McIntosh releases new music streamer and SACD/CD player


Full disclosure. I get a lot of press releases. Not all of them are relevant to what’s happening here at AudioStream, but some are and I’ll be posting those moving forward.

This announcement from McIntosh Labs came in a little while ago, but seems interesting as it’s adding depth to the company’s dedicated music-streamer hardware solutions and I like the fact that the venerable (and most sonically gratifying) CD is still being given priority.

The new top-of-the-line MCD600 SACD/CD player features four DAC channels (Quad Balanced) dedicated to each left/right stereo channel and 32/384 kHz upsampling. It also allows the user to play a variety of file formats (up to 24/192 kHz) directly from USB flash drives via the front panel. Which is old school, but still cool.

The MS500 is a new media streamer capable of handling both local and cloud-based (ghost) files and passing those along at up to 24/192 kHz via its onboard DAC. It comes with a 500GB solid-state hard drive and takes advantage of the stability of a Linux-based operating system.

Full Press release below:

Binghamton, New York – McIntosh, the global leader in prestigious home entertainment and ultimate-quality audio for over 65 years, is proud to announce two new products: the MCD600 SACD/CD Player and MS500 Music Streamer. Each product combines the best-in-class audio performance of the legendary McIntosh Reference System with the latest in technological development.

MCD600 SACD/CD Player

At the heart of the MCD600 is a newly designed digital circuit highlighted by a new premium 8-channel, 32-bit PCM/DSD digital-to-analog converter (DAC). The DAC is used in Quad Balanced mode, with 4 DAC channels allocated to each of the left and right audio channels, resulting in truly exceptional sound reproduction. All PCM signals are up-sampled up to 32-bit/384kHz.

Besides commercial SACDs and CDs, the MCD600 can also play music from user generated CD or DVD Data Discs as well as USB flash drives. Numerous file formats can be played from these including AAC, AIFF, ALAC, DSD (up to DSD128), FLAC, MP3, WAV (up to 24-bit/192kHz) and WMA.

Flash drives can easily be connected via the front panel USB input.

The MCD600 includes both fixed and variable balanced and unbalanced outputs; the variable outputs combined with its volume control allow the MCD600 to be connected directly to a power amplifier without needing a preamplifier. Coax and optical digital inputs and outputs are included as is the McIntosh High Drive headphone amplifier.

The MCD600 is wrapped in classic McIntosh styling with a polished stainless steel chassis, black glass front panel, illuminated logo, knobs and aluminum end caps. The front panel features new direct LED backlighting for improved appearance, while the top has a new screen printed glass panel listing performance specs and a block diagram.

MS500 Music Streamer

The sophisticated yet simple to use MS500 Music Streamer seamlessly integrates both internet based streaming music and locally stored digital music into one comprehensive device. It allows a digital music library to be enjoyed with McIntosh’s legendary audio standards - including uncompressed, lossless files with up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution.

The MS500 runs ultra-quiet thanks to two key features. First, local music and the operating system are stored on a durable 500GB solid state drive (SSD) that has no moving parts to create noise; second, a new fanless processor combined with improved ventilation means noisy cooling fans are not needed. The combination of these two things results in there being no noise to interfere with music listening.

Besides onboard music storage, the MS500 has built in interfaces to leading streaming services such as Deezer, Murfie, Pandora®, Rhapsody®, SiriusXM®, Slacker, Spotify®, TIDAL and TuneIn (services subject to change). Internet radio stations can also be added as presets.

Three USB ports allow for external mass storage or flash drives to be connected. Any one of the USB ports can also be used to connect an external component with a built-in DAC; utilizing this external DAC, one additional independent audio zone can be created.

The MS500 utilizes a Linux based operating system that brings stability and is extremely responsive to user inputs. It is operated via the included remote control, a web browser or with free apps for Apple​ and Android​ devices.

The unit is compatible with many popular home automation systems allowing for easy integration into an existing setup. The timeless black glass front panel, illuminated logo and aluminum end caps make the MS500 a welcome addition to any audio system and room decor.

