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  1. #1

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    Question Musical Fidelity A3 Preamp?

    I'm thinking about the possibility of a new preamp. My McCormack TLC-1 preamp is a passive unit that seems to be a little thin in the midrange and sounds pretty lifeless on my speakers. I know a few people in Club Polk have experience with the MF A3 preamp and MF in general.

    How would you describe the MF sound?


    I think someone on here actually had a McCormack amp and MF pre, Hoosier, maybe? Any comments?

    Thanks in advance!
    Sony KDL-40V2500 HDTV, Rotel RSX-1067 Receiver, Sony BDP-S550 Blu-ray, Slim Devices Squeezebox, Polk RTi6, CSi3 & R15, DIY sub with Atlas 15

  2. #2

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    MF gear = very high performance with realistic prices.

    MF does a great job of putting out excellent equipment, with great performance at an affordable cost. Like NAD, a favorite mfg. of mine for years because of the high value you get for your hard earned money, MF takes it to another level; you get better build quality, better circuitry, better performance without paying an arm and a leg.

    A3cr Preamp
    This is a fantastic pre amp and value. Everything you want is there, open soundstage with great placement both L to R and front to back, detailed highs without harshness, midrange is very nice, female vocals are awesome, nice and solid bass. You get a very respectable MM/MC phono preamp included, and it has a remote for lazy folks like me. This preamp is dual mono, with baseball size transformers for EACH channel, very overbuilt, coming in around 35lbs or so, built like a tank (it truly weights as much as an integrated amp).

    I am sure there is better, but you will PAY dearly for the small improvement.

    Not sure any of that helps, but if you have any questions give me a shout.
    Dodd - Battery Preamp
    Monarchy Audio SE100 Delux - mono power amps
    Sony DVP-NS999ES - SACD player
    ADS 1230 - Polk SDA 2B
    DIY Stereo Subwoofer towers w/(4) 12 drivers each
    Crown K1 - Subwoofer amp
    Outlaw ICBM - crossover
    Beringher BFD - sub eq

    Where is the remote? Where is the $%#$% remote!

    "I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us have...very hard to explain why you're mad, even if you're not mad..."

  3. #3

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    Thanks Hoosier!

    Didn't you own a McCormack amp also? If so, did you ever run the MF and McCormack together? Good combo or not? Did you run into any volume issues since the McCormack runs a little hot because it was designed for a passive pre? I had an Audio Research pre that I couldn't get to 9 o'clock on the volume dial because the gains were too high on both the Mc and AR.



    Anyone else care to chime in?
    Sony KDL-40V2500 HDTV, Rotel RSX-1067 Receiver, Sony BDP-S550 Blu-ray, Slim Devices Squeezebox, Polk RTi6, CSi3 & R15, DIY sub with Atlas 15

  4. #4

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    I did not have the McCormack amp when I got the MF pre, when I had it I had the McCormack RLD-1. I have used the A3cr with MF's A3cr power amp, a couple of NADs and now my Odyessy Stratos, all without issues.
    Dodd - Battery Preamp
    Monarchy Audio SE100 Delux - mono power amps
    Sony DVP-NS999ES - SACD player
    ADS 1230 - Polk SDA 2B
    DIY Stereo Subwoofer towers w/(4) 12 drivers each
    Crown K1 - Subwoofer amp
    Outlaw ICBM - crossover
    Beringher BFD - sub eq

    Where is the remote? Where is the $%#$% remote!

    "I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us have...very hard to explain why you're mad, even if you're not mad..."

  5. #5

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    Thanks again! sorry for all the questions...

    How did the MF and McCormack RLD-1 compare? The RLD-1 is on my list of interest too.

    What didn't you like about the McCormack gear?
    Sony KDL-40V2500 HDTV, Rotel RSX-1067 Receiver, Sony BDP-S550 Blu-ray, Slim Devices Squeezebox, Polk RTi6, CSi3 & R15, DIY sub with Atlas 15

  6. #6

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    Well the McCormack amp was sold because I made "a deal" selling both the pre and power together.

    The amp was ok, not enough time spent with it because I sold the pre. The pre was NOT my cup of tea, and this might be weird, but the digital volume s*cked, frigging 2db steps did not work for me, it might for some, but when I have to listen at very low levels when the wife and kids are asleep, 2db won't cut it.

    I have to say I did not give either piece much of a chance.
    Dodd - Battery Preamp
    Monarchy Audio SE100 Delux - mono power amps
    Sony DVP-NS999ES - SACD player
    ADS 1230 - Polk SDA 2B
    DIY Stereo Subwoofer towers w/(4) 12 drivers each
    Crown K1 - Subwoofer amp
    Outlaw ICBM - crossover
    Beringher BFD - sub eq

    Where is the remote? Where is the $%#$% remote!

    "I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us have...very hard to explain why you're mad, even if you're not mad..."

  7. #7

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    Something wasn't right then. All I've read about the RLD is that it goes in 0.5 decibal steps. Steve McCormack himself writes that in everything I've read...
    Sony KDL-40V2500 HDTV, Rotel RSX-1067 Receiver, Sony BDP-S550 Blu-ray, Slim Devices Squeezebox, Polk RTi6, CSi3 & R15, DIY sub with Atlas 15

  8. #8

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    Default I have an A3CR...

