MCINTOSH MC1.2KW

MJ11.09.2014

Power amplifiers

The McIntosh MC1.2KW is an excellent power amplifier. I cannot image an audio system where the MC1.2KW would be the weakest link. Therefore it is a pity that McIntosh Labs have no CD player or a preamplifier on the same qualitative level in their catalogue.

Function and form

95%
Ease of use
81%
Sound
96%
Appearance

McIntosh builds all the amplfier around the same principles (most notably the Output Autoformer section) so I am not going to repeat them - please check Audiodrom's review of the MC501power amplifier for more details. The key performance specifications of the MC1.2KW are that it is a mono amplifier with 1,200 W of continuous output power (200 A), 0,005% distortion, the damping factor of 100 and 124dB of signal-to-noise ratio.

The MC1.2KW has three inputs, 1xRCA and 2xXLR, so two MC1.2KW may easily become a heart of an audio-visual installation. Switching between the single-ended and balanced operation is possible via a small sliding toggle. Four McIntosh MC1.2KW (2x2) s can be daisy chained for bi-amping.

The front panel is made of glass with a sizable blue VU meter in it. I must admit that this feature is very attractive - perhaps more attractive than a butterfly collection for most female visitors. Two knobs control the power status (ON-OFF-REMOTE) and the meter's function - off, monitoring or peak hold for a fraction of second. As mentioned, this McIntosh is built to stun anyone who looks at it; I caught myself staring at hypnotically moving meters like on a TV screen.

Bass management

Weight
92
Slam
92
Articulation
88

The McIntosh MC1.2KW's enormous power reserve can make any speaker on the planet dance. My own Wilson Audio Sasha W/P including. Beltrami's World War Z soundtrack surprised me with its intense string section, great instrumental separation, kinetic energy of Zombies in Coach track and monumental orchestration. The sound is a bit darker than my reference amplifier (Spectral DMA-150) is and it is very dense in its fundamentals. The cinematic atmosphere fits the MC1.2KW great and the amp builds massive walls of sounds with thunderous bass.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
91
Air
90
Transparency
88

The Rudebox's (Robbie Williams) rhythmic sequence was presented with dynamic transient peaks. Their edges were perhaps not that much laser-cut, they were rather a tad rounded which made the music even better to digest. Moving up to highs both cymbals and synthesized clinks were brilliant, but not overly brilliant. The mids were rich and natural. Another track, Bongo Bong and Je Ne T'Aime Plus conveyed slightly darker and different sonics. The explanation was in the booklet: each track was recordedd in a different studio. I was not aware of it until the MC1.2KW brought my attention to it.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
82
Dynamics
91
Temporal resolution
86

Spatial resolution

Holography
94
Soundstage width
94
Soundstage depth
94

It is refreshing to listen to a piece that was written with a passion and invention. Atli Orvarsson's The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones soundtrack is such a music piece. The MC1.2KW provided me with an illusion of huge soundstage and with the sound that swept my room with dynamics and a certain portion of monumentality. At the end of the title track, City of Bones, the MC1.2KW built expansive space that was indeed holographic - it could challenge the Q-Sound treated Roger Waters' Amused to Death. The front wall of my room was torn down and the resonating brass of the military march tried to blow the window panes. These only survived to be blown by the big drum in the finale of Close to Dome.

Price as reviewed:750 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

PP HiFi Studio, Otrokovice, tel. +420 603 581 305

Associated components

  • Sources: Linn Unidisk 1.1
  • Amplifiers: McIntosh C2500, Music First Audio Classic Silver, Spectral DMA-150
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Audioquest Oak
  • Loudspeakers: Wilson Audio Sasha W/P, ATC SCM25A
  • Power conditioning: Furutech Daytona 303E

Gallery

ACCUPHASE A-65

The A-65 has a better bottom-end control and though it does not equal to the solidness of, let's say, Bryston or Plinius, the improvement has moved the new amp in the right direction. Overall, the Accuphase A-65 is more refined, ...

Recommended resellers

Nisel SK, Bratislava, tel. +421 905 203 078

Sound
79%

ASR Emitter II Exclusive Blue

When mankind is eliminated by a gigantic volcano eruption, a tsunami or Godzilla, most parts of the Emitter will remain to exist as this amplifier is dustproof, waterproof and heatproof. The ASR's catalogue is far from complicated - ...

Recommended resellers

Audiostudio s.r.o., Olomouc, tel. +420 608 752 475

Sound
68%

AUDIOLAB 8300MB

Bass is essential. Music is no fun without good fundaments, unless one prefers listening to flute recitals only. In a recording studio the bass, that is the drums and the bass guitar, are the first thing that has to be gotten right ...

Recommended resellers

Horn Distribution, Praha, +420 272 656 485

Sound
58%

AUDIOMAT Féstival

Philosophically speaking, how it is possible that the Audiomat listeners say that the voice of Frank Sinatra in Nice & Easy is perfectly realistic, undistorted and tonally correct? None of them have ever had a chance to hear ...

Recommended resellers

Interaudio SK, Komárno, tel. +421 905 884 677

Sound
78%

BEL CANTO M300 monoblocks

It was as if the recording venue had new air filters installed and an extra dose of oxygen was pumped in during a performance – the sense of vertigo was very strong and I did not want to return back to the ´dusty´sound of everything ...

Recommended resellers

Hanzel Audio, Komárno, tel. +421 905 400 770

Sound
64%

BLOCK AUDIO Mono, Power a Line

Searching the archives of Audiodrom brings up the recollections of several  powerful and well designed power amplifiers - to move around the  monuments like the Bryston 28B-SST2, the Musical Fidelity Titan or the Accuphase A-200 ...

Recommended resellers

Blockaudio s.r.o., Olomouc, tel. +420 604 514 282

Sound
95%

BRYSTON 28B-SST2

In Bryston they have managed to refine their amplifiers to the degree that can be considered a state-of-the-art for solid-state amplification. I mentioned that lesser amps of Bryston are all bargains and for reasonable money one gets ...

Recommended resellers

Hifi Store, Praha

Sound
82%
Back to category