[Review] Ming-Da MC67-HA Integrated Phono Pre-Amp and MC845-C 845 Monoblocks

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi and General Audio' started by Dynamic Turtle, Mar 31, 2006.

  1. Dynamic Turtle

    Dynamic Turtle The Bydo Destroyer

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    Ming-Da MC67-HA Integrated Phono Pre-Amp and MC845-C 845 Monoblocks

    Hi all,

    Seeing as there are plenty of people out there tempted by the amazing prices of Chinese amps, I thought I'd post a mini-review of the above amps for all those thining about taking the plunge...

    The MC67-HA (£380 delivered via DHL express from Ben at Chinese-hifi.co.uk) was well specced & built. The internals looked great, and I couldn;t find any negative reviews out there on the web, so I thought I'd give it a go. The built-in MM & MC phono stage was also very interesting to me. The MC845-C monoblocks had a good reputation out on the various forums.

    Its worth mentioning that cattylink/chinese hi-fi should both be able to source 110v & 240v tapped versions, subject to a two-week manufacturing period. Both my pre & monos are genuine 240V rated and the wait is worth it IMO.

    The preamp is pretty good. Build quality is fine - the internals are neat & tidy as always with Ming Da. Nice Wima caps inside too. Volume pot is an ALPS Blue though, which despite being the industry standard, could be better. The 6N6 rectifier valves are chinese junk. I'd love to replace these, though AFAIK there is no direct western subsitute to this tube, so you'll have to make do with them. The 6922's are Russian (reflector corp) and therefore excellent. No change needed here! The 2C51's are noisy Chinese crap and need throwing out. £25 will buy you a pair of NOS Raytheon 5670's which do a much better job.

    MC gain is a bit low. You should be alright if you MC cart outputs 0.5mV, but any lower and you'll rally need to crank the volume up. The MC stage is surprisingly quiet though - I was expecting all sorts of hiss. I'm changing my cart to a high-output MC (2.5mV) so will be using the MM stage from now on. Hopefully this will have the same well balanced sound as the MC section. Halleluiah - the grounding socket is designed for 4mm banana plugs - something you don't see often enough. Makes life easy!

    The volume knob is too small, which makes fine adjustment difficult. Also, the unit can smell of thermal glue (used to reduce transformer vibration affecting certain components) for the first month or so when it gets hot. Small quibble. Also - no remote, so you'll be shedding some weight on various trips to adjust the volume! Fortunately, the blue LED isn't too bright - a major bugbear for some of us.

    The MC67-HA looks much classier in the flesh. I was worried that the black/gold/chrome finish can look a bit tacky in the pics. It should be worth noting that I'm using vibration dampers on all the tubes and have foculpods under the feet for extra vibration absorption.

    Sonically, the pre-amp is much quieter than I had anticipated. Overall, I'd say it has a very traditional valve sound - euphonic & warm, but with enough neutrality and transparency to let you hear upgrades and changes further up the chain.

    The MC845-C 845 monoblocks (£760 delivered via DHL express from Ben at Chinese-hifi.co.uk) are great. They come very well boxed and with 2M UK plug IEC cables!! How about that!! First thing that hits you is the size & weight of the OP trannies. Truly backbreaking stuff. If you haven't seen an 845 before, be prepared for a shock. It has the sort of girth that would make a girl elephant smile!

    Finish on the latest models is very good. Nice shiny covers on the OP trannies, gold trim around the valve bases and WBT sockets round the back. Pretty good overall. There is a smell of "sweatshop" on them, so they will pong for a bit, though there is no thermal glue that I can smell.

    The only flaw in terms of build quality that
    I should mention, are the poor 845 sockets. These are of cheap construction and really need replacing with something a little more solidly machined. They don't grip the 845 valves firmly enough for my liking. I ordered some gold-plated ceramic replacements with my premium 845's for £13 each. Hopefully these will do a better job.

    It is absolutely critical that you budget for a complete suite of new valves. The Chinese 12ax7, 12au7, 6sn7 and 845 that come with amp are all terrible. the 6sn7 in particular is extremely ropey and should be ceremonially burnt. How Ming Da can sully the quality of their amps by using this quality of tube is beyond me.

    I guess you could make do with the others, but long-term, they really need changing. I've ordered replacements for all. 12AX7's are now Sovtek 12AX7LPS, the 12AU7 is now a Philips JAN 5814A, 6SN7 is now Brimar CV1988 and Shuguang Premium 845B's have replaced the stock versions. (please note that you can switch the 6Sn7 and 845 without re-biasing, however the Metal plate 845M runs cooler than the 845B and will need re-biasing, so be careful here).

    £330 all in, which is a lot, but the sonic improvements have been well worth it...

