Stereo SACD/CD player/DAC/preamp
Our take on the McIntosh MCD550 by Crutchfield's Dave Bar
Superior quality sound from your discs
McIntosh has been building some of the world's finest audio equipment for over 65 years. The MCD550 CD/Super Audio CD player lives up to that tradition of superior design and construction quality, from its handsome two-tone stainless steel chassis and iconic illuminated glass front panel to its sophisticated digital-to-analog converter and rugged die-cast aluminum disc tray. This player will deliver exceptional clarity, dynamics, and musicality from your treasured disc collection.
A CD player you can use as a DAC and a preamp
But the talented MCD550 does much more. It also functions as a premium stand-alone DAC and a versatile digital preamp that lets you plug in your other digital music sources. Connect your computer, networked music player, or game console to the MCD550, and experience your music through the same high-end Quad Balanced DAC that makes your discs sound so good. Both fixed and variable balanced and unbalanced audio outputs are available to give you plenty of flexibility when connecting this player to your system. The MCD550's variable outputs are ideal for sending audio signals directly to a power amplifier for a minimalist setup without the need for a separate preamp.
The MCD550's array of inputs and outputs adds serious versatility to your high-end audio system.
Flexible connections for your digital music sources
The MCD550 provides multiple digital audio inputs to play your source components through its built-in DAC:
- coaxial digital input: ideal for connecting a Blu-ray or DVD player, Sonos CONNECT, or any other digital audio component with coax out, and taking advantage of the MCD550's high-performance processor for better sound.
- optical digital input: ready to take on a set-top box, HDTV, game console, or other digital source with optical digital output, and feed a high-quality audio signal into your stereo system.
- asynchronous Type B USB jack feeds digital audio from your computer into the MCD550's onboard digital-to-analog converter, bypassing your computer's sound card to yield much clearer sound with stored or streamed music, including the latest high-res music files.
A world-famous audio heritage, made in America
Since its founding in 1949, McIntosh has defined the meaning of high-quality sound reproduction, while setting industry standards for superior performance and reliability. The company is based in Binghamton, New York, where its high-end components and speakers are still individually handcrafted by a team of skilled experts. This uncompromising dedication to quality has made McIntosh one of the most recognized and respected audio manufacturers in the world.
- stereo playback for SACDs, audio CDs, and MP3 & WMA CDs
- rear-panel asynchronous USB input (Type B) for audio playback of stored computer or streaming music files, including high-res files up to 24-bit/192 kHz
- (USB audio drivers for Apple® Macintosh® and Microsoft® Windows® available as a free download from the McIntosh web site)
- Quad Balanced 32-bit/192kHz digital-to-analog conversion using four DACs per channel for wide dynamic range and low distortion
- built-in High Drive headphone amplifier features high gain and output power for driving virtually all headphone types
- high-precision disc mechanism with sturdy die-cast aluminum disc tray
- disc audio data read at twice normal speed and stored in a buffer for better error correction and tracking
- linear power supply with special R-Core power transformer and multiple regulators to ensure stable, noise-free operation
- fiber optic illuminated glass front panel and mirror-finish stainless steel chassis for a beautiful appearance and long-term durability
- separate fixed and variable unbalanced stereo RCA and balanced XLR audio outputs
- variable balanced and unbalanced audio outputs allow for direct connection to a power amplifier, eliminating the need for a preamp
- optical and coaxial digital audio inputs for use in DAC mode
- optical and coaxial digital audio outputs for CD
- SACD specs:
- frequency response: 4-40,000 Hz (+0.5, -2 dB)
- signal-to-noise ratio: better than 110 dB
- dynamic range: better than 100 dB
- CD specs:
- frequency response: 4-20,000 Hz (±0.5 dB)
- signal-to-noise ratio: better than 110 dB
- dynamic range: better than 100 dB
- Power Control input jack receives turn-on signals from a McIntosh component
- Power Control output jack sends turn-on signals to another McIntosh component
- Data In jack receives control data from a McIntosh Control Center
- IR input for connecting an IR receiver
- remote control
- detachable power cord
- handcrafted at McIntosh's Binghamton, New York factory
- If connecting to a TV, please make sure you can select "PCM" output in your TV's audio menu. The built-in DAC cannot decode multi-channel Dolby® Digital signals.
- 17-1/2"W x 6"H x 19"D
- weight: 28 lbs
- warranty: 3 years
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
What's in the Box:
- CD/SACD player
- 6' AC power cord
- Remote control
- Owner's Manual
McIntosh MCD550 Reviews
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Features and Specs
|CD Transport Only||No|
Single Disc |
|Direct Track Access||Remote|
|Direct Disc Access||N/A|
|Multiple CD Player Control||---|
|Parts Warranty||3 Years|
|Labor Warranty||3 Years|
|CD Frequency Response||4-20k Hz|
|Signal to Noise Ratio||110 dB|
|SACD Frequency Response||4-40k Hz|
|SACD Dynamic Range||100 dB|
|SACD THD||0.002 %|
|Digital Optical Output||1|
|Digital Coaxial Output||1|
Twin Laser Pickup: The McIntosh MCD550 incorporates two laser elements, with different wavelengths, that are focused through one lens assembly. This unique design allows reading both the CD and Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD) Discs formats. The McIntosh MCD550 supports playback of CD-Audio and SACD discs. The McIntosh MCD550 also support MP3 & WMA music files recorded onto CD-R and CD-RW discs, in ISO9660 Level 1 standard.
