BINGHAMTON, NY (PTA) — Our own Marc Phillips shot me an email yesterday morning with a heads up on the new ‘behemoth sized‘ integrated amplifier launching from McIntosh Labs. Along with the forwarded technical info and photos, a simple message from Marc that read, “I wanna review this so hard.”
Having not even opened the first document or cracked the seal on any of the photos, I knew this was something serious. I immediately reached out to fellow staffer and columnist Nan Pincus for her reaction to the new 350-Watt MA12000 Hybrid Integrated from McIntosh Labs, as she had recently published a fantastic interview (found here) with McIntosh Labs President & CEO Charlie Randall, where she sought his perspective on the turntable side of hi-fi, and how McIntosh connects with consumers. Nan’s initial unbridled reaction to the sheer size of the MA12000: “A mad scientist made a microwave that forgot it was a microwave and self-actualized its way into being an integrated amplifier.”
Upon seeing just a picture along with some brief details of the new MA12000 Integrated, reviewer and columnist Dave McNair had this to say: “Wow! I wanna get one, and I’ve never lusted over McIntosh before.”
Given the same preview, our Grover Neville had this to say: “Danger, Will Robinson! The amount of connectivity is absurd. It has VU meters and green tubes on the front, of course I want it.”
My hopes are for a true audiophile-cage-match to ensue between everyone on the writing team. From the lowly staff writers on up to the sleazy ranks of editor, as we each clamor over one another in hopes of being the one to get their hands on the review sample. Mind you, in rare situations rank and chain-of-command are not always in direct parallel. However this is likely not one of those situations, so best of luck to you Nan Pincus.
As for myself, I would commit unspeakably shameful acts without hesitance just to get a sniff of the new MA12000.
Let the battles begin.
Press Release Below
McIntosh Announces MA12000 Hybrid Integrated Amplifier
Uncompromising Audio Engineering and Expert Craftsmanship create The Integrated Amplifier of Your Dreams
McIntosh, the global leader in prestigious home entertainment and ultimate-quality audio for 70 years, is proud to introduce the MA12000 Hybrid Integrated Amplifier.
The fully loaded, hybrid MA12000 Integrated Amplifier is a product of uncompromising audio engineering and expert craftsmanship. McIntosh’s most powerful integrated amplifier ever, the feature rich MA12000 offers 350 Watts per channel of clean, high performance power that produces a breathtaking home audio experience. You will think your favorite musicians are playing a live, in-person performance in your house.
The MA12000 gives you the best of all worlds with the warm nuances of a vacuum tube preamplifier combined with the speed and raw power of a solid state amplifier, state-of-the-art digital audio capabilities, and enough analog audio connections for virtually any home music system.
The MA12000 is a hybrid design with the preamplifier section powered by (4) 12AX7A vacuum tubes (2 tubes per audio channel), while the 350 Watt power amplifier section employs a solid state design. McIntosh’s Autoformer™ technology guarantees the speakers will always be capable of receiving that full 350 Watts whether they have 2, 4 or 8 Ohm impedance.
There are 10 analog inputs on the MA12000 consisting of 2 balanced and 6 unbalanced inputs, plus 1 Moving Coil and 1 Moving Magnet input. Both phono inputs feature adjustable loading for fine tuning the MA12000 to a specific turntable configuration so vinyl playback sounds just right. All the unbalanced analog connectors are constructed from premium gold-plated solid brass for superior signal handling and grounding. The MA12000 also has 1 balanced and 1 unbalanced output to connect to an additional amplifier that’s used in a different part of the house.
For digital music, the MA12000 comes with McIntosh’s DA2 Digital Audio Module factory installed. Located in the DA2 are 7 digital audio inputs: 2 coaxial, 2 optical, 1 USB and 1 MCT (for use with their MCT series of SACD/CD Transports), and 1 audio-only HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) connection. The DA2 is powered by a next generation, Quad Balanced, 8-channel, 32-bit Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC). This audiophile-grade DAC features improved dynamic range and improved total harmonic distortion. The DA2 supports high resolution digital audio playback, as the USB input supports native playback of up to DSD512 and DXD up to 384kHz, while the coax and optical inputs can decode digital music up to 24-bit/192kHz.
