I think that we have some miscommunication going on.... I said that the Pre-Amp in the Mcintosh sounded better than the Pre-Amp in the Pioneer... I am currently using the power amp section of the Pioneer for the Mcintosh Pre.

I get it- but are you saying that the same SPL level Class D amp would sound the same as an A or AB at the same SPL? Or even a Tube amp? Or just the amp class would sound the same?

If I have time, I have a 90's Onkyo and a 90's Harmon Kardon that both sound pretty good as well (I do not throw things away...). Not sure if the Onkyo has a Pre-Amp input though.... I will dig up my SPL meter and try some A/B testing. I can not believe that they will all sound the same at the same level. I used to use 85 dB for mix down years ago but then created my room to sound how I wanted to hear it back.
Here is a Purfi class D unit, you can see how incredibly low the distortion at full power. They just faithfully reproduce the signal.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
I think that we have some miscommunication going on.... I said that the Pre-Amp in the Mcintosh sounded better than the Pre-Amp in the Pioneer... I am currently using the power amp section of the Pioneer for the Mcintosh Pre.

I get it- but are you saying that the same SPL level Class D amp would sound the same as an A or AB at the same SPL? Or even a Tube amp? Or just the amp class would sound the same?

If I have time, I have a 90's Onkyo and a 90's Harmon Kardon that both sound pretty good as well (I do not throw things away...). Not sure if the Onkyo has a Pre-Amp input though.... I will dig up my SPL meter and try some A/B testing. I can not believe that they will all sound the same at the same level. I used to use 85 dB for mix down years ago but then created my room to sound how I wanted to hear it back.
The same applies to solid state preamps too, level matched, in a pure or direct setting with all eq'ing disabled. The exception would be tube amps. Tubes do have a way of coloring the sound that a lot of folks like. I've heard them described as warmer. However warmer isn't necessarily accurate, tho I have heard a very nice sounding tube amp a friend used to own. I'd say they're an aquired taste, but have a very loyal following.
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
I get it- but are you saying that the same SPL level Class D amp would sound the same as an A or AB at the same SPL? Or even a Tube amp? Or just the amp class would sound the same?
/QUOTE]
Well designed amplifiers, with either a Class A, a Class AB or a Class D output topology, should all sound the same with the same source signal, provided that they are all driven within their designed normal operation limits. The speaker connected to them could be a mismatch because of poor design with weird phase angle responses and impedance digging down below 3 ohms, and that could also exceed the capacity and limits of an amplifier .

A tube amplifier will sound different because, among its characteristics, it produces audible second order harmonic distortion which is rather minimal and inaudible with well designed SS amps.
 
Last edited:
Jason Anderson

Jason Anderson

Enthusiast
Well... after reading and listening to you all.... I ended up with the matching Mcintosh MC502 Amp. I know that it is old and outdated but is looks good and sounds great. Next will be Phono Cartridge and then speakers. Thanks everyone!
 

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