The McIntosh ML1 MKII is a unique loudspeaker where vintage style meets contemporary sound.
Vintage Audio has become a huge trend in the high-end space; loudspeaker companies including Klipsch, PSB, Mission, KLH, JBL, and Wharfedale have successfully introduced modern iterations of some of their most popular loudspeakers from the past fifty years. McIntosh is joining that list with the launch of its latest speaker, the ML1 MKII.
The McIntosh ML1 MKII is a unique loudspeaker where vintage style meets contemporary sound. It’s made in the USA and said to be reborn with a similar bass response as the initial version but without the need of an equalizer.
The ML1 MKII can be connected with amplifiers up to 600 Watts to fill the largest of rooms with life-size sound. It also features wide dispersion, which allows for an equal distribution of sound throughout the listening area.
The external design of the ML1 MKII retains the same charm as the original ML1 with its oiled American Walnut solid wood cabinets and satin finish veneers. Whereas, internally, it features a full modern revamp to reflect McIntosh’s present-day high performance speaker technology. The ML1 MKII is a 4-way speaker that uses five separate speaker drivers to produce a uniform listening area and highly resolved sound quality.
Woofer: one 12″ woofer in a sealed enclosure with a polypropylene cone and dust cap with synthetic rubber suspension.
Lower Midrange: two 4″ lower midrange drivers in a sealed sub-enclosure also with polypropylene cones and dust caps with synthetic rubber suspension.
Upper Midrange: one 2″ soft dome upper midrange.
Tweeter: one 3/4″ Titanium dome tweeter (the same tweeter used in the McIntosh XR50 and XR100 speakers).
Unlike the original ML1, the drivers on the new generation ML1 MMKII are positioned symmetrically so there is not a dedicated left and right speaker, eliminating the possibility of installing the speakers in the wrong orientation, and providing a more uniform listening area.
A specially milled transition plate houses the midranges and tweeter and allows them to be placed close together. Their close proximity to each other reduces off axis lobing of the sound field and places all the acoustic output that typically impacts imaging together in a small space. The transition plate also provides a strong foundation for the upper frequency units to reduce vibrations that might affect the sound. Internal cabinet bracing provides an airtight and separated enclosure from the 12″ woofer to further minimize vibrations.
The upper midrange in the ML1 has low resonance and high-power handling capabilities; this allows the crossover point between the lower and upper midranges to avoid the 1kHz frequency that is critical to producing clear vocals. The crossover frequency of the tweeter reduces vertical lobing of the sound field and allows the ML1 to reproduce the recorded music more faithfully.
With its 12″ woofer, the ML1 has an incredible bass response down to 30Hz, which is close to the lowest frequency the human ear can detect. A subwoofer will typically not be needed to achieve deep, punchy bass. You might see some similarly sized speakers with more woofers, but don’t be deceived by a higher woofer count as there is no substitute for woofer size. In fact, the single 12″ woofer in the ML1 has the same surface area as four 6″ woofers – and when it comes to the bass frequencies that a woofer produces, the larger the surface area the better to push all that air.
The 12″ woofer has been designed to work in an acoustic suspension design enclosure, just like the original. However, much has been learned since the original ML1 speaker, and modern design and simulation tools were used to develop design parameters that provide a bass response similar to the original but without the need for an external equalizer. The woofer also uses McIntosh’s patented Low Distortion High Performance (LD/HP®) Magnetic Circuit Design that significantly reduces distortion while increasing power handling and efficiency. The performance improvements from LD/HP are so vast that the 12″ woofer in the ML1 could rival woofers twice its size.
The ML1 uses a custom-built crossover network designed by McIntosh engineers for performance and durability. Over-specified components ensure high power handling, while solid state, self-resetting protection devices prevent damage to any of the drivers. The crossover design separates the high and low frequency circuits, and each are available both bi-wiring or bi-amping as desired. All the power sent to the ML1 from your amplifiers is fed through McIntosh’s Solid Cinch™ speaker binding posts that easily but securely attach the speaker cables to prevent them from coming loose and possibly causing a short. The binding posts are gold-plated to prevent corrosion and ensure a quality signal is sent through your speaker cables.
Lastly, the ML1 comes with a matching stand that features a vintage die cast aluminum name badge on the base that matches the badges found on some of McIntosh amplifiers and integrated amplifiers.
The stand is designed to elevate and position the ML1 loudspeaker for optimum imaging and listening enjoyment. It comes with feet for use on hard floors, and spikes for use on carpet. The reimagined loudspeaker can also be set directly on the floor or placed on a sturdy piece of furniture.
“While we have been making loudspeakers for over five decades, the ML1 will always be our first and holds a special place in our hearts here at McIntosh,” said McIntosh President Charlie Randall. “We’re incredibly excited to showcase how far the brand has come over the more than half a century with the renewed ML1 and hope our community of listeners will enjoy listening to their favorite sounds on this classic remodel.”
Price & Availability
The McIntosh ML1 MKII loudspeaker will be available for USD $12,000 per pair through Authorized McIntosh Dealers starting July 2023.
This article originally appeared at ecoustics.com and has been published here with permission.
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