Mcintosh 501 monoblocks vs. 402

Hi. I am struggling on which to buy. Paul Seydor from The Absolute Sound has a 402 mated to a c46 preamp and has chosen the 402 as his refernce amp. He went on to say that he has compared the 402/c46 to amp/preamp combos costing 35k and has compared the 402 to amps costing north of 30k and preferred the mc gear. My question is this; what are the specific sonic differences between the 501's and the 402? I have heard a few people say that the 402 is a bit more transparent, with highs and midrange that are a bit more airy, with the 501's having a bigger soundstage with more bass control. The consensus though is that more people prefer the 501's but their reasons seem vague. Does anyone prefer the 402 and if so why? I am currently using maggie 3.6's, with a ma7000 integrated, in a room over 750 sq. ft. I checked with Chuck Hinton at McIntosh and to his suprise the 402 and the 501's have the same amount of current. Looks do not enter in to my decision. I am prepared to spend the $$ if the 501's are really better. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I had the 501's with my 3.6r's and they were not a good match at all. They had plenty of power, but the sound was slow and muddy.

They are great amps, and found a great home and synergy with a friend's massive B & W's, but I found many amps the worked better with the Maggies:

Cary CAD 500 MB's

Innersound (now Sanders Sound) ESL Amps, all

Parasound JC-1's

Bel Canto Ref 1000 mkII

Pass Labs (all) - I have not had these in my system but heard them in others, they probably belong at the top

Wyred4Sound - I have no had these but include them because literally everyone I have ever heard discuss them with Maggies raves about them.

Good luck.
I use the MC-402 with the 3.6's and get superb sound. I have heard the 501's as well in a direct comparison with the 402. At regular listening levels I could not hear any difference. If you are buying "New" from a dealer my guess is the most influence will lean towards the 501's for the bigger & better sale.

If you want to spend 501 type money give a listen to the MC-2301's mono tube amps as well. See if they do the trick for your maggies.
HiFiFIle, why don't you list the 3.6's with your system? You show using Merlins? Did you get rid of the Maggies, or just buy them?

Once again I have tried many amps with Maggies, and like many on here have found that McIntosh amps are not a match.

They are great amps, and sound fantastic with many other speakers, just not with Maggies.
IMO I agree with Macdadtexas..Pass labs on the top of your list with the 3.6 speakers..McIntosh is just too muddy and slow
It's been a very long time since I heard anyone descibe Mac amps as "slow"...but to each their own.

There are many folks out there enjoying Mac gear with Maggies, and while I do like the Pass amplifiers, I would pair up some Classe monoblocks with Maggies long before the Pass.
I've heared Slow from one of my dealers............I think it's is in direct contract to IN YOUR FACE amplifiers.

Mac all the way........
I used my MC-352 & C45 combo with Maggies and loved the sound. I would find other speakers before I changed my Mac gear.
I tried both the 402 and 501s before going for the 501s. They cost the same since the dealer was selling his 501 demos. The sound on both was near identical except that I felt the 501s provided more power and better soundstage. Don't have much experience with Maggies, but I would not change my Mac gear for anything else that I have heard, certainly nothing in a relatively sane price range. I agree with Barnes, the Macs are in direct contrast with in your face amps. They're certainly not slow as much as laid back, bold, full and breathtaking.
well...I have a single 402...with Mark Levinson preamp (380s) and CD (390)...with Martin Logans....MIT Shotgun cabling....REL sub...and I must say that the combo is extraordinary.....the ML electronics are somewhat detailed....great soundstage....mate them with the in your face warm, meaty, extra power to spare Mac...and it is wonderful. I listened to the mono blocks (501) and could not justify the price difference for what I heard.
well.. I have a Mcintosh Ma7000 with my Maggie 3.6's and it sounds wonderful I can listen for hours fatigue-free,the sound is never analytical it just sounds like music.
My room is 12x19x9 with in wall treatments,mye stands & rel 505.