McIntosh XRT30, 29 & 28

Has anyone examined and listened to the current top-of-the-line McIntosh speaker system, the XRT30, and/or to the similar XRT29 and XRT28? (1) The XRT30 consists of two very tall (76") columns, each containing vertical arrays of 30 4-inch cone midrange drivers and 25 1-inch soft-dome tweeters; the bass drivers are in two separate enclosures, each containing two 12" woofers. (2) The XRT29 is simply the same columns as the XRT 30 system (containing the midrange drivers and tweeters), but with no woofers. (3) The XRT28 is a somewhat smaller system on the same general principle as the XRT30 but with a somewhat more modest driver complement: two 76" columns, each containing 20 4-inch cone midrange drivers and 16 1-inch soft-dome tweeters, but with the base of the column containing two 10" woofers (no separate woofer enclosures). I am very interested in these speakers and would like to hear impressions from anyone who owns or has listened to them. Thanks.
I have heard the XRT-30s (including the 29s with the bass modules) and the XRT-28s. Both were on the same day back to back a little under two weeks ago, but in different listening rooms at the same dealer location. Top of the line solid state McIntosh pre and power amplification was used, along with McIntosh CD players.

The 30s were in a sound treated HT/multi-channel music room setup, and the 28s were in an untreated 2 channel music "room" (it was more a medium sized "room" at the auditioning location's entrance leading to a hall way actually).

My impression of the 30s was highly positive... They imaged very-well, and they did not call attention to themselves, for the most part... My only "gripe" per se, was the bass just seemed too much for even the large treated room I heard them in. The bass was definitely clean, just too much quantity. I would say I felt the 30s were more speaker than anyone, but those with the absolute largest rooms would need. If I had a room that size (and had the $36,000+ scratch + room for the expensive electronics to drive them) I could see me buying them, but I would look at others in that price range first.

I should also point out that the wood finish (on all the McIntosh speakers actually) was not what one would normally expect from such relativey expensive speakers. I did not care much, as it was good enough for me, but if that is very important to you, just thought I would mention it.

As for the XRT-28s, the short answer is these are my kind of speakers through and through. From the bottom to the top, I loved everything that I heard on them. The bass integrated perfectly with the rest of their sound (and was spot on... low enough to get all the musical information and super tight), and female vocals sounded nothing short of amazing too.

I confess that another Audiogon poster has said that he experienced some small trouble with classical music, (I did not listen to any ochestral classical, so I can't comment on that), but on the smooth jazz, female pop and country vocals (Allison Krauss in particular), and gregorian chants, I was completely sold. In my session, imaging, soundstage, midrange, highs and lows were all just about as good as I could have imagined them to be. The bottom line is I preferred the XRT-28s to the XRT-30s, even with their less ideal placement and room dimensions (not even considering that they are half the price which is always nice). Yes, they were that good, and they made me rethink about how much is "too much" to spend on loud speakers and high-end electronics. These I would say were definitely worth the $18,200/pr. price tag to my ears.

In comparison, in the same setup, the owner swapped in some $12,000/pr. Dalis (that I think were called MS5s), and the vocals for Allison Krauss imediately sounded thin and life-less in comparison to the XRT-28s. That only reinforced my high opinion of them.

This is especially due to the fact that I heard some other speakers from Dali $5900/pr. Helicons in another room on the same electronics, that I thought sounded great, but were far less expensive than the MS5s... I believe looking back on the listening session that it probably was not that the MS5s were "bad" speakers, but that the XRT-28s were just that *good* that anything I heard following them was bound to disappoint. In any case, they are a must audition in my opinion...

Oh, just for reference, I do not own any of the speakers mentioned here. I own Tyler Acoustics Linbrook Signature System speakers, so I am really not biased toward McIntosh in any way.

Happy listening,

Drseid, Many thanks for your very helpful and informative post. It is much appreciated.
hi texasdave,while i dont own xrt30,s or for that matter any other of the mac speaker's you listed i do own mcintosh xrt 22's which are the older brother if you will of the 28's & 30's, same design principal, seperate bass cab's & tweeter column's.

everytime i listen to my 22's im floored, the description (drseid) gave of the xrt 28's sound's about how i would describe my 22's, tight clean clear bass & mid's & high"s that sound better than anything ive ever heard.

for my musical taste's the xrt 22's are perfect in every way,blues , jazz , classic rock , modern jazz , guitar, piano.

the xrt speaker line is a must audition,ive traded off a ton of other gear once i get bored with it(as we all do) but the xrt's keep me interested in the music, for a 7ft tall speaker they sure do dissapear into the music.

just this week ive been doing some a b testing with my JBL L250 TI's & the big mac's win hand's down in all area's,the jbl's sound outstanding in their own right but the xrt's are so much better.

the mac gear im running is very close to what your looking into right now & i love this set up.

xrt 22 speakers
mc500 amplifier
mc300 amplifier
mc300 amplifier
mvp 841 dvd/cdp
mr 85 tuner.

btw, the xrt's are a very easy speaker to tune into your room just by design with the seperate bass cab's & tweeter column's, the slightest angle change with the column's can easily be heard.

good luck on your quest.