The Heart of High Fidelity

McIntosh Laboratory

Founded in 1949 by broadcast design consultant Frank McIntosh, McIntosh Laboratory’s first product was the revolutionary Unity Coupled Circuit, a transformative audio component that is still used today. Developed in collaboration with Gordon Gow (who would later become president), the breakthrough circuit marked the beginning of a long and continuous list of advancements in the field of sound. After the second World War, McIntosh found an audience in home-audio enthusiasts seeking better equipment to operate the newly-introduced long play high fidelity record, otherwise known as the LP. The company’s vacuum tube amplifiers worked beautifully with other audio components to boost sound quality and clarity, and quickly became essential components for any respectable stereo system. 

The Wall of Sound at the Pacific National Exhibition Coliseum, May 17, 1974

In addition to home-stereo amplifiers and AM/FM tuners, McIntosh’s equipment powered live musical performances with a line of loudspeakers and was utilized at the historic Woodstock festival in 1969. In 1974, the Grateful Dead unveiled the massive Wall of Sound, a behemoth PA system powered by forty-eight McIntosh MC-2300 Amps delivering 28,800 Watts of power, projecting quality sound for a quarter-mile. The 1980s and 90s saw more developments in audio equipment and technology and McIntosh led the race with high quality speakers and CD players. Today, McIntosh components are included in automotive audio systems for Ford, Subaru and Harley Davidson and the company even offers an app for users to enjoy a traditional McIntosh interface while listening to music on their iPhones. 

Beyond all the technical advancements of the last seventy years, collectors and enthusiasts remain enthralled with the tube amplifiers from the company’s early days. Rooted in the belief that perfect amplification is necessary to achieve what Frank McIntosh described as “the ultimate in faithful reproduction of sound,” McIntosh’s enduring legacy is at the heart of music today.

Just as your heart sends life-giving blood surging through your body, so the amplifier acts as the heart of your sound system.

Frank H. McIntosh

Watch the short film The Voice of Sound celebrating the history of sound and McIntosh narrated by Bob Weir.

For the Love of Sound

The Audophilia of Larry & Carol Dupon

Before the advent of eBay, Larry Dupon dedicated himself to the search for rare audio equipment, scouring shops, posting print ads, and even organizing Chicago’s Vintage Audio Fair. Through his passionate pursuit, Dupon became a major dealer and top expert in the field – not as a careerist, but as a true aficionado. Together with his wife Carol, the Dupons built a formidable collection of coveted audio components the old-fashioned way: with curiosity, grit, and passion for sound.

Wanted ad listed by Larry Dupon in Audio Magazine, 1990

Over the years, the Dupons acquired exemplary models from industry leaders, including McIntosh, Marantz, ElectroVoice, and Richard Ranger. After Larry's passing, Carol became the steward of the historic collection, which we are now proud to present as part of American Design for the enjoyment of dedicated audiophiles for years to come.