McIntosh may be most closely associated with stylish high-end audio components like amplifiers and receivers, but speaker design has long been part of the New York–based company’s DNA for more than 45 years. The latest additions to this lineage are the new XRT2.1K loudspeakers, the follow-ups to the much-beloved, 11-year-old XRT2Ks, which were discontinued early in the year without much explanation, leading to much eulogizing and speculation online.
But the wait is now over; McIntosh has a new flagship speaker, and it has been reworked from top to bottom to ensure it surpasses the high bar set by its predecessor. Rather than relying on a few large drivers, the XRT2.1K utilizes an array of many smaller drivers, a configuration that yields especially even sound distribution—meaning it will sound just as good whether you are standing right next to it or on the other side of the room. In all, each speaker features 81 drivers: six long-throw woofers, two low-frequency midranges, 28 high-frequency midranges, and a whopping 45 tweeters.
A special crossover network—which ensures the four classes of drivers play nicely together across their full 12 Hz to 45 kHz range—was engineered section by section to deliver maximum linearity, thereby helping to minimize distortion. The XRT2.1K has an impedance of 8 ohms, a sensitivity of 90 dB, and a power rating of 2,000 watts, meaning you will need a pretty beefy amp or three (it supports tri-amping as well as tri-wiring) to pair with it.
Audio aside, the 7-foot-tall speaker cuts an imposing figure with its high-gloss piano black finish and shiny aluminum accents. Perhaps the most unique feature is the line array panel, which is actually detached from the rest of the unit and held in place by aluminum mounts.
With such extravagant specs, it’s no surprise that the XRT2.1K is priced at a correspondingly extravagant $130,000 a pair. While the speakers won’t start shipping until later in the month, you can put down your preorder at an authorized McIntosh dealer today.