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In Reply to: RE: Marantz 8B with Bob Hovland Mods? posted by fredtr on May 24, 2020 at 11:26:41
So far, the 8B edges out my Mcintosh MC30, MC240, MC60 and MC275, but not by a whole lot. However, I made an easily-reversable mod to each of the Mac amps that replaces the !2AU7s with 6CG7s. I did A/B comparisons (with and without the mod on each channel on each amp)and the mod makes a very noticeable improvement in all of the Macs.
The problem with the 8b is it's both a collectors piece and a 55+ year old stereo.
The collector side would have you leave it stock. But it's also an amazing stereo. Unfortunately to use it, you need to have it restored.
Find a professional to do the work properly and USE it. That's what it was made for.
What speaks are you trying the amps with?
Here is some 8B trivia, hopefully correct, that has helped to make the 8B collectible. Sid Smith wound the prototype transformers. Marantz liked them, sent the drawings out (to I think Peerless). The transformers they wound did not sound as good. So Marantz ended up winding all 8B transformers in-house, under Sid's supervision.
Saul Marantz did an interview close to the end of his life, was asked what amp he had at home. He answered the 8B.
The 8B has a separate feedback winding. Some of the McIntosh amps do also, but there are a lot of amplifiers that don't. In the case of the 8B I'm guessing it helps it do well with the Electrostatics I'm using.
I'm using them on Bowers & Wilkins 803 Nautilus speakers. I've found them to be very revealing when evaluating the nuances of amps and preamps.
Those are great speakers. I'm a B&W fan, I bet that would be a good amp for those. Sounds like you are having fun with this. I have powered subs, so bass wasn't a concern for me. I did save the original coupling caps, in case I ever do want to put it back stock.
It's funny I don't remember the 8B having selenium diodes. I recall putting in low noise diodes and being able to hear the difference, but I remembered the ones that were in there were silicon.
Tubes made a big difference and coupling caps made a noticeable difference. I used a combination of K40Y and film coupling caps. I did increase PS capacitance, but not substantially.
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