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Amp/Preamp Asylum: REVIEW: McIntosh MC162 Amplifier (SS) by navman

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REVIEW: McIntosh MC162 Amplifier (SS)

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Model: MC162
Category: Amplifier (SS)
Suggested Retail Price: $2200
Description: 160 wattsX2 into 4 Ohms and 100 wattsX2 into 8 Ohms
Manufacturer URL: McIntosh
Manufacturer URL: McIntosh

Review by navman ( A ) on December 25, 2002 at 15:05:42
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for the MC162

Firstly, I am not good with audiophile terminology. I will try and get my impressions across in "bumble speak!"

After hearing tube equipment, particularly a Dynaco 70 that I restored, the Yamaha Home Theatre receiver, had to be replaced. I always had problems trying to enjoy music I had on account of no detail at lower volumes but a hard metallic compression like sound at higher volumes. The Dynaco 70 allowed me to enjoy music once again after many years.

My quest for a good 2 channel system lead me to the McIntosh MC162. I do believe that 2 ch is dead (or dying) but when its long gone I could look at Mch and have no urge to be a pioneer. In my town high end audio is sparse store wise. Mostly there were surround receivers. I auditioned the McIntosh and took it home.

It powers my B&Ws very nicely. There is no hint of strain at any volume even when pushed. It seems to be sensitive to cables and pre-amps that are swapped in the rest of the system, and this leads me to believe it is revealing. Different albums sound very different, and I feel I am hearing what the producer recording engineer wants me to hear as opposed to the amp forcing its own tone on the proceedings.

But what I like most is that the Mac sounds "smooth" and musical. Most of the time I forget I am listening to my stereo and am involved in the music.

When listening to it I really dont care if its ss or tube. Its just music. I say this because my second system (Sony 775, ARC LS7 McIntosh MC40 monos) has a bit of the tube character, but the distinction between it and the Mc162 is not that great.

After owning the amp I really have no urge to replace it or try anything else, a feeling I seldom have had with other equipment. In fact the idea of adding a second to bi-amp my speakers might be an attractive option.

At least I still have things to tweak. Cables. I think the Mac will age well in my home.

Product Weakness: None so far.
Product Strengths: Solid build. Solid convincing sound. Smooth, and lacks hardness and sounds almost tube like. The blue meters on front.

Associated Equipment for this Review:
Amplifier: McIntosh MC162
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): Marsh p2000
Sources (CDP/Turntable): Sony SCD333ES
Speakers: B&W603 S2
Cables/Interconnects: Monster Ref II, Z1
Music Used (Genre/Selections): Blues, rock, classical
Room Comments/Treatments: None
Time Period/Length of Audition: 6 months
Other (Power Conditioner etc.): Monster HTS 1000
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner

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Topic - REVIEW: McIntosh MC162 Amplifier (SS) - navman 15:05:42 12/25/02 ( 7)