Advanced Transport: Its premium aluminum die cast CD tray provides the best handling of music discs. The MCD550 has a newly designed transport with a die-cast tray. It has the latest in advanced digital servo for faster, quieter, and accurate operation. The disc audio data is read at twice the normal rate insuring better disc tracking and error correction processing. The MCD550 reads your CD & SACD discs at a higher speed and stores the data in a buffer memory for better error correction and tracking, thus increasing overall audio performance. The advanced mechanical design of the transport ensures many years of smooth trouble free operation.
Quad Balanced 32-bit/192kHz DAC: The MCD550 utilizes an 8-channel, 32-bit/192kHz digital to analog converter (DAC) with wide dynamic range and extremely low distortion. The 8-channel DAC is used in Quad Balanced mode, which utilizes 4 DAC channels per audio channel, allowing music at all levels to be reproduced with extreme precision and elegance. It can decode PCM signals from CDs and the digital inputs, as well as DSD signals from SACDs.
Classic McIntosh Design: The MCD550 CD/SACD player incorporates classic McIntosh design cues, including a black glass front-panel, rotary knobs, illuminated logo, stainless steel chassis, & gold-plated connectors.
Linear Power Supply: The linear power supply has both a special R-Core power transformer and multiple regulators to ensure stable noise free operation even though the power line varies.
Fixed/Variable Balanced & Unbalanced Outputs: Both fixed and variable balanced and unbalanced outputs are present, offering you extreme flexibility in connecting the MCD550 to your system. The variable outputs allow for direct connection to an amplifier without requiring a separate preamplifier. Balanced connections guard against induced noise and allow long cable runs without compromising sound quality.
Digital Inputs & Outputs: The MCD550's optical (toslink) digital input and coax (RCA) digital input receive a digital audio signal from an external source component, such as a network streamer and uses the MCD550's internal DAC to decode the signal into an analog audio signal. The optical digital input decodes 2ch PCM audio signals up to 24-bit/192kHz, while the coax digital input decodes 2ch PCM audio signal up to 24-bit/96kHz. The MCD550's optical (toslink) digital output and coax (RCA) digital output send a digital audio signal (up to 24-bit/192kHz) to a preamplifier or a receiver with a DAC converter or a decoder.
Asynchronous USB-B Input: The McIntosh MCD550 features a asynchronous USB-B input for playing back music files from your computer. Asynchronous technology allows the digital clock inside the MCD550's DAC to control the flow of data coming from your computer. This method of communication leads to less jitter (timing errors) for the MCD550 to deal with which results in clearer more defined sound. The MCD550 can decode and play back 2ch stereo PCM music files (up to 24-bit/192kHz) from your Windows PC or Mac computer via its USB-B input. Your Windows PC or Mac computer must meet the following system requirements -
- Windows 7 (SP1), Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10; a Windows PC will require the installation of McIntosh's USB Audio Window Driver (available on the McIntosh website)
- Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later; a Mac computer does not require the installation of an additional USB audio driver
High Drive Headphone Amp: The MCD550's High Drive headphone amplifier features increased gain and output power, and is optimized for virtually all headphone types (16-600Ω) for the ultimate personal listening experience.
Front-Panel Level Control: The player's front-panel level control allows you to vary the music volume level with headphones, match the volume level of the MCD550 with other components in a system, and drive any power amplifier directly.
Front-Panel & Remote Control: Front-panel controls include Track & Level rotary knobs, as well as the following push-button controls - Standby/On, Open/Close, Play/Pause, Stop, Input, Mute, & Disc Layer. The included IR remote control with illuminated push-buttons provides complete wireless operation of the MCD550's functions.
Front-Panel Display: The MCD550's front-panel display indicates the current disc playback status, digital input status, and the variable audio output volume level.
Custom Integration: The McIntosh MCD550 offers advanced connectivity and control features often required for custom home integration.
- Power Control: The MCD550 has the ability to automatically switch power on or off to and from source components via the Power Control In/Out connections (3.5mm).
- Data Port: The MCD550's Data Out Port (3.5mm) sends remote control signals to a McIntosh source component. This Data Port connection allows for the remote operation of basic functions using the MCD550's remote control.
- IR Input: The 3.5mm IR input allows the connection of an external IR receiver. With an external sensor connected to the MCD550, remote control operation of the system is possible from another room and/or when the MCD550 is located in a cabinet with the doors closed. The signal from a connected external IR receiver will have priority over the signal from the player's front-panel IR sensor.
AC Power Cord + Auto Power Off: The McIntosh MCD550 features a detachable AC power cord with 3-pole IEC connector. The MCD550 incorporates an Auto Off feature, which automatically places the player into the Power Saving Standby/Off Mode after approximately 30 minutes of inactivity or no audio signal.
Mounting Options: The McIntosh MCD550 can be placed upright on a table or shelf, standing on its four feet. It also can be custom installed in a piece of furniture or cabinet of your choice. The four feet may be removed from the bottom of the MCD550 when it is custom installed. Always provide adequate ventilation for your MCD550. Allow at least 2" above the top, 2" below the bottom, and 1" on each side of the CD player, so that airflow is not obstructed.
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Why did you buy this?
Combined SACD with HD sources with an awesome DAC, all in a pre-amp [ DWIGHT Sep 14, 2017 ]
I have a full Mcintosh system and am replacing an old MS750 server with this unit. [ Philip Mar 16, 2017 ]
Quality [ RAYMOND Mar 08, 2017 ]