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MCINTOSH LABS INTRODUCES NEW HEADPHONE AMP MODEL MHA 100 - Page 21

post #301 of 1237
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmichels View Post
 

Welcome back Mike.

 

Your initials impressions are encouraging, but, IF I understand well, all your tests have been done WITH THE D100 ahead of it as the DAC !  Does this mean that the internal DAC inside the MHA100 is well bellow the D100's SQ ? If this is the case does the MHA100's price still worth for an AMP only if an external DAC is needed to get the most out of it ?

oh, no

 

SO sorry if I mislead you!

 

Most of my listening tests have been done with the MHA100 as an Amp/DAC.

 

I just put the D100 ahead of it this week to see how much better the stack would sound - and did the D100 out-shine the on-board DAC in the MHA100?

 

and, thus far, the stack has more dynamic weight and better detail retrieval - but I expected that.

 

But, again, to be clear (and SO sorry for the confusion) all my initial impressions (most of my post you're referring to) were of the MHA100 pulling double duty

as DAC and amp.

 

AND: If I didn't own a D100 - I gotta say I'm still impressed with the MHA100 - very impressed.

Any headphone amp/DAC that puts me in my chair for 10+, 12+ hours, listening to music, while time evaporates, is a winner in my book.

 

Remember: We can ALWAYS improve our systems - with other componentry.

 

For example - I used to love the Mytek Stereo-192 DSD DAC ahead of my Cavalli Audio Liquid Gold,

until I heard the D100 ahead of it - then, I moved my Mytek to my wifes desk.

 

So we can ALWAYS reach higher - but, like I said, if I didn't own a D100 - I would still be impressed with the sonic integrity of the McIntosh MHA100

post #302 of 1237
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemercer View Post
 

oh, no

 

SO sorry if I mislead you!

 

Most of my listening tests have been done with the MHA100 as an Amp/DAC.

 

I just put the D100 ahead of it this week to see how much better the stack would sound - and did the D100 out-shine the on-board DAC in the MHA100?

 

and, thus far, the stack has more dynamic weight and better detail retrieval - but I expected that.

 

But, again, to be clear (and SO sorry for the confusion) all my initial impressions (most of my post you're referring to) were of the MHA100 pulling double duty

as DAC and amp.

 

AND: If I didn't own a D100 - I gotta say I'm still impressed with the MHA100 - very impressed.

Any headphone amp/DAC that puts me in my chair for 10+, 12+ hours, listening to music, while time evaporates, is a winner in my book.

 

Remember: We can ALWAYS improve our systems - with other componentry.

 

For example - I used to love the Mytek Stereo-192 DSD DAC ahead of my Cavalli Audio Liquid Gold,

until I heard the D100 ahead of it - then, I moved my Mytek to my wifes desk.

 

So we can ALWAYS reach higher - but, like I said, if I didn't own a D100 - I would still be impressed with the sonic integrity of the McIntosh MHA100

 

thanks for the clarification Mike.

 

But this still do not help me to choose between those 2 VERY different animals : the Eddie Current 4-45 for which I still have my pre-order and this MHA100 ;)  (sold at the exact same price if booth are to be used an AMP only)


Edited by bmichels - 7/2/14 at 2:46pm
post #303 of 1237
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmichels View Post
 

Welcome back Mike.

 

Your initials impressions are encouraging, but, IF I understand well, all your tests have been done WITH THE D100 ahead of it as the DAC !  Does this mean that the internal DAC inside the MHA100 is well bellow the D100's SQ ? If this is the case does the MHA100's price still worth for an AMP only if an external DAC is needed to get the most out of it ?

Great question bmichels

 

I wouldn't go so far as to say the internal DAC of the MHA100 is well below the D100's SQ - The D100 is another beast, as it's a dedicated DAC/pre/amp.

To me, the D100's strength is the DAC! The headphone amp is tight, but not reference-level in my opinion. The D100 also has the advantage of CEntrance USB technology on-board!

 

The MHA100 as an amp/DAC is emotively engaging and dynamically tight and, as @HiFiGuy528 said: it's very easy on the ears.

 

Through my Audeze LCD-XCs - the MHA100 sounds like old-school McIntosh gear used to sound. 

 

I referred to my grandfathers system above (which was all McIntosh tube gear btw) - with the LCD-XC the sound is lush, full-bodied, dynamic, both micro and macro, and nice and open/airy. 

The MHA100 (as Amp/DAC) is also capable of sustaining its sonic integrity with a variety of musical genres - I've thrown everything at it: from Coltrane and Miles Davis to Bassnectar, Plaid, and Die Antwoord. It never ceased to amaze me when listening to music. That said - I mean I wanted to keep listening, keep on digging for more music to feed it! That's the mark of a winner in my book.

