Sep 212013

FedEx delivered the set of my ‘new’ restored vintage McIntosh MC30s mono amplifiers today that I purchased from Yves Beauvais at Vintage Vacuum Audio after hearing my friend Leo’s MC30s that impressed me so much. 

MC30 with new production tubes

I unpacked the Mac’s and set them up in the system with my Westminster Royal Duelund Special Edition loudspeakers, and put on some LPs to listen to. These are great sounding amps! Yves equipped them with a thoughtfully selected vintage complement of tubes and they are sounding mighty sweet.

I couldn’t help myself, though, as I was in a tube rolling mood, so I thought I’d try some of the current production tubes from my tube stash  in the little MC30s just to see what would happen. In the photos on the right side of the MC30 is the Shuguang 274B rectifier with its artful ST bottle shape that I purchased from The Tube Store. Between the transformers are the Tung-Sol 6L6G also with an ST bottle shape that I purchased from Jim McShane.

MC30 with new production tubes 2

I have to say that the vintage tubes did out perform the new production tubes by being warmer, richer, smoother, and just more musically engaging. However, you might like to know that it was not a huge difference – these new production tubes are pretty darn good too. Although if someone were to let me try their stash of vintage Western Electric 350B & 274B tubes in the MC30s I wouldn’t say no! In fact, if Santa were to grant me one wish this year – after world peace of course – it would be that Western Electric would start producing 350B & 274B tubes again!

I’ll  put the vintage tube set back in the MC30s, but its nice to know there are options should those wonderful vintage tubes become harder to come by or become prohibitively expensive.

A word to the wise: If you run across a nicely restored set of vintage McIntosh MC30 monos, an MC225, or an MC240, I heartily recommend that you add them to your amplifier stable. They’re really something special, and you will not be sorry. In fact you may wonder after hearing them – like me – if there has really been any advancement in audio electronics after all those years since the Macs were new. Vintage Macs play music superbly well! These Macs are still relatively affordable overlooked treasures from the Golden Age of vacuum tube audio and they are a bargain from a performance standpoint. Get them while you can before the price goes out of sight!

From my home to yours, may the music lift your spirit tonight!

Thanks for stopping by!

 Posted by at 7:08 pm

  6 Responses to “Today’s Fresh Catch: My *New* Restored Vintage McIntosh MC30s Arrive”

  1. Congrat’s on the new amps Jeff, they look great! Let’s hope this week is a lot better.

    Cheers, Andy M

  2. Hi Jeff
    Picked up a pair of these a few days ago.
    Id been flirting with the idea of going from SS to tube now for a while, and it was your review on the Mc 30’s that convinced me.
    Just wondering what your full compliment of tubes/rectifiers etc are?
    Many thanks!

    — Other Jeff

    • Hey Jeff,

      I think you’ll really enjoy the MC30s, they’re great amps! My favorite output tubes (so far) are the GE 6L6GC grey plates, which is what Yves put in them. The 5U4GB doesn’t have any manufacturer information on it. The 12AX7 next to the 5U4GB is a Telefunken, the 12BH7 is an RCA, 12AU7 doesn’t show any clear markings, the 12AX7 at the end is an Amperex ‘Holland’.

      I hope that helps.



  3. Yes it does

  4. Hi, it is fun and enjoying in reading your audio review and your own personal point of view on hi-fi world. It was tempting to secure a set of your equipment, if my funding allow me to do so. Anyway, long storey cut short, bascially i drop in some words is that i need your advise on the vintage mcintosh vacuum tube amplifier as compare to to current re-issued MC275. What make your selection into Mac vintage amp with MC30 and MC240? I heard that the KT66 aka 6L6 vacuum tube amp was character in sweet sounding. I wonder should i go for vintage MC30 or the re-issued MC275.

    The advantages for my choice for MC275 were due to direct plug into power supply for operation, which mean it was operated in 240V. Forgot to inform that i was from South East Asia Country. Whereas, if i do obtain a pair of vintage MC30 which i may probably need a step down transformer (from 240V to 110V) to operate the amp. Question is whether the sound quality or character produce from MC30 will it be distorted?

    I am very concern on the sound quality of the amp. For your information, i am using solid state equipment so far and have yet to try for any vacuum tube amp. If i were switch from solid state to vacuum tube amp, i am still in doubt which one should i go for? Do you have any experience on the MC275 compare with MC30? I would think that MC30 would have mysterious behind as your preference goes on vintage MC30 and MC240 instead of re-issued MC275. Could you shade me some light on the right path and possible review on comparison of MC30, MC225, MC240 and re-issued MC275.

    Thank you.

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