McIntosh MC352 Amplifiers

McIntosh MC352 Amplifiers 

DESCRIPTION

350 wpc Solid State Amplifier (Balanced Push/Pull Design)

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 24  
[Aug 27, 2003]
Chris Rud
AudioPhile

Strength:

Build quality, excellent factory support, lots of power, unique appearance, high resale value, excellent manual and packaging.

Weakness:

Expensive, slightly warm sounding, unique appearance, large and heavy.

I never really considered myself a McIntosh fan, but this amplifier changed my attitude towards this virtual icon of the audio industry. It seems like there are two camps in regard to McIntosh equipment. One camp has an almost cult like devotion to anything that comes out of the factory. The other camp seems to dismiss anything made by McIntosh whether they have personally auditioned the equipment or not. In the past I would have fallen in the second camp, which I now realize was a mistake. The biggest attribute the MC 352 has to offer is that it’s just plain musical. Forget all the audiophile terms and extremes and just sit back and listen to this thing make beautiful music with a relaxed and perhaps somewhat warm presentation. There are many amps out there that do different things extremely well, but lack musicality. I have come to a point in my audio life where I want to turn on my gear dim the lights and just listen to music without having to critique every single aspect of the presentation; the MC 352 does just that to my ears. As I said above the MC 352 does err on the warmer side of neutral. Again I hate to discuss minute audiophile details too much, but if you’re using an overly warm or rolled off loudspeaker you might want to try it with the MC 352 before purchase. Equipment matching is always an issue, and in my opinion the amplifier/loudspeaker interface is the most important. The first time I heard the Mac was in an audio store with a pair of Thiel 3.6’s. To my ears the Thiel 3.6’s were always too bright in the treble and tended to become fatiguing over time. The first time I ever heard the 3.6’s sound good was when there were lashed up to the MC 352. Now I’m not saying that the 352 is going to roll off all the highs unless you have overly bright speakers. I am just saying that you should give it an audition with your speakers if they tend to err on the darker side in the treble. I have found the Mac to be an excellent match with Thiel, Dynaudio, and Dunlavy speakers. Another thing you get with this or any McIntosh purchase is peace of mind. Peace of mind in that you have a company that WILL stand behind the equipment they make whether you buy it used or new for as long as you own it. I like the fact that I can purchase McIntosh gear that is 10, 20 or 30 years old and still get parts and service. I also like that fact that the McIntosh look doesn’t change much over time. Let’s face it at the kind of money you have to spend on high end gear you should be able to expect it to look AND sound good. Most of the high-end companies out there tend to do complete facelifts every few years just to get their customers to trade in for the newest look and tiny circuit change. I kind of equate McIntosh gear to Harley’s, you can buy a nice Japanese sport bike that changes EVERY year, or you can buy a Harley once and it will always look like the current bikes available. So as you can read by my review I have become a McIntosh fan, I’ve even grown accustomed to the infamous McIntosh look and I’m very fond of it. The build quality on all the Mac gear I’ve seen and used is exemplary and so far bulletproof. There is also nothing wrong with owning gear that keeps its resale value just about forever. At some point I may wish to purchase McIntosh MC 1200’s or something with even more power, it’s nice to know that the MC 352 will still be very desirable on the used market which helps out on new gear purchases. Do yourself a favor and give the MC 352 a long audition, I think you’ll love it!

Similar Products Used:

Mark Levinson 333/336/33H, Audio Research VT-200, Classe' Audio S-700, 25, 15, Krell KSA 200S, 300S

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
2
[Jun 26, 2003]
Steve Huff
AudioPhile

Strength:

Build, looks, SOUND, silky smooth, gobs of power, reliable, cool blue meters, and Mcintosh is a GREAT USA company that has been in business for over 50 years!

Weakness:

0, ziltch, NOTHING. This was well worth the 43600 I paid for it. This will be my last amp I ever buy. If it ever dies I will buy another Mac.

WOW...after three years of swapping amps, preamps, speakers, cables and losing some big money doing it, I FINALLY found the exact sound i was looking for. I had to spend some bigger $$ to get here, but its better than constantly losing money buying and selling gear. I have some B&W Nautilus 602's and I was usinga Cary V12i and SLP98p - The sound was thin, flat and not enjoyable. The B&W's are hard to drive so its not the Carys fault, BUT I have also tried sunfire amps, pass labs, krell and others but when I put in this Mcintosh amp with the 2200 pre amp it was heaven. if you can get this amp used BUY IT. It has gobs of power, smooth sound, plenty O bass and a build quality like Ive never seen. The cool blue meters are awesome as well. Best amp Ive ever heard. Even (much) better than the Levinson I had. Everyone should try out Mcintosh. If they did, they would finally be happy!

