Article Index
McIntosh MT-5
p3 Sound Quality
p4 Sound Quality
p5 Conclusion
p6 Measured Performance
All Pages

Green Machine





Iconic American brand McIntosh has added a turntable to its

range – and Noel Keywood finds it is a potent performer.



Walk into a room and you’ll see this turntable straight away, your eyes drawn by an eerie green light from its platter. To achieve this effect McIntosh place green LED uplights beneath a clear acrylic platter. It’s all part of this American company’s bold US style – and it draws attention like little else. So if you want people to see your turntable, the MT5 has more visual oomph than most.

   In keeping with this strong and distinctive house style comes ease of use and breadth of ability: where belt drives have in the past offered 33rpm and 45rpm, because a 78rpm pulley stretches the belt too much, the MT5 has a simple, switchable 78rpm option. I suspect not many people will want to use it because 78s are more of historical interest to collectors than chuck-about entertainment items for the rest of us, as you find out when you drop one and it shatters, but electronic speed control makes this added ability easy to offer – so McIntosh have done so. 

   All of which is to give you some idea of where McIntosh are coming from with the MT5. They present it as a turntable package for those who want high quality but ease of use. It speaks loudly about what it does, in the form of that brightly lit green platter; friends won’t walk in and miss the turntable. Happily, nowadays there are no lack of LPs to go with it, as LP pressing plants around the world work overtime to supply demand. 



A large knurled-edge thumbwheel at left applies magnetic bias correction to the arm.

The rear counterweight is uncalbrated so a stylus downforce gauge is needed. 


Testament to ease of use are two traditional-style rotary switches on the front panel. At left is the speed selector: 33, 45 and 78rpm. You don’t have to move the belt manually as required on simpler, albeit less expensive, designs. 

   At right is another three-position rotary switch that has Off, Standby and On positions. With the last of these all lights come on and the heavy acrylic platter slowly runs up to speed. All lights? Yes, that means fascia back-lighting so all legends and the manufacturer’s name can be read in low light, as well as the lights beneath the platter that make it glow green. I’m reminded that old radios and the like commonly used similar back lighting: McIntosh are reviving an ancient practice here but with new technology - filament bulbs are gone, long life LEDs replacing them. The Standby position relates to use with a Mcintosh preamp, where the turntable lights up but doesn’t start, when the preamp is switched on.

   Whilst the turntable employs modern electronic control of speed, using a stainless-steel brushed d.c. motor, the arm remains firmly manual. It is a simple design with a damped manual lift and lower platform, actuated by a side lever. 



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