Perfect Harmony: McIntosh and the Grateful Dead Celebrate Half a Century of Collaboration
Since 1949, audiophiles and audio enthusiasts worldwide have trusted McIntosh to bring them the highest fidelity sound possible. The Grateful Dead, wanting to deliver the best quality sound to their fans, looked to McIntosh to power their famous 1974 Wall of Sound. In 2015, twenty years after lead guitarist and vocalist Jerry Garcia’s death, three of the original band members partnered with contemporary musicians, including John Mayer, to form Dead & Co. Now, almost 50 years after the iconic wall, we are proud to continue our collaboration with Dead & Co’s The Final Tour 2023.
Bob Weir with some of his McIntosh audio equipment.
Delivering the Magic With High Fidelity Systems
David Lemieux, Archivist and Legacy Manager for the Grateful Dead, describes the formula that came together to enshrine the Dead’s legacy. “The Grateful Dead’s live oeuvre had always had two primary components that helped deliver the magic to Dead Heads: performance quality and sound quality,” Lemieux said. “The former was fulfilled through practice, respectful listening, and otherworldly creativity and talent with which the band members were blessed. The latter, the sound quality, was fulfilled through McIntosh."
The ongoing relationship between McIntosh and the Grateful Dead cemented its place in music history in 1974. Drawing record-breaking crowds to their concerts, the band realized they needed audio equipment that could handle the power of their sound. They wanted their music to reach fans all the way through to the back row, without any distortion, so they created what became know as the Wall of Sound, and amplified it with McIntosh high fidelity amplifiers. Comprised of over 600 speakers, this groundbreaking system delivered 28,800 Watts through forty-eight McIntosh MC2300 amplifiers.
Some of the MC2300 amplifiers used in the Wall of Sound on display at the McIntosh sponsored Grateful Dead exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.
Lemieux said, “From the band’s earliest days through their 30-year performing career 1965-1995, the Grateful Dead and their crew relied upon the unparalleled power and clarity that only McIntosh could deliver. Perhaps most notably, the Dead’s most famous and awe-inspiring sound system, 1974’s Wall Of Sound, was powered almost entirely through McIntosh. We’re thrilled to continue this collaboration well into the 21st Century.”
The Final Tour: Continuing the Legacy
On May 19, 2023, Dead & Co's much-anticipated The Final Tour 2023 kicked off in Los Angeles, marking the beginning of a musical journey that will weave its way through various cities across the United States until the final concert at Oracle Park in San Francisco on July 16. This tour promises to be unforgettable for fans, and McIntosh audio equipment plays a significant role in enhancing the sonic landscape.
During the concert intermissions, McIntosh will immerse fans in the nostalgia of a fabled history by amplifying a vinyl collection curated by the band members themselves. Using cutting edge technology and custom craftsmanship, classic notes will be brought back to life through a McIntosh MT10 Precision Turntable and a C12000 Preamplifier. Combining vintage vinyl and modern innovation, McIntosh creates unparalleled, high-fidelity sound that envelops the audience in the rich, warm sounds of the band’s iconic past.
Intermission at one of the concerts on Dead & Co's The Final Tour 2023.
Complementing the tangible quality of the sound, McIntosh has created custom faceplates to add a visual aesthetic to the multi-sensory venture. As a special tribute, McIntosh’s intermission audio equipment features vivid and intricate Grateful Dead artwork, adding a visually captivating element to the concert experience.
The McIntosh powered audio system used for vinyl playback during intermission of Dead & Co's The Final Tour 2023.
Bringing the Magic Home
With many of the concerts already sold out, Dead & Co has crafted ways to bring this historic collaboration to fans who are unable to attend the concerts in person. In addition to broadcasting the unforgettable vinyl collection through the stadiums’ jumbotrons, concerts will also be live streamed through livedead.co, ensuring that the magic of the Final Tour can be enjoyed by fans worldwide. From the comfort of their homes, fans can witness the powerful synergy between McIntosh's audio equipment and the Grateful Dead's music, creating an immersive experience that transcends physical boundaries.
Additionally, McIntosh and the Grateful Dead have crafted co-branded merchandise to help fans recreate the concerts at home. To commemorate their decades-long collaboration, they have created custom RS150 and RS250 wireless speakers, featuring the Grateful Dead’s renowned "dancing bears" motif and "Stealie" logo alongside McIntosh’s signature logo and blue meters. This limited launch is available for purchase exclusively on the McIntosh website. Fans can also purchase merchandise such as the Wall of Sound T-Shirt and Sweatshirt.
Amplifying Music Into a Historic Experience
McIntosh is proud to have captured the essence of iconic live performances, particularly with bands that have left such a significant mark on music heritage. "It has been an honor to work with the Grateful Dead for almost half a century of friendship – and we’re proud to celebrate our relationship with such a unique and high-quality product collaboration," said Charlie Randall, President of McIntosh. "We’ve had the privilege to work with the Grateful Dead on numerous occasions over the past fifty years, using the latest in audio technology to amplify their music into a historic experience."
McIntosh President Charlie Randall with Mickey Hart at the McIntosh sponsored Grateful Dead exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.
Whether attending concerts in person or live streaming from afar, music enthusiasts can revel in the seamless integration of surreal talent and exceptional audio quality. Even if July marks the final live performance of this legendary band, McIntosh strives to help keep their music going through the decades to come.