Binghamton, New York is a very busy place based on the number of announcements that come across my desk regarding McIntosh Labs product launches. The most recent salvo fired across the digital frontier from the American high-fidelity icon is the company’s latest SACD/CD player – the MCD600 – and the company’s first foray into new streaming tech with the Linux-based MS500. This is a solid one-two punch for digital-audio, and SACD/CD purists looking to solidify their sources holistically with existing McIntosh preamplifiers, and amplifiers, and for those who were waiting for a computer-audio solution from the big blue meters people.
Press release below
Binghamton, NY – May 16, 2018 – McIntosh, the global leader in prestigious home entertainment and ultimate-quality audio for over 65 years, is proud to announce two new products: the MCD600 SACD/CD Player and MS500 Music Streamer. Each product combines the best-in-class audio performance of the legendary McIntosh Reference System with the latest in technological development.
MCD600 SACD/CD Player
At the heart of the MCD600 is a newly designed digital circuit highlighted by a new premium 8-channel, 32-bit PCM/DSD digital-to-analog converter (DAC). The DAC is used in Quad Balanced mode, with 4 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.
Besides commercial SACDs and CDs, the MCD600 can also play music from user generated CD or DVD Data Discs as well as USB flash drives. Numerous file formats can be played from these including AAC, AIFF, ALAC, DSD (up to DSD128), FLAC, MP3, WAV (up to 24-bit/192kHz) and WMA. Flash drives can easily be connected via the front panel USB input.
The MCD600 includes both fixed and variable balanced and unbalanced outputs; the variable outputs combined with its volume control allow the MCD600 to be connected directly to a power amplifier without needing a preamplifier. Coax and optical digital inputs and outputs are included as is the McIntosh High Drive headphone amplifier.
The MCD600 is wrapped in classic McIntosh styling with a polished stainless steel chassis, black glass front panel, illuminated logo, knobs and aluminum end caps. The front panel features new direct LED backlighting for improved appearance, while the top has a new screen printed glass panel listing performance specs and a block diagram.
MS500 Music Streamer
The sophisticated yet simple to use MS500 Music Streamer seamlessly integrates both internet based streaming music and locally stored digital music into one comprehensive device. It allows a digital music library to be enjoyed with McIntosh’s legendary audio standards – including uncompressed, lossless files with up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution.
The MS500 runs ultra-quiet thanks to two key features. First, local music and the operating system are stored on a durable 500GB solid state drive (SSD) that has no moving parts to create noise; second, a new fanless processor combined with improved ventilation means noisy cooling fans are not needed. The combination of these two things results in there being no noise to interfere with music listening.
Besides onboard music storage, the MS500 has built in interfaces to leading streaming services such as Deezer, Murfie, Pandora®, Rhapsody®, SiriusXM®, Slacker, Spotify®, TIDAL and TuneIn (services subject to change). Internet radio stations can also be added as presets. Three USB ports allow for external mass storage or flash drives to be connected. Any one of the USB ports can also be used to connect an external component with a built-in DAC; utilizing this external DAC, one additional independent audio zone can be created.
The MS500 utilizes a Linux based operating system that brings stability and is extremely responsive to user inputs. It is operated via the included remote control, a web browser or with free apps for Apple and Android devices. The unit is compatible with many popular home automation systems allowing for easy integration into an existing setup. The timeless black glass front panel, illuminated logo and aluminum end caps make the MS500 a welcome addition to any audio system and room decor.
Pricing* and Availability
Orders are now being accepted for MCD600 and MS500 with shipping anticipated to begin in May for both products. Target retail price for each (VAT, shipping and any customs duties related to current standards of individual countries are excluded):
MCD600: $7,000 USD
MS500: $6,000 USD
*Pricing subject to change.
Founded in 1949, McIntosh Laboratory is known for offering distinguished quality audio products, superior customer service and the ultimate experience in music and film. All McIntosh products are handcrafted at the Binghamton, NY factory by over 150 employees with a passion for music and the McIntosh heritage. McIntosh continues to define the ultimate home entertainment experience for discriminating consumers around the world, with the iconic “McIntosh Blue” Watt Meters globally recognized as a symbol of quality audio. Since its inception, McIntosh has been powering some of the most important moments in music history and pop culture. From President Lyndon Johnson’s inauguration speech to Woodstock to the famous Grateful Dead “Wall of Sound,” McIntosh has not only witnessed history, it has shaped it. With McIntosh, customers have the ability to create their own premium audio experience – and truly live their music. Visit http://www.mcintoshlabs.com to learn more.
MS500 = $6,000 USD and for that you get 3 USB inputs, 2 of which are USB 2.0. Are they kidding? And only a 500Gb SSD? Are they kidding?
That’s 2018 pricing for 2013 technology.
Does it accept (process) MQA?
Can the MS500 pass files to an external DAC that are higher res than 24/192 and DSD?