McIntosh announces the new MA8950 Integrated Amplifier.
The McIntosh MA8950 Integrated Amplifier offers 200 Watts per channel and combines McIntosh's amplification expertise and preamplifier technologies into one comprehensive stereo sound system component. It replaces the award-winning MA8900 (Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity 2017 Best Stereo Integrated Amplifier) and adds additional performance enhancements to an already outstanding stereo integrated amplifier.
Dynamic headroom has increased from 2.0dB to 3.1dB in the MA8950 as a result of its filter capacity being doubled. This gives the MA8950 even greater ability to reproduce musical peaks with less distortion. The increased filter capacity will also help deliver more amazing bass playback, low end performance, and overall bass control.
The MA8950 comes standard with the DA2 Digital Audio Module instead of the DA1 Digital Audio Module that came in the MA8900. The DA2 offers 7 digital inputs: 2 coaxial, 2 optical, 1 USB, 1 MCT, and 1 audio-only HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC)1 connection. TVs with a compatible HDMI (ARC) output can be connected to the MA8950 to enjoy your TV’s sound like never before through your home music system. Popular multi-channel audio formats from Dolby® and DTS® are supported and will be expertly converted to 2-channel audio for proper playback. The MA8950 remote can control the TV’s power and volume when CEC communication is enabled in both the amplifier and the TV. The DA2 also features increased DSD playback support of up to DSD512 via the USB input.
The DA2 is powered by an audiophile-grade, Quad Balanced, 8-channel, 32-bit Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) that has improvements in both dynamic range and total harmonic distortion compared to the DAC in the DA1. The coax and optical inputs in the DA2 can decode digital music up to 24-bit/192kHz for playback of high-resolution audio. The DA2 has a McIntosh exclusive MCT input that offers a secure DSD connection to any of their MCT series of SACD/CD Transports to deliver the best possible sound quality of the high-definition audio found on your SACDs. And with its modular design, it's possible to someday replace the DA2 with a newer Digital Audio Module.
With its vast selection of digital audio inputs, analog connectivity has not been overlooked on the MA8950. It comes with 1 balanced and 6 unbalanced stereo inputs plus 1 Moving Coil and 1 Moving Magnet phono inputs for your turntable(s). All inputs can be given custom names for user-friendly system control and configuration. The Moving Coil phono input comes with adjustable loading so you can fine tune the sound of your vinyl records. All unbalanced analog connectors are made from premium gold-plated solid brass for superior signal handling and grounding. All analog and digital inputs can be given custom names for user-friendly system control and configuration. For further flexibility in setting up your stereo system, the MA8950 includes an unbalanced fixed output and an unbalanced variable output that can be used to send the audio signal to a second power amplifier.
Other updates include upgraded power supply components for even lower noise emission and added reliability under the most demanding conditions. The MA8950 continues to use powerful control microprocessors for robust and smooth system operation, as well as some of the latest state-of-the-art audio-grade circuit components to produce the best sound possible.
The MA8950's 200 Watts per channel are delivered by a pair of the famous McIntosh Autoformer™ and is enough power to properly drive virtually all loudspeakers. The unique design of the Autoformer guarantees your speakers will always receive the full 200 Watts regardless if they have 2, 4 or 8 Ohm impedance.
Other McIntosh features included in the MA8950 are:
- Power Guard® that continuously monitors input and output signals and can dynamically adjust input levels to ensure maximum output while avoiding harsh sounding distortion and clipping that could damage your speakers
- Their fuse-less short-circuit protection technology Sentry Monitor™ that disengages the output stage before the current can exceed safe operating levels and then resets automatically when operating conditions return to normal
- McIntosh Monogrammed Heatsinks™ that are made from high quality materials with excellent thermal conductivity and heat dissipation properties
- Home Theater PassThru that allows for seamless integration into a home theater system
- High Drive headphone amplifier with Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD®) which can bring an added dimension to headphone listening
- A discrete, five-band tone control that allows for advanced manual analog adjustment of ±12dB in 2dB increments of your favorite recordings at frequencies of 30Hz, 250Hz, 500Hz, 2kHz, and 10kHz
- Power Control to send power on/off signals to connected McIntosh components for easy system power up and shutdown
- Gold-plated speaker binding posts that prevent corrosion to ensure a quality signal is sent over your speaker cables to your speakers
The MA8950 is one of many McIntosh products to receive Roon Tested designation from Roon Labs. It has been profiled and tested by both Roon and McIntosh for maximum compatibility. Roon will recognize it and send it audio optimized for its capabilities. No fiddling with checkboxes or dropdowns, Roon Tested devices are automatically identified and configured out of the box for a superior customer experience.
The entire unit is wrapped in the timeless McIntosh aesthetic with a black glass front panel with LED lighting, blue watt meters, control knobs, illuminated logo, aluminum end caps and a beautiful polished stainless steel chassis.
1) The HDMI (ARC) input will only play audio from a compatible TV. It will not pass video to or from a TV, or play audio from any non-TV source.
Pearl Audio has MA8950's on order for both demonstration and stock. We should see some arrive in late February.