McIntosh XR50 3-Way Bookshelf Loudspeaker Review


Boomin’ bass from bookshelf loudspeakers? Yes, it is possible, thanks to McIntosh’s XR50 3-way bookshelf loudspeaker.

Speakers this size typically need 20-40 watts of power per channel, but the XR50 bookshelf loudspeaker requires at least 75 watts (we recommend going as high as 100 watts!). With that kind of power, it’s no surprise the sound that’s delivered is similar to that of gigantic tower speakers. And you don’t even need a subwoofer to get an incredible bass response. Simply connect a pir of XR50s to the MAC7200 2-channel stereo receiver or MA8900 2-channel integrated amplifier for an incredibly BIG sound from a very compact speaker.

Check out the video below for a tour of the McIntosh XR50 bookshelf loudspeaker:

Video transcript

The XR50 bookshelf speaker from McIntosh is very unusual. Most speakers of compact dimensions, and these are pretty darn compact — they're just over a foot tall, and most speakers of this size have very limited bass response. And that's done intentionally to keep the efficiency or the sensitivity up.

So most small speakers are designed so you can run them on 20, 30, maybe 40 watts of power, and they'll do quite well. These are different. I'd like to see at least 75 watts per channel for the XR50. We usually use this with 100 watts per channel on up. When sufficiently powered like that, this speaker will give you a sense of bass response, realism, and size of sound that is absolutely astounding.

I played this loud speaker for many people who thought it was gigantic tower speakers in the room that we were playing. And when I point these out, they say, "Well, that's great, but which subwoofer are you using?" No subwoofer.

So we have a loudspeaker that sacrifices efficiency or sensitivity for incredible bass response. And McIntosh is a company that that makes sense for them to do because McIntosh builds large amplifiers.

So if you're looking for a compact speaker with a gigantic sound, and you have a minimum of 75 watts for a small room, preferably 100 watts per channel or more, this might be the speaker for you.

It has two midrange tweeters in a vertical array designed to give you very wide horizontal dispersion so everyone in the room hears very crisp highs. Yet it has controlled vertical directivity, which minimizes bounce off the floor and ceiling before the sound gets to you. And that gives you a more well-defined soundstage and what audiophiles call better imaging.

In the center, here is a 3/4-inch super tweeter that gives response way out past the limit of human hearing. Great sound, gigantic sound in a very compact box. Available in red, walnut or gloss black. And even the grilles are well thought out — they're magnetically held on instead of using pegs. It's a speaker built to last.

Come on in to one of World Wide Stereo’s showrooms and give a listen to the XR50, or buy one now right here on

McIntosh XR50 3-way bookshelf speaker

McIntosh XR50 3-Way
Bookshelf Speaker

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