Weekly Q&A: Answers | Week of October 16, 2023
Is my Wife actually right? Magnepans, McIntosh, & Mathematics...
Q: I have a McIntosh Integrated amp (MA352); its specs are 200 W into 8 ohms and 320 into 4. It drives Magnepan 1.7i speakers that are rated at 4 ohms. When I listen at a volume that my wife insists is too loud, the famous blue power meters read at most 4 Watts. I don't get it; everything I read says Maggies need lots of power. Yet it seems I could easily drive them with a minimally powered tube amp. Please explain this apparent paradox.
A: While we don’t have experience with your McIntosh, our general experience with meters is that they are best thought of a “short-term average power meters”. The key word here is average. As you will see, this explains some of what you observe.
If the meters are, say, 2 second average power indicators, then transients with shorter duration (e.g. 20 milliseconds) will have minimal effect on the average power being displayed. For example, let’s say you are running at 2 watts average power, with about 80 dB in level (realistic, quite substantial lev…
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