McIntosh Tube Amp Blasts Back To The Future


Nothing sounds as warm a vacuum tubes heated to perfection, so it’s understandable that the McIntosh MC3500 MK II Vacuum Tube Power Amplifier has audiophiles buzzing with excitment. An aestheitcally awesome blend of old and new, the update of the amp used to power the Woodstock festival in 1969 is the definition of a modern classic.

McIntosh’s experts looked at the iconic MC3500 and retooled it to go with modern components, all with a glorious 350W of power that can be delivered to virtually any speaker via the Unity Coupled Circuit.

It has a fully balanced driver section with three 12AX7A and one 12AT7 vacuum tube. The output is powered by eight EL509S high-power output vacuum tubes, chosen due to the similarity to the 6LQ6 “sweep tubes” in the original MC3500.

All the vacuum tubes are behind the power and output transformers, covered by a wire cage.

MC3500 Mk II Back Angle background2 hi res scaled McIntosh Tube Amp Blasts Back To The Future

Like the original, there are black rubber bumpers so they can be set upright for shows, and U-shaped siderails for strength, though at $29,995 they probably won’t have hippie musos spilling bong water on them…

The meter shows output in watts and decibels. The bottom scale shows warm-up time for the tubes.

“At the 50th anniversary of Woodstock in 2019, there was a lot of buzz resurfacing about the McIntosh sound system,” says McIntosh President, Charlie Randall.

“This enthusiasm was infectious and inspired me to get our engineering team together to redesign the amp that has obviously resonated with music fans as being a historically significant piece of audio gear.

“After over two years, we are really proud of the result. The MC3500 Mk II takes its inspiration from the original 1968-71 MC3500 and incorporates all the knowledge we have gained surrounding vacuum tube amplifier design since the 1960s.