Music consumption has changed considerably in the last few years. Where physical formats like CDs and vinyl once dominated living room collections, now music streaming rules the roost. There are devices aplenty to satisfy your wireless listening needs, but if you're looking for something to complement your commemorative McIntosh setup, then the new RS200 could be just the ticket.
US music lovers were responsible for more than 900 billion streams in 2018, according to data analytics company Nielsen. And there are already a number of high-end wireless speaker systems available for well-heeled listeners, such as the Mu-so and Phantom. The RS200 from McIntosh Labs joins that list, but comes with a hefty US$3,000 price tag.
The chances are pretty good that if you already own McIntosh gear, you won't be put off by that scarily high ticket price. So here's what you get for your money.
McIntosh is promising room-filling sound. The two-channel RS200 has 650 watts of total power, driving two woofers, two midrange units and two tweeters. And if you want even more bass options, a sub output port has been included.
There are a good number of wireless options included with the RS200, starting with Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX HD codec support for high resolution playback and aptX Low Latency to keep audio in sync with any visuals you might be watching on a paired device.
The system includes AirPlay 2 for multi-room control from Apple devices, as well as Siri interaction, and it's certified for use with Amazon's Alexa, though there's no microphone in the RS200 itself – users will need to speak into an Android phone or tablet to control the system by voice. And there's 802.11n dual-band Wi-Fi for DNLA support. Users can also save up to four Play-Fi streaming services for easy recall via the preset buttons on the top of the unit.
Physically connection to Audio Return Channel-capable televisions is possible via HDMI, or courtesy of an optical input for those that don't have ARC capabilities. Hi-fi hardware such as CD players can be cabled in too, a USB Type B input caters for connection to a computer, and there's a 3.5 mm aux input jack for feeding in tunes from analog music sources.
The 24.8 x 5.7 x 12.6 in (62.99 x 14.48 x 32 cm), 29.5 lb (13.3 kg) high gloss black enclosure is fronted by a black glass panel that proudly displays the illuminated McIntosh logo and signature VU meters flanked by control knobs. Room characteristics or personal sound preferences can be adjusted using a three-position EQ switch.
The RS200 looks stunning and seems like a capable beast, but that monstrous price tag will put it beyond the reach of most of us. The system will go on sale next month in the US.
Product page: RS200
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