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McIntosh MA5300

Stereo integrated amplifier with built-in DAC

1 Review

Item # 958MA5300

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Overview

Our take on the McIntosh MA5300

If you crave classic McIntosh performance but space is at a premium, check out the MA5300 integrated amplifier. McIntosh designed it to be a bit more compact — it's the smallest solid state integrated amp they've ever made. And it still delivers the rich, powerful sound McIntosh gear is known for.

Huge sound from a more compact McIntosh

If you crave classic McIntosh performance but space is at a premium, check out the MA5300 integrated amplifier. McIntosh designed it to be a bit more compact — it's the smallest solid state integrated amp they've ever made. And it still delivers the rich, powerful sound McIntosh gear is known for.

Along with its stellar sonic attributes, the MA5300 boasts the McIntosh look we know and love — black glass front panel, glowing blue power meters, big metal knobs, and illuminated logo. And, this gorgeous integrated amp is designed and built right here in the USA.

All your music at its best

With a total of 12 audio inputs, including six digital connections, the MA5300 offers plenty of connectivity for a complete audio system. For your analog audio gear, you'll find four unbalanced RCA inputs, plus a balanced XLR input for professional or high-end source components. The high-quality built-in phono preamp provides a connection for a turntable with a moving-magnet phono cartridge.

Future-proofing for your digital music sources

All of the MA5300's digital inputs are contained in McIntosh's DA1 Digital Audio Module. At the heart of the DA1 is a high-performance 8-channel 32-bit DAC. It'll seriously upgrade the sound from your disc player, music streamer, or TV. The USB input handles PCM-based digital music files up to 32-bit/384kHz and DSD files up to 11.2 MHz, so you can enjoy high-resolution audio from your computer. The DA1 module can be replaced by future modules to keep the MA5300 up to date with emerging digital audio technologies.

Plenty of power for modestly sized rooms

With a potent 100 watts per channel, the MA5300's low-distortion amplifier section serves up more than enough power to drive a pair of high-quality speakers nicely. The amp's large power transformer uses multiple filter capacitors for plenty of energy reserves to help deliver lightning-fast transient response and explosive dynamics.

Legendary McIntosh dependability

A regulated power supply ensures stable, noise-free operation. And just in case you get carried away, McIntosh's patented Power Guard circuit prevents amplifier clipping to protect your speakers. Built-in thermal protection and Sentry Monitor output protection circuits help prevent overheating to ensure high reliability and a long operating life.

A Home Theater Pass Through feature lets you make the MA5300 part of a multichannel surround sound system. The right and left front channels from an A/V processor or surround decoder can pass through the amplifier's analog inputs, allowing you to use its 100-watt-per-channel power output on your main front speakers.

A world-famous audio heritage, made in America

Since its founding in 1949, McIntosh has defined the meaning of high-quality sound reproduction, while setting industry standards for superior performance and reliability. The company is based in Binghamton, New York, where its high-end components and speakers are still individually handcrafted by a team of skilled experts. This uncompromising dedication to quality has made McIntosh one of the most recognized and respected audio manufacturers in the world.

Product Highlights:

