Tag Archives: mcintosh

McIntosh Announces 8K Upgrade to MX123 A/V Processor

The following is a press release issued by McIntosh.

Binghamton, NY | September 8, 2021 McIntosh, the global leader in prestigious home entertainment and ultimate-quality audio for over 70 years, is proud to announce an 8K compatibility upgrade for the MX123 A/V Processor.

Since it was launched in October 2019, the MX123 has become a must have audio and video processor for countless home theaters. It launched with 4K/60Hz compatibility, but as technology has progressed and as McIntosh adheres to its philosophy of continuous product improvement, all new MX123 A/V Processors shipping from the McIntosh factory starting in September 2021 will support 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz video resolutions and refresh rates. The MX123 will also be able to upscale lower resolutions to 8K.

Of its 10 HDMI inputs and outputs, one of the inputs and two of the outputs will have 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz support (all 10 will continue to support 4K/60Hz). The three HDMI ports that are 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz compatible will also offer many other advanced features including Quick Media Switching (QMS); Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM); Quick Frame Transport (QFT); and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR).

All 10 of the HDMI ports support HDCP 2.3; Rec. 2020; 4:4:4 color spacing; Dynamic Lip-sync; and 3D Video pass-through. And all 10 will also now support a myriad of high dynamic range formats such as HDR (static HDR); Dynamic HDR; HDR10+; HLG; and Dolby Vision (including low latency).

In addition to these exciting video upgrades, the MX123 will continue to offer an impressive list of audio capabilities: 13.2 audio channels; Dolby Atmos (including Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer); DTS:X Pro; Auro-3D; Sony’s 360 Reality Audio; MPEG-H Audio; IMAX Enhanced; eARC/ARC; Apple AirPlay 2; Bluetooth; Spotify Connect; and Audyssey MultEQ XT32. To facilitate integration into home automation systems, it also has Connects with Control4 Certification from Control4 and Works with Crestron Home certification from Crestron.

Pricing and Availability
MX123 8K units will start shipping from the McIntosh factory to their global dealer network beginning in September 2021. Orders can now be placed with Authorized McIntosh dealers. The 4K version of the MX123 is no longer available from McIntosh.

Suggested retail price (VAT, shipping and any customs duties related to current standards of individual countries are excluded): $8,500 USD.

The post McIntosh Announces 8K Upgrade to MX123 A/V Processor appeared first on The Absolute Sound.

Original Resource is Articles – The Absolute Sound

The Best of The Month | July 2021

July of 2021—was indeed a hell of a month, if not the best July in years, for Part-Time Audiophile. Many cool things have happened in the last month at PTA. Some of them are new [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

McIntosh C49 Preamplifier and MC312 Power Amplifier | REVIEW

I feel like I’m the designated Part-Time Audiophile power lifter lately. I received another freight shipment containing the McIntosh C49 preamplifier and MC312 power amplifier, weighing in at back squat workout weight of 234 lbs. [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

McIntosh MB20 Bluetooth Transceiver

Bluetooth isn’t just for the kids anymore. Today McIntosh Labs introduces a simple streaming solution that will compliment any era of McIntosh gear. Gear like the new McIntosh MHA200 headphone amplifier. While it’s true that [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

McIntosh C53 Preamplifier and MCT500 SACD/CD Transport

McIntosh’s C53 preamplifier is the successor to the outstanding C52, which I reviewed two years ago in TAS 283 (I purchased the review sample). Like many preamplifiers and integrated amplifiers these days, the C52 is an analog/digital hybrid housing an on-board DAC. McIntosh called the C52 “the most advanced, single-chassis solid-state preamplifier we’ve ever made,” and despite a seven-grand retail, sales were extremely brisk. Little wonder: its matchless connectivity such that it handles virtually every audio format of two-channel analog and digital sources available for home consumption at performance levels that reach state of the art. Yet, here we have a replacement for which the manufacturer makes the same claim and which is so literally identical as regards circuitry, features, connectivity, performance, sound quality, size, and appearance—side by side the only differentiating clues the new model number under the McIntosh logo on the fascia and an HDMI port on the rear—that I’ll skip the usual descriptive tour around and through the unit, and also a detailed consideration of its sound, referring you instead to my review of the original (TAS 283 and at theabsolutesound.com). Mentally replace “C52” with C53” and you have the review. 

