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McIntosh XR Series Loudspeakers Preview

McIntosh XR Series Loudspeakers

McIntosh XR Series Loudspeakers


  • Product Name: XR Series Loudspeakers
  • Manufacturer: McIntosh Laboratory
  • Review Date: January 12, 2012 17:40
  • MSRP: $10,000/pair (XR100); $2500/each (LCR80); $2000/each (XR50)
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool

All XR Speakers

  • alloy midrange tweeter baffles
  • magnetically attached speaker grills
  • premium real wood gloss finishes of Black, Pear Maple, and Red Walnut


  • three-way, four-speaker design (super tweeter, 2 tweeter/midranges, woofer)
  • power handling of up to 300 watts


  • 13 speaker drivers
  • power handling of up to 600 watts


  • may be positioned horizontally or vertically
  • alloy midrange tweeter baffle may be rotated depending on the orientation of the speaker
  • included wall mounting brackets and built in mounting anchor points
  • identically voiced to complement XR100 and XR50 speakers

When at CES, stopping by the McIntosh booth is practically a requirement. The racks of blue and green amps with their potemeter readouts are the sort of eye candy that a true Audioholic just can't resist. But McIntosh doesn't just make amps; they also make speakers. Normally towering behemoths full of long, vertical rows of tweeters and midranges, these speakers are for those where price, and space, are abundant.

But McIntosh is branching out into speaker offerings that seem to utilize some of the same principles of the larger speakers. The new XR series, announced at CES 2012, are their latest foray. Consisting of a tower speaker, a bookshelf, and an LCR, these speakers are all voiced to work with each other and can handle, at the very lest, 300 watts of power which, expectedly, lines up with the output of all but the largest monoblock amplifiers from the company. 


The XR50 is the smallest offering but is still a three way design. Where most bookshelf speakers have a single tweeter and woofer, the XR50 mates their super tweeter to two additional tweeter/midranges giving the XR50 a total of four drivers. Designed with both the McIntosh two-channel tube amps and their solid state offerings in mind, the XR50s represent a fairly flexible offering. At up to 300 watts of power handling, you don't have to worry about your speakers frying because you attached them to too big of amp. At $2000 each, the XR50s aren't for those on a tight budget but, considering the prices of high end speakers, they are comparatively competitive. 


The LCR80 is the most flexible of all the speakers in the XR series. At only a $500 premium over the XR50s, they can be positioned both vertically or horizontally (the alloy midrange tweeter baffles, common to then entire XR line, swivels). In fact, they come with included wall mounting hardware and built-in mounting anchor points. Voiced to match the other speakers in the XR line, the LCR80 would be a perfect solution for those looking for three identical speakers up front; especially for those with the front projection system and an acoustically transparent screen. McIntosh suggests that the LCR80s can be wall or shelf mounted or even mounted in existing cabinetry. 


The flagship of the XR line is the $10,000 a pair XR100 towers. Aping the design of the larger McIntosh offerings, the XR100 towers contain 13 distinct drivers, most likely oriented vertically in the tall cabinet. McIntosh claims that the XR100 bass extension will eliminate "the need for a subwoofer in many spaces". The XR100s can handle up to 600 watts of power and has a high efficiency giving you more output per watt.

On the tower and bookshelf XR speakers you may notice a green McIntosh front panel logo. This logo illuminates when connected to contemporary McIntosh equipment. Each of the speakers can be finished in premium real wood gloss finishes of Black, Pear Maple, and Red Walnut and have magnetic grilles. What you won't notice is a lot of specifics about the design and configuration of these speakers. McIntosh has not released many of the specifics probably assuming (most likely correctly) that their core base consumer (the ones that have the money to afford their speakers) don't read press releases and, instead, visit showrooms. While we'd like to know such basics as the dimensions of the speakers, the size and configuration of the drivers, and even whether or not their are ported, we'll have to wait until after CES when McIntosh gets a chance to update their website.


While the specifics of the XR speaker line are lacking, the core of the message is clear: McIntosh is trying to get into more living rooms and home theaters. While $16,500 might seem like a lot for a 5.0 system, in the world of high end audio, that is less than the price of some power cables. With the McIntosh name behind the XR line, we're expecting these to do well for the company. In the current economic climate, more affordable options are always popular and we think this is a good, strategic move for McIntosh.

For more information, please visit www.mcintoshlabs.com.

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

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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