McIntosh unveils its ultimate CD player and DAC


The death of the CD has been predicted for some time now, but like its vinyl predecessor, it’s never wise to abandon an audio format too soon. High-end American audio brand McIntosh agrees with this cautious principle and has just announced probably the most expensive CD player in the world currently on the market.

McIntosh today announced its new flagship drive, the MCD12000 SACD/CD Player. The new player doubles as McIntosh’s reference-level DAC, allowing up to seven digital devices to use its internal ESS digital-to-analog converters. The unit is also tested by Roon.

The MCD12000 SACD/CD player is built around two high end ESS SABER PRO ES9038PRO 32-bit/8-channel DAC (one for each channel), each deploying the patented ESS HyperStream II architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator technology.

The MCD1200’s seven digital inputs include two coaxial, two optical, USB Type-B, AES/EBU and one MCT (SACD) input. The coaxial and optical inputs support up to 24-bit/192kHz, with the USB input up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM, with DSD 512 and DXD 384kHz playback as well.

Internally, separate digital and analog power supplies keep power and audio signals free from cross-contamination, and a specially designed R-Core power transformer is used to further minimize noise.

The CD player outputs are driven by discrete amplifiers or a mixture of valves and discrete amplifiers. The solid state output uses a discrete balanced operational amplifier and for the hybrid output valves 12AT7 and 12AX7A are assigned to the left and right audio channels. Additionally, coaxial and optical digital outputs provide additional flexibility for use with high-end external DACs.

The player’s disc transport uses a precision die-cast aluminum platter for smooth and quiet disc handling, while an advanced digital servo provides fast, quiet and precise operation. As befits the brand, the drive features classic McIntosh styling throughout with stainless steel and brushed black titanium. The unit matches the McIntosh C12000 preamp, while the front of the player features the timeless black glass panel, illuminated logo, knobs and controls, moving meters, and machine-brushed aluminum handles. personalized.

The top of the MCD1200 includes a glass panel showing performance specifications and a block diagram of the audio signal path. A pair of 60 dB output meters also displays the signal level of each channel’s output.

Pricing & Availability: Orders for the McIntosh MCD12000 SACD/CD player can now be placed through authorized McIntosh resellers. Shipping is expected to begin in May 2022 (US and Canada), and to the rest of the world shortly thereafter. The unit costs $12,000 / £13,995.

More information:


  • Reference level Saber ES9038PRO 32-bit/8-channel DAC.
  • Plays CDs and SACDs.
  • 7 digital inputs.
  • USB input supports up to 32-bit/384kHz, as well as DSD512 and DXD384kHz.
  • The outputs are driven by discrete amplifiers or a mixture of vacuum tubes and discrete amplifiers.
  • Balanced and unbalanced analog outputs in solid state and vacuum tube configurations.

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