McIntosh Introduces the MHA150!
Sep 14, 2016 at 12:34 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 256

Dillan

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The MHA150 Headphone Amplifier is a worthy successor to the critically-acclaimed MHA100. The MHA150 contains the same feature set and performance standards but adds our new 2nd generation digital-to-analog converter (DAC) that provides support for DSD and DXD files to give you access to the latest in digital music.

Like the MHA100, the MHA150 continues to take advantage of unique McIntosh technologies to create the best possible personal listening experience regardless of the headphones you use. Our Autoformer technology found in our large mono and stereo amplifiers has been adapted to produce three headphone impedance ranges of 8-40, 40-150 and 150-600 ohms so that every headphone will receive the legendary McIntosh sound quality and performance.

For enjoying DSD and DXD files, the USB input accepts PCM signals up to 32-bit/384kHz and supports DSD64, DSD128 and DSD256 along with DXD 352.8kHz and DXD 384kHz. Our proprietary MCT input has also been added to the MHA150; when paired with the MCT450 SACD/CD Transport​, it offers a secure DSD connection for playback of the high definition audio on SACDs.

For connecting digital devices, an optical and coaxial input are included along with the USB and MCT inputs; two analog inputs are also available. Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD®) brings added dimension to your music in a natural sounding way but can be turned off depending on your preferences. The MHA150 is smaller than our other amplifiers, giving you additional flexibility to locate it almost anywhere in your space. It’s the same width as the MB50 Streaming Audio Player and the two can be combined to start building a complete system.

The MHA150 is powerful and versatile enough to drive a pair of quality desktop or small bookshelf speakers​ via its 50 watt stereo speaker outputs. Our patented Power Guard® technology is included and will prevent clipping that could damage your headphones or speakers. A 5 step Bass Boost Control allows for further sound customization. The entire unit is housed in a beautiful polished stainless steel chassis that not only compliments the classic glass front panel, knobs and brushed aluminum end caps, but virtually any room decor. Contact your local dealer to learn more. ​
 
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I actually heard about this being hinted at long before it came out. I believe it has 2 DAC chips per channel - the MHA100 is probably one of the best sounding amplifiers I have ever heard. I am sure this is even better! (Although I don't believe they touched the amp section.)
 
Thoughts? Opinions?
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Sep 16, 2016 at 1:10 PM Post #2 of 256

m8o

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As you asked... :)

I'm happy to see the advanced offering, with focus on the part getting the most negative criticism, for the same msrp. I guess it goes to show you how much markup padding there was in the mha100. Lol.

As an owner of the mha100...
Biggest problem with this whole 'all in one' thing is the line-out is linked to the speaker-out. If you use the internal dac and amp via the autoformer fed headphone out, the line-out is muted. Must use the speaker banana plugs feeding your headphones to be able to also use line out to feed other amps, say for bass shakers or other headphone amps; for visceral seat shaking or so others can listen to the same music at the same time via other amps respectively; which would be desired in my listening room pretty often. Alternately a pre-out/power-in loop would aleviate all my woes.

Unless McIntosh changed that with the mha150 (tho seems like it could be addressed with a firmware update to the mha100), I dont have one iota of fomo. I personally will be putting my money into an external totl dac that can feed multiple amps via both balanced and unbalanced. Then, my setup will be complete (famous last words).

But this even better offering of this totl device for the same msrp that new comers can take advantage of? Fantastic to see.
 
Dec 1, 2016 at 3:46 PM Post #4 of 256

m8o

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Haha, funny, I was just thinking about posting in this thread again.

Seems I just purchased a totl stand alone dac that doesn't do dsd. So now I do have fomo and am thinking of trading in my mha-100 for this mha-150. Not thinking too seriously, but thinking. Lol

That mha-100 is a killer device made only better as the 150 for the same price. I wouldnt think twice. Don't let few takers that also frequent here [headfi] make purchase decisions for you.
 
Dec 1, 2016 at 4:12 PM Post #5 of 256

WayTooCrazy

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Don't let few takers that also frequent here [headfi] make purchase decisions for you.

Haha, I've heard that. I've picked up too many FOTM Headphones and Amps and been underwhelmed. Then sold them off, wasting a lot of money in the process. Now, looking to get into the "Higher" end of things, but still steer clear of the Zealots. In the end, Mac being what it is, it can still be sold years later without a Huge penalty in price (not like other products). Add to that, I'm looking to go "All American" with my HiFi setup.
 
