CEDIA 2018: McIntosh debuts new line of custom install products

McIntosh, home of those beautiful VU meters that we can’t get enough of, brought gifts for custom integrators at CEDIA 2018 with a new line of multi-channel amplifiers and in-wall speakers.

“We are excited to return to the custom install category with these new amplifiers and speakers,” says Charlie Randall, McIntosh President and CEO, referencing the company’s previous multi-room offerings. “Many of our traditional home audio products have been used for distributed audio applications by talented CI installers. We are happy to once again offer products specifically designed for custom installation.” 

At CEDIA, McIntosh assembled an impressive pop-up theatre room bringing showcasing existing and new products to provide a compelling twelve-minute demonstration. At the heart of the room was a McIntosh tower of power that lined a Middle Atlantic Rack from floor to ceiling.

During the demo, the system purred and the VU meter’s danced. One attendee paying close attention to the McIntosh MPC1500 Power Conditioner noted that total current draw only peaked at 6amps for the entire rack! A total of 11 McIntosh in-wall loudspeakers plus four Sonus Faber subwoofers worked together in a Dolby Atmos setup. The in-walls were had crossover set at 100hz and the ceiling speakers set to 120hz on the McIntosh MX160 Surround Processor.

The new in-walls were not very large, so I wasn’t expecting to be whisked away in a theater  setup. I was definitely proven wrong as the dynamics and imaging produced in McIntosh pop-up were dramatic and something that caught my attention.  Just as I was getting comfy, and ready to find a blanket, the demo was over.  The demo’s included the scene in “London has Fallen” where the bridge explodes.

Outside the room we had an opportunity to give the in-walls a closer look. Things of note, these are built with an installer in mind.

Really nice mounting hardware, fully enclosed backs, no expense sparred. The same quality that we have come to expect from McIntosh.

Definitely something to keep an eye on if you are looking for in-wall speakers.


Full details on the amplifiers and speakers from the McIntosh Press Release:

Distribution Amplifiers
The new distribution amplifiers consist of the MI254 and MI128 Power Amplifiers. The MI254 is a 4-channel amplifier outputting 250 Watts per channel, while the 8-channel MI128 outputs 120 Watts per channel. Each employ highly sophisticated closed loop digital switching amplifiers that are paired with extremely robust power supplies to produce performance levels that are rarely achieved in distributed audio. Both have the same installer-friendly physical dimensions and are 2U rack mountable (mounting ears are removable for non-rack installations). As highly efficient Class D amplifiers, they do not require noisy cooling fans to maintain nominal operating temperature. In addition to distributed audio use, the MI254 is well suited for home theaters to drive surround sound speakers and could be integrated into virtually any existing home theater system.

On the front panel, both feature multi-color LED indicators to display the status of each channel. The MI254 also includes two blue McIntosh Watt Meters that display the summed power output of channels 1 + 2 and channels 3 + 4. On the back, the MI254 uses our standard 5-way speaker binding posts while the MI128 uses 2-pole Phoenix style push-in speaker terminals. The MI128 also includes back panel volume controls for volume balancing, along with 2 digital audio inputs (either coax or optical), and channel summing circuits for easy mono signal distribution.

The MI254 and MI128 share many common features, including: elements of classic McIntosh industrial design and engineering principles as evidenced by the inclusion of signal overload technology that prevents overdriving the speakers; BUS input & outputs to easily distribute a stereo signal to multiple outputs and/or multiple amplifiers; individual channel inputs; 12 Volt triggering capabilities; and eco-friendly on/off signal sensing that automatically turns the unit off if no input signal has been detected for a set amount of time.

In-Wall & In-Ceiling Speakers
In addition to the amplifiers, a new line of In-Wall & In-Ceiling Speakers will be debuted at CEDIA. The in-wall speakers are fully enclosed to provide air sealing plus a controlled air chamber to minimize distortion and response irregularities. They all feature newly designed shallow woofers that fit in standard 2×4 wall construction. The woofers utilize a long throw, high power design with molded carbon reinforced cones with molded elastomeric surrounds for high linearity. The 2” midranges and ¾” tweeters are the same drivers used in our highly regarded XR50 and XR100 home audio speakers.

Each in-wall speaker will come with all required hardware and mounting mechanisms for post construction installations; new construction brackets will be available. A rough in kit will also be offered for the in-ceiling model. All grilles magnetically attach, are paintable and will leave little to no visible edge of the mounting flange so the speakers can virtually disappear into their surroundings. Each speaker is designed to handle up to 250 Watts of power.

Pricing and Availability
Each of our newly announced Custom Install products will be available beginning Fall 2018 with pricing and exact ship dates forthcoming.


1 Comment

  1. I don’t see this as necessary for McIntosh but I guess the powers that be at the company felt so. I’ve always equated McIntosh to the 2 channel stereo listening space so all this seems rather odd/foreign to me. Best of luck to them in this endeavor.

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