B&W and McIntosh dream systems

Issac Ho and the top demo system.

It was a celebration of blue meters and diamond tweeters at Audio Perfectionist’s demo sessions featuring Bowers & Wilkins speakers and McIntosh pre, power and integrated amps yesterday.

The best system was the Cary DMS700 network audio player, McIntosh C12000 hybrid preamp, MC451 hybrid mono power amp, B&W 802D4, Ansuz cables, power distributor, power switch and HRS SXR highend audio racks.

This is a very interesting system as the McIntosh C12000 hybrid preamp offers both a tube and a solid state output stage while the MC451 hybrid mono power amp offers a tube and solid state output stage too. But it is designed for biamping with the solid stage output driving the bass and the tube output driving the mid and tweeter. And to measure the output of the two output stages, the blue meter has two needles.

Look at the two needles moving in what McIntosh calls a DualView power output meter….

The sound of this biamped system was excellent with a tight and fast bass, and smooth, warmish mids and highs. Surprisingly, the diamond tweeters of the B&W 802D4 did not sound shrill or bright.

The second best system was the Cary DMS700 network audio player, McIntosh C2700 tube preamp, MC462 power amp, B&W 803D4, Ansuz Cables, Power Distributor, Power Switch. The third was the Aavik S280 streamer, McIntosh MA352 hybrid Integrated Amplifier, B&W 702 S3, Ansuz Cables, Power distributor, Power Switch and HRS EXR audio racks.

Actually in comparison with other high-end marques, the McIntosh products are relatively affordable. If I have the money, I would go for the McIntosh C12000 hybrid preamp and MC451 hybrid mono power amp, and build a system around them.

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