McIntosh often gives phone brands a run for their money when it comes to the frequency of product launches – and, not looking to temper that fruitfulness, the American company is today announcing not one new valve amplifier but two.
The first is the C22 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier Mk V (to use its full name, and pictured top), the fifth incarnation of what McIntosh says is among its most famous valve preamps, and a direct replacement for the C70 Limited Edition which launched last year to commemorate the brand’s 70th anniversary. The second new amplifier, the MC1502, also succeeds a 70th-anniversary model, the MC2152 Limited Edition.
The C22 Mk V, which uses single 12AT7 and five 12AX7A valves, features two balanced XLR inputs and three unbalanced RCA inputs, with both moving coil and moving magnet phono stages integrated. Meanwhile, two pairs of balanced and unbalanced output connections allow the music signal to be fed to two separate power amplifiers.
The C22 Mk V offers several adjustment controls on the front panel: bypassable knobs for bass and treble, dials for phono input impedance and capacitance, and the volume control can also be used to adjust balance. Four dedicated ports mean other connected McIntosh components can be automatically turned on and off, while data ports allow connected McIntosh source components to be controlled via the C22 Mk V’s remote control.
A headphone amplifier, complete with the company’s Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD) technology which aims to improve sound ‘localisation’ in the headphones’ soundstage, is also onboard.
The new MC1502 (above) mirrors the specifications of the MC2152 it replaces but sports a more customary (non-anniversary) McIntosh chassis. In fact, it shares the same styling as its little brother, the MC275, but is considerably larger and boasts twice the power (150 watts per channel).
McIntosh’s patented Unity Coupled Circuit output transformer technology promises that the full 150 watts can be delivered to almost any pair of speakers, regardless of whether they have a 2-, 4- or 8-ohm impedance.
In the name of efficiency, the MC1502 is powered by eight KT88 output valves – four for each channel – while eight small-signal valves (four 12AX7A and four 12AT7) take care of the input sections and voltage and driver amp circuits. McIntosh has gone to great lengths to protect the tubes to ensure they have a long service life.
Both the C22 Mk V ($6000, £tbc) and MC1502 ($11,000, £tbc) can be ordered now from McIntosh dealers, with US and UK shipping to begin in August and September respectively.