McINTOSH Labs, through different owners, has never shied from its roots, and it certainly can’t be denied that the company has a storied legacy. With the new ML1 loudspeaker, McIntosh unabashedly turns the clock back a half-century, borrowing heavily from the first speaker it ever made, in 1970… also called the ML1. The new generation ML1 surely doesn’t look like any other speaker McIntosh has turned out in more recent times.
The original ML1, capable of loud decibels and voluminous bass especially when used with an outboard equaliser, was discontinued in 1977. The 21st century version, while an obvious nod to those seeking nostalgia (okay, boomers), clearly has its work cut out for modern-day needs. The four-way, five-driver design will capably handle up to 600 watts of power, McIntosh assures us – paired with one of the company’s muscular solid-state amplifier, these speakers are ready to rock.
The ML1’s 12-inch polypropylene cone woofer, sporting a dust cap and synthetic rubber suspension, is mounted in a sealed enclosure, while the two four-inch lower midrange drivers are placed in a sealed sub-enclosure above – these also feature polypropylene cones, dust caps and synthetic rubber suspension.
The sub-enclosures also has a single two-inch, soft-dome upper midrange unit paired with a three-quarter-inch titanium dome tweeter (the some model used in the XR50 and XR100 speakers).
An in-house custom-built crossover network uses over-specified components for 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 for both bi-wiring or bi-amping.
Breaking from the original ML1 configuration, the drivers on the new ML1 are positioned symmetrically so there is no dedicated left and right speaker.
The cabinet is built from oiled American walnut solid wood and veneers, with a satin finish. The magnetically attached removable wood grille, according to McIntosh, is acoustically transparent.
The matching stand has been designed to elevate and position the ML1 for optimum imaging. It comes with feet for use on hard floors, and spikes for use on carpet. The speaker can also be set directly on the floor, or placed on a sturdy piece of furniture that’s free of items that could vibrate.
The ML1 is expected to retail for US$12,000 per pair, and should begin shipping in July.