New MA9500 integrated amp

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I just had the email from McIntosh this morning with that beast in it.

Very nice looking piece of kit.

At least, one doesn’t have to buy door stops to keep it from sliding out of the rack when connected with the Beast II

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McIntosh has great retail and great trade-in. I weighed trading my MA9000 for an MA12000. I expected the release of a MA10000 and perhaps that will come but the MA9500 seems to be all for now.

I do not use the DA-1 (and would not use the DA-2) so that is not an incentive. I have difficulty seeing what this MA9500 would do for our particular system.

I may be misreading or under-reading the release information but it is described in modest evolutionary terms whereas the MA12000 sound more interesting.

Guessing there will be an MA12500 that will be their next hybrid.

Personally, I would more enjoy trading my Golden Ear Reference One.R for ?


21 grand for that beauty.

You lost me. $21k for what? The MA12000 is $14k. Were you referring to another model?

Oh, sorry. You were referring to the MA9500 which was the subject of the post. Sorry. Yes it is $21k. I am not certain why the difference in price, but they have their own pricing concept; always have, even in the 60s.

If you click on this link and read the text below the image of the rear panel of the 9500, it states that it is priced at $21,000 (unless I’m missing something).

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It does say £14995 which is about $20300 right now which is a lot more than I thought it would/should be!
Very ouch.

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They have a very specific audience, and this works for them. I am not endorsing, and if there were a definable difference, I would trade toward it, but reading the description and the specifications, I do not see the need. I do think that speaker investment is more targeted.

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As I start to think about simplification/downsizing the MA9500 is a very attractive proposition. For those of us that have been at this hobby for 20-50 years, many of us have traded and saved our way up the food chain. It’s taken years for me to get to the point that I feel like I have a main system that is close to what I’ve been aiming towards. But (yes, there’s a “but”) as I age, I do like the idea of simplicity and less fussing around with little black/silver boxes, cabling, and filtered power to tweak this and that.

If I take into account the price of this unit compared to a mature system that’s taken years to curate, the price for this is not out of line.

Now I know this is controversial, and I am going to say straight out that I understand that there will be people who will comment that spending more than $X on something is out of line. Well, sure that may be true for some, but let’s remember that people can say the same about cars, fishing gear, boats, shoes, food, etc…

The MA9500 is targeted at someone who wants something as seamless as possible, has little to no integration issues, and clearly has the means to afford it. It’s clearly not for everyone.

Let’s say you have a mature system and the prices below are new equipment price estimates:

  1. Monoblock Amps (Pair) - $15,000
  2. DAC - $6000
  3. Phono Pre - $3500
  4. Streamer - $2500
  5. Power Conditioner - $2500
  6. Associated cabling - Pick your poison here, but I think you are getting my point.

Clearly any one of the prices above could go higher or lower. This is simply representative. I didn’t include a rack/cabinet that an owner of the MA9500 may not need. Heck they might not even have a turntable, but if they did, they still wouldn’t need specialty racking.

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I traded my One.R’s for Focal Sopra 2’s. It’s possibly the best upgrade I’ve every done.

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Oh I like the idea of the ma9500 alright.
I did indeed divest myself of as many extraneous boxes as possible earlier.

But I went with a Mark Levinson ML585 integrated which checks most of my boxes.
The built in DAC is actually superb and has bested most external DAC I have tried with this amp already, maybe its the short internal signal path or lack of interconnect?
200wpc is MORE than enough for my needs
Maybe a built in headamp would be all I would ask extra.

Not sure as I am ready to spend plus $20k quite yet though


There are other objects that may bring as much enjoyment. I did the car thing with two Ford GTs, Vipers, etc and now just want basic transportation, feeling that way about hi-fi as well. If swapping speakers was easy…they bring in the new and take away the old, I would do that. I do not think I would go deeper into McIntosh. Right now the interest is just not there.

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I really like the ML585. I came super close just before the holidays getting one to replace the rig in my office. Then I saw the ModWright KWA 225 and I decided I needed to slow down and really pay attention to what’s been going on in the Integrated space. I haven’t been following along as closely as I do to separates. Currently I’m on a mission to clean up my digital audio in an attempt to get rid of small boxes. I just added a Signature Rendu SE to replace an opticalRendu. Less is more.


With the right dealer this is entirely possible. I’ve experienced this bit of joy, and it’s quite nice. White glove treatment is a treat. I recently did this with a wall mounted TV. The dealer charged me $250 to remove/dispose of the old TV (Plasma) and install the new TV. All the while I was happy knowing that if anything happened during the install I wasn’t liable.


Dealers that I find are not interested in enduring relationship. They are like car salesman, sell and move on. Likely, that is better for me. That way I do not contract gear aquisition syndrome. Interestingly, and predictably, back when such discretionary spending was difficult, it ”felt” more urgent. Also, as people often note, it is a matter of diminishing returns.


My wife has inoculated me against that.


I probably need a booster shot then!


Don’t get me wrong, I do really like McIntosh gear generally.
My last very enjoyable experience was a C52 ( I think?) preamp.

This was a wonderful piece of gear with a nice enough DAC and very nice Phonostage and multiple setup options.
This out to a BAT 300wpc Poweramp kept me happy for a few years…until upgraditis set in🙄.


LOL, good one Jim_F

I have the opposite problem. My wife encourages my frivolous spending. I have to watch what I mention, even casually.