McIntosh MC240 Amplifiers

MC240

Vintage Vacuum Tube Amplifler

User Reviews (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10  
Todd Marlowe   AudioPhile [Jan 14, 2014]

IVE BEEN LISTENING TO MY MC 240 AND MX 110 FOR OVER A YEAR NOW ALL I CAN SAY IS WOW. 240 IS THE BEST IN THE LINE UP OF THE OLD MAC'S IMO. IVE COMPARED IT HEAD TO HEAD WITH A PAIR OF RESTORED MC 30'S. NO CONTEST THE 240 WALKED ALL OVER IT. EVEN THE MIDS!!! MY UNITS HAVE BEEN RESTORED TO PERFECTION. I HAVE SWITCHED THE 12AU7 TO A 6CG7 NOW IT SOUND EVEN BETTER. I RUN A SONY SX5400ES MCINTOSH MC 240 MCINTOSH MX 110 AND A PAIR OF JBL STUDIO 590'S. A BUDDY CAME OVER MY HOUSE THAT JUST GOT BACK FROM CES. HE SAID MY SYSTEM WAS AS GOOD AS THE 100,000.00 SYSTEMS HE HEARD. EAT YOUR HEART OUT.I AM IN TO MY SYSTEM FOR LESS THAN 6,000.00. CHEERS

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
coupleduck   Audio Enthusiast [May 11, 2012]

I've had my MC 240 for 20 years. It's been paired with a C-20 preamp and a pair of JBL L112s. The best way that I can describe the sound is that it doesn't lie. Garbage in will be garbage out. With a quality source, whether analog or digital, I'm can't complain, to say the least.
I like the sound of the vintage Sansui receivers, like my 9090DB and the QRX 7001 which I'm auditioning right now, I can't say that they sound as good. Yeah I need a sub to get equivalant bass, but from the mids to the treble, the Sansuis can't touch the Macs or maybe any good tube setup. Tube sound is JUST something you need to hear and compare with solid state. It seems like nothing gets lost. it's such a full sound!!!!! I guess I'm sold on tube sound.
So. in conclusion, if you get a chance to listen/buy an old McIntosh tube amp, I'm sure you'll be impressed and satisfied.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
convivialist   AudioPhile [May 25, 2010]

Price Paid: $1750 for MC240

The Mcintosh MC240/MX110 combo is the "Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers of vintage tube audio -- pure honey". This particular Mcintosh MC240 amplifier was purchased with its matching MX110 from the original owner's wife. She said the two units were purchased new together in the 1960s. The owners manual was pristine but the units did not function and had years of grime on them with some condition problems.

My Mcintosh tech has been servicing Mcintosh for 40 years and knows the inside of these units. He is a minimalist and replaces only what is necessary; and while it was not necessary for this unit, he can clean messes left by prior amateur techs beautifully).

The unit was meticulously maintained and serviced only by the authorized Mcintosh dealer until the original owner passed away. Since that time, it remained installed in the wall that it had occupied since 1965; and it became non-functional and was ignored for 15-20 years.

When I picked up the repaired unit from the dealer, the Mcintosh tech said that the unit was functionally beautiful. He said it performs well above all original specs, and he elected to reduce the output to 55 WPC. After 20 or so hours of painstaking cleaning (mostly with q-tips and very soft cloths), the MC240/MX110 combination was ready to power up for its first test run in many years. I keep these at my climate controlled office where I can show it to clients and play them during business parties.

When powered up, there was only beautiful music. The MC240/MX110 combination is pure elegance: tight base, lovely mids and balanced highs.

So here's a toast to the fine folks at Mcintosh that invented this beautiful MC240/MX110 combo, the fine American manufacturing employees that assembled it, and to the original owner. The original owner's wife said he liked fine wine, but he loved his Mcintosh. I do too.

