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Old 04-08-2011, 06:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdandy View Post
There is definitely a new voice with the McIntosh MC452, one that places the entire musical presentation more forward, with dynamics that seem to be faster in their attack. The 452 is a bit more in your face, so to speak. The forward nature of the sonic signature, coupled with a sense of faster dynamic attacks leaves me believing the new MC452, and quite possibly the new MC601's, have been intentionally voiced by the McIntosh design team as a way of refreshing the amplifier lineup against the onslaught of so many other players on the field. Time will tell if my opinion has merit.
As with others on the site, I have been waiting to hear your thoughts on the amplifier. Thanks for your thoughtful observations.

I commented about the piece some months ago, after I had been in the dealership the day they opened the box on their first MC452. My initial impression and current impression remains favorable. I have gone back to listen several times. The dealer's MC452 is set up with gear that is comparable to my own. Having gotten passed the excitement of the piece being new, I have had one reservation or concern: whether the forward nature of the sound (which includes the positive attribute of a larger sound stage) might get fatiguing after a while. My listening habits include occasionally pushing the amplifier toward maximum output level. And of course, one of the things about McIntosh that I have always enjoyed is that you can push the amplifiers to maximum output and generally what you get is simply maximum music. The sound is astonishingly never fatiguing. I qualify my concerns by recognizing that building amplifiers like the MC452 is exactly what McIntosh has traditionally done best, and it seems hard to believe that any McIntosh amplifier would deviate from this tradition.

In any event, I would appreciate your additional comments and the comments of others. Thanks, and congratulations on the two new pieces (MCD1100) of gear.
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:40 AM
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Your excellent description of the character of the 452 convinces me of a perfect scenario "match made in heaven" complement with the MCD1100. The forward, not objectionable, presentation of the 452 will be softened and humanized with a fullness of vocal depth and, not only the location of each secondary instrument on the stage, but whether it is 3 or 4 feet in front or back, left or right of the main performer. I would guess that the new amps from Mac were tweaked with the new technology in the 1100's.
I think you are going to be awed with your new combination.
Howard
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:58 AM
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Dan
As always, you have provided us with a thorough and well thought out review.

If I understand your comments about the 452's "new" sound, the new design might be McIntosh's attempt to improve the pace of their amps. I have always perceived Mac amps to be slower but more musical when compared to something like Krell. Maybe the 452 is a slight nudge to the quicker side. Sounds good to me.

Jim
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by m.tonetti View Post
Great review Dan.

I like reading what you write, your passion and precision is admirable.

Thanks.

Substantially I understand that, using a mathematics proportionality, MC501 : MC402 = MC452 : MC501.
Massimo.......I like the idea of a mathematical equation, or ratio being assigned to demonstrate how the amplifiers compare. I would say that your analysis is accurate.
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Living Room System: McIntosh C2300, MC601 (2), MS750, MR85, Esoteric K-03, Olive 04HD, Magnum Dynalab MD-205, Sony K890ES, Micro Seiki DD-40 w/MA-505 tonearm, Ortofon Cadenza Blue, Furutech AG-12 phono cable, Aluminati Sound record clamp, Sonos ZP90, PMC EB1i, Fathom f113 w/ Sound Anchor stand, PS Audio Power Plant Premier (2), PS Audio Soloist Premier SE (3), Furutech Flux 50, Symposium Rollerblock Jr.'s, Fanfare FM-2G, Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's & Silver Electra PC's, Wireworld Supernova & Silver Starlight digital cables, Kimber 8TC speaker cable w/ WBT NexGen Silver Angled Locking Banana Connectors, Solid Pure Silver Speaker Terminal Jumpers.
Studio System: McIntosh C1000C/P, MC2301 (2), MR88, Esoteric K-03, Olive 04HD, Michell Gyro SE w/SME 309/Ortofon Cadenza Black, Michell HR Never Connected Power Supply, Sonos ZP90, Sonos ZP120, Wyred 4 Sound Remedy, Magnum Dynalab ST-2, PurePower 2000, Furutech Flux 50, PS Audio Soloist Premier SE, PS Audio Dectet, Sonus Faber Amati Anniversario, Symbosium Rollerblock Jr.'s and Fat Padz, Wireword Silver Eclipse IC's, Silver Electra PC's, Supernova & Silver Starlight digital cables, Wireworld Silver Eclipse speaker cable, Klaudio Ultrasonic Record Cleaner.
Home Theater System: McIntosh MX120, MC452, Oppo BDP-95, PS Audio Soloist Premier SE, JBL LSR-6332 (2), JBL LSR-6328P (3), McIntosh XLS112 (2), Sony 52XBR9, Tributaries Silver IC's, Wireworld Starlight 6 HDMI cables, Wireworld Silver Electra PC's.
Headphone System: Sennheiser HD800 headphone, HDVA 600 headphone amplifier, CH 800 S balance headphone cable, Wyred 4 Sound DAC2, Oppo BDP-83, Wireworld Silver Starlight 7 digital cable, Silver Eclipse 7 balanced interconnects, Aurora 7 power cables.
Vintage System: McIntosh MA230, MR74 tuner, Denon DVD-2800 CD/DVD, JBL 4312A speakers, Wireworld Solstice 7 speaker cable., Tributaries Silver Series IC's.
Other Vintage Gear: MA5100, JVC XL-Z1050 K2 CD, Tandberg 3008A preamp, Tandberg 3026A power amp, Tandberg 3011 tuner, Yamaha P2100 power amp, McIntosh 4300V.
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Old 04-08-2011, 10:03 AM
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Fantastic review Dan. You provide exactly the kind of information that many of us care about - how does it sound compared to what we are familiar with. I am not surprised that the McIntosh is moving the sonic signature "forward" - in both senses of the word.

