McIntosh question

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Re: McIntosh question

Postby muletrane » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:27 pm

Hey all,

I'm curious about the whole preamp/power amp setup. What is the advantage? Seems like a lot to go through when you can just buy a twin. I have a showman clone that I built that I could mod. Would it be worth it to get a power amp? Why solid state amps? Would tube work ok too? Sorry for the newb questions. Thanks!
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Re: McIntosh question

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:01 am

muletrane wrote:Hey all,

I'm curious about the whole preamp/power amp setup. What is the advantage? Seems like a lot to go through when you can just buy a twin. I have a showman clone that I built that I could mod. Would it be worth it to get a power amp? Why solid state amps? Would tube work ok too? Sorry for the newb questions. Thanks!


Well, it's true that a Twin really can deliver the goods. It's gotta be cleaned up and in good shape and obviously with the right speakers. Problems with a real Twin are that it's way, way too heavy when loaded with JBL's. Also, the Twin may actually be underpowered at 80 watts for some people. And for some people going for a post '72 Garcia tone, they find that the tube-preamp/SS Mac power-amp combination actually gets it more accurately. The SS power amp is gonna sound stiffer and cleaner, and when it does clip and distort, there's a character to it that's very distinct and clear. When the 6L6's in a Twin begin to distort, they get warmer and darker and compressed sounding. When a Mac clips, it's got a real punchy, firm, and "squirty" kind of distortion to it. It's the Jerry sound.

But really, if you have a good Twin with good tubes, the right tone settings, and learn to operate it right at it's power limits, that truly will give a fantastic Jerry sound. In many ways it's a more practical and playable approach. The McIntosh approach is pretty unforgiving and requires a very skilled sense of picking the strings and dynamic control. Power tubes are much more forgiving. Personally, I find that power tubes help my picking inconsistencies. But if I'm real warmed up and have been playing for a few hours and my hands feel more in the zone, then I find the SS (Solid State) Mac approach far more workable.

I remember back in '88 talking to Healy, and he said his preferred guitar rig was a real Twin.


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Re: McIntosh question

Postby mijknahs » Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:19 am

SarnoMusicSolutions wrote:I remember back in '88 talking to Healy, and he said his preferred guitar rig was a real Twin.


Yeah, but no one wants to get the "Healy tone"...




Just kidding. I like the Twin preamped into a SS McIntosh or using the Twin power tubes. Both sound good for different purposes.

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Re: McIntosh question

Postby Pete B. » Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:34 am

SarnoMusicSolutions wrote:
muletrane wrote:Hey all,

I'm curious about the whole preamp/power amp setup. What is the advantage? Seems like a lot to go through when you can just buy a twin. I have a showman clone that I built that I could mod. Would it be worth it to get a power amp? Why solid state amps? Would tube work ok too? Sorry for the newb questions. Thanks!


Well, it's true that a Twin really can deliver the goods. It's gotta be cleaned up and in good shape and obviously with the right speakers. Problems with a real Twin are that it's way, way too heavy when loaded with JBL's. Also, the Twin may actually be underpowered at 80 watts for some people. And for some people going for a post '72 Garcia tone, they find that the tube-preamp/SS Mac power-amp combination actually gets it more accurately. The SS power amp is gonna sound stiffer and cleaner, and when it does clip and distort, there's a character to it that's very distinct and clear. When the 6L6's in a Twin begin to distort, they get warmer and darker and compressed sounding. When a Mac clips, it's got a real punchy, firm, and "squirty" kind of distortion to it. It's the Jerry sound.

But really, if you have a good Twin with good tubes, the right tone settings, and learn to operate it right at it's power limits, that truly will give a fantastic Jerry sound. In many ways it's a more practical and playable approach. The McIntosh approach is pretty unforgiving and requires a very skilled sense of picking the strings and dynamic control. Power tubes are much more forgiving. Personally, I find that power tubes help my picking inconsistencies. But if I'm real warmed up and have been playing for a few hours and my hands feel more in the zone, then I find the SS (Solid State) Mac approach far more workable.

I remember back in '88 talking to Healy, and he said his preferred guitar rig was a real Twin.


Brad


The thing about the pre-amp tap is that you can run your Twin Reverbs volume knob at say 7, and run that to another amp where you can control the volume, either way lower volume than gig volume (you could never run a Twin at 7 in your bedroom for example) or way higher volume than a Twin can produce (2 or 3x a Twins max volume).
But with that said, outside of this board, I know of only one guy using a pre-amped Twin style rig with UGB/OBEL. I know several great guitar players, both Pro and local, with "Killer Tone" (imho), that have never even heard of pre-amping a Twin, let alone a UGB's or OBEL's.
IMHO it's more important to be able to sound Jerry-ish on any guitar thru any amp (right and left hand technique is more important than gear, imho, although I just love gear stuff!!!).
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Re: McIntosh question

Postby czyfingers » Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:57 am

I agree that at the end of the day, you have to have the chops. But I love being a gear hound and trying to build the perfect beast. Plus, even if you don't have the chops, through the right rig the simplest things sound a whole lot better.
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Re: McIntosh question

Postby muletrane » Fri Apr 09, 2010 10:52 pm

Thanks for the replies. It sounds like a versatile rig. Wish I played out and had the problem of needing more volume :hd: I like the idea of running the preamp high and using the Mac as the master. Right now I've been using a Randall isolation cab to turn up my showman with pretty good results but I still like to hear the direct speaker. I think this rig could be an answer to getting that sort of sustain but at lower levels. Any particular tube amp I could look at also or should I just go for a SS amp?
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Re: McIntosh question

