Mcintosh MC 252 vs. 402

Does anyone have an opinion on the sonic differences between these two amps, other than 150 watts of additional power? My speakers are Spendor S8es, which I'm currently driving pretty well with 130 watts, so I don't think the difference between 250 and 400 watts will be problematic, so it just comes down to sound. Is the MC 402 just more of a good thing or is there actually some discernable qualitative issue?

more of a good thing. a bit more viseral in the bass on somw speakers, otherwise the same neutral character.
Check over on the McIntosh forum on AudioKarma. I think you will get varying opinions of the sonic differences.

One consideration I had when trying to decide between these two amps was that the 402 delivers 100 amps of current versus the 50 amps with the 252. With my speakers, that made a difference.

The major differences between these two is the 1)power supply is a newer design on the 402 2)the 402 has dual differential circuitry (aka double balanced)which will provide a quieter background. Both are good amps I own a 402 and love it.
For what it's worth, a local dealer who carries Mac told me that other than the additional WPC for power hungry speakers and large rooms, they sound the same.

I can't verify this personally, as I haven't done a controlled A/B between them.
thanks for the responses. is anyone out there currently using either of these amps with Spendor S8es?


I should start by saying I’ve been a long time Mac fan, but...

I owned the MC352 and the MC402 at the same time and had the opportunity to A/B them side by side. Easily the 402 was the winner, with the 352 sounding very congested in comparison. In addition, while I really enjoyed the speed and accuracy of the 402, I sold it several months back due to the economy. (Needless to say I sold off the 352 first.)

I replaced my trusty MC402 with a tube amp from VTL. The ST150; an unused dealer demo that cost me half the price of what I sold the 402 for... go figure.

I can’t say enough good things about the VTL. It drives my Dynaudio Special 25’s just as well as the mac did and perhaps even better. Additionally the 6550 tubes opened up the midrange like never before, without sacrificing the low bass control.

You may want to consider other options as the MC402 is a bit pricey for what you get. That being said the 402 is a very respectable amp.

Good Luck.
I have owned two 402's, and had a 252 in my home for a few nights. The dual differential circuitry in the 402 does lift it quite a bit above the 252, IMO, even on and easy load like Spendors. I was using it on Spendor S-100's, and the 402 was easily better.