McIntosh Reminagines the Woodstock MC3500 Amplifier
Perhaps perfect timing following the recent auction of McIntosh equipment used by The Grateful Dead in its famous Wall of Sound, McIntosh has revealed its “reimagined” MC3500 power amplifier, the original seeing service at Woodstock in 1969, amongst other festivals.
McIntosh's MC3500 Vacuum Tube Amplifier Mk II shares its DNA with the original monoblock amp while benefitting from modern upgrades that celebrate the brand's rich history in music. At the same time, it showcases the company's commitment to technological innovations and acoustic advancements, says the Binghamton, New York brand.
The MC3500 Mk II boasts 350 Watts of power and is upgraded with modern components. Thanks to McIntosh's Unity Coupled Circuit output transformer, you get the full 350 Watts safely delivered to virtually any speaker.
Sat behind the power and output transformers and protected by a 12-gauge stainless steel wire cage, you'll find a fully balanced driver section comprising three 12AX7A and one 12AT7 vacuum tube. Meanwhile, the output is powered by eight EL509S high-power output vacuum tubes. The latter have been specifically chosen for its similarity to the 6LQ6 “sweep tubes” found in the original MC3500.
Even the design of the MC3500 Mk II pays homage to its festival-going relative. For instance, the U-shaped side rails, a unique feature that provided strength and durability when the original amps were used on the road. The Mk II also has replicated the black rubber bumpers found in the original amps that allowed them to be temporarily set upright for shows and were big enough to prevent the model from being damaged during setup at concerts. In addition, the front panel is machined aluminium with a bead blast finish and gold anodising that emulates the original MC3500.
Of course, the MC3500 Mk II is a piece of home hi-fi equipment and can be used with various preamplifiers, turntables, CD players, media streamers, speakers, etc. Additionally, this means that you get McIntosh's Power Guard Screen Grid Sensor (SGS) technology that prevents premature vacuum tube failure, as well as Sentry Monitor tech that actively observes the output current to ensure operation within safe limits. Finally, there's also McIntosh's patented, gold-plated Solid Cinch speaker binding posts.
Just as in the original MC3500, the Mk II version includes an output meter, though this version is larger and centred on the front panel rather than offset to the left side as in the previous version. The meter uses a variation of McIntosh's DualView Power Output Meter design, with the top scale showing the power output in both Watts and decibels. The bottom scale indicates the amplifier warmup time.
Orders for the MC3500 MkII can be placed now, with shipping expected to begin in December 2021 to the United States and Canada, with the UK and rest of the world following in early 2022. The suggested retail price is US$15,000.
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.
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