Strengths: sound quality, looks, value, history

Weaknesses:
1) Not all 240s sound alike, but most can be made right by a good tech if they haven't been too excessively altered.
2) You'll want to listen when you should be working if you keep it at the office.

Similar Products Used: Other Mcintosh

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Bill mc laughlin   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 02, 2008]
Strength:

very musical, amp has excellent tone, very good details.

Weakness:

I found no Weekness but as we know this amplifier over the years will have some pidding, which is I dont care.

I got this amplifier here in Toronto from a friend, I was looking stereo power amplifier to use it togeather with Audible illisions M3, I went lot of music store with few 60`s prestige records such as John Coltrane, Sonny Rolins, recorded by master Rudy Van Gelder and I had few Philips records, J.S Bach the 3 violin concertos by Arthur Grumiaux etc... and I listen lot of amplifiers tube or solid state, they were very expencive and fancy, but they didnt apeal to me they were not musical, and they were lifeless. My friend ask me to listen Mcintosh mc240 and his tannoy 12" reds I took my Audible illisions m3 pre amp and went to his home, after listening few records I bought that mcintos , I was looking for this sound, it was great snare, accoustic bass, sax, and piano was amazing. I can listen 2 or 3 hours and I never get tired and I enjoy every second of it. I am not into Telark type of audiophile recordings we all know those recordings has great dynamics and air in their recordings and no performances. If you want to listen Performance from masters who did record for blue note , prestige, atlantic, philips, london you better buy vintage mcintosh MC 240 or I had long time ago Quad 2 they are very nice as well.

Customer Service

never had problems and this amp build over 40 years ago works super quiet.

Similar Products Used: Quad 2, Bryston, Audio Design (Canadian made company long time ago went out of bussines).
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
pangl   AudioPhile [Jun 11, 2005]
Strength:

Great nostalgic value. MC240 is probably the only audiophile amp on Earth that you could display your superiority on *objective* terms (how the chrome looks, how the silk screens are around, does it still have the serial # on the chrome, does the transformer case still shiny). No kidding. MC240 could sound like crap yet the owners still *feel* they sound golden, and they will proudly tell you how great the unit *looks*.

Weakness:

Time and age are the winning and greatest enemies of MC240. Original units are too aged to sound optimal, modified units don't sound like the famed MC240. Over-hype may make people (like me) to spend unnecessary time and money to find a nice unit and to make it sound as good as advertised.

It is rather curious to say whether something sounds great, or something that should sound great but it is not but you are so suckered they you *think* the sound is great. MC240 is the perfect case for this paradox. I owned 4 different MC240, from all original to the fully updated unit. They all sound different. Unless you went thru my experience you would not come to my conclusion of MC240: MC240 should sound great, and it was probably the summit achievement during the golden age of tube amps. But my ears tell me they are NOT today, regardless of whether it's original (which is weird - the parts that contribute to its critical sound are not designed to last 40 years!) or modified (which changes the sound signature substantially). Or put it bluntly: It is not cost-justified to pay $1500-$2500 for the sound of MC240. Of course, it is more stupid to trust Absolute Sound and buy all those Chinese made garbage which are made by sweat shops in remote villages in China. So don't feel bad if you still want to buy an MC240. :-) The original MC240 sounds very warm but lacks resolution, precision (attack & imaging). If you play mono LPs with lax vocals you gonna feel like in heaven. But any reasonably modern passages would reveal all the weaknesses of the original unit which is 40-50 years after its birth. The updated units - 3 in all I owned - varied from bare minimum parts need to be replaced for proper operation, to full blown "updates" - have something in common: They don't sound like the original unit at all and they sound different from each other. The warmth is mostly gone, the magical midrange does not have the sheen any more, and what you get is better dynamics, better extension and imaging at various degree. I went thru the whole hell to tube rollings too. Frankly, I think RCA Black Plate 6L6GC is over-hyped on MC240, and RCA 7027A makes the unit sound awkwardly bright and thin. Tried different combo of Mullard/Amperex on the 12AU7/12AX7/12BH7. I think overall any original MC240 won't sound good no matter what, and updated MC240 sounds best with 7027A and all Mullard 12AX7/12AU7 with Amperex 12BH7. In the end, I sold all 4 MC240s at varies time because unlike some people who have oil wells in their backyard, I cannot have something expensive in my setup that gives mostly *nostalgic* value. I mean, if you look at eBay closely, I think people are more crazy about how the chrome chassis looks - there could be $1500-$2000 difference for Christ's sake. Don't you find this amusing? Do not get me wrong as an McIntosh basher. I used to be in awe with the MC240 sound. But once you get experienced it, and you experienced something much better, you would put things in different prospective. It is an interesting side note that I know several fellow Audiophiles who owned vintage 15" Altec and Tannoy, and they worshipped the MC240. I crashed the party by telling them how any decent 300B SET would beat the tar out of MC240. And my prediction is true. I know. Because I went thru the same path.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
Bruce G   AudioPhile [Jan 08, 2004]
Strength:

