McIntosh MCT500: New flagship SACD/CD Transport launched

Look ma, no analog outs: The McIntosh MCT500 SACD/CD Transport.

The hits keep coming from McIntosh Labs.

Apparently the iconic American high-fidelity company can’t stop itself from launching new products, something you won’t hear any complaints from me about.

The latest announcement from the Binghampton, New York-based manufacturer concerns their new flagship SACD/CD Transport, namely the MCT500 which is an digital-out only player with optical, coaxial, balanced XLR, and McIntosh proprietary MCT connector: no analog out here folks, everything stays in the domain of ones, and zeros.

MCT500 Back
Digital outs: MCT or (altered) DIN by another name.

While MCT is basically a hijacked DIN connector, it is included due to the advanced copyright protection inherent to the digital rights of SACD content over digital connections, McIntosh had no choice but to come up with their MCT if they chose to not have analog outs – which the 500, and MCT450 lack.

Hopefully, I can secure one this summer for review.

–Rafe Arnott

MCT500 Low Angle

Press release below:

Binghamton, NY – February 15, 2018 McIntosh, the global leader in prestigious home entertainment and ultimate-quality audio for over 65 years, is proud to announce the MCT500 SACD/CD Transport.

The MCT500 is a digital only unit and features four digital outputs: industry standard balanced, coax and optical outputs plus our exclusive MCT connector. To enjoy CDs, it can be paired with any product that has standard digital inputs and a digital-to-analog convertor (DAC).

For SACD playback, the MCT500’s proprietary MCT output needs to be connected (via the included cable) to a McIntosh product with an MCT input. This includes select McIntosh preamplifiers and integrated amplifiers. When an MCT connection is made, a secure digital connection is created, allowing for the playback of the high definition audio found on SACDs. Regular CDs can also be played over the MCT connection.

All common disc types can be played on the MCT500, including SACD, CD, CD-R/RW and DVD-R. A USB input is conveniently located on the front panel for easy access. In addition to store bought CDs and SACDs, popular file formats such as AAC, AIFF, ALAC, DSD (up to DSD128), FLAC, MP3, WAV (up to 24-bit/192kHz) and WMA can be played from user generated CD or DVD Data Discs and USB flash drives.

Disc handling is smooth and quiet thanks to an advanced disc transport with a precision die-cast aluminum tray. An advanced digital servo provides fast, quiet and accurate operation. A disc’s audio data is read at twice the normal rate insuring better disc tracking and error correction processing.

Integration with other McIntosh system components is achieved via the Power Control and data ports. The MCT500 is wrapped in classic McIntosh styling with a polished stainless steel chassis, black glass front panel, illuminated logo and aluminum end caps.

Pricing and Availability
Orders for the MCT500 can now be placed with Authorized McIntosh dealers with shipping expected to begin in February.

Suggested retail price (VAT, shipping and any customs duties related to current standards of individual countries are excluded): $4,500 USD.

MCT500 Front Top