 

The MHA100, when paired with the Audeze LCD-XC - is just an awesome combination. I say that, all technicality aside, because I can listen to this combo for HOURS - and I have!

I actually pulled a 20-hour session with this pairing, getting four editorial assignments done in that time (highly unusual for me). The music was meditative, soothing, and powerful all at the same time...

 

I imagine if I didn't have a D100 in my personal audio arsenal I wouldn't feel like I'm missing anything with the MHA100 as a DAC/amp.

 

I threw the D100 at it so I can see if my hunch was correct: that the stack would out-shine the MHA100 alone - but doesn't that make sense? There's always room for improvement.

 

But I think anybody seeking a reference-level solution that's got everything on-board the MHA100 is a solid choice.

 

BTW: What do I mean by reference-level? Sorry, that's my ol' high end audio experience creeping in - 

 

It means I trust this components musical integrity. Why? Because my personal acid test is playing my own productions/tracks through the system 

(in this case it was the MHA100 + Audeze LCD-XC and @scootermafia's Double Helix Complement2 cable - Amarra as source using my original track files)  

The MHA100 was as accurate in reproducing my own tracks as most top headphone amp/DACs I've heard.

 

That said - my Cavalli Liquid Gold + D100 is more accurate  - but I really enjoy the sound of the MHA100. I may sell another amp to buy it!

 

More thoughts to come...

post #304 of 1237
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmichels View Post
 

 

thanks for the clarification Mike.

 

But this still do not help me to choose between those 2 VERY different animals : the Eddie Current 4-45 for which I still have my pre-order and this MHA100 ;)  (sold at the exact same price if booth are to be used an AMP only)

That choice will come down to personal preference. 

 

However, if it were me, having heard the Eddie Current, which I enjoy very much, I would choose the McIntosh MHA100 - 

Why?

 

Because it does a better job at getting to the heart of the music, the emotive power of the music. It's got that indescribable quality,

sparkle-factor if you will...

 

The Eddie Current - IMO - is like a pair of Wilson Audio loudspeakers (minus the new Sasha with I love) in this instance: Highly resolute, and uber-Hi-fi, but soulless. As music is not that precise, it's an art-form.

 

IMO (and I love this other Eddie Current amp which I can't remember the model name - but its balanced) the McIntosh pulls me in, it's sonically addictive - and that's what I look for 

in a sound system! I don't wanna leave my desk when playing the damn thing. 

 

We all look for different things in our sound systems: Me? I want to stop thinking about the gear when I'm listening. The MHA100 does that for me.

post #305 of 1237
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemercer View Post
 

.... it does a better job at getting to the heart of the music, the emotive power of the music. It's got that indescribable quality,

sparkle-factor if you will... it's sonically addictive - and that's what I look for 

 

This looks very similar to what you told me once about "the soul" of your EAR HP4 ! isn't it ? (but I guess you will not sell your HP4 for a MHA-100 ;)  )


Edited by bmichels - 7/4/14 at 10:30am
post #306 of 1237
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemercer View Post
 

That choice will come down to personal preference. 

 

However, if it were me, having heard the Eddie Current, which I enjoy very much, I would choose the McIntosh MHA100 - 

Why?

 

Because it does a better job at getting to the heart of the music, the emotive power of the music. It's got that indescribable quality,

sparkle-factor if you will...

 

The Eddie Current - IMO - is like a pair of Wilson Audio loudspeakers (minus the new Sasha with I love) in this instance: Highly resolute, and uber-Hi-fi, but soulless. As music is not that precise, it's an art-form.

 

IMO (and I love this other Eddie Current amp which I can't remember the model name - but its balanced) the McIntosh pulls me in, it's sonically addictive - and that's what I look for 

in a sound system! I don't wanna leave my desk when playing the damn thing. 

 

We all look for different things in our sound systems: Me? I want to stop thinking about the gear when I'm listening. The MHA100 does that for me.

C'mon bmichels somebody already gave you the answer take the pledge and buy the Mc!!

post #307 of 1237

From Mike's impressions, I'm really looking forward to audition the Mc with the XC.

post #308 of 1237
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicman59 View Post
 

C'mon bmichels somebody already gave you the answer take the pledge and buy the Mc!!

 

Yes. Please.

post #309 of 1237

Thanks mikemercer for sharing your experience.

 

But I'm still waiting for someone that has experience with Abyss AB1266 and He6 on MHA100.  These two headphones are the most difficult to drive.  I'm wonder if MHA100 has enough power to drive Abyss or He6 to it's full potential.

 

For LCD-X which very easy to drive I'm already satistied driving it from Graham Slee ULDE. 

post #310 of 1237
Quote:
Originally Posted by chirawatf View Post
 

Thanks mikemercer for sharing your experience.

