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    A Trip To McIntosh in NYC

    Hello from New York City and the World of McIntosh townhouse in SoHo. 

     

    I love New York and never turn down a chance to visit, especially when it involves an event like this. Over the last two days the McIntosh Group demonstrated two new flagship loudspeakers from McIntosh and Sonus faber. The industrial designer and acoustic engineer of the speakers along with several other people from the company were on hand to discuss the speakers and give listening demonstrations until we were ready to leave. The atmosphere was just the opposite of what would have been, had these demonstrations taken place at CES or another trade show. I had a great time and encourage the entire CA Community to schedule a visit to the townhouse next time they are in NYC. It's quite the place. 


    Note: If you watch the show Mr. Robot, look for the townhouse in the first episode of season two. Several scenes were shot there. 


    XRT2.1K-Mid-Woofer-Close-Up1.jpgThursday McIntosh briefly talked about the new MC1.25KW power amplifiers. The internal changes compared to the previous MC1.2 version are massive. This is due to upgrades at the McIntosh facility in Binghamton, NY that enables much more advanced manufacturing and assembly. 

     

    The main event on Thursday was the unveiling of the new McIntosh XRT2.1K loudspeaker system. In typical McIntosh fashion, these speakers feature a line array of 81 drivers. Atypical of McIntosh, was the fact that the company worked closely with the Sonus faber team in Italy to design and engineer the new 2.1K system. It's still a McIntosh loudspeaker 100%. The additional resources from Sonus faber put on their McIntosh hats and frames of mind when working on the collaboration. 

     

    Listening to the 7 feet tall speakers in a room with a ~23 feet tall ceiling and enough amplification power to knock me over, was a blast. A little bit of the standard audiophile fare was played, but the majority of music was right up my alley. Pink Floyd, Fink, and The White Stripes all put a smile on my face. Here is a short video I took and posted to Twitter during one of the demonstrations. 

     


    The XRT2.1K will set you back a cool $130,000, but hey there's nothing else like it.

     

     

     

    Aida_gallery_1.jpgFriday was all about Sonus faber. It was great to see North American Brand Manager Will Kline and hear him talk a bit about the company and the new updated flagship Aida loudspeaker. The Aida is also a one of a kind speaker, as one would expect for a cool $130,000. The speaker looks fabulous in person. It's as if the Aida was designed and hand built by an Italian luthier from the 1700s. The appearance however is nearly identical to the previous version of the Aida. 99% of the improvements to this version are internal. The new 2018 Aida is like a completely different loudspeaker compared to its predecessor. 

     

    This speaker was demonstrated in a much smaller room at the townhouse than where the XRT2.1K was heard. Being a point source speaker, as opposed to line source, it would have been difficult to fill up the cavernous room used the previous day. That said, Will Kline put on some great tunes for us through Audio research electronics powering the Aidas. 

     

    Of note was the track Walking on the Moon from the Yuri Honing trio (Tidal link). It sounded fabulous, even though when disturbed by some diesel truck deliveries out on Lafayette Street. The Aida is definitely a statement loudspeaker, showing what Sound faber can do both aesthetically and acoustically. A great sounding work of art it is, and one that I'd love to live with for a while. 


    Here are some photos from the two day event. 


    IMG_0518.JPG IMG_0529.JPG IMG_0501.JPG IMG_0516.JPG IMG_0532.JPG IMG_0537.JPG IMG_0542.JPG IMG_0553.JPG IMG_0557.JPG IMG_0563.JPG IMG_0565.JPG IMG_0521.JPG IMG_0527.JPG 

    IMG_0506.JPG IMG_0567.JPG



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    Chris, did they play the XRT2.1K fairly loudly? My one experience with that type of speaker many years ago was amazing - the clothes I was wearing even ruffled in response as if there was a slight breeze in the room.

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    3 hours ago, firedog said:

    Chris, did they play the XRT2.1K fairly loudly? My one experience with that type of speaker many years ago was amazing - the clothes I was wearing even ruffled in response as if there was a slight breeze in the room.

    Yes, the music was played both loud and soft. The clip above in the video was really loud. The experience was wonderful listening to and feeling the music just like a live venue. 

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    5 hours ago, Ralf11 said:

    Doesn't H/K own Mac as well as other competing brands?  They need more than blue meters to distinguish themselves

    No.  H/K does not own Mac.

