McIntosh MX-110 Preamp/Tuner
The MX-110 is the only tube driven preamp/tuner combination ever
made by McIntosh. There were later MX preamp tuners but they were all
solid state. The MX-110 is popular today because it is usually pretty
cost effective. It is definitely less expensive to have a combination
preamp/tuner than it is to match a C-22 preamp with MR-67 or MR-71
tuner. Besides its economy, the MX-110 has a very light, and open
sound and it drives power amps of either tube or solid state design,
and does it very well. The tuner section is competitive with other
tube stand-alone tuners of the same time frame. I personally use an
MX-110 in my main system, and I hold it in very high esteem. Perhaps
its only significant drawback is that it doesn't have a large number
The average MX-110 in for repair at our shop has a fairly consistent
set of circumstances. Most of the units we see have not been in use
for a while, and have definitely not seen a service bench for decades.
They will usually have some bad tubes, but some will still be good.
They will always need serious cleaning and deoxidizing of the
switches, controls, tube sockets, and tuning capacitor. The
capacitors, especially in the power supply will require replacement.
The tuner will usually need alignment. The tubes and caps are not too
difficult to find. Esoteric problems are not impossible but we do not
see many of them. My own MX-110 recently had a defective transformer
in the multiplex section, which we replaced by stealing it from a dead
MAC-1700. That was plenty unusual. Problems with outright defective
controls could be serious as these are not very available, but here
again, most of them work. These tube models from the '60's are very
pretty when the cosmetic work is done, but you must be beyond careful
about the lettering. Any windex equivalent will take the letters
right off the chrome on the rear deck. I will frequently use blue
shop towels and water with no cleaning agent. It takes longer, but
the lettering adds to the value of the machine. The glass panel
behind the front plate which has the name lettering and the analog
dial requires special care. You can just look at it wrong and the
letters will all fall off. Those are sometimes hard to even dust off,
so be really careful.
All in all, these can be quite a lot of work to bring up to premium
condition, but they are awfully nice when complete.