McIntosh has introduced the MA9500 and MA8950 integrated amplifiers, which replace the MA9000 and MA8900, adding a host of performance enhancements.
Dynamic headroom has been increased on both new models by over 50% thanks to the filter capacity being doubled in each. This increase in dynamic headroom, says McIntosh, will give both new models greater ability to reproduce musical peaks with less distortion than their predecessors. The increased filter capacity will also help deliver improved bass playback, low end performance, and overall bass control.
The MA9500 and MA8950 come with the McIntosh DA2 Digital Audio Module factory installed instead of the DA1 module that came in the MA9000 and MA8900. The DA2 is powered by an audiophile-grade, Quad Balanced, eight-channel, 32-bit Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) that has improvements in both dynamic range and total harmonic distortion compared to the DA1. The DA2 includes all the same digital inputs found on the DA1 (two coaxial, two optical, one USB, and one proprietary MCT input) plus adds an audio-only HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) connection. The DA2 also features increased DSD playback support of up to DSD512 via the USB input compared to DSD256 support on the previous models.
Upgraded power supply components further reduce noise emissions while also adding more robustness under demanding conditions. Both the MA9500 and MA8950 continue to use powerful control microprocessors for smooth and reliable system operation, as well as some of the latest state-of-the-art audio-grade circuit components to produce the best sound possible, says McIntosh.
The MA9500 offers 300 Watts per channel of clean power. It features 10 analog inputs, including two balanced, six unbalanced, plus one Moving Coil and one Moving Magnet phono input that both offer adjustable loading. It also includes a balanced and unbalanced output that can send the audio signal to another power amplifier. McIntosh’s innovative Solid Cinch speaker binding posts will easily but securely attach the speaker cables to prevent them from coming loose; while the binding posts are gold-plated to prevent corrosion and ensure a quality signal is sent to the speakers. The MA9500 includes a discrete, eight-band tone control that allows for advanced manual analog adjustment of ±12dB in 2dB increments at frequencies of 25Hz, 50Hz, 100Hz, 200Hz, 400Hz, 1kHz, 2.5kHz, and 10kHz.
Meanwhile, the MA8950 integrated amplifier offers 200 Watts per channel and combines McIntosh’s amplification expertise and preamplifier technologies into one stereo sound system component. It comes with nine analog inputs: one balanced, six unbalanced, one Moving Coil (with adjustable loading), and one Moving Magnet phono input. It also includes an unbalanced fixed output and an unbalanced variable output along with a discrete, five-band tone control that allows for advanced manual analog adjustment of ±12dB in 2dB increments at frequencies of 30Hz, 250Hz, 500Hz, 2kHz, and 10kHz.
The power of each amplifier is delivered via a pair of the McIntosh Autoformer, with unique design guarantees the speakers will always receive the full power regardless if they have two, four, or eight Ohm impedance.
McIntosh’s Power Guard technology continuously monitors input and output signals and can dynamically adjust input levels to ensure maximum output while avoiding harsh sounding distortion and clipping that could damage the speakers.
Fuse-less short-circuit protection technology Sentry Monitor disengages the output stage before the current can exceed safe operating levels, and resets automatically when operating conditions return to normal. McIntosh Monogrammed Heatsinks are made from high quality materials with excellent thermal conductivity and heat dissipation properties, says the company. Home Theater PassThru, meanwhile, allows for seamless integration into a home theatre system. There’s also a High Drive headphone amplifier with Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD); and Power Control to send power on/off signals to connected McIntosh components for easy system power up and shutdown.
The DA2 has also received Roon Tested designation from Roon Labs.
Orders for the MA9500 and MA8950 can now be placed with authorized McIntosh dealers, with shipping of both is expected to begin in February 2022 to both the U.S. and Canada, and to the rest of the world shortly thereafter. The MSRP of the MA9500 is US$12,000 and the MA8500 is US$9,000.