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Any Mccormack DNA 1 and Dna 0.5 owners?


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Greetings everyone,

I had been using a stock 0.5 for the past 9 years with my 2CE Sigs II and was used to the sound. A couple weeks ago I purchased a DNA 1 (appears to be stock but could be wrong) and I finally got to listen to it yesterday and I must say that I am a little disappointed (especially in the bass section). The 0.5 for some reason sounds fast and musical. The bass attack and precision is quite engaging. The DNA 1 sounds good but it feels lazy as if it doesn’t belong with the rest of my equipment.  The mid range and the highs are good(maybe great at times).

Now the caveat I must throw out is that my Mcintosh C27 just went through a significant cap/resistor replacement and I got it yesterday so am not sure whether the sonic signature has been altered. I have not plugged in my 0.5 after I got my preamp back and plan to do it tomorrow for some A/B testing.

I was planning on getting my 0.5 upgraded but thought of picking up a DNA 1 and listening to it prior to deciding which one should I upgrade eventually. I feel that a Mccormack is going to have a permanent place in my collection but want to make sure I upgrade the one that will work best as I upgrade my Vandersteens down the road.

The rest of the equipment is:

Audiolab cd transport 

Mccormac DAC 1 deluxe

Vandersteen 2wq

 

Any thoughts/recommendations?

Thanks

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22 hours ago, stratocaster said:

Greetings everyone,

I had been using a stock 0.5 for the past 9 years with my 2CE Sigs II and was used to the sound. A couple weeks ago I purchased a DNA 1 (appears to be stock but could be wrong) and I finally got to listen to it yesterday and I must say that I am a little disappointed (especially in the bass section). The 0.5 for some reason sounds fast and musical. The bass attack and precision is quite engaging. The DNA 1 sounds good but it feels lazy as if it doesn’t belong with the rest of my equipment.  The mid range and the highs are good(maybe great at times).

Now the caveat I must throw out is that my Mcintosh C27 just went through a significant cap/resistor replacement and I got it yesterday so am not sure whether the sonic signature has been altered. I have not plugged in my 0.5 after I got my preamp back and plan to do it tomorrow for some A/B testing.

I was planning on getting my 0.5 upgraded but thought of picking up a DNA 1 and listening to it prior to deciding which one should I upgrade eventually. I feel that a Mccormack is going to have a permanent place in my collection but want to make sure I upgrade the one that will work best as I upgrade my Vandersteens down the road.

The rest of the equipment is:

Audiolab cd transport 

Mccormac DAC 1 deluxe

Vandersteen 2wq

 

Any thoughts/recommendations?

Thanks

Interesting you mention a DNA-1 I stumbled across one, and happen to live in San Diego where SMC Steve McCormack has a business updating his old gear. I scoured the interweb and not one bad word was I able to find about the upgrades he preforms. Actually it was all glowing praises. I have found that Pat, who works for/with Steve (i'm not sure which) is willing to spend a fair amount of time discussing what they do . The web site is not very extensive but give them a call https://smcaudio.net and discuss what your options are. I am looking for the right pre-amp to pair with it right now. Incidentally they use Vandersteen speakers to voice/check their amps.  Hope this helps.

Edited by Huang
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Thanks Huang. I too am based in San Diego and prior to acquiring the DNA 1, I had spoken to Pat about upgrading my 0.5. Since they were busy with some major projects that needed to be completed, Pat asked me to give him a week to get back to me and discuss options. I haven't heard back from him yet. In the meantime, I stumbled across a DNA 1 on craigslist and scooped it up after chatting with the owner. Pat had mentioned that the earliest they could start on upgrading my amp would be after end of March. Am hoping to get enough first impressions to decide on which one should I upgrade. 

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  • 1 month later...

I asked earlier about a suitable preamp for an upgraded McCormack DNA-1 I will be receiving soon. Recently I found a McCormack TLC-1 Deluxe for a reasonable price and snagged it. I have been talking to SMC about an upgrade to the preamp which will include the addition of remote volume control. The upgrade will run around 3K, which I don't mind spending, but I only have seen sparse internet reviews on the upgrade to the preamp. Reports are good, with the right upgrades it is said you get darn close to the McCormack VRE.

I have some questions, has anyone upgraded a TLC-1 to a TLC-2 or heard a  McCormack VRE-*? Has anyone heard a Benchmark LA4? The LA4 has great web reviews, a long wait, and cost is in the same ballpark as the upgraded TLC-1. Better yet has anyone heard both a McCormack and a LA4 preamp. This all started with the purchase of a pair of Treo CTs 🤪.

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45 minutes ago, Huang said:

I asked earlier about a suitable preamp for an upgraded McCormack DNA-1 I will be receiving soon. Recently I found a McCormack TLC-1 Deluxe for a reasonable price and snagged it. I have been talking to SMC about an upgrade to the preamp which will include the addition of remote volume control. The upgrade will run around 3K, which I don't mind spending, but I only have seen sparse internet reviews on the upgrade to the preamp. Reports are good, with the right upgrades it is said you get darn close to the McCormack VRE.

I have some questions, has anyone upgraded a TLC-1 to a TLC-2 or heard a  McCormack VRE-*? Has anyone heard a Benchmark LA4? The LA4 has great web reviews, a long wait, and cost is in the same ballpark as the upgraded TLC-1. Better yet has anyone heard both a McCormack and a LA4 preamp. This all started with the purchase of a pair of Treo CTs 🤪.

