American-based audiophile-favourites, McIntosh, has launched the MA252, its first ever hybrid integrated amplifier. This amp brings the benefits of vacuum tube (valve) and solid-state technology into a rather handsome package.
The MA252 borrows its retro design cues from the legendary McIntosh MC275 Vacuum Tube Amplifier.
However, the MA252 also combines the best McIntosh vacuum tube (valve) and solid-state circuit design technologies in one integrated package.
The MA252 sits atop a beautiful polished stainless steel chassis with a classic McIntosh-styled die-cast aluminium name badge attached to each side. Gold-plated speaker binding posts are also included.
The preamp stage in the new MA252 uses two 12AX7a and two 12AT7 vacuum tubes. These are, of course, housed inside stylish protective cages.
The amplifier’s output stage is a direct-coupled solid-state amplifier that delivers 100 watts (per channel) into a conventional 8-ohm speaker load or 160 watts into 4-ohm speakers.
An all-analogue design, the MA252 benefits from two unbalanced, one balanced and one Moving Magnet phono input for turntable connectivity. You can custom assign more meaningful names to these inputs should you wish to.
The amplifier also benefits from bass and treble tone controls. A full-range subwoofer output is also included if you have a powered sub.
Those transistors eliminate typical amplifier warm-up times so that the MA252 is in peak operating condition right from switching it on.
A powerful control microprocessor is used for smooth system operation.
Thanks to its solid-state output, this is McIntosh’s first product containing vacuum tubes to include its patented Power Guard technology.
For those not in the know, Power Guard monitors the output signal for signs of overdriving. When detected it then makes real-time micro adjustments to the input signal to prevent harsh-sounding clipping that could potentially damage the speakers.
Further McIntosh tech found in the new amp includes Sentry Monitor and the High Drive headphone amplifier.
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 is shown on the neat OLED display.
Pricing and availability
Orders for the MA252 can be placed now with authorised McIntosh dealers with shipping expected to begin in November (US) and December (UK).
The amp is priced at £4,500.