Home Audio: McIntosh MX121
When people think of McIntosh they either get really happy or really frightened. Happy because they love the quality and the sound, but frightened sometimes by the price, but let’s get real here. You have to pay to play. The McIntosh MX121 A/V Control Center is like having the best of both worlds though. For the price of about $6000.00 you can have one of the industry’s leading A/V Processor with a plethora of performance features, which is relatively inexpensive.
The MX121 comes with HDMI 1.4a with 3D pass-thru switching, which also incorporates six HDMI 1.4a inputs, two HDMI outputs, one with the new Digital Audio Return Channel (ARC), for TV’s that have ARC compatibility. This eliminates the need for an extra cable and, and also simplifies operation. HDMI inputs are compatible with Deep Color, x.v.Color, Auto Lipsync, and HDMI Component Control.
Built-In Dolby True HD decoders are also included, which delivers 100 percent lossless audio that is bit-for-bit identical to the original studio master, it can also support up to 24-bit/192 kHz audio from Blu-ray Discs, and brings stunning high-definition sound to the home theater experience, unlocking the full potential of Blu-ray Disc.
You now also have an option to stream audio via Internet radio. You can also stream photos. One of the interesting additions to the McIntosh line is Airplay from Apple. This allows you to play your ITunes library wirelessly. Basic controls work via your I-pad, or other Airplay device, for a unique spin on your listening and viewing experience. After you have had your fill of ITunes you can access Pandora for a spontaneous selection of music within a given parameter.
Another feature that can be useful is the Audyssey MultEQ XT and Audyssey DSX. Both of which can optimize your room, because as we know most rooms could use some acoustical improvements. With MultEQ, voice and dialog become focused and intelligible, musical balance is restored, musical instruments and sound effects become precisely localized, and surround soundstage is made seamless and enveloping. DSX is scalable and can take a 5.1 system up to 7.1, among other features.
The back panel on the MX121 has been sorted out and incorporates balanced outputs, a 7.2 channel layout. As far as balanced go there is also a set of auxiliary balanced inputs. The panel also has an array of single ended inputs/outputs. Including eight analog audio inputs, a 7.1 channel input, unbalanced pre outputs that allow for high placement of front channels, which can be incidentally adjusted via the Audyssey. Last but not least in the row, are the analog audio outputs for VCR, CDR, Zone 2 and Zone 3. The second row from the top has an input for I-pod, RS-232, the setup mic, optical input, eight selections for video in and the component video section has 4 inputs and 2 outputs. The top row incorporates two data ports, in and out, IR in, a network connection port, two coaxial inputs, two optical ins, an optical out, six HDMI ins, two HDMI outs. The HDMI outputs for anyone who needs it by the way can only be toggled and cannot be run simultaneously.
The MX121 really is true to the McIntosh sound. It is deep, rich and incorporates the traditional full McIntosh feeling. The bells and whistles are really a bonus when considering McIntosh. Once you audition one I’m sure you’ll know exactly what I mean.