So why a new model and why a review? Two things: fears of obsolescence and television sound. Despite the C52’s strong sales, a number of potential buyers demurred, fearing that in an area as fast-moving as digital audio their purchase might soon become obsolete. So the engineers went back to the drawing board and designed a new digital audio module, designated the DA2. The DA2 is both removable and upgradable as new digital formats or components come along, all without having to replace the entire preamplifier. Already the DA2 benefits from a later generation of the popular ESS components that constitute the heart of the onboard DAC. It has the same connectivity (2 coaxial, 2 optical, 1 USB, and 1 proprietary MCT for use with the MCT series of SACD/CD transports), plus an additional feature that for me is something of a game-changer: a new audio-only HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) that, according to McIntosh’s literature, “allows it to be connected to TVs with a compatible HDMI (ARC) output to bring your TV sound to a new level of audio performance by listening to it through your home stereo system. Popular multichannel audio formats from Dolby and DTS are supported and will be expertly converted to 2-channel audio for proper playback through the C53. When CEC communication is enabled in both the C53 and your TV, your TV remote can control the power and volume of the C53.” 

But since McIntosh is primarily an audio company and TAS an audio magazine, who cares about TV sound, and isn’t it already available anyhow? Easier to answer the latter first. No, or at least not easily. Increasingly, all these fancy new “smart” TVs have dispensed with RCA jacks that provide a mixed-down audio signal for connection to two-channel sound systems, while some new smart TVs no longer have even a headphone jack that could be counted on (more or less) for the same thing. Without those, the only way to get two channels out of your television is the TosLink connection, but that requires an accommodating DAC, whether built-in or outboard. Even then, the sound you’ll get, while usually an improvement over the RCA and headphone-jack alternatives, is not nearly as good as what you would get from a properly mixed down two-channel signal because, as McIntosh’s literature suggests, such popular multichannel formats as Dolby and DTS are not consistently supported by or correctly converted via the TosLink output. In other words, it’s still something of a dumbed-down way of getting quality two-channel audio out of a television.

McIntosh MCT500

There is a third alternative. A number of third-party vendors sell devices that claim to split off a stereo signal from an HDMI output. These devices are quite inexpensive ($15–$50 or so) and readily available on Amazon or other sites. I’ve tried some with at worst no success at all (no sound comes out) or middling results that are no better than the headphone and RCA jacks on earlier TVs and usually not as good. The reality is that some pretty sophisticated conversion protocols and circuitry are required to do a correct two-channel down-conversion. I’m not sure if you can find that on processors, receivers, preamplifiers, and integrated amplifiers that are home-theater products, but so far as I am aware, McIntosh’s DA2 module is unique in being able to do this the right way on a preamplifier otherwise designed strictly for the reproduction of high-end two-channel. While I cannot provide details on how the company accomplishes this, the circuit being proprietary, I can report that the results are genuinely revelatory. 

But first, let’s return to the question of who cares about two-channel TV sound. Well, I do, for one, and so do many people I know whose listening rooms must do double-duty as TV rooms, yet who don’t want to invest in multichannel setups or augment (purists might say “corrupt”) their two-channel systems with home-theater components. According to McIntosh, quite a number of their customers feel the same way—another reason, in addition to upgradability, for the DA2. As many of my readers know, I am a film editor (features mostly, some non-commercial TV), and I oversee the sound mixing and dubbing of all the films I edit. Yet I don’t have a home-theater setup, nor do many of my colleagues who work in movies. (Indeed, I personally know far fewer movie professionals with surround-sound home-theater than I do without.) Speaking for myself, I don’t much enjoy “hardware” movies such as all those big tentpole productions. My idea of a really long night at the movies, whether at home or in theaters, consists in superhero movies, action “epics,” space-opera, and other kinds of mass-market sci-fi, with soundtracks proliferated with bullets, explosions, high-speed chases, rockets, laser ordnance, and other sorts of futuristic weaponry, not to mention grunts, groans, growls, roars, screams, screeches, and other effusions of monsters from the Mesozoic Era to galaxies far off and away—all this without mentioning near non-stop music loud enough to cause hearing damage.  

