McIntosh Debuts Pair of New AV Processors, a 5-Channel Amp

WiFi HiFi

Published: 10/10/2019 08:30:01 AM EST in Sound

McIntosh Debuts Pair of New AV Processors, a 5-Channel Amp

McIntosh is adding three new home theater products to its line-up: the MX170 and MX123 AV processors and the MC255 5-channel home theatre amplifier.

The MX170 AV processor, shown above, has eight HDMI inputs and four HDMI outputs that are powered by the newest and most powerful HDMI processors. 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 colour spacing. Audio Return Channel (ARC) capabilities are featured on three of the outputs, while the fourth features Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) functionality. eARC offers improved bandwidth so higher resolution audio can be sent from the TV to the MX170.

HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG are also fully supported by the MX170. 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 for watching 3D movies.

On the audio side, the MX170 is compatible with leading object-based, 3D surround sound formats including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro-3D. It includes RoomPerfect room correction technology that will measure and adjust the audio output to compensate for the specific acoustic properties of the room.

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

The MX170 comes with four optical, three coaxial and one USB digital input that each accept up to 24-bit/192kHz signals, plus one digital balanced input. There's also a complement of analog audio inputs comprised of two balanced and four 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.

Aesthetically, it has 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. It will sell for an MSRP of US$15,500.

The MX123 AV processor (MSRP US$8,000) is also compatible with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro-3D®, as well as modern 4K Ultra HD video sources and can upscale lower resolutions to 4K Ultra HD.

It features upgraded digital audio processing capabilities that results in two 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 theatre speaker configurations; two 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 seven HDMI inputs and three HDMI outputs. All HDMI inputs and outputs are HDCP 2.3, making the MX123 compliant and compatible with digital content protection specifications. 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 colour spacing; Rec. 2020; and 3D video pass-through.

Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) functionality is included on one of the HDMI outputs. eARC offers improved bandwidth so the MX123 can receive higher resolution audio from a TV. Additional connections include: four digital audio inputs; one balanced and eight unbalanced analog stereo audio inputs (including one dedicated as a Moving Magnet phono input to connect a turntable); an unbalanced 7.1 multi-channel audio input; three component and four composite video inputs; one USB Type A input; two unbalanced analog stereo outputs; and two composite and one component video outputs.

A new feature is IMAX Enhanced, 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.

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. 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 theatre's unique acoustical properties. Each discrete audio channel has its own 32-bit premium Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC), while bass and treble tone controls plus a nine-band equalizer offer additional fine-tuning. The MX123 also has the flexibility to create two additional zones and send select audio and/or video to each zone.

And finally, there's the MC255 5-Channel home theatre amplifier (MSRP US$8,000), which features McIntosh's 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 motion that McIntosh meters are known for and function at the same high level as any of their meters. The blue lighting can be turned off so as not to compete with the TV or movie screen.

Other performance upgrades include filter capacity that has been increased by 50% which has more than doubled dynamic headroom from 1.7dB to 3.6dB, and power input increased by 25% when using just the front left, centre, and right channels from 200 Watts per channel (WPC) to 250 WPC. When using all five channels, each will receive 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 five-channel home theatre; it can be paired with either McIntosh's MI128 8-Channel or MI254 4-Channel digital amplifiers in home theatres 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.

Orders for the MX170, MX123 and MC25 can now be placed with Authorized McIntosh dealers with shipping expected to begin to the U.S. in October 2019 and the rest of the world shortly thereafter.

Article Tags:  mcintosh, av processor, amplifiers, home theatre, hi-fi, high-end, audio, mx170, mx123, mc255


McIntosh Debuts Pair of New AV Processors, a 5-Channel Amp

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