(May 19, 2023) Rewind 53 years to 1970, and McIntosh was busy releasing its first-ever loudspeaker, the ML1. Flexing a mid-century modern design and high-volume output capabilities, the ML1 enjoyed a seven-year run before being discontinued. Now, McIntosh is revisiting the past, spiking the original ML1 with modern flare and re-issuing it as the all-new ML1 MK II.
The ML1 MK II proudly wears visual aesthetics from yesteryear. The cabinet is built from oiled American Walnut solid woods and veneers with a satin finish. It has a matching magnetically attached, removable wood grille with acoustically transparent black knit cloth with a touch of metal trim. Gone are the sound-disrupting vertical wood slats found on the original ML1's grille. The new ML1's grille only has acoustically transparent cloth that doesn't obstruct the soundwaves.
The speaker's guts are anything but retro-material. It’s a four-way design comprised of five different drivers, managed by a newly designed crossover network. The drivers include:
- One Woofer: 12" woofer in a sealed enclosure with a polypropylene cone and dust cap with synthetic rubber suspension
- Two Lower Midrange: 4" lower midrange drivers in a sealed sub-enclosure also with polypropylene cones and dust caps with synthetic rubber suspension
- One Upper Midrange: 2" soft dome upper midrange
- One Tweeter: 3/4" Titanium dome tweeter (the same tweeter used in our XR50 and XR100 speakers)
A uniquely milled transition plate houses the midranges and tweeter, allowing them to be placed close together to reduce off-axis lobing. The transition plate also provides a strong foundation for the upper frequency units to reduce vibrations that might affect the sound. Internal cabinet bracing provides an airtight and separated enclosure to further minimize vibrations.
The upper midrange in the ML1 has low resonance and high-power handling capabilities; this allows the crossover point between the lower and upper midranges to avoid the 1kHz frequency critical to producing clear vocals. The crossover frequency of the tweeter reduces vertical lobing of the sound field and allows the ML1 to reproduce the recorded music more faithfully.
The speaker's large 12" woofer can dive rather deep (27Hz), which is befitting of a speaker that stands 42" tall and weighs north of 62 lbs. And it ships with a matching stand with a vintage die-cast aluminum name badge on the base that matches the badges found on some of our amplifiers and integrated amplifiers. The stand is designed to elevate and position the ML1 loudspeaker for optimum imaging and listening enjoyment. Of course, it includes feet for hard floors and spikes for carpets.
The ML1 MK II has an anticipated MSRP of $12,000 USD per pair ($6,000 per speaker). It can be ordered now through an authorized dealer, with shipping to dealers set to begin in July 2023. For more information, visit McIntosh on the web.