Skip to main content

McIntosh MC901 is an all-in-one valve and solid-state power amplifier

McIntosh MC901 is an all-in-one valve and solid-state power amplifier
(Image credit: McIntosh)

McIntosh is known for its high-end amplifiers, and they don't come much more high-end than its latest one. The dual mono MC901 combines a valve amp and a solid-state amp in one, and is being pitched by the US brand as "the ultimate solution for bi-amping high-performance loudspeakers."

The 300-watt valve amplifier works alongside a 600-watt solid-state amplifier in one unified chassis, with the former designed to drive a loudspeaker's mid and upper drive units using eight KT88 output tubes, four 12AT7 and two 12AX7A signal tubes. The solid-state section delivers its power directly to bass drivers.

It should play nice with almost any speaker because the valve amp section uses McIntosh's Unity Coupled Circuit output transformer (which the company was founded on in 1949) to deliver its 300 watts to speakers regardless of their impedance. Meanwhile, the solid-state section uses McIntosh's Autoformer tech to provide the full 600 watts.

(Image credit: McIntosh)

Both sections are designed to work together and have been engineered to ensure that they amplify only their intended frequencies. Each has its own separate power supply so won't impact on the performance of the other, too.

The performance can be adjusted using its crossover controls on the top, selecting relative gains for each section from -6dB to +3dB. A direct feed is also attached to each section, allowing the bypassing of filters.

McIntosh has a long heritage making both amplifier types, of course. It's been producing valve amps since the 1940s and solid-state amps since the 1960s. It looks like the MC901 is putting that 70 years of knowledge to good use, then.

McIntosh dealers are taking orders now, with the units shipping to the US this month ($17,500 each) and the UK in January (£39,995 per pair).

MORE:

Best stereo amplifiers 2019

How to choose and set up a stereo amplifier

How to build the perfect hi-fi system

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, New York and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


Read more about how we test