Mcintosh MC352 / 2102


I have a Mcintosh MC352 hooked up to BW 803n speakers (peamp is Levinson 380s), and while the sound is very clear and pure, I think it is lacking overtones (maybe even order harmonics?), and generally, the feeling of the recording hall is not there.

My question is, if I switch to a Mcintosh MC2102, will the sound be truer? Does anyone have experience with both amps? Or will the difference be minimal? If there is a difference, does the MC2102 have enough steam for a normal-sized room (12x15)?

Thanks for any suggestions,

I own both of these amps. The 352 is clear, pure and can bring it out in an in your face style. The 2102 is warmer and slightly more natural in a lot of ways. It is non-fatguing in style but cannot bring the slam as good as the 352. A 12x15 room will not give the 2102 any problems and it mates well with the 803 for most music styles.
Ljgj, thanks for your comments, I appreciate it! I listen mostly to classical, both large-scale and small-scale. So I guess the only thing the 2102 has against it are the accurate reproductions of crescendos and tuttis in symphonies, but it should be well suited to everything else. Is there anything else out there with regard to amplifiers in that price range or slightly above you could recommend to giving a listen?
It seems like we were in the same boat. I would recommend you to try out a tube preamp instead of changing out the MC352. I love my MC352, it is absolutely musical (my next upgrade maybe a MC501 or MC602). To get the type of three dimensional, harmonic rich sound that will draw you to the music; I have finally settle down with a BAT VK51SE preamp. I have the Levinson 380S preamp in my system for a few days. Nice but it did what you described, lots of detail but it did not draw me to the music. Then after a few more extended home auditioning of quiet a few other respectable preamps including BAT VK31SE (VK51SE is much better), Spectral DMC-30S (great combo by the way, after listen my friend like it so much he brought a MC602 to replace his existing amp), ARC LS25MKII, ARC Ref2 MKII, VTL 5.5, VTL 7.5, and each reproduce a certain aspect of sound better than the other except the flagship model from the same company is always better than the lower priced model, figure that!. It was a difficult choice for me. Bottom line is it all comes down to personal taste and I picked the BAT VK51SE and I have not regreted it since. Now I listen to music till 2 to 3 am in many many occasion, I felt like I was addicted. Try out a few of these preamps and I think you will find what you are looking for. If you want to take another huge step to further improve your system. Get a Virtual Dynamic Nite power cord and put it in your MC352, it is magical! A huge improvement. Mcintosh Amp love this cable, my friend who now own the MC602 and the Spectral DMC-30s combo has his jaw dropped to the floor when he heard the improvement of his system using this cable. Since then I wire my entire system with the Nite cable and my system is now sounding incredible. It has everything you describled about harmonic richness, three dimensional, and present but now it just has more of it. Good luck with your search, it is a fun journey.
Thanks for your reply. BAT only uses balanced inputs/outputs, though, and I have found that unbalanced runs preserve more musical textures (at least with the interconnencts/speaker cables I use, Transparent super, with your setup, its apparently totally different) than balanced ones, which tend to whiten and bleach out everything. But I'll definetely try your suggestion regarding the Virtual Dynamic Nite power chord.
The 380S is a great preamp. I use the Mcintosh C2200 tube preamp with my 352 to give it a more natural presentation. If you go to the 2102 the 380S will probably give you that same effect as the reverse tube/SS combo C2200/352. Very similar results in the end. I used a 38S with the 2102 but now use a Mcintosh C42 in that system.
Ljgj: I also have the Mac C-2200 pre-amp. It feeds a C. J. Premiere 11a tubed amp. I have a question. Do you use a balanced or single-ended cable between your CD player and the C-2200? I use a Nirvana SX Ltd. balanced cable for this, and wonder if single-ended would be more musical.
I have tried both and find the Balanced LAT International to be quite musical and a bit better than the single ended version. I have a Chord DAC 64 fed from an Electrocompaniet ECM used as a transport.
I have a mc352/c42 combo, I do agree sticking with the 352 it has the tube sound in a SS amp but takeing the source signal and running it through a tube preamp make`s great sence, thats what I`m going to do replace the c42, but with what preamp, my three pre`s in this order BAT vk51 (could be upgraded to a SE later) Mcintosh c2200, LAMM LL1 the LAMM is single ended but no remote. I`ve ran xlr and single ended and I felt xlr`s were a little better for my ears. My first tube peice was a BAT vkp-5 phono stage and I was amazed with the results so Im going with tube`s for a preamp but I`m keeping the 352 I may try a Virtual Dynamic power cord, it`s got a PS Audio statement on it now, thank`s for the tip Sinosin. David
Hagbert: I use Tara Labs Air 1 XLR between my VK51SE and the MC352. Both the Mc352 and VK51SE are true balanced design. I do like the sound better with the balanced connection, the sound was already great using single ended cable (with an adapter) but when I put in the XLR it gave me more of everything, not by much but more and quietier. But like you said cable is so system dependent. It sounds good in one system does not mean it sounds good in the other. When I was auditioning all those preamps I got a hold of a Tara Labs The One XLR cable. It did not like to be in between the Mc352 and VK51SE. All the air, the harmonic went away, the sound stage collapsed. But then I put it in between the ARC Ref2 MKII and the MC352, it did wonders, unbelievable is the word and if I were to buy the ARC I will have to buy that cable too. System matching is the key.
I agree with all the above. I'm running a used Counterpoint 7.1 preamp with my MC352 and the sound staging and resolution are wonderful. Tubed preamps seem to work better 99% of the time with solid state amps. If I could afford it I would own a 2200.
Not to spoil anybody's enthusiasm for tubed preamps, but when I compared the 2200 to the C200, I found the C200 to be the better preamp: as natural as the C2200, but more structured with large symphonic music, more slam and better bass definition with piano, pop music, you name it.