  • 100 watts x 2 channels into 8 ohms
  • 160 watts x 2 channels into 4 ohms
  • total harmonic distortion: 0.005% (at 20-20,000 Hz)
  • frequency response: 10 - 100,000 Hz (+0, -3dB)
  • signal-to-noise ratio: 95dB (line level), 82dB (phono), 110dB (power amp)
  • damping factor: greater than 200
  • DA1 Digital Audio Module can be replaced by future modules to update amplifier with the latest digital audio technologies
    • module is equipped with an 8-channel, 32-bit/192kHz Quad Balanced DAC
  • built-in High Drive headphone amplifier
  • large power transformer with multiple filter capacitors and regulated power supply ensures stable noise free operation
  • patented McIntosh Power Guard circuit prevents amplifier clipping to protect speakers
  • Sentry Monitor and Thermal Protection circuits provide long amplifier operating life and protection against overheating
  • Home Theater Pass Through allows amplifier to become part of a multichannel sound system
  • fiber optic illuminated glass front panel for a beautiful appearance and long-term durability
  • illuminated power meters (with illumination on/off settings)
  • adjustable front-panel display brightness settings
  • handcrafted at McIntosh's Binghamton, New York factory
Inputs:
  • digital audio inputs on DA1 module:
  • USB (Type B) input for connection to a computer
    • supports high-res PCM files up to 32-bit/384kHz, DSD files up to 11.2 MHz, and DXD files
  • 2 optical and 2 coaxial digital inputs
    • supported bit depth and sample rates: up to 32-bit/96kHz
  • proprietary "MCT" input for connecting compatible McIntosh components like a McIntosh MCT450 stereo/SACD/CD transport
  • analog inputs:
  • 1 set of balanced stereo XLR inputs
  • 4 stereo RCA audio inputs
  • phono input for moving magnet (MM) cartridge
Outputs:
  • 1 pair custom McIntosh gold-plated binding-post speaker connectors
  • full-size headphone output
  • RCA preamp out/power amp input jacks
Other Info and Specs:
  • bass and treble controls with tone control circuitry bypass settings for each individual input source
  • Power Control output provides convenient turn-on/off of McIntosh source components
  • 2 Data Ports provide remote control of amplifier-connected McIntosh source components
  • RS-232 input for use with external controllers
  • IR input
  • remote
  • 17-1/2"W x 6"H x 22"D
  • weight: 38 lbs.
  • If connecting to a TV, please make sure you can select "PCM" output in your TV's audio menu. The included DAC cannot decode multi-channel Dolby® Digital signals.
  • warranty: 3 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • Stereo integrated amplifier
  • 6' AC power cord
  • Remote control
  • Owner's Manual
Reviews

McIntosh MA5300 Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(1 Review)

Good looks for nostalgia buffs

doug from Wenatchee, WA on 12/16/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This is so cool! I bought it 'cuz of a lot of nostalgia for the old days, old tube-type hi-fi's, etc. The look is unmistakable, and the power meters fulfill my needs of being a kid again with the best stereo around. I didn't expect to be able to hear much difference in just amplifiers, but I can. Along with a new CD player, the imaging and presence is surprising, I never knew my old speakers could sound this good! And my vinyl collection now sounds incredible. While I might say the cost is not justifiable, the satisfaction is wonderful. I would certainly do this again!

Pros: Fantastic looks, built like a tank, hearable difference.

Cons: Very expensive.

Details

Hands-on research

Features and Specs

Performance Specs
Watts RMS per Channel (8-ohms) 100
Watts RMS per Channel (6-ohms) Not given
Watts RMS per Channel (4-ohms) 160
Frequency Bandwidth 20-20k
THD 0.005%
Minimum Impedance 4 ohms
Signal to Noise Ratio 110
Digital Music Features
Built-in DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) Yes
High-resolution Audio Playback PCM, DSD, DXD
Bluetooth No
Wi-Fi N/A
Connections
Total Analog Inputs 6
Phono Input Yes
Optical Digital Inputs 2
Coaxial Digital Inputs 2
USB Input Type-B
Preamp Outputs Stereo
Headphone Output 1/4"
Dimensions and Warranty
Width (inches) 17-1/2
Height (inches) 6
Depth (inches) 22
Weight (pounds) 38
Parts Warranty 3 Years
Labor Warranty 3 Years

Product Research

Features

Integrated Stereo Amplifier: The McIntosh MA5300 integrated stereo amplifier delivers 100 watts per channel into 8Ω and 160 watts per channel into 4Ω. Dual scale blue watt meters on the front-panel give an accurate readout of power output for both 8Ω and 4Ω impedances. Its flexible preamplifier section provides connection for various analog & digital input sources, and may also be use drive an external power amplifier. The MA5300's audio reproduction is sonically transparent and absolutely accurate.

Note: The MA5300, together with an additional separate power amplifier (sold separately), may be used to bi-amplify a loudspeaker system.

Exclusive McIntosh Power Assurance System: The McIntosh MA5300 employs a collection of technologies that enhance performance and reliability while protecting the integrated amplifier and loudspeakers.

