Hi guys.  Newbie here asking for advice. 

I recently purchased a pair of B&W 702 Signature (8Ω, 30-300W, 90 dB) to replace my old faithful 683s (8Ω, 20-200W, 90 dB).  I am running them with a McIntosh MA252 (100W into 8Ω, 160W into 4Ω).  I purchased them thinking they would complete my end-game system.  However, my excitement turned into disappointment when I realized the lows were somewhat lacking.  For all their faults, the 683s had a great dynamic low kick (no sub) that I was looking to take one step further.  Unsurprisingly, the highs and mids on the 702s were indeed more detailed and separation was clearer, but I couldn't get over the uninspiring lows.  I found myself listening at higher volumes chasing for that bass oomph.  Neither playing with the EQ at the source nor the amp was satisfactory.  So, I did the research that perhaps I should've done before purchasing the 702s and found out they are quite power hungry despite the specs being similar to the 683s.  I emailed B&W and McIntosh and they agreed the amp is probably underpowered for the 702s.  B&W described the sound of an underpowered speaker as one lacking low response and details, which is spot on. McIntosh suggested the MA352 (200W into 8Ω, 320W into 4Ω).

Of note, I love the MA252 and really wish there was a way to make this work.  I don't need a DAC/streamer/etc so I'm happy to put all my money on better sound vs tech features.  But I also think the speakers sound amazing even when somewhat underpowered and I'm considering upgrading to a MA352, Michi X3, Hegel 390.  Another option could be to get a sub? But I feel that would defeat the purpose of having a 3way standing speaker and then I might as well get a pair of bookshelf speakers (805 D4s, LS50 metas?).

So what do you guys think? Is it normal for a speaker that's rated 30-300W to be underpowered with a 100W amp?? What would you do:

  1. Sell the 702s and look for a better match for my MA252?

  2. Upgrade the MA252 (MA352? Michi X3? NAD 33?)?

  3. Get a subwoofer?

I would really appreciate your thoughts/advice!



You have fantastic speakers in the 702 Sigs. Yes, they need more power. I never heard everything my 683 S2s could do until I got a Rotel RB-1590 350 watt amplifier with a huge power supply to drive them. 

In a small room with a lot of boundary reinforcement the MA252 would probably be adequate but it still wouldn’t handle the three woofers well on the 702 Sigs.

Good luck with your decision. Don’t give up on the 702 Sigs to quick, they are amazing.



@jjss49 I agree 100% on your statement regarding satellites v floorstanders. The bookshelves just don't move enough air in my room.

Two good subwoofers will definitely get you the bottom end your looking for and probably the cheapest option at this point. Upgrading the amp will definitely be expensive but if you really like the bottom end well thats what subwoofers do very well if you have quality subs.. GOOD LUCK!