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  #131  
Old 05-31-2013, 07:01 PM
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Perhaps it's mere impatience, but I have not liked the sound from the MM section of the 2300. I think those tubes need the same 20–30 hours the line stage tubes do, independently. But I was disenchanted enough to put my phono preamp back into the system and connect to the line stage. Instant, major improvement. I am more pleased, and will leave it this way. I stopped counting tube hours at 25, and will just listen now. Blu-rays such as The Avengers can thump more now. And my test tracks on Yes Live at Montreaux had more weight. Still not quite what my LS3 generated, but much closer than before.

If I do this again I don't think I'd get a tube preamp, but the C2300 has improved its chances with me now.
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  #132  
Old 06-13-2013, 04:37 PM
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On Sunday I took the 2300 out of the system and changed the tubes. More of an adventure than was necessary because I had to track down a screw that dropped down into the chassis, but I got it done. I took out the Amperex tubes and put JJ ECC803s tubes into the line stage only; I returned the stock tubes to the phono section.

So far, not bad. The JJs need another 15 hours or so to break in, but it seemed they were going to be at least as good as the Amperexes in the lower frequencies; better, I hope.
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  #133  
Old 06-15-2013, 06:12 AM
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I did something last night that may have improved the chances I'll keep the McIntosh C2300 in the mix here. I was watching Jeff Beck Live at Ronnie Scott's last night, and was again aware that the low frequencies were lacking thump. It's not good when you can't enjoy what you're watching because you're too aware of what's missing. Despite the other marvelous things this pre does, it still lacked in the bottom frequencies to my ears and in my system. I was actually beginning to consider trading it in or selling it for something else.

Then the idea struck to try the tone controls. So I went into the menu and turned the bass up from 0 to 2dB (the range is +/- 12dB). TRANSFORMATION. Things filled in, weight increased, and with no apparent damage to the mids or highs. I knew this was supposed to be a pretty sophisticated implementation, but I was quite impressed. On to Yes Live at Montreaux. Same thing. In fact, this sounds like what I get from my ARC LS3, except better due to the more open sound. The +2 is more than enough.

The tubes also need another 10-15 hours to be broken in more fully, but this is great! I'll throw on Avengers excerpts to see what's happening there next. The purist part of me feels a bit strange about having to resort to the tone controls, but I won't argue with what it's done to the sound.
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  #134  
Old 07-03-2013, 12:31 PM
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Good luck with your journey. I have been considering buying a pre-owned C2300 for a while.
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  #135  
Old 07-03-2013, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grasshopper View Post
Good luck with your journey. I have been considering buying a pre-owned C2300 for a while.
I think the tubes have settled in now, and what I've got is pretty much what I'll get going forward. I turned the bass back down to 0 and didn't lose much at all on DVD, but felt the extra 2dB does tweak the sound just a bit. I also have to remember that the source and front-end equipment have a role in the sound as well. Some CDs are light on low-frequency energy, for example; that's not the preamp's fault.

So I'm listening to the music more these days, and less to the sound (though I still listen to the sound). A good sign. I'm figuring that curve will go upward.
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  #136  
Old 07-03-2013, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prepress View Post
I think the tubes have settled in now, and what I've got is pretty much what I'll get going forward. I turned the bass back down to 0 and didn't lose much at all on DVD, but felt the extra 2dB does tweak the sound just a bit. I also have to remember that the source and front-end equipment have a role in the sound as well. Some CDs are light on low-frequency energy, for example; that's not the preamp's fault.

So I'm listening to the music more these days, and less to the sound (though I still listen to the sound). A good sign. I'm figuring that curve will go upward.
Sounds good. I read your thread start to finish and really appreciated your journey. I really would have loved to hear what you thought about an A/B comparison with the C50-C48/ vs. the C2300. If I preamp, it will likely be one of either of those (I too am philosophically wired for solid state. I detest anything that infers some level of maintenance).

If you have more info on the C48 "sound" vs. the C2300 sound, I would welcome your experience.

Also, if you ever retreat from the C2300, I may be interested in buying one...
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  #137  
Old 07-03-2013, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grasshopper View Post
Sounds good. I read your thread start to finish and really appreciated your journey. I really would have loved to hear what you thought about an A/B comparison with the C50-C48/ vs. the C2300. If I preamp, it will likely be one of either of those (I too am philosophically wired for solid state. I detest anything that infers some level of maintenance).

If you have more info on the C48 "sound" vs. the C2300 sound, I would welcome your experience.

Also, if you ever retreat from the C2300, I may be interested in buying one...
Knowing me, I'm still not beyond a change, even now. But so far so good. I haven't played many records lately, and the (relatively) new Grado cartridge needs some break-in, as I understand it.
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  #138  
Old 07-20-2013, 12:36 PM
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I have come to the idea of putting my Audio Research preamp back into the system, alongside the C2300. I would then perform some comparisons to settle once and for all which I prefer, using my CD player. With the tubes broken in more fully, the C2300 preamp has sounded much better than at the beginning. But while I've been more satisfied, there's still the nagging idea that the solid-state LS3 might yet have a bit more thump to it. And since I haven't played the system in about a week, perhaps I'll have fresh ears.

I'd like to do this with the least amount of hassle. Placing the LS3 was no problem; the trick is figuring out the connections. I'll have to see if I have any more Kimber Hero available (I don't think so). If not, I'm not going to buy anything just for the sake of this experiment, I'll just have to put up with the hassle. I do have a pair of AQ Black Mamba II which sounds similar, but has perhaps a tiny bit more bottom end based on experience with it and the Hero connecting preamp to power amps. But no comparisons until I work out the connection scheme.

I'd like to be able to connect and disconnect at the CD player, not the preamp (I'll have to move the preamp/power amp connections of course, but that's less hassle than the WBT-terminated Hero ICs on the front end). I do have 2 pair of AQ King Cobra I'm not using; perhaps that's the way to go if there's no Hero available. The other danger is if I discover in the process that I prefer the King Cobra to the Hero, and by no small margin.
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  #139  
Old 07-21-2013, 05:34 PM
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Okay, I got out my leftover cable box, and there is indeed no more Kimber Hero. There are, however, two pairs of AQ King Cobra and three of Black Mamba II (a 1m pair included), as well as Tara Labs Quantum 4 (older stuff from the early 90s).

I don't know how fast I'll get to this, as next Sunday is my turn to teach in our Sunday school, so lesson prep will have priority over my little face-off. However, I'll at least set things up and most likely with the King Cobra. Perhaps it's too expensive at $350/2m pair to sit idle, so I guess I'll use it. I'll also need to let the LS3 break in a bit, since it's been unplugged for so long. The capacitors probably need a few hours to re-energize, so I'll start there. Once I get used to the sound again then I could go back to the C2300, and then back and forth for a few tracks.
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  #140  
Old 07-21-2013, 08:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prepress View Post
Okay, I got out my leftover cable box, and there is indeed no more Kimber Hero. There are, however, two pairs of AQ King Cobra and three of Black Mamba II (a 1m pair included), as well as Tara Labs Quantum 4 (older stuff from the early 90s).

I don't know how fast I'll get to this, as next Sunday is my turn to teach in our Sunday school, so lesson prep will have priority over my little face-off. However, I'll at least set things up and most likely with the King Cobra. Perhaps it's too expensive at $350/2m pair to sit idle, so I guess I'll use it. I'll also need to let the LS3 break in a bit, since it's been unplugged for so long. The capacitors probably need a few hours to re-energize, so I'll start there. Once I get used to the sound again then I could go back to the C2300, and then back and forth for a few tracks.
Can't wait to hear what your comparison yields.
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