Dec 1, 2016 at 4:14 PM Post #6 of 256

m8o

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Ah, so MrSpeakers Flow is a given. :wink:
 
Dec 1, 2016 at 4:25 PM Post #7 of 256

WayTooCrazy

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Ah, so MrSpeakers Flow is a given.
wink.gif


Likely, Audeze LCD-2 is on the way. I'm still eyeing a pair of LCD-3... but don't know if there is a point once the LCD-2 get here. I'd have to look at some others. I think another pair of Grados is definitely in order though. Hmmm... LCD-XC or Ether C is not a bad option either (will allow me to sell off the Fostex P.H.).
 
Dec 1, 2016 at 4:41 PM Post #8 of 256

m8o

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Silly me to have forgotten about them. Yep, that works.
 
Jan 31, 2017 at 7:43 PM Post #9 of 256

iPaulR

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I'm looking for a high-end desktop headphone amp to drive my focal Utopia headphones. It has to be way way better sounding then what I already have and use, which is an AK380 plus AK380 amp ( which sounds awesome to me).

Because of where the amp will sit, it must also be really cool looking!

The only candidate I found so far is the mha150 McIntosh. But I'm amazed that this unit has no balanced output for headphones. Just a full size jack. No XLR4 or XLR3s.

I'm also amazed that there have been no serious reviews of the mha150.

Thoughts or comments?
 
Jan 31, 2017 at 10:03 PM Post #10 of 256

DancingBlue

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I have an MHA100 which, for the purpose of your question, is the same as the MHA150. It drives higher impedance headphones like the MHP1000 and HD800S just fine. I keep the volume between 40-50%, and have rarely gone above around 55%. At that point it hurts to listen.  With no music playing, I hear absolutely no background noise or hiss until I turn the volume up to 92% at which point there IS a tiny bit of system hiss which does not get significantly louder when turned up to 100%. Given the low impedance and high efficiency of the Utopias, I don't think you'll have any problem driving them, and driving them loud. The amp has plenty of power to spare and a noise floor that you'll never (practically) hit, so for me I don't miss having a balanced jack at all.
 
Feb 1, 2017 at 1:45 AM Post #11 of 256

m8o

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For 'balanced out', I just use the speaker taps. I use the speaker taps 100% of the time now with the HE-1000.
 
Feb 1, 2017 at 10:04 AM Post #13 of 256

iPaulR

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Thanks for your quick reply. Much appreciated.

The article link below says that there's a lot more to balanced output then just reducing noise.

https://www.headphone.com/pages/balanced-headphones-guide

What do you think?
 
Feb 1, 2017 at 10:35 AM Post #14 of 256

iPaulR

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Have you found a difference in sound quality between the balanced output you're using and the headphone jack?

How do you hook your headphones up to the speaker output?

I couldn't find anything in the manual that said the speaker output is balanced. Did I miss something?

What do you use as a source to send music to the mha150?
 
Feb 1, 2017 at 11:28 AM Post #15 of 256

m8o

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Do you reckon the speaker output is sufficient to power something like the He6?


It's a solid 50wpc into 8 ohms. I didn't do the exact math but estimate that's somewhere around 9wpc to the 50 ohm load of the HE-6. So I would say yes.

Im really trying to limit my headphone purchases. But that headphone is definitely on my wanna buy list. Tho likely after a HE1K V1 to V2 upgrade.

Have you found a difference in sound quality between the balanced output you're using and the headphone jack?

How do you hook your headphones up to the speaker output?

I couldn't find anything in the manual that said the speaker output is balanced. Did I miss something?

What do you use as a source to send music to the mha150?


Yes. The headphone output thru the autoformers produces a more holographic reproduction to me; with different instruments in different heights and distances from the ear. The speaker output makes it so the depth of instruments from the ear is more equal, and around the ear is more uniformly spread out. Like a helmet of sound. The bass however is faster, has more attack and decay; ie better controlled. Exactly what the HE-1000 NEEDS.

The amp is in no way 'differential', aka 'balanced' like the Mojlnir I also own is . Many headphone amps that have balanced out are in no way differential internally (again, unlike the Mojlnir). They just use a differential output stage to give you is a separate negative (some may not even do that), to allow for separate +/- for L/R. Using the speaker out in this amp is akin to that ... with 50wpc into 8 ohms (12.5wpc into 32 ohms) behind it instead of a headphone amp delivering a fraction, or one, or a few wpc into 32 ohms.

So far I've used speaker out with the he-1000, ether, and hd-650. And I like music loud. Haven't smoked anything, but it could happen if I was stupid and fed it highly compressed pop,metal,alt at ear bleed levels.

Conection is a banana plugs in L and R, separate two wire cables from that soldered to a 4-pin XLR.
 

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