After owning Krell, Marantz, NAD, and Musical Fidelity I'm happy with my mc402. I think the older Classe' is supposed to be better than the new. The Classe' I've listened to in the dealer's didn't do anything special for me. I didn't really care for all the LCD displays they used either.
I recently bought a McIntosh MC275 (tubes), so my personal experience is not so relevant here. Nevertheless my dealer carries McIntosh and Classe. FWIW, for B&W 800 series speakers he prefers McIntosh solid state to Classe (he is a "tube-type" guy).
Still, the obvious answer is "try to audition them", if you can, that is.
My 0,002 cents.
McIntosh.. U can't go wrong if you're staying solid state.
Mcintosh 402 is the one of the Best sounding power amplifiers ever designed. Does everything perfect and you will never ever be disappointed. The MC402 is the smoothest sounding power amps I've heard in the past 25 years. Fantastic dynamics and extraordinary detail and soundstage.
your ca-300 is 300 watts. if you meant 400 watts, classe has a ca-400 that is 400 watts. i use to own mcintosh gear and went all classe (ca-200,cp-60,cdp-10) and love them. i do agree with wireless200 that the older classe ca-200,ca-300, ca-400 models sound better than the current models. i use a ca-200 now which i will use in mono mode when i buy another ca-200. the mac 402 are very nice amps also.
I own five Mcintosh amps. However I could be just as happy with Classe. IMO, they are about equal in sound quality but do sound differently. It's a matter of preference. I chose Mcintosh over Classe because of resale value. Mcintosh has the highest resale value of any of the components I have owned. The two ampa are different so you really need to hear the MC402 before you buy. Still, I think it's an excellent amp and you most likely will like it. The MC501 monoblocks are the ones you should get if you can budget them. They are a step above the MC402 and where I would have started if I knew what I know now. Which brings be back to a previous point, you will have little trouble selling the amp if you decide you do not like it.
I like both, I own a ca 200 and have for 15 years or so but I moved to Mcintosh 501's and never looked back. Much more refined sound particularly in bass definition and pitch. I think both have very nice midrange but again the Mac is a little clearer and refined.
Obviously, the 501's have much more power and this could account for a lot of the difference particularly since I am driving a tough load with Thiels.
As I said I like both but I really think Mcintosh has upped the ante with power amplifiers with the 501's, 1201's, and 402. I think they are superb especially for the money.
pops, i would agree with you that it is probably the power difference that you are hearing. i preferred the ca-200 over the mc 252 mcintosh amp but i also preferred the mc1000 over the 501's or the 602 with my totem mani's. the ma1000 sounded fantastic with my totem mani's. if i wanted to spend the money, the older classe omicron (i think it was the omicron) stereo amp is what i would own. that thing was huge (couple feet deep, 2-300 lbs) but it is the best sounding amp i have heard.
Yeah, the omicron was really nice, I heard it several times at a dealer. The only problem with large amps is MOVING them! The 501's aren't the biggest in the world but they weigh 100lbs each and are compact, nothing to grip. It's like moving a boulder and I'm too old for that s*&t, plus I'm in management...Good luck with your choice.
I am the happy owner of MC-501s, but I think you have to listen to them and vote with your ears. The points made about resale value are spot on. I could sell my McIntosh amps for more than I paid right now. There is much to like, but again, it is your money and your ears.
Classe` is a more refined sound, but the McIntosh is "beefier" sounding yet tinny / brighter. This really can change with different speaker types and one might decide one or the other just on the pairing.
Each will sound completely different in your room and with type of speakers.
We do quite a bit of work with both of the manufacturers and they both build a solid piece, so I certainly agree with Rpcoins.
If you can get an audition or a great return policy with a dealer, I would certainly try before you buy.
Hope this helps!
I listened to the Classe 200 watt 2 channel and the mac 402 - like night and day - CLasse makes bigger amps but the 200 watt just could not compare with the mac. TO me it just did not have the power - it was driving B&W 802's - just couldn't do it. But - I tend to listen a little loud - they are completely different sounds so it is worth a listen - everyone's tastes differ.
musicnoise, you are not comparing apples to apples. classe's omicron and its $25k amps are much better than the ca-200 also. the mac 402 has twice the power so it should sound better. take the classe's ca-300 or ca-400 and you will get a better comparison. i used to own macintosh and i did have the mc202 amp and it was gutless, the classe was much better and they were very close in power. don't get me wrong, i like both products and i think the 352,402, 501's, and the mc1000's are great amps. but you can't compare the mc1000 to the ca-200 and say mac's are better than classe!
I'd like to hear from someone who went from a Classe CA-300 to a Mac 402. That is the amp I have and the one I'm currently looking at swapping out for.
I'm steering towards Mcintosh now. Only because Classe has a 200w amp and Mcintosh has the 400w amp. I don't want to spend 5k on a new amp for less power than the ca 300 that I am use to. The CAM 400w are 10k, which is too much. The Mcintosh retails for 7k. I can't imagine the CAM 400w amps being that much better for 3k more.
Fruff, you will be very happy with the MC402. It is the only component in my system which I intend to keep for several years.
Adamg, have you tried the c2300 with your 402. I noticed you went with the BAT? Just wondering...I've got a c2300 on order to go with my 402.
Wireless, that is the same setup I am aspiring to. Currently I have a c38 and a MC7300. Would you let all of us know how you like it?
FRUFF1976: I have been an audiophile/music lover for about 50 years and have owned many fine amplifiers. Just to name a few: Audio Research D76a, D-150, Spectral DMA-200, Krell FPB 200, Edge M8, Luminance Audio 150, McIntosh MC30's, MC240, MC275 and I will say that overall, the MCINTOSH MC402 is the best sounding amp I've ever owned. MAC has a real winner with this amp. I also use the North American Products H-Cat P-12R (X7) preamp. a computer -based music system, Duntech Sovereign speakers and I absolutely satified with the sound and for the first time my wife (who has such great hearing that she can hear a rat urinating on a piece of cotton) says the sound for the first time in all these years sounds alive. When you get the wife to say that, you're in audio heaven. By the way power cables are very important for best performance and I use Prana Wire which INH0 is about as good as it gets, price be damned. Just my two cents worth. Enjoy the music and the hobby.
Just put a down payment on the MC402. I listened to it at the dealer through PSB synchrony one's and it sounded very sweet. I'll be getting it in October.
Wireless, I bought the BAT since I wanted to introduce tubes into my system prior to owning the Mac Power amp. Ideally, I would prefer to have a Mac pre (ideally the one you own) to match with the 402, but I'm thinking a more pressing need would be to replace my speakers.
My dealer said it will be about another week on the c2300. Will let you know how it sounds with the 402.
I'm trading my MC402 for a Classe CA-2200. You didn't say what speakers you were using. With the McIntosh C2300 and the MC402 my Martin Logan speakers sound as engaging as week old dog turds. After a short listen you think it's fine but listen longer and you realize it's just not right. I think amps with autoformers need a uniform impedence curve over most of the spectrum. If your speakers impedence gets real low at the frequency extremes you will not get the extension and air that gives music it's emotional content. Oddly, the C2300 and CA-2200 turned out to have great synergy, much better than a Classe preamp with the Classe amp. I will have to get used to the disparate styling.