Nor do I much care for sound effects coming from all around me whether at home or in theaters. My reasons for this require a much longer discussion than there is space for in an audio review, so I’ll reduce it to a single sentence: I find it both weird and distracting to have sounds coming from behind, above, or beside me when the image remains stubbornly in front of me. I’ll let you in on a little secret. A remarkably large number of filmmakers feel the same way, including quite a few directors. Most of us got into this business because we wanted to tell stories that mean something to us and that we hope will mean something to others as well. When it comes to all those CGI visual and sound effects, most of us feel that less definitely equates to more. And while I’ve heard some impressive music-only surround-sound demonstrations (notably courtesy of Peter McGrath and his own outstanding recordings), I have neither space nor inclination to set up something similar at home. These admissions may suggest that as regards both my vocation and my avocation I’m in the wrong line of work, but there appears to be enough of us to constitute a market worth accommodating. (According to McIntosh, this includes a considerable number of their customers.)

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Original Resource is Articles – The Absolute Sound

First-Ever Automotive Reference System From Mcintosh Featured in 2022 Grand Wagoneer

Binghamton, NY | March 11, 2021 – McIntosh Laboratory is world-famous for its unparalleled luxury home audio systems. Today, McIntosh is proud to announce two extraordinary McIntosh Entertainment Systems—the MX1375 Reference Entertainment System and the MX950 Entertainment System are going to hit the road in the upcoming 2022 Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.  Both vehicles will be available in mid-2021.

The McIntosh MX1375 Reference Entertainment System (RES) has been meticulously designed and engineered to meet exacting standards and bring reference quality sound to the road. Its Adaptive 3D Surround Processing capabilities delivers an immersive acoustic experience that produces sonic imaging and spatial detail that doesn’t just sound sensational but transports you to the performance.

The McIntosh MX950 Entertainment System is also a true “MAC” using many patented McIntosh technologies from the brand’s home audio systems. The system delivers crisp, high quality sonic reproduction with low distortion and fast response to create a truly amazing audio experience worthy of the McIntosh nameplate.

McIntosh’s signature audio performance will be available in various Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer trims through a choice of two custom systems:

The McIntosh MX1375 Reference Entertainment System will be available exclusively in the Grand Wagoneer. The MX1375 employs 23 specifically tuned speakers, including one of the highest performing 12-inch subwoofers in the industry, and is powered by a 24-channel 1375-watt amplifier. Exclusive to the MX1375 is unique Adaptive 3D Surround Processing capabilities for an immersive listening experience.

The McIntosh MX950 Entertainment System will be available in Grand Wagoneer Series I and Series II and Wagoneer Series IIImodels. The MX950 features 19 custom-tuned speakers, including a 10-inch subwoofer, and a 17-channel amplifier producing up to 950 watts of pure power.

Two American icons — Wagoneer and McIntosh — spent a significant amount of time developing a sound system for the Grand Wagoneer Concept that debuted last Fall. Throughout that journey, McIntosh saw Wagoneer’s strong commitment to creating a premium SUV that would spare no expense on its sound system. When the 2022 Grand Wagoneer goes on sale in the second half of 2021, it will become the first vehicle in history with the world-famous Reference system from one of the leaders in audiophile caliber luxury audio. The MX1375 Reference Entertainment System was created out of a dream and brought to reality with equal parts imagination and expert engineering.

To ensure the McIntosh luxury home audio experience was carried into the Grand Wagoneer, McIntosh’s acoustics experts worked on a prototype of the vehicle cabin and had a free rein to create the best possible audio system design that envelops all passengers in a live music experience. Engineers from both companies spent countless hours studying the vehicle’s interior to fine tune the MX1375 Reference Entertainment System. The resulting system is truly groundbreaking and will awaken your senses with a true McIntosh sound you can take with you.

“When we were developing the MX1375 Reference Entertainment System, we set up a McIntosh Reference room next to the Wagoneer team’s facility to ensure the best parts of the home system experience made it into the Grand Wagoneer,” said Charlie Randall, President of McIntosh Laboratory, Inc. “It was fascinating to hear the progression as the vehicle started to take on qualities of the Reference Room itself. I can’t wait for customers to hear and feel it for themselves.”

The systems’ design is the perfect match for the artisanal interior of the Grand Wagoneer.  To reinforce the iconic McIntosh style, the beloved blue meters dance on the vehicle’s infotainment display. Grand Wagoneer owners will soon experience what it’s like having a McIntosh sound system with them on-the-go. It just might make your car the best place to go for a great night in.

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Neuer SACD-Player “MCD85” von McIntosh

Der MCD85 spielt sowohl gekaufte SACDs und CDs als auch Musik von selbst gebrannten CD- oder DVD-Discs und er ist kompatibel mit zahlreichen Dateiformaten.

