McIntosh Announces New Five-Channel Amp and AV Preamps

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McIntosh Announces New Five-Channel Amp and AV Preamps


McIntosh announced today the release of three new home theater components, including two quite different AV preamps and a new five-channel amplifier. The new preamp/processors, the MX170 and MX123, differ not only in their aesthetics and channel count (15.1 and 13.2, respective), but also in their room correction (RoomPerfect vs. Audyssey MultEQ XT32), amongst other differentiators.

Pricing is set at $15,500 for the MX170 and $8,000 for the MX123, with the new MC255 five-channel amp coming in at $8,000 as well.

Read on for full details from the press release:

McIntosh, the global leader in prestigious home entertainment and ultimate-quality audio for 70 years, is proud to announce three new home theater products: the MX170 and MX123 A/V Processors and the MC255 5-Channel Home Theater Amplifier.

MX170 A/V Processor

    • 12 HDMI ports with HDCP2.2 and 18Gbps bandwidth for full 4K Ultra HD and 4:4:4 color
    • Audio: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Auro-3D, eARC and RoomPerfect
    • Video: Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG

MX170_Back.jpgExperience movies in the comfort of home with the brilliance of 4K Ultra HD, the vividness of High Dynamic Range (HDR), and the immersiveness of 3D surround sound like never before with the new McIntosh MX170 A/V Processor. Complete with the latest in home theater technology, the MX170 has everything needed to deliver a breathtaking audio and cinema experience.

When it comes to the video requirements of a modern home theater, the MX170 comes with everything necessary. It has 8 HDMI inputs and 4 HDMI outputs that are powered by the newest and most powerful HDMI processors available. Each HDMI port is HDCP 2.2 and has 18Gbps of bandwidth to fully support 4K Ultra HD picture quality and full 4:4:4 color spacing. Audio Return Channel (ARC) capabilities are featured on 3 of the outputs, while the 4th features Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) functionality. eARC offers improved bandwidth so higher resolution audio can be sent from the TV to the MX170 to deliver the best sound quality possible.

HDR formats HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG are also fully supported by the MX170. When watching a video mastered in one of these formats, a dramatic improvement in color, contrast and brightness can been seen. A special HDBaseT output is included to prevent signal loss or degradation when there is a long distance between the MX170 and the screen. It also has 3D video pass-through, putting the viewer right in the middle of the action when watching their favorite 3D movies.

On the audio side, the new MX170 is compatible with all the leading object-based, 3D surround sound formats including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D to give a truly immersive experience. It includes sophisticated RoomPerfect room correction technology that will measure and adjust the audio output to compensate for the specific acoustic properties of the room. The MX170 combined with RoomPerfect will produce a home theater surround sound system with optimized frequency response, calibrated speaker volumes, and bass control that perfectly combines the speakers with the subwoofer(s). Added flexibility in speaker selection and placement is another benefit.

To produce this immersive home theater experience, the MX170 features balanced outputs for a 15.1 surround sound speaker configuration. This allows for a multitude of speakers in the theater to create an enveloping cinematic soundstage. If the theater doesn't have that many speakers, 4 of the outputs can be used to bi-amp some of the speakers or to drive additional subwoofers.

The MX170 comes with a full suite of digital inputs including 4 optical, 3 coaxial and 1 USB that each accept up to 24-bit/192kHz signals, plus 1 digital balanced input. There's also a complete complement of analog audio inputs comprised of 2 balanced and 4 unbalanced inputs, a phono input and a 7.1 multichannel unbalanced input. It features some of the latest analog to digital convertor technology to maximize the audio quality of analog sources. All analog and digital devices can be custom named to simplify system operation; their volume levels can be matched to eliminate jarring changes in volume when transitioning between sources. Bass and treble controls offer further audio fine-tuning.

The MX170 takes advantage of the latest advancements in processing power to run cooler while performing better than any previous McIntosh home theater processor. Its easy to use and robust setup program allows for great customization and optimization based on each user's needs. It has the timeless McIntosh look of a black glass front panel, control knobs, illuminated logo and custom aluminum end caps. It can be paired with a variety of amplifiers and speakers to make a complete home theater system.

