McIntosh has been going all out for the last year or so, introducing new flagship products across several categories — from massive, 1,250-watt solid-state monoblocks to an entirely new tubed preamp and power amp combo system designed to celebrate the brand’s 70th anniversary in 2019. (I hope to investigate the $22,000 70th Anniversary Limited Edition Commemorative System further when it reaches my local showroom.) At the end of 2017, the company unveiled a new flagship loudspeaker, the XRT2.1K. These colossal, 7-foot-tall towers contain 81 drivers per side, weigh over 350 pounds each, and sell for a gut-punching $130,000 per pair. Now McIntosh is following up with a somewhat scaled-down speaker called the XRT1.1K, which delivers the same technologies as its larger sibling but in a smaller (or, perhaps I should say, less enormous) and less expensive package.

McIntosh describes the XRT1.1K as “more accessibly sized” than the XRT2.1K. The 1.1K stands 14 inches shorter than the 2.1K, and weighs in 173 pounds lighter. It’s still no featherweight, but McIntosh devotees with less-than-cavernous listening rooms will have an easier time achieving good results with the smaller speaker. At $60,000 per pair, the 1.1K is also less than half the price of the 2.1K, so well-heeled audiophiles who opt for the 1.1K can still send at least one of the kids to college. Like the 2.1K, the 1.1K is a ported, four-way system that uses a line array which according to McIntosh “yield(s) an even and wide sound field, producing exceptional stereo imaging in nearly all listening positions”. The line array in the 1.1K comprises 64 aluminum-magnesium domes: 24 (2-inch) upper-midrange drivers, and 40 (0.75-inch) tweeters. I have only heard McIntosh’s line array speakers in audio show conditions, but I can tell you that they sound big — titanically big. The line array is suspended in its own column in front of a large ported bass enclosure containing six (6.5-inch) drivers, four of which function as woofers, with the remaining two performing lower-midrange duties. These cones are made from a nanocarbon fiber and Nomex honeycomb material designed to be both lightweight and stiff, delivering bass extension down to 16 Hz. If you’ve lost count of the drivers, I won’t blame you; there are 70 drivers total in each XRT1.1K loudspeaker. All of the drivers were originally designed for the XRT2.1K (which also contains larger 8-inch woofers not found on the 1.1K).

McIntosh says that the line array allows the 1.1K to sound amazing whether the listener is situated close to or farther back from the speakers, since not all of the drivers are aligned on the same axis. Nearfield listeners will only be on axis to some of the drivers, and therefore won’t be overwhelmed. Farther back, listeners will be on axis to more drivers, so the perceived sound level and quality should remain constant. The four-way crossover network employs capacitors and inductors with low loss and high current capacity, and the inductors were specially chosen for their high linearity at high power levels. McIntosh claims that these critical parts result in reduced distortion across the audio band, and an even frequency response from top to bottom. The fuses used in the crossover network are self-resetting, high current PTC type fuses, chosen to provide the drivers with an extra measure of protection.

McIntosh XRT1.1K close-up

Sounds Good Just Looking At It?

As you would expect from McIntosh, XRT1.1K makes a bold visual statement. Without the magnetic cloth grilles in place, the line array looks daunting, almost dizzying. But with the grilles, the towers have a stately if somewhat monolithic appearance, with seven layers of high-gloss piano black paint and aluminum trim on the bass cabinet. The line array is connected to the cabinet via steel “spiders,” which McIntosh says are inspired by modern skyscraper construction. Around back, you’ll find three sets of gold-plated binding posts, allowing for tri-amping or tri-wiring. The speaker rests on a machined aluminum and glass base plate with an illuminated McIntosh logo. In order for the illumination to work, you’ll need to connect the speakers to a McIntosh amplifier, preamplifier, or integrated amplifier that uses the brand’s Power Control technology. That’s probably not a problem, since most customers who take home a pair of XRT1.1K speakers will likely have a whole rack of McIntosh gear waiting to make the most of them.

Will the XRT1.1K find its way into your listening room or home theater? Share your thoughts in the related forum thread below.

Verdinut posts on February 04, 2019 14:02

Bucknekked, post: 1296241, member: 81008
Although there’s very little chance I would ever afford such a thing, I am always pleased to know that things like this exist. Its also nice to know that there is a market and somebody is making something to fit it. If I ever hit the big time money jackpot, and for the things already on my list of wishes it needs to be a very large jackpot indeed, I suppose I might give these a sniff. I still don’t own an McIntosh products. I can’t even afford the coasters for the table. But its nice to dream and know there’s stuff available “just in case”

Yeah! Everything is relative! Those line arrays are not cheap, but when you think of it, they’re still a lot cheaper than having the real thing, having to pay for a performance with good musicians and singer(s) every week in your house for the rest of your days.

