McIntosh Labs | Audio Advice LIVE 2022

A Rare Sighting

Something you don’t see every day, unless you own a pair, are McIntosh Labs speakers. You’d think we’d see more of them, but usually at audio shows it’s McIntosh gear with other brands of speakers. On exhibit at Audio Advice LIVE 2022, in the flesh, a real live pair of XRT1.1K line-array towers speakers. The XRT1.1K is a 4-way ported enclosure loudspeaker based on the larger and heavier (14 inches taller, 173 lbs heavier) XRT2.1K.

Reporting by Eric Franklin Shook

The XRT1.1K uses a total of seventy individual drivers consisting of (4) 6.5-inch woofers, (2) 6.5-inch low frequency midranges, (24) 2-inch upper frequency midranges and (40) ¾-inch tweeters. The woofer and low frequency midrange drivers that were first designed for the XRT2.1K have been incorporated into the XRT1.1K.

Aside from all that tech, these are gorgeous looking speakers and components from head to toe. Especially perched upon that Bossocontinuo rack from Italy.

The Ringmasters

Directing the show, a McIntosh C2700 Tube Pre with DAC, along with a McIntosh MEN220 Room Correction unit, using Room Perfect software to custom tailor and fit the final system output to the room.

The C2700 is a 2-Channel Vacuum Tube Preamplifier, with 16 inputs (9 analog + 7 digital), a tube complement of (5) 12AX7A and (1) 12AT7 vacuum tubes, a built in DA2 DAC module that Supports up to DSD512 files.

The MEN220 is a room correction system 2-Way Electronic Crossover for Bi-amping, that works on 1/12 octaves. It delivers a potent suite of Room Correction, Custom-EQ and 2-Way Crossover capabilities in one easy-to-use stereo component. While any single feature of the MEN220 has the power to optimize the sonic characteristics of the highest quality audio systems, combining all the features can reveal a level of clarity and resolution unattainable by any other means.

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The Power of 1.2 KW

The McIntosh MC1.2KW is a 1,200 watt quad balanced monoblock solid-state amplifier. Do I really need to say more?

It is an Autoformer™ design outputting full power at 2, 4, or 8 ohms, it weighs 158 lbs, and it has a rated total harmonic distortion of 0.005%.

I feel like I’m introducing a boxer on fight night.

Products that are often described as such, carry specs as such, and look the way the MC1.2KW does, usually only exist on paper.

The McIntosh Labs Sound

This is the best part.

It all sounded absolutely great! Like really really great. Making me wonder why… I know the answer to my own question so I won’t even pretend that I don’t. Moving on. Seriously though, if you’re a McIntosh Labs fanboy and really want to be that guy, do listen to these line-array loudspeakers with room correction, and tell me you aren’t rightly impressed.

My usual experience with line arrays that are passively driven is that they don’t load the room in an even manner but leave something of a performance gap outside of their sweet spot. Not the case here with the aforementioned MEN220 room correction unit in place. This really was, for many contextual reasons, one of my top exhibits of the show.

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