Quality construction and desgin second to none. Durable & attractive design. Power tube bias is automatic regulation type. No need to adjust manually. Flexibility of input types & power out (load) requirements. The Mac amps even had built in 70 volt x-former windings for constant voltage - type speaker applications. Point to point - hand wired circuitry. Very attractive design & tube layout.

Weakness:

40 years old. Original coupling capacitors should be replaced by top quality new replacements of equal voltage & mfd. value. Work must be performed by experienced technicians only. Sound quality improvement will be dramatic & you will avoid possible catastrophic tube failure due to old shorted caps. Amp MUST be adequately ventilated as tubes and power transformer get hot. ( this is true of all hi -power tube amps) I also suggest replacement of the voltage surge limiter. Keep dust off chrome to avoid pitting. Use soft dry cloth or feather duster ONLY!

The MC 240 is a true classic that just seems to get better with age. Not too many amps look as good as they sound - but the Mac amps from the 1960's are clearly an exception. If you enjoy classical or Jazz music, one audition of an MC 240 will put you into HI FI Heaven. The Mac 240 is very pleasing to listen to. Mid-range frequencies, which are critical for clear vocal reproduction, are exceptionaly free from distortion and odd-order harmonics. This enables the listener to enjoy the program material without fatigue. The Famous McIntosh Unity Coupled transformers were very efficient, making for clean, open, natural sounding playback. How many other audio devices that are 40 years old can actually outperform many current products?

Similar Products Used: Dynaco st 70, MK III, PAS I. McIntosh A116, MC 225, 275, MX 110, C 20. Heathkit WM3, WM 5. Fisher SA 300, 400, 500B, 500C, 800B, X1000. Presto DS 265.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
jim   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 29, 2000]
Strength:

Very well made, very reliable, makes beautiful music.

Weakness:

None that I can think of.

This is my dream amp and it's been with me since college in the 1970's. It lives in harmony with a McIntosh C-11 preamp, a pair of Klipsch Cornwalls and a Thorens TD-124/SME 3009 combo.

This set-up is dead-quiet and every record I play sounds exactly the way it should--what more could anyone want?

One suggestion: Output tubes make a huge difference.
When my original RCA 6L6GC tubes crapped out in the late 80's I bought some Russian tubes and used them for a while and something seemed missing. I then found some NOS RCA 7027A tubes and all was well again. 6 more years went by and a couple of tubes were weak again and I was lucky enough last year to find some GEC KT-66 tubes. WOW!! The only drag is that the tube cage doesn't fit with the KT-66s.
But who cares? IT's all about the sound.

I bought my MC-240 for $325 in 1975 and it's probably worth about $1500 today. Not bad. I suggest you buy one now, as they're only goin up in value.

