McIntosh MC 352 – High End Stereo Equipment We Buy

McIntosh is one of the most dependable brand names when it comes to high-end audio systems. For years the brand has been recognized by audiophiles throughout the world as equipment that delivers clear and consistent quality in music. McIntosh is probably best known for its amplifiers and preamps, but the company produces many other components and parts for stereo and home theatre.

What are the specs for the McIntosh MC 352?

Power output:
350 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo), 700 watts into 4Ω (mono)
Frequency response:
20Hz to 20kHz
Total harmonic distortion:
Damping factor:
Input sensitivity:
Signal to noise ratio:
Speaker load impedance:
2Ω to 8Ω
8.9 x 17.5 x 21 inches
105 lbs

What else to know about the McIntosh MC 352?

"The amp exudes an elegance sorely missing in today's "just-another-black-box" designs. The MC352 is fully balanced from inputs to speaker outputs. Two matched amplifiers per channel operate in push-pull with their outputs combined in the "output autoformer" McIntosh has built its reputation on for the past gazillion years. Each amplifier contains complementary balanced circuitry, and the resulting double-balanced configuration cancels virtually all distortion. The autoformers allow the amplifier to output the same power into any load with the greatest purity.

My current amplifiers are the Clayton M100s, which offer 100 watts (when set to high bias) and a class A topology. They are a step up from their previous 70-watt incarnation as the M70s. The increase in power has opened up the Reimers, allowing the music to be considerably more dynamic and expressive, with an ease that is quite startling. Bass slam and power have also dramatically improved, bringing music that features the fundamentals to a whole 'nother level. We were quite amazed at how just thirty more watts could transform what was already, to us, a great music system. It is now one that we, plus a few others, consider to be of reference caliber. Is it perfect? No. A bit more transparency in the midrange and treble would be most welcome, and perhaps a notch more dynamic headroom. A bit less bloom in the upper bass and a more slam in the lower bass would also be nice. A matter of swapping cables, preamp, source, or amplifier? Or is it simply a matter of what 350 watts can do?

In many ways, the Claytons and the Mac 352 are alike. Both amplifiers are very powerful and dynamic, and both are extremely dimensional, with a full and rich soundstage. Images are well delineated, and exist in an airy space. Neither amp is the least bit grainy, lean, or overly analytical. Bass is extremely deep and powerful. Tone is very much "right-on," presenting a room full of natural-sounding instruments. Does either sound like the real thing? Only the real thing sounds like the real thing, but both of these amps bring me awfully close, or at least close to what I interpret to be the real thing from my memory of it, and for me, that is all that matters. Both amplifiers offer the listener a very un-solid-state-like presentation, sounding like the best of tubes mated with the best in transistor technology. Inexpensive they are not, but I have heard many amps that cost considerably more and offer less.

As good as the Claytons are, however, the McIntosh may have raised the bar. Let's be clear about this—350 very good watts is better than 100 very good watts. In the case of the MC352, more wattage resulted in slightly less "fullness," or warmth, resulting in an improvement in speed,clarity, and openness. Images take on a greater sense of life, the "performers are here" quality that is so sought after. Bass came across as a bit faster and less full, without being any less extended. None of this is drastic in the least. Differences were more apparent on one disc than another, with one amp preferable in some cases, the other in others. The Claytons sounding warmer and richer, the MC352 leaner and faster. All of this was more a matter of taste than anything else—make that more a matter of sheer power than musical superiority.

Now, it is possible that these differences are the result of different topologies rather than a matter of sheer power, or perhaps a combination of the two, but if I were a betting man, I would say that most of it was the result of the increase in power. Why? At lower volumes, the two amps sounded way more alike than different, but as the volume increased, the MC352 pulled away.

I really enjoyed my time with the MC352, and found there to be nothing to criticize in terms of its musicality. The amplifier performed flawlessly for many weeks and never created the urge to switch back to the M100s for musical relief. Nice. Dave Clark" - Positive-Feedback

Brief History of McIntosh

Long mapped-to Binghamton New York – the current headquarters and manufacturing center for McIntosh Labs – not many people know the brand was originally launched outside of the Nation’s Capital in Silver Spring Maryland, in 1949. In 1956, the brand built their original facility in New York, according to the official brand website.

Other McIntosh Products We Often Buy

Typically, StereoBuyers purchases mostly used amplifiers, especially the vintage amps and high-end McIntosh models such as the MC202 or MC252, and the C220 preamp, for example. We have also purchased many pre-owned tuners from McIntosh over the recent years, including the MR67 and MR78 models, for example.

StereoBuyers has purchased tens of thousands worth McIntosh brand equipment since 2014, with individual buys ranging from $100 to well over $50,000. If you are moving, ready to upgrade, or have McIntosh equipment you do not or will not be using, why not contact us today to find out if it is worth good money?

If you are interested in selling your used McIntosh equipment to us in the greater NYC area or Colorado, please click here to fill out a Free Quote Form and we will get back to you. If we agree on terms, we come to meet you where you want, and pay cash.

The following images show actual McIntosh equipment purchased by StereoBuyers.