The HDMI (ARC) input allows TVs with a compatible HDMI (ARC) output to be connected to the MA12000 to bring a new level of audio performance to your TV and movie watching that TV speakers or soundbars just can’t provide. The DA2 can be replaced by future modules to keep the MA12000 up to date as new digital audio formats and technologies are developed. The DA2 has also received Roon Tested designation from Roon Labs, which can be especially useful when having an extensive library of digital music.
The top of the MA12000 is highlighted by some updated industrial design elements. The Autoformers and power transformer are now contained in a new glass topped enclosure capped by a glass name plate encircled with a decorative trim ring. Key performance specifications and a detailed block diagram are printed on 5 glass panels.
Other MA12000 features include:
- Power Guard® that monitors the output signal for over driving and makes real time micro adjustments to the input signal to prevent harsh sounding clipping that could potentially damage your speakers
- McIntosh’s fuse-less short-circuit protection circuit Sentry Monitor™ that disengages the output stage before current exceeds safe operating levels and then resets automatically when operating conditions return to normal
- A pair of peak responding, trademarked “McIntosh Blue” Watt meters that indicate the real time power output of each audio channel
- McIntosh Monogrammed Heatsinks™ which are connected to advanced high current output transistors that minimize thermal equilibrium lag (or warm-up) time and help keep the MA12000 running cool
- Home Theater PassThru that allows for seamless integration into a home theater system
- McIntosh’s patented Solid Cinch™ speaker binding posts that easily but securely attach the speaker cables to prevent them from coming loose and possibly causing a short; the binding posts are also gold-plated to prevent corrosion and ensure a quality signal is sent over your speaker cables to your speakers
- A discrete, eight-band tone control that allows for advanced manual analog adjustment of your favorite recordings
- High Drive headphone amplifier with Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD®) which can bring an added dimension to headphone listening
- Power Control to send power on/off signals to connected McIntosh components for easy system power up and shutdown
- Doubling of filter capacity compared to McIntosh’s other integrated amplifiers for even better low frequency performance
- The latest audio-grade circuit components to deliver the best sound possible
- Powerful control microprocessors to improve overall system operation
- Easy operation via front panel controls or the included comprehensive remote control
The entire unit is wrapped in the classic McIntosh aesthetic with a pair of blue watt meters, a black glass front panel, rotary control knobs, illuminated logo, aluminum end caps with built-in handles and a beautiful stainless steel chassis polished to a mirror finish. The MA12000 can be paired with a variety of turntables, CD players, music streamers, and speakers.
Pricing and Availability
Orders for the MA12000 can now be placed with Authorized McIntosh dealers with shipping expected to begin in October 2020 to the United States and Canada, and to the rest of the world shortly thereafter.
Suggested retail price (VAT, shipping and any customs duties related to current standards of individual countries are excluded): $14,000 USD
Founded in 1949, McIntosh Laboratory, Inc. is known for offering distinguished quality audio products, superior customer service and the ultimate experience in music and film. All McIntosh products are handcrafted at the Binghamton, NY factory by over 150 employees with a passion for music and the McIntosh heritage. McIntosh continues to define the ultimate home entertainment experience for discriminating consumers around the world, with the iconic “McIntosh Blue” Watt Meters globally recognized as a symbol of quality audio. Since its inception, McIntosh has been powering some of the most important moments in music history and pop culture. From President Lyndon Johnson’s inauguration speech to Woodstock to the famous Grateful Dead “Wall of Sound,” McIntosh has not only witnessed history, it has shaped it. With McIntosh, customers have the ability to create their own premium audio experience – and truly live their music. Visit to www.mcintoshlabs.com learn more.