McIntosh releases tube/solid state hybrid integrated amplifier MA252

100 watts strong hybrid integrated.

Our very own John Stancavage teased the release of this amp last week HERE. Seems like McIntosh is unveiling a new model every month this year. This is a very good thing indeed, as the company already has a fairly healthy depth chart of gear on hand, so adding new ones makes me think the moans of those lamenting the death of high fidelity may start to die down.

MA252 Side

This new model, the MA252 is a hybrid design featuring a tubed input stage (and a Moving-Magnet phono stage) running a pair each of 12AX7, and 12AT7 valves with a direct-coupled, solid state output stage providing 100 watts/channel into eight Ohms, and 160 watts into four Ohms. Good news for both those with high-efficiency loudspeakers, or power-hungry Planar designs (that are often paired at shows with McIntosh) as this gives the little integrated a broad-spectrum application for those looking for one box to provide juice long term, regardless of what meandering path of loudspeakers they choose to sample. Adding an outboard Step-Up Transformer (SUT) to the delicate turntable signal path allows for Moving Coil cartridge designs to also be sampled should the MM variety grow tiresome for vinyl aficionados.

–Rafe Arnott

MA252 Angle Right name badge
Caged heat.

Press release below.


Binghamton, NY – November 1, 2017 McIntosh, the global leader in prestigious home entertainment and ultimate-quality audio for over 65 years, is proud to announce the MA252 Integrated Amplifier.

The MA252 Integrated Amplifier is the first hybrid integrated amplifier from McIntosh. Taking retro design cues from the legendary McIntosh MC275 Vacuum Tube Amplifier, the MA252 combines the best of vacuum tube and solid-state circuit design to create an amplifier that’s both visually and sonically stunning.

The preamplifier stage uses two 12AX7a and two 12AT7 vacuum tubes housed inside stylish protective cages; the output stage is a direct coupled solid-state amplifier that delivers 100 Watts per channel into 8 Ohm speakers or 160 Watts per channel into 4 Ohm speakers. An all analog design, it comes with 2 unbalanced, 1 balanced and 1 Moving Magnet phono input. All 4 inputs can be given user-friendly names in order to simplify user control. Bass and treble tone controls help fine tune the music to one’s personal preferences. A full range subwoofer output is included for use with a powered subwoofer to further enhance low frequencies.

The MA252 features our McIntosh Monogrammed Heatsinks™ which are connected to advanced high current output transistors. These transistors eliminate the typical amplifier warm-up time so that the MA252 is in peak operating condition from the moment it’s turned on. A powerful control microprocessor is used for smooth system operation, along with some of the latest audio-grade circuit components that deliver the best possible sound.

Thanks to its solid-state output, the MA252 is our first product containing vacuum tubes to include our patented Power Guard® technology. Power Guard monitors the output signal for signs of overdriving and makes real time micro adjustments to the input signal to prevent harsh sounding clipping that could potentially damage the speakers. If Power Guard is activated, the 2 vacuum tubes connected to the affected audio channel(s) will flash an amber color; they will return to their normal green color when the clipping has stopped.

Other McIntosh technologies found in the MA252 include Sentry Monitor™, High Drive headphone amplifier and gold-plated speaker binding posts. Input selection, bass, treble, tone bypass, balance and input offset levels can be adjusted using the front panel knobs or the included remote control; all settings and input selection will be shown on the OLED display. The entire unit sits atop a beautiful polished stainless steel chassis with a classic McIntosh-styled die cast aluminum name badge attached to each side.

Pricing and Availability
Orders for the MA252 can now be placed with Authorized McIntosh dealers with shipping expected to begin in November.

Suggested retail price (VAT, shipping and any customs duties related to current standards of individual countries are excluded): $3,500 USD.

About Rafe Arnott 389 Articles
Editor of InnerFidelity and AudioStream