McIntosh MC252 with Totem Mani2 / Sig's

Need some advice...

how well will the McIntosh MC252 drive my Totem Mani2 Sigs? i use 22' long runs of kimber 4tc, and wonder if the mc252 has enough juice. Would consider stepping up to the MC 402, but that is a lot of $, and I'm not sure i need 400 watts. let me know what you think!

also, can i bi-wire my mani2's buy hooking up two sets of speaker cable to one pair of speaker terminals on these mcintosh products? would that put too much stress on the amp?

The problem with the 252 is not lack of power. It simply does not sound as good as the 402 or the 501 monoblocks. This is because it does not have the "dual differential" circuit. I would love to have a 402, but it is too expensive, heavy and large.
The MC252 can have bi wire speaker wires connected using the 200 speaker connections. These will hold very large spades or banana jacks.
If you had a MC402 and a MC252 behind a black curtain in a blind A/B I would not want to bet my life I could tell the difference.
sorry to sound dim, but i don't know what a "200 speaker connection" is. i was going to hook up one pair with banana plugs and the other with spades. i have used a similar set up on other amps in the past, and it is not difficult to make both fit on one speaker binding post. i'm less concerned about how to hook up the cables, but more concerned about if this is safe for the amp and the speakers.
Going by the way I heard the 252 rock out on N803s in a huge room, I don't think it will have any problems with the Totems. Besides, if there ever was a problem, the McIntosh will protect itself and your speakers - something not a lot of other amps will do. Arthur

Typo, I meant '200 amp' binding posts. Of course passive bi amping / bi-wiring this way looks the same the MC252 as one set of wires because the woofer and mid section of the speakers cover different frequencies which when added together add up to full range. If you had two speakers per channel, say 4 ohm then you would drop down to the 2 ohm taps. Conversely if you want to increase bass and the speaker is 4 ohm simply connect the woofer + to the 4 ohm tap a the high + to the 2 ohm tap. This will drop the highs 3 DB and 'warm' up the sound. Another advantage of the autoformer.
Yes you can use banana and spades at the same time on the MC252 speaker binding posts.

the 803's are an 8ohm / 90 db speaker, which means they are fairly easy for an amp to drive. the totem mani2 is a 4 ohm / 85 db speaker, which means that it is going to be MUCH more difficult to drive. i'm not much of a techie, but i believe that my speaker would be about 3x more difficult for an amp to drive than the 803's.

if i'm way off base, someone please correct me!
What size is your room? Once you determine your sq. footage WxLxH it will help you better decide. The larger the listening area the more it should influence you to a bigger amp. A large open entrance into your listening area will also influence your decision. Also what listening levels do you usually listen at? I can tell you from my experience that the extra headroom from a larger amp is well worth it. Hope this helps.
my room is about 12' x 14' - not very big at all. there are not any large doorways or openings in the room. i normally do not listen at very loud levels.

the more research i do, and the more a talk to people with experience, it is becoming clear that i should go with the 402. i just have to scare up another $1000 or so, which i should be able to do.
Your room is small. The room I auditioned the 252 in was 30' x 35'. This room size will have more impact on the power requirement than the speaker impedance difference, I believe. I don't think that the 803 is really considered that easy a load.

But, if you can get the 402, by all means do so! No question about it.
Check the power rating for the Mani-2s. Its power rating is 50-200W. Look at the MC-252's power meter and you will see it is pegged at 500W--, and its there for a reason. The Mac amps have very good headroom and can exceed their power ratings for brief periods as can most amps. You will likely during normal listening levels not exceed 50W 90% of the time, probably 12W is not often exceeded. Read also Sam Tellig's review of the Mani-2 whilst driven by a pair of Cary CAD-300SEs. Put it all together, and anything over the MC-252 will be beautiful to look at, a joy to own, and you will kow you have the best for the rest of your life, but a lot of machinary sitting there and lookin' great and most of the capability unused. But this hobby of ours is way more than just economics!
It seems you are set on getting a mac amp. If that is the case then having the flexibility of a larger amp {402} will allow you not to have to change your amp if you go with a speaker with a heavier load in the future.
ladies and gentlemen...

i just bought my brand new McIntosh C2200 vacuum tube pre-amp and MC252 power amp. i'm very comfortable with my choice, as i have done a lot of auditioning in the last week or so, and i am not convinced that i need all the power that the 402 provides. the other deciding factor was simply the size of the 402, which would have forced me to get a new equipment rack. along with the $1200 or so price difference between the two amps, i would have been looking at another $700 or so in costs associated with having to reposition my whole system.

i love my totem mani2 sig's, and i love my musical fidelity tri vista SACD player. i would never part with either of them. now i believe that i have a pre-amp and power amp that i can also live with for the long haul.

