SACD Players

McIntosh MCD500 SACD Player



McIntosh has been around as long as my memory of being fascinated with audio (started at age 12). I wanted a Mc when I was a teenager, but I was the only one in the family who was interested in having a high end (that term was not a buzz word back then) sound system at home, so I had to make do with low budget stuff. It was not all that bad, because at that time, tubes were still the basis of audio. I had a 35 watt per channel integrated tube amplifier, some Jensen speakers, and I ended up building my own turntable. Dad decided that a piece of plywood with a wooden dowel for a tonearm didn't suit the room decor, so he bought a Dual turntable.

Anyway, in college, I still lusted for McIntosh products, but couldn't afford any of them. At graduate school, we used a borrowed card table for our dining room table, and I sat on a plywood box as a chair. We didn't exactly have the money to invest in good audio equipment. After graduation, and on my way to NASA for a post-doc, I managed to save $600 to purchase a Marantz receiver, which by that time, was solid state. Tube products were disappearing.

It was really not until I had finished my post-doctoral training that I had an income that would allow me to get something better, but I still could not afford a McIntosh, so I settled for less, for awhile.

Then, in my 50's, I finally purchased my first McIntosh product, which was the MC1201 power amplifier, rated at 1,200 watts RMS output. However, the 1201 is a monoblock amp, and  . . . whoops . . . I couldn't afford the second one to make a stereo pair. I had to save money for two years in order to get that second MC1201. Those two monoblocks are the foundation of my lab reference system to this day. I also have some other terrific brands and models of various A/V items in the lab, but those two MC1201's have a big footprint, and they draw immediate attention of anyone visiting our main lab.

I used a McIntosh MCD201 SACD/CD player for a few years, and then Sally Goff, who is in the marketing department at McIntosh, mentioned that they were coming out with the MCD500 SACD/CD player, which improved on their previous players by lowering the noise floor. Of course, I requested one for review, and as you will see, the noise floor approaches the limits of my reference test equipment, an Audio Precision SYS 2722.


  • Design: SACD/CD Player
  • Codecs: SACD, Redbook CD (16/44.1), MP3, WMA
  • DACs: Four 24/192 ESS
  • MFR: 4 Hz - 20 kHz (CD), 4 Hz - 40 kHz (SACD
  • THD+N: 0.0015%
  • Output Impedance: 600 Ohms
  • Outputs: XLR and RCA Analog, Coax and Toslink Optical Digital
  • Output Voltage: 2 Volts RCA, 4 Volts XLR (Fixed), 6 Volts RCA, 12 Volts XLR (Variable)
  • Inputs: Coax and Toslink Optical Digital
  • Dimensions: 6" H x 17.5" W x 16.5" D
  • Weight: 28.2 Pounds
  • MSRP: $6,500 USA
  • McIntosh