The Art Of McIntosh

Hi-Fi’s First Audiophile Brand Means Thrilling Music For A Lifetime  

mc501meter-smIn the course of high end audio history, several companies have built one or two memorable products while a few others have given us a handful. Only McIntosh, hi-fi’s oldest audiophile manufacturer, has produced a steady stream of standout gear for more than 60 years. The legend began with the 50W1, the first amplifier to lower total harmonic distortion and intermodulation distortion to less than 1% across the audio spectrum from 20 to 20,000 Hz, a feat that foreshadowed the design and manufacture of such superlative products as the ones shown on this page (click on the images to expand them). You can hear these components for yourself in our showrooms. And you can follow these links to pages that detail Important McIntosh Benefits as well as summarizing The Rich McIntosh Heritage.

McIntosh MT5MT5 Turntable: The MT5 is a complete record playing system designed so that motor assembly, tonearm and cartridge work together to achieve top grade performance. Its illuminated, magnetically suspended platter instantly telegraphs excellence while its overall appearance provides the same classic look as related McIntosh gear. The MT5 is so impressive that Rolling Stone magazine called it "the turntable of the gods," and the British journal What Hi Fi? put it on a short list of just ten "Stars of CES 2013," calling it "possibly the most beautiful product" at The Venetian, the expo's high end audio showcase. The MT5 even features a high output moving coil cartridge that's compatible with moving magnet inputs on linked components. The guiding hand of McIntosh extends as far as setup, which is done at the factory to make certain such critical measurements as tracking force, anti-skate force, cartridge overhang and arm height are just right. You also get a clear, form-fitting dust cover to protect the MT5's moving parts and help preserve your prized vinyl collection. This excellent turntable is compatible with any McIntosh stereo preamp.

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British Crown Jewels

You'll Find The Diamonds From Bowers & Wilkins Absolutely Dazzling  

bw803-thThree decades ago, Bowers & Wilkins introduced its original 801 loudspeaker, a giant step forward for the firm and its customers but a mere first step in the creation of what has since become an almost mythic model range. 

The venerable British firm unveiled the newest generation of 800 models, the 800 Series Diamonds, at the January 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show. The speakers are manufactured entirely in the UK and mirror a long tradition of distinguished English luxury goods — Rolls Royce and Bentley automobiles, outerwear by Burberry and Barbour. For the first time, the company’s diamond dome tweeters are built into every 800 Series model. Now, even the stand mounted 805 provides the clear, uncolored, distortion-free sound that they're known for.

Bowers & Wilkins 800 Series Diamonds incorporate a cornucopia of advancements over predecessor models, including new motor assemblies for bass drivers and tweeters. These reduce distortion to new lows and result in even smoother sound. Improved driver design has allowed B&W to employ a superior crossover network, one that has been upgraded for cleaner signal passthrough. Signal quality is also enhanced by new, company-designed input terminals, which are fabricated of oxygen-free copper, a better conductor than brass.

These improvements will endow your favorite recordings with added layers of sonic excellence across the frequency spectrum while subtle aesthetic changes will make 800 Series Diamonds look better than ever in your home.

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Magneplanar Magic

Hear The MG1.7, MG3.7 And, In Manhattan, The Ravishing MG20.7  

MG17Pair-smEvery audio aficionado who has heard Magneplanar speakers will tell you they represent outstanding value, and many contend they provide better sonics for less money than any other loudspeaker bar none. There's no question that speakers sounding anywhere near as good tend to sell for two or three times as much.

When you play music on Magneplanars, instrumental and vocal performers really do sound as if they’re with you in your listening room.

Natural, Open, Boxless Sound

Magneplanars, which have been made in Minnesota by Magnepan since the late 1960s, are panel-shaped. They don’t have conventional box enclosures, and as a result their sound is exceptionally open. Music played through them reaches across a wide soundstage, and performances never sound squeezed or unnaturally constricted.

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Hear Nola Now

Nola's Extraordinary Speakers Outshine Many That Are Far More Costly 

To loosely paraphrase Samuel Johnson’s enduring quip about 18th century London, When a music lover is tired of Nolas he’s tired of life!

nola-thWe’re huge fans of Nola speakers, especially the flagship Grand Reference, which we included in Lyric’s Super-Fi System, the ultimate two-channel home audio component combination. The Nola Baby Grand Reference is also a favorite of everyone at Lyric.

So we were delighted when we received a prototype of Nola’s far less expensive Micro Grand Reference. It’s small enough to rest on a stand, but similarities between its sound and that of the Grand Reference and Baby Grand are striking enough to make ears perk up and eyes widen.

We’re not just talking about our ears and eyes. Soon after the Micro Grand Reference arrived at Lyric, two very serious home music listeners conducting comparison tests heard it and found that it has more magic than a certain other speaker that audiophile magazine reviewers have been effusively touting (and which happens to cost more than twice the price of this giant killer).

