McIntosh Revisits Custom Installation with New Line

McIntosh returned to the custom installation category with a new line of high-performance amplifiers and in-wall/ceiling speakers at CEDIA Expo 2018, which wrapped up in San Diego on Saturday.

Two installer-friendly power amplifiers were previewed: The 4 x250-watt MI254 and 8 x 120-watt MI128. Both pair closed-loop digital switching amplifiers with robust power supplies to achieve levels of performance “rarely achieved in distributed audio,” according to McIntosh. While designed to power multiroom audio systems, the MI254 is also suitable for driving surround sound speakers in a home theater setup.

Both amplifiers have multi-color LED indicators to display the status of each channel and the MI254 adds a pair of McIntosh’s signature blue power meters to the front panel. Around back, the MI254 has five-way speaker binding posts, while the MI128 uses two-pole Phoenix style push terminals for speaker connections. The MI128 also features rear-panel volume controls for balancing the volume of different channels, two digital inputs (coax or optical), and channel summing circuits for mono signal distribution.

Common technical features include speaker overload protection, a bus input and outputs to distribute a stereo signal to multiple outputs and/or multiple amplifiers, individual channel inputs, 12-volt triggering, and signal sensing that automatically shuts down the amplifier when no signal is present for a set amount of time.

McIntosh’s new line of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers are fully enclosed to provide “a controlled air chamber to minimize distortion and response irregularities” and feature shallow woofers designed to fit in standard 2 x 4 wall construction. The woofers, which feature a long-throw design with carbon-reinforced cones with a molded elastomeric surround, are joined by the same 2-inch midrange drivers and 0.75-inch tweeters used in the company’s XR50 and XR100 home speakers.

Each model is designed to handle up to 250 watts, has a paintable grille cover that attaches magnetically to the frame, and includes mounting hardware.

All custom installation products will be available this fall at prices to be announced.

“We are excited to return to the custom install category with these new amplifiers and speakers,” said McIntosh president and CEO Charlie Randall, referencing the company’s previous multiroom offerings. “Many of our traditional home audio products have been used for distributed audio applications by talented CI installers. We are happy to once again offer products specifically designed for custom installation.”