CES 2011: McIntosh launches new power amp plus iPhone/iPad app

McIntosh 601

If you like a big 'ole power meter on the front of your hi-fi - and we're partial to one ourselves - feast your eyes on the latest power amplifier from Mcintosh Laboratory.

The MC601, which replaces the MC501, is a 600 Watt monobloc design with a range of upgrade features - plus that backlit power meter measuring a mighty eight inches across.

McIntosh President, Charlie Randall says: “To create the MC601 amplifier, McIntosh engineers and designers scrutinized every aspect of what has made us the world's most coveted audio manufacturer for the last 60 years – both in terms of great looks and legendary sound.

"The result is an amplifier of unique elegance, craftsmanship and style that delivers classic McIntosh performance, with all the power and ‘audio heft' to earn it a rightful place in the McIntosh pantheon, while providing today's most discerning consumers with all the features and functionality to ensure it will deliver the very best in music reproduction excellence for many years to come.”

Those new features include Power Guard, a McIntosh circuit innovation designed to maximise sound quality at high power levels. The MC601's advanced Sentry Monitor feature, meanwhile, aims to provide continuous short circuit protection of the amplifier and connected loudspeakers.

The MC601 also features Thermal Track output transistors that allow for cooler, more efficient operation; upgraded speaker binding posts; Quad Balanced circuit design for highest audio performance, and input and output jacks that allow bi or tri-amping with multiple MC601s.

McIntosh explains that the MC601's distortion-canceling, quad-differential design consists of two complete amplifier circuits, whose outputs are combined in unique McIntosh-crafted autoformers. "The MC601 delivers absolute transparency and musical accuracy into speaker loads of 2, 4, or 8-Ohms," the company claims.

All that technology is housed in a mirror-polished stainless steel casing, with custom-machined and anodised aluminium trim handles.

Prices have yet to be confirmed, though estimates of $12,000 per pair of MC601 monoblocs sound credible.

We hope to test out those performance claims - and that blue power meter - in a forthcoming review for our Temptations section.

In separate news, McIntosh Labs has launched an iPhone/iPad app - the AP1 audio player.

Mimicing McIntosh's signature power meters, the AP1 app allows users to select tracks, artists, playlists and albums, plus control the volume.

It's available to download free from the iTunes App store now.

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