Type Integrated Amplifier
Preamplifier stage Vacuum Tube
Amplifier stage Solid State
Power Output per Channel 100 Watts into 8 Ohms; 160 Watts into 4 Ohms
Number of Channels 2
Speaker Impedance 4 or 8 Ohms
Rated Power Band 20Hz to 20kHz
Total Harmonic Distortion 0.03%
Dynamic Headroom 1.8dB
Frequency Response 20Hz to 20kHz (+0,-0.5dB); 10Hz to 100kHz (+0, -3dB)
Sensitivity Phono (Moving Magnet) 3.0mV
Sensitivity High Level (Balanced / Unbalanced) 0.6V/0.3V
Signal To Noise Ratio 97dB (High Level); 80dB (Moving Magnet)
Input Impedance 20K/20K (Balanced / Unbalanced)
Damping Factor >200 into 8Ω; >100 into 4Ω
Maximum Output 8V Unbalanced
Power Requirement 120V 50/60Hz, 3.7A
Dimensions 12"W x 7-5/8"H x 16-1/2"D (30.5cm x 19.4cm x 41.9cm)
Weight 28 lbs (12.7 kg)
Shipping Weight 37 lbs (16.8 kg)
The MA252 partners two 12AX7 and two 12AT7 tubes for the preamplifier stage, with a solid-state power amp section putting out a claimed 100W/8ohm and 160W/4ohm. The expensive Autoformers are conspicuous by their absence here, but the MA252 is equipped with Mac's 'Power Guard' technology, which monitors and adjusts the output in real time to prevent the power amp section from over-extending itself.
McIntosh's long-established 'Sentry Monitor' system is also fitted, a circuit that activates in case of accidental short-circuiting of speaker wires, disengaging the output stage before current exceeds safe operating levels. So the MA252 is a compact but powerful integrated that's largely foolproof in operation.
Indeed, the MA252 is an interesting package in a number of ways, as it not only brings tubes and transistors together but is a quirky mix of the old and the new stylistically, too. There's more than a nod to classic McIntosh valve amplifiers like the MC275 [HFN Feb '13], for starters. The lower section of the amplifier is polished metal with distinctive McIntosh-style knobs fitted to its angled fascia. The side sports elaborately profiled 'monogrammed' heatsinks, with the upper casework, housing the power amp and power supply, in black-finished pressed steel. Those four tubes are up-lit by bright green LEDs that may not be to everyone's taste but they're not entirely decorative – they change colour to orange during warm-up or if the Power Guard system kicks in.
There's also a large-ish blue OLED display that sits on the front of the power amp case, showing your chosen source and volume settings. Aesthetically, there is no doubt that some will find the blend of retro and modern styling elements to be rather brutal, but you certainly can't argue with how distinctive the amplifier looks and feels to operate!