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McIntosh’s bonkers subwoofer stands over six feet tall and weighs as much as a motorcycle

McIntosh PS2K subwoofer.

Meet the new McIntosh PS2K, a powered subwoofer that looks like no other subwoofer on the planet. That’s because the PS2K is essentially four subwoofers, each with its own 500-watt amplifier, packed into a single tower enclosure. The combined 2,000-watt behemoth has been priced at a jaw-dropping $50,000 which works out to $25 per watt. If those sorts of numbers aren’t a deterrent, you’ll be able to order a McIntosh PS2K from an authorized McIntosh dealer starting in October.

Do these photos make the PS2K look big? It’s not an optical illusion. This sub stands 6.5 feet tall and weighs an enormous 458 pounds — about the same weight as a Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 motorcycle. The shipping weight of the unit is double that amount, at 932 pounds.

The stars of the PS2K show are clearly the four vertically stacked 13-inch drivers, which make this subwoofer look more like a tower speaker than a traditional sub. McIntosh has employed a new multilayer carbon fiber for the cones, which reduces the flexibility found in the company’s previous single-layer approach. The cones can now resist extended excursion travel and create extreme rigidity that prevents unwanted flexing. The system uses McIntosh’s Low Distortion High Performance magnetic circuit design, which significantly reduces distortion while increasing the driver’s power handling and efficiency, according to the company.

McIntosh PS2K subwoofer front panel with illuminated logo and meter.

The four 500-watt Class D amplifiers have been calibrated to minimize distortion, and McIntosh says they’ll produce clear, tight bass with astonishingly low distortion in even the most expansive listening spaces.

In typical McIntosh style, the PS2K includes the company’s iconic blue meter on the front panel, with indicators for both watts and decibels, so that you can confirm that the vibrations coursing through your body are being produced within the desired parameters. Too distracting? You can turn the meter (and the illuminated McIntosh logo) off with switches on the rear panel.

McIntosh PS2K subwoofer back panel.

Speaking of the PS2K’s rear panel, it’s festooned with adjustments and toggles. You can dial in the sub’s performance using conventional knobs for level, phase, and low-pass and high-pass filtering, but look closer and you’ll see that McIntosh has also included parametric filters for frequency, bandwidth, and level for those who want to take even greater control over their bass.

There are also balanced and unbalanced inputs and outputs for both stereo signals and the sub’s own signal cable. Wait, a subwoofer output — on a subwoofer? Yep, McIntosh just wants to make sure that if you want to run a second (or a third, or a fourth) $50,000 subwoofer in your setup, you’ll be able to do so by daisy-chaining all of those units together.

Keeping all of this expensive tech from harm are two protection technologies. Power Guard monitors the audio input signal coming into the amplifiers and makes almost instant adjustments to prevent clipping. Sentry Monitor is a fuse-less short-circuit protection circuit that disengages the amplifier’s output stage before the current exceeds safe operating levels and automatically resets when operating conditions return to normal.

It’s been a busy year for McIntosh. Earlier in 2023, the company released two limited-edition Grateful Dead-inspired wireless speakers, a new version of its classic ML 1 speaker, a modern take on the amplifier that helped power the Woodstock music festival into the history books, and an $8,000 Dolby Atmos AV receiver.

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Simon Cohen
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