McIntosh has been a respected producer of high quality electronics for over half a century now. They owe their excellent reputation in large part to the success of the high-end integrated amps they have released over the years.
And now McIntosh has released an impressive and, most importantly, highly affordable device, especially when you consider its capabilities and versatility: the McIntosh MA5200 integrated amplifier.
Aesthetically, it is unquestionably a McIntosh creation, with the same striking metal body and imposing dimensions (45x15x56cm), as well as the polished glass front panel that radiates the unmistakable blue light of the two legendary VU meters. It is an otherwise understated affair, with just a volume dial, audio source selector and On/Off button. The selected source and volume level are shown on the LED screen located in the middle of the front panel. There is also a 6.35mm headphone socket.
On the back of the McIntosh MA5200 integrated amp you'll find just what you need and nothing more – no bells and whistles here.
It features an excellent phono input for MM or high output MC cartridges, 4 RCA line inputs, 1 XLR symmetrical line input, and 3 digital inputs: one coaxial, one Toslink optical and one USB. These digital inputs can handle signals between 32 KHz and 192 KHz at a sampling rate of 16 to 32 bits. And, naturally, all of this is accompanied by a pair of speaker outputs which accept stripped cables and banana and fork connectors.
It’s always a treat to plug in and listen to beautiful-sounding equipment, and McIntosh rarely disappoints! The power and stability of the MA5200 integrated amplifier mean that it can be used with a large number of different speakers. We tested it out with some ASA Standard Monitor 2-way speakers, as well as with the Sonus Faber Olympica 2 3-way tower speakers.
Both combinations plunge you head first into the music, which is reproduced with fluidity and enthusiasm. The overall sound is as realistic as a live performance, a far cry from the cold and dull reproduction that is all too common. The sound stage and openness are also far superior to what we’re used to hearing, without being overstated. Each instrument is perfectly placed and weighted in the mix. We were also impressed to hear that the McIntosh MA5200 integrated amplifier sounds beautiful through any of the sources on offer, delivering the same excellent timbre and realism with the phono input as with the USB or CD inputs! The excellent production quality of the integrated DAC is also worth a mention, as it impressed us in more ways than one – basically, if you have a standalone DAC worth less than €1500, you may as well trade it in for this amplifier.
The McIntosh MA5200 is the Swiss army knife of high-end integrated amplifiers. It combines everything you could possibly need from a modern Hi-Fi device with the trademark musicality and production quality of a world-renowned brand! This is an exceptional and almost unrivalled product. We highly recommend it, even with very high-end speakers.
A maPlatine.com top pick!
Power per channel: 100W
Speaker impedance: 8 Ohms
Frequency response: 20hz-20Khz
Harmonic distortion: 0.005%
Dynamic headroom: 1.8 dB
Frequency response at +0/-3 dB: 10hz-100kHz
Phono input: MM >2.4mV
Signal-to-phono-noise ratio: 84 dB
Line signal-to-noise ratio: 95 dB
Amp signal-to-noise ratio: 110 dB
Damping factor: >200
Headphone output: 1 x 6.35mm jack
Headphone output impedance: From 20 to 600 ohms
Variable output: 1 x RCA
High output RCA input: 4 x stereo RCA
High output XLR input: 1 x stereo XLR
Digital input: 1 x coaxial, 1 x optical, 1 x USB (Type A or B)
Bypass input: 1 x stereo RCA
Toslink optical: 16Bit, 24Bit - 32kHz to 96kHz
Coaxial: 16Bit, 24Bit - 32kHz to 96kHz
USB: 16Bit, 24Bit, 32Bit - 32kHz to 192kHz
Chassis: Dual layer
VU metre: 1 per channel
Dimensions: 44.45 x 15.24 x 55.88 cm
Weight: 17.2 Kg