Review of the McIntosh XR14 Loudspeaker

four views of the McIntosh XR-14
four views of the McIntosh XR-14

McIntosh XR14 - Pure Brilliance

The McIntosh XR-14 is an excellent-sounding loudspeaker from one of the most respected and long-storied American makers of HiFi equipment. McIntosh is perhaps best known for their amplifiers and pre-amps, both solid-state and tube. The Company was founded in 1948, and has been producing some of the very best audio equipment money can buy. And believe me, if you want Mac gear, you will need money.

The XR-14 loudspeaker was priced at around $1500 for a pair in the late 1970s and early 1980s but can be found on eBay or Craigslist for between $350 and $900 once shipping charges are included (they weigh around 50 lbs - 22 kilos - each). Shipping can run $100 or more, so buying a local pair is recommended. Also recommended, and in fact "required" according to McIntosh, is an MQ101 or MQ102 equalizer.

But if you have the money, you will be treated to one of the cleanest, richest, flattest full-range sonic experiences possible with two speakers.  Here is a link to the Website of the XR 14's designer, Roger Russel.

My home theater with the Mac XR-14s on top of my CSW SW1 subwoofers

Setting up the XR-14: You need an MQ EQ or subs

The MQ101 or MQ102 EQ's by McIntosh allow you to get good bass from your XR-14s, no matter where you place them in any size or shape of room. The EQs can be had for between $200 - $500.

Once you get a pair set up in your house, you will be amazed. Properly positioned and EQ'd these Macs produce full-range detail like I have never heard. My friends and I recently tested our ears, and apparently I can still hear over 16,000 Hz, and down to below 40 Hz. So take it from a guy with some ears: the mid-range and high-end detail from the XR-14s is unmatched. And I have listened to a LOT of speakers.

In my case, I always use a pair of subwoofers with my main speakers, even large ones like the XR-14 or my Klipsch Hereseys. Using a pair of big, brawny, acoustic suspension (unported) subwoofers takes a lot of load off your mains, and if you are using an unported sub you'll have tight, musical bass extension. Using a pair of subs also obviates the need for the MQ equalizers, since the bass frequencies they address are taken care of ably by your subs. In my setup, I have a pair of CSW SW1 powered subs, which get their signal from a Rotel RSP-985 pre/processor.

Conclusion: Good Buy

If you find a pair of these McIntosh XR-14's for less than $500 without an MQ101 or 102, or $800 with either the MQ102 or MQ102, you have found a good deal, and you should buy them. Check my website, www.vintageaudiophile.com, to see if these or other recommended loudspeakers are in stock.

Good luck in your search for hi-end vintage HiFi!

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Comments 1 comment

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