Expected MSRP and Availability

Orders are now being accepted for the MCD600 and MS500.

MCD600: $7,000 USD

MS500: $6,000 USD

McIntosh Laboratory, Inc
2 Chambers Street - Binghamton, NY 13903-2699

jimx1169's picture


jimx1169's picture

"Every word I write is very carefully edited."

I guess "Relavancy" didn't come up in your spell-check? The very first word in your post is misspelled.

I'm not going to spend anymore of my time berating your for spelling or making up phrases ("Ghost files"), but you really need to bring your "A" game if you're going to get legacy Audiostream readers onboard.

Rafe Arnott's picture
Thanks for the catch, that makes it much more relevant.

As for "Ghost Files," I've been using that term for awhile to describe files that come out of the ether into my home. Like online comments.

I find it apt and it's nice to have fun with terms because "Internet-based" or "cloud-based" or "streaming" become boring after you use them about 1,000 times.

"Ghost Files"

jbucko's picture
jbucko's picture
shel243's picture

“...*anymore* of my time berating *your* for spelling...”
I would have thought you would have made absolutely sure that your comment was above reproach, but it was probably just spellcheck (don’t think it’s meant to be hyphenated) that let you down, right?

slcaudiophile's picture

i didn't raeliza paopla still usa thair nema end birthdeta es ectuel usar nemas enymora ...

Venere 2's picture

Are you always going to be a dick?

jimx1169's picture

No. I've decided to change my online behavior.
Sorry everyone.

ednaz's picture

When I read it I knew exactly what you meant, and I liked it for exactly the reason you used it. Because it DOES get tedious sometimes. And maybe I liked it because I have a personal bias towards creative use of language since I have coined phrases and neologisms that became industry standard. Working most of my life in new technologies and new delivery systems, I get to be a namer since I'm first.

I am surprised at "sonically gratifying" referring to CDs. Maybe SACDs? I ditched several thousand CDs just before my last move (at pennies on the dollar), since I'd ripped them all, and I'd done A/B comparisons between my upper end CD player and the ripped files and... couldn't tell which was which. While at the same time I COULD tell 24/96 from 16/44, as long as it was mastered 24/48 or better. Curious what you meant.

Odd choice to have USB in front, but no USB drive support in back. I like what Auralic has done - their players show up as wirelessly networked computers on my network, and if I have an external HD attached, I can drop files from my main music server to that hard drive via my wireless network. Gives me one more "emergency backup" of my library, and that system lives in my studio where I've got electronically noisy studio flash and cameras talking to laptops, and wireless streaming from my main server to that device gets dicey when I'm working on photography.

Rafe Arnott's picture
Dear ednaz,

Cheers on the language feedback and thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts.

I hear you on high-res differences, but I still love my Audio Note 4.1x CD player for spinning discs and it makes CDs go toe-to-toe with pretty much anything else I've heard in its price range.

Like Art Dudley said in his review of it:

"The key to making products that sound more analog is not to be found in the world of digital. Or, putting it another way: Don't bring a chip to a transformer fight."

It might not be everyone's cuppa, but I get a lot of smiles out of it.

jbucko's picture

Sorry for the multiple posts with no content, hopefully Rafe can remove them. All I was trying to say was that I got a kick out his response to Jim.

Anton's picture

...if not for those meddling kids.

Rafe Arnott's picture
Anton, you made me LOL, thank you!
Rafe Arnott's picture
Dear jbucko,

No worries on the empty replies, I took care of them.

Thanks for the smile, much appreciated.

ThatRingingInMyEars's picture

Any chance of a full review of the MS500? The SACD/CD player seems like a nice piece but I'm done with the physical media thing.

Rafe Arnott's picture
I'm in the process of organizing McIntosh review gear, I'll let everyone know what's en route once I sort it.
bobflood's picture

you intend to actually review the item and if so please make it clear when the review will come. Otherwise it looks as if the site is just an outlet for manufacturer propaganda. You are just giving them a free advertising outlet. If they want to run an ad then they should pay for and it should be clear that it is an ad.