MCP-18 Pre-Amp

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zydeco

MCP-18 Pre-Amp
« on: 13 Apr 2015, 11:52 am »
I'm interested in the MCP-18 as a volume controller in an active speaker set-up. The various reviews and specifications have been useful but I've still got two important questions. Is the unit an active or passive pre-amp? And, if it's active, then what is the gain of the unit? And can the overall gain be adjusted (I've read that the gain on each channel can be adjusted). Thanks in advance for the assistance.

ralflar

Re: MCP-18 Pre-Amp
« Reply #1 on: 14 Apr 2015, 02:13 am »
The MCP-18 is active. The volume control has a range of -84dB to +15dB. 0dB should be unity gain. Individual channel trim ranges -20 to +20. I don’t know which unit, or whether the +20whatever is on top of +15dB or included. The manual is useless.

The MCP-18 appears to be discontinued. Pity, this is/was a great pre-amp.

abernardi

Re: MCP-18 Pre-Amp
« Reply #2 on: 14 Apr 2015, 04:47 am »
I just put one into my system recently.  I still haven't decided if I like it.  I keep thinking it has added a little hardness to the overall sound, but that could be from needing some more break-in time, or I'm imagining it.  I love the design.  The volume control has very small steps, so you have to really spin that knob to change volume, but I like that.  The last preamp I had was stepped, and one step would be too loud, and the other too soft.  This one you can get exactly what you want.  I bought it with the idea of running an Oppo into it, adding another amp for surrounds, so I could keep the high quality of my stereo without having to resort to a lower quality AVR.  Good sound on the cheap basically.  The remote looks like one of those cheap credit card size remotes, but it's actually quite functional and I use it all the time.  So the jury is still out on sound quality, I'll just have to see over time...

jk@home

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Re: MCP-18 Pre-Amp
« Reply #3 on: 14 Apr 2015, 01:52 pm »
There is a long MCP-18 thread down the page, for more info. I"m running one with some pro amps, think it is a great unit for the (sale) price. The amps downstream will contributed to it's sound. First matched it up with an older Class AB, and I thought it was a bit too laid back, and slightly brittle. Now with Crown XLS amps, it compliments them nicely. Added a tube stage (iTube) between my DAC and the Nuforce, which also helped, sounds great now.

My biggest concern is future service, I have serious doubts there will be any available, since it is discontinued, and the company was bought out. So take that into consideration. BTW, I transferred my remote codes over to a learning unit, so as not to wear out the OEM unit.

zydeco

Re: MCP-18 Pre-Amp
« Reply #4 on: 14 Apr 2015, 10:21 pm »
Thanks for all the responses. The 15dB of gain sounds about right as I'm finding that the current set-up that using the unity-gain MSB MVC-1 is at max volume on the volume controller most of the time. Yes to the concern re. support and it looks as if it'll be difficult to find a unit here in Australia. Any view on alternatives? The Parasound P7 looks like overkill for my set-up (one source, active x/o) so the other, supported, alternative, looks to be a build using DACT 6 or 8-gang attenuator.

ralflar

Re: MCP-18 Pre-Amp
« Reply #5 on: 15 Apr 2015, 01:31 am »
IMO, if you can find an MCP-18, there is no alternative at the price. Especially the price it was last sold for, i.e. USD 599 or, well, if you just need an 8-channel analog pre-amp instead of stereo. (May I ask why?) My favorite line stage is a resistive passive. Coupled to a high input impedance amp and low output impedance sources it is utterly transparent. The MCP-18 reminds me of it. It does not add any coloration of its own. It's like it's not there. For a while I ran Genelec M030s off the MCP. Great combo. (Now I'm back to passive speakers powered by a MCA-18. 50% joy, 50% disappointment in that amp. Different story.)

I never needed anywhere close to unity gain for music at home. Most of my sources have low output impedance and can deliver current, and output 1 to 2 Vrms. My amps have 26 or 32dB gain structure. Speakers are 86 to 92 dB/2.83V/m efficient. Curious what your specs are.

What I like about the Parasound, other than its gorgeous looks, are the x-over and HT bypass features. I have not heard a P7.

BTW, the MCP-18 accepts 50/60Hz, all voltages, auto-sensing. So does the P7 AFAIK. A serious contender, but for a lot more money.

zydeco

Re: MCP-18 Pre-Amp
« Reply #6 on: 15 Apr 2015, 06:19 am »
ralflar

Thanks for the input. My system comprises some active 3-way speakers with the source being a computer that performs x/o duties in the digital domain output to a pro-audio interface. The volume controller would sit between the pro-audio interface (multi-channel DAC) and power amplifiers so as to allow for volume control in the analogue domain. My issue is that the power amplifiers are all low gain with, for example, the First Watt F5 amp on the horns being 15dB. The other option, of course, is to run the pro-audio interface at +4dBu which is about 11dB over the -10dBV but delivers a hot input to my existing volume controller. Hence the interest in the MCP-18. Any other thoughts would be apprecia

ralflar

Re: MCP-18 Pre-Amp
« Reply #7 on: 15 Apr 2015, 01:40 pm »
One more thing relevant to your setup is the type of volume controls in the MCP-18. The FR and FL channels have a different type of volume controller than the other 6 channels. These are supposedly superior to conventional controllers. They might well be the reason why the MVP-18 is so transparent.

Another analog controller I heard of is the McCormack MAP-1.