McIntosh Slims Down Flagship Loudspeaker’s Design And Price

The trend of taking flagship technology and scaling it down in both size and price continues. Following the debut of KEF’s LSX, McIntosh is the latest company to take this approach, with the firm scaling down its XRT2.1K loudspeaker and taking much of that technology and offering it in a smaller, more affordable package.

The new XRT1.1K loudspeaker has been priced at just £59,995, which is significantly less than the £137,500 price tag carried by its bigger sibling. Despite the price drop, much of the technology remains the same. That includes a nanocarbon-driver, which debuted on the XRT2.1K but will now be available at a much more affordable price.

Despite the inclusion of similar technologies, the XRT1.1K is noticeably different from its bigger sibling. It’s 35cm shorter and 78kg lighter, while there’s a total of 70 individual drivers; compared to the XRT2.1K’s 81 drivers. The new model’s drivers consist of four bass drivers, two low-frequency mid-range drivers, 24 upper-frequency mid-range drivers and 40 tweeters, which means the number of lower-frequency mid-range drivers have remained the same as the XRT2.1K, while there are two fewer bass drivers, five fewer tweeters and four fewer upper-frequency mid-range drivers. Thankfully, the bass driver and low-frequency midrange driver technology has been directly lifted from the XRT2.1K and incorporated into the XRT1.1K.

Let’s make no mistake, McIntosh’s slimmed down model is by no means cheap – but the company promises impressive audio performance and a striking design. Each loudspeaker is hand-made in New York, while the seven-layer high-gloss piano black finish gives it a premium look.

The XRT1.1K’s design, a four-way ported arrangement, uses McIntosh’s line array driver configuration to yield a wide and even sound field. With McIntosh’s line array design, listeners closer to the XRT1.1K will not be overpowered by extremely high volumes as they will only be on-axis to a portion of the drivers; listeners farther away will be on-axis to more of the drivers and will be able to hear the music without any large drop-off in sound level or quality.

The speaker grilles feature black-knit cloth with high-gloss trim; the grilles can be removed via magnetic fasteners to expose the drivers. The base plate is made of machined aluminium and glass. It has four adjustable feet that allow the speaker to make contact with the floor, thus eliminating a possible source of distortion or vibration amplifiers and other products.

Utilising capacitors and inductors with low loss and high current capacity, the crossover network is engineered to ensure an even frequency response over the entire audible range. McIntosh says that the type of inductor used in each section of the network has been chosen for high linearity, even at high power levels. This prevents distortion of the music at any frequency. The network also employs self-resetting high current PTC-type fuses to provide an extra measure of driver protection.

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