Der USB-Audioeingang unterstützt DSD256 sowie DXD384kHz und kann entweder zum Streamen digitaler Musik von einem Computer oder einem digitalen Speichergerät verwendet werden. Ganze vier DAC-Kanäle mit einer maximalen PCM-Rate von 32 Bit/192 kHz sind jedem Audiokanal zugeordnet.

Analoge Ausgänge stehen in symmetrischer und unsymmetrischer Ausführung zum Anschluss an einen Vorverstärker bereit.

Die moderne CD-Lade mit einer präzisen Aluminium-Druckguss-Schublade soll sanft und leise laufen. Dank 2-facher Lesegeschwindigkeit können Daten von der Disc in einem Puffer zwischengespeichert werden, was einer verbesserte Fehlerkorrektur ermöglichen soll. Diverse "Control"-Anschlüsse ermöglichen nahtlose Integration in bestehende McIntosh-Setups.

Der knapp über neun Kilogramm schwere und etwa 31 Zentimeter breite McIntosh MCD85 soll voraussichtlich ab April zum einem UVP von 5.750€ erhältlich sein.

Weitere Informationen zur Marke McIntosh


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LFD NCSE Mk. 3 Integrated Amplifier | REVIEW

The LFD NCSE Mk. 3 integrated amplifier (website) has no remote control. Nor does it have XLR inputs or outputs, a home theater bypass switch, 12V trigger operation, a built-in DAC, a wide range of connectivity options nor any of the standard features we usually find in a modern integrated that costs $7,350. I’ve reviewed plenty of integrated amplifiers that cost far less than that, and they have features such as inboard phono stages and headphone amplifiers and more. Heck, the LFD NCSE doesn’t even have a grounding lug on the back panel for the phono stage. In nearly every way, the LFD is a classic Brit-Fi integrated from twenty or thirty years ago: 70 watts per channel, about the size and weight of your average one-chassis preamp, a simple black box. (Or in this case, dark gray.) Three knobs on front—volume, selector, tape monitoring. A simple toggle switch serves as the power button and there’s only one very small LED on the faceplate that tells you the NCSE is on. I was raised on simple British integrated amplifiers like this–the British Fidelity A1 and Synthesis, Naim NAIT 2, Rega Brio3 and, most notably, the LFD Mistral. The Mistral was [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Denafrips Pontus II DAC | REVIEW

I’ve been on a hot streak lately with getting components to review that have sounded excellent despite the current difficulties in hearing something beforehand. For a reviewer, it’s one of the many great things about hi-fi shows. So when our fearless PTA leader Scot Hull put out the word amongst the troops for who wanted to take a shot and review an affordably-priced DAC from the Chinese electronics firm Denafrips (website), I thought sure! Why not? And then something strange happened during my time with the most excellent Denafrips Pontus II DAC.  I started listening to a lot of music in digital form, not because I had to turn in a review on the DAC, no. I WANTED to listen to digital. Whuuut?To my way of thinking, DACs are the most stealthy of source components. There are no knobs to turn, no stylus to clean or arm to drop on a record, and a dearth of switches or buttons to press. Certainly no choice of regular bias or chrome tape–remember those? You might get a selection of anti-aliasing filters if you’re lucky. There is not much romance in Ye Olde DACs. They sit there quietly waiting to be asked out [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

McIntosh MHA200 Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier

Tubes going in, and tubes going out Honey, they’ve shrunk the MC275 (or recently reviewed MC1502) and made it for driving headphones. If that’s not exciting news, what is? The McIntosh MHA200 is an all tube affair, and no you’re not seeing triple, that’s a pair of McIntosh’s Unity Coupled Circuit output transformers. McIntosh MHA200 Connectivity includes, A pair of 3-pin balanced and a single 4-pin balanced output, along with standard 1/4-inch stereo jack. Inputs accept both balanced and RCA. On the front, something interested which is detailed below, a load impedance knob. Shipping is expected to being in March 2021, and at a suggested retail price of $2,500 USD. More specific details and pictures are included in the press release below. Press Release Below McIntosh Announces MHA200 Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier Treat Your Headphones to McIntosh Vacuum Tube Amplification Binghamton, NY – February 4, 2021 – McIntosh, the global leader in prestigious home entertainment and ultimate-quality audio for 70 years, is proud to introduce the MHA200 Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier. The McIntosh MHA200 Vacuum Tube Headphone Amplifier is designed for discerning headphone enthusiasts who demand the most from their headphones. Its versatile set of connectivity options, including balanced inputs [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile