I would buy the 333. Its much better sounding than the mc352. The Levinson is much more open and airy sounding layered is a better way to put it. I would go for a 335 instead because the new 300 series levinsons are better sounding than the older ones. The old 300 series are still nice amps but a 335 would be plenty of power to run your speakers. If you read stereophile they used the 383 intergrated to power the revel salons Iam not saying to go that route but it goes to show the high current and power capabilitys of the Levinson amps. I own a pair of N803 and a 335 and a 39 and the combo is just amazing but I am moving up to the Revel Salons or the Studios soon. Good Luck
I have owned the 331 and currently own the 352. The 331 is a pretty good amp but the352 is a great amp that is more natural sounding without the hard edge the ML brings into the picture. Check audioreview.com for more opinions on the 333 and the 352. There was also another similar thread on this subject in amplifiers. By the way I did have both amps (331 and 352) at the same time for awhile.
The audioreview rating for the 333 is 3.7 out of 5 --the 352 is 4.7.
Funny you ask because last year I auditioned at length the MC352 and No.335 on a pair of B&W N802s (I owned N804s for a while) with some Tara Lab cables (amps were swapped out on same setup) and I found that the MC352 had a liquid, involving quality with an openness and effortlessness that the Levinson just did not have no matter how hard I tried to hear it. The levinson looks awesome but as far as sound is concerned I must hand it to McIntosh. I spent easily an hour listening to them with a very enthusiastic employee (the store was deserted) and we both agreed the MC352 is just one of the best there is. I have since also auditioned the 383 and found it somewhat flat too (compared to the Classe 151 integrated). I will buy as MC352 as soon as I can afford it. I can't wait to get it!
I have heard the 333 driving the N802s at a friends house with a 39 player and Transparent cables. The sound was completely dissapointing, no emotion. To me that combo can be summed up as sounding lifeless. I heard the 352 at a dealer running some Dynaudio stand mounts and the sound was much better, I don't know if it was the speaker or the amp, but I have heard the Levinson/B&W/Transparent system a number of times at the same dealer, and it sounded the same there, uninvolving.
Ligi is right-352 sound more musical then ml333 without hard edge.
Thanks for all of your opinions. I did go on Audioreview.com and it seems like the MC352 is the winner compared to the ML 333 in sound quality, but the ML 333 looks gorgeous and it is a little hard to back away too.I am trying to convince myself it's the sound that I'm looking for, not the looks of the amp, but I still couldn't make the decision. I really need as much help as possible to choose the right amp between the two and Lev335, I listened ML 335 once at the dealers. It sounds really good, but I can't afford it right now. Thanks.
Come on... how does one compare Mac to Levinson.Buy the Mac!
Some of these responses are a joke, and I probably don't have near the expeience that some of you do.
We all have our biased opinions as to the sound we like, talk to a Linnie, I've known some and just came from a Linn shop this afternoon, they are the least desireable salespeople to deal with!
I have owned the 383 and I miss it! I also have heard the MC352 and it is on the tops of my list if I can afford one.
I am sure my opening line ruffles feathers, but just because a certain brand is not, or is, your cup of tea doesn't mean the other is terrible.
At one of the stores I was at today, they had Musical Fidelity and I wanted to hear the A3CR power amp; after that I had them switch to the Bryston 4B ST, on the same equipment; for my tastes it was the Bryson all the way. Yet, according to Stereophile the MF is Class A and the Bryston Class B.
Another example, there is no shortage of users happy with the MC352, yet I know a guy that owned a MC500, which listed for more than the MC352, and replaced it with a 332/331, can't remember which, and he said the ML bettered it in every way.
I also talked with another that owned or was very familiar with the MC500, in fact, Ljgj I believe, and they concurred that they were not as thrilled with it, but the less expensive 352 garners praise.
You are right I did find I liked the 352 better than the 500. The dealer recommended the 352 over it also. Really we are talking about all very good amps here though.
The reason people find the MC-352 to sound better than the MC-500 is the design and configuration of the 352 is better than that of the older 500. The 352 truly sounds better than the 500, but the 602 blows the 352 out of the water.
I better, it is substantially more money. I have owned the MC-500 and went to the 352 and for some time used them to push a pair of Vertias 2.8's, B&W 801II, and recently the 802N's. The 352 is a fabulous amp, AS LONG AS YOU DO NOT have 85-86db speakers. At loud levels (for which I prefer)
it doesn't have the capabilities to push them. There is a set of monoblocks that will sound MUCH better than the 352 for about 1/2 the price of the 352, in used $'s. The older (and very ugly, might I add) Carver Silver 7t's. Ugly, but LOADS of power, headroom, bottom and top end! Very detailed, and if not open the to the nakes eyes, one of the BEST valued amps available at ANY level! For what it is worth, I have to say, I also bought a Citation 7.1 and BIAMPED the 802N's, and THAT sounded better then the 352!
You can also mono the 352 to greatly increase its power. I use mine in a biamp situation with the Mac 2102 tube amp on my VMPS RM 40's.
And Mac does not promote update after update. With Mac you get unsurpassed resale too and you know which rev. it is.
I found a guy in the area with the ML 333 for sale. I went to his house to audition the amp. He has the Revel Studio, along with the ML 38 preamp and Sony ES cd player, I don't know the model. The sound was very good, big soundstage, good low end extension, smooth midrange, and warm sound, very smooth on the high also, very musical and clean sound. Overall the sound of this amp is really good and he is selling for $3700 with 1 year left on the warranty. According to the responses, the MC 352 is the better amp to buy and I will wait until one of the local dealers has one in to try it out. I will post with my decision. Thanks everyone.
The price $3700 for an amp with a one year warranty is a good buy. This amp is very musical and is a good match with your 802. You will be happy with the combination. I have the same system and I love it. The treble on the 802 can be bright if mismatched with the amp. Good luck.