I have just finished returning the C52 to magnolia and they charged me a 15% restock fee. Yes, it’s buried in the website return policy, but that is a large bit of change for having a product less than 10 days. After I was hit with this news, I asked about the MC302 amp I just placed an order for a few days ago (for bi-amping). I own a MC302 from 2015, and made it clear to the dealer that I would return the new 302 if it sounded significantly different than my current 302. He said that would be fine, and that he would ‘take care of it’. He did not mention anything of a 15% restock fee. So, with a bad taste in my mouth from the 15% hit for the 52 return, I got paranoid the new 302 may sound different and decided to cancel my order with that amp. Boom, another 15% restock fee. I left Magnolia giving them 1600.00$ for restock fees. I asked why such a contract exists between them and McIntosh. They said it was due to McIntosh requirements. I’ll be calling McIntosh tomorrow in addition to Best Buy high management. Sure, hit me with a 5-8% restock fee, but damn, 15% on high end audio, while being such a subjective endeavor to begin with, is just bad business and almost theft (Hi-fi is not cheap) from the protective veil of a corporation.
Anyway, I liked the m52, but i did want to put a DSD in front of it. Since the resulting sound was identical with the 52 between my 302 and bencmark dac, as it was w/o the 52 in the chain, i decided it was the 52 dac creating the sound I liked. I expect greater performance from the DSD, so I felt no need or desire to use the 52s DAC. Again, when the Benchmark was in the chain, the 52 made no sonic difference. I’m very aware of the sound from Benchmark > 302. Have I already said this? It was exactly the same sound of the Benchmark >52 >302 chain. I’m ordering the DSD tomorrow, and couldn’t be happier, it’s whats keeping me sane from this 1600.00 nightmare I’m going to try and resolve. STAY AWAY FROM MAGNOLIA you good people…please!
Long story short, please find out everything you can before you purchase McIntosh gear and from what dealer. I’m so irate, i will be posting this information everywhere (sorry your ear got the first rant :D). But, yeah, do your homework. I’m out of the McIntosh game forever…loved their sound since music school. I’ve been wanting an excuse to really look at some Pass gear (with DSD up front), now is my excuse.
Well, the main reason for my winded story is to suggest (I concede I may have it all wrong) that the 2600 sound “MAY”, in large part, be due to the how they implemented the upsampling PCM DAC into their pre amps.
If you take a Mac home, best of luck man!