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McIntosh MC301

Monoblock power amplifier

1 Review | 2 questions - 2 answers

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Item # 958MC301

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Overview

Our take on the McIntosh MC301

The McIntosh MC301 is one of the most powerful amplifiers we've ever carried. Its monoblock design provides the ultimate in sound quality, as each speaker gets its own dedicated amp, guaranteeing maximum channel separation and exceptional soundstaging. Weighing in at 67 pounds, the MC301 is no lightweight. But its weight and size are actually modest when compared to monoblock amps of similar power and quality. In addition to state-of-the-art sound, this amp features classic McIntosh looks: black glass front panel, silver end caps, and iconic blue power meter.

Massive monoblock power in a manageable size

The McIntosh MC301 is one of the most powerful amplifiers we've ever carried. Its monoblock design provides the ultimate in sound quality, as each speaker gets its own dedicated amp, guaranteeing maximum channel separation and exceptional soundstaging. Weighing in at 67 pounds, the MC301 is no lightweight. But its weight and size are actually modest when compared to monoblock amps of similar power and quality. In addition to state-of-the-art sound, this amp features classic McIntosh looks: black glass front panel, silver end caps, and iconic blue power meter.

Inside the classic McIntosh sound

McIntosh MC301

The MC301's speaker connections include taps for an 8-, 4-, or 2-ohm speaker, for compatibility with demanding speakers, like many electrostatic models.

The MC301 delivers the effortlessly smooth, warm, non-fatiguing sound that McIntosh amplifiers are known for. One reason is the company's patented output Autoformers. These special output transformers ensure that the MC301 will deliver its full rated power — 300 watts — into any speaker load.

Check out this monoblock amp's rear panel. Notice anything unusual? Those are dedicated connections for speaker impedances of 8, 4, or 2 ohms. It's an expensive way to build an amp, but it means that even exotic, difficult-to-drive high-end speakers will provide optimum sound quality when connected to the MC301.

This amp also employs Power Guard, a waveform comparison circuit that continuously monitors both input and output signals. Power Guard dynamically adjusts the input level to prevent clipping and harsh-sounding distortion.

Achieve sonic synergy with a McIntosh preamp

McIntosh MC301 angled view

The MC301's clean, dynamic sound will add a sense of energy and presence when used with any preamplifier. Of course, an ideal match would be to use a pair of MC301s with one of McIntosh's stereo preamps — either the digital D150 or the analog/digital C47.

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:

  • 300 watts mono into 8, 4, or 2 ohms, for compatibility with even difficult-to-drive speakers
  • mono balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA inputs
  • mono balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA outputs for daisy-chaining a second monoblock amplifier (for bi-amping)
  • low-distortion Quad Balanced circuit design is fully balanced from input to output
  • oversized power transformer and extra-large capacitors for stable, noise-free operation
  • patented McIntosh output Autoformers ensure any connected speaker receives full power regardless of its impedance
  • ThermalTrak output transistors for lower distortion and cool operation
  • Power Guard continuously monitors both input and output signals and dynamically adjusts the input level to prevent distortion and clipping
  • gold-plated binding post terminals accept bare wire, banana plugs, and spade lugs
  • Power Control in/out jacks for use with compatible McIntosh components
  • fiber optic illuminated glass front panel
  • detachable power cord
  • handcrafted at McIntosh's Binghamton, New York factory
  • total harmonic distortion: 0.005% at 20-20,000 Hz
  • signal-to-noise ratio: 120 dB balanced, 118 dB unbalanced
  • frequency response: 10-100,000 Hz (+0, -3dB)
  • 17-1/2"W x 6"H x 21"D
  • weight: 67 lbs.
  • two MC301 amplifiers are required for stereo operation
  • warranty: 3 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • Mono block power amplifier
  • 6' AC power cord
  • Owner's Manual

Featured Video:

Reviews

McIntosh MC301 Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(1 Review)

McIntosh MC301

Julius from Brooklyn, NY on 6/22/2016

I bought two units to supplement McIntosh C47 preamp. Initially I wanted to get 601, however they are quite heavy (I bought also McIntosh MAC6700 - it is very heavy unit) , and I don't need so much power. 301's are much lighter and smaller units so I didn't have to reconfigure my "sound corner". They are connected to Bowers & Wilkins 804 D3. All connections are via McIntosh cables. Great sound, a lot of power.

Pros: great looking, great sound, easy to move around in comparison with larger units. actually cheap.

Cons: so far none.

Details

Hands-on research

Product Research

Features

300W Mono Block Amplifier: The McIntosh MC301 monoblock amplifier delivers 300 watts of power into a single channel at 2, 4, or 8Ω with less than 0.005% distortion for all frequencies from 20Hz to 20,000Hz. Mono block amplification is the ultimate in system configuration as each speaker has its own dedicated amp, which guarantees maximum channel separation and audio fidelity.

