Conrad-Johnson MV-55 – High End Stereo Equipment We Buy

McIntosh is one of the most dependable brand names when it comes to high-end audio systems. For years the brand has been recognized by audiophiles throughout the world as equipment that delivers clear and consistent quality in music. McIntosh is probably best known for its amplifiers and preamps, but the company produces many other components and parts for stereo and home theatre.

What are the specs for the Conrad-Johnson MV-55?

Power Output ­:
Ultralinear Operation - 45 watts per channel RMS at 4, 8, or16 ohms both channels driven from 30Hz to 15kHz with no more than 1% THD or IMD
Power Output ­Triode Operation - 22 watts per channel RMS at 4, 8, or16 ohms both channels driven from 30Hz to 15kHz with no more than 1.5% THD or IMD:
Sensitivity:
.55 V to rated power (ultralinear)
Frequency Response:
20Hz to 20 kHz, +0, -.5 dB
Input Sensitivity:
0.55 volts to rated power
Hum & Noise:
98 dB below rated power
Dimensions:
17.5W | 7H | 12.75D inches
Weight:
39 lbs.

What else to know about the Conrad-Johnson MV-55?

"I found this piece after hearing the earlier MV-50 and being blown away, and I haven't looked back since. In my range of affordability, I haven't heard a more natural sounding amp, and several more expensive solid state amps I've heard may be more impressive, but not necessarily as enjoyable as this small gem.

When I first took it home to audition against the Classe through my Thiel 2.2's, I hesitated to buy, because although it was clearly the better amp in most areas for realistic portrayal, I didn't know if I could live with the softer bass and lack of treble extension I heard. I went ahead and got it, though, when I couldn't stomach returning to the more cold, hard, mechanical, ""reproduced"" SS sound, with its zingy imaging and exagerated ""detail"" on transients.

While still wondering about the MV-55's suitability for my 4 Ohm, moderate efficiency speakers in the areas of control and airiness, I consoled myself with the utterly natural rendering of the harmonic structure of female voice or piano, for instance, and the consistent, corporeal imaging quality and lack of electronic artifacts.

Then I decided to replace the stock Sovtek tube set, based on my tube guitar amp experiences. Without wanting to get into the vagaries of NOS esoterica, I installed first Yugoslovian 12AX7 inputs, then Tesla EL34 powers, and finally American 6SN7 drivers, with consistent improvements realized at each step. Now, here was the bass firmness and extension, top end air and sparkle, and a reduced midrange resonant signature, along with welcome improvements in overall speed and definition. This way, I got higher fidelity, and it still sounds like music. (The amp's sound has also benefitted from an API Powerwedge, using AudioPrism Iso-Bearings underneath, and losing the supplied tube cage, which rings like a bell.)

While I'm sure the MV-55 is not the last word in such areas as dynamic presence, low-level detail, vastness of soundstaging, or bass authority, it gives a wonderful balance of attributes at its price point, and I feel is very good-to-excellent in all performance aspects at its 45wpc power level - provided the owner is willing to upgrade the supplied tubes. This one's a keeper!" - AudioReview, Alex

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The following images show actual Conrad Johnson equipment purchased by StereoBuyers.