try asking over at the McIntosh forums in audioaficionado.org and audiokarma.org. Several over there have tried this, I think.
Basically people say the 1.2 is just a little more of what the 501 is. Just like people say the 501 is a little more of what the 402 is. Usually upgrades from one to the other are done because the McIntosh sound is smooth and comfortable. You find yourself wanting to turn it up a litle louder and a little louder and then think well I can get more of this sound with the next model up.
Your ears can be hurting but the Mc's sound good, you want to go more and louder in a way. I don't know what you're trying to drive but you're getting into overkill territory. If you don't need 1.2 Kw I certainly wouldn't go there.
Often Mc fans just want a little more Mc'ness and the 1.2 Kw is used on home theater setups as well. It's a little different crowd. I can hardly imagine someone benefitting from the 1.2 Kw. I bought my Mc402 from a Doctor that had it for 2 weeks and decided he needed to upgrade to the 1.2s. I dunno, I could buy a Ferrari but I ask myself - what's the point?
Hi, I know what you're going thru with this question....I have 1201's (same as 1.2kw's) and upgraded from the MC352. (and, am considering the 2kw)
The sound was the same....just more ability to play loudly without "shouting" coming from the system. Even with loud loud loud music, the meters never indicate more than 12watts of the available power used. Now, that's called "loafing".....it's nothing for this amp to put out that kind of power, and it sounds good. You can never have too much power...so, why not get it?
I can tell you, with the 1.2kw's you would probably never need more power.
That said, anyone compared the 1.2kw's to the 2kw's?
I don't know.... if I could afford a ferrari there is no doubt that I would have one in my garage. But since I can't afford one I will just ride by buell & HD & continue to save up for a lotus.... the poor man's ferrari :)
If you can afford it I would go bigger. I have zero experience with their stuff (again I can't afford it) but starting smaller then later realizing you should of purchased the larger brother will just cost you more in the long run. I would rather have to much power then not enough......
A few things to consider that haven't been mentioned 1) room size 2) available A/C power
Aside from that and as an McIntosh customer, my room is 13' X 17' with MC501's and Sophia II's. That is enough for me, it took a while to come to this point (to say 500w is enough) though. If I had the cash last year, I would have the 1.2KW's for sure.
Instead, I held out (ie, was broke for a time) and when I had the CC paid off, I went with a kick ass Pre-Amp, the C500T from McIntosh.
The reasoning was it improved the sound in a very, very big dramatic way as I was using a Classe SSP600 Home Theater Proc for 2 channel and for Movies/TV.
Buying the 1.2KW's would in no way shape or form give me that kind of sound.
With the MC501's in my room, the decible meeter hits 96db's and there is still room to go, there are probably 5-8 more db's left before the powerguard kicks in. At that db level, the "experts" say you begin to lose hearing and its true, but the hearing comes back to normal after a bit.
So my take is to buy the MC501's and spend the rest of the money elswhere in the system (speakers, pre-amp, source (maybe a DAC?))
I run the 1.2's and love them. They drive my 1K's with the authority that's needed. I listen to plenty of 501's and they lack the power to drive the system to its full potential. I understand many who might differ, however if you listen youll hear the difference. This is something that everyone has to decide for themselves. The 1.2s offers extraordinary control at any sound level. They exceed the performance of my former amps, MC 1201s. Actually my 1201s exceeded the authority of 501s I have heard on several occasions. I would advise you to listen and choose carefully, it will make the difference in your system development.
Happy New Year,