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McIntosh MHA200 Desktop tube headphone amplifier

Item # 958MHA200

This conversation piece makes a strong visual statement and delivers clean power to a wide range of headphones.

This conversation piece makes a strong visual statement and delivers clean power to a wide range of headphones.

California customers:
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Item # 958MHA200

In stock
$2,500.00

About the McIntosh MHA200

Jeff Miller

Classic McIntosh style, warmth, and power for your headphones

Few phrases will melt an audiophile's heart like the term "McIntosh tube amp." And now the company has built one for high-end headphones. The MHA200 desktop headphone amp sports four glass tubes — two to amplify the incoming signal, two for the output stage — illuminated in McIntosh's legendary emerald hue.

Classic McIntosh style, warmth, and power for your headphones

McIntosh MHA200 headphone amp on side table

The beautiful MHA200 tube headphone amp serves up clean power and warm sound to your wired headphones.

Few phrases will melt an audiophile's heart like the term "McIntosh tube amp." And now the company has built one for high-end headphones. The MHA200 desktop headphone amp sports four glass tubes — two to amplify the incoming signal, two for the output stage — illuminated in McIntosh's legendary emerald hue.

This amp is strictly analog, so there are no digital inputs or DACs built-in. It's designed to deliver a 500mW of power to any set of wired headphones with an impedance of 32 ohms or greater, including those with a super-high impedance. Next to the tubes, two large transformers work in tandem to keep the power clean, even, and in full effect.

McIntosh's conversation-piece style

This amp is larger than most portable or desktop amps, but not too big to fit into the average workspace. The base has roughly the same dimensions as a hardcover book and the amp is about as tall as a stack of four or five novels. But while it takes up less space on your desk, those gorgeous glowing green tubes will visually dominate the room.  

The chassis is made from folded stainless steel with a mirrored finish that accentuates the sparkle of the tubes. It also makes for a robust foundation along with the die cast aluminum panel and removable protective grille for the tubes. But connect a pair of high-performance headphones and this amp will do more than just grab your attention.

Works well with all types of headphones

What's your headphone ritual? Reclined, drink in-hand, eyes closed, with a set of over-ear cans on? A nice pair of IEMs shutting out the world while you sip coffee and work? The MHA200's impedance (load) dial ensures that the amp delivers just the right amount of power to any set of headphones. There's four impedance settings to match up to your 'phones — ranges of 32-100, 100-250, 250-600, and 600-1000 ohms.

On the front panel, there's a 1/4" stereo headphone jack along with a stereo XLR 4-pin balanced output and balanced left and right 3-pin XLR outputs. The transformers are designed to adapt and deliver full power, regardless of the headphones you use. And the glass tubes provide that classic warm sonic aesthetic to your tunes. 

Balanced and unbalanced inputs

The back panel features balanced 3-pin XLR and unbalanced RCA audio inputs for connecting a music source, preamp, or DAC. There's no knob or switch that can switch between the input options the source, so you'll have to connect only one at a time. You can connect components with a fixed or variable volume output — and use the front panel volume knob when needed. 

PSA: turn it down before you turn it up

Here's a pro tip: always turn the  load knob to the lowest gain setting and lower the volume when you connect new headphones. That will help prevent this workhorse from overpowering your headphone drivers. Plus it can help protect your ears — this amp is capable of playing very loud. 

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.

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Product highlights:

  • compact, high-performance headphone amp with vacuum tubes
    • tubes provide dynamic, consistently smooth sound
  • sturdy stainless steel chassis and die cast aluminum panels help minimize resonance
    • custom-shaped steel with polished mirrored finish
  • two McIntosh Unity Coupled Circuit output transformers for clean, stable power
  • power output of 500mW
  • four amplification vacuum tubes:
    • two 12AT7 tubes and two 12BH7 tubes
  • built at McIntosh's Binghamton, New York factory
Front-panel headphone controls:
  • four-position load/gain switch to select impedance that matches your headphones
    • choose between four impedance ranges: 32-100 ohms, 100-250 ohms, 250-600 ohms, and 600-1000 ohms
    • transformers designed to deliver full power output to each impedance range
  • rotary volume knob with fixed or variable control
Front-panel headphone outputs:
  • unbalanced stereo 1/4" headphone output
  • balanced left and right 3-pin XLR outputs
  • balanced stereo 4-pin XLR output
Back-panel analog inputs:
  • stereo unbalanced RCA audio input
  • 1 pair balanced 4-pin XLR line-level inputs
  • no input switch, use one input at a time
General Info and Specs:
  • removable die cast aluminum grille to protect the tubes
  • detachable AC power cord
  • Power Control output provides convenient turn-on/off of McIntosh source components
  • signal to noise ratio: 94dB
  • frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz (-0.5dB)
  • 6-1/8"W x 5-3/4"H x 10-5/8"D (with plugs)
  • weight: 10.5 lbs.
  • warranty: 3 years amp, 90 days tube
  • MFR # MHA200

What's in the box:

  • Headphone amplifier

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More details on the McIntosh MHA200