  • Power Guard Circuit: Power Guard is waveform comparison circuit continuously monitors both input and output signals. Power Guard dynamically adjusts the input level to avoid clipping while preventing harsh sounding distortion. The integrated amp's front-panel LED indicator will flash when Power Guard is activated.
  • Sentry Monitor Technology: McIntosh Sentry Monitor power output stage protection circuits ensure the MAC6700 will have a long and trouble-free operating life. Sentry Monitor is a fuse-less short-circuit protection circuit that disengages the output stage before current exceeds safe operating level; resets automatically.
  • Thermal Protection: Built-in thermal protection circuits guard against overheating. If the integrated amp overheats due to improper ventilation and/or high ambient operating temperature, AC Power is removed from the MA5300. Normal operation will resume when the operating temperature is in a safe range again.

Classic McIntosh Design & Specially Designed Power Supply: The MA5300 integrated amp incorporates classic McIntosh design cues, including a black glass front-panel, rotary knobs, illuminated logo, and brushed aluminum end-caps. The famous McIntosh illuminated glass front-panel using long life light emitting diodes (LEDs) ensures the pristine beauty of the MA5300 will be retained for many years. The illuminated power output meters are peak responding, and indicate the power output of the amplifier. The large power transformer, multiple filter capacitors with 60 Joules of energy storage and regulated power supply ensure stable noise free operation.

DA1 Digital Audio Module: All of the MA5300's digital inputs are contained on McIntosh's DA1 Digital Audio Module. At the heart of the DA1 is a powerful 8-channel, 32-bit Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) used in Quad Balanced mode. PCM signals up to 32-bit/384kHz can be played via the USB input, allowing for playback of high resolution audio up to DSD256 and DXD 384kHz levels. The coax and optical inputs support up to 24-bit/192kHz files, while a proprietary MCT input is designed specifically for McIntosh's MCT450 SACD/CD transport (sold separately). 

  • Asynchronous USB-B Input: The McIntosh MA5300 features an asynchronous USB-B input for playing back music files from your Windows PC or Mac computer. Asynchronous technology allows the digital clock inside the MA5300's DAC to control the flow of data coming from your computer. This method of communication leads to less jitter (timing errors) for the MA5300 to deal with which results in clearer more defined sound. The USB input accepts 2ch stereo PCM signals up to 32-bit/384kHz and supports DSD64, DSD128 and DSD256 along with DXD 352.8kHz and DXD 384kHz. Compatible with Windows 7 and newer (requires installation of McIntosh's USB Audio Window Driver), as well a Mac OSX 10.6.8 and newer (does not require the installation of an additional USB audio driver). 
  • Optical & Coaxial Inputs: The McIntosh MA5300 system offers two optical (toslink) digital input and two coaxial (RCA) digital input. The digital inputs will decode 2ch stereo PCM music files at up to 24-bit/192kHz for high resolution audio playback (not compatible with Dolby Digital/DTS).
  • MCT Input: McIntosh's exclusive MCT input offers a secure DSD connection to enjoy the high definition audio on SACDs when paired with the MCT450 SACD/CD Transport (958MCT450, sold separately). The MCT Input supports CD (44.1kHz/16-bit) and SACD (DSD64).
Note: The DA1 Digital Audio Module can be replaced by future modules to easily keep the MA5300 up to date with the latest digital audio technologies.

Analog Inputs: The McIntosh MA5300 integrated amp is outfitted with balanced (XLR), unbalanced (RCA), & phono (MM) analog inputs.

  • Balanced & Unbalanced Analog Inputs: The MA5300 integrated amp is equipped with one balanced stereo XLR input and four unbalanced stereo RCA inputs. Balanced connections guard against induced noise and allow long cable runs without compromising sound quality.
  • MM Phono Input: The MA5300 integrated amplifier is fitted with a Phono MM (Moving Magnet) input for connecting a turntable with a moving magnet (MM) phono cartridge.

Electromagnetic Input Switching w/ Naming: Electromagnetic input switching is used in McIntosh MA5300 integrated amp to switch the variety of source components connected. Rather than the commonly-used mechanical switches that will deteriorate with wear, electromagnetic switches are high tech switching nodes that allow very long, trouble-free operation.  The default Input Names can be changed to match the name of the component connected to it or any other custom name desired (up to 10 characters).

