Just got an mc50!

Re: Just got an mc50!

Postby Searing75 » Thu May 01, 2014 4:56 pm

Both amps sound great, but the mc50 will be closer to Jerry no doubt. The response is different, and it has a midrange splat sound that I believe to be crucial to Jerry's tone.

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Re: Just got an mc50!

Postby waldo041 » Thu May 01, 2014 6:50 pm

Plenty of "great" sounding amps out there, but only a Mcintosh sounds like a Mcintosh, period! Save your money and get one, or get one of the other great amps, and then save your money and then get a Mcintosh. An Mc50 is rare, but an mc250 costs about the same and is 2 mc50's in 1 amp. A little more expensive, but the exact same thing, is the mc2505 with the blue meters. All of these are conservatively rated for 50 watts and will be sufficient until you want to upgrade to the mc100/mc2100/mc2105 which is the 100 watt version. If you don't have the cash, the time to save or the back for a Mcintosh, you are making a compromise! However, if you do make that compromise know that you do not have to use only a Carvin, Rocktron, or Mosvalve. These are just amps some have chosen as their compromise and posted their opinions to "inform" others about how great these amps are. Only some of these guys who have posted these informative opinions have ended up buying, you guessed it, a Mcintosh! The choice is ultimately yours to make, but know this, regardless if you play like, sound exactly like or sound nothing like Jerry Garcia, Nothing sounds like a Mcintosh! Anyone who plays one will tell you exactly that and i am not saying that as an opinion, i am stating that as a fact!

~waldo
"Tone is in the instruments. Technique in the hands. Do what you will." ~ quote from some guy at the TGP forum
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Re: Just got an mc50!

Postby Searing75 » Thu May 01, 2014 7:17 pm

It's surely a journey of trial and error.

...........and the wallet tends to suffer because of it. :roll:
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Re: Just got an mc50!

Postby TeeJay » Thu May 01, 2014 8:06 pm

Chris- I am trying to keep the 212 cab wired in stereo for use with other power amps but use it with the mc50 in mono. I thought maybe using two cables off the mac 4 ohm tap into the two 8 ohm speaker jacks on the cab would be the same as paralell.
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Re: Just got an mc50!

Postby Searing75 » Fri May 02, 2014 4:41 am

Cool. Parallel would work like this. Wire both positives to the 4ohm tap, and both negatives to the common tap. It may get tight at the connectors with all of that wire?

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Re: Just got an mc50!

Postby Jon S. » Fri May 02, 2014 6:31 am

waldo, have you ever personally played through a Carvin DCM200L?
"For me, I think the only danger is being too much in love with guitar playing. The music is the most important thing, and the guitar is only the instrument." Jerry Garcia
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Re: Just got an mc50!

Postby Jon S. » Fri May 02, 2014 6:33 am

>> Nothing sounds like a Mcintosh! Anyone who plays one will tell you exactly that and i am not saying that as an opinion, i am stating that as a fact!

This is true. It's also true that few of us replicate Jerry's rig precisely in every other regard, either. I.e., what we run into our McI's isn't often precisely what Jerry ran into his. So why would we expect our McI's to sound identically to his anyway?! These are among the reasons many if not most of us own and love our McIs but don't own only McI's. Not an opinion - fact!
"For me, I think the only danger is being too much in love with guitar playing. The music is the most important thing, and the guitar is only the instrument." Jerry Garcia
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Re: Just got an mc50!

Postby waldo041 » Fri May 02, 2014 10:30 am

Jon S. wrote:>> Nothing sounds like a Mcintosh! Anyone who plays one will tell you exactly that and i am not saying that as an opinion, i am stating that as a fact!

This is true. It's also true that few of us replicate Jerry's rig precisely in every other regard, either. I.e., what we run into our McI's isn't often precisely what Jerry ran into his. So why would we expect our McI's to sound identically to his anyway?! These are among the reasons many if not most of us own and love our McIs but don't own only McI's. Not an opinion - fact!


Should probably have quoted the whole statement!

>>>The choice is ultimately yours to make, but know this, regardless if you play like, sound exactly like or sound nothing like Jerry Garcia, Nothing sounds like a Mcintosh! Anyone who plays one will tell you exactly that and i am not saying that as an opinion, i am stating that as a fact!

~waldo
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Re: Just got an mc50!

Postby waldo041 » Fri May 02, 2014 10:41 am

Jon S. wrote:waldo, have you ever personally played through a Carvin DCM200L?


No, I have not, but after the few reviews I have read from you and Searing, it appears to lack some qualities I seek usually only found in a Mcintosh. So why would I purchase a Carvin only to be dissapointed? Furthermore, after hearing the same type of missing qualities from a MosValve, or Rocktron, I would continue to advise people to look for a McIntosh. I personally have a Crest I use as a spare amp in times of need. My actual backup is the other side of my Mc2100 and soon to be Mc2105. I have tried many different types of solid state amplifiers, and play other music then GD, JGB or Dead Related. Hands down a McIntosh beats them every time, no matter what type of music I am playing! My statement still stands, a ton of great amps out there that will do a very nice job for WHATEVER type of music you play, BUT NOTHING SOUNDS LIKE A McIntosh! Maybe one day they will top it, but that day has not come yet.

~waldo
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Re: Just got an mc50!

