If you’ve attended a high-end audio show, you’ve probably seen the Big McIntosh Room. McIntosh Labs always goes all out for these events, usually occupying one of the big ballrooms downstairs and filling it up with as much equipment as possible. It’s a sea of blue meters, glowing tubes and green-lit McIntosh logos. At the 2019 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, I was eager to visit the Big McIntosh Room because this legendary American audio manufacturer has had a year of interesting product introductions, something I hinted at when I covered the Binghamton NY-based manufacturer in Munich earlier this year.
As I write about the Big McIntosh Room at RMAF, I’ve just unpacked the new 125 lb. MC2152 power amplifier ($15,000) and have set it up in my listening room. This 150wpc all-tube behemoth is noteworthy for some new and innovative technology, but it also sports a new, sleeker look with side panels made from carbon fiber. When I posted a photo on social media, many people had no idea it was a Mac–at least until I fired it up and everyone saw the lit logo and the cool green and blue lighting for the tubes. The other noteworthy introduction, one that has me very intrigued, is the gorgeous new hybrid integrated MA352 ($6500) which provides 200 watts per channel into 8 ohms, and 320 into 4 ohms.
Finally, the new C2700 preamp ($8000) is the latest in a series of feature-packed Mac preamps–my first experience with McIntosh Labs goes back a dozen years when I evaluated the C2300. McIntosh’s Ron Cornelius, who served as my intrepid guide in the Big McIntosh Room, gave me a quick run through of the 2700’s amazing list of features, including the DA2 digital module, the new HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) and much more. The 2700 features 16 inputs–nine analog and seven digital. Sixteen.
Another interesting revelation in the Big McIntosh Room was those huge, multi-driver speakers and how I feel that they’ve become more musical over the years, at least to my ears. Ron gave me the low-down on some of the improvements McIntosh Labs has made, which includes drivers and crossovers that focus on even dispersion throughout the frequency range. These new speakers are still huge, with dozens of drivers in each enclosure, but the sound is surprisingly focused and realistic in its size.
Now it’s time to go back into the Little McIntosh Room, in my house, and spend time with the MC2152.