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Vinyl Is Victorious

Even Steve Jobs Preferred Recordings Played On A Traditional Turntable 

beatles-thHow many LPs have been languishing neglected on your shelves? 50? 100? More? Well, we think you should be enjoying them.

Even if you began listening to music in the digital age and have no LPs, there’s never been a better time to start a vinyl collection.

Talk about bargains! These days, LPs are available for next to nothing at thrift shops, flea markets, church fairs and library sales. The albums stacked in such places frequently include many of the best ever recorded in just about every musical genre you can name.

And in many places, used record stores have become hallowed institutions.

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VPI’s Newest Classic

The 30th Anniversary Classic Was Created To Celebrate LP Sound

By "Analogue Bob" Herman


A 30th anniversary is something only a select few high end audio companies have survived long enough to celebrate. Fewer still have commemorated their longevity by unveiling products as exceptional as the VPI Classic. 

VPI 30th Anniversary ClassicAfter introducing in quick succession three popular high performance turntables — Scout, Scoutmaster and Super Scoutmaster — all off which offer excellent value in their respective price categories, VPI Industries has now bowed a unit that represents radical rethink. The Classic, company principal and turntable guru Harry Weisfeld is quick to note, is all new and his simplest model ever.

Veteran listeners who have heard it, including another industry luminary named Harry, The Absolute Sound’s founding editor Harry Pearson, agree that the Classic takes turntables at its modest price point to a level of performance that threatens much more expensive units, some from VPI itself. HP put the Classic on his personal 2009 Editor's Choice list, which appears in the September issue of TAS and comprises "reference equipment I use that I consider good enough to be a reference in anyone's system." (The only other turntable on HP's list, by the way, costs $150,000. Yes, that's one-five-oh thousand!)

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Simply Evolutionary

Rega Has Been Improving This Great Turntable For Three Decades 

By "Analogue Bob" Herman

rega-thIt’s fair to call Rega Research a legend in the turntable category.

The English specialty company introduced its first unit in 1975, and followed it with the seminal P3 two years later. By 1980, it was known as the maker of Britain’s best-bang-for-the-buck (pound actually) turntables. The firm was by then exporting to a dozen countries, and a waiting list for Regas had formed. 

These days, Rega builds a range of specialty audio products, including some sensational CD players. The fact that it continues to focus exclusively on the two-channel world tells music lovers something very important about the company’s attitude.

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Sound + Value = Rotel

Rotel Gear Will Satisfy Audiophile Taste Buds Without Busting Budgets

Yes, a limited budget can buy home A/V electronics with true high end sound and rock-solid construction — provided they carry the Rotel name.

rotel_thRotel has a well-earned, worldwide reputation for components with the sonic authority and structural integrity of those costing far more.

The only Japanese electronics firm anywhere near its age still owned by its founding family and run by a family member, Rotel has operated continuously since the late 1950s, when it was Sylvania’s TV distributor in Japan.

By the 1960s, founder Tomiko Tachikawa was focusing on audio and building products for blue-chip U.S. hi-fi companies, including Harman-Kardon, H.H. Scott and Marantz, all of which had found Japan a cost-efficient source for reliable products.

The first Rotel-branded units appeared in 1969, but for various business considerations the firm continued manufacturing for other companies. As a result, when Consumer Reports magazine awarded an early Rotel-badged receiver a Best Buy rating back in 1973, it also gave high marks to two American-branded units that few people knew had been built in the same factory.

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Connect With Nordost

See Free Offers Sure To Signal Better Component System Performance

Cables are essential elements in the sound reproduction chain. Nevertheless, they remain the missing links in many high performance audio and A/V systems. If yours is one of them, take advantage of these no-risk offers from Lyric.

nordost-thOffer #1: We’ll Loan You Selected Nordost Courtesy Cables

Now you can audition the world’s finest cables, Nordost, with your components in your home and no obligation to buy. Provided you’ve purchased at least one component from Lyric that we feel will perform significantly better when used with them, you’re eligible to borrow courtesy cables by Nordost from our carefully chosen loaner inventory (of selected cables in specific lengths only). While we’re sure you’ll appreciate what Nordost can do for your system, taking advantage of this free offer doesn’t obligate you in any way.

Offer #2: If You Do Buy Nordost, Get Free Burn-In

Experts agree that cable sounds a lot better after being broken in, a procedure that alters both its conductor and insulating materials. Conventional burn-in is done by running your system on a continuous basis, and it can take months, but those who purchase their Nordost cables at Lyric can skip it entirely. We’ll burn in your cables on VIDAR, the company’s lab-quality signal generator, at no charge. The process takes 100 hours, and it will allow your cables to deliver optimum sound the minute you hook them up.

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