McIntosh MA252 Integrated Amplifier

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Model: MA252 UPC: 842548107168 Item: 169931

McIntosh MA252 Integrated Amplifier Overview

McIntosh has combined their famous tube preamp and a quite powerful solid-state power amplifier into one compact and great looking integrated amp in the MA252. The preamp features a low-noise MM PHONO input for vinyl lovers, a Balanced input, and an additional two stereo inputs plus outputs for a powered subwoofer. Bass and treble controls are also included. With 100 Watts per channel into 8-Ohm speakers and 160 Watts per channel into 4-Ohm speakers, the MA252 can easily drive almost any speakers. It’s even fully remote controlled.

Product Information

The MA252 Integrated Amplifier is the first hybrid integrated amplifier from McIntosh. Taking retro design cues from the legendary McIntosh MC275 Vacuum Tube Amplifier, the MA252 combines the best of vacuum tube and solid-state circuit design to create an amplifier that’s both visually and sonically stunning.

The preamplifier stage uses two 12AX7a and two 12AT7 vacuum tubes housed inside stylish protective cages; the output stage is a direct coupled solid-state amplifier that delivers 100 watts per channel into 8 ohm speakers or 160 watts per channel into 4 ohm speakers. An all analog design, it comes with 2 unbalanced, 1 balanced, and 1 Moving Magnet phono input for turntables. All 4 inputs can be given user-friendly names in order to simplify user control. Bass and treble tone controls help fine-tune your music to your personal preferences. A full range subwoofer output is included for use with a powered subwoofer to further enhance low frequencies.

The MA252 features McIntosh Monogrammed Heatsinks, which are connected to advanced high-current output transistors. These transistors eliminate the typical amplifier warm-up time so that the MA252 is in peak operating condition from the moment it’s turned on. A powerful control microprocessor is used for smooth system operation, along with some of the latest audio-grade circuit components that deliver the best possible sound.

Thanks to its solid-state output, the MA252 is McIntosh's first product containing vacuum tubes to include their patented Power Guard technology. Power Guard monitors the output signal for signs of overdriving and makes real-time micro adjustments to the input signal to prevent harsh sounding clipping that could potentially damage your speakers. If Power Guard is activated, the 2 vacuum tubes connected to the affected audio channel(s) will flash an amber color; they will return to their normal green color when the clipping has stopped.

Other McIntosh technologies found in the MA252 include Sentry Monitor, High Drive headphone amplifier and gold-plated speaker binding posts. Input selection, bass, treble, tone bypass, balance, and input offset levels can be adjusted using the front panel knobs or the included remote control; all settings and input selection will be shown on the OLED display. The entire unit sits atop a beautiful polished stainless steel chassis with a classic McIntosh-styled die cast aluminum name badge attached to each side.

Product highlights

  • Retro style that McIntosh tube amplifiers are known for
  • Ultra-low noise and distortion
  • Built-in high-current headphone amplifier
  • McIntosh’s best volume control design for precise adjustment
  • Remote control of all functions including power, volume, mute, tone settings, and channel balance
  • Cool running for long life
  • Warranty: 3 years – World Wide Stereo is an authorized dealer for every brand we sell
  • Included: World Wide Stereo 60-day guarantee and expert product support

Specifications

Specifications

  • Power output per channel
    • 100W into 8 ohms
    • 160W into 4 ohms
  • Number of channels: 2
  • Speaker impedance: 4 or 8 ohms
  • Rated power band: 20Hz to 20kHz
  • Total harmonic distortion: 0.03%
  • Dynamic headroom: 1.8dB
  • Frequency response
    • 0, -0.5dB 20Hz to 20kHz
    • +0, -3dB 10Hz to 100kHz
  • Sensitivity phono (Moving Magnet): 3.0mV
  • Sensitivity high level (Balanced/Unbalanced): 0.6V/0.3V
  • Signal to noise ratio
    • Moving magnet: 80dB
    • High level: 97dB
  • Input impedance (Balanced/Unbalanced): 20K/20K
  • Damping factor
    • 8 ohms: >200
    • 4 ohms: >100
  • Maximum output (Balanced/Unbalanced): 8V unbalanced
  • Balanced input: 1
  • Unbalanced input: 2
  • Phono input moving magnet: 1 (fixed loading)
  • Headphone output: 1/4" high drive
  • Unbalanced analog connector type: Standard
  • Speaker binding post type: Standard
  • Tone controls: Bass and treble
  • Tone bypass and input assign: Yes
  • RS232 control input: No
  • Power control output: 1
  • Rear panel data port: 1
  • Input level match: Yes
  • Vacuum tube or solid state
    • Preamplifier: Vacuum tube
    • Power amplifier: Solid state
  • Dual layer chassis: Yes
  • Chassis finish: Polished stainless steel
  • McIntosh monogrammed heat sinks: Yes
  • Power requirement: 120V 50/60Hz, 3.7A
  • Standby requirement: <0.5W
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 12" x 7 5/8" x 18"
  • Weight: 28 lbs.

