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REVIEW: McIntosh MC402 Amplifier (SS)

Model: MC402
Category: Amplifier (SS)
Suggested Retail Price: $5100.
Description: 400 WPC stereo amplifier
Manufacturer URL: McIntosh
Manufacturer URL: McIntosh

Review by Karl W. on November 05, 2005 at 06:48:57
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This was the second Mcintosh amplifier that I have purchased. The other being the MC252. Compared to the other amps that I have owned, this amp has a very natural presentation. What I mean is that the timbres of instruments sound like what I hear in unamplified music. The simplist explantion I can give is it is like hearing someone talk to you in person vs hearing that same person even at the same volume speak through a microphone. Amplified human voices have a different sound. This amp does the amplification without adding that artifical quality to sounds. I noticed that the piano especially sounds natural and unamplified sounding. I think this is a quality that few amplifers possess and perhaps one of the reasons for the rave reviews of this amp. The amp,like any amp has some shortcomings. What I notice most is a lack of detail compared to other amps I've owned. It's funny, the high are very extended, the music is extremely natural, but somehow it seem like you don't get the extreme detail that some amps are capable of inspite of the natural sound. It's a strange thing. On one hand that an amp give a sort of more "detail" when you consider how much more natural it sound. The extra naturalness but without the detail is hard to really discribe. In the end I would say that most will likely find the sound of the amplifier so pleasing that the trade off in extreme detail will not be an issue. It's not for me. Bass response is also very good but not as tight as my California MCA 2500 but no other amp that I've tried is either. Again, the bass is natural and you can sort of feel it in your body. It's deep and powerful. I think what impresses me most about the amp is the imaging. Wherever the singer is , damn, you can close your eyes and hear exactly where they are! This amp images better than anything else I've owned or heard. Really excellent in this regard. I mean REALLY excellent. Something else that strike me about the amp, is how cool it runs and the build quality. To peer insided the amplifier channels, it's not hard for me to imagine that this amplifier will last 25 years without breaking a sweat. I truly believe that if you want to use this amp that long you can. Most other amps are busy baking themselves to death. Touch them and they are very hot. If you really think about it, any electronic product getting that hot has to have a much short life span and be subject to much more breakage. I almost forgot. My wife loves it. Every other time that she has heard a new amp that I've purchased, she thinks that it sound goods. Usually that her only comment. "It sounds really good." A few times, she has commented on how extremely detailed some amps have been. This time, the first time ever, the first thing she did was start snapping her fingers and dancing in her seat.It was a Cd which she's heard many times before, but this was the first time I"ve ever seen THAT reaction. She's usually more analytical. So I'd sum things up by saying if you are looking to enjoy the music, buy this amp. If your looking for a scientific analysis, there are many amps that can be your microscope. She did make one other comment, "It's so CUTE. Looks much better than that other big black thing." LOL

Product Weakness: Not as detailed as some amps I"ve used.
Product Strengths: The most natural sounding solid state amp I've ever heard. Imaging is also the best I've yet experienced.

Associated Equipment for this Review:
Amplifier: California Audio labs MCA 2500
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): California Audio Labs SSP 2500, Audible Illusions L-1
Sources (CDP/Turntable): California Audio Labs CL-2500
Speakers: Mcintosh LS360
Cables/Interconnects: Lat International IC-200
Music Used (Genre/Selections): Jazz, R&B
Room Size (LxWxH): 25 x 17 x 9
Room Comments/Treatments: Large corner bass traps. 6 RPG Skyline on ceiling. Back wall 80% covered with RPG style QRD diffussers. Fabric wrapped fiberglass panels on side walls at first reflection points.
Time Period/Length of Audition: 2 weeks.
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner

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Topic - REVIEW: McIntosh MC402 Amplifier (SS) - Karl W. 06:48:57 11/05/05 (16)

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