Exclusive McIntosh Power Assurance System: The McIntosh MC301 employs a collection of technologies that enhance performance and reliability while protecting the amplifier and loudspeakers.

  • Quad Balanced Circuitry: McIntosh's proprietary Quad Balanced circuit design yields the highest power level with the least amount of distortion. The MC301 is fully balanced from input to output. It consists of two matched power amplifiers operating in push-pull with their outputs combined in a McIntosh Autoformer. The Quad Balanced configuration cancels virtually all distortion.
  • Output Autoformers: McIntosh output Autoformers ensure every connected speaker receives full power regardless of its impedance. This unique patented McIntosh technology delivers the full-rated amplifier output with the least possible distortion into loudspeaker impedances of 2, 4, or 8Ω; you get all the power you paid for and the freedom to choose any loudspeaker. The Autoformers also provide perfect DC protection for your valuable loudspeakers.
  • Power Guard + Power Meters: 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 amp's front-panel LED indicator will flash when Power Guard is activated. The Illuminated power output watt meter on the MC301 is peak responding, and indicates the power output of the amplifier.
  • Sentry Monitor: McIntosh Sentry Monitor power output stage protection circuits ensure the MC301 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.
  • ThermalTrak & Thermal Protection: The power amplifier uses ThermalTrak output transistors for lower distortion and cool operation. Built-in thermal protection circuits guard against overheating.

Classic McIntosh Design & Specially Designed Power Supply: The MC301 mono block amplifier incorporates classic McIntosh design cues, including a black glass front-panel, rotary knobs, brushed aluminum end-caps, illuminated logo, and a power output watt meter. An oversized power transformer and extra-large capacitors ensure stable noise free operation.

Balanced & Unbalanced Analog Inputs/Outputs: The McIntosh MC301 mono block amplifier is equipped with one balanced XLR input and one unbalanced RCA input. There is also a balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA output to daisy-chain a second mono block amplifier. There is a switch on the back of the amp that allows you to select between the balanced & unbalanced connections. Balanced connections guard against induced noise and allow long cable runs without compromising sound quality.

Gold-Plated, Binding Post Terminals: McIntosh Patented gold-plated, binding-post speaker terminals deliver high current output to a single loudspeaker. They accept large diameter wire (up to 10AWG), banana plugs (single only), and spade lugs. The MC301 features 2, 4, and 8Ω binding post terminals. There are three Positive (+) terminals and one shared ("common") Negative (-) terminal.

Note: You can connect one loudspeaker to each Positive (+) binding-post terminal along with the shared ground terminal, for a total of three speakers. Make sure the speakers ohm rating matches up with the terminals ohm rating. If you have a 6Ω speaker, use the 4Ω output terminal.

Power Control In/Out: The MC301's Power Control Input (3.5mm) receives an On/Off signal from +5 to +12 volts when connected to a McIntosh component. The mono amplifier's Power Control Output (3.5mm) will in turn provide a +12 volt Output Signal with a total current up to 50mA to turn On/Off a connected McIntosh component.

AC Power Cord + Auto Power Off: The McIntosh MC301 mono power amp has a detachable AC power cord with 3-pole IEC connector. The MC301 incorporates an Auto Off feature, which automatically places the amplifier into the Power Saving Standby/Off Mode after approximately 30 minutes of no audio signal.

Mounting Options: The McIntosh MC301 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 MC301 when it is custom installed. Always provide adequate ventilation for your MC301. Allow at least 2" above the top, 2" below the bottom, and 2" on each side of the amplifier, 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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Staff Reviews

Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs

The McIntosh MC301 monoblock amplifier delivers its massive power to any speaker. With a dedicated amp for each speaker, you get maximum separation and soundstaging.

What are the Labs?
Q & A

Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

Awesome [ Troy  Feb 11, 2018 ]
Compact size for a McIntosh, yet delivers on all the features of a larger McIntosh amp. [ Stephen J.  Mar 03, 2017 ]

2 questions already asked

It's one. You can see what comes in the manufacturer's packaging by scrolling down to the "What's in the Box?" section on the amplifier's main webpage. [ Ryan  Nov 11, 2017 ]  Staff
The Crutchfield A/V Design Group will be best suited to help you with this: http://www.crutchfield.com/Institutional/diy.aspx This specially-trained group of advisors can go over what you have, what you want, and recommend the components & cabling you'll need to get the performance and capabilities you require in each location. I hope that helps! [ Kenny  Jan 03, 2017 ]  Staff
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