The Mackintosh company began operations in the late 1940s. Frank McIntosh was a consultant for a Washington, D.C. firm that developed radio and television stations. This required high power, low distortion in amplifiers, and at that time there was no equipment with characteristics that would satisfy the company. He set out to create an audio amplifier that not only met current requirements, but also exceeded industry standards. To assist in development, Mackintosh hired Gordon Gow in 1946 and together they began designing an amplifier that would exhibit astounding performance and set a standard for the audio industry to this day. The amplifier was called the 50W-1 and included Mackintosh’s first patented circuit, the combined coupled circuit. This technology is still in use today.
McIntosh Laboratory Inc. was established in 1949 with Frank McIntosh as President, Gordon Gow as Vice President, and Maurice Pachaud as Controller. Sidney A. Cordman joined them and was soon appointed head of engineering, research and development. After World War II, developments in television and radio broadcasting helped McIntosh get back on its feet. McIntosh then began development for the Hi-Fi and Hi-end markets.
Gordon Gow and Frank Mackintosh
And so in the late 40s, Frank Mackintosh hired the famous engineer Gordon Gow to develop high-end sound reinforcement equipment. Work continued from 1946 to 1949 and culminated in the release of the 50W-1, followed by the registration of its fundamental principles as invention patents, which effectively marked the beginning of Mcintosh Laboratory Inc. The legendary models were the Mcintosh MC275 and the simpler MC240 and MC225. Some preamplifiers and even tuners have earned this title since the company entered the consumer market with the introduction of the Mcintosh MC30 power amplifier (A-116B platform, the sixth product under this brand since the beginning of the company’s history). The model was produced from 1954 to 1962 and at that time was the standard in amplification technology of that time. The MC30 was the first truly mass-produced Mcintosh model. The more powerful MC60 (60 W per channel) used a KT88/6550 tube, which is difficult to consider as musical as the classic 6L6 beam tetrodes. The direct successor to the MC30, the Mcintosh MC40, received new-fangled diode rectification. With the advent of the stereo era, 2-channel tube models began to appear in the lineup. Subsequent models added the number “2” to the index, and it turned out, for example, MC40 and MC75 in the “dual-channel” MC240 and MC275. And only the MC30 will forever remain a completely untouched device. Today, ownership of this amplifier is highly desirable for true connoisseurs of the brand and its historical past.
In 1950, Gordon Gow took over as CEO and McIntosh began producing its first preamplifier, the AE-1. The A116 power amplifier and C108 preamplifier were introduced in 1953, followed by the MC30 amplifier and C4 preamplifier the following year. The development of production required more space, and the company moved to Chambers Street, Binghamton, New-York. In 1957, McIntosh released its first AM/FM tuner, the MR55.
The 1960s saw the introduction of many innovative solutions, including McIntosh’s famous illuminated front panel.
According to legend, the front panel design was suggested by Gordon Gough, and after inventing his own ink, McIntosh’s signature gold lettering appeared, which illuminated in the dark. The first device with a panel made entirely of glass was the MI2 model.
In 1962 Dave O’Brien joins the corporation and for the next 30 years heads the amplifier development department. In 1967 McIntosh begins developing its own speaker systems. The decade ended with the legendary Woodstock festival in 1969. As at many other similar events, McIntoch amplifiers were heard at Woodstock. In the 70s, the first McIntosh acoustic models went on sale – ML1, ML2, ML4. The McIntosh MR78 tuner, which was released in 1972, is still a classic to this day. That same year, McIntosh received a patent for electronic circuit designs. The company also receives patents for its speakers, equalizer and Power Guard system.
In 1977, Frank Mackintosh resigns and Gordon Gow becomes president. In 1980, a full-size anechoic chamber was built in the company’s acoustics department, which was involved in testing the equipment. And the first product to successfully pass such testing was the XR16. McIntosh continued to receive patents in the 1980s. The MC2500 and XRT20 power amplifiers received patents and were released in 1980. In 1985, McIntosh’s first CD player, the MCD7000, was introduced. At the same time, McIntosh released the XRT18, the first speaker designed using a computer.
Unfortunately, in June 1989 Gordon Gow died suddenly. The company’s management decided to merge with the American branch of the Japanese company Clarion. Frank McIntosh died in 1990 at the age of 83. And the McIntosh company is completely bought out by Clarion, which expands the McIntosh business and brings it to the car audio market. In 1994, McIntosh released its first car speaker. The ’90s also saw several innovations, including: the first built-in speaker, the WS200; XR290 – speaker system with the first system of 4 woofers; MF and HF speakers and LP/HP technology. The C 39 preamplifier, MC7106 power amplifier and NT series speakers had a certified McIntosh THX system. The NT series features three patented rotating tweeters. In honor of the 50th anniversary, McIntosh released a limited edition MC2000 tube amplifier, confirming that interest in classic style is relevant at all times.
In 2000, Clarion decided to expand its business in the field of car audio systems, leading to cooperation with companies such as Harley Davidson, Ford GT and Subaru. In 2001, Charlie Randall became president of McIntosh. In 2001, Charlie Randall became president of McIntosh. In 2003, D&M Holdings Corporation acquired McIntosh Laboratory. In 2005, in Las Vegas, McIntosh introduced the Reference System line, including the MC2KW monoblock amplifier with a power of 2000W, the XRT2K speaker with a peak power of 6000W; S1000 – preamplifier; CD transport MCD 1000 and D/A converter MDA1000. McIntosh created a new category of video components and offered a complete solution for the indoor cinema with the release of the MDLP1 projector. The end of 2007 was marked by the release of the first turntable from McIntosh – MT10.
McIntosh created a new category of video components and offered a complete home theater solution with the release of the MDLP1 projector. In 2009, McIntosh celebrates its 60th anniversary. In honor of this significant date, McIntosh is releasing an anniversary stereo system. This system is produced in a limited edition and consists of a C22 preamplifier and a pair of MC75 power amplifiers, as well as a special edition of a book about the history of McIntosh with the autographs of McIntosh President Charles Rendell, designer-developer Sidney Coderman and the author of the book. Ken Kessler. C22 – produced from 1963 to 1972, and then the legendary Frank McIntosh version was produced from 1995 to 1998. Now the C22 returns in an updated version in the company’s 60th year of flying. MC75 – the original version was produced from 1961 to 1970. Components with the appearance of the legendary McIntosh models have an absolutely modern design that fully meets the standards of our days.
McIntosh Laboratory specialists quite rightly believe that once a consumer has chosen a company’s product, he will always remain faithful to it. And not only thanks to the sophisticated classic design and amazing “survivability” of these models. The main advantage of this product is its impeccable sound. McIntosh Laboratory has always strived to make the sound in the car truly perfect, so it regularly invests heavily in the development of acoustics and places extremely high technical demands on its products. Each product of the company is truly unique: it is not a stamped clone, but truly a product of advanced technologies.
Certain stages of production are “so delicate that they cannot be trusted to a machine”: here each model is assembled by hand, there are no and cannot be two completely identical devices! And as a result, McIntosh Laboratory is deservedly considered one of the leaders in the high-end equipment market, and car audio systems under this brand are recommended only to the most demanding and discerning customers. Car Audio experts praise the quality and fidelity of McIntosh products as the absolute benchmark. The company sets the standard for performance and reliability in audio and home theater systems. Signature components are hand-assembled in New York by dedicated employees.
The principle of manual and piece assembly, carried out by highly qualified specialists, is still preserved. Over the 60 years of McIntosh’s history, almost every employee of this small New York laboratory has contributed to the development of the latest technologies for creating audio devices and electronics. In total, McIntosh employees patented 35 inventions. In addition, McIntosh’s reliance on highly trained personnel and hand-crafted manufacturing has always ensured its place among the leaders in audio equipment manufacturing.
The assortment of the McIntosh laboratory today is represented not only by power amplifiers, but also by preamplifiers, stereo amplifiers, CD/DVD players, AV receivers and processors, tuners, projectors, and speaker systems (according to the contract, today the acoustics for McIntosh are produced by an otherworldly company). Moreover, along with semiconductor amplifiers, the McIntosh laboratory continues to produce tube amplifiers, which are especially valued by audio connoisseurs.