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Article Index
McIntosh MT-5
p2
p3 Sound Quality
p4 Sound Quality
p5 Conclusion
p6 Measured Performance
All Pages

SOUND QUALITY

The MT5 was run for a week, during which time it slowly speeded up  from 3120Hz to 3215Hz before its speed settled. It was then adjusted  back to 3150Hz – the correct value – and connected to our Icon Audio PS3 valve phono stage MM input, fed direct to a pair of Quad QMP monoblock power amplifiers driving Martin Logan Renaissance loudspeakers. 

I know the Sumiko Blue Point well and received the same clear sound I have heard in the past. The MT5 had a gratifyingly stable sense of tone to piano in the Scissor Sisters ‘Mary’. This track was grounded in its timing, firm and assured in progress, with cleanly delineated intervals between notes, free from time domain blur. 

   I heard exactly the same clean, assured sound with sustained synth chords on Alison Goldfrapp's 'Ooh La La' – and if you are wondering why I do not mention piano it is because synthesiser sustains are electronically timed, free of vibrato or other influence and commonly not subject to analogue tape recorder wow either. 

It was obvious that the MT5 holds time well, underpinning instruments by removing subliminally disconcerting lack of stable pitch, that often affects belt drives. 

However, by the time I had played a wide range of LPs and reached the Zuton’s slightly bright, hard sounding ‘Tired of Hanging Around’, the limitations of Sumiko’s Blue Point 2 – those I have baulked at in the past – were beginning to play on me. 

   Treble emphasis gave the track 'Valerie' a thin, sharp top end and there wasn’t the subtlety and insight I am used to from other cartridges, most with better stylus profiles than the simple elliptical of the Blue Point 2. 

 

 

The polished stainless steel rear carries gold plated phono socket audio outputs, as well as speed adjusters

at right and a d.c. power input at far right. There are also actuator outputs for a McIntosh system.

 

So I reached for our Ortofon 2M Black with its superb Shibata stylus and this transformed the sound, adding in stronger insight and better delineation of high frequency sounds, plus a better sense of coherence. 

   Now the MT5 started to sing, sounding open and sophisticated in its delivery. With a top recording and pressing like Mark Knopfler’s ‘True Love Will Never Fade’ from the LP ‘Kill to Get Crimson’, this deck delivered dynamic contrasts seemingly greater than hi-res digital, graced by a silent background, embellished by firm transients from his guitar and underpinned by a clean bass line, if not one that is overly heavy from the 2M Black; a Goldring 1012GX that I reviewed last month has a tad more bass and would also suit. 

Once I had sorted this cartridge issue out, the qualities of the MT5 began to shine through in our now desperately revealing system terminated by the fabulous Martin Logan Renaissance hybrid electrostatic loudspeakers. Their deep revelation made changes in sound quality when reviewing the MT5 starkly obvious. 

   For some reason the Renaissance loudspeakers work with vinyl better than most, revealing recording quality and pressing quality through ruthless insight. This told me the MT5 offers a solid and clear sound with great temporal grip and fluency, whilst dynamic contrasts were conveyed with conviction. This is a fine turntable once run in and fettled – and equipped with a pickup cartridge more deserving of its abilities. 



 

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