Similar Products Used:

Levinson (WAY WAY over rated), Linn, Cary, Sunfire, Quicksilver Audio, Krell, Denon, Sonic Frontiers and many more.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 28, 2003]
jomora
Casual Listener

Strength:

Only the appearance.I do not doubt that this products can have good sound but without support I believe I will not discover it.

Weakness:

BAD SUPPORT and NO WARRANTY until the moment.

I was acquired an amplifier McIntosh MC352 and an preamplifier C41 in September of the last year. The amplifier has a spot in the left measurer of watts (factory defect) to which I did not make case. When connecting them it disappointed the sound to me because it is listened to with little depth and glare. The needles of the measurers almost arrive at the mark of the 350 watts and more and the gain control of the amplifier I must raise it until half or more which seems to me excessive in an amplifier of this one power handling these speakers B&W DM604 that are in the the 200 category of watts. I have interconnected the amplifier and preamplifier with cables XLR in the balanced way as well as in way nonbalanced with coaxial cables without improving the sound. In one of the exits of the preamplifier I added to subwoofer Polk Audio of 180 watts and this one is listened too bad (distorted). I sent an email to the McIntosh company and as answer spoke me of METEX and they suggested me spoke to an expert in my city which I did but there was no error in the conections.I was pay much money by these products and waited for more of them as far as quality of sound and power. I sent emails to McIntosh and received the follow answer: "Did you listen to the system at your dealer before buying it? I am surprised at your description of the sound, what is your room like, very large? You say the powererd sub sounds bad? I dont see how the McIntosh could cause that. Did your dealer come out to your house and listen to the system? Chuck Hinton of McIntosh Tech Support" I Answer: I didn´t listen the system before buying it because I live in Monterrey,N.L. and the dealer is in Guadalajara,Jal. (dealer authorized in México) I contact the company by phone. I did listen one of this amplifiers at Marvin Electronics but I buyed the products in México for the lower price. The room is 4x4 meters. The powered subwoofer sounds distorted ( I connect it to de LISTEN outputs 1 or 2 at rear of the preamp.) The same subwoofer sounds good when I connect it to a Pioneer receiver of 110 watts/ch (to a sub out) My dealer don´t come to my house to listen to the system because are very far of my city (more than twelve hours of trip). They sent me the products by a shipping company. I don´t attempt to take any advantage and I was thinking too much time before to take the decision for ask your support. I ask in the previous message if some return of change could be handled because the amplifier have a spot in the left watts meter and what I go to do if I try to sell it. I´ll wait for your answer Gracias Dr. Jorge Mora I don´t received any answer.I sent new email: Mr.Chuck Hinton: I sent you the previous email at 21/ May / 03 . Please tell me what you think. I am connecting the subwoofer to a wrong site in the preamp.? What type of cables recommends and how must I to connect?(I did followed the instructions of the manuals) You tell me you are surprised at my description of the sound. Believe me I was too surprised because I don´t buy this products whit the intention of have problems. I´ll wait your answer, it is not my intention to be foolish or crude and beforehand I will thank for its answer. Jorge Mora And till the moment I don´t have an answer.BAD SUPPORT and NO WARRANTY.

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
[Nov 25, 2002]
Dave Mamrak
AudioPhile

Strength:

Deep Bass, smooth presentation

Weakness:

Heavy!

I found this amp used for $2750 at Upscal Audio so I jumped at it. The first thing I noticed when I fired it up in my system was the deep bass and smoothness. I was using a Rotel amp before and it worked just fine. However the McIntosh is heads above the Rotel. I have never really heard tube equipment but I imagine this is what they call the smooth sound of tubes. I am using a McIntosh C37 preamp and I can barely turn the volume up on this amp. Using the balanced inputs to the amp is the best way to go. The only drawback to this beast is that it is heavy with a capital 'H'. It weighs in at 105 lbs and in its custom box, it weighs close to 130. You don't want to have to move this baby very far. If you can find this amp for less than $3000 go for it!

Similar Products Used:

Rotel RB-1090

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jun 16, 2002]
Chris Huneke
AudioPhile

Strength:

Very Musical, Brings out the nuances in recordings (in some cases it brings out the "bad" in some recordings) Vocals cut through any mix with this amplifier.

Weakness:

My god make sure you don't have a bad back. This sucker is heavy and not easy to carry up staircases!

After years of auditioning, buying, and selling different amplifiers, I'm pretty sure I've found what I'm looking for. It's only been about 2 months, but I'm convinced the Mac 352 will stay in the listening room. I recently purchased two Rotel RB1090 amps. While they were very solid, and stable, they just didn't have that "musical" feel. I kept one and sold the other, and now I have a Mac 352 for my Maggie 3.5R's. I don't need to go into anymore detail on how it sounds...the reviews below with take care of that. This is a MUSICAL amplifier. Enjoy!

