Technology

McIntosh unveils vacuum tube amplifiers for Mad Men and audiophiles

Legendary New York-based high-end Hi-Fi company McIntosh has unveiled two vacuum tube amplifiers that combine classic retro design with leading edge audio performance.

The C22 valve-tastic preamp Mk V and the MC1502 power amplifier both embrace the brand’s signature aesthetic, with polished stainless-steel chassis, McIntosh illuminated logo and retro black-glass and aluminium front panel design. They could just as easily be partnered with an original McIntosh component from the fifties or sixties. Don Draper would definitely approve.

The new models could just as easily be partnered with an original McIntosh component from the fifties or sixties…

The McIntosh C22 peamp Mk V

The C22 preamp is the fifth version of this valve preamp design, and displays its valves through a top-mounted glass panel. Forget about voice control. Traditional rocker switches and knobs control bass, treble and volume.

There’s also a High Drive headphone amplifier, featuring the company’s Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD) technology, which claims to improve the sound localisation for headphone listening

The C22 can be partnered with the MC1502 Vacuum Tube amplifier with air-pipe cooling. This 150-watt power plant uses Unity Coupled Circuit output transformer technology, which would also have been found on original McIntosh audio hardware back in 1949.

Valves are key to McIntosh’s signature sound

The MC1502 is powered by eight KT88 output valves, with four per stereo channel. It also features eight small-signal valves, covered by a 12-gauge black powder-coated stainless steel wire cage.

Both models will be available in the UK from September, prices TBA.

About Steve May

Creator of Home Cinema Choice magazine, Steve muses and reviews for Trusted Reviews, T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice, Ideal Home, The Luxe Review, Channel News and the i newspaper. He’s also the editor of professional home cinema website Inside CI, and contributor to industry trade magazine ERT. He's on Twitter and Instagram as @SteveMay_UK

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