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McIntosh has added two new wireless speakers to its line-up, the compact RS150 wireless loudspeaker, and the RS250 wireless loudspeaker system, which the company calls its “most advanced and powerful home audio wireless speaker system to date.”
Both the mono RS150 and stereo RS250 are stand-alone, complete wireless speaker solutions. The new models do not require a dedicated control app. Rather, each features a variety of built-in streaming “cast-to” technologies including Spotify Connect, TIDAL Connect, Apple AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, Chromecast, and Roon Ready, so you can easily stream from a smart device.
The RS150 wireless loudspeaker serves as an entry-level model. Built in a moderate size that can fit in almost any home listening setting, it’s an updated version of the RS100, replacing the predeceasing unit with double the power output (from 60 Watts total power to 120 Watts total power). The woofer has also been enlarged from a 4″ to 5-1/4″ diameter driver, offering 90 Watts of power and a larger, reengineered encloser resulting in higher output with lower distortion and deeper bass extension. There’s an easily removable speaker grille if you prefer to expose the woofer and tweeter. Bass control has also been added to fine-tune the low-end performance based on unique room characteristics and listening preferences. The design resembles the traditional McIntosh aesthetic, with a glass front panel on the lower section of the speaker.
With turntable connectivity via a dedicated phono input, the RS250 wireless loudspeaker system also allows you to connect to television via an audio-only HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) input for better audio performance when watching favourite shows, movies, or sports. With 650 Watts of total power that is delivered to two 4″ x 6″ woofers, four 2″ midranges, and two ¾” tweeters, the midranges and tweeters are front firing, while the woofers are down firing with the sound emanating from under the main chassis just above the base plate. The woofer enclosure has been reengineered to reduce distortion with improved bass control to fine tune the low-end performance. To enhance low frequencies even more, it can be connected to an external powered subwoofer.
To enjoy non-streaming music, the RS250 has an optical input to connect digital sources and a 3.5mm AUX input for connecting other music sources, also featuring a ¼” headphone jack on the front panel permits personal listening.
Both can be controlled directly from favourite streaming apps that use compatible casting technologies. They are compatible with TIDAL HiFi’s Hi-Res playback of 24-bit/192kHz high-resolution digital music file, and with their built-in high-resolution streaming capabilities, both are Roon Ready endpoint devices.
Use Bluetooth 5.0 with support for both the high bitrate Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) standard as well as Qualcomm aptX HD for hi res audio playback, and Qualcomm aptX Low Latency for improved synching between audio and video.
A new illuminated digital output meter uses the same trusted circuits found in McIntosh’s analog meters to collect and process the audio signals; it then digitizes the results and outputs them into a pulsating, gradated bar that shares the curved shape of their familiar analog meters
There’s also a wired Ethernet port along with support for Wi-Fi protocols a, b, g, n, and ac. The units are also Google Assistant compatible for voice control, though this requires the use of a third-party Google Assistant device with voice recognition to be on the same network, like a Google smart speaker.
Orders for the RS150 and RS250 can now be placed with Authorized McIntosh dealers. Shipping to the United States and Canada is expected to begin in December 2021 for RS150, and January 2022 for RS250. Shipping to the rest of the world will follow shortly thereafter for each product. The McIntosh RS150 will sell for an MSRP of US$1,200 and the RS250 for US$3,000.