McIntosh MA6500 Integrated amp

Hello all,

Thank goodness the list is back, thank you Audiogon!

I am looking for people who have had a chance to audition or owns the McIntosh MA6500 integrated amp.

I have read a few user reviews on this amp lately that have given it high praise. I was in a shop today and was able to try it. It was hooked to Kef Model Two speakers and the source was a $500 Marantz Carousel. I too was very impressed with this amp.

If anyone else has had any experience with this please share.

Thank you.
I own a MA6450 and have since auditioned speakers at the same dealer with a MA6500. The sound is pure McIntosh. Nice full bloom sound which I find very enjoyable. I think the sound is a little more detailed than my 6450. The 6500 has more power and the autoformers (nice), not to mention a headphone jack and phono, which I now wish I had. But, I couldn't spend the extra $$$ at the time. I love my Mac and I don't think you can go wrong with one, but I know others will have their opinions. Plus those meters late at night are wonderful! I've seen them going for around $2200 on ebay and audiogon, so hopefully your dealer will work out a good price for you (nice to buy new with a warranty). Also, if you haven't discovered this yet, check out Roger Russell's site on McIntosh==>

Really a nice guy. He used to work for them in their speaker division.

Best of luck!
There is no better amp in this price range. I auditioned many for over a year before I made my decision. I have mine tied to a pair of JM Lab Electra 915.5's which are biwired with double runs of Tara Labs RSC Prime 500. The sound is really undescribable. All I can say is you won't be disappointed with this amp if paired with the right speakers. One bit of advice. Buy it new from a dealer with warranty if you have the funds. As well built as McIntosh gear is, they can still break and are very expensive to get fixed. Mine lost an output meter at six months old. The company takes excellent care of their customers and needless to say, mine is back and good as new again. Enjoy!
I had the MA6500 and traded up for the MA6900. The MA6900 is the version with the autoformers. They both sound wonderful, but ultimately the MA6900 sounded that much better to me, particularly with acoustic music and voice. They just make good music. Last night I was playing some Keb Mo pretty loud and the amp handled it smoothly. I have the amp paired with Tannoy speakers. I don't normally play music loud and I find the McIntosh amps are very good at low volume as well. They also have some nice features that are hard to find these days, like tone controls, loudness compensation and a headphone jack. And they're beautiful to loook at too. I plan to keep this amp for a very long time.
I sold my MA6450 (also a fine unit) and upgraded to the MA6500. Holy Smokes! What a great amp. I love the power, build, sonic qualities, and seductive looks.

I have had some very well regarded separates and integrateds, but this wipes out everything I have ever owned. Expensive and worth every penny!

Best Regards and Happy Listening
If you do a search in the Audiogon forum section for "mcintosh" you will find a thread that appeared a few months ago that asks: "has anyone compared the two mcintosh integrateds". In that thread there is personal responses about both of them.

I have made some comments in that thread from when I demo'd both of them side by side at my dealer. Read the longer version there but I think both are fantastic and believe one could legitimately be preferred over another depending on what speakers and room acoustics one has.

I own the 6900 and beleive I will have it for a long time. Good Luck,
I have a MA6800 which I absolutely love and I just purchased a MA6500 for my other system. The MA6500 is paired with my MAC speakers and it is nothing short of awesome. Performance wise I can hear very little difference, maybe the MA6800 is a little softer but very little difference. I like the fact that the MA6500 without the autotransformers is only about half the weight. These MAC amps in my estimation are the best value for the dollar in the market. You won`t go wrong no matter which model you purchase.
"Thank goodness the list is back, thank you Audiogon!"
What is this about?
I have owned a McIntosh MA6500 for two years with flawless operation. I use it in conjunction with a pair of McIntosh LS320 bookshelf speakers and a McIntosh PS112 powered subwoofer. The sound and reliability of an all McIntosh system is most satisfying. The engineers at McIntosh will tell you that the MA6500 and MA6900 sound the same, which they do. Since my speakers are 4 ohm, the MC6500 provides me with the full rated 200 watts, cost much less than the MC6900, weighs much less than the MC6900 and can operate two pairs of speakers independently which the MC6900 can't. The MA6500 is truly an audio bargin.
The MA6500 and 6900 do NOT sound the same. The 6900 is the better unit, sounding more tube-like when called for, sounding more convincing with voices and instruments. Having said that, the 6500 is a terrific amp, which I owned myself. The only downside in my system with Shahinian speakers was that the 6500 did not control the bass as well as other amps (e.g. Plinius, Densen). If your speakers are easy loads, however, you can hardly go wrong with both amps. I would, however, go for a 6900 used.
Why do they carry 2 Integrateds with the same power output I wonder?
Why do they carry 2 Integrateds with the same power output I wonder?
At 8ohms, the MA6500 is 120W, while the MA6900 is 200W.
Some people are willing to spend the extra money for the autoformers so McIntosh takes advantage of the situation. Many long-time McIntosh owners do not what to part with the perceived advantage of the autoformers. I toured the McIntosh lab before purchasing my MA6500 and confirmed with the engineers that the MA6900 and MA6500 sounded the same.
You cannot confirm with the engineers, but with your ears only. This I have done, and these amps sound different, as experienced by others who have compared them - see the thread mentioned above. As far as MacĀ“s engineers are concerned, they are very much from the measurement-school. Chuck Hinton e.g. told me it did not pay to bother with speaker cables, "as they sound all the same". However, changing speaker cables has made one of the most noticable differences in my present Mac-system.
I went from a vintage Luxman L85V integrated to the MA6500. Needless to say the improvement was immense. The Mac is super quiet with low distortion so detail is extreme with no listening!
My brother has the MA6900 and both amps sound very similar but not the same. One thing to consider is the 6500 (without autoformers) has a greater damping factor which should control your flabby speakers a bit better than the autoformed 6900. I confirm this in comparing our two systems.
My only peeve about my Mac is the cheap plastic knobs....should be aluminum. Also, the meters although pretty put out some heat. Wish they could be turned off.
All told I like my MA6500 a LOT. Good luck and happy listening.
Before you buy that Mcintosh ma6500, go listen to a Anthem i-225 int amp !...the best of both worlds !...
This thread was started 9 years ago!
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Yes...the plastic knobs are shameful. Would never own a piece of gear that had plastic knobs. Don't care much for Mcintosh anyway but....all that money! they should be ashamed.