McIntosh to showcase ultimate AV processors at ISE 2020

(Image credit: McIntosh)

McIntosh has a new pair of serious AV processors and a home cinema amplifier, which are set to make their debut at ISE 2020 this month.

First up is the MX170 AV processor (£19,995/$15,500), seemingly with all the bells and whistles: 12 4K-compatible HDMI ports (eight ins, four outs), and support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Auro-3D formats on the audio side, and for Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG on the video side.

Three of the HDMI outputs support Audio Return Channel (ARC), while the fourth benefits from Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) functionality to enable high-resolution surround sound to be directly passed from a TV to the processor.

McIntosh has implemented a HDBaseT output, designed to prevent signal loss when the distance between screen and processor is long. And RoomPerfect room-correction technology is onboard to fully calibrate performance to compensate for room acoustics.

The MX170’s connectivity expands HDMIs, of course, with digital inputs spanning four optical, three coaxial and single USB and digital balanced sockets. Analogue inputs are just as exhaustive, comprised of two balanced, four unbalanced, a phono and a 7.1 multichannel unbalanced.

Balanced outputs for connections to a power amplifier support a 15.1 surround sound speaker configuration, although if fewer speakers are being used there’s the opportunity to bi-amp speakers.

(Image credit: McIntosh)

Next up is the McIntosh MX123 AV processor (£9995/$8000), which supports 13.2 discrete channels, as well as many of the MX170’s features: eARC, Atmos, DTS:X, Auro-3D, Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG.

There’s AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, Spotify Connect, IMAX Enhanced and DSD128 and ALAC 192kHz support in addition to Audyssey MultEQ XT32 calibration too.

The MX123’s 13.2 channels are available via both balanced and unbalanced audio outputs, while two additional unbalanced outputs provide additional connection versatility. Its seven HDMI inputs and three HDMI outputs are all future-proofed with HDCP 2.3 compliancy for digital content protection specifications. 

Completing the connectivity list is a plethora of inputs (four digital, one balanced, seven unbalanced analogue, a moving magnet phono, a USB Type A, three component and four composite video) and outputs (two unbalanced analogue, two composite and one component video).

(Image credit: McIntosh)

The new MC255 (£9995/$8000), meanwhile, is a five-channel home theatre amplifier that features the company’s new TripleView Power Output Meter for identifying each real-time power reading of the three front channels.

Filter capacity has been increased by 50 per cent over the brand’s previous five-channel model, resulting in a much greater dynamic headroom (from 1.7dB to 3.6dB). Power output has increased to 250 watts per channel, too, and when all five channels are used McIntosh’s Dynamic Power Manager technology works to ensure maximum output regardless of whether 4- or 8-Ohm speakers are used.

Many familiar McIntosh technologies have been facilitated here. There’s Power Guard, for one, which is designed to prevent potential speaker damage as a result of clipping and over-driving of the amplifier. Sentry Monitor is another preventive technology, this time against short-circuits. To keep the MC255 cool and quiet, McIntosh has implemented four of its recently announced Monogrammed Heatsinks and a toroidal isolation power transformer, too.


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Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.