Integrated Amplifiers

McIntosh MA6300 Integrated Stereo Amplifier


The MA6300 Design

The MA6300 puts out 100 watts into 8 ohm and 160 watts into 4 ohm loads, all at 0.005% THD between 20 Hz and 20 kHz ± 0.5 dB. Like most McIntosh components, the MA6300 is quite tall at almost 8" leaving plenty of air in the cabinet. Weighing 37 pounds it comes beautifully packaged and mounted to a stiff wood skid in which you must remove the plastic feet - the shipping weight is then 55 pounds! I do recommend hanging onto the packing material, as Mac owners like to send their units back after a decade or so, to have the unit re-calibrated. The manual also tells you how to re-pack the unit!

McIntosh MA6300 Close-up

The front panel is distinguished classic McIntosh – back painted black glass and the familiar analog needle VU meters for power output. Below each left/right meter is a large knob, one for balance and the other for volume, quite straightforward. Seven input selections along the bottom with soft toggle switches include CD1 (with balanced XLR inputs) and CD2 with RCA inputs.

Also find inputs for a Tuner, Phono, Tape, TV, and DVD. A Mono and Mute button are also conveniently placed. Symmetrical to the infinite detail, each end is matched with a red on/off switch and the other side a headphone jack with outputs rated for 16 to 250 ohm impedance.

LED power guard indicators for both left and right channels will illuminate if the audio signal peaks, or if the MA6300 overheats (it will temporarily shut down and return to normal operating temperature). McIntosh refers to this as "ThermalTrak™". The transistors will monitor bias, make adjustments if necessary, and run cool.

McIntosh MA6300 Rear Panel

With plenty of real estate on the rear, there are RCA stereo inputs for each input listed above, including the balanced connections for a CD player. The MM Phono input has the convenient ground. Left and right speaker posts are nicely separated from the inputs.

By providing preamp outputs (pre-out) and power amp inputs (pre-in), McIntosh designs into the MA6300 the use of either a separate preamplifier or amplifier by removing the jumper plugs.

Additional power controls allow the MA6300 to use 1/8" jacks for activating other components, and likewise a "Sum Data Port" sends data signals to another McIntosh source component, thereby allowing the Remote Control supplied with the MA6300 to control it. Additional data ports allow the remote control to operate other McIntosh components.

The MA6300 Remote Control

McIntosh MA6300 Remote Control

The remote control is above average and quite elegant – what else would we expect from McIntosh? Consistent with the component, the unit is black with gold lettering, if that matters to you, and it does to Mac owners. The unit is intuitively arranged and nicely backlit.

Setup of the MA6300

The owner's manual is not only handsome, but thorough, with information and precise graphics. I always appreciate the manufacturer making the effort.

Mating the MA6300 with speakers was an easy task for me, as I also had on hand a pair of KEF Reference full-range floorstanding speakers for review. My own reference Krix Symphonix was the standard for comparison; I also couldn't help comparing the McIntosh with an integrated tube amp, my Onix H6550.

For CD players, I used a McCormack UDP-1 universal player which doesn't have balanced outputs, so that part of the MA6300 went untried until my Benchmark DAC came along and I was able to audition music from my computer. Later on I added the Oppo DV-983H. The turntable used was from Marantz, while the speaker cables and interconnects were from Goertz and power cords from Wireworld.

One thing that doesn't change is my listening space – 12 ft wide, 16 ft deep and 8 ft ceilings with modest acoustic treatment.