New York's high-end audio company McIntosh has announced its first hybrid integrated amplifier, the MA252. The all analog amp's retro looks are a design nod to the company's iconic MC275 Vacuum Tube Amplifier, but only the preamp stage uses tubes – the output stage rocks solid-state circuitry.
The MA252 has a similar chassis design to the MC275, but the two 12AX7a and two 12AT7 tubes housed in cages up top are confined to the preamplifier stage only. The direct coupled, two channel output stage of the circuit is all solid state, delivering 100 watts per channel into 8 ohm speakers or 160 W into 4 ohm speakers.
Despite having tubes in the mix, McIntosh promises immediate operation readiness thanks to the inclusion of heatsinks connected to high current output transistors, designed to reduce power-on tube amp warm up time.
The all analog architecture offers two unbalanced inputs, one balanced input and a Moving Magnet phono input for direct connection to a turntable. The speaker outputs benefit from gold-plated binding posts, and there's also a separate subwoofer output for cabling in a powered low end thrower into the hi-fi equation.
The hybrid circuit design has allowed McIntosh to include Power Guard technology, which monitors and adjusts input and output in real time to prevent clipping harshness. Tubes flash orange when signs of overdriven signal are detected, returning to a steady green glow when clipping has been dealt with.
Elsewhere, the MA252 features an OLED display to the front that shows settings and input selection. There's bass and treble EQ control, a tone bypass for reference listening, and a built-in headphone amp, too.
Shipping is expected to start later this month, the 12 x 7.6 x 18 in (30.5 x 19.4 x 45.7 cm), 28 lb (12.7 kg) MA252 carries a suggested retail price of US$3,500. The video below outlines the main feature set.
Product page: MA252 Integrated Amplifier