McIntosh MC250 Amplifiers

MC250

Vintage Amplifier 50w/ch stereo. 100w mono. Response 20-20kHz (+0 -0.25dB). Sold from 1967-1979

User Reviews (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8  
brigrizzme   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 07, 2003]
Strength:

Warm, great mid-bass, handsome build, and of course - METERS. It just keeps getting better.

Weakness:

Speaker terminals, nothing else.

I also own the 2505 version, with the glass face. This is the best sounding amplifier I have owned. I normally listen twice a week for a period of 2 hours or longer. The amp sounds better the longer it is played. I’ve used this amp with my Maggie SMGA’s and now with my Klipsch Quartet (Heritage Series) speakers. The style of music I appreciated is late 60’s/ 70’s brass rock. Blood Sweat and Tears, Chicago, Tower of Power, etc… hence the horn cabinets. The warmest section of this amplifier is the mid-bass. The looks of the MC2505 are stunning. I worked at a local stereo store when I was younger and drooled over the McIntosh products traded in for, “upgrades.” I can sit for hours listening to fatigue free music while watching the meters. It looks fabulous paired with my C36 preamplifier and MQ101. If you can find one of these amplifiers for the right price, purchase it. Right away! This amplifier will not satisfy you if you enjoy sub-sonic bass rap stuff. The bottom end is round and not punchy like some of your other amplifiers.

Similar Products Used: Belles Model One, Belles Two, Adcom 555, Adcom 535, Hafler 200.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
pangl   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 11, 2003]
Strength:

Excellent soundstage and tube-like sound, musical and smooth. Bass a plenty.

Weakness:

It's only an transitional product. Once you heard this amp, you can't help yourself from dumping it to get the real McIntosh tube amps! Also, the speaker strips drive me nuts!

This is one of the best vintage amp I owned or auditioned. Only the vintage MC275 ($$$$$$$$$) sounds better than this. On top of all those glowing comments made before me, I'd like to add those $0.02 for your considerations: 1) Be prepared for an update via Audio-Classic if you get this used and non-certified. Jut $100-$150 on top, and you get better-than-new sound from this gem. 2) The speaker strips drive me nut. I am using NBS cables, and those spades are tough as diamond. The spades just don't go with those strips. This is the main reason I have to sell the MC250 quickly after I owned it. 3) Transitional product: This amp is real good for your money (way better than the Dynaco ST70 and the vintage Accuphase I got) AND will get you ponder how good an true vintage tube amp sounds like. It is hard to keep this because this MC250 will make you very tempted to get the real deal like MC240 and MC275. This amp does lose some details, and the imaging as not as precise. In return, you got very sweet and non-fatique sound. For $450, you can't possibly ask for more.

Similar Products Used: Way too many.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Scott   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 29, 2003]
Strength:

Great mid-range. Sound is clean, clear and very "organic."

Weakness:

Not as bass heavy as some people may like.

I have the MC2505, which is a 250 with a faceplate and power level meters. If I had to describe the sound of this amp in one word, it would be "organic." It reproduces music with very little coloration, although it can be a bit on the warm side at times. It really shines with acoustic recordings and jazz, where instruments are reproduced with such amazing clarity that they sound eerily like the real thing, as opposed to a mere simulation of the real thing. In other words, instead of hearing the equipment (and its colorations), you hear the music. I wouldn't call the soundstage "holographic" but it is certainly more dimensional than the soundstage that a number of modern SS amps produce. The only complaint I have about the 250/2505 is that it is too polite - too reserved. If you like a lot of bass and are accustomed to the bass "slam" of a modern amp, you might be disappointed.This is not to say that the bass isn't there. It is. But it's not any more pronounced than the rest of the range. The autoformers ensure that you will get full power (50 wpc) regardless of speaker impedance. It's a very flexible amp in this regard. It's also built like a tank. They don't make 'em like this anymore, unless of course you can afford a new McIntosh. Mine dates back to about 1975, and as far as I can tell all of the internals are original. The faceplate has been replaced, and that is something that you want to look for when you are buying one of these. The paint has a tendency to peel away from the glass with age, so if you get one that has had the faceplate replaced recently, you are coming out ahead. Of course, if you are looking for a 250, this is not a consideration as there is no faceplate. :-)

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Phil   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 21, 2003]
Strength:

Bullet-proof and heavy, a typical MC product. If this thing was given a better home in its previous life, it would be worth more - what a shame.

Weakness:

No off button.

I bought this amplifier at a garage sale in somewhat dechromed and rusty. The words and numbers are rubbed off the unit and it has shown its use and abuse of 30+ years. I took a chance and bought the misfit. When I got home and plugged the darn thing in, it hammers out the tunes! I did not have to repair a thing, just a bit of clean up and TLC. The amp sounds musical and somewhat warm. It loses some detail when played at theater levels but I'm sure it's just showing its age. At lower levels it is as pleasing as any of the new amps I've heard.