    Quote

    Japanese years[edit]

     

    The company was purchased by Japanese car audio maker Clarion in 1990. McIntosh components, particularly the early tube models, are highly regarded in Japan. In a speech shortly after the purchase, Clarion president Yutaka Oyamada told McIntosh employees, "...we like McIntosh as it is, and we have no intention of changing what has made it so successful."[7] Since the Clarion purchase, McIntosh has expanded into car audio and home theater.

    In May 2003, McIntosh was sold by Clarion to D&M Holdings, also of Japan. McIntosh continues to operate independent engineering, design, and production operations in accordance with the company's tradition.

    Italian years[edit]

    On October 8, 2012, Fine Sounds SpA of Milan, Italy announced it had purchased McIntosh.[8]

    Return to the United States[edit]

    In May 2014, the CEO of Fine Sounds Group along with the President of McIntosh Labs led a management buyout of the Fine Sounds Group from its Italian investment firm owner, Quadrivio Investment Group.[9] Since then Fine Sounds group has now renamed itself McIntosh Group and relocated from Milan to New York[10][11]

     

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    ok, as of 2014 the owner is McIntosh Group, a rename & move of Fine Sounds Group

     

    Owner of:

    Audio Research

    McIntosh

    Pryma

    Sonus Faber

    Sumiko Subwoofers

    Wadia

     

    so, any discussion of ARC, etc.?

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    9 hours ago, Ralf11 said:

    ok, as of 2014 the owner is McIntosh Group, a rename & move of Fine Sounds Group

     

    Owner of:

    Audio Research

    McIntosh

    Pryma

    Sonus Faber

    Sumiko Subwoofers

    Wadia

     

    so, any discussion of ARC, etc.?

    This was a McIntosh and Sonus faber event. No discussion of other brands. ARC equipment was used for the Sonus faber demo. 

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    part-time audiophile attended the same event and posted a podcast

     

    https://parttimeaudiophile.com/2018/02/01/world-of-mcintosh-paolo-tezzon-livio-cucuzza/ 

     

    with an extended interview with the designers (acoustic and industrial) of these speakers--the same men headed up both projects.  The acoustical engineer was at pains to note that the two flagships were not only designed with different "house sounds" in mind, but also different environments (as Chris noted, the MAC is much better suited to a HUGE space).  (Also, if I'm not reading too much into the interview, the Sonus Faber engineer unsurprisingly seemed to favor the Sonus design principals, I believe he said designed more with "accuracy" in mind, although he was, also unsurprisingly, enthusiastic about both speakers and allowed that each might be better in different circumstances.)

     

    So, Chris, what were your takeaways--was one speaker, say better with certain sorts of music?  One more "musical" than the other while the other might be more muscular, perhaps?  If one were thinking about dropping a cool $130k on a new pair of speakers (unfortunately, I am not in such circumstances), what might they keep in mind before setting down with these two, clearly impressive, offerings?

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    A great read and fantastic photos, Chris! You say ' The XRT2.1K will set you back a cool $130,000 ' which is quite cheap cause eg in the UK their price is (even cooler) £138k. But what I'm really interested in is who is the maker of this innovative designer audio table (photo no 2) on which Sonus Faber F (sorry I don't remember the number) rests ? (I believe many CA bikers could be interested in this information) :)

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    On 2/4/2018 at 2:23 PM, input username here said:

    So, Chris, what were your takeaways--was one speaker, say better with certain sorts of music?  One more "musical" than the other while the other might be more muscular, perhaps?  If one were thinking about dropping a cool $130k on a new pair of speakers (unfortunately, I am not in such circumstances), what might they keep in mind before setting down with these two, clearly impressive, offerings?

     

    This is tough. When spending this much money, there are tons of options if you count all the speakers less than $130k as well.

     

    For my taste I like the Aida better. I'm much ore used to a point source speaker. The Aida was in a smaller room with ARC electronics and different music. It's very hard to compare apples to apples, other than to say they are both loudspeakers with vastly different technologies and design goals. 

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    I just realized that this showroom is featured (as someone's house) in Mr Robot, Season 2/Episode 1.  It shows a closeup of one of the amps at one point (MC452 IIRC). Cool.

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