McIntosh MA252 Integrated Amplifier Sidebar: Hybrid History

Sidebar: Hybrid History

Since it was founded in 1949, McIntosh Laboratory has made a name for itself as an amplifier specialist. The MC275 – a 75W per channel tube design – is surely its definitive product, but the company now makes great solid-state designs too. Only now with the MA252 though, has McIntosh produced a hybrid tube/solid-state integrated. The concept is far from novel, because companies like Luxman were doing them as early as the '80s – witness the LV-105 valve/MOSFET integrated of 1984. Nine years later, Copland's CSA14 ran a brace of ECC88s in its differential input stage with great success. Musical Fidelity launched its first Nuvistor/transistor hybrid, the Nu-Vista 300 power amplifier, in 1999, with the M3 integrated in 2000. Later that decade, Vincent's SV-236MK was one of the strongest-selling hybrids due to its affordability and fine sound. Unison Research's Unico 150 won many friends in Europe, while Shanling's high-end A300 popularised the genre in the Far East. As ever more people become interested in the breed, modern designs such as PS Audio's BHK Signature 300 [HFN Jul '16] show just how good they can sound.

McIntosh Labs
Binghamton, NY, USA
Supplied by: Jordan Acoustics, Bournemouth
01202 911886