Similar Products Used: Lots of Scott and Fisher tube stuff.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Allan   Casual Listener [Nov 10, 1999]
Strength:

Impressive in every way. Built like a tank, beautiful example of funcional intusdrial design. Sweet sounds! By the way, this is a 1964 model, not a 2000.

Weakness:

Most have scratched and pitted chrome these days, getting pretty expensive ($1500 or so) in the collector market,

I must admit I'm no audiophile. I just like listening to good music and I hate the ultra sharp, clean sound of most modern high-end hi-fi products. I've had the McIntosh for several years and have loved every minute. I have used both Scott and McIntosh preamps (130 and C11) and I really prefer the Scott (sounds dumb--but like I said, I'm no audiophile). I've played around with speakers over the years--everything from Klipschorns to Bose 901 (hey, no laughing!) and have for now settled on a set of used KEF 107s that I picked up last year (but I wish I had the Klipschorns back---I finally have a house with a room big enough for them!!)

To be honest I bought the McIntosh 240 becasue of the absolutely DROP-DEAD-BEAUTIFUL way that it looks more than for the sound. The fact that it's the best sounding amp I've ever heard is just a bonus.

If you pay $1200-$1500 for one of these I'm sure it will be worth even more in a few years. Go for it, you'll never regret it.

Similar Products Used: Fisher SA-100 and SA-300, Marantz 8
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Patrick Stafford   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 22, 2000]
Strength:

Durability and Dependability (in excess of 25,000 hours operation), Presence of pure transient sound from any source, Quiet beyond Quiet, Logical output controls, Excellent protection circuitry

Weakness:

Absolutely None. Unless you are pre-prejudiced, without first listening, to "tube" sets in this era of electronic marvels.

This magnificently and esthetically structured black and chrome 40 watt per channel amplifier was purchased in 1965 and has been going strong ever since. It is in pristine condition. McIntosh redefined what 40 watts of pure power and three 15 pound handwound transformers can do for you (I have driven concert Hall AR, Electrovoice,and other 16 ohm systems to the disbelief of the listeners). For vinyl, I use it mainly with a Dual professional turntable equipped with a Shure V15 Type III cartridge.

It has outlasted the scorn of all the solid state afficionados and outperformed them consistently. I have used this with the McIntosh MX110 Pre-Amp and Tuner to reproduce every type of music imaginable from many sources. It has to be experienced to be believed. Anyone who has listened to its output cannot fathom the richness of reproduction that they hear.

I still use the 6L6GC power tubes which provide beautifully reproduced base while extending the upper range. It is virtually indestructible in normal use. I would recommend this over any solid state system for the sheer warmth, depth, and range of listening pleasure.

Similar Products Used: Fisher, Harmon Kardon, Technic, Pioneer, Sony
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Steve Smith   Audiophile [Dec 05, 2000]
Strength:

Soundstage, image placement, vocals, timbre, sweet natural highs, solid bass, excellent build quality.
dependability, affordability.

Weakness:

None; unless you like the unmusical sound of solid state. I admit to prejudice, with the exception of Arcam and some
earlier B&K solid state amps, tubes sound superior to me.

The MC240 is a 40 watt per channel stereo amp produced from 1961 to 1969. It is very beautiful, in chrome and black, and weighs about 57 lbs. The MC240 is wired to accept both 7027A and 6L6GC output tubes. I am currently using RCA 6L6GC black-plates, which provide excellent detail and extension in treble and bass. The sound of a MC240 is pure tube musical magic, with wonderful vocals and a huge deep and wide soundstage. I have had excellent results using
tube preamps from Lazarus, Anthem, Audible Illusions,
and Dynaco with the MC240. I finally chose the McIntosh
MX110. As an added bonus, McIntosh tube equipment from the 1950's and 60's keeps increasing in value.

Similar Products Used: Dynaco 70s, Mark IIIs and Mark IVs; several B&K amps,
NAD amps, Arcam amps, Mesa amps, Lazarus H1a and Class A.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 10  

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