Filed under: Gadgets
Back when shirts were velour and popular music's dominant beat was four-on-the-floor, just like your Super Beetle, high-end stereo systems were both the size and price of that beloved Volkswagen. If you wanted the highest quality sound, you went for a McIntosh Laboratory system, which would likely still be functioning flawlessly. For sixty years, McIntosh has been breaking new ground and serving up fine fidelity. The brand's name and iconic style is recognizable even by non-audiophlies.
When sonics are all that matter, it's hard to fault a rack filled with amplification, line stages, and sources. Most people, however, choose to sacrifice that last little sonic nudge in exchange for fewer obstacles to vacuum around. Small systems, even from audiophile brands, are fraught with compromise. They tend to sound as small as they are, but the tradeoff is that the unit comfortably fits on a shelf and can do everything the pile of iron in the big cabinet does, often with better ergonomics and a single remote control.
As it celebrates its 60th anniversary, McIntosh continues challenging itself, this time turning its attention to a shelf-sized audio system worthy of the classic glass front panel. When the press release about the MXA60 landed in our inbox, we were both intrigued and skeptical. Confident of its efforts, McIntosh arranged for us to go visit the MXA60 at the Natural Sound showroom in Framingham, Massachusetts. Natural Sound's Ken Zelin let us tie him up for a good portion of his day at the well-respected establishment, and gamely indulged our geeking-out.
Gallery: McIntosh MXA60