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McIntosh’s MC462 Stereo Amplifier is a Powerhouse

McIntosh MC462 Stereo Amplifier

McIntosh MC462 Stereo Amplifier


  • Product Name: MC462
  • Manufacturer: McIntosh
  • Review Date: August 10, 2018 12:00
  • MSRP: $9,000
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now
  • Power Output: 450 Watts per channel, into 2, 4, or 8 Ohms
  • S/N below rated output: 122dB
  • Frequency Response: +0, -0.25dB from 20Hz to 20,000Hz;  +0, -3.0dB from 10Hz to 100,000Hz
  • THD: 0.005%
  • Damping Factor: >40 Wideband
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 17 1/2” x 9 7/16" x 22 1/2”
  • Weight: 115 lbs

McIntosh has released a new 450-watt stereo power amplifier, the MC462. The new model replaces the outgoing MC452 as the most powerful stereo amp in the company’s lineup, and in classic McIntosh fashion, this thing is a beautiful beast. Like almost every product made by the brand, the MC462 is big, heavy, and expensive. (McIntosh fans wouldn’t have it any other way.) So, what do you get for your $9,000? On the outside, the 115-pound MC462 looks very similar to its predecessor, but certain aesthetic enhancements become apparent on closer inspection. The signature black glass front panel is now illuminated via direct LED backlighting, which “improves appearance and color accuracy,” according to McIntosh. Like the company’s other solid-state amplifiers, the MC462 utilizes special output transformers called “Autoformers,” which allow the amp to deliver the full 450 watts to practically any speaker, regardless of impedance. In the MC462, the two Autoformers and the amp’s huge power transformer are situated in new enclosures, and covered by machined metal tops with glass inserts. Finally, the four heatsinks on the rear of the amp have been upgraded to McIntosh’s cool-looking “Monogrammed” design, which displays the “Mc” logo when viewed from above. These heatsinks are connected to “advanced high current output transistors that help eliminate thermal equilibrium lag time,” according to McIntosh.

Even for a style-forward, luxury brand like McIntosh, appearances aren’t everything. If you can look beyond the massive, polished stainless steel chassis, and the iconic blue power meters, the MC462 does have some serious engineering improvements over the previous model. Perhaps most notable is the nearly 50% increase in filter capacity, which improves bass performance and affords the new amp an impressive 66% increase in dynamic headroom over its predecessor. According to McIntosh, this increase from 1.8dB to 3.0dB of dynamic headroom enables the new amp to “easily handle drastic swings in dynamics and effortlessly reproduce your favorite music with virtually no distortion.” Compared to the outgoing MC452, the new amp contains a heavier gauge of internal wiring, and upgraded circuit components. Also new in the MC462 is McIntosh’s eco-friendly power management system, which automatically powers down the amp if no input signal is detected for a certain amount of time.

The MC462 is a “Quad Balanced” design, meaning that each channel consists of two matched power amplifiers operating in push-pull, with their outputs combined in the Autoformer. This design, which was first introduced in the company’s MC1000 monoblock, “cancels virtually all noise and distortion that may have crept into the audio signal,” according to McIntosh. Though it may not have the 1.2 kilowatts of power available from the brand’s enormous monoblocks, MC462 should be able to handle pretty much any speaker out there. McIntosh would probably recommend speakers from its sister-brand Sonus faber, but with 450 watts of power and the ability to drive 2-ohm speakers without breaking a sweat, the MC462 would also make a good match for current-hungry Magnepans, or low-impedance electrostatic speakers. If your speakers support bi-amping or tri-amping, the MC462’s balanced and unbalanced outputs make it easy to daisy-chain multiple amps together. Alternatively, these outputs can also be used to connect a powered subwoofer if your preamp only has one set of outputs. Other noteworthy features of the MC462 include McIntosh’s fuse-less short-circuit protection circuit, which the company calls “Sentry Monitor.” This feature automatically disengages the output stage if current begins to exceed safe operating levels, then resets when conditions return to normal. Finally, McIntosh’s “Power Guard” feature prevents clipping by monitoring and making real-time adjustments to the input signal.

The McIntosh MC462 stereo power amplifier is shipping now. Is your system in need of a McIntosh upgrade? Share your thoughts in the related forum thread blow.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

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Jacob is a music-lover and audiophile who enjoys convincing his friends to buy audio gear that they can't afford. He's also a freelance writer and editor based in Los Angeles.

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