McIntosh Announces Host of new AV Processors and Multi-Channel Amplifier

Posted on 10th October, 2019

McIntosh Announces Host of new AV Processors and Multi-Channel Amplifier

McIntosh has followed the recently announced MC257 with the new MC255 5-Channel Home Theater Amplifier, plus the MX170 and MX123 A/V Processors.

The Binghamton A/V elves at McIntosh have been very busy recently. Just over a week ago we brought you news of the MC257 7-channel amp, and now there is the new 5-channel MC255.

And, if that was not enough, the New York-based audio brand spoils us with a pair of new A/V processors in the MX170 and MX123.


The new McIntosh MX170 A/V Processor offers 4K Ultra HD, High Dynamic Range (HDR) and 3D surround sound, all wrapped up in a typically McIntosh-shaped package.

The MX170 boasts eight HDMI inputs and 4 HDMI outputs, driven by the latest HDMI processors available. Furthermore, each HDMI port is HDCP 2.2 specified and has 18Gbps of bandwidth to fully support 4K Ultra HD picture quality and full 4:4:4 colour spacing.

Naturally, you get Audio Return Channel (ARC) capabilities on three of the outputs. However, the fourth one features Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) functionality. eARC offers improved bandwidth so higher resolution audio can be sent from TVs to the MX170 to deliver the best sound quality possible.

HDR formats HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG, are also fully supported with improved colour, contrast and brightness are promised to be obvious.

McIntosh MX170

HDBaseT output is also onboard to prevent signal loss and degradation when there are long distances between screen and processor.

The MX170 also has 3D video pass-through, putting you right in the middle of the action when watching 3D movies.

For audio, the new MX170 is compatible with all the leading object-based, 3D surround sound formats including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D. It includes sophisticated RoomPerfect room-correction technology to measure and adjust the output to compensate for room acoustics.

The MX170 features balanced outputs for a 15.1 surround sound speaker configuration. If fewer speakers are being used, four of the outputs can be used to bi-amp selected speakers or to drive additional subwoofers.

A comprehensive array of digital inputs are also present. Here you have four optical, three coaxial and 1 USB (that each accepts up to 24-bit/192kHz signals), plus one balanced digital input. Additionally, there's also a complete complement of analogue inputs comprising two balanced and four unbalanced inputs, a phono input, plus a 7.1 unbalanced multichannel input.

Of course, there is a top-notch analogue-to-digital convertor as well as bass and treble controls for further audio fine-tuning.


McIntosh MX123

The new McIntosh MX123 A/V Processor is compatible with all the leading home cinema surround sound and object-based 3D audio formats including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D. It's also fully compatible with the latest 4K Ultra HD video sources and can upscale lower resolutions to 4K Ultra HD for the best possible picture quality.

The MX123 features upgraded digital audio processing capabilities that result in two additional discrete audio channels, bringing the MX123 to 13.2 compared to 11.2 channels in the previous model.

These 13.2 discrete channels are available via both balanced and unbalanced audio outputs which are open to being used in a variety of home cinema speaker configurations. Further flexibility comes in the shape of two additional unbalanced outputs. Also, DSD and ALAC playback support is increased to DSD128 and ALAC 192kHz for better high-resolution audio performance.

For video, the MX123 has seven HDMI inputs and three HDMI outputs. All HDMI inputs and outputs are HDCP 2.3, making the MX123 compliant and compatible with digital content protection specifications well into the future. They also have 18Gbps of bandwidth to support High Dynamic Range (HDR) formats: Dolby Vision; HDR10 and HLG; 4K Ultra HD at 50/60Hs; 4:4:4 colour spacing; Rec. 2020 and 3D video pass-through. Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) functionality is included in one of the HDMI outputs.

Additional connections include: four digital audio inputs; one balanced and eight unbalanced analogue stereo audio inputs (including one dedicated Moving Magnet); an unbalanced 7.1 multichannel audio input; three component, and four composite video inputs; 1 USB Type-A input; two unbalanced analogue stereo outputs, plus two composite and one component video outputs.

McIntosh MX123

The MX123 gets IMAX Enhanced powers too! This standard established by IMAX and DTS guarantees a consistent and higher standard for image and sound performance on premium devices. IMAX and DTS will also partner with award-winning Hollywood sound mixers to use a select variant of the DTS:X codec technology included in the MX123 to deliver an IMAX signature sound experience at home.

Also, streaming options on the MX123 have been upgraded from the previous model. The result is that Apple AirPlay 2, along with Bluetooth, and Spotify Connect are all present for simple streaming from mobile devices. Moreover, to ensure streaming performance and reliability, there is also 2.4/5GHs dual-band wi-fi support.

Audyssey MultEQ XT32 is included and will calibrate the MX123 to a home cinema's unique requirements.

Each discrete audio channel has its own 32-bit premium digital-to-analogue converter (DAC) to produce the best sound quality. Bass and treble tone controls, plus a nine-band equaliser offer additional fine-tuning. The MX123 also has the flexibility to create two further zones and send select audio and/or video to each zone.


McIntosh MC255

As first seen on the MC257, the new MC255 features McIntosh's TripleView Power Output Meter which displays the power reading of the amp's three front channels.

However, there's more to the new MC255 than that hypnotising display. McIntosh tells us that filter capacity has been increased by 50%, which has more than doubled dynamic headroom from 1.7dB to 3.6dB as well as improving the performance of low frequencies.

When the front three channels, the power output has been increased by 25% from 200 watts per channel (WPC) to 250 W. Moreover, you still get a decent 200 W when you run all five channels.

Additionally, thanks to McIntosh's Dynamic Power Manager (DPM) technology, you consistently get the full 200/250 W regardless of whether 4- or 8-Ohm speakers are used.

Importantly, the MC255 is fanless and so runs silently. Cooling is handled by a quartet of McIntosh's Monogrammed Heatsinks which are connected to advanced high-current-output transistors. Furthermore, a quiet, specially wound toroidal isolation power transformer also helps keep noise to a minimum.

The 5-channel amp has also received updated speaker terminals with McIntosh's gold-plated binding posts and traditional McIntosh knobs on the front panel to control the meter lights and power function.

McIntosh MC255

Of course, Power Guard and Sentry Monitor are onboard as are balanced and unbalanced inputs to connect the MC255 to the rest of the home cinema system.

As well as using the MC255 to power a five-channel home cinema, it can be paired with McIntosh's MI128 eight-Channel or MI254 four-Channel Digital Amplifiers in surround sound systems using 3D audio formats such as Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D.

Also, the new amp can be used in a two-zone configuration with the three front channels used at 250 W in one zone and the two surround sound channels used at 200 W in a second audio zone.

Price and availability

Orders for the MX170, MX123 and MC25 can now be placed with Authorised McIntosh dealers with shipping expected to begin towards the end of the year.

Australian and New Zealand pricing has not yet been confirmed, but they will sell in the UK for MX170 (£19,995), MX123 (£9,995) MC255 (£9,995).

For more information, head over to McIntosh.

    Jay Garrett's avatar

    Jay Garrett

    StereoNET’s resident rock star, bass player, and gadget junkie. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.

    Posted in:StereoLUX! Home Theatre
    Tags: mcintosh  synergy audio visual 

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