Research Team

Features & specs

Design
Type Desktop/Component
Built-in Rechargable Battery ---
Built-in DAC No
Amplifier Output Specs
Output Power 500mW
Output Impedance (Unbalanced) 32-1000 ohms
Output Impedance (Balanced) 32-1000 Ohms
Audio Specs
Bit Depth (USB) ---
Max Sampling Rate (USB) ---
Bit Depth (S/PDIF) ---
Max Sampling Rate S/PDIF ---
S/N Ratio (Unbalanced, in dB) 94
S/N Ratio (Balanced, in dB) ---
THD (Unbalanced) 0.5%
THD (Balanced) 0.5%
Supported File Types
PCM ---
DSD ---
DXD ---
MQA ---
Inputs
Total Inputs 2
USB ---
Optical Digital ---
Coaxial Digital ---
3.5mm Digital ---
Stereo RCA Analog 1
Stereo 3.5mm Analog ---
Stereo XLR Analog 1
Headphone Outputs
3.5mm Unbalanced ---
1/4-inch Unbalanced 1
4.4mm Balanced ---
XLR4 Balanced 1
Other Headphone Outs XLR-3 pair
Line Level & Digital Outs
RCA Line Out ---
3.5mm Line Out ---
XLR Line Out ---
Subwoofer Out ---
Optical Digital Out ---
Coaxial Digital Out ---
Wireless Connectivity
Bluetooth No
Wi-Fi No
Apple-compatible ---
Android-compatible ---
General Info
Width (inches) 6-1/8
Height (inches) 5-3/4
Depth (inches) 9-1/8
Weight 10.5 lbs.
Parts Warranty 3 Yrs Amp/90 Days Tube
Labor Warranty 3 Yrs Amp/90 Days Tube

Product Research

Features

Overview: The McIntosh MHA200 2-channel vacuum tube headphone amplifier is designed for headphone enthusiasts who want the best possible personal listening experience available. The MHA200 offers balanced and unbalanced analog inputs and outputs, with four headphone impedance ranges to choose from for the best performance from any headphone you connect. The compact MHA200 chassis lets you place it close to your favorite listening location. Dimensions: Width 6-1/8", Height 5-3/4", Depth 9-1/8"; Weight 10.5 pounds.

Vacuum Tubes: The MHA200 is equipped with two pairs of 12AT7 and 12BH7A dual triode vacuum tubes. The 12AT7 tubes amplify the incoming audio signal, while the 12BH7A tubes drive the headphone output with low distortion. When the unit is turned on, the tubes will flash green during the warmup phase. When the tubes are ready, they will glow a steady green. A protective vacuum tube cover is included. The tubes should only be changed by an authorized trained technician.

Unity Coupled Circuit: The headphone amplifier utilizes a pair of McIntosh's proprietary Unity Coupled Circuit output transformers to deliver pristine audio to your headphones. The transformers have been adapted to produce four separate headphone impedance ranges, so every headphone gets the full power of the MHA200 regardless of the impedance of the headphones. The Unity Coupled Circuit technology was first introduced in 1949 when McIntosh was founded, and is still used in some of their full-size amplifiers.

Load Knob: At the far left of the polished stainless steel front panel is the Load knob for matching the output of the MHA200 to your headphones. The headphone amp offers four impedance ranges to choose from: 32 Ohms (32-100Ω), 100 Ohms (100-250Ω), 250 Ohms (250-600Ω), and 600 Ohms (600-1000Ω). Just select the range closest to your headphones' impedance, and virtually every headphone receives the full 500mW output.

Volume Knob: The right knob on the front panel is the rotary volume control. The MHA200 lets you connect source components with a variable output (such as a preamplifier) or fixed output (CD player). If connecting to a variable output source, you should set the volume knob to the Reference Position, or the center indent position (12 o'clock), and control the headphone output at the source. When using a fixed output source, you should use the MHA200's volume knob.

Inputs: The MHA200 offers balance and unbalanced inputs. The balanced input allows you to connect the source via balanced XLR (3-pin) cables, while the unbalanced input accepts left and right RCA cables. You should choose either the balanced or unbalanced input, but not both.

Headphone Outputs: The McIntosh MHA200 headphone amplifier gives you three ways to connect your headphones, including balanced and unbalanced connections: Stereo 1/4" (Unbalanced), separate left and right 3-pin XLR connectors (balanced), and Stereo 4-pin XLR (balanced).

Power Control Jacks: The 3.5mm Power Control Input jack receives +12V DC power on/off signals when the headphone amp is connected to another McIntosh component. The 3.5mm Power Control Output jack sends +12V DC power on/off signal to other McIntosh components. Stereo 3.5mm miniplug cables (not included) are used for connection to the Power Control jacks.

Power/Standby: The MHA200 has a large Standby/On button on the front panel. The Standby LED glows red when the unit is connected to power and in Standby Mode. The LED will turn off when the unit is powered on. If the MHA200 is controlled by another device through Power Control, the Power Button will have no effect. The headphone amplifier will automatically turn itself off after approximately 30 minutes if no signal is received (if not being controlled through Power Control. The MHA200 has a C-7 power inlet and a removable power cord.

Specifications:

  • Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz (+0, -0.5dB)
  • Tubes: 12AT7 (x2) and 12BH7 (x2)
  • Headphone Power Output: 500 mW
  • Headphone Load Impedance Ranges:
    • 32 Ohms (32-100Ω)
    • 100 Ohms (100-250Ω)
    • 250 Ohms (250-600Ω)
    • 600 Ohms (600-1000Ω)
  • Total Harmonic Distortion:  0.5% (maximum, both channels operating, 20 Hz - 20 kHz)
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 94dB
  • Dimensions: Width 6.125" Height 5.75" Depth 9.125" (10.625" w/plugs)
  • Weight: 10.5 pounds

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