Another Great McIntosh Turntable – The MT2

 Image by McIntosh Laboratories.

Image by McIntosh Laboratories.

Audio Excellence, the GTA’s preeminent source for all things McIntosh, proudly presents the newest analog offering from Binghampton: the MT2 turntable.
We received one of the first available MT2s in Canada and we could not be more excited. McIntosh turntables have a way with connecting you to your audio memories new and long forgotten, of going to Sam the Record Man and buying the latest vinyl – you know you bought that Duran Duran album, don’t deny it, they were cool until MTV happened – OK, OK, you can claim it Holst’s “The Planets” performed by the MSO and conducted by Charles Dutoit. I digress… So here are some new memories…

We opened the box. McIntosh packaged the MT2 safely and securely – you could not ask for more. Be assured that McIntosh pays very careful attention to how their products first present themselves. And the MT2 is no different. Everything you need is in the box and you will find accessories included to aid in the simple setup that is required. Really, your MT2 will be up and running in ten minutes. Just have a record (or records) ready and be prepared. The MT2 will encourage long sessions of listening and remembering and discovering.
Take everything out of the box. Remove any protective film. McIntosh includes a dust cover. Place and adjust the feet to level (a level is included to help) the turntable in a prepared spot like the top shelf of your audio stand. Fit the belt, then the platter. Oh, and you might also use the provided white cotton gloves.

Fit the counterweight to the end-stub. McIntosh provides a mark on the end- stub where the counterweight should be set and you should know how to “zero” a tonearm. The tonearm is zeroed if it “floats” neither with the headshell up or down; the headshell will float in a middle position with the tonearm parallel to the plinth or top plate of the turntable. Be sure to remove the stylus guard for the Blue Point MC cartridge if you choose to balance the tonearm. Or you could just position the counterweight where the mark is on the end-stub which is what we did. Included in the box is an alignment gauge although the cartridge is pre-aligned. You can use the included balance-type stylus force gauge to verify the tracking force which should be approximately 1.8 grams. VTA and anti-skate come pre-set although you could always finetune the anti-skating force with a trackability record. Really, it sounds complicated and yet it will take no more than ten minutes.

 Image by McIntosh Laboratories, edited by Jay @ Audio Excellence

Image by McIntosh Laboratories, edited by Jay @ Audio Excellence

The MT2 looks simply elegant. Turn it on to 33 rpm or 45 rpm and the LED illumination bathes the edge of the top plate and underneath the platter in a cool green glow that sooths and reassures. Look at the top plate and note the backlit McIntosh logo – the MT2 is classic McIntosh through and through. Just looking at the illumination helps you get into the mood – the MT2 invites you to listen. And beneath the calm of the green is a multitude of features designed to maximize the performance of the MT-2 turntable: multi-layered dampened chassis, fine speed adjustment for both 33 and 45, chassis decoupled electronically controlled DC motor, highly rigid and light tonearm with bearings incorporating both ceramic and sapphire elements, dynamically balanced POM platter, and more.

 Image by McIntosh Laboratories.

Image by McIntosh Laboratories.

Does It Rock, Does It Swing, Does It Make You A Better Person?
Categorically the answers are yes and yes and you already are. We played Ella Fitzgerald’s “Fine & Mellow”. And it was heaven… In the first seconds, the first minutes, the first hours, there was manna and sustenance. Everything we like about vinyl and analog was there and in a McIntosh way. Lots of detail shone through glowingly admidst a warm wash of inviting weight. The MT2 displayed nimbleness with a deft portrayal of Ella’s scatting. It got out of the way and allowed the record to sing. Record noise was surprisingly low – let’s give the credit to the bundled Sumiko Blue Point No. 2 high-output MC cartridge. The MT2 just all works really well right out of the box. For more impressions, you’ll have to hear for yourself.
Bring a record with you and audition the MT2 at Audio Excellence at your earliest convenience – it will be well worth the effort.

Vilip Mak