What's in the Box

What's in the Box:

  • MA252 Integrated Amplifier
  • Remote control

Reviews

Customer Reviews for McIntosh MA252 Integrated Amplifier

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Rated 5 out of 5
A Retro Hybrid Amp with Power to Spare
Have had this unit for about a month now. Very pleased. I always wanted to forge into the world of tube (valve) preamps, but have always felt that Solid state amplifiers control the demands of modern speakers better than all but the most expensive tube (valve) kits. This Mcintosh suits my yearning very well. The MA252 replaced my venerable but aging MA6300 (that had 2 tune-ups in a decade of service and was getting tired).
The sound is warm, retro, with laid back bass. The pre-amplifier and the amplifier appear to be on separate chassis. The preamp portion has the 4 valves in the front which remind me of a mini Stonhedge, attached to the stainless steel pre-amp section. The solid state amplifier section is actually a separate aluminum/steel housing with the trademark ("Mc") heatsinks for each channel. This kit exudes quality from the brass connectors to the smooth detent switches of the input selector. The remote is a modern small (by McIntosh standards) slab with identifiable gold marked buttons.
The amplifier is a take on the Mcintosh standardbearer 100watt--8ohm/160 watt--4ohm unit that has been perfected over the years and has run venerable amplifiers such as the MC-162 and the current MA5300.
The MA252 does compromise in the way of inputs, yet its 4 inputs have more than enough for this audiophile. A Moving Magnet Phono input, 2 unbalanced RCA connections and a Balanced input round out the show.
But never fear, my Retro loving friends, the Marantz ND8006 connected to this unit, creates more inputs that rival the Digital Pack 2 upgrade for the MA 5300 and only adds $1,500 to the $4,500.00 base price for this bit of kit, including HEOS, digital radio and a high CD player.
I'm living in the best of worlds and my LS50 Metas (with REL sub) sing like a system costing thousands more. What a great time to be alive in Audiophile land.
Cheers....
February 16, 2022

Q&A

Customer Q & A

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Browse 6 questions Browse 6 questions and 6 answers
What's is the price?
Jerome on Oct 21, 2019
  Thanks for your inquiry. This product is only available for purchase in one of our PA showrooms and our experts would love to help. They can be reached at either of our retail showroom locations-- 215-368-8343 for Montgomeryville, PA or 610-649-7002 for Ardmore, PA and can offer advice on products, pricing and availability. Thanks again for finding us.
How does this compare to AMP's rated for 300-500 watts (Nova)? My speakers (R11's) are rated at 300-watts yet this is just 100 watts. Many speakers, like B&W 800-series say amps are crucial. Some dealers say 10-watts high output are better than 500+ watts.
A shopper on Oct 3, 2019
  Thank you for your question.
Amplifier power ratings can be as confusing as speaker power ratings. The typical speaker has a rated efficiency spec how loud is it in dB when driven with one watt and measured one meter from the speaker. The speaker maximum power rating id how many unclipped watts it will handle. Think of it like a maximum capacity. The point to ponder is the physics of amplification vs. loudness. Increasing the volume a barely perceptible 3 dB will double the amplifier power. Music is dynamic from soft to loud. So an amp playing low volume music may be using an average of 2 watts. Increase the volume in 3 dB increments and the power will go from 2 watts to 4watts the 4 to 8, then 16 then 32 then 64 then 128 then 256 then 512 watts. Average amp output is typically well below 10 watts. For the ear to perceive a doubling in loudness is a 10dB increase in power.
Turning up the volume too much on a 50 watt amplifier will result in the amplifier being overdriven in to a clipped waveform. Without getting even more into the physics suffice it to say that any amp that is overdriven can damage the speaker, starting with the tweeters. My amp at home is rated 120 watts into 8 ohms and over 200 watts into 4 ohms. If I exceed its power by turning it up too loud I can hear the clipping distortion in the tweeters. They would rapidly fail if subjected to clipping lasting more than 5 seconds. Underpowering is the primary cause of fried speakers.
McIntosh developed a patented circuit that prevents an amplifier from being overdriven more than about 1.2dB. Its called powerguard. So a McIntosh MA252 will play louder than any other non McIntosh 100watt amp.
will the McIntosh MA252 Integrated Amplifier drive stacked (four) original Advent loud speakers? These are often referred to as wall of sound.
A shopper on Jul 11, 2019
  Yes, it would drive them and sound beautiful.
Will 6 tower speakers rated at 30 to 500 watts work well with this amplifier ?
Pete L on Feb 19, 2019
  Absolutely! This amp would do a wonderful job with your speakers. With the ability to run 4-8 ohm speakers without breaking a sweat, you will get a phenomenal experience with your towers.
will the MA252 drive the old school speakers such as the AR 90s its rated 50wpc min and 300wpc max ?
A shopper on Oct 22, 2018
  This amplifier will drive AR90's very well.
How long did it take to receive it after it was ordered ?
A shopper on Dec 5, 2017
  Most McIntosh gear, including this unit, are only available in store and cannot be shipped. This particular unit is brand new, and only went into production in November. We were one of the first companies to place a pre-order for our stock, and we expect them to arrive any day now!
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