McIntosh MC312 Power Amplifier Hits the Streets

The steady drumbeat of progress out of Binghamton, New York continues as McIntosh Labs trickles down the technical improvements from their top-of-the-line mono and stereo power amplifiers to their midrange offerings with the new $7,000 USD MC312 Power Amplifier, shipping now.

The MC312 replaces the venerable (2010, eight years running) MC302 design with a 27 per cent increase in dynamic headroom (1.8dB to 2.3dB) thanks in large part to a doubling of the filter capacity.

The MC312 pushes out 300 watts of stereo power into two, four or eight Ohm impedances thanks to its Autoformer technology. Which McIntosh CEO Charlie Randall explains as thus when I asked him about it in my MC611 review HERE: “The Autoformer is really for impedance-matching for loudspeakers and assures the consumer gets all of the power that they paid for… With a non-autoformered amplifier the designer has to choose the impedance to design around. In the case of a 600 watt four-Ohm amplifier the best you can hope for is 300 watts.  Another benefit of the Autoformer is the fact that the internal load is the autoformer regardless of the loudspeaker impedance. The amplifier circuit is optimized, in Layman terms the amplifier wont overheat and won’t shut down.”

Other changes include direct LED backlighting for the front-panel meters, new glass-topped enclosures for the Autoformers, monogrammed heatsinks, a number of circuit-path component and internal wiring upgrades and the addition of both balanced and unbalanced outputs to allow bi-amping or tri-amping loudspeakers.

Press Release Highlights below

Binghamton, NY – October 10, 2018 – McIntosh, the global leader in prestigious home entertainment and ultimate-quality audio for over 65 years, is proud to announce the MC312 Power Amplifier.

Be prepared for years and years of musical enjoyment with the new MC312 Power Amplifier. Like the MC302 that it replaces, the MC312 is a 300 Watts per channel stereo amplifier and is a great choice to power virtually any home audio system. The full 300 Watts can be delivered to almost any speakers regardless if they have 2, 4 or 8 Ohm impedance thanks to our unique Autoformer technology.

The MC312 has received numerous improvements compared to the MC302. Most notably is that filter capacity has been doubled, which increases dynamic headroom an impressive 27% from 1.8dB to 2.3dB. This increase means the MC312 will be even better suited to handle wide dynamic swings in music. Distortion prevention and bass performance also benefit from the increased filter capacity.

While still looking very much like a McIntosh, the MC312 has received some key design updates. Direct LED backlighting now illuminates the front panel for improved color accuracy. The audio output Autoformers still straddle the power transformer but are now located in new enclosures that are capped by a single cover containing glass inserts that show the wiring diagram for each transformer.

Other updates include the addition of our Monogrammed Heatsinks and our eco-friendly power management system. Numerous circuit components and internal wiring have also been upgraded. Balanced and unbalanced outputs have been added to enable bi-amping or tri-amping speakers; they can also be used to connect to a secondary system if the preamplifier doesn’t have enough connections, or to connect a powered subwoofer. The MC312 is packed full of other exclusive McIntosh technologies including: Power Guard, Sentry Monitor, Power Control, and our patented Solid Cinch speaker binding posts.

The MC312 sits on a beautiful polished stainless steel chassis and features the timeless McIntosh black glass front panel, illuminated logo, control knobs, aluminum end caps and a pair of fast responding blue Watt meters.

Pricing and Availability

Orders for the MC312 can now be placed with Authorized McIntosh dealers with shipping expected to begin in October.

Suggested retail price (VAT, shipping and any customs duties related to current standards of individual countries are excluded): $7,000 USD.

McIntosh Labs Inc.
2 Chambers Street - Binghamton, NY 13903-2699

Richard D. George's picture

I was expecting / waiting on this, anticipating the same sort of upgrade as the MC 462 upgrade of the (very well regarded) MC 452.

It probably will not be until next year, but I plan to add this (MC 312) to a system used for both 2 channel audio and home theater. The MC 312 would handle 2 channel in 2.1 mode and Left and Right in 5.1 mode. Other components:

McIntosh MX122 (pre/pro)
McIntosh MC205 (5 channel amp)
Bluesound Vault
Apple TV 4K
Xfinity HD DVR
Sony X1000ES 4K blu-ray player
(custom installer grade, not consumer grade)
Sonus faber speakers (L,R,C)
Bowers & Wilkins 7 series in-ceiling speakers
REL S/5 SHO (two of these)
Shunyata power conditioners, outlets, power cables
Audioquest cables
Two dedicated 20 amp circuits

Richard D. George's picture

Another Mac amp that is a real sleeper -> the MC 152. Rated a modest 150 watts per channel but performs far in excess of the rating. A real value.