Postby Jon S. » Fri May 02, 2014 12:12 pm

May I humbly suggest it would assist you to rate the Carvin unit to actually try it.
"For me, I think the only danger is being too much in love with guitar playing. The music is the most important thing, and the guitar is only the instrument." Jerry Garcia
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Re: Just got an mc50!

Postby waldo041 » Fri May 02, 2014 12:31 pm

Jon S. wrote:May I humbly suggest it would assist you to rate the Carvin unit to actually try it.


Before I drop any money on an item I am going to ask you a simple Yes or NO question, does it do exactly what a McIntosh does?

If I want a Mustang does it make any sense to test drive a Focus?

~waldo
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Re: Just got an mc50!

Postby lunasparks » Fri May 02, 2014 1:47 pm

If I'm playing at "clean" (power amp not clipping) volumes, the Mac and some other power amps are going to sound very close. Basically, you're reproducing a clean waveform so it's 90%+ preamp tone in play. I think a discerning ear can still pick up a little something special in the Mac, a little color, a little extra mojo. But not necessarily head-turning.

The picture is entirely different when it comes to pushing the power amp into clipping territory where, importantly, 80s Jerry tone lives. In my experience, pushing the power transistors of a Mac to that smeared, splatty extreme is a crucial ingredient to my favored Jerry tone. This cannot be replicated with other power amps--at least none I've toyed with, including Rocktron and Carvin. It took me a lot of experimenting and learning to figure out this part of the equation. No Mac = No 80s Jerry tone, at least to my ears. Period.

Now that said, the volumes needed to properly clip the Mac are outrageous for most of us as players, whether at home or in a band setting in a smallish venue. So, truth is, most of us, most of the time aren't really getting the true Jerry-style power amp effect on tone. Other power amps can be suitable if you're willing to skip this application. But for the purist who will be satisfied with nothing less than knocking THE TONE--and, admittedly I'm still not there...yet--I have no doubt the Mac is necessary. Save the time, money, and false starts and go for the gold standard.
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Re: Just got an mc50!

Postby Jon S. » Fri May 02, 2014 1:54 pm

It only makes sense to test drive a Focus if you want to be able to describe how it drives based on personal experience. If not, no, it makes no sense to try one. And mean "try." Sooner or later, you'll run across someone who has one. Or you're welcome, if you're in the DC area, to try mine - we can A-B it with my MC50. :)

Actually, for someone who's already decided that only a McI will do - and that's fine - skip any further consideration of the DCM200L. Someone who, one the other hand, needs to be able to carry his preamp and power amp together easily with one hand while still getting good tone or sound good at practice or small gig levels might love the Carvin. For example a Manhattan musician who rarely gets near the sort of venue where you can open up a McI. Or you might love it if you personally prefer a relatively brighter, cleaner tone.
"For me, I think the only danger is being too much in love with guitar playing. The music is the most important thing, and the guitar is only the instrument." Jerry Garcia
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Re: Just got an mc50!

Postby williamsaut » Fri May 02, 2014 2:09 pm

I bought an MC50 recently and had it professionally gone over and the Sentry 'opened up' as the guy said. Not disconnected as he thought it would be a bad Idea. I'm not electronically savvy enough to make any real technical arguments about why the McIntosh MC amps were so unique but have read that they were overbuilt and innovative for their time. There's a website (or two) that talk about the history of the Co. and how intensely passionate the designers and technicians were. Waldo mentioned that 'maybe someday they come up with something better'. I have a feeling that if that day ever came it would have been a long time ago as things just are not built with the kind of quality today as then. An McIntosh was a cutting edge builder in the the same vein as the old RCA amps. In fact, if you search it on Ebay, Macs are at or near the top of the list in desirability and this is not by chance. When I look inside the Mac, I see simplicity and robustness. Bill Graham was quoted as saying the If he could run a microphone directly to the speaker, he would. Simple analog circuits will always sound better than their digital counterparts. To compare a Carvin to Mac....I don't know but here's some 'figures of merit' that someone with more knowledge about audio electronics could probably extrapolate on and do a comparison. But I'd bet you that many of these performance figures are 'proprietary information' for many of today's manufacturers because they just won't measure up!! Waldo also mentioned his Crest backup. I too went the crest route many years ago. Turns out These amps we're some of the most rugged and universally relied upon amps in the pro audio live sound reinforcement world for many years. You can actually weld with one of those amps!! There is an old Carvin on Ebay now that looks like It might worth looking at If you like lugging around heavy amps. it's a 1987 DCM301 Mono weighing in at 35lbs and pushing 300watts into 2ohms. It's the little EQ sliders that bug me, Just looks like something to get dirty and start having problems. I'd grab it if it just to try and take a look inside if it was a little cheaper.

http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200 ... =824&kw=lg


Mac vs 'whoever'. How do they measure up?
1 Gain
2 Bandwidth
3 Efficiency
4 Linearity
5 Noise
6 Output dynamic range
7 Slew rate
8 Rise time
9 Settling time and ringing
10 Overshoot
11 Stability
12 damping factor
When the secrets all are told,
And the petals all unfold.
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Re: Just got an mc50!

Postby Jon S. » Fri May 02, 2014 4:15 pm

(Best Scotty voice) I'm a musician, captain, not a purist or engineer. I play guitar and sing. Which is what I'm going back to now! Everyone should buy what he prefers. For me, that's one McI and one Carvin. Prefer something else? Great, all respect to you.
"For me, I think the only danger is being too much in love with guitar playing. The music is the most important thing, and the guitar is only the instrument." Jerry Garcia
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