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Digital Music Systems

McIntosh’s MB25 Adds Bluetooth Streaming to Any Hi-Fi System And Can Stream Any Source to Your Wireless Headphones

Designed to add Bluetooth streaming to any Hi-Fi system and facilitate streaming of any source to a pair of Bluetooth headphones, the McIntosh MB25 hits the spot for only $600.

McIntosh MB25 Bluetooth Receiver/Transmitter with vintage unit stacked

Do you own a vintage audio system that does not offer Bluetooth streaming capabilities? Are you interested in streaming all of your sources to a pair of Bluetooth headphones — including CD players, FM tuners, and even a turntable?

Building on the foundation of its MB20 Bluetooth Transceiver released in 2021, our friends in Binghamton have decided to release a new version, the McIntosh MB25, which has some new and upgraded features. 

Just like its predecessor, the MB25’s core mission is to stream music directly from a smartphone to a home audio system (whether a McIntosh or other brand) via Bluetooth.

No third-party apps are required for operation, making it very easy to use. 

McIntosh MB25 Bluetooth Transceiver Angle
McIntosh MB25 Bluetooth Transceiver

Receive or Transmit?

The MB25 can function as a Bluetooth Receiver or Transmitter (but not at the same time). There is a switch (Rx/Tx) on the back panel to change the transmission/receiver function. 

  • Receiver Mode (Rx): In this setting, users can stream audio from compatible Bluetooth devices to the MB25, and then use the variety of output connections to play the audio through their systems. 
  • Transmitter Mode (Tx): In this mode, users can stream music from physical media sources, such as CDs or vinyl records, to Bluetooth-enabled headphones or speakers.

Tech Note: With a transmission range of up to 150 feet (45.7 meters) and enhanced by an external antenna, the MB25 guarantees optimal performance for both transmitting and receiving audio signals.

Physical Sources 

In addition to being able to function as a Bluetooth receiver or transmitter, the MB25 will also accept physical media sources such as CDs and vinyl records. This makes it a great fit for audiophiles, whether their current set-up includes a vintage analog stereo or a new digital system.

McIntosh MB20 Bluetooth Transceiver Front
McIntosh MB20 Bluetooth Transceiver

Upgrades From MB20

As the successor to the popular MB20, the MB25 retains all the MB20 features while introducing enhancements for an elevated user experience. Notable upgrades include:

  • An Illuminated front glass panel that provides insights into audio signal rates and connection types.
  • Flexibility to select the desired input in transmit mode, giving users greater control over their audio experience.
  • Power Control so the MB25 can be easily turned on and off with the rest of a McIntosh audio system.

Multisystem 

For multi-system integration, the MB25 offers a convenient solution to enable wireless audio distribution between systems by connecting a MB25 to each system. The MB20 can be used in conjunction with a MB25 to achieve a multi-room, multi-system configuration.

DAC 

The MB25 incorporates a high-performance 32-bit DAC for receiver mode and a premium Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC) for transmitter mode. For use with an outboard DAC, it has both coaxial and optical inputs and outputs to digitally connect it to an audio system.

Tech Note: The MB25 cannot be used as a stand-alone Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC).

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McIntosh MB25 Bluetooth Transceiver Front
McIntosh MB25 Bluetooth Transceiver Front
McIntosh MB25
McIntosh MB20 Bluetooth Transceiver Back
McIntosh MB20

McIntosh MB25 & MB20 Specifications

As mentioned above the MB25 carries over the technical specifications from the previous MB20.

  • Bluetooth Version 5.0: A2DP, SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX Low Latency, aptX HD
  • Wired Inputs
    • 1 set x Analog Balanced 
    • 1 set x Analog Unbalanced
    • 1 x  Digital Coaxial
    • 1 x  Digital Optical
  • Wired Outputs
    • 1 x Balanced
    • 1 x Unbalanced
    • 1 x Digital Coaxial
    • 1 x Digital Optical
  • Digital Input Format: PCM
  • Digital Input Sample Rate: Up to 24-bit/192kHz
  • Digital Output Format: 24-bit/96kHz
  • Digital Output Sample Rate: 96kHz
  • Power Control: 1 Input, 1 Output
  • Dimensions (WxDxH)
    • 9-29/64 x 3-15/16 x 2-1/2 inches
      • (antenna in upright position adds additional 1-3/8 inches) 
    • 24 x 10.01 x 6.35 cm
      • (antenna in upright position adds additional 3.43cm) 
  • Weight: 2.5 lbs (1.2kg)

Tech Note: To play vinyl records using the MB25 the turntable needs to have a built-in phone preamp or an external phono preamp needs to be connected between the turntable and the analog inputs of the MB25.

Cabinet Design and Finish

The MB25 has a sleek, custom aluminum chassis with a black glass front panel with an illuminated logo. The MB25 includes a wall-mount power supply with adapters for global compatibility. 

McIntosh MB25 Bluetooth Transceiver with vintage unit side

Initial Impressions

What can you say about McIntosh? They make great, but very expensive products that seem to last forever, but sometimes you need an upgrade. The MB25 is one such product providing some control and display improvements, but retaining what was great about its predecessor, the MB20.

$600 for a McIntosh component? That does seem like a bargain considering the build quality and sonic performance that one should expect.

Even if you don’t have an older McIntosh stereo or AVR, or audio system, you can add a touch of McIntosh to just about any legacy audio setup that lacks Bluetooth or digital audio connectivity with the MB25.

Availability and Pricing

  • McIntosh MB25$600 (available July 2024)

Related Reading

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. ORT

    June 16, 2024 at 2:43 am

    $600 is a LOT of moolah for what, a rather pedestrian looking BlooToof extender?

    I have a common garden variety booster that cost me $60. It works great and with the flip of a switch it is either a transmitter or receiver.

    And just like the McIntosh, it doesn’t have any VU Meters. But all McIntosh should have ’em, else WTF is it for? McIntosh NEEDS VU Meters to look at! Dammit all to Hades! What kind of sadist makes a McIntosh product that doesn’t have VU Meters?!

    Talk about Sisyphusian torture…Paying $600 for something that doesn’t even look like it should!

    ORTcules of Thebes

    • Ian White

      June 16, 2024 at 3:11 pm

      Sir ORT,

      But in the context of the McIntosh ecosystem, it is the most affordable pathway inside the magic forest.

      I do agree that one can achieve the same results for less.

      I plan on trying this in the context of my vintage system.

      Sir Ian of the VU Meters

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