Integrated stereo system
Our take on the McIntosh MXA80 by Crutchfield's James Ralston
Legendary McIntosh quality in a compact system
A good friend of mine who's a consumer audio layman recently asked me: "What's that amplifier brand that you buy and pass down to your kids?" Before I could even answer, another "layman" friend of mine answered "McIntosh," without hesitation. McIntosh is famous for the quality and longevity of their components, even among regular folks who aren't tech geeks. With the MXA80, McIntosh managed to fit a whole lot of legendary audio goodness into a compact system that fits on your desktop.
High-performance amp with a souped-up DAC
The heart of the MXA80 is its stereo integrated amp. It's a McIntosh amplifier through and through, sporting a beautiful glass front panel, illuminated output meters, and a rock-solid aluminum chassis. A range of inputs on the back panel let you connect disc players, streaming devices, your computer, and more. The onboard DAC (digital-to-analog converter) allows the system to turn your digital audio files — including high-res PCM, DSD, and DXD formats — into sweet music.
Impressive McIntosh bookshelf speakers included
McIntosh may be best known for their electronics, but their speakers have a great reputation, too. The compact two-way speakers included with the MXA80 are an excellent introduction. Their high-excursion 4" woofers produce accurate, low-distortion midrange and bass. The 3/4" titanium dome tweeters offer extended frequency response for highs that shimmer with detail. They also offer a unique built-in stand that allows them to rest flat or be angled up, making it easier to get optimum sound no matter where you place them.
Get the most from your headphones
Want your own private listening session? Break out your best headphones and plug them into the front-panel 1/4" jack. The MXA80's built-in headphone amp will bring out the best in them — even demanding headphones that require a lot of power. An impedance switch lets you match the power output to your 'phones, ensuring that this amp delivers outstanding sound with just about any pair you use. Plus, McIntosh's Headphone Crossfeed Director restores directionality to the soundstage, so listening through your headphones more closely resembles the spaciousness offered by speakers.
Stereo Integrated Amplifier:
- 50 watts x 2 into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.005% THD with two channels driven
- advanced DAC (digital-to-analog converter) plays high-res PCM files up to 32-bit/384kHz, DSD files up to 11.2 MHz, and DXD files
- 1/4" headphone output with selectable impedance and Headphone Crossfeed Director for spacious sound that mimics speakers
- USB (type B) input for connecting a computer
- optical and coaxial digital inputs (accept high-res PCM audio up to 24-bit/192kHz)
- proprietary "MCT" input for connecting a McIntosh MCT450 stereo SACD/CD player
- balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA analog inputs
- stereo preamp outputs for connection to an external power amp or powered subwoofer
- gold-plated speaker binding posts
- no phono input to connect a turntable you'll need to add a phono preamp
- 5 Step Bass Boost Control allows custom tone shaping
- fiber optic illuminated glass front panel and mirror-finish stainless steel chassis for a beautiful appearance and long-term durability
- ThermalTrak™ output transistors for low distortion and cool operation
- Power Guard® circuitry protects speakers and headphones from damaging volume spikes
- display and meter backlight can be turned off
- detachable power cable
- remote control included
- 11-1/2"W x 5-9/16"H x 15"D
- warranty: 3 years
Stereo Desktop Speakers:
- 4" woofer, 3/4" dome tweeter
- frequency response: 60-45,000 Hz
- rear port for enhanced bass response
- cast aluminum enclosure with high-gloss piano black finish
- impedance: 8 ohms
- 5"W x 10-7/8"H x 11"D
- overall weight: 50 lbs.
- warranty: 3 years
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
What's in the Box:
- Integrated amplifier
- 6' AC power cord
- Remote control
- 2 Bookshelf loudspeakers
- 2 Grilles
- 2 Loudspeaker connecting cables
- Owner's Manual
McIntosh MXA80 Reviews
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Integrated Audio System: The MXA80 Integrated Audio System is the next generation of the acclaimed MXA70. It maintains the same compact footprint and full functionality while adding support for DSD and DXD digital music files thanks to a new digital-to-analog converter (DAC). The MXA80 Integrated Audio System features a compact, yet fully functional 50 watt stereo amplifier and a pair of specially designed two-way speakers that deliver a high level of performance. The system's analog & digital inputs provide flexibility to connect a variety of your music sources.
Classic McIntosh Design: The integrated amplifier is housed in a beautiful polished stainless steel chassis that not only compliments the classic glass front-panel, knobs, brushed aluminum end caps and gloss black speakers, but also blends nicely with almost any room decor.Stereo Amplifier w/ ThermalTrak: The McIntosh MXA80's integrated amplifier will deliver 50 watts per channel with less than 0.005% distortion at 8Ω from 20Hz to 20,000Hz. The integrated amplifier uses ThermalTrak output transistors for lower distortion and cool operation.
Specially Designed Power Supply: The large power transformer, multiple large filter capacitors and regulated power supply ensure stable noise free operation.
Electronic Input Switching w/ Naming: The integrated amplifier uses Logic Circuits controlling Electromagnetic Switches on all inputs and operating functions for reliable, noiseless, distortion free switching. 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 8 characters).