MX123 A/V Processor

    • 10 HDMI ports, HDCP2.3, 18Gbps bandwidth for full 4K Ultra HD, 4:4:4 color and Rec. 2020
    • Audio: 13.2 discrete channels, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Auro-3D, eARC, AirPlay2, Audyssey MultEQ XT32
    • Video: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG, IMAX Enhanced

MX123_Back.jpgThe new McIntosh MX123 A/V Processor marries a long tradition of uncompromising McIntosh sound quality with the latest home theater technologies to produce an unsurpassed luxury home entertainment experience. It is compatible with all the leading home theater surround sound and object-based 3D audio formats including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D. It's also fully compatible with modern 4K Ultra HD video sources and can upscale lower resolutions to 4K Ultra HD for the best possible picture quality.

The MX123 features upgraded digital audio processing capabilities that results in 2 more discrete audio channels, bringing the MX123 to 13.2 discrete audio channels compared to 11.2 channels in the previous model. These 13.2 discrete channels are available via both balanced and unbalanced audio outputs that can be used in a variety of home theater speaker configurations; 2 additional unbalanced outputs offer further connection flexibility. DSD and ALAC playback support have been doubled to DSD128 and ALAC 192kHz for better high resolution audio performance.

For video, the MX123 has 7 HDMI inputs and 3 HDMI outputs. All HDMI inputs and outputs are HDCP 2.3, making the MX123 compliant and compatible with digital content protection specifications for well into the future. They all also have 18Gbps of bandwidth to support High Dynamic Range (HDR) formats Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG; 4K Ultra HD at 50/60Hz; 4:4:4 color spacing; Rec. 2020; and 3D video pass-through. Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) functionality is included on 1 of the HDMI outputs. eARC offers improved bandwidth so the MX123 can receive higher resolution audio from a TV to produce the best possible sound quality. Additional connections include: 4 digital audio inputs; 1 balanced and 8 unbalanced analog stereo audio inputs (including 1 dedicated as a Moving Magnet phono input to connect a turntable); an unbalanced 7.1 multi-channel audio input; 3 component and 4 composite video inputs; 1 USB Type A input; 2 unbalanced analog stereo outputs; and 2 composite and 1 component video outputs.

An exciting new feature on the MX123 is IMAX Enhanced. IMAX Enhanced is a set of stringent performance standards established by IMAX and DTS to create a consistent and higher bar for image and sound performance on premium devices. It utilizes a sophisticated, advanced algorithm designed to produce the highest-quality, sharpest 4K HDR images. IMAX and DTS will also partner with award-winning Hollywood sound mixers to use a special variant of the DTS:X codec technology included in the MX123 to deliver an IMAX signature sound experience at home.

Streaming options on the MX123 have been upgraded from the previous model. The MX123 now includes Apple AirPlay 2 along with Bluetooth and Spotify Connect for easy streaming from mobile devices. AirPlay 2 is an Apple technology designed to control home audio systems and speakers in any room - with a tap or by just asking Siri - right from an iPhone, iPad, HomePod, or Apple TV. It offers multiroom audio, Siri voice control, and enhanced playback. TuneIn is also included for further music streaming options. To assist with streaming performance and reliability, wireless connectivity has been improved to include 2.4/5GHz dual band support.

Audyssey MultEQ XT32 is included and will calibrate the MX123 to a home theater's unique acoustical properties, letting it deliver the clearest and most balanced earth-shattering sound possible. Each discrete audio channel has its own 32-bit premium Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) to produce the best audio quality. Bass and treble tone controls plus a 9-band equalizer offer additional fine-tuning. The MX123 also has the flexibility to create 2 additional zones and send select audio and/or video to each zone.

