McIntosh’s 500W MI502 Digital Amplifier is here to beef up home cinema installs

MI502 Digital Amplifier
(Image credit: McIntosh)

McIntosh has taken the wraps off its latest creation: the MI502 Digital Amplifier.

As is often the case with McIntosh's wares, much of the MI502's appeal lies in its engineering. It can handle 500W of power at 8 ohms or 800W at 4 ohms, making it ideally suited to custom and high-end home cinema installs.

It's something of a Swiss Army knife, too. One MI502 can be used to power the front left and right speakers in a home cinema system, or drive two in-wall subwoofers; a pair can be used to drive the three front channels of a home cinema, plus one subwoofer. You can even use multiple MI502s to distribute the oomph even further.

You won't have to worry about noisy fans ruining your movie nights – the MI502's "highly efficient" Class D amplifier nixes the need for fan-based cooling. Pretty impressive when you consider that it is rated for 500 watts.

The black glass front panel is set with two signature blue McIntosh Watt Meters that display the power output of each channel. To the rear, connections include balanced/unbalanced inputs and a pair of five-way speaker binding posts.

Other features include McIntosh's proprietary Power Guard signal overload technology (prevents overdriving the speakers) and Sentry Monitor short-circuit protection circuit (which disengages the output stage before the current exceeds safe levels).

Rack mounting should be a piece of cake as the MI502 is classed as a '2U' unit (3.5-inches high), meaning it should slot neatly into any standardised racking system. 

State-of-the-art doesn't come cheap, mind. The MI502 is priced at £5995 / $4500 (around AU$10,700). Orders are live now and shipping is expected to begin this month (United States and Canada), followed by the world shortly after.


Bit pricey? Here are the best stereo amplifiers for every budget

Read all the latest McIntosh reviews

Discover the best headphone amplifiers

Tom is a journalist, copywriter and content designer based in the UK. He has written articles for T3, ShortList, The Sun, The Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph, Elle Deco, The Sunday Times, Men's Health, Mr Porter, Oracle and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include mobile technology, electric vehicles and video streaming.

  • Stanny1
    What Hi-Fi? said:
    The new McIntosh MI502 Digital Amplifier sounds well-suited to custom and high-end home theatres...

    McIntosh’s 500-watt MI502 Digital Amplifier is here to beef up custom home cinema installs : Read more
    Nothing is said about the brand and model of the Class D Modules. I have a 600x2 Class D amp- the Parasound 2350 which sells for 1/3 the price of the McIntosh. It uses ICE modules.