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McIntosh Stereo require an amp for sound?


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12 replies to this topic

#1 grossgary

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 08:38 PM

Do these units require the amp to play sound? They are an in-dash 6 disk changer with an amp under the passengers seat. If the amp wasn't working would I get any sound at all?

I get sound out of the front two speakers out of my WRX 6 disk changer but i cant' hook up the fat round plug for the McIntosh (for the amp I suppose).

Given that I only get 2 front speakers with other units and nothing out of this McIntosh I'm wondering if the amp is hosed?

#2 Scoobywagon

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 08:53 PM

There's a fair chance that your amp is kabroked. Been a while since I looked at one, but if I recall correctly, there are two block connectors on that amp and one can be plugged into the other. This bypasses the amp. I could be wrong though. As I said...its been a long while since I looked into one of those.

Also, I suspect that your MacIntosh Head probably does require an amp, but there are some cases where they don't.

How's that for unhelpful? :)

#3 grossgary

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 04:31 AM

How's that for unhelpful? :)

hey i'm surprised to get a reply on this one! i don't know stereos at all.

only the front speakers work. the rear speakers..and sub if it has one do not. i'm wondering if that's related or coincidence.

#4 Scoobywagon

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 11:18 AM

hey i'm surprised to get a reply on this one! i don't know stereos at all.

only the front speakers work. the rear speakers..and sub if it has one do not. i'm wondering if that's related or coincidence.


I'm guessing on this one, but I suspect they are. Factory amplified systems usually come in one of two flavors. They tend to either have a single amp that runs everything or each speaker gets its own little amp. Subaru generally uses a single amp and, in cases where the car gets the factory sub, simply runs the rear pair of channels in mixed mode. If half of the amp is toast, then you lose pretty much the whole thing.

what year and model is your car? I can look through the wiring diagrams and see if something pops out at me.

#5 Scoobywagon

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 11:49 AM

Ok...just looked.

2 things spring immediately to mind (thanks largely to the a-hole technician on my left).

If you look at the large block connector on the amplifier, pins 1 and 7 will be power. Pins 10 and 11 will be ground. The pin-out for this connector is as follows.

1 2 3 XXXX 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Make sure that there is power on both 1 and 7 and that you have good ground on both 10 and 11. It strikes us as possible (if not terribly likely) that there are 2 discrete amplifiers in that case. If so, it is possible that a solder joint has failed or that a pin has backed out and only one of the amplifiers is actually working.

The other thing to check is that the DIN cable is plugged in securely.

If all of this looks good, then your amp has died. It looks like you'll need to either find a replacement amp or pull wire from the amp up to the dash and wire the speakers to your new headunit that way.

#6 grossgary

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 12:13 PM

I pulled the amp today and swapped another in place - still nothing. But I was hoping to find the pinouts so I could test if it's getting any power. Now I know.

It has a round plug and a square - which has the speaker outputs? I guess the rectangular one?


Slight change of direction. The head unit has a rectangle plug and the round plug that goes to the amp.

Does it work like this:
Head unit outputs via round cable to amp - amp outputs to speakers?
Are there any outputs on the rectangular plug of the head unit?

If that's the case then I'm confused that plugging in a WRX 6 disc changer gives me sound out of my two front door speakers.

#7 Scoobywagon

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 04:26 PM

What year is your WRX radio from?

#8 Scoobywagon

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 05:05 PM

Ok...after a bit more digging....

There should be a 20-amp fuse in the fuse block just for the amp. Not sure what location, so you'll have to rely on the cover. Just make sure that fuse isn't popped.

This looks like a fairly weird system. The diagram I have shows that the speaker output leads are present at the radio connector. However, it also shows that those leads simply go to open connectors at the far end of the harness. The wiring is otherwise identical whether the car is a MacIntosh car or not. So it may be that the deck runs the front 2 speakers directly and the amp runs the subwoofer off of the rears.

Get yourself a test speaker and some wire. The connector you'll go hunting for looks like it is probably in the psgr kick panel. It'll be a blue 16-pin connector. Check for audio on pins 6 & 15 (should be left rear) and on pins 7 & 16 (should be right rear). The pins on this one are kind of odd. Looks like it has a very large pin on each end of the connector. Those will be pins 1 and 8. Pins 2 through 7 are the top row. Pins 9 through 16 are the bottom row. Pin 8 will be the large pin all the way to the right. 7 and 16 are the pair immediately to the left of 8. 6 and 15 are immediately left of that. If you get audio there, then you should be able to bypass the amp altogether.

#9 grossgary

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 06:34 PM

WRX unit - i have no clue - a 2002 I think?

what page/section of the FSM are you getting this info from? wiring diagram? i'll have to see if i have any FSM's with the McIntosh in it.

hhmmm, so the only speakers from the head unit are the fronts - that makes sense then that the WRX unit works then with the fronts. So this tells me both McIntosh units are bad?

Checked the fuse a long time ago and it was good.

So to get another unit to work, like the WRX changer, since the McIntosh are hard to get and might have low reliability anyway - i'll need to run new wire to the rear speakers? Wondering if the wiring is in place already, might be able to pull the rear door panels and look for connectors.

#10 Scoobywagon

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 12:28 AM

I'm pulling this from alldata. The diagrams are a little ambiguous.

Looking in the doors for connectors won't help. There will DEFINITELY be connectors unless a previous owner cut them for new speakers and pulled the speakers when they sold the car. I doubt that.

To get something else to work, I'd probably just pull some fresh wire from the stereo down to the amp's location and cut in there. Should work just fine. Just make sure to NOT get the factory sub while you're at it. That could cook your deck.

#11 grossgary

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 06:17 AM

To get something else to work, I'd probably just pull some fresh wire from the stereo down to the amp's location and cut in there.

the amp requires that round special plug, i'd have to cut that cable open to access the wires then since those are the inputs to the amp right?

#12 Scoobywagon

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 10:40 AM

The amp is likely dead, so I wouldn't worry about the DIN cable. I'd disconnect the amp and splice into the speaker outputs there.

#13 grossgary

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 11:40 AM

The amp is likely dead

you were right. i finally tracked this issue down and there's a 25 amp fuse soldered to the board inside the amp. it was blown...probably in both amps that i tried.

i'm going to solder some wire to it and mount an external fuse so it's not such a pain to get to.

recent thread tracking it down here:
http://www.ultimates...047#post1159047




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