McIntosh MHA200 - and not understanding the THA specs, power output

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by wormcycle, Apr 12, 2021.

  1. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    MxIntosh is shipping now their new MHA200 https://www.mcintoshlabs.com/products/headphone-amplifiers/MHA200

    [​IMG]

    In Canada, the price will exactly the US price converted to CAD, without usual fleecing of unsuspecting Canucks (Bay Bloor Radio).
    Now it is difficult to audition anything but I almost, very stupidly, preordered this one but I looked at the spec and there are so many things I do not understand that it just would not make sense. The first is power output, there is a HP impedance knob and magically:
    Power Output
    32 Ohm Load 500mW
    100 Ohm Load 500mW
    250 Ohm Load 500mW
    600 Ohm Load 500mW
    "From the product webside:
    The Unity Coupled Circuit transformers have been adapted to produce 4 headphone impedance ranges of 32 – 100, 100 – 250, 250 – 600, and 600 – 1,000 Ohms at 500mW so that virtually every headphone can receive legendary McIntosh sound quality and performance."
    One of the head-fiers talked to McIntosh and it got nowhere:
    https://www.head-fi.org/threads/the-jps-labs-abyss-ab-1266-impressions-thread.666765/post-16158392

    The next is THD, here is the spec:
    Total Harmonic Distortion 0.5%
    A-Weighted Signal to Noise Ratio 94dB unbalanced

    I understand that in terms of comparing to other amps (MHA150, BHA-1) specs numbers are very bad, but that the only thing I really understand.

    Example from BHA-1, according to what I read those are measurements that really matter.
    DISTORTION: THD+noise: < 0.005% 20 Hz to 20 kHz
    IMD: < 0.001% 60 Hz + 7 kHz mixed 4:1

    In this context the MHA200 spec is really strange, but is it alarming?
    No one really heard this amp yet, "reviews" are meaningless. McI is, needless to say, a company with certain reputation.
    Maybe some folks way smarter than me can make some sense of it.
     
  2. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    If you want to compare numbers, at least you should do it on the courtesy of apple to apple.

    To be specific, bring transformer-coupled tube amps to the table to compare. Hopefully measured in similar condition. BHA-1 is largely disqualified to compare.

    That said,. I don't think 0.5% necessarily bad or alarming. To me 0.0001% is way more alarming (garbage rate is much higher with 'better' spec ones).
     
  3. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    If I knew anything about it, I would compare apple to apple but the point is I cannot tell apples from oranges. My entire post was a cry for help :oops:
     
  4. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Let's keep it simple. Wait until your amp delivered. Hear and report back here (because we are interested haha). Ignore anything you can't truly understand (most numbers to most people). Return if you don't like it.

    Again, if I go for that kind of products, I am always willing to accept one digit percent in THD. Sometimes even higher if context makes sense.
     
  5. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    Tubes. This is neither strange nor alarming.

    What I would be much more worried about inherent open loop gain and the amount of feedback necessary to reduce the gain to reasonable levels.

    Opamps (Topping, SMSL) have a shit-ton of gain, therefore need a shit-ton of feedback. At worst these kinds of amps sound horrible, at best OK but a bit insipid.

    Remember, the plate amp in the much heralded JBL LSR305 monitors measured like shit, almost 2% THD. It didn't prevent Audio Scientist Amir from praising the sound with nonsensical subjective terms: smooth, very realistic

    Distortion as a spec for amps is terribly overrated. If you do want to look at distortion, best that it's applied among gear types with similar open loop gain. Gear with a distortion spec that is too low actually tends to sound like shit, albeit, a different kind of shit to gear with excessively high distortion.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2021
  6. YMO

    YMO Chewbacca's hairy brother

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    Classic ASR post:

    What is the normal McIntosh sound nowadays? $2,500 is steep but in the world of McIntosh stuff...it's average pricing.
     
  7. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    MHA150 is on sale used on CAM for eq of $3400 US. But it is really integrated amplifier with DAC. MHA200 is headphones only.
    Y I have seen those posts on ASR, they expect it to be much worse sounding than JDS Labs Atom. Really funny bunch
     

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