- Manufactured from 1963-1968
- Original retail price: $299
- Weight: twenty-four and one half pounds Dimensions: 16 inches wide, 13 inches deep and 5 7/16 inches high without the cabinet.
- Tubes: 6DS4,12AT7, 6AB4, 6AU6(3),
- 6CS6, 6AV6, 6BL8(2), 6U8, 12AU7
- Audio Frequency Response:20-20kHz
- Distortion: less than 0.5%
- Image Rejection:60 dB or greater
- Capture Ratio: 1.7 dB Stereo Separation: 30dB Limiters: two stages
- IF Amplifiers: four stages
- Due to it being discontinued please check with McIntosh for the accuracy of the above specifications
- McIntosh Laboratory Inc.
- 2 Chambers street
- Binghamton, New York 13903-2699
- Phone: 607-723-3512
- Fax: 800-538-6576
A Look Into The Past
McIntosh has long been known for its tube audio gear. Collectors from all over the world, especially in Japan, have sought out their products. They have restored them and enjoy them to this very day. For a while here in America when McIntosh stopped making tube gear, in favor of the newer popular solid-state transistor designs of the 1970’s, most of us abandoned these tube pieces only to later discover what we had been missing. By that time a lot of McIntosh equipment had been bought by audiophiles in other countries and the prices were driven upwards as the supply dwindled. Today McIntosh tube gear will bring considerable money even if it is in need of professional restoration. Fortunately for us there are cottage industries in the United States that do specialize in restoring our McIntosh heritage gear to almost new condition. So we can once again begin to enjoy their physical beauty as well as their musical qualities.
Having owned a few pieces of McIntosh gear during my long journey as an audiophile I must say I do love the equipment. My only regret about them was in the selling of some older pieces I had collected. One thing that stands out about most McIntosh, gear whether old or new is the timeless beauty of the design that has helped many of their pieces to retain their value. It is not uncommon to pay more for an older McIntosh tube unit today then the original retail price over forty years ago. Of course today’s dollar is worth less than yesterdays and that must also be taken into consideration. Nevertheless, McIntosh tube audio gear tends to bring top dollar just look at EBAY and other places to see for yourself. Today I still own a classic McIntosh MC275 Tube amplifier, in excellent condition for its age. Of course I also own the MR67 Tube Tuner that is up for a nostalgic review today.
Of course there are some drawbacks when buying vintage gear. First finding the older McIntosh tube gear from the year and for the model you want is not always easy. Also vintage gear uses yesterday’s technology and could be missing some of today’s bells and whistles. There is no warranty left and you are almost always buying them as-is or buyer beware. Almost all of the gear will show varying signs of wear and age as there will inevitably be scratches, dings and worn possible hard to find original parts. Then there is the problem with finding competent technicians to work on these vintage pieces at any price let alone a reasonable one. Luckily though there are good people out there to help restore these vintage pieces who are doing so for more love than money. Now if you look at all of this as being one of the fun parts of this hobby, as I do, then these problems actually can become a fun filled adventure. To me the joy of listening to great music and sharing it with others is fun in itself. However the joy of finding and assembling fine sounding audio gear is almost its equal. I like going to garage sales, looking in the back rooms of audio salons, talking to people about older audio equipment that has been tucked away in attics, as well as I like discovering new exciting manufacturers that make good affordable modern audio today.
As for the MR67, it does not have a remote control so must get up to change the stations. Volume control though has the option of being run through your preamplifier. So if your preamplifier has a remote control you can then adjust the volume for the MR67 through it. The tubes are nothing too exotic unless of course you choose to stock it with rare brands of the many different tube types found in the MR67. As for a wood case it is optional and comes with or without the slant wooden legs that raise it up and off the self or floor. My particular MR67 has the optional case with the slanted legs. Of course each cabinet must have the ventilation on top above the tubes which are designed to extend tube life by preventing overheating. There is also no digital display for the FM stations, the MR67 is an FM only tuner, and indicator meters are again not digital. Another feature not found on the MR67 is the automatic displaying of the song and performer so your on your own to figure that one out. Actually that is quite easy as all I do when I am stumped is to take a line or two from the song and type it in on the internet. Almost as if by magic the song lyrics and performer will appear so that I now have my answers. As for tracking stations you should preferably get an outdoor antenna or use a smaller indoor one like I do, depending on where you live in and the difficulty in securing radio signals in your area. I have not yet gotten around to an outdoor antenna and instead am using a Trek FM+ indoor antenna that I bought at my local Radio Shack. It works just fine for most stations in my area but I intend to get that outdoor antenna some time this summer. Now that we have gotten into what it does not have I should tell you one more thing. What it does have that makes up for any of those small inconveniences is the tube magic that will transport your favorite radio station into something a little more special which can make for hours of uninterrupted listening pleasure. I enjoy listening to the radio and can do so for hours on end. There are times when a radio station will play a style of music I want to hear and I get to listen to countless musical selections some of which I own and many others I do not. Add this to the pleasure of the sound getting better as time goes on because the tubes are warming up and this can make for an incredibly enjoyable evening. A type of evening I love to indulge myself in after a hectic day at work.