Binding Post Speaker Terminals: McIntosh Patented gold-plated, binding-post speaker terminals deliver high current output. They accept large diameter wire (up to 10AWG), banana plugs (single only), and spade lugs.

Pre-Out & Pass Through: When the MA5300 integrated amp is part of a home theater or multichannel audio system, the Right and Left Front channels from an AV processor or surround decoder can pass through the MA5300's "Power Amp Input" and onto its associated power amplifier. The MA5300's "Preamp Outputs" allow you to use a separate power amplifier, instead of the MA5300's built-in amplifier.

Headphone Amp with Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD): For those times when you want to enjoy your music even more intimately, the MA5300 includes a dedicated headphone amplifier that takes advantage of unique McIntosh technologies to yield the best possible personal listening experience. On the front-panel of the MA5300 is a 1/4" headphone jack (supports headphone impedances of 100-600Ω). The connected loudspeakers automatically switched off when headphones are connected. The headphone amp also features McIntosh's new Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD) to allow high quality recordings to image like conventional speakers in your headphones.

Front-Panel & Remote Control: On the front-panel of the McIntosh MA5300 are Input & Volume rotary knobs, as well as a Standby/On button. The MA5300 also includes an IR remote control for wireless operation of the integrated amp. In addition, the remote operates other McIntosh audio source components. The IR remote offers the following button functions - Power On/Off, Input Selection, Volume Up/Down, Setup/Menu, Numeric Keypad, and Playback Control.

  • Precision Volume Control: Volume levels are controlled by a precision balanced digitally controlled attenuator system with an optical encoder rotary control. This assures a 0.1dB tracking accuracy between channels. There are 225 individual 0.5dB volume level steps with no noise as the volume level is changed.
  • Balance Left/Right: You are also able to balance the output level of the integrated amp's left & right output channels.
  • Stereo/Mono Mode: By default the Stereo mode is active for all input sources. However, any input source may be assigned to Mono mode. Mono mode combines the Left and Right channel input signals for Monophonic Sound.
  • Source Level: Each audio source input can be matched in level, preventing abrupt changes in volume levels.

Front-Panel Display + Illuminated Power Meters: The integrated amplifier's front-panel display indicates source selection, volume levels, and setup functions. The Illuminated power output watt meters on the MA5300 are peak responding, and indicate the power output of the integrated amplifier at 8Ω and 4Ω impedances.

Custom Integration: The McIntosh MA5300 offers advanced connectivity and control features often required for custom home integration using premium control systems.

  • Power Control Connectors: The MA5300 has the ability to automatically switch power on or off to source components via the Power Control connections. The MA5300's "Main", "Trigger 1/2", and "PASSTHRU" Output Jacks (3.5mm) send power on/off signals (+12 volt/0volt) when connected to other McIntosh source components. The Power Control outputs can be assigned to activate when a given input or output is selected.
  • Data Ports: The MA5300's four Data Out Ports (3.5mm) send remote control signals to McIntosh source components. These Data Port connections allow for the remote operation of basic functions using the MA5300's Remote Control.
  • IR Input: The 3.5mm IR input allows the connection of an external IR receiver. With an external sensor connected to the MA5300, remote control operation of the system is possible from another room and/or when the MA5300 is located in a cabinet with the doors closed. The signal from a connected external IR receiver will have priority over the signal from the amp's front-panel IR sensor.
  • RS-232C Port: The integrated amp's RS-232C port requires a 3.5mm stereo minijack to a subminiature DB 9 connector cable (sold separately) to transmit and receive RS-232 commands.

Detachable AC Power Cord + Auto Power Off: The McIntosh MA5300 integrated amp features a detachable AC power cord with 3-pole IEC connector. The MA5300 incorporates an Auto Off feature, which automatically places the integrated amplifier into the Power Saving Standby/Off Mode after approximately 30 minutes of inactivity or no audio signal.

Mounting Options: The McIntosh MA5300 can be placed upright on a table or shelf, standing on its four feet. It also can be custom installed in a piece of furniture or cabinet of your choice. The four feet may be removed from the bottom of the MA5300 when it is custom installed. Always provide adequate ventilation for your MA5300. Allow at least 2" above the top, 2" below the bottom, and 2" on each side of the integrated amp, so that airflow is not obstructed.

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

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