    The A3CR is characterized by its warm side of neutral sound. I think it's the perfect balance between over-analytical solid state pre's and over-bloomed tube pre's. It's definitely a good choice if the majority of your music is digital. It does all this without becoming vague or congested. All the details are there, they're just not slapping you in the face. The backgound is dead quiet. I love its simplicity and rock solid construction; it's a brute preamp weighing as much as some power amps.

    With all that said, would I pay retail for the A3CR? No. I would go $850 at most, and at that price, it better be a perfect 10 if used. I got lucky and scored mine for $635, and it's mint.
    Last edited by steveinaz; 10-26-2004 at 02:20 PM.

    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD (flac)
    DAC/Preamp: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Cables: Kimber Hero/8TC; DH Labs D-75

  9. #9

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    Default Re: I have an A3CR...

    Originally posted by steveinaz
    With all that said, would I pay retail for the A3CR? No. I would go $850 at most, and at that price, it better be a perfect 10 if used. I got lucky and scored mine for $635, and it's mint.
    Thanks Steve!

    I would definitely give one a try if I could find it for that price! That is quite a deal!
    Sony KDL-40V2500 HDTV, Rotel RSX-1067 Receiver, Sony BDP-S550 Blu-ray, Slim Devices Squeezebox, Polk RTi6, CSi3 & R15, DIY sub with Atlas 15

  10. #10

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    My A3 arrived last week and it is incredible. Nothing more to add to what's already been said about it -- except that it's a gorgeous unit. The silver face with gold accents makes it look extremely high quality. That's especially important for the WAF. Very highly recommended.
    HT/2-channel Rig: Sony 50 LCD TV; Toshiba HD-A2 DVD player; Emotiva LMC-1 pre/pro; Rogue Audio M-120 monoblocks (modded); Placette RVC; Emotiva LPA-1 amp; Bada HD-22 tube CDP (modded); VMPS Tower II SE (fronts); DIY Clearwave Dynamic 4CC (center); Wharfedale Opus Tri-Surrounds (rear); and VMPS 215 sub

    "God grooves with tubes."

  11. #11

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    I have an A3 integrated and can't see myself ever really parting with it. It's simple, effective and sounds great. I even like the dinky little remote, it actually fits in my hand.

  12. #12

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    Did somebody mention Musical Fidelity? :D
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  13. #13

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    Originally posted by F1nut
    Did somebody mention Musical Fidelity? :D
    SHHH it's a secret! From my wife anyway... ;)

    Thanks everyone! I'd really like to give the MF a try. I'll see if I can swing it by the wife...
    Sony KDL-40V2500 HDTV, Rotel RSX-1067 Receiver, Sony BDP-S550 Blu-ray, Slim Devices Squeezebox, Polk RTi6, CSi3 & R15, DIY sub with Atlas 15

  14. #14

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    Good choice; unless mine becomes unrepairable for some reason, it will be the last preamp I buy. It's that good.

    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD (flac)
    DAC/Preamp: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Cables: Kimber Hero/8TC; DH Labs D-75

  15. #15

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    What does the A3cr preamp usually goes for on the used market?
    Sony KDL-40V2500 HDTV, Rotel RSX-1067 Receiver, Sony BDP-S550 Blu-ray, Slim Devices Squeezebox, Polk RTi6, CSi3 & R15, DIY sub with Atlas 15

  16. #16

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    I've seen them anywhere from $525 and up. Typically they top out at around $750, used. Keep an eye on ebay. You should not pay more than $700 on ebay, even for an excellent condition unit.

    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD (flac)
    DAC/Preamp: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Cables: Kimber Hero/8TC; DH Labs D-75

  17. #17

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    Thanks again Steve. I'll keep my eyes open then. Hopefully I can find one on the lower end of the scale to keep the wife happy!
    Sony KDL-40V2500 HDTV, Rotel RSX-1067 Receiver, Sony BDP-S550 Blu-ray, Slim Devices Squeezebox, Polk RTi6, CSi3 & R15, DIY sub with Atlas 15

  18. #18

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    Hopefully I can find one on the lower end of the scale to keep the wife happy!
    Don't worry about keeping the wife happy. Once she hears it with her favorite music, she won't even bother asking what you paid for it.
    HT/2-channel Rig: Sony 50 LCD TV; Toshiba HD-A2 DVD player; Emotiva LMC-1 pre/pro; Rogue Audio M-120 monoblocks (modded); Placette RVC; Emotiva LPA-1 amp; Bada HD-22 tube CDP (modded); VMPS Tower II SE (fronts); DIY Clearwave Dynamic 4CC (center); Wharfedale Opus Tri-Surrounds (rear); and VMPS 215 sub

    "God grooves with tubes."

  19. #19

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    Originally posted by Early B.
    Don't worry about keeping the wife happy. Once she hears it with her favorite music, she won't even bother asking what you paid for it.
    I wish that were the case but she's afraid to even touch the stereo, let alone use it.

    She probably won't care too much, it's just that I've got quite a few pieces of gear that I "promised" to sell when she let me buy more gear a few months ago. The whole trial and error process is hard to swing by her...
    Sony KDL-40V2500 HDTV, Rotel RSX-1067 Receiver, Sony BDP-S550 Blu-ray, Slim Devices Squeezebox, Polk RTi6, CSi3 & R15, DIY sub with Atlas 15

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