MCINTOSH CONTINUES ITS ANALOGUE LEGACY
Few audio brands do analogue as well or as distinctively as the prestigious American brand, McIntosh.
As if to reinforce its more than half a century of dedication to analogue and stereo reproduction, today McIntosh takes the covers off two new models at the High End Audio Show in Munich.
Leaving aside McIntosh’s full-on commitment to digital, the two new models are an integrated amplifier and an SACD/CD player.
The pair signal McIntosh’s intentions for the present and the near future.
The integrated amplifier bears the model designation, MA8900 and the SACD/CD player is the MCD350. You couldn’t wish for a cleaner, simpler or neater model assignment.
McIntosh describes the MA8900 amplifier as a next generation model. Power wise it’s well endowed as befitting a McIntosh amplifier, and it will offer its fortunate owners about 200 watts per channel
Take it as given that it will also have plenty of new features and given the brand’s track record of designing impeccable amplifiers, the built-in preamplifier will match the sonic purity of the power amplifier section of this integrated model.
Viewed from any angle, the MA8900’s heat sinks look distinctive. That’s because they are the first to feature the company’s Monograms. Built from high quality materials chosen for their proven thermal conductivity properties, the new heat sinks are so adept at dissipating heat, McIntosh decided they deserved the brand’s Mc logo.
The heat sinks look very stylish but they’re also functional. They connect to advanced high current output transistors used because they eliminate thermal equilibrium lag time. The result? The first note of music will sound equally as good as songs played later in any listening session, says McIntosh.
The MA8900 has a measure of future proofing. Its digital inputs are housed in the brand’s new DA1 Digital Audio Module. The DA1 it should be noted, can be replaced by emerging modules as they become available so the MA8900 remains current with all the latest digital formats and technologies.
The DA1 has an upgraded 8-channel; 32-bit/384kHz DAC used in Quad Balanced mode and it has six digital inputs.
The USB input handles signals up to 32-bit/384kHz and supports DSD256 and DXD 384kHz. Analogue stereo inputs comprise one balanced and six unbalanced along with one each of Moving Coil and Moving magnet covering just about all cartridge bases. The MA8900 has Home Theatre Passthru, High Drive headphone amplifier, 5-band analogue tone controls and gold-plated speaker binding posts.
The MCD350 SACD/CD player carries a balanced 2-channel, 32-bit/192kHz DAC. It offers fixed analogue stereo outputs in both balanced and unbalanced configurations. It also has coax and optical outputs.
All the analogue outputs and the digital coax outputs are gold plated or have superior corrosion resistance.
The new player has a 2x read speed to allow higher speed-readings of discs put in its rigid aluminium die-cast tray. Their data is then stored in a buffer memory to improve error correction and tracking.
Discs are read via a twin laser optical pickup that has a single objective lens with two laser units each using different wavelengths optimised for SACD and CD playback.
U.S. pricing of the new models is US$7500 for the MA8900 and US $4500 for the MCD350. Local pricing will be announced shortly.
For more information visit the McIntosh brand page.
One of the veterans of the Australian HiFi industry, if there's a speaker he's likely heard it or owned it at some point in his career. Peter was formerly the audio-video editor of the Herald Sun for over two decades.
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