If you never owned a McIntosh tube tuner you must see one light up in a darkened room at night and listen to that tube magic with your favorite song playing on the radio. For me a nice glass of wine,my wife beside me, listening to all the old favorites, would just about round out the evening. You could of course add to that some cheese or chocolate cake and really send me over the top. The MR67 was manufactured between 1963-1968 and it had a retail price of $299. It came with twelve vacuum tubes tucked away behind a faceplate consisting of a glass panel on top and anodized gold on the lower half. On the front panel are knobs for tunning to the radio stations, volume control (which can be adjusted with the preamplifier or on the tuner itself), a mode selector (MPX Stereo or FM Mono), a power on/off knob and a muting out/in control knob. There are two buttons, on the far left and far right, for the Panloc system. This comes in handy if you have a wooden case and care to lock the tuner in so that it does not fall out when moving it about, which I find to be an excellent idea. Also on the front are three indicator meters. One is a multipath and signal strength indicator, the other a stereo indicator and the third a tuning indicator. Using all three helps determine if you have locked in the station as best you can and to indicate if it is broadcasting in stereo or mono. Looking around to the back you will notice a very simple yet functional layout. There you will find a muting adjustment knob that allows for adjusting the operation threshold of the ultra-sonic muting circuit. Next to that are two audio output jacks to connect the tuner to a preamplifier. Depending on the one you use you may either control the volume from the tuner knob itself on the front panel or go through the preamplifier and control volume there which I do so as to use the preamplifier’s remote to adjust volume settings. On the rear panel is a terminal for connecting FM antennas to the MR67 either of the 300ohm or 75ohm variety. Of course there is also a fuse that helps protect the tuner circuits and finally an AC outlet to connect other equipment such as turntables and such if you wish. The fuse however will not protect any equipment that is plugged in via this outlet, but rather only the tuner itself. Located just behind the front faceplate on top are two switches. One is for the Signal Strength, Multipath indicator function the other the Pilot Lamp Intensity switch which can be set to dim or bright for adjusting the front panel lights.
A Trio Of Tube Magic And Musical Selections Playing Throughout The Night
Since I am dealing with a nostalgic tube tuner I thought to not only pair it with some modern equipment such as the NAT Audio Plasma R tube preamplifier but also with my McIntosh MC275 tube amplifier. What a match, an all tube setup, except of course for the digital transport and DAC. The pairing of two McIntosh pieces from the same era (the 1960’s) was actually a planned event when I bought the tuner. I am now also on the hunt for a vintage McIntosh preamplifier from the sixties to mate with both of them. Well enough talk it is now time to sit back and listen to some of my favorite radio stations playing the music I love. A nice song to start out with is “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder. He has always been known to play the harmonica as well as the piano and does so ever so nicely in this song. Unlike with a cheaper Cd player the MR67 gave a nice fluid sound to the harmonica notes rather than sounding overly sharp or edgy. Stevie Wonder on vocals was very natural and the soundstage quite wide. The only time I heard Stevie Wonder in concert was a long time ago in New York City at Madison Square Garden, while nothing is quite like a live concert he did still sound good through the MR67. Next up was a Cat Stevens song entitled “Peace Train”. There is something about tubes that make an acoustic guitar sound so nice. It is like you have put your ear to the instrument and could hear inside to the hollow part of the guitar were the music emanates from. The background vocals sounded perfectly layered and were nicely spread across a wide open soundstage giving a nice depth to the performers voice. On the next song the easily recognizable Seal is heard singing his famous song “Crazy”. Here we find that the MR67 treats us to some very beautiful vocals that are both open and airy. As is commonly found in most tube equipment there was a nice sense of space and detailing evident in the singers voice which in this case complimented Seal’s unique singing style.
Now onto a Glenn Frey song called “The One You Love”. Tubes do horns right and the MR67 made no exception with this song and the opening ensuing saxophone performance. Here it got the timbre just so right that I felt I was in a nice intimate jazz club like I used to go to when I was younger and single. My wife is a big country western fan and actually has pulled me into her camp, although I still love my jazz and listen to it quite often when alone. Even she though liked this song as the saxophone filled the room with all the tube warmth the trio of the MR67 tuner, McIntosh MC275 amplifier and the NAT Audio preamplifier could muster. Glenn Frey’s vocals were soft and gentle like the mood of the song as the drum beat kept the pace nice and slow. Moving on now to something a little more fast paced was the Eagles song “Hotel California”. With this the MR67 had a slightly noticeable softening of the bass, possibly due to the triple compliment of tube gear previously mentioned, yet still was able to pull off the song nicely. The many guitar rifts were clear and detailed yet smooth. Soundstage was again large as life yet still cohesive sounding.
