PASSIONATE, well-heeled and discerning users of headphones have thus far lacked one thing that their money hasn’t been able to buy – a dedicated headphone amp sporting black glass faceplate and those legendary blue meters. Well, that’s changed, now that McIntosh Labs has launched its first dedicated head amp, the MHA100.
No surprises that it’s something special. The MHA100 is designed to extract the best from any type of headphone you plugged into it, using technology adopted from the company’s proprietary Autoformers. The MHA100 caters to three impedance ranges – 8-40, 40-150 and 150-600 ohms. So, ear buds or studio pro headphones, you can drive them to the max with the MHA100.
The new Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD) delivers imaging and depth like conventional speakers, if that’s what you crave.
Four digital inputs (coaxial, optical, balanced and USB) accept a range of signal resolutions, from CD quality to 32-bit/192kHz. Two analogue inputs are provided as well for the ancients.
Best of all, you can also hook the MHA100 to a pair of speakers – 50-watt-per-channel outputs are provided. Should you want to hook it up to a power amp, you can also route the signals through the preamp output.
Also available now is the MXA70 integrated audio system that comprises a 50-watt stereo amp and pair of two-way desktop speakers – essentially, it appears to be a variant of the MHA100, from its range of features to its presentation.
The speakers are finished in a luxurious, high gloss piano black, while the six inputs include four digital ones that will decode, via the McIntosh Digital Engine, at up to 32-bit/192kHz resolution.
The MXA70 includes a dedicated headphone amplifier along the lines of the MHA100, so this one for the desktop, in the office or at home. And as with all McIntosh products, it is attired in the familiar black-blue-and-silver garb, lending your desk a unique old-world charm. Like, say, a miniature Harley-Davidson.