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    VTA ST-120 compared to McIntosh MC-275

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    Leigh W

    Posts : 45
    Join date : 2013-04-02

    VTA ST-120 compared to McIntosh MC-275

    Post by Leigh W on Sun Dec 14, 2014 11:01 pm

    Hey all. Has anyone ever compared these two amps side by side for sonic differences? I currently own the st-120 and Roy's SP-14 and the combo works very well. I recently purchased a McIntosh D100 digital preamp which I use as a dac. Wow, my ears woke up when I heard this thing. I'm wondering how the entry level McIntosh stuff (C-220 pre and MC-275) may compare. Any thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Leigh

    Bob Latino
    Admin

    Posts : 2378
    Join date : 2008-11-26
    Location : Massachusetts

    Re: VTA ST-120 compared to McIntosh MC-275

    Post by Bob Latino on Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:29 am

    Leigh W wrote:Hey all. Has anyone ever compared these two amps side by side for sonic differences? I currently own the st-120 and Roy's SP-14 and the combo works very well. I recently purchased a McIntosh D100 digital preamp which I use as a dac. Wow, my ears woke up when I heard this thing. I'm wondering how the entry level McIntosh stuff (C-220 pre and MC-275) may compare. Any thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Leigh

    Someone with a VTA ST-120 and a Mac MC275 made a post on the forum here about a year ago .. This post is at the link below ,...

    Comparison VTA ST-120 and McIntosh MC275

    Bob

    MarcVBelgium

    Posts : 81
    Join date : 2013-12-06
    Age : 62
    Location : Antwerp, BELGIUM

    VTA ST-120 compared to McIntosh MC-275

    Post by MarcVBelgium on Mon Dec 15, 2014 1:55 pm

    Leigh W wrote:Hey all. Has anyone ever compared these two amps side by side for sonic differences? I currently own the st-120 and Roy's SP-14 and the combo works very well. I recently purchased a McIntosh D100 digital preamp which I use as a dac. Wow, my ears woke up when I heard this thing. I'm wondering how the entry level McIntosh stuff (C-220 pre and MC-275) may compare. Any thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Leigh

    Hi Leigh,

    Indeed, I have a ST-120 and a MC-275/V and.... I'm using it with a C-2300 and a D-100 as DAC...
    I have read many comments on this forum about both amps and I always wonder.....are people comparing
    both amplifiers with 100% tubes ?..... If either amp has worn tubes, it will likely sound less....
    My 275 has all McIntosh selected tubes and my St-120 has 12BH7 and 6550 by Tube Amp Doctor...
    (Alternatively I have 12au7 and either KT-120 - very hot ! - or Gold Lion KT88 - different rectifiers like GZ37NOS, 5U4, etc.)

    Both are used on rather easy to drive Tannoy Glenair 10 with supertweeter (4 Ohm total).

    So, does the ST-120 "blow the Mc-275 out of the water"? NO, at least not in my opinion.
    Is it far more value for money? YES ! It does sound as good for far less money ( a 275MkV costs
    the equivalent of 6.300 $ overhere in Europe, while the ST-120 comes to about 2.100 $ built....
    (we have 21% VAT, import duties 10% .....)

    IMHO, you can't go wrong with either one in terms of sound....but when considering price.... at 1/3th....
    As so many I do love McIntosh, their history, the "pride of ownership" etc.... if this is worth the
    money is something each individual has to decide for him-(her)self...

    In my experience it is worth the effort to compare 4-8 Ohm taps..... in my situation, on both amps,
    4 Ohm tap sounds better than 8 Ohm......ST-120 is wired accordingly.

    The ST-120 is a magnificent amplifier and is worth every penny. Sound is marvellous!












    sKiZo

    Posts : 1287
    Join date : 2013-04-01
    Location : Michigan USA

    Re: VTA ST-120 compared to McIntosh MC-275

    Post by sKiZo on Mon Dec 15, 2014 4:24 pm

    Somewhat related ... I got the ST120 to replace an MC2205 (solid state - 200wpc) that was in need of some shop time. Bought that new back in 1980ish. I know that had some issues, mostly with lights, meters, and the power guard system. Can't really say how well it compared with it's original spec, but I can say with the Latino, there hasn't been much incentive to git er done on the Big Mac.

    One important observation ... the MC2205 would hard clip at the same system levels that I drive the ST120. I (may) get some distortion now, but not so you'd notice. BIG advantage with the tubes. It was also common to see the caution lights on my XR16 speakers - now I'll see those once in a blue moon.

    One day I'll get the MC2205 to the bench so I can do a true comparison ... have to find my back belt first though ... right now, it's still in the rack, just taking up space.


    MarcVBelgium

    Posts : 81
    Join date : 2013-12-06
    Age : 62
    Location : Antwerp, BELGIUM

    vta-st-120-compared-to-mcintosh-mc-275

    Post by MarcVBelgium on Mon Dec 15, 2014 4:57 pm


    The MC-2205 is a very fine amp in its own right. At this moment I'm listening to Chet Baker through two
    old MC-50 mono's. (both revised by McIntosh TS)
    Do they compare to the ST-120 ? No way, the sound is less defined, less dynamic and even a bit "coarse"
    at times.
    But that does not diminish my musical satisfaction. These are 45 years old (after all...) and are a perfect
    sample of what was possible in those days..... which was a lot. It is just great fun to listen to them....

    Leigh W

    Posts : 45
    Join date : 2013-04-02

    Re: VTA ST-120 compared to McIntosh MC-275

    Post by Leigh W on Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:05 pm

    Thanks so much for the input on the Mac-275 and the ST-120 people. So much appreciated and well received. I now think I have a hankerin' to check out the M125's over the Mac. And a special thanks to Bob for the link!

    Cheers!
    Leigh

    audiobill

    Posts : 271
    Join date : 2014-03-13
    Location : Philadelphia

    Re: VTA ST-120 compared to McIntosh MC-275

    Post by audiobill on Tue Dec 16, 2014 5:42 am

    And in the US, that $6,500 for the MAC compares to about $1,500 for the ST120 - over 4x the cost!

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