McIntosh MA8000 - Newest Member of My Family

May 31, 2010
283
0
16
Covington, LA
#1
After much deliberation, I finally settled upon the amp that I hope to be using many years from now. The connectivity that Mc built into this beast is outstanding. I'm having a dedicated music server built for me to take advantage of the McIntosh USB driver and USB connectivity.

I also must say that the built in MC phonostage is very very good. I really like the front panel loading options that can be selected via remote. The 8 band equalizer can be adjusted from 25hz to 10Khz and can be fully bypassed by a front panel switch. I keep it on bypass for about 85% of the time, but for some older records that need some help, it's a very handy feature.

At 300 wpc this one drives my Magnepan 1.7's with ease. Sound is silky smooth and very natural. I don't miss the tube gear at all with this amp.

Here's a quick peek. It took a gargantuan effort by yours truly to get this 100lb monster onto its shelf. :eek:

AR9.jpg
 
Last edited:

Johnny Vinyl

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 16, 2010
8,571
6
38
Calgary, AB
#3
Congrats buddy! It looks terrific in your room and I'll bet it sounds phenomenal. Just look at those big sexy VU meters! I'm glad you were able to get it off the floor and into your shelf. I know I couldn't.
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,671
38
48
#4
Congrats! Great stuff...enjoy!
 
Feb 3, 2012
639
10
18
Melbourne
#6
Nice one Fred!

Believe me this thing can drive virtually anything! A chappy of ours over here in Melbourne, has one of these things accompanied with MC275 monoblocks driving his mighty MG20.7's. They sound awesome! He uses the MA8000 mostly for home theatre and large orchestral recordings, and then switches over to the MC275 mono's for jazz and acoustic recordings, especially vocals. He's using the MG20.7 for mains and MG1.7's for rears, no centre channel, and no sub, he doesn't believe in one. When the MA8000 is playing we actually cannot tell the difference in which amps are running... Absolutely yes, the MA8000 and infact the MC452 sound very warm just like tubes, but can also suddenly deliver explosive dynamics effortlessly like well designed SS.

Enjoy! One thing for sure is you won't be upgrading the amplification for a very long time, and even if you did there's really nothing that can match that big MA8000 unless it was costing 3 to 4 times the price... I have heard it, and I know what it can do, and it does very well, delivers pure music!
Cheers mate, RJ
 

Fred

Member
May 31, 2010
283
0
16
Covington, LA
#7
Nice one Fred!

Believe me this thing can drive virtually anything! A chappy of ours over here in Melbourne, has one of these things accompanied with MC275 monoblocks driving his mighty MG20.7's. They sound awesome! He uses the MA8000 mostly for home theatre and large orchestral recordings, and then switches over to the MC275 mono's for jazz and acoustic recordings, especially vocals. He's using the MG20.7 for mains and MG1.7's for rears, no centre channel, and no sub, he doesn't believe in one. When the MA8000 is playing we actually cannot tell the difference in which amps are running... Absolutely yes, the MA8000 and infact the MC452 sound very warm just like tubes, but can also suddenly deliver explosive dynamics effortlessly like well designed SS.

Enjoy! One thing for sure is you won't be upgrading the amplification for a very long time, and even if you did there's really nothing that can match that big MA8000 unless it was costing 3 to 4 times the price... I have heard it, and I know what it can do, and it does very well, delivers pure music!
Cheers mate, RJ
Thanks RJ. I've been really enjoying having it in the audio room. The MA8000 has such a brutal honesty about itself. Well mastered music can bring you to tears with this amp, but poorly done music is equally exposed. (I try to stay away from that!) As the HP music server begins to take shape with each passing day, I can't get over the shear pleasure I've been getting out of the digital side of this amp. Cheers!
 
May 30, 2010
87
0
6
Georgia
#8
I've been using one for close to a year. A lot of the time with the MC input. Its a great replacement when the BAT system gets to hot. Right now I'm running the preamp section, DAC, and MC to mono cartridge. Using a Parasound JC-3+ for stereo. its a little better all around than the MACs mc phono. The MA8000 into BAT REX amps is sounding really nice. If it gets to hot, back to only the MA8000.
 
Feb 3, 2012
639
10
18
Melbourne
#10
G'day Fred,
I am truly not surprised the MA8000 won this category! It is one awesome amp and one hec of a design. It virtually beats nearly all integrateds out there. Although it has sheer muscle and brute force when in order, it is actually quite like a gentle giant. Never is aggressive unless provoked.( Sounds a bit like me...)

I am still after the mighty mc452 but that purchase will not happen for now. Still enjoying the tubes with cj amps.

As fas as I can tell our other good mate who has the mighty mac's driving his awesome mg20.7's is absolutely thrilled. When time permits, now he actually runs the whole system through the MA8000 instead of the mc275 mono's. Only when he has the time off work, he fires up the mono's with his TT and all is at bliss. But that MA8000 does have a very special signature of sound to it.
Glad you're enjoying!
Cheers, RJ
 

es347

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
1,570
1
38
Midwest fly over state..
#11
I've been running a pr of MC501s driving VSA VR5 Anniversaries for 6 yrs now. I've brought in several different monoblocks over the years to compare and still have the 501s. Even though many relegate MAC gear to the mid-fi class it's still right up there IMO...liquidity with absolutely no sacrifice of detail..
 