There would be little point in introducing new amps that sound just like the older amps (except, perhaps, for 50 more watts/ch), so McIntosh had to decide in which sonic direction to go. Going toward a more relaxed and less forward sound might have please a small minority - but got them "killed" by most professional reviewers (with the possible exception of Art Dudley) and turned off the majority of potential buyers, so they had to go in the other direction. That's why I am not surprised by your review. I would have been surprised if you had heard something different than what you did.

Based on your description, they managed to make the amp sound more "modern" while maintaining the sense of musicality and low listening fatigue that has made many of us McIntosh fans. In other words, it still sounds like a McIntosh (and not a Krell or, say, a Mark-Levinson.)

I look forward to future updates on your experience with the MC452, and thanks again for a great review that told us (or at least me) exactly what we wanted to know!

Alberto
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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 04-08-2011, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turntable View Post
Nice review JD.

Is the 452 more forward in a toe tapping musical way, or in a upper mid/lower treble way.

While I admired the 501's, I could never get musically excited with them. Perhaps this is part of the new voicing of the 452?

Which amp is more fatiguing over time?
Shane.......I have been listening to my MC501's for almost 3 years now, and I can honestly say that I have never experience any listener fatigue, whether I listen for an hour or twelve hours. The 501's are a joy to hear.

The MC452 has only been in my studio system for eleven days, with the first nine days going through its break in period. I kept an open mind during this time so that I would not have a preconceived notion of it's sound before I began critical listening for the evaluation and review. The 452 may very well continue to settle, although it has definitely arrived at a more permanent sound than during the first week of play.

Yesterday was the first day I spent extended time auditioning the new MC452. In all, I think I spent six hours in the sweet spot listening to a dozen different CD's and SACD's. During that time I was aware of the amplifier's new presence being more forward than the 501's, but the quality of the sound was spectacular. I did not find myself wanting to reduce the volume, or turn the amp off. I interpret this to mean I was not fatigued by my listening experience.