Finally moving onto a female vocal talent I next played Taylor Swifts “Love Story. The MR67 placed a nice sense of space and air between both her vocal talent and the instruments in her band to give a “live” sound to this performance. As I heard song after song things just got better as it normally does with tubes. After about an hour and a half I would say things were sounding so good I just could not get up to leave. Hearing music through a tuner is different than with a Cd player or turntable. My favorite is still the turntable but the tuner offers so much more than either medium as it offers more songs and a larger variety of music than my limited Cd and Vinyl collection can encompase. You can usually find almost anything on the radio depending on the day, time and station. So much to choose from and nothing to buy. True you can not pick and choose what you want to hear when you want to hear it but there is so much good music over the airwaves that I can always find a station with music to make me happy.
The MR67 not only looked the part of a quality piece of equipment but the sound just keep getting better as the tubes warmed up. There was one night when I sat back, turned off the lights, had some California Cabernet and lit the fireplace as I listen and looked at this beautiful piece of vintage gear play throughout the night and thought I might never want to get up to go to sleep. Coupling the MR67 with the MC275 I felt momentarily transported back to a time when tubes were king and I was young which alone was worth it for me. So if you get a chance and find some older tube McIntosh tuners why not check them out. The nice thing about McIntosh gear is you can generally get your money back, maybe even more, if you buy smart. This way if you find the gear or the medium does not suit you reselling it should be fairly easy. There are many McIntosh tube tuner fanatics and also those just starting to get into the game out of curiosity, who are seeking to buy McIntosh tube equipment. I have seen most of the MR67 tuners priced from $500-$1100, I luckily bought mine for $500. Looking back I now regret selling any of the older McIntosh gear whether tube or solid-state. As I sit here typing listening to the MR67 I must say this forty plus year old McIntosh tube tuner is a keeper for me in my system and one sure to be a conversation piece for all who come by to listen.
The Listening Environment:
The review room is eighteen feet eight inches long by thirteen feet wide. The loudspeakers and equipment are kept on the short wall. The cathedral ceiling starts at eight feet and sloops upwards to thirteen feet at its peak in the middle spanning across the short length of the room for the full thirteen feet height. The hardwood floor has a nine by six foot oriental rug lying down the long ways toward the system placed dead center in between, yet not under, the listener and the review equipment The room has no doors but two openings. One is in front of the right Legacy Focus 20/20 loudspeakers which gives access to the hallway while the other is behind the listening position and opens to the formal dinning area. The room is treated with two floor standing acoustical panels, one behind each speaker, and the audio equipment is located in a Cherry Synergy Twin S30 Salamander audio rack against and in the middle of the short wall. I have two power conditioners which plug into a PS Audio Power Port receptacle located behind the audio rack. There are also two Blue Circle Audio MKIII Power Line Pillows one on each of two outlets on the long walls next to and behind each loudspeaker. The Legacy’s are located about six feet seven inches from the rear wall to their front panel They are twenty one inches from the side walls to the middle of each loudspeakers. The Legacy’s are twelve feet apart form each other to form a triangle with the listening position that is also angled at twelve feet from loudspeaker to listener. In the corner of each short wall behind the Legacy’s are a pair of 1989 Klipsch Klipschorn loudspeakers that are sometimes used for reviews. If needed I would then reposition the two acoustical panels to slightly behind the listening position with one to the left and the other to the right.
- McIntosh MC275 tube amplifier
- NAT Audio Plasma R Preamplifier
- Samsung HD-841 Universal Cd player (used as a transport only) Monarchy Audio M33 DAC/Preamplifier (used as a DAC only) Legacy Focus 20/20 loudspeakers
- PS Audio UPC-200 Power Center Acoustic Revive RTP-2 power strip PS Audio Power Port Receptacle
- Blue Circle BC86 MKIII power line pillows (2) Kimber Kable Hero and Tonik interconnects
- Kimber Kable 4PR speaker cables and matching 4PR Jumpers Legacy Focus 20/20 loudspeakers
- Tek Line PC-8 Signature Power Cord two 6 foot lengths
- Mr-Cable Musician Power Cord one 9 foot length
- Cherry Synergy Twin S30 Salamander audio rack
from aﬀordableaudio, By Anthony Nicosia