It was probably the darkest and most crowded room at High End 2019, two things that tend to trigger my claustrophobia. But you can’t blame show attendees for wanting to file into the McIntosh room and see all those beautiful new products, and you can’t blame McIntosh Labs for wanting to create a dark visual presentation that accentuated the classic look of their products–black faceplates, blue meters, green lights. It took me a couple of tries to get deep into the room and snap some photos without getting all paranoid and agitated, but I did.
McIntosh Labs, like me, is located in New York, and I really enjoyed how the visual design of the High End 2019 exhibit room focused on iconic images from the Empire State. McIntosh partnered with their German distributor, Audio Components, to show off much of the current lineup–the MTI100 and MT2 turntables, the RS200 wireless speaker system, the gorgeous 70th Anniversary MC2152 power amplifier ($15,000) and a nice cross-section of their amplifiers, preamplifiers, DACs and CD/SACD players.
While this was largely a static display, music in the room was supplied by a modest system near the front door that consisted of the MTI100 integrated turntable ($6500) and the RS100 wireless speakers ($1000 each). The MTI100, which I’ve already lusted over in these pages, includes a power amplifier, a tube preamplifier, a phono pre, digital inputs, a Bluetooth receiver, speaker and subwoofer outputs and a headphone amp. McIntosh is marketing this, along with RS100s, as one of their stunning new lifestyle systems, and I can see how this would be a compelling choice for people who want great McIntosh sound in a small or crowded space. This somewhat diminutive system filled the entire room with music, and it sounded quite satisfying from nearly every corner–even when it was filled to the rafters with High End 2019 attendees.
The MTI100/RS100 system, along with the RS200 Wireless Speaker System ($3000) that was also featured at High End 2029, represent a new direction for McIntosh Labs. While the marketplace is full of similar products with similar features, they aren’t McIntosh. While that might seem simplistic, that crowded room revealed that many audiophiles–and non-audiophiles–would be proud to put these classically beautiful components in their homes.