Wow @Huang you are on a roll.. Looking forward to hearing your experience with the  TLC and DNA combo..

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I have chimed in on other threads here about the DNA 1. It was a workhouse amp for me for 30 years. The fully upgraded DNA 1 with the gravity base is unbelievable. My review of the process can be found linked on their site. I too am looking for the DLP or TLC pres for a good price just to have it so I can upgrade it if I need a new pre amp.  I was actually speaking to Pat about it this week.  I think he was telling me about your job Huang.  I would do it, it will be a perfect mate for the DNA 1.

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Thanks for chiming in Joe, I think I've read your review like 5 times already, in anticipation. Your review has me excited. What exactly did the gravity base change? Did you go with the Rodgers boards in your DNA? 

Steve's design methodology makes sense to me, I have a RF background and local charge storage is so important. 

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One thing I just remembered-

I had Pat build a pair of DNA-1 monoblocks for me  a couple of years ago. Despite describing my system (Treo's with 2wq subs), They built the amps with unbelievably low impedance.

It took me months to find  a way to use them. First, the Balanced M5HP's didn't go low enough, so I had to look for a set of M5's in RCA, then buy a pair of Jensen Transformers to convert balanced to RCA.

In the meantime, I scored a pair of Ayre MX-R monoblocks -thanks @dminches

I never got to use those McCormack monoblocks , as I found the Ayre to be everything I wanted.

 

So. if you are getting SMcAudio to do an upgrade, and if you think you might get some Vandy subs, I would recommend mentioning it to Steve and Pat.

Bob

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  • 2 weeks later...

I talked to Pat today as a matter of fact. The input stage for the Dna-1 is still in flux. Richard is sending SMC a pair of crossovers to experiment with. I had contacted Richard prior to my conversation with Pat and he confirmed what Bob said. Richard said, stay with the 100K input impedance or ask Steve if he can wind the transformers to have a higher impedance 10k is too low. So, I may end up going single  ended but I prefer balanced. if Steve can figure something out that will be great. I will post as I learn more.

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13 hours ago, Huang said:

I talked to Pat today as a matter of fact. The input stage for the Dna-1 is still in flux. Richard is sending SMC a pair of crossovers to experiment with. I had contacted Richard prior to my conversation with Pat and he confirmed what Bob said. Richard said, stay with the 100K input impedance or ask Steve if he can wind the transformers to have a higher impedance 10k is too low. So, I may end up going single  ended but I prefer balanced. if Steve can figure something out that will be great. I will post as I learn more.

@Huang adding to what Bob indicated, having used both DNA 0.5 and the DNA 1, it's certainly been challenging over the years getting the sub integrated. The experience has been consistent with both amps. Part of the problem is that placement of the main Vandy's is critical and then finding a spot for the sub becomes another logistical challenge. When you throw in the impedance related constraints, you will be juggling various factors to find a happy medium. I have tried many crossover values and there's always a band of frequencies (either at the high or low end) that seems to drop and you feel that something is missing. That's one of the reasons why I have been a little gun shy in pulling the trigger on the amp upgrade. Hope that your experience can help me figure out the right move to make. 😀

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@Huang,

Now I am really glad I chimed in.

(It was sad that I never got to use those amps, but lucking into a pair of Ayre MX-R monoblocks helps me forget about it).

Knowing Pat and Steve, I am sure they will find a way  to make it work.

BTW, if you still need to convert XLR to RCA, I have a pair of Jensen Transformers that I bought for the sole purpose of using with those amps.

Let me know if you can use them.

bob

Edited by GdnrBob
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6 hours ago, Joe Whip said:

My upgraded DNA 1 is at 100k.  I don’t feel the need to add a sub or subs in my room.

Joe, the thing with the Vandy subs is that you don't feel you need them until you have thrown them in the system and the next thing you know you can't go back to the original state. I used to drive my speakers through a McIntosh and a Nakamichi/Threshold years ago and that's when I purchased the sub. Since then it's been hard to consider running the 2CEs without it. It's like choosing between six cylinders or a turbo 4....

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On 3/19/2021 at 9:36 PM, Huang said:

I have a Rel sub now and I’m happy, but having the ability to add Vandersteen subs makes sense to me.

I would tend to agree.  Those subs are the best to integrate and keep teh sound of the main amps. I love the about them.

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On 3/19/2021 at 2:40 PM, GdnrBob said:

@Huang,

Now I am really glad I chimed in.

(It was sad that I never got to use those amps, but lucking into a pair of Ayre MX-R monoblocks helps me forget about it).

Knowing Pat and Steve, I am sure they will find a way  to make it work.

BTW, if you still need to convert XLR to RCA, I have a pair of Jensen Transformers that I bought for the sole purpose of using with those amps.

Let me know if you can use them.

bob

Thanks I will keep that in mind

 

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  • 1 month later...

Talked to Pat Friday, metal work is in, I am going to have to go single ended due to the low input impedance associated with the balanced input. The decision was based on some testing done by Steve with Richards input. Steve's brother passed a couple of months ago, and he is currently away handling the affairs. Long story short, when Steve returns he will be voicing my amp, and then I can have it.

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