The MC452 can best be described as powerful, dynamically quick, accurate resolution, articulate, with a very detailed sound that is presented in a slightly forward manner from other McIntosh amplifiers. I don't find this new distinguished quality objectionable, only slightly different than my long tempered listening habits with many other McIntosh amplifiers. The MC452 is not fatiguing, in fact it is quite exciting. Yes, it makes your toe tap and your head bounce, too.
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Living Room System: McIntosh C2300, MC601 (2), MS750, MR85, Esoteric K-03, Olive 04HD, Magnum Dynalab MD-205, Sony K890ES, Micro Seiki DD-40 w/MA-505 tonearm, Ortofon Cadenza Blue, Furutech AG-12 phono cable, Aluminati Sound record clamp, Sonos ZP90, PMC EB1i, Fathom f113 w/ Sound Anchor stand, PS Audio Power Plant Premier (2), PS Audio Soloist Premier SE (3), Furutech Flux 50, Symposium Rollerblock Jr.'s, Fanfare FM-2G, Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's & Silver Electra PC's, Wireworld Supernova & Silver Starlight digital cables, Kimber 8TC speaker cable w/ WBT NexGen Silver Angled Locking Banana Connectors, Solid Pure Silver Speaker Terminal Jumpers.
Studio System: McIntosh C1000C/P, MC2301 (2), MR88, Esoteric K-03, Olive 04HD, Michell Gyro SE w/SME 309/Ortofon Cadenza Black, Michell HR Never Connected Power Supply, Sonos ZP90, Sonos ZP120, Wyred 4 Sound Remedy, Magnum Dynalab ST-2, PurePower 2000, Furutech Flux 50, PS Audio Soloist Premier SE, PS Audio Dectet, Sonus Faber Amati Anniversario, Symbosium Rollerblock Jr.'s and Fat Padz, Wireword Silver Eclipse IC's, Silver Electra PC's, Supernova & Silver Starlight digital cables, Wireworld Silver Eclipse speaker cable, Klaudio Ultrasonic Record Cleaner.
Home Theater System: McIntosh MX120, MC452, Oppo BDP-95, PS Audio Soloist Premier SE, JBL LSR-6332 (2), JBL LSR-6328P (3), McIntosh XLS112 (2), Sony 52XBR9, Tributaries Silver IC's, Wireworld Starlight 6 HDMI cables, Wireworld Silver Electra PC's.
Headphone System: Sennheiser HD800 headphone, HDVA 600 headphone amplifier, CH 800 S balance headphone cable, Wyred 4 Sound DAC2, Oppo BDP-83, Wireworld Silver Starlight 7 digital cable, Silver Eclipse 7 balanced interconnects, Aurora 7 power cables.
Vintage System: McIntosh MA230, MR74 tuner, Denon DVD-2800 CD/DVD, JBL 4312A speakers, Wireworld Solstice 7 speaker cable., Tributaries Silver Series IC's.
Other Vintage Gear: MA5100, JVC XL-Z1050 K2 CD, Tandberg 3008A preamp, Tandberg 3026A power amp, Tandberg 3011 tuner, Yamaha P2100 power amp, McIntosh 4300V.

Last edited by jdandy; 01-05-2013 at 05:48 PM.
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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 04-08-2011, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkval View Post
Your excellent description of the character of the 452 convinces me of a perfect scenario "match made in heaven" complement with the MCD1100. The forward, not objectionable, presentation of the 452 will be softened and humanized with a fullness of vocal depth and, not only the location of each secondary instrument on the stage, but whether it is 3 or 4 feet in front or back, left or right of the main performer. I would guess that the new amps from Mac were tweaked with the new technology in the 1100's.
I think you are going to be awed with your new combination.
Howard
Howard.......Your are definitely keeping my MCD1100 excitement level piqued.
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Living Room System: McIntosh C2300, MC601 (2), MS750, MR85, Esoteric K-03, Olive 04HD, Magnum Dynalab MD-205, Sony K890ES, Micro Seiki DD-40 w/MA-505 tonearm, Ortofon Cadenza Blue, Furutech AG-12 phono cable, Aluminati Sound record clamp, Sonos ZP90, PMC EB1i, Fathom f113 w/ Sound Anchor stand, PS Audio Power Plant Premier (2), PS Audio Soloist Premier SE (3), Furutech Flux 50, Symposium Rollerblock Jr.'s, Fanfare FM-2G, Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's & Silver Electra PC's, Wireworld Supernova & Silver Starlight digital cables, Kimber 8TC speaker cable w/ WBT NexGen Silver Angled Locking Banana Connectors, Solid Pure Silver Speaker Terminal Jumpers.
Studio System: McIntosh C1000C/P, MC2301 (2), MR88, Esoteric K-03, Olive 04HD, Michell Gyro SE w/SME 309/Ortofon Cadenza Black, Michell HR Never Connected Power Supply, Sonos ZP90, Sonos ZP120, Wyred 4 Sound Remedy, Magnum Dynalab ST-2, PurePower 2000, Furutech Flux 50, PS Audio Soloist Premier SE, PS Audio Dectet, Sonus Faber Amati Anniversario, Symbosium Rollerblock Jr.'s and Fat Padz, Wireword Silver Eclipse IC's, Silver Electra PC's, Supernova & Silver Starlight digital cables, Wireworld Silver Eclipse speaker cable, Klaudio Ultrasonic Record Cleaner.
Home Theater System: McIntosh MX120, MC452, Oppo BDP-95, PS Audio Soloist Premier SE, JBL LSR-6332 (2), JBL LSR-6328P (3), McIntosh XLS112 (2), Sony 52XBR9, Tributaries Silver IC's, Wireworld Starlight 6 HDMI cables, Wireworld Silver Electra PC's.
Headphone System: Sennheiser HD800 headphone, HDVA 600 headphone amplifier, CH 800 S balance headphone cable, Wyred 4 Sound DAC2, Oppo BDP-83, Wireworld Silver Starlight 7 digital cable, Silver Eclipse 7 balanced interconnects, Aurora 7 power cables.
Vintage System: McIntosh MA230, MR74 tuner, Denon DVD-2800 CD/DVD, JBL 4312A speakers, Wireworld Solstice 7 speaker cable., Tributaries Silver Series IC's.
Other Vintage Gear: MA5100, JVC XL-Z1050 K2 CD, Tandberg 3008A preamp, Tandberg 3026A power amp, Tandberg 3011 tuner, Yamaha P2100 power amp, McIntosh 4300V.
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Old 04-08-2011, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Still-One View Post
Dan
As always, you have provided us with a thorough and well thought out review.

