New Preamp/DAC and Phono Stage from McIntosh

by The Audio Beat | December 9, 2016

cIntosh Lab has introduced a pair of new products that bring together analog and digital audio technologies.

The D1100 (top right, $7000) is a preamplifier and converter for digital sources. Its eight-channel, 32-bit DAC is used in quad-balanced mode, and it features three optical, three coaxial and one each of MCT, AES/EBU and USB digital inputs. The USB input accepts up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM data and supports DSD64, DSD128, DSD256, DXD 352.8kHz and DXD 384kHz playback. All the other inputs accept up to 24-bit/192kHz data.

What brings the fully digital D1100 into the analog realm is its use with McIntosh's C1100 vacuum-tube line-stage preamplifier. The two can be connected and used in tandem, creating an analog and digital control center. When connected, the C1100 takes over all control of the D1100,  resulting in a single user interface.

The dual-mono MP1100 ($8000) is a phono stage that uses four 12AX7A vacuum tubes, two per channel in a fully balanced configuration. It has three sets of RCA phono inputs, with XLR connectors also available for one of the inputs. All inputs allow for adjusting both resistance (six settings) and capacitance (eight settings). Gain is adjustable from 40dB to 64dB.

The MP1100 comes pre-programmed with profiles for moving-coil and moving-magnet cartridges as well as McIntosh's MT10 and MT5 turntables. Five additional customizable profiles are included and can be assigned to any phono input. RIAA, LP, NAB, AES and 78 EQ curves are included, along with a rumble filter. According to McIntosh, the MP1100's scratch filter "can help restore the sound of frequently played records that may have become a little worn."

The MP1100 comes with pairs of balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA high-level inputs for connecting other sources, and a pair each of balanced and unbalanced outputs. It also has optical, coaxial and USB outputs, the latter of which can be used to rip albums to a computer. The MP1100's digital outputs are fixed at 24-bit resolution, but they can be set to either 96kHz or 192kHz sampling frequency.

Both new units feature classic McIntosh styling, with glossy black faceplates and ice-blue meters that indicate output levels.

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