Maybe buying a different amp

The amp I've been using is going on a little over 20 years old and thinking about a different one and have my eye on possibly a Mcintosh MC352 or a Bryston 4B3 and both are around the same price. They would driving a pair of PMC PB1i and have read that PMC and Bryston have a sort of synergy for some reason.

Any comments please?


I have been a Pass fan since the early 80s. When I upgraded after 10 to 15 years, I was shocked at the improved sound from the new amp. I think you will be very happy.

However, amp house sounds are very different… like, Mac, Bryson, Pass… etc. you should hear them. Bryson and MacIntosh are from two completely different camps.

Given the kind of money you are talking about I would go listen to each… throw in Pass and Audio Research. Worth a trip if required.

Bryston and Mac are like apples and oranges.  What amp have you been using, what improvements and sound characteristics are you looking for, what’s your budget, and are you looking for new or used?  The more info you give here the better recommendations you’ll get. 

MC352 and I've been using a B&K and I figured on spending up to 5k new or used.

There isn't much available in my area to visit and hear and mostly go by online reviews and threads on this forum for ideas.


If you have spent years reading professional reviews and auditioning the units you have read about, then one can make good decisions made on the basis of reviews. However, if not… then one is looking for “better”.

The problem is that this completely leaves your own preferences out of it. So, for instance the really highly rated: Boulder, Luxman, Pass, Krell, Audio Research, Conrad Johnson and McIntosh have completely different sounds… if say you look at each of their $20K / units amp. There are only one in that list I would be happy with, and a total of three that I could live with.


Take a trip! Find the house sound you are drawn to.

I really think a road trip is in order for an expense of this magnitude. Your other option is to buy online and keep flipping them until you find what you’re looking for. Overture Audio is in Delaware and might be worth a visit.

I have a mac 352, a Pass 250, Hegal 390, Accuphase 380. Before you decide Check out the Hegal and If your budget allows the 590. The Mac is ok, depending what speakers you will be using. The Pass and the Hegal wont care what speakers you use. If you have a large room and inefficient speaker I would avoid the 352. IMO it sounds better when its not driven hard, 

Thanks for the and ideas and replies. Traveling very far is out of the question right now hence why I stated that I'm basically relying on reviews and posts from audio enthusiasts like yourselves.

I have read quite a bit about some of the amps listed and I'm sure I wouldn't go wrong with any of them especially with my aged and tinnitus ears but the price would be a little out of my league for some.

I tend to like a more laid back sound and lots of bass. I do have a REL sub but unless I have time for a dedicated listening session I rarely turn it on.

You could be fine with the Hegel 190. But before any specifics, are you looking for new or used? 

For new, you could try out a lot of different models for 30 or 60 days for as much as the shipping cost.



Sorry traveling is out. From what you have said I would focus on Audio Research, Pass XA series, Krell or Conrad Johnson… you want a warmer presentation. 

Try an Orchard Audio Starkrimson. They are running an amp tour on another forum. Listen to the amp free for a week, then ship it to the next person. Sign up with email on the company website. I bought one after participating in the tour. Love it.