YOU’RE kept pretty busy if you’re a designer at McIntosh Labs – the iconic company determined to keep up with times and trends, and perhaps even inch ahead. Latest from the McIntosh factory are the MCD600 SACD/CD player and MS500 Music Streamer.
Driving the MCD600 is a “newly designed digital circuit highlighted by a new premium eight-channel, 32-bit PCM/DSD digital-to-analog converter. The DAC is used in Quad Balanced mode, with four DAC channels allocated to each of the left and right audio channels, resulting in truly exceptional sound reproduction. All PCM signals are up-sampled up to 32-bit/384kHz.”
While it obviously plays SACDs and CDs (along with audio on CD-R/RW and DVD-R), the MCD600 is also equipped to play music from USB drives, in various formats such as AAC, AIFF, ALAC, DSD (up to DSD128), FLAC, MP3, WAV (up to 24-bit/192kHz) and WMA. Flash drives are connected via the front panel USB input.
The MCD600 has fixed and variable balanced and unbalanced outputs; the variable outputs and volume control allow direct connection to a power amp. It also has coaxial and optical digital outputs and inputs. The High Drive headphone amplifier section features increased gain and output power, and is optimised for “virtually all headphone types.”
Additionally, “a new disc transport with a precision die-cast aluminium tray provides smooth and quiet disc handling, while an advanced digital servo provides fast, quiet and accurate operation.”
The MCD600 sports typical McIntosh design cues.
On to the MS500, which has 500GB of storage internally, via a solid-state drive, no less! According to the press release, the music streamer will “seamlessly integrate both your Internet-based streaming music and locally stored digital music into one comprehensive device, and allows your digital library to be enjoyed with McIntosh’s legendary audio standards, including uncompressed, lossless files with up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution.”
It does Deezer, Murfie, Pandora, Rhapsody, SiriusXM, Slacker, Spotify, TIDAL and TuneIn – interfaces to these services are built in to the MS500. Three USB ports allow for external mass storage or flash drives to be connected.
The MS500 can automatically synchronise content stored on your networked computers so it is readily accessible and playable, and all the content can be backed up to the Amazon Cloud Drive, Apple iCloud or Google Drive. “This also allows for your music to be synchronised across multiple homes or locations when an MS500 is installed in each location. New music purchases from any of these cloud services can be automatically added to your library for easy playback,” says the company.
Provided are a set of balanced and unbalanced analogue outputs plus two digital outputs. The DAC is isolated from the motherboard, ensuring music is reproduced with extreme precision and elegance when using either of the analogue outputs.
The MS500 utilises a Linux-based operating system and is operated via the included remote control, a web browser or with free apps for iPhone, iPad or Android devices. The unit is compatible with many popular home automation systems for easy integration into existing setups.