The MX123 can be paired with a variety of home theater amplifiers and speakers to create an enviable and enjoyable cinema experience in the comfort of one's home. Front panel buttons or a comprehensive remote control allow for easy system operation. It's complete with McIntosh design fundamentals of a backlit black glass front panel with an illuminated logo, control knobs, an easy to read display, and aluminum end caps.

MC255 5-Channel Home Theater Amplifier

    • TripleView Power Output Meter
    • More than twofold increase in dynamic headroom
    • Up to 250 Watts per channel

MC255_Back.jpgGive home theaters the power they deserve with the new McIntosh MC255 5-Channel Home Theater Power Amplifier.

The MC255 features McIntosh's striking new TripleView Power Output Meter that independently indicates the real time power reading of the amplifier's three front channels. Instead of three separate meter windows each housing a single meter as found on McIntosh previous 5-channel amplifier, the easy-to-read, 15" (38 cm) wide TripleView features three of McIntosh's traditional mechanical meters in a single meter enclosure. While a totally new design, each of the three peak responding pointers in the TripleView meter have the same enticing motion that McIntosh meters are known for and function at the same high level as any of their meters. The enchanting look and welcoming glow of the TripleView meter is sure to draw interest from friends and family, but its trademarked blue lighting can be turned off so as not to compete with the TV or movie screen.

Besides the new TripleView meter, the MC255 has received many other performance upgrades to deliver an unforgettable cinema experience. Filter capacity has been increased by 50% which has more than doubled dynamic headroom from 1.7dB to 3.6dB - a key feature in a home theater amplifier - as well as improving the performance of low frequencies. When using just the front left, center and right channels, power output has been increased by 25% from 200 Watts per channel (WPC) to 250 WPC. When using all 5 channels, each will receive a healthy 200 WPC. Regardless of how many channels are used, the full 200 or 250 Watts is delivered to either 4 or 8 Ohm speakers via McIntosh's Dynamic Power Manager (DPM) technology.

The MC255 runs cool and quiet thanks to four of McIntosh's Monogrammed Heatsinks which are connected to advanced high current output transistors that efficiently and silently cool the amplifier; as a result, noisy cooling fans are not needed. A quiet, specially wound toroidal isolation power transformer also helps keep noise to a minimum. Speaker terminals have been updated to McIntosh's standard gold-plated binding posts that prevent corrosion and ensure a quality signal is sent to the speakers. Traditional McIntosh knobs now adorn the front panel to control the meter lights and power function. Direct LED backlighting has been added to the front panel for improved color accuracy and durability. McIntosh's eco-friendly power management system that will turn the amplifier off after a set amount of time when no input signal has been detected is also now included.

While the MC255 has received many upgrades, it also comes with hallmark McIntosh technologies such as Power Guard that prevents potential speaker damage caused by clipping and over-driving of the amplifier, and Sentry Monitor that protects against short-circuits by disengaging the output stage should the current ever exceed safe operating levels (it then resets automatically when operating conditions return to normal). Both balanced and unbalanced inputs are included to connect the MC255 to the rest of the home theater system.

The MC255 can be used to power a conventional 5-channel home theater; it can be paired with either McIntosh's MI128 8-Channel or MI254 4-Channel Digital Amplifiers in home theaters that have additional surround sound speakers for use with object-based 3D audio formats such as Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D; or it can be used in a two zone configuration with the three front channels used at 250 WPC in one zone and the two surround sound channels used at 200 WPC in a second audio zone.

The MC255 bears the classic McIntosh design of a black glass front panel with the TripleView meter, illuminated logo, control knobs, and aluminum end caps.

Pricing and Availability
Orders for the MX170, MX123 and MC25 can now be placed with Authorized McIntosh dealers with shipping expected to begin to the United States in October 2019 and 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):

MX170: $15,500 USD
MX123: $8,000 USD
MC255: $8,000 USD

Additional Resources
• Visit the McIntosh Labs website for more product information.
• How McIntosh Powered Woodstock at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• McIntosh Announces C2700 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier at HomeTheaterReview.com.


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