 

But I'm still waiting for someone that has experience with Abyss AB1266 and He6 on MHA100.  These two headphones are the most difficult to drive.  I'm wonder if MHA100 has enough power to drive Abyss or He6 to it's full potential.

 

For LCD-X which very easy to drive I'm already satistied driving it from Graham Slee ULDE. 

Sure.

 

and I have an Abyss here actually! I got it after the Newport show, and returning it at the SF Head-Fi Meet on the 19th.

 

I'm not a big fan of the headphone personally (fantastic bass, no doubt, but the mids and highs lack sparkle IMO - and I've tried it on my own Cavalli Audio Liquid Gold, E.A.R HP4 and ALO Studio Six). I think it's uber-revealing, like fantastic hi-fi, or Wilson Audio Loudspeakers (except the new Sasha which I love) - I find it very Hi-fi-like, that is to say audiophily: technically wonderful, but to me it lacks soul, which is impossible to quantify. It would be more straight-forward to say I don't react emotionally to music played through it, which is what I look for in a sound system.

 

I want it to disappear, leave me forgetting about the gear and connecting deeply with the music on more than a sheer technical-level.

But we all hear differently.

 

That said - power-wise, I didn't think the MHA100 was up to the task of driving the Abyss to its full potential when I tried, especially compared to my Cavalli Liquid Gold.

 

I don't own an He6, but I've heard it plenty of times, and I think the MHA100 could drive it - but I would prefer more headroom personally.

If that helps at all...

 

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rossliew View Post
 

From Mike's impressions, I'm really looking forward to audition the Mc with the XC.

that's a KILLER combination!

It ended up being my favorite.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by musicman59 View Post
 

C'mon bmichels somebody already gave you the answer take the pledge and buy the Mc!!

+1 musicman59

post #311 of 1237
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmichels View Post
 

 

This looks very similar to what you told me once about "the soul" of your EAR HP4 ! isn't it ? ;)  (but I guess you will not sell your HP4 for a MHA-100 ?)

you're DEAD ON! I do say that about the E.A.R HP4 quite often, that modern headphone amps (the HP4 is actually a 12+ year-old amp design) may out-perform

it technically, but it drips with soul. I've had my longest listening sessions with the E.A.R and my Cavalli Liquid Gold & Audeze LCD-3s, 2s, and XCs.

 

However, I'd be lying if I didn't admit to considering selling the HP4 to buy the MHA100 - but I decided against it, more-so out of sentimental reasons,

but I am considering selling my Studio Six for the MHA100! Or, towards the purchase of one (or, to cover the cost of my Astell&Kern AK240 review unit).

 

 

Our full review of the MHA100 should be ready for publication next week on Audio360.org BTW


Edited by mikemercer - 7/4/14 at 8:32am
post #312 of 1237

it would be totally awesome if someone (an electrical wizard of sorts) produced an upgrade module to retrofit into a D100 that gives it a solid 1W of class A solid state output.  a kit perhaps that can easily be soldered in there somehow with a few fat caps and the best discretes.  I would pay easily a few hundred bucks for it even as a do it yourself kit.


Edited by groovyd - 7/4/14 at 9:32am
post #313 of 1237

+1


Edited by jmm007 - 7/5/14 at 3:07pm
post #314 of 1237
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemercer View Post
 

Sure.

 

and I have an Abyss here actually! I got it after the Newport show, and returning it at the SF Head-Fi Meet on the 19th.

 

I'm not a big fan of the headphone personally (fantastic bass, no doubt, but the mids and highs lack sparkle IMO - and I've tried it on my own Cavalli Audio Liquid Gold, E.A.R HP4 and ALO Studio Six). I think it's uber-revealing, like fantastic hi-fi, or Wilson Audio Loudspeakers (except the new Sasha which I love) - I find it very Hi-fi-like, that is to say audiophily: technically wonderful, but to me it lacks soul, which is impossible to quantify. It would be more straight-forward to say I don't react emotionally to music played through it, which is what I look for in a sound system.

 

I want it to disappear, leave me forgetting about the gear and connecting deeply with the music on more than a sheer technical-level.

But we all hear differently.

 

That said - power-wise, I didn't think the MHA100 was up to the task of driving the Abyss to its full potential when I tried, especially compared to my Cavalli Liquid Gold.

 

I don't own an He6, but I've heard it plenty of times, and I think the MHA100 could drive it - but I would prefer more headroom personally.

If that helps at all...

 

that's a KILLER combination!

It ended up being my favorite.

From headphone output of MHA100 is definite not enough power for Abyss and He6, but what about direct connection to speaker tabs output.  Have you ever tried connecting Abyss or He6 to speaker tabs of MHA100?

 

Thanks

post #315 of 1237
How i wish the DAC feature is a 1K usd option...
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