McIntosh releases its most powerful hi-fi amp to date
For almost 70 years, New York's McIntosh Labs has been the cause of heart flutters among music lovers – both for the excellent quality of the company's hi-fi separates and for the prices they command. Now a new two-channel integrated amplifier sporting black glass, blue power meters and the brand's iconic logo has been announced, the firm's most powerful yet. And yes, it's expensive.
Named the MA9000, the solid state amplifier punches out a mighty 300 watts-per-channel, which should be enough to "properly drive virtually all loudspeakers," with McIntosh tech ensuring speakers get the full 300 W regardless of impedance requirements.
The unit offers 10 analog connections made up of two unbalanced and six balanced inputs, together with MC/MM phono inputs for plugging in a turntable. The phono inputs each sport adjustable load for playback fine tuning.
Digital connectivity comes courtesy of two coax, two optical, one USB and one proprietary MCT inputs, all finding a home in the company's new DA1 Digital Audio Module. This makes use of an 8-channel, 32-bit DAC supporting high resolution PCM formats up to 32-bit/384 kHz and DSD256 over USB or 24-bit/192 kHz via coax and optical.
The MA9000 is quite a beast, measuring 17.5 x 9.4 x 22 in (445 x 240 x 558.8 mm) and tipping the scales at a back-breaking 101 lb (45.8 kg), though living room placement is made a little easier thanks to integrated handles on the stainless steel and black painted steel chassis.
The integrated amp is power band rated for 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequencies, with a total harmonic distortion of 0.005 percent and 1.8 dB dynamic headroom. New McInstosh Monogrammed Heatsinks promise to keep the system cool, while connection to high current output transistors is reported to eliminate system warm up time. The system also monitors and adjusts sound in real-time to prevent distortion and clipping.
A safety cut-off feature has been included, that switches off the output stage before safe operating levels are exceeded, and auto resets when conditions return to normal. There's eight band EQ tone adjustment, with a tone bypass feature for uncolored output, pass-thru availability for integration with a home theater system, and a discrete headphone amplifier that promises to improve the listening experience through ear candy.
McIntosh is taking orders now for delivery later this month. The suggested retail price comes in at US$10,500, which will clearly position this amp at the boutique/audiophile end of the market.
You can see what you get for that sort of money in the video below.