thanks for all your input - it is much appreciated!
Congratulations! I wish I could say the same as you. What were your thoughts on the sound comparison between the 252 and 402? I guess you felt the 252 was good enough but i wonder to what degree. Thanks.
i did all my auditioning at two different stores - one store had the 402 out on the floor with the 2200, and the other had the 252 with the 2200. i never got to do a direct comparison, but i'm not sure that i could even tell the difference between the two. both systems sounded great to me - tight controlled bass, liquid mids and smooth treble. it did seem that the 402 produced more powerful bass, but i don't know if that would really be an advantage considering my moderate size listening space, and the fact that my mani2's already put out some serious low end.

i suppose that part of my desire to get the 402 was its elite status and very favorable reviews - especially in TAS. but when push came to shove, i don't think that i found enough difference between the two to justify all the additional expense of the 402. i suppose that if $ were not an issue, i would have stepped up to the plate and bought the 402, but as things stand i am very pleased with my choice.
my MF tri vista sacd player only has single ended outputs, which i am running into the c2200. is there any point to my using the balanced connections to hook the pre amp up to the power amp, if i'm using an unbalanced connection from the cd to the pre amp?
I have the same set up, C2200 MC252 on one of my systems. I have used both balanced and unbalanced cables to the amp. Personally I like balanced cable connections better as they are more secure. High end balanced cables are less money and sound great. Try Canare, or Ethereal Home Theater Cables as they are both around $50 for a stereo pair. very high quality.
By the way the MC252 shares a bunch of parts with the MC501 mono blocks which the reviewers love. These two amps were developed together.

I have MC252 with a C38 preamp. I used this system to run my Thiels 2.2 and found it lacking. Thiels are known to be difficult and subsequently found different amps to drive them. But right now i am using the Mac to run a pair of Ushers x719s in my office and have to
i am running these of the 8ohm tap and the speakers are rated at 88db...
in general it seems that given a tough load the amp will have a rough time
I have the MC-252 with a C-15 preamp and am very happy with it. I drive a pair of Totem Mani-2s and find the 252 to be more than enough power. Mac amps have VU meters with great ballistics and when you listen at normal levels or above, and sit down in front of one of them, you find out just how much power you really use/need. I can really crank the 252 into the mani-2s and it never runs out of steam. Skuras--, good decision. you couldn't go wrong either way. You will love the mani/Mac combination, now this is a pair of keepers!
For what it's worth I have an MC206 and two MC202 amps. The 202 sounds a lot better then the 206. I run 10 channels in my home theater system.

I bought the MC202 amps from Audio Classics. Frank Gow at Audio Classics and I talked about the sound differences between some of these amps. He said the MC202 and the MC252
sound exactly the same, the 252 simply has 50 more watts of power. Frank said that if I wanted to go to the next level in sound that I would have to go to the MC352 or the replacement MC402. He says that I would hear a difference using these amps.

I know, can you really believe a salesman? All I can say is that Frank hasn't let me down yet. Audio Classics is a good place to deal with.
i have also heard good things about Audio Classics, and even spoke with someone from there on the phone about a year or so ago. i almost bought a 352 on the 'gon from a guy who got it at Audio Classics, but i had second thoughts about buying something that was coming to me 3rd hand. i found a McIntosh dealer who sold me my gear at a pretty hefty discount, and i'm more confortable with having something that is covered by the manufacturers warranty - even if it cost me a couple grand more, and i got stuck paying sales tax!

i told a bit of a half truth yesterday. although i have paid for my new gear, i'm not picking it up until tomorrow. i just called the dealer, and they have one brand new 402 in stock. there is a good chance that i may pony up the extra $1000, and buy the 402. i have done a lot of gear swapping over the years, and i really want to have items that i can live with for a long time. if i don't step up to the 402, it might very well end up costing me even more in the long run if i switch gear again in 18 months. i'm going to make up my mind before i pick up the stuff tomorrow afternoon, and i'll give an update when everything is sorted out.

i'm really surprise by the ammount of interest in this thread. it's nice to know that there are people who are willing to offer so much support! it is greatly appreciated.
Even though the MC252 is enough amp for 90% of all speakers you will always wonder if you should have bought the MC402. Since these amps last a lifetime it may be better just to buy the Mc402 and be done with it. The 402 is just to big for some installations where the MC252 fits fine.
I think McIntosh dealers have room to play with the price. I bought the MC206 from a local dealer for $3500.00 and it list for $4500.00. I went to Audio Classics for the 202's. The 252 just replaced the 202 and my dealer couldn't get me the 202's. I found the two used amps at Audio Classics. Audio Classics will give you a year warranty on their used McIntosh gear. Audio Classics in an autherized McIntosh dealer, but they can't sell the current products over the internet or out of their territory. You have to go to them for the new stuff.

you pretty much summed up all my feelings. "i always would have wondered..."

i want to get a system over which i will not have any regrets. in fact, about 1 hour after my last posting here, i called the dealer and told him when i come to pick up my stuff tomorrow i want the 402! it is a done deal. but the damn thing won't fit in my rack, so i'm gonna have to run out a get myself and amp stand. you know... it just occured to me that the c2200 pre-amp might not fit in my rack either, as i believe it is also 20" deep.

