When two iconic brands of the audio world happen to be celebrating decades of creating some of the best amplifiers and speakers on Earth, what better way to do it than by introducing some monstrous new products, combining them to create a million-dollar system, and then showing it off at the world’s biggest consumer electronics show.
McIntosh and Sonus faber, two high-end audio brands that are part of the overarching McIntosh Group family of brands, are celebrating their respective 75th and 40th anniversaries this year. At CES 2024, McIntosh popped the champagne by introducing its new 2,000-watt MC2.1KW Monoblock Power Amplifier, which the company says is one of its most powerful to date. It also introduced 75th anniversary editions of several more of its popular products, including other amplifiers, preamplifiers, and an SACD/CD player.
As for the MC2.1KW Monoblock, the $50,000 “tri-chassis marvel” comprises three separate modules that are stacked — one Output Module and two Power Modules, each containing a 1,000-watt amplifier. The Output module is adorned with McIntosh’s iconic blue VU meter on its face. Each component is designed with the company’s glossy black glass front panels, and they are all stamped with special 75th-anniversary markings on the front and on the top.
The incredibly powerful combination can deliver its full 2,000 watts of power into speakers regardless of their impedance, be it 2, 4, or 8 Ohms, and some sonic upgrades have improved low-end performance and dynamic headroom. McIntosh says they are ideally suited for extremely large rooms and “audio systems that have power-hungry loudspeakers,” and they are not kidding about that. Enter Sonus faber.
I had the privilege of visiting McIntosh’s “Villa of Sound” demo at the Wynne Hotel in Las Vegas (a take on McIntosh’s House of Sound experience New York City) during CES 2024, and upon entering the suite overlooking the Wynne’s pristine golf course with the Sphere peeking up over the adjacent buildings, your gaze is immediately drawn to Sonus Faber’s lute-shaped, 6.25-foot tall, red-lacquered wood Suprema loudspeaker and its dual 5-foot tall, elliptical subwoofers.
In celebration of the Italian company’s 40th year of making incredibly luxurious and expensive speakers, the $750,000 Suprema 2.2 system pays homage to two of the company’s heritage speaker lines, the Guarneri and the Stradavari. Yes, you read that right — $750,000. But if you want to save yourself $70,000, you can also get it with one subwoofer. They’re available now and are produced upon request. The price includes a trip to an Italian factory where the buyer can choose the wood used and choose from up to 120 colors of leather.
Comprised of carbon fiber, wood, and CNC-machined solid aluminum in its construction, the wing-like Suprema towers each feature eight front-firing speakers (two tweeters, a 6.5-inch midrange driver, an 8-inch midwoofer, and four 8-inch woofers), and two backfiring drivers. The front of each Suprema tower features Sonus faber’s signature leather panel made by swanky Italian furniture brand Poltrona. Each speaker weighs 242.5 pounds.
The 227-pound subwoofers were designed for optimal low-range response no matter where they are placed in relationship to the main towers, and each features two 15-inch woofers with a frequency response of 16Hz to 30/80Hz, depending on how the crossover is set up.
What does that mean? It means a deep, powerful low-end with a suggested power output ranging from 500 to 2,000 watts. In my demo in Las Vegas, the system (which was priced at $1,000,000 altogether) was only pushing 200 of those watts. Our demo guide played a selection that included a tympani performance, Chris Jones’s No Sanctuary, and an insanely intricate track from Tool. It was loud but pristinely clear, and had height and dynamic range for days in the large Wynne suite.
It is a truly impressive celebration of two seminal audio brands.