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September 2018
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
Best Audiophile Product Of 2018 Blue Note Award
Best Of 2018 Blue Note Equipment Awards

McIntosh MC611 Quad Balanced Solid-State Monoblock Amplifier
Price: $7500 each, two needed for stereo
Click here to read the complete review.



  Yes, the McIntosh MC611 reviewed here is the same pair of power amplifiers of which Enjoy the Music.com's Creative Director Steven R. Rochlin wrote a preview review of McIntosh's MC611 in April. "No, the MC611s I'm writing about here aren't the same review pair as Mr. Rochlin reviewed," says Editor Tom Lyle, "because he purchased his sight unseen, and so they are in his home to stay. The purchase and subsequent review of these amplifiers was a surprise to me, and since I'd already agreed to review the same model of McIntosh amplifiers, I resisted, and did not read his review."



McIntosh claims that they have made many improvements over their previous 600-Watt monoblock amplifiers. One of the most significant improvements is that the amp's filter capacity has been doubled, which results in a large increase in the amp's dynamic headroom, which has gone from a very respectable 1.8 dB in the older model to an excellent 2.8dB in the new MC611s, and because of its increased filter capacity there is also an improvement in the amp's low-end frequency response. This component's cosmetics have also been improved, as the new direct LED backlighting improves the front panel meter's appearance and "accuracy". The glass tops of the Autoformer and power transformer I mentioned above are a new feature, plus, the block diagram that has been added to the panel between the heatsinks are also new. The pair of Monogrammed Heatsinks that are behind them, which are connected to "advanced" high current output transistors lower the thermal equilibrium lag time.



As on the previous models, there are three sets of Solid Cinch speaker binding posts, with one set for each speaker impedance level. But now there is more space between each post, to make speaker cable connection a bit easier. The MC611 now has an "eco-friendly power management" system, which shuts down the amp after a certain amount of time has elapsed where there is no input signal detected. McIntosh now uses internal wiring with a heaver gauge, and they also upgraded some circuit components. Not only that, but McIntosh now uses something called Power Guard (Power Guard has been a patented McIntosh technology for decades on our solid state amps and was in the previous 600 Watt model, it is not new on the MC611), which adjusts the input signal to make real time adjustment to prevent, in their words, "harsh sounding and potentially speaker damaging clipping", and Sentry Monitor, a protection circuit that works without fuses to disengage the output stage before current exceeds safe operating levels, then resets itself automatically when everything returns to normal.



You might have noticed that the McIntosh MC611's moniker uses the term "Quad Balanced". From the MC611's manual I learned that the Quad balanced design of the MC611 means that the amp is a fully balanced design from input to output, and each of the monoblocks consists of two matched power amplifiers operating in a push-pull arrangement, with their outputs combined in McIntosh's Autoformer. The Quad balanced circuit "cancels virtually all noise and distortion that may have crept into the audio signal".

Tom says that in all the years I've had as my reference, and all the other high-powered solid-state amplifiers I've reviewed over the years didn't prepare me for what I was about to hear from the MC611 monoblocks. What I heard coming from these McIntosh amplifiers was a sound like no solid-state amplifier I've ever heard before. Not only do they sound like no other solid-state amplifier I've heard before, but they sound nothing like any other amplifier I've heard before, period.



McIntosh has managed to make a solid-state amplifier that sounds both beautiful and transparent and at 600 Watts each have enough power to drive my very power-hungry Sound Lab speakers. It was both a pleasure to listen to and with enough detail to make me feel as if I was not only hearing everything that was on a recording, but the intentions of the musicians, engineers, and producers that made the recording. Yes, in other reviews I've said that other amplifiers let me hear these intentions, but not with the combination of attributes that these McIntosh monoblocks possess. McIntosh Labs' MC611 monoblocks are stellar performers! They are very highly recommended to anyone that can afford to purchase them.



Click here to read the complete review.



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Previous Annual Blue Note Awards

Best Audiophile Product Of 2018 Blue Note Award
Product of the Year Awards 2018
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