I really hope you’ve all been an exceptionally good boys and girls this year, because Santa-tosh Labs is watching and his elves at the Binghamton, NY ‘workshop‘ just launched an updated version of the iconic MC3500 tube amplifier — you know, the amplifier that started it all — which now tops our list of ‘must-have-under-the-tree‘ gift ideas going into the 2021 holiday season.
We’ve had quite the time with McIntosh Labs tube amplifiers this year, with Dave McNair‘s review of the MC1502 Stereo Tube Amplifier (linked here), and Graig Neville‘s suite review of the C49 Tube Preamplifier and MC312 Stereo Tube Amplifier (linked here). Both came away with awards in hand. As for the new MC3500, we can’t wait to hear it for ourselves. Enjoy!
McIntosh Reimagines Iconic Amplifier used at Woodstock in Updated MC3500
The MC3500 Mk II is Inspired by the Amplifier that Inspired a Generation of Musicians & Music Fans Alike
Binghamton, NY – November 4, 2021 – McIntosh, the global leader in prestigious home entertainment and ultimate-quality audio for over 70 years, is proud to announce the MC3500 Vacuum Tube Amplifier Mk II. Originally used to power the sound system for Woodstock* ’69 amongst other formative music events, the iconic monoblock amp was recreated by McIntosh’s expert team of engineers and designers to include modern upgrades that celebrate the brand’s rich history of powering pivotal moments in music, while showcasing its commitment to technological innovations and acoustic advancements. The reimagined version can be used with a variety of preamplifiers, turntables, CD players, media streamers, speakers, etc. to form a complete home audio system.
The MC3500 Mk II boasts 350 Watts of power and is upgraded with modern components that deliver an audio performance worthy of its predecessor. As in the original, the MC3500 Mk II uses McIntosh’s Unity Coupled Circuit™ output transformer, allowing the full 350 Watts to be safely delivered to virtually any speaker. The MC3500 Mk II has a fully balanced driver section that utilizes three 12AX7A and one 12AT7 vacuum tube, while the output is powered by eight EL509S high-power output vacuum tubes specifically chosen due to the similarity to the 6LQ6 “sweep tubes” found in the original MC3500. All the vacuum tubes are located behind the power and output transformers and are covered by a 12-gauge stainless steel wire cage.
“At the 50th anniversary of Woodstock in 2019, there was a lot of buzz resurfacing about the McIntosh sound system,” said McIntosh President, Charlie Randall. “This enthusiasm was infectious and inspired me to get our engineering team together to redesign the amp that has obviously resonated with music fans as being a historically significant piece of audio gear. After over two years, we are really proud of the result. The MC3500 Mk II takes its inspiration from the original 1968-71 MC3500 and incorporates all the knowledge we have gained surrounding vacuum tube amplifier design since the 1960’s.”
MC3500 VACUUM TUBE AMPLIFIER MK II FEATURES INCLUDE:
- McIntosh’s Power Guard Screen Grid Sensor™ (SGS) technology that prevents premature vacuum tube failure
- Sentry Monitor™ technology to actively observe the output current to ensure operation within safe limits
- Balanced and unbalanced input(s) to connect with home audio system and multi-amp configurations
- McIntosh’s patented, gold-plated Solid Cinch™ speaker binding posts that easily but securely attach the speaker cables to prevent them from coming loose
The MC3500 Mk II is both modern and retro in its design. As an homage to the original, the Mk II includes U-shaped side-rails, a unique feature that provided strength and durability when the original amps were used on the road. The Mk II also has replicated the black rubber bumpers found in the original amps that allowed them to be temporarily set upright for shows and were big enough to prevent the model from being damaged during setup at concerts. The front panel is machined aluminum with a bead blast finish and gold anodizing that emulates the original MC3500. Just as in the original MC3500, the Mk II version includes an output meter, though this version is larger and centered on the front panel rather than offset to the left side as in the previous version. The meter uses a variation of McIntosh’s DualView™ Power Output Meter design, with the top scale showing the power output in both Watts and decibels, while the bottom scale shows the amplifier warm-up time.
*Woodstock is a registered trademark of Woodstock Ventures LC.
Pricing and Availability
Orders for the MC3500 can now be placed with Authorized McIntosh Dealers with shipping expected to begin in December 2021 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): $15,000 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 www.mcIntoshlabs.com to learn more.