McIntosh Gear To Hear A Capital Idea

McIntosh is a legend in audiophile circles. There’s now a demo system in Wellington for those lucky enough to live in the city.


It’s not often that the average hi-fi fan gets to hear the kind of gear he’s  been dreaming about all his life, but this month, the Listening Post in Wellington has got a full suite of McIntosh components set up and ready to ‘wow’ the punters.

For those new to audiophiliac pursuits, McIntosh is one of the most highly regarded makers of truly high end amplifiers, and on this occasion, the McIntosh Reference Components includes the C1100 Tube Preamp, the MC601 mono block amplifier (two of them, of course1), with Isotek Power Filtration and the impressive-looking Yamaha NS-5000 loudspeakers.

According to the blurb (and who are we to deny it?) ‘The C1100 preamplifier brings a new level of performance and luxury to McIntosh’s heralded preamplifier offerings – evidenced by its high level inputs having the lowest noise of any McIntosh preamplifier ever produced. It utilises a two-chassis design where the control and power sections are completely separate from the audio section. Absolute isolation of a preamplifier’s two main functions – control and sound – is achieved by this unusual but effective design and will provide you with the purest sound reproduction possible for generations of listening enjoyment.’

The Listening Post reckon that the C1100 is the standard by which all other preamps are measured, and you can quote them on that.

Highlights include: Two-box preamplifier, fully balanced and dual mono design, tube based output stage, exceptional quality MM and MC phono stages, all-analogue design (no digital inputs), extraordinarily low noise floor.

McIntosh MC601 Power Amplifier, on the other hand, is ‘one of the most advanced amplifiers in the world.’ It’s a 600 watt mono block power amp, designed to deliver insane amounts of power with vanishingly low levels of distortion. This means that the sound you hear is as close as technically possible to the way the artist has intended.

This amplifier includes many of McIntosh’s patented technologies and circuits, such as Powerguard, which ensures the safety of your speakers at very high power, and the output autoformer, which ensures you get all the power that you paid for no matter what the load of your loudspeakers happens to be.

As for those bold-looking Yamaha speakers, here’s what the Listening Post has to say about them:

‘Every now and then, Yamaha decides to make a statement. These products tend to stand head and shoulder above everything else and become true classics. In 1974 that statement was the NS-1000 speaker, which were among the first speakers ever to use Beryllium drivers. The NS-1000 was a hit and even today performs to a standard well beyond the reach of many more ‘modern’ designs. Over 30 years later and Yamaha’s long development process has resulted in these beauties.

Taking advantage of more modern construction techniques, but also using the best of what made the NS-1000’s so successful in the first place,  the NS-5000’s are a modern, classic speaker.

Frankly, they sound astonishing… Exceptional clarity and scale with a hyper accurate soundstage, these are A class speakers that could go toe to toe with some of the very best.’

These Yamaha flagship speakers retail for $23,995, while the RRP for the two McIntosh beauties seems to be a wee bit secret.

This system is at the Wellington branch of the Listening Post now. Those who are seriously interested please let them know. The Listening Post, Catalyst House, 150 Willis St. 04-385 2919

And if there’s any justice in the world, Witchdoctor may even get to review these system components sometime in the near future!


Steel has been penning his pungent prose for 40 years for publications too numerous to mention, most of them consigned to the annals of history. He is Witchdoctor's Editor-In-Chief/Music and Film Editor. He has strong opinions and remains unrepentant. Steel's full bio can be found here

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