McIntosh MC402

    The dealer I go to mentioned that lot of people love the McIntosh MC 402 over 452. I found a McIntosh MC402 which is 10 years old and it is very good condition. I liked the sound. I did not audition 452 yet.  The question is, Is McIntosh MC402 is really better than MC452 and what is the best price I can pay for a 10 year old AMP? Please advice. 

The MC 402 is just a classic amp, it sounds natural in a tube way, bass slam when it is on the recordings, great imaging, and placement. It threads the needle on solid-state and better tube amps. My speakers can go below 30Hz and the impact when on the recording can be felt. In the end, it is system matching and of course preamp matching. I used many preamps with my 402, from ARC reference, Luxman C-800F, and Mark Levinson 326S, McIntosh own C-200 and C2300 tube pre. But I can say using all the preamps, it has never ever sounded, slow, bloated, or bright. It is fact is perfectly in balance. It does not run hot, it is very reliable and worth every penny new or on the used market. It is one of the most musical amps I’ve owned, and they have been tube and solid-state, as a side, I never thought I own a McIntosh amp, so glad I heard one by luck and all my prejudice went wayside, this is not a doctor or lawyer type of amp, it just an excellent amp for the reproduction of what is feed to it that brings musical enjoyment. A McIntosh Classic and perhaps the last of that sonic signature. 
I owned both...the mc402 for about a year i think and tried the 452 thinking it would be better...imo both amps sucked..slow flabby bottom end and lacking that sparkle on top..McIntosh is midfi and kiving off its name only....i moved on to a Pass 250.5 and found it superior in every way..speakers used were a variery..dynaudio C4..Raidho c3...Vivid
Mcintosh is midfi and Pass is considered hifi? Funny I find the opposite.  Goes to show opinions differ.

I'm a 402 fan and long time owner. Always listenable, clear, and liquid. It has a decently low noise floor. To get the most dynamics and transparency you need to experiment with  preamps. I got very good results with the Hegel p20 and p30. The 452 is known as neutral where the 402 is slightly warm. As usual, the rest of your system is key for getting the most out of it.