Similar Products Used:

Rotel, Carver, Krell, Crown

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Feb 07, 2000]
player audio
Audiophile

Have anybody compare the MC 352 with the Classe Audio CA 301
power amp? Trying hard to decide betw them. I love to listen to vocals only. Would appreciate if somebody out there could advise.

Similar Products Used:


OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jan 10, 2000]
Greg
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

power, clarity

Weakness:

None

I have listened to this amp extensively with the B&W Nautilus 802's, Audio Research CD, MC-40 Preamp. It was phenomenal all-around, power, clarity, sound stage. I have also heard this same configuration powered with several other amp's (Adcom 5802, Rotel, Krell Kav-250) and I didn't think any offered the same appeal. I also find the build quality to be superior.

Similar Products Used:

Adcom 5802, Krell kav-250, Carver TFM-25, Rotel

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jun 06, 2000]
Neil
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Build quality; purity; blue wattage meters

Weakness:

Rupture-inducing weight; will not fit in your present audio furniture

I've had this product for several months. It is the brawn behind a system to which I treated myself consisting of a McIntosh preamp and CD/DVD player and B&W N803 speakers. It's quite hard to give a value rating of 5 stars since I haven't compared this to other high quality machines, and deep down I think I probably could have gotten close to this sound at a far lower price, but to my listening style it easily earns 5 stars for an overall rating. I can't say I easily forked over the money, and I guess there must be better amps out there given how much one can pay for audio equipment, and I can't speak of comparisons between tubes and solid state equipment, but this machine inspires confidence in listening. No way am I ever going to listen so loudly as to produce strain on the sound. The amp produces clean, crisp sound and imparts zero coloration. The 350 wpc is much more than I thought I needed, but I think the headroom is critical to have for demanding passages, quiet-to-busy transitions, and to bring out the depth of the music. Plus, you can have it on all day and it barely gets warm. The real clincher that convinced me to pay up for this machine was my unannounced visit to McIntosh headquarters in Binghamton, where I got a one hour tour of 3 plant buildings. What a throwback, especially in today's planned obsolescence world. They machine stamp all their own metal. The glass front is cut and silkscreened on site. No robotics--everything is made, wound, assembled, inspected and packed by hand. You should see how they pack this thing. The padding, double-boxing and screwed-to-the-feet wood palette alone weigh 50 pounds. Strangely, all this adds to the listening pleasure. And when the lights are turned off and you're cranking up anything from Dave Mathews to Lyle Lovett to La Traviata, those blue watt meters are really cool. If you can't feel this way about such an expensive stereo purchase, what's the point?

Similar Products Used:

None

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Sep 03, 2000]
shan lee
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Huge soundstage, warm and passionate, power to spare

Weakness:

Weaknesses: Distintive Color added to music, not necessarily a negative for some.


Similar Products Used: KAV 250a
Price Paid: $4000
Review Summary: Checked out a lot of revies on both amps. I will leave the technical albeit useful revies to the mags.

I gave in to all the Krell hype and it's rave reviews and auditioned the Krell first. It sounded good, clean and clinical. Good punch. Very tight. Compact soundstage. Not worth $3200

Now the Mc352. Same reference CD's(started with Kind of Blue). I was shocked. The music came alive. The horns jumped out at me. Wide and deeper soundstage. Warm and passionate. I did not care anymore about the whole concept of faithfully reproducing the source with clinical precision, a la Krell. Each CD is as useless as a solitary word unless used in some kind of context. The Mac does just that. Creates an environment to give music life and character.
Do not take my word, go and listen and compare!!!

Similar Products Used:

Krell KAV 250a

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Aug 29, 2000]
Rick
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Solid construction and quality of sound

Weakness:

The speaker terminals could be done a little differently so that larger cable wouldn't be a challenge to connect-but it's not a problem. (I'm using 10 guage cable now)

I have owned the Mac for six months now and feel I've become familiar with the unit. I'm not going to use fancy words or technical BS to describe this amp. What I will say is that the 352 has both quality and quantity in abundance. The sound is engaging and keeps pulling you back for more. THe same goes for the sound level-low levels have an overall eveness to them and the same goes for high level listening except everything shakes-floors, doors and windows. The term best used to describe the sound is...NATURAL. This unit avoids the pitfalls of other amps in that there are no clicks, thuds, thumps, buzzes or any other kind of unattractive noises. The Mac 352 is a rock solid champion.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 24  

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