Legendary US hi-fi company McIntosh has unveiled a trio of new products at CES 2014, and also given us a glimpse of its first pair of prototype headphones.
On the electronics front, there's a new music streamer, the MB100 Media Bridge, a relatively compact (by McIntosh standards) headphone amp, the MHA100, and a new integrated audio system, the MXA70 (above).
Both the MHA100 and MXA70 share the same casework and physical design, but the latter includes a specially designed pair of two-way speakers. The all-in-one system packs a 50W stereo amp and incorporates the same headphone amp found in the MHA100.
There's no CD player, rather it's designed to be used with a variety of digital sources such as a computer, Sonos system or hard drive. And to that end it has an asynchronous USB input, plus analogue, AES/EBU, optical and coaxial inputs. It costs $6000 with speakers and ships in June.
The MHA100 is McIntosh's first dedicated headphone amp. It has four digital inputs to allow playback of music files in a wide variety of formats, while the headphone section uses McIntosh-designed and hand-wound impedance matching Autoformers to deliver "full McIntosh power" into any set of headphones.
Users can choose from three headphone impedance ranges: 8-40ohms, 40-150ohms and 150-600ohms. There's also a five-step bass boost control.
It also features a 50W stereo speaker output if you want to use it with speakers rather than headphones. The unit will ship in the US in June for $4500.
McIntosh has also revealed that it is developing its own headphone range to go with the MHA100. Shown in prototype form at the show were the flagship MHP1000 over-ear headphones that will go on sale in the first half of 2014 for around $2000. More affordable models will be added to the range in due course.
For those who want to add a full-blown media streamer to their system, McIntosh has developed the MB100 Media Bridge with built-in hard drive. This full-size component allows users to connect digital sources via the USB or network ports and stream content at up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution. They can also stream music directly from their wireless devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Built-in streaming services within the MB100 include Pandora, Sirius XM, Spotify, Rhapsody, Last.fm and TuneIn, and there's cloud access for back-up and synchronisation across multiple systems.
A solid state 64GB drive houses the operating system, and there's an additional 1TB hard drive for audio file storage.
Control is via an iOS or Android app, web browser, TV user interface or the front-panel display. The Media Bridge is due on sale in the US in Q2 for $6500.
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By Andy Clough