Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #119419  by ccw3432
 Thu Oct 04, 2012 3:44 pm
So I’m looking for a Mcintosh MC250. I am debating whether I should get one that is working but likely in need of some electronics work to get it up to speed, or buy one that already has the work done. There’s a big difference in price for the ones that have been tested to factory specs. Sometimes only the necessary parts to get it to factory specs are changed which I'm concerned could be an issue in a year or two. I enjoy projects like this but am concerned that I’m going to take a nice Mcintosh amp and ruin it. I have some soldering experience and know how to drain caps to keep from dying. The innards of the MC250 don’t look that intimidating. The thing is, I don’t know what all that stuff does and I don’t have test equipment. I would need to take the cookbook approach and need some assistance on what to replace and where to get the quality parts. My thought would be to replace everything that typically goes bad whether it needs it or not with hopes of having a great sounding amp that won’t have parts go bad for a while.

My question is how difficult would it be for me to do this on my own? Should I just look at buying one that is already at factory specs or pay a pro to do this if I find an amp that needs it? What would a ballpark cost be to have an overhaul done up on a MC250 if I were to pay to have it done?
 #119432  by ccw3432
 Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:58 pm
Thanks for the responses guys. I have to ask why? Are they tricky to work with or am I missing something? I know the sound that comes from these things is pristine, but would it be difficult to change out the electrolytic caps with ones of like value? The fact that I am asking such questions surely shows I am a novice at electronics....but a confident novice. :-) Maybe too confident.........."what could go wrong?" :?

 #119442  by Pete B.
 Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:07 am
ccw3432 wrote: ... I have to ask why?..
ccw3432 wrote: ...The thing is, I don’t know what all that stuff does and I don’t have test equipment...
I guess that's how I see it...
The same was true for me when I bought mine.
I'll be turning it on any minute now for my morning jam-along.

Here's a lead on the DIY method:
Last edited by Pete B. on Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
 #119444  by NSP
 Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:12 am
ccw3432 wrote: The thing is, I don’t know what all that stuff does and I don’t have test equipment.
I recently acquired an MC250 and love it, but figured out there were issues with one of the channels among other things. I have electronics and soldering experience but I'm not trained to properly get this amp to factory specs. Personally I want the confidence of knowing this amp has been gone over by someone who does know what all the stuff does and has all the proper test equipment. The guy I took mine to here in Madison has been in the business for forty years. Turns out he needs to replace the output sections on both channels, as well as replacing both terminal blocks (left channel had a screw broken off in the 8ohm terminal) and input jacks (he talked me into sticking with the original rca's). He ordered all the parts directly from McIntosh yesterday. Some of this is preventive maintenance, but to me it's worth it knowing I'll have a reliable piece of equipment that I can gig with regularly. It sounded good before, but I can't wait to hear it when I get it back next week! Best of luck to you, let us know how it goes.


 #119463  by Pete B.
 Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:13 am
An MC250 in functioning order recently sold for $350. ... 0778698738

This guy charges $375 to fix a broken one: ... =824&kw=lg

fwiw, I bought mine fully serviced for $500.
But I hate to stop playing long enough to even changing strings, let alone repair an amp.
Some guys prefer to work on stuff and get it working, and then play.
It's all good.
Last edited by Pete B. on Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 #119468  by mgbills
 Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:24 am
+1 for having a Mac qualified tech go through it.

My take is that these SS Mac's are bombproof ...when they're at spec. There's tons of posts on this forum of guys messing up outputs, and generally brutalizing these amps. They are tanks. There has to be 40+ guys here that are regularly gigging them. Not easy on a piece of equipment that's technically a home article.

I have 2. 2100 & a 250. The 2100 has been thoroughly serviced, and resides on my home stereo. I don't need the power, and I just want to keep it exercised. I bought it for about $200 working & spent $300 or so to have it cleaned up. The 250 will get service, but it's my daily driver.

The other angle is this...will it ever lose value? If you quit guitar tomorrow could you not preamp tap your reciever & enjoy Jerry sweetly through your stereo for 40 more years? Your grandchildren will have the funniest looks on their faces when they try to figure out WTF it is! :lol:

They are elegant masterworks of US engineering from a bygone era. Love it. Keep it up. Other than a MC40 or MC75 tube, what more beautiful thing is there for a dude? Unless you have a Ferrari, or my old '69 Mach 1, or a Ibby Musician, or a Travis Bean, or a Moriarty...but I digress.

 #119828  by NSP
 Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:28 am
Just thought I'd tack on an observation of my MC250 to this thread.

As I mentioned above I took my 250 in for service and had some parts replaced and everything checked over and brought back to original specs. Prior to the service when I powered it up there would be steady hum coming from the unit (not the speakers), which I guess I thought was normal. Now I have it back and when I powered it up it was dead quiet to the point of me thinking it wasn't working. I was actually a little freaked out until I turned it up and started playing. Any other Mac users with similar experiences?