Similar Products Used: Other MC products, Rotel, Parasound, Counterpoint and NAD.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Brian Levy   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 28, 2002]
Strength:

Well built, with quality components making for a long lasting vintage amp with similar qualities of an excellent tube amp.

Weakness:

Sadly, not as many built as the Dyna ST70, hence not enough to go around.

Every Chis (see below) I've ever run into has been found either never owned a McIntosh, can't afford it and needs to make excuses, or never even listened to one in any half decent setup for ANY period of time. The 250 is one of the best 70 watt/per channel amps you can buy (yes, 70 - rated ate typical too conservative 50 watts by Mc). No speaker, even highly capacitive full range electrostats start to challenge it and coupling it with high efficiency Klipsch Cornwalls/Heresys/Belles/LaScala/K'Horns is can be a system to die for. Chris, if you can't honestly evaluate a piece, keep you comments to yourself.

Similar Products Used: You name it in the vintage market and I've most likely owned it or auditioned it at one time or another.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
okan bascavusoglu   AudioPhile [May 20, 2002]
Strength:

soul,detail,contruction

Weakness:

none

very good vintage power amp.more musically like a tube amp sound.

Similar Products Used: mc240,dynaco st70
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Charles Tidwell   Audiophile [Nov 21, 2000]
Strength:

Tube amp sound, great soundstage and imaging, and runs very cool.

Weakness:

None

The MC250 is based on on the old tube amps from McIntosh borrowing the classic output autoformers with taps at 4, 8, and 16 ohms. It has an output of 50 watts p/c at 4, 8, or 16 ohms thanks to the autoformers. Its specs are very comparable to amplifiers built today. Mine was built in 1976.

This amplifier is very quiet due to a great signal to noise ratio, 90dB. It has a rated output of 50 watts p/c and a peak output of 100 watts p/c. It can also be bridged mono for 100 watts rms and 200 peak into 2, 4, or 8 ohms. Frequency responce is rated at 10Hz to 100,000Hz at half power output and 15Hz to 60,000Hz at full power output. And the MC250 weighs 35lbs.

The McIntosh MC250 is very well built and pretty heavy for a 50 watt amplifier. New, this amplifier cost $380.00. Now, 24 years later, I paid over $400.00 for it plus shipping. All I can say is that I do not regret buying it one bit. I actually won the bid on this amp from Ebay. The gentleman I bought it from had it put through its paces at a certified McIntosh service center before it was put on Ebay and it passed every test with ease. I even have the paper to prove it! McIntosh has been known to under rate their amplifier output and the MC250 is no different. It actually pumps out 68 watts rms and 136 peak in stereo, 136 watts rms and 272 peak in mono.

The MC250 is the heart and soul of my stereo which also doubles as a Dolby Digital home theatre system. My main speakers are the Klipsch Cornwalls which date back to 1978 that my father bought brand new. The MC250 replaced a 10 year old SAE A205 amplifier that one of my brother's bought new back in 1989 and proceeded to blow up not only the two main capacitors but also the rectifier in it. About 4 years ago, I pulled it out of the closet, had my father help me fix it with beefed up caps and rectifier, and used it in my system since. Once I got the MC250 though, my brother asked to have his old amp back, so I gladly gave it back to him!

Anyway, back to MC250. This amplifier is very pleasing to both the ears and eyes. It has that wonderful classic tube amp sound with the looks to match. Except where the output tubes would be located inside the black metal cage, there are 4 large heatsinks with Motorola output transisters on them. This is actually a great design because the heatsinks have ample ventilation on all sides plus with the Cornwalls sensitivity of 101 dB @ 1 watt, at full volume, the MC250 is only pushing out about 3 or 4 watts of power!

Like I said before, this amplifier DOES have a tube sound to it. A very warm, full, smooth sound with excellent soundstaging and precise imaging. No matter what kind of music I put through it, it comes out very natural and all you hear is the music. And if you really want to achieve that tube sound, raise and widen the soundstage, and produce and even more precise imaging, take your 8 ohm speakers and hook them up to the 4 ohm taps on the output autoformers. I picked up that little tweak tip from a few other MC250 owners who are more than twice my age and have had the MC250 longer then I have been on this planet! Doing this tweak in my system also made the MC250 run cooler and added more depth to the soundstage!

I am very pleased with the McIntosh MC250 and I will continue to use it in my system until either it croaks or I croak, which ever comes first, and I'm only 25!!!

Similar Products Used: SAE A205
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
carlos Villarreal   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 11, 2001]
Strength:

built like a tank, reliability, well rounded dynamic response, firm bass.

Weakness:

Not the ultimate in resolution, output barrier strips are a pain.

I,ve lived with this amp for 22 years , never ever any problems, The amp might not posses the so called high end ultimate resolution but at this price which one does. I disagree with the review below, This little tank is a nice loyal folk. I also own Mc,s C 22 tube pre wich is a honey , beutifull phono stage, completlly disagree that MC,s are overrated, might not be this persons cup of tea but I find the review below unfair.

Similar Products Used: Audiprism debut, Mcintosh 6500 Int. amp.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-8 of 8  

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