CD/SACD Player McIntosh MCD 500

Only a superb universal player? Of ways. The MCD 500 (8000 EUR) by McIntosh is also a class pre-amplifier and D/A converters.

  1. CD/SACD player McIntosh MCD 500
  2. Data sheet

McIntosh: The name has been traditionally used for stately US high end. The Americans meet more than this reputation with their brand new two-channel player MCD 500 (8000 EUR). The universalist dominated by high bit SACD all popular formats to WMA and LowFi-MP3 and sends them both RCA and balanced connections. On one other XLR and RCA outputs, he controls even the volume and makes stellenlos so preamp. Similar to relentlessly, he moves with D/A converters: optical and coaxial digital inputs for CD player, MP3 player or DVB-receiver he replaced also. With this variety of features, it is the equipment head of his class without ifs and buts.

Despite so much inner high tech, the MCD 500 presented externally classic nostalgic – and very solid. The pressure with a rich reward his keys Clack, the gold-plated sockets are firmly bolted on the rear panel. The display is likely to be slightly larger – it displays only the title number and must be asked at the push of button to switch to game or maturity or the text information of SACDs. Thanks to the large, backlit, and programmable via code on devices remote control but easily manages the navigation itself through MP3 subdirectories.

McIntosh suffered hardly compromises, the operation went the Americans in the circuitry of completely in the full. The PlayerInnere tells far more than the printed on the device surface on glass, the adjacent block diagram says: for example, that behind the mesh filter, a cut low-loss transformers band ensures the in-house power supply. Or that an extra metal rim from unwanted Microphonics-attacks kept the drive with the die-cast mounted laser unit and quite incidentally even noise is inaudible.

The drive itself reads all data security with high speed twice. Out – thanks to excellent error correction – clean poured raw data separated from the drive or the digital inputs a “digital interface receiver” the clock and audio bits. Then re-samples the sampling rate converter of MCD 500 music data (whether 32 kHz MP3 or high resolution 96 kHz) with an own clock to a uniform level of 96 kHz / 24-bit and thus seal off the actual converter from every player.

That all sounds already quite well. But if one asks the sound-critical Assembly, you get from McIntosh Product Manager Tony Frontera the terse reply: “the converter”. This heart of the MCD 500 is a symmetric 8-channel D/A converter called’s ESS 9008 S the U.S. chip manufacturing technologies. You let him, then Frontera raves about its “unique resolution.”

Each of the eight stereo converter can work as well, because he have to carry no analog ballast such as filter and buffer levels. ES 9008 digital filters, corrected the treble of older CDs (emphasis) at the digital level and theoretically offers a click-free (digital) volume control in fine gridded 0.5 dB steps. However, some resolution is lost at a low level; the Americans therefore rather adjust the volume in the analog signal.

Her miracle chip is not limited by the downstream amplifier stage, the McIntosh engineers use here on ultra fast J-FET OPAMP (Burr Brown OPA 2134). Thus filtering the analog signal to the converter; the player outputs decouple it with bipolar operational amplifiers (NE 5532).

That the MCD 500 best uses the qualities of the ES 9008, prove the excellent measuring laboratory results: frequency response histories drawn like with the ruler and with minus 117 decibels (CD) extremely low noise margins. Jitter (time fluctuations in the signal) recorded the stereoplay Inspector but in spite of the high costs of the clock.

But the objection of the laboratory would fizzle at the hearing test at the first bars from CD. The MCD 500 flawless playing any kind of music and assorted instruments and vocal performers razor-sharp apart. The testers found only on the highest floor of the reference shelf – such as the 6/08 of tested Ayre C 5 XE an equal opponent. Had the bright, clear gameplay of Mac (listening passage via RCA fixed level output) to oppose little of the Ayre. Perhaps he offered something more musical looseness and a tad bit more height gloss; the Mac was here something to objectively.

Symmetrical (fixed level) but he grew significantly. Now he more accurately traced the recording rooms and the Hall pursued better. Clear recommendation: MCD 500 should be wired symmetrically irrespective of whether fixed or variable outputs. So connected, it then also went to the SACD check. With the high bit disks, the MCD 500 conjured up an again habhaftere figure and finer resolution. That was really good. While he was still an ACE in the hole: the opportunity to enhance external digital devices via onboard D/A converter.

And he did it almost perfect: A CD player benoteter with 62 points lost absolutely nothing to charisma or precision when the MCD 500 took over the conversion of music data. Or in other words: the American spurs on good CD player (and especially Adjective DVB receiver, etc.) to Sonic excellence.

Maybe there are players that are better in individual events. The sum of the properties but this McIntosh polymath is unrivalled.

McIntosh MCD 500

Manufacturer McIntosh
Price €8000.00
Rating 62.0 points
Test procedure 1.0

Technical data and test results

Dimensions (W x H x D) 44.5 x 15.0 x 42.0 cm
Weight 12.8 kg
Remote control / Adaptive /
Outputs unbalanced / symm. /
Digital output TosLink / ST / coaxial / XLR / No /
Display CD / SACD text No
capable of reading CD-R / CD-RW /
Volume control
Headphone output / adjustable /
Random track selection
HDCD playback No
Measured values
Error correction information layer CD 2.30 mm
Error correction surface CD 2.30 mm
Power consumption standby / operating 1.5 / 22.6 W
Sound Absolute top class
Sound points
(maximum 70 points)
Measured values
(maximum 10 points)
(max. 15 points)
(maximum 10 points)
Overall rating (max. 120 points) outstanding 94 points
Price / performance Very good
tested in issue: 2 / 09


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