Stereocheck Reviews:

McIntosh MA8900: Massive integrated Amplifier

The MA8900 heads McIntosh’s new line of complete amplifiers. Its massive body is made of stainless steel and aluminum. The glass front panel has a fiber optic backlight combined with LED...

McIntosh MA8900
McIntosh MA8900

The MA8900 heads McIntosh’s new line of complete amplifiers. Its massive body is made of stainless steel and aluminum. The glass front panel has a fiber optic backlight combined with LED diodes. The upper platform is occupied by two output autotransformers and a power transformer, behind which there is an amplifying unit.

The McIntosh MA8900 delivers 200 watts per channel and is cooled by radiators shaped like the company logo—this is the first model to feature them. According to McIntosh, these heatsinks are made from the highest quality materials with amazing thermal conductivity properties and are so efficient at their jobs that they are “worthy of bearing the MC logo.” The heatsinks are connected to high-precision output transistors to eliminate thermal lag.

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This amp also boasts a redesigned grille (it’s the first to feature one) for increased heat dissipation and features the McIntosh logo. The MA8900 is controlled by a more powerful microprocessor than its predecessors; Some components in the analog circuits were also replaced, which improved the sound quality.

The front of the McIntosh MA8900 features two illuminated dial power indicators. Under the left indicator is an input selector, under the right is a volume control, which also serves for some other settings. There are two protection system LEDs. In the center there are 5 discrete equalizer knobs and a display showing the signal source, volume level and other information. There are keys for selecting outputs, bypassing the equalizer circuit, muting the sound and powering up/rebooting the processor, as well as a 6.3 mm headphone jack.

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The McIntosh MA8900 has two phono stages on board (MM and MC) and a DAC, in front of which an upsampler is installed that increases the signal resolution to 32 bits/192 kHz. It is equipped with 4 pairs of terminals, three of which are positive and correspond to impedances of 2, 4 and 8 ohms. Power Guard prevents the amplifier from clipping, and Sentry Monitor circuitry protects the output stage. The Thermal Protection circuit shuts down the MA7900 if it overheats. The power output transistors are manufactured using ThermalTrak technology that controls their temperature.

This amp also boasts a redesigned grille (the first to feature one) for improved heat dissipation and McIntosh branding. The MA8900 is controlled by a more powerful microprocessor than its predecessors; Some components in the analog circuits were also replaced, which improved the sound quality.

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All new McIntosh amplifiers have digital inputs and, accordingly, DAC units, and the latest models, including the McIntosh MA8900, have this design element implemented in a separate removable module (DA1 Digital Audio Module), which can be replaced over time with a more advanced one – in the digital world, technologies and standards are constantly being modernized. It has an eight-channel 32-bit DAC operating in Quad Balanced mode and six digital inputs. Thus, via USB you can transmit signals in quality up to 32 bit/384 kHz, DSD256 and DXD 384 kHz. Coaxial and optical inputs decode music up to 24-bit/192kHz for high-resolution audio playback.

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The McIntosh MA8900 has a transparent, slightly softened sound with an even tonal balance. At the same time, it has excellent dynamics, high resolution and attention to detail.

McIntosh MA8900 Specifications

Power 200 W per channel into 2, 4 or 8 ohms
Frequency response 20 Hz – 20 kHz (+ 0, – 0.5 dB), 10 Hz – 100 kHz (+ 0, – 3 dB)
Harmonic distortion 0.005 %
Dynamic headroom 2 dB
Input sensitivity MM phono input: 2.5 mV, MC phono input: 0.25 mV, unbalanced input: 0.25 V, balanced input: 0.5 V, power amplifier input: 1.4 B
Signal-to-noise ratio (preamp) 95 dB
Signal-to-noise ratio (power amplifier) ​​113 dB
Signal-to-noise ratio (MM-phono preamp) 84 dB
Signal-to-noise ratio (MC-phono preamp) 82 dB
Input impedance (balanced and unbalanced inputs) 20 kOhm
Damping coefficient more than 40
Maximum output voltage 8 V
Equalizer 5 bands, ± 12 dB, adjustable frequencies: 30, 125, 500, 2000 and 10000 Hz
Output autotransformers 2 pcs. McIntosh Autoformer
MM and MC phono stages yes
Built-in DAC bit depth 32 bit/192 kHz
Upsampling up to 32 bit/192 kHz
Headphone amplifier High Drive, can connect headphones with impedance from 20 to 600 Ohms
Adjustment of channel balance using the menu yes
Signal level adjustment for each input within ± 6 dB yes
Switching to mono mode yes
Panel backlight LED, fiber optic
Inputs 6 line (RCA), balanced XLR, 2 MM and MC phono stage inputs, direct RCA input to the end section (connected via removable jumper with preamplifier output); asynchronous USB 2.0 (up to 32 bit/384 kHz – supported formats PCM, DSD256, DXD384), coaxial and optical (up to 24 bit/192 kHz)
RCA outputs for recording, 2 RCA preamplifier outputs, one of which is connected to the amplifier input by a jumper, 6.3mm headphone jack
Other wiring 2 trigger jacks (12V) for on/off control components connected to the amplifier, six 3.5 mm DATA PORTS connectors for providing the ability to control signal sources from the amplifier’s remote control, a jack for an IR receiver, an RS-232C mini-jack for controlling the amplifier using external devices, a 3.5 mm MAIN connector for remote on/off, 3.5 mm PASSTHRU (for connection to an AV processor to control the turn-on of the amplifier), ground terminal
Renaming and reassignment of inputs yes
One of the analog inputs (except phono inputs) can be switched to Passthru Mode with to provide direct access to the final section of the amplifier when integrating it into a home theater system yes
Speaker output 8 gold-plated screw terminals (separate terminals for speakers with impedance of 2, 4 and 8 ohms)
Power consumption in standby mode less than 0.25 W
Universal remote control
Dimensions (WxHxD) 445x194x559 mm
Weight 34.1 kg