Blu-ray Players

McIntosh MVP881 Universal Blu-ray Player

ARTICLE INDEX

On The Bench

Given all the engineering and effort put into the MVP881, the results on the bench were disappointing to shocking. The first thing I noticed, which doesn’t show up on the bench tests, is that over HDMI at either YCbCr (4:4:4) or RGB colorspaces, the MVP881 is losing fine chroma data. On the Spears and Munsil Chroma Multiburst pattern, it is clearly losing both horizontal and vertical details over HDMI, and vertical detail over Component. This is the only player I have seen this on and talking to McIntosh they believed it might just be my unit. Unfortunately, I tracked down another unit to use that also exhibited the same behavior, so I have to assume that the MVP881 is losing chroma data in its initial conversion from 4:2:0 and it was not just my unit.

For the tests that are on the benchmark results table, I have some additional details about the results:

- When the Progressive mode was set to Auto, it would fail to deinterlace 2:2 video content correctly, so I had to set it to Mode 2. Unfortunately it would then fail the jaggies test in this mode until I went back to Auto, so you really have to pick your poison here.

- Curiously, video content passed over Component video at 720p resolution in Auto mode, but failed at 1080p over HDMI.

- It did a good job reducing video noise, but adjusting the noise reduction control had no effect on mosquito noise.

- The layer change was a good 1.5-2 seconds long. On most current players I can’t even notice this change unless I watch it repeatedly, but it was very obvious on the MVP881.

- It failed two of our four tests for the Chroma Upsampling Error (CUE). On one of them, it caused the image on the screen to shake badly, which I had never seen before.

- Even though it does support 4:4:4 output over HDMI, it receives a fail on this for only referring to it in the menus as YCbCr and providing no indication if it is 4:2:2 or 4:4:4.

- On the good side, it’s performance over Component on the scope was very impressive and McIntosh obviously invested some time and money on that aspect of the player.

While we would have loved to provide results using our new HDMI Analysis, the McIntosh MVP881 will not read a BD-R or BD-RE disc, and so it would not load the test patterns for those tests.

From the load times chart above, you can see that the McIntosh is slower than other players recently reviewed as well.

Since the McIntosh is a universal player, with a lot of work on the analog audio section, I also ran it through our standard audio benchmarks. I used the balanced audio outputs for the test, and all test tones were 16/44.1 CD audio.

With the 1 kHz tone, there is only the smallest peak at 2 kHz that is over 100 dB below the primary tone, and otherwise exhibits a noise floor that is right around 115 dB below the primary harmonic.

The results here are almost the same as 1 kHz above, only with no secondary harmonic to speak of. These are really excellent results for the THD+N tests from McIntosh here.

Once again, we see no B-A peaks or other issues on the IMD test, and the performance is practically perfect.

Just like the other IMD test, there are no secondary harmonics at all, and a very low noise floor. As a CD player, the MVP881 is nearly perfect on the bench and provides fantastic results.