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McIntosh MC252 Power Amplifier  Print E-mail
Home Theater Power Amplifiers Stereo Amplifiers
Written by Robert Mead   
Monday, 09 March 2009
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McIntosh MC252 Power Amplifier 
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The importance of having the absolutely correct amplifier that sends the proper amount of power to your audio systems’ loudspeakers cannot be understated. And especially if your system at home features high-end speakers such as Paradigm monitors or a set of Anthony Gallo Acoustics Reference speakers, you should make sure that you purchase the right type of power amplifier to drive your loudspeakers to their peak levels, while never causing distortion in the process; which brings me to the McIntosh MC252 Power Amplifier. This power amp weighs around 95 pounds, stands about 10 inches tall and delivers a powerful 250 watts per channel.

The sleek design of this power amp will fit right at home alongside your main audio rack components and the McIntosh blue light emanating from the power output displays on either side of the amp distinguishes this product line from all others. The price of this power amplifier will run you around $3500, depending on what kind of a deal you can find in your area. McIntosh is a well-known high-end audio/video manufacturer that began designing their first power amplifiers ages ago, starting with MC7106. They have been relentless ever since in developing power amplifiers that deliver the power that high-end audio systems require.

Overview

The MC252 features an input impedance level of 10,000 ohms unbalanced and 20,000 ohms balanced, and this unit also contains a power guard that prevents clipping and ensures that THD never exceeds 2%.  This obviously cuts down the possibility of any damage occurring to your loudspeakers when they are powered by the MC252. This particular model comes with what McIntosh labels a Sentry Monitor. The function that this fuse-less short circuit protection performs is the ability to reset automatically after it disengages the output stage if the current actually exceeds the safest operating level.

This amplifier also contains the Output Autoformer. This technology allows the MC252 to push the full amount of power output that the amp can deliver to your loudspeakers, while also ensuring that the least amount of distortion is sent to any loudspeaker with impedance of 2, 4 or 8 ohms.  The MC252 also has the ability to combine its two 250 watt channels into a single channel of 500 watts. So if your speaker system configuration ohm impedance is 1, 2, 4, 8 or 16 and you really need some extra power to deliver a substantial impact, this mono operation technology will come in handy.  The RMS power output of the MC252 is 250W min. (stereo) or 500W min. (mono and bi-amp parallel), with a continuous average power output from 20 Hz to 20kHz.  

As far as the looks of this power amplifier goes, you still get the same McIntosh large meter knob to the left of the faceplate of the amplifier that controls the watts meter, letting you turn the faceplate lights off or on and also allowing you to check out how many watts of power your amplifier is generating to your speakers at any given moment. The large knob to the right allows you to use the remote to power the system on or off. Looking to the back of the unit, you will see eight binding posts in a red and black configuration standing on top of the stainless steel cabinet which contains the “guts” of this two-channel power amplifier. If you still need to see something on this unit that reminds you that you are still living in the 21st century, you will not find it with the MC252. The sleek-looking, yet elegant old-school design will take you back to a time in which pure power was the main concern of every audio manufacturer, unlike the sometimes needlessly flashy design of some other well-known manufacturers of today.

Set Up

The testing of the MC252 took place at my favorite home theater store in the Las Vegas area, Premiere Home Entertainment. The owners of this store favor McIntosh equipment so much that they use their biggest showroom primarily to show off an incredible array of McIntosh audio equipment that includes two MC1.2KW’s to power the B&W 802 Diamond Series of loudspeakers that is featured in the showroom’s main configuration of audio, along with two huge Aerial Acoustics Model 7B Loudspeakers that are used to accentuate the musical clarity of any CD played on the system’s Marantz BD 8002 Blu-Ray and CD player.


 

 
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