Asynchronous USB-B Input: The McIntosh MXA80 features a asynchronous USB-B input for playing back music files from your Windows PC or Mac computer. Asynchronous technology allows the digital clock inside the MXA80's DAC to control the flow of data coming from your computer. This method of communication leads to less jitter (timing errors) for the MXA80 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. Your Windows PC or Mac computer must meet the following system requirements -
- Windows 7 (SP1), Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10; a Windows PC will require the installation of McIntosh's USB Audio Window Driver (available on the McIntosh website)
- Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later; a Mac computer does not require the installation of an additional USB audio driver
Optical & Coaxial Digital Audio Inputs: The McIntosh MXA80 system offers one optical (toslink) digital input and one 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.
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).
Balanced & Unbalanced Analog Inputs: The McIntosh MXA80 Integrated Audio System is equipped with one balanced stereo XLR input and one unbalanced stereo RCA inputs. Balanced connections guard against induced noise and allow long cable runs without compromising sound quality.
Binding-Post Speaker Terminals: McIntosh Patented gold-plated, binding-post speaker terminals deliver high current output to the included pair of bookshelf loudspeakers. These binding post terminals will accept large diameter wire (up to 10AWG), banana plugs (single only), and spade lugs.
Preamp Output: The McIntosh MXA80 is fitted with a stereo RCA preamp output to send an unaltered audio signal to another amplifier, or to add a powered subwoofer to your system.
Headphone Amp: For those times when you want to enjoy your music even more intimately, the MXA80 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 MXA80 is a 1/4" headphone jack. The connected loudspeakers automatically switched off when headphones are connected.
- Autoformer Technology: The integrated headphone amplifier employs a new adaptation of McIntosh Autoformer technology to produce three headphone impedance ranges (8-40Ω / 40-150Ω / 150-600Ω) so every headphone will receive the optimal McIntosh sound.
- Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD): 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.
Audio Settings: The MXA80 Integrated Audio System offers a variety of audio adjustments to tailor the sound to your application & preference.
- Bass Boost: The intensity of the low frequencies in the music can be increased by using the Bass Boost function. The Bass Boost can be adjusted from 0dB to +12.5dB in 2.5dB increments.
- 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 & Remote Control: Front-panel controls includes an Standby/On button, a Input Selector knob, and a Volume knob. The included IR remote offer full wireless operation over the MXA80 system.
Front-Panel OLED & Illuminated Meters: The integrated amp's front-panel OLED display indicates source selection, volume levels, trim settings, and setup functions. The illuminated power output meters on the MXA80 are peak responding, and indicate the output of the integrated amplifier.Power Control: The MXA80 has the ability to automatically switch power on or off to and from source components via the Power Control In/Out connections (3.5mm).
Protection Circuitry: The patented McIntosh Power Guard circuit prevents amplifier clipping and protects your valuable loudspeakers & headphones. Sentry Monitor protects the power output circuitry and headphones in the event of an impedance mismatch. Built-in Thermal Protection Circuits guard against overheating. Direct Current Detection and Protection is provided for both headphones and loudspeakers.
Mounting Options: The integrated amplifier is designed to be placed upright on a table or shelf, standing on its feet. Allow at least 12" above the top and 0.625" below the bottom of the Amplifier, so that airflow is not obstructed. Allow 19" of depth for airflow and cable connections.
Dimensions: The MXA80's integrated amplifier measures 11.5" (w) x 5.5625" (h) x 14.625" (d), and weighs 26 lbs.
Two-Way Speaker Design: The MXA80 Integrated Audio System includes a pair of two-way bookshelf loudspeakers rated at 8Ω that can handle 50 watts of continuous power. Each bookshelf speaker features one 0.75" titanium tweeter and one 4" woofer with a 2,000Hz crossover.
- 0.75" Tweeter: The 0.75" titanium dome tweeter reproduces high frequencies up to 45,000Hz. The tweeter's voice coil is magnetic-fluid cooled for less thermal compression.
- 4" Woofer: The 4" cone woofer reproduces low frequencies down to 60Hz. The woofer has very large magnetic flux stabilizing elements that help it deliver lower bass notes with less distortion.
Bass Reflex Enclosure: The two-way bookshelf loudspeakers utilize a bass reflex cabinet with rear firing port for greater efficiency and bigger, deeper bass response. The speaker cabinets are made of durable cast aluminum and finished with high gloss black finish. Each speaker cabinet includes a removable black knit cloth grille. The speaker cabinets can be angled upward for greater sound dispersion.
Gold-Plated, Binding-Post Terminals: Each bookshelf loudspeaker features McIntosh Patented gold-plated, binding-post terminals to receive high current power & audio signal from the MXA80's integrated amplifier. These binding post terminals will accept large diameter wire (up to 10AWG), banana plugs (single only), and spade lugs.
Mounting Options: These bookshelf speaker can be simply placed on a stand, shelf, desk, or tabletop. There are no wall-mount options.
Dimensions: Each two-way bookshelf loudspeaker measures 5" (w) x 10.875" (h) x 10.75" (d), and weighs 25 lbs..
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