The MA252 Integrated Amplifier is the first hybrid integrated amplifier from McIntosh. Taking retro design cues from the legendary McIntosh MC275 Vacuum Tube Amplifier, the MA252 combines the best of vacuum tube and solid state circuit design to create an amplifier that’s both visually and sonically stunning.
The preamplifier stage uses two 12AX7a and two 12AT7 vacuum tubes housed inside stylish protective cages; the output stage is a direct coupled solid state amplifier that delivers 100 Watts per channel into 8 Ohm speakers or 160 Watts per channel into 4 Ohm speakers. An all analog design, it comes with 2 unbalanced, 1 balanced and 1 Moving Magnet phono input for turntables. All 4 inputs can be given user-friendly names in order to simplify user control. Bass and treble tone controls help fine tune your music to your personal preferences. A full range subwoofer output is included for use with a powered subwoofer to further enhance low frequencies.
The MA252 features our McIntosh Monogrammed Heatsinks™ which are connected to advanced high current output transistors. These transistors eliminate the typical amplifier warm-up time so that the MA252 is in peak operating condition from the moment it’s turned on. A powerful control microprocessor is used for smooth system operation, along with some of the latest audio-grade circuit components that deliver the best possible sound.
Thanks to its solid state output, the MA252 is our first product containing vacuum tubes to include our patented Power Guard® technology. Power Guard monitors the output signal for signs of overdriving and makes real time micro adjustments to the input signal to prevent harsh sounding clipping that could potentially damage your speakers. If Power Guard is activated, the 2 vacuum tubes connected to the affected audio channel(s) will flash an amber color; they will return to their normal green color when the clipping has stopped.
Other McIntosh technologies found in the MA252 include Sentry Monitor™, High Drive headphone amplifier and gold-plated speaker binding posts. Input selection, bass, treble, tone bypass, balance and input offset levels can be adjusted using the front panel knobs or the included remote control; all settings and input selection will be shown on the OLED display. The entire unit sits atop a beautiful polished stainless steel chassis with a classic McIntosh-styled die cast aluminum name badge attached to each side
Klassiseen musiikkiin keskittyvä Ranskalainen Diapason kehuu MA252:n “poikkeuksellista sävyä” ja “loistavaa eleganssia”. He jopa päätyvät kutsumaan vahvistinta “hämmästyttäväksi”.
Diapason d’Or on lehden jakama tunnustus erinomaisesta kokonaisuudesta.
”Auktoriteettia, koherenssia ja kontrollia löytyy kaikkiin lähtöihin. Toistoa ei voi kuitenkaan moittia pelkästään kuivakkaaksi tai suoraviivaiseksi, sillä jos kuunneltava materiaali sisältää mehevää meininkiä tai herkkävireistä tunnelmointia, niin näiden esillepano onnistuu ongelmitta. Eli putkien ja puolijohteiden parhaat puolet on onnistuttu yhdistämään varsin hyvin.”
“The McIntosh MA252 offers an alluring combination of tube romanticism and solid-state resolution and authority. Any shortcomings are relatively minor and mainly found at the extremes of its frequency range. It also has a slight midrange emphasis that is pleasing on pop and jazz vocals, combined with an overall smoothness that is flattering to instruments like horns and violins in particular and CDs in general. Still, this integrated also plays vinyl with aplomb — using its own very capable MM phono stage — and avoids any sogginess or congestion that can result from having too much of a good thing.”
John Stancavage (PartTimeAudiophile.com / March 30, 2018)