    The sound produced is awesome - WIDE soundstage, very tuneful bass and loads of power on tap (considering the rating is 20wpc, they can drive my 6ohm 86dB sonus faber monitors beyond breaking point). Treble again is very well controlled - none of that solid state brittleness here, just lovely, smooth airy highs. Delicious.

    Weaknesses? Well, the midrange isn't quite as detailed or as full as I'd like. Lean is perhaps the best word to describe it. Don't get me wrong - its not a weakness per se, just less impressive than the tuneful, well-defined bass and smooth treble.

    Overall, the sound is warm, euphonic and smooth. Instruments have real placement in the soundstage, and the stage itself is wide and deep like a mountain vista.

    Other practicalities worth mentioning, are the amount of heat the MC845-C's generate. We're talking polar ice-cap melting levels of radiation here. Scary. Absolutely no way these should go on a rack or shelf - they need to breathe freely.

    Hope this helps. Best regards,

    DT
     
    Dynamic Turtle, Mar 31, 2006
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  2. Dynamic Turtle

    redeagle38

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    Compare Mc845-c with other tube amplifier.

    Hi,Have you tried to compare your MC-845 c with another tube amplifier (may by in higher price level) ?

    When you changed origin tubes to new, how many was improved the sound of mc-845-c ?

    Thank you Milan
     
    redeagle38, Apr 1, 2007
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  3. Dynamic Turtle

    Toride

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    Hi DT,
    Thanks for the review. Why did you choose the 845s? Did you consider the 805 based monos(MC805-A) at all?

    Difference appears to be output - they are rated at 40W compared to 20W for the 845s?
    Do you know how they compare with regards to sound?
    Thanks!
     
    Toride, Apr 10, 2007
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  4. Dynamic Turtle

    SteveC PrimaLuna is not cheese

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    Thanks for the review. This is clearly what this forum is for, and I wish there were more of them.
     
    SteveC, Apr 10, 2007
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  5. Dynamic Turtle

    Dynamic Turtle The Bydo Destroyer

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    I chose 845's because you have a choice of current manufacture replacement tubes. AFAIK only one factory makes the 805. The current Shuguang branded 845's come in three flavours A, B & M. The M's are metal plate, alledgedly the best-sounding, but lowest power (15wpc when pushed). The Shugang 845's are well made too.

    I don't know any 805 that can output 40wpc. 24wpc max when pushed to breaking point AFAIK. The 40wpc 805 you've seen is probably a pair operating in push-pull.

    FYI I'm looking to sell my 845's now because I've bought a tiny flat and space is at a premium (was renting a big house before). I haven't got space for them next to my speakers, which are sandwiched either side of my sofa. Looking to replace them with a valve power amp of size that will fit on a normal rack :( .

    Rgds,
    DT
     
    Dynamic Turtle, Apr 10, 2007
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  6. Dynamic Turtle

    Toride

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    Hi DT,
    Thanks for reply. Ming Da website says 40W for MC805-A but think you're right 40W is optimistic. Don't think MC805-A can be push-pull as there's only one output tube in each mono ?!

    Was hoping MC805-A (or the 845s) might sound vaguely like the 'cheap' Wavac 805s but that's probably wishful thinking!
     
    Toride, Apr 17, 2007
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  7. Dynamic Turtle

    Allan10

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    I never thought that the Chinese are also good in sound technology. I haven't tried the product yet.


    ________________
    Ali
    McIntosh MA2275 Integrated Amplifier - MA2275 Integrated Amplifier Catalog by McIntosh Laboratory, Inc.
     
    Allan10, May 18, 2007
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  8. Dynamic Turtle

    rollo

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    The Chinese are making some very good product. I own Consonance Cyber 211 SET's. To date [ over a year] no problems and great sound. The Droplet 5.0 CDP is a killer as well. Very reliable and well made. No complaints.
    I contacted the US ditributor to ask some questions about cap rolling. He told me he would install the caps for free and check out Amp while in shop. All I have to do is supply caps. I went for V-cap Teflons.
    So service is great and performance wonderfull. I would buy another product from Consonance as I am, satified with customer service and product.

    rollo
     
    rollo, Aug 1, 2007
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  9. Dynamic Turtle

    Dynamic Turtle The Bydo Destroyer

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    Especially if it ever fell on you.

    Ouch :eek:
     
    Dynamic Turtle, Aug 6, 2007
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  10. Dynamic Turtle

    zanash

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    i'll follow rolo....I've the cyber 800's [needed the extra power to drive my statics].....the chinese are like anyone else..there will be some good stuff along with the dross... the droplet sounded superb when I had the chance to listen.
     
    zanash, Aug 7, 2007
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