If I understand your comments about the 452's "new" sound, the new design might be McIntosh's attempt to improve the pace of their amps. I have always perceived Mac amps to be slower but more musical when compared to something like Krell. Maybe the 452 is a slight nudge to the quicker side. Sounds good to me.
Jim.......I like your use of the term "improve the pace of their amps." I believe this is exactly what McIntosh has accomplished. It is most notable when you have the opportunity to directly compare the MC452's sound with another McIntosh amplifier, although it can be heard without a comparison if you are familiar with the McIntosh house sound to this point. I think it is a step in the right direction.
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Living Room System: McIntosh C2300, MC601 (2), MS750, MR85, Esoteric K-03, Olive 04HD, Magnum Dynalab MD-205, Sony K890ES, Micro Seiki DD-40 w/MA-505 tonearm, Ortofon Cadenza Blue, Furutech AG-12 phono cable, Aluminati Sound record clamp, Sonos ZP90, PMC EB1i, Fathom f113 w/ Sound Anchor stand, PS Audio Power Plant Premier (2), PS Audio Soloist Premier SE (3), Furutech Flux 50, Symposium Rollerblock Jr.'s, Fanfare FM-2G, Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's & Silver Electra PC's, Wireworld Supernova & Silver Starlight digital cables, Kimber 8TC speaker cable w/ WBT NexGen Silver Angled Locking Banana Connectors, Solid Pure Silver Speaker Terminal Jumpers.
Studio System: McIntosh C1000C/P, MC2301 (2), MR88, Esoteric K-03, Olive 04HD, Michell Gyro SE w/SME 309/Ortofon Cadenza Black, Michell HR Never Connected Power Supply, Sonos ZP90, Sonos ZP120, Wyred 4 Sound Remedy, Magnum Dynalab ST-2, PurePower 2000, Furutech Flux 50, PS Audio Soloist Premier SE, PS Audio Dectet, Sonus Faber Amati Anniversario, Symbosium Rollerblock Jr.'s and Fat Padz, Wireword Silver Eclipse IC's, Silver Electra PC's, Supernova & Silver Starlight digital cables, Wireworld Silver Eclipse speaker cable, Klaudio Ultrasonic Record Cleaner.
Home Theater System: McIntosh MX120, MC452, Oppo BDP-95, PS Audio Soloist Premier SE, JBL LSR-6332 (2), JBL LSR-6328P (3), McIntosh XLS112 (2), Sony 52XBR9, Tributaries Silver IC's, Wireworld Starlight 6 HDMI cables, Wireworld Silver Electra PC's.
Headphone System: Sennheiser HD800 headphone, HDVA 600 headphone amplifier, CH 800 S balance headphone cable, Wyred 4 Sound DAC2, Oppo BDP-83, Wireworld Silver Starlight 7 digital cable, Silver Eclipse 7 balanced interconnects, Aurora 7 power cables.
Vintage System: McIntosh MA230, MR74 tuner, Denon DVD-2800 CD/DVD, JBL 4312A speakers, Wireworld Solstice 7 speaker cable., Tributaries Silver Series IC's.
Other Vintage Gear: MA5100, JVC XL-Z1050 K2 CD, Tandberg 3008A preamp, Tandberg 3026A power amp, Tandberg 3011 tuner, Yamaha P2100 power amp, McIntosh 4300V.
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Old 04-08-2011, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alberto View Post
Fantastic review Dan. You provide exactly the kind of information that many of us care about - how does it sound compared to what we are familiar with. I am not surprised that the McIntosh is moving the sonic signature "forward" - in both senses of the word.

