Integrated Amplifiers

McIntosh MA6300 Integrated Stereo Amplifier


The MA6300 Sound

The overall presentation of the MA6300 is a clean dynamic response across the frequency spectrum – no bloated flat lows, nor shrilly highs. Midrange however is probably where this amplifier excels, just slightly. I'd expected that, as a solid state component, the bottom end would be most impressive Yet as much as I found bass adequately deep, I was captivated by the warmer silvery guitar and earthy piano tones.

Stanley Jordon's Live in New York CD, particularly track 5, "Flying House" is as warm as you'll ever hear an electric guitar sound, yet the clarity of his string plucking (or in this case tapping), is articulate.

Musica Pacifica's Vivaldi: La Notte Concerti per strumenti diversi is an excellent CD for articulating and separating instruments. Soundstage is defined, wide, and deep. To reiterate, bass was more than healthy – bassoon and cello were so well delivered that the accompanied recorder danced around and through them.

Likewise, listening to the Tallis Scholars with the remarkable ambience of the music halls, typically large chapels, the placement of voices high and low float and the soundstage extends well beyond the speakers. The MA6300 evokes the essence of those live tactile performances.

Midrange vocals from melancholy Lyle Lovett in his amazing soulful CD, Joshua Judges Ruth pushed forward projecting his voice, which was rendered realistically throaty and quite accurate.

On the female side, Rene Marie's Live at Jazz Standard captivated me with her voice with wonderful clarity and strength, rendering it powerful yet soft.

Much vinyl was played through the MA6300 phono stage, as I've enjoyed a resurgence of interest in the medium, but one LP that stuck out was The Avant-Garde with John Coltrane's sax and Don Cherry's trumpet - again, excellent separation between instruments, clarity and wonderful timbre with a brassy edge.

Conclusions About the McIntosh MA6300

As a first venture into the McIntosh family of components, the MA6300 is a natural for me. It's rare that you can say anything you purchase is an investment, yet here it is, the MA6300. I'm pretty sure the MA6300 was designed to bring a new audiophile client into the fold; reliable solid-state construction, a versatile array of inputs, options to upgrade amplifiers (hopefully McIntosh), quality remote, reasonable price, and of course the McIntosh name and all that implies.

For nitpicks, there is a slight edginess to the highs, typical of solid state, and there are times the MA6300 can also sound slightly dry, by that I mean it is always reserved. It basically remains neutral, not adding its own signature to the sound, and it does this very well. I would have liked tone controls, but of course, tone controls go away when you reach this level of performance.

It's very easy to like McIntosh products – the sexy UV meters glowing green, more than adequate power to drive the most demanding speakers, very low distortion, and a neutral presentation. The MA6300 will surely extend the Mr. Mac's family into homes of music lovers and audiophiles alike, regardless of budget. The MA6300 gives you options and an opportunity to afford a piece uniquely American that you'll be happy with for a long, long time.