McIntosh MA12000 is it worth upgrading to.

I'm thinking about upgrading from a MA452 power amp and a MC70 tube preamp, to the MA12000. I like the built in dac. and 8 tone controls. USB connection and more balanced inputs. It would also take up less space.The tube pre section has less distortion.03 MC70 .08 but the power side is 350wpc compared to the 452 at 450wpc. I love my system amazing sound and sound stage would like some feedback if worth the investment. McIntosh as of May 1, is offering 75% of the original MSP, till the end of June. I would appreciate all feedback pro or con.


McIntosh is offering to buy back your equipment at 75% of original MSP. until end of June.

I like my MA12000, but use it with external DAC and phono stage.  I’ve never used the tone controls and don’t understand their inclusion.  I assume that properly selected separates might provide better sound, but not sure this is true within the McIntosh family of amps and preamps.

Ask yourself if adding a better DAC to your present setup might provide more pleasing results than trading “up”.

Do it! You’ll love it! It’s an amazing, amazing piece of equipment. I think that it’s a sweet deal that Macintosh is doing. I’m going to try and take advantage of it myself.

75% of MSRP for trade in ??? Sounds like desperation. Hopefully they're not in trouble too. Shows how much margin is available to play around with - and - next we'll either be seeing the trade in pieces appearing somewhere at high prices or- the roll out of the "Certified McIntosh" program...

I don't understand why you would spent that much cash on a machine you only use as an power amp. My 452 is an amazing power amp would only upgrade to the 462  or a new 12000 for the tone controls and the Dac. And the added connections Is the Dac not that good,  can't believe Mc. wouldn't be using weak chips. And my phono stage is fine, I don't get it. My system sounds amazing, I only want to upgrade not to spend crazy dollars on Dac's and to use less space.  


I have a C2700 feeding a pair of MC611s. As far as the DAC in the C2700 goes, it will compete with anything up to $5K. It is crazy good for an almost "add-on" piece of equipment. I do run an additional DAC, and it is clearly better than the DA2 module; however, the DAC retails for $19K! The fun is when switching back and forth; the MAC puts a smile on my face!

You absolutely don’t want a built in dac  ,a Quality dedicated dac is so much better.

withut question , why do you want to change your current electronics ?what is your budget for a dedicated dac ? Please remember your Ethernet cables ,as well as usb cables make a huge difference , in your case I would recommend the Denafrips Pontus2 12 th anniversary dac ,with the Iris DDC upsampler which clears the signal then has a better master clock for $2500 a no brainer ,

it has a I2S input which is the best Wireworld HDMI has the exact pin out for the I2S cable -HDMI , the Mac dac not even close in musicality . I have heard most everything from McIntosh , this applies to all ,a good external dac is much better 

for you just have much area for isolation ,power supplies and better parts quality .

To the OP I have the same situation as Jeffrey W in the above post. My C8 preamp has the DA2  DAC and I have a DCS bartok. Switching back-and-forth between the two you can barely tell a difference. You could argue that there’s no difference because it’s so close. It comes down to which one do you prefer. My friend while we were switching back-and-forth like everybody else, it turned out that he’d like the Macintosh better. It’s so close that I decided to sell the DCS while it’s still has a decent resale value. There is no difference between the module that’s in the MA 12,000 for the C8. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t get the same enjoyment out of the M a 12,000 versus a separate DAC. Save the space and the money.

I'm new to mac moving from a hegel h590 to a c49 and pair of mc611's. How does the headroom compare on the model you have and the ma12000? What impressed me the most about my separates is how much better everything is at low volume, bass, soundstage, dynamics, layering, all the things I previously had to turn up to 90+ db to get now comes in at late night, 'everyone else in the house is asleep' levels. IDK if it's a mac thing or having so much power? Either way you already identified that as your concern so maybe you can get one on loan?

I have not heard the MA12000.There's not any high end Audio by me. Most of my equipment has been purchased by reviews. But the headroom or soundstage from my MC452 is huge. My room is 16' by 20' the stage is the whole back of the room My speakers are KLIPSCH CORNWALLS IVs and my c70  tube preamp and MC452 work well together. Crystal clear at any volume. I only play cds I use a Yamaha 2100 scds player and and old yamaha 120 sub. The MA12000 was a thought I would also like to keep my 452 for bass  and bi amp with 275 for tweets and mids. as you can see im all over the place That's a nice system C49 with the MC611's Thanks for the feedback good luck with your new system

I went to two audio stores today, just to listen and look at the MA12000 in person for the first time. But I promised myself not to buy it today.

A month ago, I decided that I want an MA9500 because I heard it’s quieter because the tube pre-amp stage of the MA12000 make more noise.

However, just when I am about to pull the trigger on the MA9500, McIntosh release the 75th Anniversary Edition of the MA12000, Part# MA12000-AN.

Since I am not the type that change audio gear every year, I want to have something that feel special, like a 75th anniversary edition which only available as the MA12000 and not the MA9500. That is why I want to make sure that the MA12000 does not have noticeable noise, so I need to hear the MA12000 in person.

The first store does not have MA12000 in stock, but he has a $42,000 Linn Klimax Streamer directly driving a pair of MC611 monoblock and Monitor Audio Platinum 300 3G speakers.

The second store has an MA12000 in stock, connected to Bowers & Wilkins 702S3 speakers. I forgot what the streamer was, but it is certainly not at Linn Klimax level (or pricing).

I played Madonna Voque as a reference song for both demo, and I must say, the MA12000 with 702S3 (in the second store) actually sounds better to my ear. Its more lively and more fun. It might be the speaker, but to me the lower cost, simpler MA12000 NON quad balanced integrated amplifier vs. the MC611 quad balanced monoblock amplifier does not make that much difference.

I also love the looks of the MA12000 so much (looks better in person then in pictures) that I decided to buy it today, even though I promise my self not to buy it today. I think the MA12000 is one if not the most beautiful design compare to other equipments made by McIntosh today.

What funny was, I actually drive back to the first store who did not have the MA12000 in stock and pay in full today simply because, the first store are much nicer peoples. The treatment was quite a stark contrast, especially on the first minutes I walk into the store.

The first store, called me when I was driving to the shop, apologizing that his employee who answer the phone earlier did not ask what equipment I want to see, and apologizing more that he did not have an MA12000 in stock. Please note, I was driving through California torrential rain to his store today.

The second store, on the other hand, the moment I opened the door, the owner stared at me like I was about to ask for a donation (eventhough I dressed well). He then asked, what am I looking for, and only after I said, I am looking for MA12000, he become a bit nicer and called his son to helped me. So sad...

The first store, also tried to call McIntosh regional sales manager in front of me, to find out when he can get MA12000-AN 75th Anniversary Edition, while the second store, don’t even ask what my name was, and what my cellphone number was... Heck, I even gave him a chance to ask my contact info when I ask for his business card...

Also note, at the second store, I was helped by the son’s owner... so it’s not like he is a simple sales person,... The son’s owner of the second store tried hard to be nice, but it felt a bit forced/unnatural.

The owner of the first store on the other hand is a genuinely nice person. Yes, he still has to make money and he is not shying away about it, but he is just a nice person that I want to buy my McIntosh from.

Anyway, back to the topic, I believe OP should not hesitate to upgrade to MA12000 from a pair of 452. I mean even a 611 does not make much different to my ear, so I don’t think a 452 will.

I can’t wait to get my MA12000-AN 75th Anniversary Edition, and will report how it sound at my home in this forum, hopefully soon.