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Old 08-23-2019, 04:23 PM
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Default MR88 Review

Finally....After finally tracking one down on the West Coast for a decent price after looking for months...Geez, no one wants to sell these! Quite an adventure I had along the way......of course it arrived with a broken front glass in an otherwise pristine packing job. UPS must have dropped it. When you have Mcintosh products shipped it's always pot luck whether the glass will be broken. I had a MR80 Tuner shipped from Audio Classics that arrived with a broken glass front, but I received a 100# MC252 Power Amp arrive in perfect condition.....gotta be lucky I guess. Anyway It was covered by insurance and a new Glass ordered and installed by my local Mcintosh Service guy. The unit itself was undamaged and worked perfectly. I stated in another post about my LED bar "disappearing", well after warming up for a few hours it works fine....no more disappearing act. My unit did not come with the original remote so I ordered a HR085 Remote from Audio Classics.........Very nice remote and works like a charm.

While I was waiting to get the glass installed I tracked down a XM/Sirius Mini-Dock on Ebay and decided on an aftermarket power cable for the 88. I chose the 12 AWG Voodoo Cable Mojo Power Cord....I can't say enough about Voodoo Cables....The Mojo uses Pure Copper conductors and don't cost an arm and a leg. I am running Douglas Connection Bravo XLR interconnects with Vampire termination. (another high Quality Low-Cost Cable), From my Levinson 38S Preamp. Power supplied by a MC252 Power Amp driving JBL L300/Summits. My Full-Size Yagi FM Antenna is set up in my attic and I live on a hill about 15-miles of downtown Pittsburgh....I can actually see the city on a clear day.

I won't get too technical because a lot of others have stated how well the selectivity, sensitivity and rejection on the 88 is.......and believe me...it is!

I can get approx. 45-FM stations, a ton in HD and they are some of the clearest signals I have ever achieved from a Stereo Tuner. I am pulling stations in from surrounding states (Pittsburgh is close to Ohio and West Virginia) THe HD is fantastic.....most of the stations will pull up 2-3 alternate HD stations from a particular station.

I don't listen to AM......so I can't comment on it.

Aesthetically, the 88 is a gorgeous piece of Audio componentry.....the Only thing that I would change is the "Mcintosh" signage which is White/Clear and allows the unit backing lighting to illuminate it. They would have really had a piece of art if they would have illuminated with a seperate Green Filter which would have matched my MC252 and other /Summits.mac items.

Where this tuner shines the most in my eyes is the XM/Sirius usage. Believe me....I have had a fairly high-end Stereo for as long as I can remember and can really discern the difference between "good" and "fantastic" sounding source material. Well, the XM broadcasts audio quality is very good.....so good in fact that my friends and I can not tell the difference between FM and XM.....the stereo separation and high volume quality is there folks. If you look on line and other reviews people will knock XM on their units as being low quality and unlistenable.......A lot of these reviews were from years ago though, so I'm not sure if the XM quality has improved or what......First off, with the XM dock you need to aim it towards the southern sky.......if you go into the 88 internal menu it will show the signal strength in bars, 3-bars being the best. Well at 1st I couldn't position the antenna to achieve any more than 1-2 bars.......XM sound would be erratic, actually cutting out at times. After I positioned and mounted the antenna outside with a direct unobstructed view of the Satellite, man things changed. Full signal strength and the MR88 with XM shines......Not having commercials and being able to pick the genre of music is beautiful. For those that don't have Sirius subscriptions, stations like Bluesville, Classic Vinyl, Deep Tracks, Tom Petty Radio and my favorite, the Beatles Channel are revelatory. The sound and the MR88 information panel at the bottom of the unit showing station ID and song information is fantastic. Also...I did update the firmware to the latest version which is 1.11....not sure if the update had any tweaks for the XM.

Sound-wise, this unit is on par with my other Mcintosh Tuner....the MR80, which sounds fantastic as well and never thought would be equalled by another.........the 88 is THAT GOOD. I have the MR80 in another set-up and will never sell it.....it's also THAT GOOD.

For the pricing now......$4,500.00 is a lot for a Tuner....but in my case with excellent reception for both FM, the abundance of HD broadcasts and especially the XM Radio quality....it's worth it.......at the $2,600.00 I paid........No way I would ever pay over 4-Grand for a Tuner. If you don't need the XM and are limited in HD broadcasts, I'd say a modified MR80 or 78 is the way to go. The current replacement for this Tuner is the MR87....without HD or XM which is going for $5,000.00! Mcintosh is really asking a ton for a Tuner that does less than the former 88. My suggestion for those of you considering the 87 is to wait for a MR88 to come up for sale.....you'd be getting more for less folks.

Hope I didn't bore you........enjoy the pics. I snuck one of my JBLS in there as well.
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Last edited by Flyingfrog; 08-24-2019 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 08-23-2019, 05:25 PM
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Great report.. enjoy.
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Old 08-23-2019, 09:16 PM
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I bought my MR88 from Audio Classics and I paid $2600.00 as well. I am in a poor reception area even with a FM antenna on the roof. I can't get any HD stations, but the FM stations I receive are all top notch. I had mine hooked up via the analog outputs, but later changed to the digital output. It sounds better that way. The amount we both paid was more than I wanted to spend, but it is a lifetime investment. Enjoy.
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Old 08-24-2019, 12:15 AM
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Congrats, the MR88 is a great tuner!
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Old 08-24-2019, 09:44 AM
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Tom,
Great review of the MR88. I still discover more new music with my MR88 than any other source and rarely miss a day listening to it. Love my MR88. Enjoy your new MR88!

btw - JBLs look nice too!
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