There would be little point in introducing new amps that sound just like the older amps (except, perhaps, for 50 more watts/ch), so McIntosh had to decide in which sonic direction to go. Going toward a more relaxed and less forward sound might have please a small minority - but got them "killed" by most professional reviewers (with the possible exception of Art Dudley) and turned off the majority of potential buyers, so they had to go in the other direction. That's why I am not surprised by your review. I would have been surprised if you had heard something different than what you did.

Based on your description, they managed to make the amp sound more "modern" while maintaining the sense of musicality and low listening fatigue that has made many of us McIntosh fans. In other words, it still sounds like a McIntosh (and not a Krell or, say, a Mark-Levinson.)

I look forward to future updates on your experience with the MC452, and thanks again for a great review that told us (or at least me) exactly what we wanted to know!
Alberto.......Thank you. Attempting to accurately convey a new aspect of the McIntosh sound proved quite challenging. I did not want to ignore what is most certainly a new signature blended with the high quality McIntosh sound we know so well. At the same time I did not want to be misunderstood that somehow I found this shift in presentation to be anything other than good. More than anything, I was surprised by the refreshed presence and quicker pace the MC452 delivers. McIntosh hasn't breathed a word about this change in presentation that I am aware of. My guess is McIntosh doesn't wish to be misunderstod in their literature, so they left it up to new owners to discover their newest direction. I find this freshened sound to be a good thing.
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Living Room System: McIntosh C2300, MC601 (2), MS750, MR85, Esoteric K-03, Olive 04HD, Magnum Dynalab MD-205, Sony K890ES, Micro Seiki DD-40 w/MA-505 tonearm, Ortofon Cadenza Blue, Furutech AG-12 phono cable, Aluminati Sound record clamp, Sonos ZP90, PMC EB1i, Fathom f113 w/ Sound Anchor stand, PS Audio Power Plant Premier (2), PS Audio Soloist Premier SE (3), Furutech Flux 50, Symposium Rollerblock Jr.'s, Fanfare FM-2G, Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's & Silver Electra PC's, Wireworld Supernova & Silver Starlight digital cables, Kimber 8TC speaker cable w/ WBT NexGen Silver Angled Locking Banana Connectors, Solid Pure Silver Speaker Terminal Jumpers.
Studio System: McIntosh C1000C/P, MC2301 (2), MR88, Esoteric K-03, Olive 04HD, Michell Gyro SE w/SME 309/Ortofon Cadenza Black, Michell HR Never Connected Power Supply, Sonos ZP90, Sonos ZP120, Wyred 4 Sound Remedy, Magnum Dynalab ST-2, PurePower 2000, Furutech Flux 50, PS Audio Soloist Premier SE, PS Audio Dectet, Sonus Faber Amati Anniversario, Symbosium Rollerblock Jr.'s and Fat Padz, Wireword Silver Eclipse IC's, Silver Electra PC's, Supernova & Silver Starlight digital cables, Wireworld Silver Eclipse speaker cable, Klaudio Ultrasonic Record Cleaner.
Home Theater System: McIntosh MX120, MC452, Oppo BDP-95, PS Audio Soloist Premier SE, JBL LSR-6332 (2), JBL LSR-6328P (3), McIntosh XLS112 (2), Sony 52XBR9, Tributaries Silver IC's, Wireworld Starlight 6 HDMI cables, Wireworld Silver Electra PC's.
Headphone System: Sennheiser HD800 headphone, HDVA 600 headphone amplifier, CH 800 S balance headphone cable, Wyred 4 Sound DAC2, Oppo BDP-83, Wireworld Silver Starlight 7 digital cable, Silver Eclipse 7 balanced interconnects, Aurora 7 power cables.
Vintage System: McIntosh MA230, MR74 tuner, Denon DVD-2800 CD/DVD, JBL 4312A speakers, Wireworld Solstice 7 speaker cable., Tributaries Silver Series IC's.
Other Vintage Gear: MA5100, JVC XL-Z1050 K2 CD, Tandberg 3008A preamp, Tandberg 3026A power amp, Tandberg 3011 tuner, Yamaha P2100 power amp, McIntosh 4300V.
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Old 04-08-2011, 11:39 AM
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Excellent review Dan! Thanks!

McIntosh should pay you to review their products. Your review was concise, informative and a pleasure to read. Outstanding job!
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