McIntosh announces an updated version of their classic power amp.
More than 50 years ago, the hi-fi magazine Stereo Review opened its assessment of the then-new McIntosh MC-3500 monoblock power amp with a note of caution.
“We try (not always successfully) to avoid superlatives in our equipment reports. They have a way of backfiring — something better is sure to come along sooner or later and make us eat our words,” wrote the critic in a 1969 review — with a caveat.
“However, when it comes to the McIntosh MC-3500 power amplifier, nothing less than superlatives will do — and it is unlikely to find itself as one-of-a-crowd in the near future.”
Little did the writer know. The game-changing power amp upended the concert business after its introduction in 1968. Famously, it powered Woodstock and Altamont, and the Grateful Dead’s soundman Owsley “Bear” Stanley started employing the amps not long after they were introduced. A dozen of them, including Garcia’s onstage MC2300 unit, were recently auctioned off during a Dead gear auction.
Last week McIntosh stunned the audio community when it unveiled the “something better” of the review’s prediction: an updated version of the ground-rumbling amp called the MC3500 Vacuum Tube Amplier Mk II.
The massive unit will blow the windows out of your penthouse.
Check the overview, according to McIntosh:
“The MC3500 Vacuum Tube Amplifier Mk II is a conservatively rated 350 Watt monoblock that takes its inspiration from the original 1968-71 MC3500 and incorporates everything we have learned about vacuum tube amplifier design since the 1960s. It has been upgraded to modern standards and with modern components to deliver an audio performance worthy of its predecessor and the legacy of their shared model number – all while adhering to the original design as much as possible.”
The designers succeeded. Distinctively modern, the blue-tinted output meter is larger and centered on the face instead of offset to the side. It exudes serious power, and while we haven’t been lucky enough to experience one in action, we’ll report back when we do.
It retails for $15,000, and you’ll need two of them.