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McIntosh MA8950 and MA9500 amplifiers target audio perfection

McIntosh MA9500 integrated amplifier
(Image credit: McIntosh)

McIntosh has pulled back the curtains on two new high-end integrated amplifiers. The MA8950 and MA9500 are direct replacements for the award-winning MA8900 and five-star MA9000, so they've huge, clown-sized shoes to fill.

The good news is that the class of 2022 offer lots of improvements over their last-gen sibling models, including a "50 per cent increase in dynamic headroom" that's tipped to further reduce distortion and bring greater bass performance.

Buyers of the new models will also be treated to an upgraded power supply, plus the illustrious New York hi-fi brand's newest McIntosh DA2 Digital Audio Module, which is 'Roon Tested' and designed to beef up dynamic range. 

The factory-fitted module also boasts an "audiophile-grade" eight-channel, 32-bit DAC, plus an audio-only HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) connection. The latter allows the amp to be connected to ARC-equipped TVs, so you can level up your TV's sound by listening though your hi-fi. 

McIntosh MA9500

(Image credit: McIntosh)

The bad news? All of these state-of-the-art improvements don't come cheap.

The flagship MA9500 costs £14,995 / AU$24,995 (around $21,000). It outputs 300 watts per channel and has no fewer than ten analogue inputs (two balanced, six unbalanced, plus an MM/MC input with adjustable loading). You also get an eight-band tone control that allows users to manually tweak frequencies by +/- 12dB.

The MA8500 is a touch cheaper at £12,495 / AU$18,495 (around $17,000). It outputs 200 watts per channel and comes with a decent array of analogue inputs (one balanced, six unbalanced, plus MC with adjustable loading and a MM phono input). There's a five-band tone control capable of the usual +/- 12dB adjustments.

Both the new models feature McIntosh's signature 'industrial chic' design, and come complete with trademark "McIntosh Blue" watt meters that indicate power output in real time.

Like the cut of McIntosh's jib? The new MA8950 and MA9500 can be pre-ordered now through authorised McIntosh dealers. Both models are expected to start shipping in February 2022 (US and Canada), followed by the rest of the world shortly after.

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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.