|McIntosh MC501 Monoblock Power Amplifier|
|Home Theater Power Amplifiers Mono Amplifiers|
|Written by Robert Mead|
|Wednesday, 18 February 2009|
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The McIntosh line of high-end audio components only achieved further greatness when they started branching out into the consumer field in 1967 when their engineers designed their first solid-state product, the C24 preamplifier, which the early audiophiles of the 1960’s cleaned out their bank accounts to purchase. McIntosh was also the first audio manufacturer to implement the front-panel illumination that makes every power amplifier and integrated amplifier in the McIntosh line distinguish themselves from the also-rans in the audio world. The MC501 Power Amplifier is no exception to this rule. From the first time I set my eyes on this beauty, I was transfixed. I spent a good degree of time with the MC501 while visiting the “McIntosh Showroom” at my favorite home theater stores in the Las Vegas area, Premiere Home Entertainment .
The vice-president and co-owner of the store, Jim Wicklund, set up a demo in his main showroom and let me feast my eyes and ears on the ultimate audio-visual experience for any real audiophile/videophile worth his salt. The stainless steel chassis of this unit gleams at you while the watt meters lighting display shimmers with that pale blue light that McIntosh equipment seems able to integrate seamlessly into their entire line of power amplifiers and integrated amplifiers. There are two enormous knobs situated on either side of the amplifier, one for the meter control and the other for the power control which will let you use the remote to turn the unit on or off, based on your preference.
The MC501 is not small by any means. The height of this powerful beast is 10 inches high, by almost 18 inches deep and it weighs in at a plump 91.5 pounds. The price for just one unit will run you at least $4,100, $8,200/pair at most retail stores. The back of the unit, which contains six transformers out in the open and with just minimal casing around them, looks like a work of sheer craftsmanship. The rest of the back of this unit contains nothing but stainless steel and a few connectors, nothing substantial. This adds to the overall design of the power amplifier, which seems to be going for a minimal design look, and when I say minimal I mean absolutely “bare bones.” I find this kind of no frills design perfectly compliments a solid power amplifier. The three sets of WBT binding posts complete the look of this power amplifier, and they are conformed for the Autoformer’s 2, 4 and 8 ohm outputs.