Postby czyfingers » Sat Apr 10, 2010 2:31 am

My vote would be for the SS amp. You'll pay a hell of a lot for a tube Mac and thee SS models really get the job done well. As far as which to get, there are a bunch of choices, but if you don't need excessive volume (which you said you don't) the Mc250/2505 would be a good choice and can be had for a reasonable price. It's 50 watts per channel. One side will be as loud or louder than your twin and it can be bridged if you need more power. There's also the 2100/2105 (100watts/channel) 2120/2125 (120 watts/channel). The models ending in 05 are the mechanical equivalent of the ones ending in 00, but with a pretty face and blue meters. (and more expensive). Anything higher powered than these ones are going to be too loud to turn up enough to sound good.
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Re: McIntosh question

Postby mijknahs » Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:15 am

But do get a good tube preamp like an old Fender amp or a new SMS Classic.
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Re: McIntosh question

Postby JonnyBoy » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:53 am

mijknahs wrote:[

Yeah, but no one wants to get the "Healy tone"...
Just kidding.

Jim


Ha! :lol: had a good laugh at that. On the other hand, Healy knows his shit even if he was a bit brazen in his control over the sound at the end of his Dead career. Who knows, maybe he would have been brazen enough to turn Jerry's tone back on track at the end. I can't wait till the day I get a Mac amp or the day Brad builds a tube amp worthy of pure Jerry tone!!!! which will come first?? :lol:
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Re: McIntosh question

Postby tigerstrat » Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:03 am

mijknahs wrote: I recommend the new Tung Sol 5881 reissue power tubes.


Hey Jim, I wound up taking this advice by accident! Ran out the door at 6:30pm last night in a mad scramble to get new 6L6 output tubes for my Mark III before my gig tonight. First store: keeps me waiting 10 min while casually BS-ing w/ a customer, THEN at 10min to 7 tells me "oh we are all out" WHAAAT!!!??... scorched asphalt another 2 miles down the road to the next store: they have closed, but the guy lets me in. "We are all out of 6L6 but we have one last pair of Tung-Sol 5881's". Hadn't planned to spend that kind of $ but here I was in a bind. Play tested minimally at garage levels, sound fine I guess... hoping they show me God tonight onstage!
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Re: McIntosh question

Postby mijknahs » Fri Jul 29, 2011 9:03 am

tigerstrat wrote:
mijknahs wrote: I recommend the new Tung Sol 5881 reissue power tubes.


Hey Jim, I wound up taking this advice by accident! Ran out the door at 6:30pm last night in a mad scramble to get new 6L6 output tubes for my Mark III before my gig tonight. First store: keeps me waiting 10 min while casually BS-ing w/ a customer, THEN at 10min to 7 tells me "oh we are all out" WHAAAT!!!??... scorched asphalt another 2 miles down the road to the next store: they have closed, but the guy lets me in. "We are all out of 6L6 but we have one last pair of Tung-Sol 5881's". Hadn't planned to spend that kind of $ but here I was in a bind. Play tested minimally at garage levels, sound fine I guess... hoping they show me God tonight onstage!


You only needed 2? I guess you have EL34s for the other pair. Let us know how they work tonight. Are you able to re-bias the amp?
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Re: McIntosh question

Postby strumminsix » Fri Jul 29, 2011 9:17 am

mijknahs wrote:You only needed 2? I guess you have EL34s for the other pair. Let us know how they work tonight. Are you able to re-bias the amp?


Rebias? In my day we didn't rebias. We took out all our tubes , put them in an show box, to the corner drug store, figured out which ones were bad bought whatever brand they happened to have, reinstalled and played the dang guitar. :lol:
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Re: McIntosh question

Postby mijknahs » Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:12 am

strumminsix wrote:
mijknahs wrote:You only needed 2? I guess you have EL34s for the other pair. Let us know how they work tonight. Are you able to re-bias the amp?


Rebias? In my day we didn't rebias. We took out all our tubes , put them in an show box, to the corner drug store, figured out which ones were bad bought whatever brand they happened to have, reinstalled and played the dang guitar. :lol:


Ok, thanks Dad.
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Re: McIntosh question

Postby strumminsix » Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:25 am

mijknahs wrote:
strumminsix wrote:
mijknahs wrote:You only needed 2? I guess you have EL34s for the other pair. Let us know how they work tonight. Are you able to re-bias the amp?


Rebias? In my day we didn't rebias. We took out all our tubes , put them in an show box, to the corner drug store, figured out which ones were bad bought whatever brand they happened to have, reinstalled and played the dang guitar. :lol:


Ok, thanks Dad.

I couldn't resist, Jim!
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Re: McIntosh question

Postby hard truckers co » Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:48 am

Just a reminder.....

McIntosh will be at the Dead Gear Expo. They will have certified technicians at the expo available to answer all of your questions on McIntosh products. They are deadheads taboot and know all about the 2300s and using McIntosh power amps with guitar rigs.
Come down to the Dead Gear Expo. August 20th and 21st Mexicali Live - Teaneck, NJ. Dont miss it. Tickets are on sale now at ticketweb.com and hardtruckers.com

See you there
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