McIntosh Bows 7 x 200-Watt Home Theater Amp

McIntosh today pulled the wraps off a power amplifier designed to light up a home theater system with 1,400 watts of power.

The new MC257 replaces the MC207 amplifier and ships this month with a $10,000 price tag to match the tank-like build quality of its massive, 21-inch-deep chassis.

Although it has seven 200-watt channels, the amp can be configured to drive a home theater’s three front channels with 250 watts apiece or power a five-channel setup with two channels feeding a second audio zone. All power ratings are into 4 or 8 ohms and, when used in three-channel mode, the amp produces 25% more power than its predecessor.

In a departure from McIntosh’s traditional design, the MC257 features a new TripleView power meter that runs across its front panel and displays the output of its three front channels in real time against the brand’s signature blue backlighting, now lit by LEDs. The rectangular window is 15 inches wide and can be turned off to avoid creating a distraction while watching a movie.

Other upgrades include a 20% increase in filter capacity, which is said to improve the amp’s low-frequency performance and expand dynamic headroom from 1.7 dB to 3.3 dB — an increase of 94%. The imposing power block also sports gold-plated binding posts and McIntosh’s Monogrammed Heatsinks, which draw heat away from its high-current output transistors, precluding the need for a fan.

A specially wound toroidal isolation power transformer is said to help keep noise to a minimum, and the amplifier turns itself off when no input signal has been detected for a set amount of time.

Beyond its many upgrades, the MC257 has balanced and unbalanced inputs and incorporates longstanding McIntosh features such as Power Guard, which prevents potential speaker damage if the amplifier is driven into clipping, and Sentry Monitor, which protects against short-circuits by disengaging the output stage if operating current exceeds safe levels.

The MC257 sits on a polished stainless-steel chassis and, apart from its TripleView meter, remains true to the brand’s classic styling: a black-glass front panel with an illuminated McIntosh logo, steel-ringed control knobs, and aluminum end caps.

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