3db posts on February 04, 2019 13:12

Only $$$$$60.0G for a pair? Hmmmmm Maybe I’ll upgrade……in my next life.

Bucknekked posts on February 04, 2019 13:00

shadyJ, post: 1296251, member: 20472
I have a McIntosh product. It is a shot glass that a McIntosh rep gave me some years ago.

The problem is that I believe there could be demand for four-figure line arrays but no one is addressing it. One of the less expensive line arrays I know of is the Funk Active Line Array and that is still $22k. I think a decent one could be made for maybe $5k a pair, and home theater nuts would eat it up. A lot of these home theater guys are using, or I should say misusing, commercial theater speakers such as JBL and QSC cinema speakers. That can be problematic (but then again, a lot of dudes are just after ‘loud’ with little concern for other aspects of sound). A line array can have similarly tremendous dynamic range but without the compromises that pro-cinema gear has in a small room (small compared to the auditoriums they are intended to be used in).

I learn something every day. Never heard of Funk Audio before. I took a look at your link and I can see why I may never have heard of them. Price. That’s a pretty spendy set of products. They could be fantastic for all I know, but the price would stop me cold.

Since you mentioned JBL, I just ordered my very first JBL speakers. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted a set of JBLs. Never could afford them back when they were making themselves famous. And now that they are famous, I still can’t afford the stars in the product line like the L100’s or the 4XXX series. I have a modest bedroom application so I ordered a set of JBL 230s + SVS PB1000 sub. I will finally be a JBL owner, albeit the small ones. I am looking forward to it.

shadyJ posts on February 04, 2019 12:45

Bucknekked, post: 1296241, member: 81008
Although there’s very little chance I would ever afford such a thing, I am always pleased to know that things like this exist. Its also nice to know that there is a market and somebody is making something to fit it. If I ever hit the big time money jackpot, and for the things already on my list of wishes it needs to be a very large jackpot indeed, I suppose I might give these a sniff. I still don’t own an McIntosh products. I can’t even afford the coasters for the table. But its nice to dream and know there’s stuff available “just in case”

I have a McIntosh product. It is a shot glass that a McIntosh rep gave me some years ago.

The problem is that I believe there could be demand for four-figure line arrays but no one is addressing it. One of the less expensive line arrays I know of is the Funk Active Line Array and that is still $22k. I think a decent one could be made for maybe $5k a pair, and home theater nuts would eat it up. A lot of these home theater guys are using, or I should say misusing, commercial theater speakers such as JBL and QSC cinema speakers. That can be problematic (but then again, a lot of dudes are just after ‘loud’ with little concern for other aspects of sound). A line array can have similarly tremendous dynamic range but without the compromises that pro-cinema gear has in a small room (small compared to the auditoriums they are intended to be used in).

Bucknekked posts on February 04, 2019 12:22

shadyJ, post: 1296191, member: 20472
In my experience, line arrays are the speaker type for those looking for a ‘wall-of-sound’ effect, that larger than life sound that you would expect from an Imax. The cost is imaging; these speakers don’t tend to have very precise imaging. An exception would be the CBT24 from Dayton Audio, but that ‘emulates’ a point source of acoustic emission whereas traditional line arrays do not. It isn’t quite like other line arrays.

I think a lot of people are actually looking for this ‘larger than life’ soundstage for that cinematic sound, so I am a bit surprised that there aren’t any affordable line arrays outside of the CBT24. Granted a line array will never be cheap as a consequence of its design, since it has to use so many drivers, but I can’t even think of any for less than five-figures. I believe that a decent line array could be manufactured for maybe around $4k with the caveat that it doesn’t attempt deep bass and leaves the sub 80 Hz stuff to subwoofers. I think a lot of people would be drawn to line arrays- if they could afford them.

Although there’s very little chance I would ever afford such a thing, I am always pleased to know that things like this exist. Its also nice to know that there is a market and somebody is making something to fit it. If I ever hit the big time money jackpot, and for the things already on my list of wishes it needs to be a very large jackpot indeed, I suppose I might give these a sniff. I still don’t own an McIntosh products. I can’t even afford the coasters for the table. But its nice to dream and know there’s stuff available “just in case”