Q man...

my dealer seemed to have a lot of wiggle room on these products. i got the 402 for $4150, and the C2200 for $3450. both a brand new and have a full warranty. i think that is a pretty good deal.

That's a great deal, you will be very happy. Good Luck!

after 24 hours of constant playing, some interesting things are starting to happen with my new pre amp and power amp.

for one thing, i am clearly hearing details in the music that i never heard before - even on recordings that i have heard MANY times. this level of resolution and detail is, at times, remarkable.

the soundstage has opened up to a degree that is astounding. with my old amp (MF Tri-Vista integrated), there was a very tight central image, about 3' wide. it was like a bullseye hanging right between my speakers. there was not much depth to it at all. now there is a "cloud" of sound that is about 7' wide, and has depth to it. at times it feels like i could walk right into it. and the soundstage now extends to the extreme right and left - outside the speakers. it used to be only right between the speakers.

i love my totem mani2 signature speakers. the only knock against them would have been that they could be a bit bright at times. that brightness is gone, and the treble is sweet and smooth. no trace of glare at all

bass performance is awesome. truly DEEP base, from a monitor size speaker with no sub-woofer!

i have to figure that things are only going to get better over the next 75 hours of use. other than the fact that i am now completely broke, i have nothing but excitement about my new system. it is exactly what i have aspired to for several years now.

i will leave further updates over the next couple days.
Hello Now that you have settled in with some fine Mac gear,start saving for the 501s....I own a Mac 252/Mac c2200 and a Mac mc275. I have heard all three amps in my house..the 252 the 402 and the 501s...I chose the 252 for a couple of reasons,price/value and the size was right, the 402 was a little better but the 501s were a step up and are very very nice,all 3 are a great set of amps anyway you look at it.
All great amps. The MC252 is not truly balanced , so If your source and pre are truly balanced , you may hear a larger difference between the MC252 and MC402 where as if your front end is not truly balanced {and your room is not huge} , the sonic differences may be less noticeable. Either way , they are all nice pieces.
Anyone driving either the 252 or 402 directly with a DAC? I am awaiting a Benchmark DAC 1 and have a 6900 integrated. I am going to try the Benchmark as both a stand alone DAC and as a preamp. If I like it as a preamp driving the amp section of my 6900, I might sell the 6900 and go up to a 252 or 402. Any expereinced comments would be appreciated.
This is the one system in use in my room (2,75 W x 4,75 L x 2,45 H, meters):

MC402 + TOTEM MANI2 + TRANSPARENT MM speaker cables + home made Preamp (Class A all tube). Interconnects by CARDAS (Golden Cross, XLR)

These amazing little TOTEM's sing with the juicy power from MAC 402 (quite an achiever itself).

Go for the 402 and just relax and enjoy a system that will challenge many others, much more expensive.

Maybe you should consider upgrading speaker cables, good as the 4TC are!


João - Brazil
many others, much more expensive.
Pardales, I ran my MC402 with a DAC straight in. Sounded good. I went ahead and went with a c2300 tube pre and liked the sound a bit better. The tubes added a nice tonality to the sound.

The main reason I went with the pre at the time was because the mc402 isn't that sensitive on input accepting up to 4v. My DAC (Transporter) put out 2.5v so I wanted to be able to use the full range of the MC402. It turned out the improvement in sound was a nice benefit but the extra voltage didn't make a noticeable difference.

Further I wanted the 12 v trigger, tone controls, and remote the pre offered. Frankly the MC402 isn't a real powerful sounding amp compared to some 400W amps I've heard. My 4 ohm 86 dB Aerials can take every thing the MC402 can throw at them. It is more than enough - I never listen to it all the way up but I could easily see a lot of people who want to, say, rock out or run a Symphony piece needing full power reserves. Of course the 402 is so smooth and warm, the spl can be very high without sounding so. BTW, it sounded great - smooth, warm, yet still detailed, even without the pre.

OTOH, I like the DAC into amp idea. Last week I bought a Cary 120s tube amp for a bedrooms system that I'm going to run a DAC into. I haven't received it yet so no report. I use my DACs exclusively without other inputs so a pre isn't a necessity.
Anyone know how much power the MC402 uses on idle?
Goatwuss: At idle, the 402 draws less than 0.5 amps - so about 60 watts. At high SPL levels driving B&W 803S's it draws less than 7 amps. These were measured with an inline meter. The inrush current at pwr up I measured at greater than 25 amps (but that was likely less than it actually draws due to the response time of the meter - the manuf. told me that it draws 50 amps at power up).
Thanks! I had an amazing audio with the 402 + C2300 driving a pair of Gallo 3.1s. I bought the Gallos, but really want that controlled and explosive McIntosh sound to go with them...