McIntosh Laboratory has launched a new CD/SACD player, the MCD550. The new player has been designed to MCD550+Front+Top-1offer exemplary playback of both CD and SACD discs and “transform the audio quality of digitally connected devices”, thanks to its three-input internal DAC.

At the MCD550’s heart lies an eight-channel, 32-bit/192kHz PCM/DSD digital to analogue converter that operates in quad-balanced mode, utilising four DAC paths per audio channel. The three-strong digital input suite in the McIntosh Digital Engine includes a coaxial and optical input, plus a dedicated asynchronous USB 2.0 input (operating at up to 24-bit) which allows for the direct transfer of digitally stored music at up to 192kHz resolution.

The MCD550 benefits from both coaxial and optical outputs, for use with a digital preamp or home theatre processor, plus both (fixed and variable) balanced and unbalanced outputs, giving the new player a vast range of connectivity options including direct connection to a power amplifier.

The MCD550 has a new transport section with a premium die-cast aluminium tray plus the latest in advanced digital servo technology for “faster, quieter and more accurate operation; the disc’s audio data is read at twice the normal rate, ensuring better disc-tracking and error-correction processing”.

The MCD550’s front panel display indicates the current disc’s playback status, digital input status and the variable audio output volume level. Also featured on the fascia is dial-based level control, allowing simple volume adjustment for headphone use, volume-matching with other source components when the player is used in a system, and for volume control when using a direct connection to a power amplifier. A dial control is also employed for track selection.

A dual-layer chassis is employed, plus an advanced linear power supply, which has a R-Core power transformer, along with multiple regulators, to ensure stable and noise-free operation.

MCD550 specifications

Channels: 2

Analogue outputs: balanced/unbalanced stereo, fixed and variable

Fixed output level: 2.0Vrms unbalanced; 4.0vrms balanced

Variable output level: 0 – 8.0Vrms unbalanced; 0 – 16.0Vrms balanced

Output impedance: 600 ohms unbalanced and balanced

Frequency response: 4Hz to 40kHz, +0.5, -2dB (SACD); 4Hz to 20kHz, ±0.5db (CD)

Signal to noise ratio: better than 110dB (A-weighted)

Dynamic range: better than 100dB

Total harmonic distortion: 0.002% @ 1000Hz (SACD); 0.002% @ 1000Hz (CD)

Channel separation: better than 98dB (1,000Hz)

Headphone output impedance: 47 ohms

Digital audio specifications

Coaxial sample rate: 16, 24-bit/96kHz

Optical sample rate: 16, 24-bit/192kHz

USB sample rate: 16, 24-bit/192kHz

Digital coaxial input: 0.5v p-p/75 ohms

Digital optical input: -15dbm to -21dbm

Digital USB input: USB type B connector

Digital output sample rate: up to 24-bit/192kHz

Digital coaxial output: 0.5V p-p/75 ohms

Digital optical output: -15dbm to -21dbm


Fixed outputs: unbalanced 1 stereo

Fixed outputs: balanced 1 stereo

Variable outputs: unbalanced 1 stereo

Variable outputs: balanced 1 stereo

Digital coaxial input: 1

Digital optical input: 1

Digital USB input: 1

Digital coaxial output: 1

Digital optical output: 1

 The MCD550 sells for £6,395 and is available in February.

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