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McIntosh MHA200
Foto © McIntosh Laboratory Inc.

McIntosh MHA200 2-Channel Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier

McIntosh MHA200 2-Channel Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier, this is a headphone amplifier designed with one goal in mind, and that is to bring out the best in any headphone to appeal to audiophile music lovers.


The US high-end hi-fi manufacturer McIntosh Laboratory Inc. is usually regarded as a specialist in the field of amplifiers, although it also offers many other fine solutions for hi-fi electronics. For example, the company’s portfolio also includes headphone amplifiers, including the brand new McIntosh MHA200 2-Channel Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier.

With the McIntosh MHA200 2-Channel Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier, the developers have taken on something very special. This solution is supposed to have been designed with the aim of tickling nothing less than the best out of every pair of headphones; they want to give even the most demanding music lovers the right tool for unadulterated enjoyment at the highest audiophile level.

Remarkable and obvious at first sight, the new McIntosh MHA200 2-Channel Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier presents itself as a worthy representative of McIntosh Laboratory Inc. The developers rely on almost all design features that lovers of this brand have appreciated for years.

You could almost think you were looking at a classic amplifier from the US. The base of the cabinet is made of stainless steel with a polished surface. On the front, the connections for the headphones are located at the bottom, and directly above them, slightly slanted to the back, the control elements are available. All inputs are located at the rear.

The massive power supply is literally enthroned above it, flanked by the glass bulbs that form the heart of the new McIntosh MHA200 2-Channel Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier. If desired, and in order to comply with EU regulations, the tubes can of course be concealed behind a metal grille, in which case they still flash their green illumination.

A pair of 12AT7 and a pair of 12BH7A double triode vacuum tubes drive the compact McIntosh MHA200. The 12AT7 vacuum tubes amplify the incoming audio signal, while the 12BH7A tubes provide the power, emphasising that only the slightest distortion occurs. The McIntosh MHA200 uses a pair of the so-called McIntosh Unity Coupled Circuit output transformers to deliver a pristine sound. This is the same technology that McIntosh Laboratory Inc. was founded on in 1949 and that still forms the basis of the manufacturer’s tube amplifiers, such as the McIntosh MC275 and the more recent McIntosh MC1502. In general, the McIntosh MHA200 shares many design features with the tube amplifiers mentioned above.

The new McIntosh MHA200 2-Channel Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier is designed in such a way that almost any headphone can be operated without problems, the McIntosh Unity Coupled Circuit output transformer just described makes this possible. Four impedance ranges are available, namely 32 to 100 ohms, 100 to 250 ohms, 250 to 600 ohms, and 600 ohms to 1 kOhm.

Instead of matching the voltage gain in the input stage to the impedance of the headphones, the secondary windings of the McIntosh Unity Coupled Circuit output transformers ensure that the full power of the MHA200 is available regardless of the impedance of the headphones. A custom, high-power, high-efficiency toroidal transformer with low mechanical hum and a low magnetic field that helps reduce electrical noise, provides clean power to the amplifier and ensures that a whopping 500 mW is always achieved.

Three options are available here for connecting the headphones. In addition to a balanced 4-pin XLR connector, there are two further 3-pin XLR connectors for separate control of the left and right channels, as well as a “classic” unbalanced 6.3 mm stereo jack connector.

At the rear, there are a pair of RCA sockets and a pair of XLR sockets, so you can choose between unbalanced and balanced.

The new McIntosh MHA200 2-Channel Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier measures a comparatively compact 15.6 cm in width, 23.2 cm in depth and 14.6 cm in height. This means that it weighs in at an impressive 5.5 kg.

The new McIntosh MHA200 2-Channel Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier should be available in specialist shops soon. The manufacturer states March 2021 in this regard.

Getting to the point

With the McIntosh MHA200 2-Channel Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier, the developers have taken on something very special. This solution has been designed with the aim of tickling nothing less than the best out of every pair of headphones, giving even the most demanding music lovers the right tool for unadulterated enjoyment at the highest audiophile level.

Manufacturer:McIntosh Laboratory Inc.
Distribution:Audio Components GmbH
Price:US$ 2.500,-

About Michael Holzinger

Michael Holzinger, founder and editor-in-chief of HiFi BLOG and sempre-audio.com, has been working for years as a journalist in the fields of IT, photography, telecommunications and consumer electronics.

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