McIntosh has announced the MC1502 Vacuum Tube Amplifier and C22 Mk V Preamplifier.

McIntosh has launched the MC1502 Vacuum Tube Amplifier, a 150-watt valve power amp, which directly replaces the MC2152 Limited Edition 70th Anniversary Vacuum Tube Amplifier, launched to celebrate the company’s 70th anniversary in 2019. The new MC1502 has identical audio specifications to the MC2152, but in a more customary (non-anniversary) McIntosh design.

McIntosh MC1502 Valve Power Amp

McIntosh MC1502 Power Amp

The new MC1502 shares the styling of the classic MC275 Vacuum Tube Amplifier, but benefits from twice the power; with its bigger size, it can even be considered the MC275’s bigger brother. Although a pair of MC275s could be run in mono to achieve the same 150-watt performance, the MC1502 has an improved signal-to-noise ratio of 112dB vs. 105dB for the MC275 pairing.

The MC1502 is powered by eight KT88 output valves, with four assigned to each stereo channel. It also features eight small-signal valves, comprising four 12AX7A and four 12AT7; two of each dedicated to their respective audio channels. The 12AX7As manage the input sections, while the 12AT7 tubes are used for the voltage and driver amp circuits; all are covered by a 12-gauge stainless steel wire cage with a black powder-coated finish.

Air Pipe Cooling

The KT88 sockets include Air-Pipe cooling at their bases to help facilitate a long service life. The eight signal tube sockets have ceramic base construction with gold-plated contacts, providing protection from atmospheric contamination. All valves sit atop the precision-formed stainless-steel chassis, which is polished to a mirror finish. McIntosh’s Sentry Monitor™ technology monitors the output current and shuts the amplifier down if it exceeds safe limits.

Unity Coupled Circuit

The MC1502’s full 150 watts can be delivered to almost any pair of speakers, regardless of whether they have 2-, 4- or 8-ohm impedance, thanks to McIntosh’s patented Unity Coupled Circuit output transformer technology, the same tech McIntosh was founded on in 1949.

Two Unity Coupled Circuit output transformers flank the power transformer and each transformer is housed in a glass-topped extruded enclosure which displays the wiring diagram for each transformer. Two vintage die-cast aluminium name badges adorn both sides of the MC1502, while an abbreviated badge is centred between the valve lights and power knobs.

The MC1502 includes both balanced and unbalanced inputs, plus McIntosh’s patented Solid Cinch™ speaker binding posts. McIntosh’s included Power Control technology allows other connected McIntosh components to automatically turn on and off.

McIntosh C22 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier Mk V

McIntosh has launched the fifth incarnation of one of its most famous valve preamps, the C22. The new C22 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier Mk V directly replaces its predecessor, the C70 Limited Edition 70th Anniversary Vacuum Tube Preamplifier, which launched in 2019 (with the celebratory C70 moniker) to commemorate McIntosh’s 70 years in manufacturing.

The handmade C22 Mk V uses a single 12AT7 and five 12AX7A valves, visible through a top-mounted glass panel. Rocker switches and knobs control all functions, while modern LED lights indicate input selection and volume level.

Inputs

The C22 Mk V has two balanced inputs, three unbalanced inputs, plus provision for both Moving Coil and Moving Magnet phono inputs. In addition, there are two pairs of balanced C22 Mk V and unbalanced output connections; the twin outputs allow signal transfer to two separate power amplifiers.

To accommodate a variety of different living environments around the world, the C22 Mk V offers front panel (bypassable) rotary tone control knobs for bass and treble, which can be adjusted in 2 dB increments. Phono input impedance and capacitance can be easily adjusted via rotary knobs, plus the main volume knob can also be used to adjust balance.

For late-night and personal listening, the C22 Mk V also offers McIntosh’s High Drive headphone amplifier, featuring the company’s Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD®) technology which improves the sound localisation for headphone listening, by restoring the sound stage directionality component that’s common to loudspeakers.

Power Control technology

McIntosh’s Power Control technology is also included, which offers four ports capable of automatically turning other connected McIntosh components on and off. Data ports are also present, to control connected McIntosh source components via the included remote control.

The C22 Mk V sits atop a  polished stainless-steel chassis and features the timeless McIntosh illuminated logo, control knobs and aluminium end-caps. With its retro black-glass and aluminium front panel design, the C22 Mk V has been styled to fit right in with McIntosh home audio systems of any era – from the 1950s to the current day.

Pricing and availability

The MC1502 ($11,000 USD)  and C22 Mk V ($6,000 USD) can be ordered now. US shipping expected to begin in August 2020; UK from September. UK prices £TBA.

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