Fred

Member
May 31, 2010
283
0
16
Covington, LA
#12
G'day Fred,
I am truly not surprised the MA8000 won this category! It is one awesome amp and one hec of a design. It virtually beats nearly all integrateds out there. Although it has sheer muscle and brute force when in order, it is actually quite like a gentle giant. Never is aggressive unless provoked.( Sounds a bit like me...)

I am still after the mighty mc452 but that purchase will not happen for now. Still enjoying the tubes with cj amps.

As fas as I can tell our other good mate who has the mighty mac's driving his awesome mg20.7's is absolutely thrilled. When time permits, now he actually runs the whole system through the MA8000 instead of the mc275 mono's. Only when he has the time off work, he fires up the mono's with his TT and all is at bliss. But that MA8000 does have a very special signature of sound to it.
Glad you're enjoying!
Cheers, RJ
Hi RJ. Yep, it was nice to see the HiFi World award. I can't say what other solid state amps were also under consideration, but from my own experience with the MC, it surely seems deserved. The feature set that MC packed into this unit is an out of the park homerun.

I've been running a pr of MC501s driving VSA VR5 Anniversaries for 6 yrs now. I've brought in several different monoblocks over the years to compare and still have the 501s. Even though many relegate MAC gear to the mid-fi class it's still right up there IMO...liquidity with absolutely no sacrifice of detail..
I auditioned the 601's and thought they were special sounding monoblocks. But for the cost, I also thought the MA8000 was not very far off at all. The idea that MC gets relegated to Mid-Fi, just kills me. What is this hobby of ours coming to?
 
Feb 3, 2012
639
10
18
Melbourne
#13
Yes agreed mate!

The 601 amps are in the dealers room at the moment driving the sf strads. They are remarkable amps. However, whenever we plug in the mc452, this sound seems more coherent and the drive capability is outstanding. Basically the mc452 puts out nearly twice as much of current. It is currently mc's most powerful stereo amp with a fully quad balanced topology.

McIntosh doesn't believe in the cosmetics of the components much, such as metal gold buttons, pure silver knobs, and all those shiny accessories. They focus on the internal stuff and outer casing, that's why their components are built like tanks and have solid weight. Even their cd players are like amplifiers. From this they are able to keep the price down as much as possible.
So the majority of people who are not very familiar with mc consider it to be mid-fi.

When it comes to high-end, the designers know that they need to put on a big show. Hence all those bells & whistles and the shimmery things stand out. They may not even sound that good but because they cost equivalent to a price of a surely they must sound good, and frankly speaking from experience, they don't!

McIntosh is one brand that keeps you at ease, knowing that whatever you spend it will last a lifetime.

I do know one thing Fred, you will be enjoying that mc for a long time.
Cheers, RJ
 
May 31, 2010
283
0
16
Covington, LA
#15
bump.

Fred,

Hope you are still loving the MA8000. Can you please give us an update?
Curious to run across my own old thread on a google search. HA! :rolleyes:

Well, it seems I can't turn the unit on now. I haven't listened to the system in a month or two, but tonight I went into the audio room to power it up and it won't turn on. The little red standby LED is on, but I get no response from the unit from either the remote, or by pressing the red standby button. I've tried the reset procedure by pressing and holding the red button for 5 seconds, but still it won't turn on. All the other equipment in the room works just fine, but for the Mac. I don't like the idea of having to pull this monster off its stand one bit.

Anyone have any suggestions?

Is the main fuse serviceable at home...As in by me?

In reply to your query Joe, I'm still in love with my Mac, but she has me a bit frustrated at the moment.
 

joeinid

Active Member
Mar 15, 2011
1,537
1
38
NY
#16
Hello Fred,

I am so sorry that you are having problems.

I run across my posts all the time. It's a weird and funny feeling.

Happy you love the sound but hope it's a simple repair. Please keep us updated.
 

Fred

Member
May 31, 2010
283
0
16
Covington, LA
#17
Hello Fred,

I am so sorry that you are having problems.

I run across my posts all the time. It's a weird and funny feeling.

Happy you love the sound but hope it's a simple repair. Please keep us updated.
Well, the Mac has been in and out of the shop a couple of times. They got it back up and running without too much trouble, but as it turns out the digital audio board is done. It's funny, because all of the digital inputs work just fine except the USB audio input. Wouldn't you know, just the one that I actually want to use.

New board is $835 installed, so I hope to have it ordered in the next few days.

I'll be moving on in the speaker world too. The Magnepan's are up for sale since I have a pair of Canton Reference 1's on order.
 

Fred

Member
May 31, 2010
283
0
16
Covington, LA
#18
^^ Just an update to the above. The Mac is all good again. New digital board fixed all issues. I think some stray voltage got into the usb audio port and did some damage to the board.

And, the Canton's are in the room now. Wow! what a fabulous speaker. I believe I have a sale for the Maggies too.

Nice way to ring in the New Year 2018! :cool:
 

Fred

Member
May 31, 2010
283
0
16
Covington, LA
#19
Well here it is, one year to the day later. The new year finds the MA8000 superseded by the MA9000, which I believe offers greater digital audio resolution. Seems progress never stops. Notwithstanding that slight indignity, the 8000 has been performing beautifully since the digital board was replaced. The Canton's have made the Maggies a distant memory, and analog tape still rules this nascent fiefdom.
 

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