New MC 452, First Impressions

Discussion in 'McIntosh Audio' started by JosephH, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. JosephH

    JosephH AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    On 5/31/18 I upgraded from a pair of MC2205s run in mono mode to a new MC452. I have given it a couple weeks to break in while I mull over the changes this upgrade has wrought. During the first 50 hours of use there has been a slight but certainly perceptible "opening up" of the audio during break in. Given the only slight increase in power, I was hesitant to make such a significant upgrade. I must say after almost 2 weeks of listening, I have no regrets. The increased definition, detail and imaging was noticeable on day one. (Using familiar source materials such as Pat Methney's The Way Up Blu-ray) I was amazed by how much everything seemed to open up. Imaging was much wider and deeper. I heard nuances in Antonio Sanchez's playing that I had never noticed before, especially on the cymbals and other percussion instruments. In addition, it was immediately obvious that the Aerial's bass was tighter and more defined, as the 452 kept tighter control of the 10T's tough to drive woofers. A couple times I giggled like a school kid. Lisa just laughed at me and the obvious delight that I has getting from the new system. I am happy to say that the giddiness has not left since. As the amp has seen more use, something else has occurred, which I struggle to define without sounding like a fan boy. The best way that I can describe it is that every aspect of the music has become more vivid, more vibrant. This is especially surprising considering that the MC2205's we no slouches, and that I was very happy with them! I am guessing that the significantly upgraded S/N ratio and lower noise floor helps, but it is more than that. Every facet of the sound seems improved!
    I have attached a picture showing the current state of my system. It also shows my newest project, a built in in shelving system for the system, of which I will document the construction in detail, in a new thread. I am also struggling for a new color for the wall with the TV any thoughts on the paint chips is also welcome. :)

    06 11 18 D7200 039.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
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  2. miketuason

    miketuason Ferrari & McIntosh

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    Congrats on the upgrade, newer technology does make a different sometimes.
     
  3. gmc

    gmc AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Congratulations on your new MC452. It's such a great looking, and sounding, amp.

    I am surprised to hear you say that you heard increased stereo separation, going from mono blocks to a single stereo amp. That would been my main area of concern, giving up the strapped MC2205s.
     
  4. kevzep

    kevzep Its all about the Music Subscriber

    I wouldn't be concerned about that, the newer McIntosh amps, blow the older amps out of the water in terms of separation noise distortion etc etc...
    The MC452 is simply one of the best amplifiers ever made, McIntosh "hit the nail on the head" with the MC452.....
    Now all I need to do is find a pair of MC601's in my price range (for my subs)!!
     
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  5. kevzep

    kevzep Its all about the Music Subscriber

    I enjoyed reading your review, pretty much the same experience I had the I got mine.....I don't think they actually "break in" that much....I reckon it was pretty much me getting used to it and discovering the sound it had to offer....
    After thinking a lot about the break in theory, I feel its more us breaking in than the gear.......
     
  6. gmc

    gmc AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    So is this purely a case of upgrade-itis, or do you believe that the MC601s offer even more than the MC452s, besides the extra watts? I ask because I remember a post where you mentioned that you never turn the volume up anywhere near the 452's potential.
     

     

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  7. JosephH

    JosephH AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks, sorry I was referring more to the separation within the sound stage/imaging, rather than channel separation, which is unbeatable in mono blocks.
     
  8. JosephH

    JosephH AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Kev- At first glance, I started to laugh when I read your MC601 comment, then I saw you were thinking of them for the subs! That would be amazing! I was thinking 501/601 but finances and the good many kudos for the MC452 convinced me to go that route. I am happy that I did!
     
  9. kevzep

    kevzep Its all about the Music Subscriber

    Yes I went back and added the brackets with the Sub reference!! MC452 on the Mid/High coaxials and a pair of 601's on the subs, doesnt get much better than that!!
     
  10. kevzep

    kevzep Its all about the Music Subscriber

    Yes I think the other aspects of the amplifier simply outweighs any benefits of having older Monoblocks.....As you have heard... The 452 is such a brilliant amplifier!!
     
  11. JosephH

    JosephH AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    IMHO, I believe it is an amazing amplifier too. I was so impressed that I thought perhaps there was a placebo effect going on, but I find the music grabbing my attention even when I have it on in the background while concentrating on something else. Some note will just pop, and I will say whoa, did I just hear that?!? This with source material that I have heard hundreds of times! I am impressed.
     

     

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  12. kevzep

    kevzep Its all about the Music Subscriber

    Yeah I had exactly the same thing going on, and one aspect of the imaging the 452 can do, and I have no idea how, is sometimes you can be listening away, and something will come at you from the side, almost like someone whispering directly into your ear.....Its very strange the first time you hear it....
    I got the same thing with material I had hear maybe thousands of times!!!! I still get wow moments nearly 5 years later...
     
  13. gmc

    gmc AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I read a couple of extensive user reviews, on another site, written by a guy that first bought an MC452 for a studio system, then bought a pair of MC601s, for his main system.

    His first review, of the 452, said that it went through a significant breakthrough period, where it went from sounding like his previous amps (MC501s) out of the box, to being very bright, bordering on "edgy and aggravating", to finally settling on a sound that he had nothing but praise for.

    In the review of the 601s, he stated that he was actually dreading the prospect of going through the same break in scenario with the new mono blocks, but, unexpectedly, that didn't happened. In the review, he never came to the conclusion that it was he, not the amplifier, that went through an adjustment period, but I think that is what actually happened. Since he had already become accustomed to the sound emanating from his MC452, his ears did not have to readjust to the 601 monos, as they have the same, or very similar, sound signature.

    Ultimately, this guy ended up downsizing his main system, and seemed very content to replace the MC601s with another MC452.
     
  14. kevzep

    kevzep Its all about the Music Subscriber

    I never had anything like that with my MC452......I have a bit of trouble believing it to be honest having bought my MC452 brand new.....
     
  15. gmc

    gmc AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Did you stop reading, in disgust?

    I went on to say that the fact that he did not have to go through a break in period with the MC601s seems to support your theory that it is the listener, not the amplifier, that makes the adjustment.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
  16. Chubba

    Chubba Active Member

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    Congrats Joe! Cheers.Wayne
     

     

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  17. quartersaw

    quartersaw Well-Known Member

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    The preamp settings are different, (for me) so you may be on to something.
    In any case, it is a truly a fantastic amplifier! :)
     
  18. quartersaw

    quartersaw Well-Known Member

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    The black background does reveal all!
     
  19. Yamaki

    Yamaki Not For Hire Subscriber

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    Congrats on the upgrade!

    A light to medium grey with off white trim would look good on that wall and the TV would pop with a darker background.
     
  20. kevzep

    kevzep Its all about the Music Subscriber

    Hahaha no, I have read that same review, it made me laugh a little bit........As far as I can tell the 452 and 601 is a similar same "family" of sound...that made me laugh a little more....
     

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