Peter Familari's avatar

by Peter Familari

18th August, 2017


With its roots in Stereo Audio, McIntosh’s new MCT80 SACD/CD transport comes as no surprise.

McIntosh is hardly a brand to live in a time warp. It has released elite models bearing streaming technology. But with one eye on the billions of silver CDs, and to a lesser extent, SACD discs, McIntosh is putting its money on this high-end transport.

It’s a good bet McIntosh is banking on audiophiles making models the calibre of the MCT80 the last transport they’ll own as we do a Usain Bolt, into the streaming era.

Those lucky enough to put an MCT80 on their audio bucket list will get a very versatile McIntosh model.

Designed to match the size of the brand’s MXA80 integrated audio system, MHA150 headphone amplifier, MB50 streaming audio player and MP100 phono preamplifier, the new transport’s optical outputs support CD audio formats up to 24-bit/192kHz.

But to get the best the SACD format has to offer, McIntosh recommends the transport be used with its MCT input enabled models comprising the MXA80 and MHA150, the D1100, C52, C2600, C47 and D150 preamplifiers along with the MA9000 and MA8900 integrated amplifiers.

Mc’s reasoning is that its MCT output technology offers a secure DSD connection for playing back SACD’s high definition audio.

CD audio playback is more universal and the MCT80 can be used with any product that has a digital coax or optical input and a DAC.

With so few manufacturers maintaining production and development of disc drives, McIntosh went for overkill on its option to ensure it keeps on working when others don’t.

The MCT80 transport has an improved transport mechanism featuring a die-cast aluminium tray working with an advanced digital servo for what McIntosh says is faster, quieter and accurate operation.

The MCT80 plays all common disc types including SACD, CD, CD-R, CD-RW (MP3 and WMA) and user generated DVD or CD data discs with music file formats including DSD (up to DSD128), WAV (up to 24-bit/192kHz), FLAC, MP3 and others.

The MCT 80 will read a disc’s audio data at twice the normal rate ensuring better disc tracking and error correction processing.

Internally, a twin laser optical pickup is used for optimal disc reading.

Power control and data ports integrate the MCT80’s operating modes with other McIntosh system models.

Styling is classic McIntosh that is to say, monumental. Finish includes a black glass front panel, illuminated logo aluminium end caps and a stainless steel chassis. Like all Mc gear it looks indestructible.

The MCT80 begins shipping in the US this September with a US$3500 pricetag. A call to Synergy Audio Visual, McIntosh’s Australian distributor reveals we can expect to see it locally in October, but a local price hasn’t been hammered out yet.

For more information visit the McIntosh brand page.


Peter Familari's avatar

Written by:

Peter Familari

One of the veterans of the Australian HiFi industry, Peter was formerly the Audio-Video Editor of the Herald Sun for over two decades. One of the most-respected audio journalists in Australia, Peter brings his unparalleled experience and a unique story-telling ability to StereoNET.

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Posted in: Hi-Fi
Tags: synergy audio visual  mcintosh