In an age where electronics are often viewed as disposable commodities and planned obsolescence is rote, McIntosh is an aberration—a business that believes in building devices that last, that are worth fixing, and that are intended to be passed down from generation to generation. This ethos has fueled the company since Frank McIntosh and Gordon Gow created the pioneering brand in 1949.
Originally based in Silver Spring, Maryland, McIntosh Laboratory relocated to Binghamton, New York, in 1956. Design, manufacturing, and testing take place under one roof, where more than 150 employees create hi-fi amplifiers, speakers, and tuners, among other electronics, that have earned the outfit a cult following—and command price tags to match. (The recently launched MHA100 headphone amplifier runs about $4,500, and the headphones will set you back $2,000.) While McIntosh may not be a household name, you might recognize the Wall of Sound it created for the Grateful Dead’s 1974 tour or the unmistakable blue glow of the amplifiers—its signature product—from your audiophile uncle’s stereo setup.
Today, McIntosh is one of the few electronics companies that still manufacture in the United States. The median tenure of employees is about 17 years, and while computer-operated machines have taken over some of the circuit board building and glass cutting, much takes place by hand: delicate soldering, metal stamping and folding, screen printing, painting, winding transformers, assembly, and testing. Here, we share images from a recent factory visit.Watch the video below to hear from McIntosh president Charlie Randall and see the products come to life at the factory.