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Among the founding fathers of the audio industry, McIntosh Labs is a brand as popular now as it was during the golden age of hi-fi, a time when Dad smoked a pipe, sipped a scotch and listened to Frank on a swank stereo console. Famous for their cool blue meters, tank-like build quality and excellent sound, McIntosh components continue to deliver music on a massive scale.
In that vein, the MC901—priced at $35,000 per pair—is a monoblock amplifier that drives a single speaker. What makes it unique is that it’s the first design in audio history to take completely separate vacuum-tube and solid-state systems—making 300 and 600 watts, respectively—and combine them in a single chassis.
“It was inspired by our history of starting with vacuum-tube amplification in the 1940s before introducing products with solid-state amplification in the 1960s,” says Charlie Randall, president of McIntosh Labs, on the innovative configuration. “The purpose of the dual topology is to allow the listener to have the best of both worlds: For mid- and high frequencies, they have the classic sound of vacuum tubes, and for low frequencies there’s the fast response and power reserve of solid state.” Sinatra may never sound better.