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McIntosh CD Players, worth their asking price?

Discussion in 'McIntosh Audio' started by samurai7595, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. samurai7595

    samurai7595 Member

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    I've been auditioning some really nice CD players in the $2,000-$3,000 price range and noticed that the McIntosh MCD550 unit retails for 2x to 3x that price range.

    I was wondering how much better the McIntosh units are compared to other models from the likes of Moon, Rega, Cambridge, Marantz, Yamaha, Luxman, etc. that are more within my price range.

    I have no need for SACD support nor for a built-in DAC but I do have an extensive collection of CDs and my wife still loves using a CD player.

    BTW, I own the McIntosh MAC6700 stereo receiver.
     
  2. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Smart Ass Sponsor Subscriber

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    Well if you already have an external DAC you really like and the whole point of a CDP is for the transport just about anything will work.

    I have a full blown mac system and a D100, so I play around with inexpensive CDPs and even some compact units with a single CD drive. I even have some of those Sony's that hold 5, 400,300 & 200 disk, Kinda nice to just push play and let it shuffle and not have to boot the computer up or even rip too it.

    I just go digital out the CDP to my D100 and all is good, cheap and easy to replace.
     
    Pio1980 likes this.
  3. leftside

    leftside AK Member Subscriber

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    Agreed.
     
  4. Djcoolray

    Djcoolray Super Member

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    With a CD player the amount of distortion is everything and since the early ninties CD players have had internal 1-Bit DAC's. It is easier to buy something expensive to find a better sound, but for a good sounding CD Player frequency range and the lack of distortion translates into better sound. That's without looking at brand names or the cost of the equipment new or vintage. It's all in the technology of the build, if the builder chose to do it right.
     
  5. damacman

    damacman Blown and Injected Subscriber

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    While digital technology has certainly marched on, the bit rate of the DAC isn't the whole story. The MCD550 is a fully balanced design which increases parts cost significantly. I'm a huge proponent of fully balanced designs. Yamaha appears to have some fully balanced CDPs as well. The question is, can you realize the full benefits of that with your MAC6700? I honestly do not know the answer to that question.
     
    stish likes this.
  6. Guest113

    Guest113 Well-Known Member

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    Just my two cents but I don't see where any CD player is worth 2 Grand. I've heard very expensive players and can't tell the difference between them and any other.
     
  7. SiliconTi

    SiliconTi AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Well, I have two high end CD players, one a TOTL Sony and one a Meridian. I can tell the difference easily between the two. I'd consider buying a nice used transport and matching with a nice DAC.
     
    unfairlane likes this.
  8. woofmytweets

    woofmytweets AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    can you hear the difference if you connect them through the same DAC?
     
    leftside likes this.
  9. Djcoolray

    Djcoolray Super Member

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    Sometimes I wish I could bench test all peices of equipment just because of the generalization used in relation to better sound. Matching up equipment is an arduous achievement at best as some never reach it. Knowing there's a difference is not even a close match. It's considering the actual sound of an instrument and adjusting until you actually have that sound. Could be an adjustment of the equipment, a change of equipment or both. Following a specific brand name gives you a corporate sound until the manufacturer decides to make a peice based on sound and not profit to attract new customers....like the SX-1980.
     
  10. damacman

    damacman Blown and Injected Subscriber

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    There can be profound sonic differences between CDPs . . . profound. To say there isn't is akin to saying all phono cartridges sound the same. Alas, probably good fodder for another thread.
     
  11. damacman

    damacman Blown and Injected Subscriber

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    By eliminating the variable of the onboard DACs, you definitely reduce the audible difference between any two players. But, I guess if I took the windshield out of two cars I'd get smacked in the face with bugs in both.
     
  12. SiliconTi

    SiliconTi AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Excellent question, and I did not. I used the Sony's built-in fancy DAC. The Meridian uses a Cambridge Audio DAC. I should try the Sony through the Cambridge.
     
  13. woofmytweets

    woofmytweets AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    i was trying to make the point that the sonic differences have more to do with the DAC than the disc transport - i mean, once you can read all the bits off the CD perfectly, you can't really improve from that point. if the OP has a good DAC, perhaps an inexpensive transport with the appropriate digital output will satisfy his wife('s CD-playing requirements).

    i thought the discussion was moving that way - no desire to throw bugs in anyone's face, I'm all about satisfying wives.
     
  14. damacman

    damacman Blown and Injected Subscriber

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    I have a very dry wit ... Don't read too far into it.
     
  15. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Smart Ass Sponsor Subscriber

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    I think post #2 is the only right one in this thread:rolleyes:
     
  16. Mike Gibson

    Mike Gibson Modulator Super Mod Subscriber

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    I agree that most of the sound difference is in the DAC If you compare the same disc in side by side players using the same DAC if one has a cheap transport I think it can be audible. Years back I did a shootout with 6 TOTL or near TOTL CD players from different decades. The newest machine bested the rest. Although not by as wide a margin as though who think only the latest DAC's sound good.

    As far as the test went, should anyone be interested I can PM the details if desired.
     
  17. John James

    John James "Bob's your uncle" (Stolen) Subscriber

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  18. samurai7595

    samurai7595 Member

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    John James likes this.
  19. twiiii

    twiiii Super Member

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    Sometimes you can find Mac MVP players for a farthing as the progression with dvd technology has made them obsolete. But as CD, SACD and DVD_A players they are fantastic. I use the balanced output of my 861 for playing CD and SACD and the sound is so smooth and non-fatiguing. It puts my Pioneer Elite and Marantz players to shame. Some Pioneers sound like they have a blanket over the sound but allowing the extreme highs to pass thru. Other models the blanket is more uniform. The Marantz CD recorder player is just edgy compared to the MAC. The Mac player has more depth and a smoother spread. The Marantz and Pioneers sound like you are listening to left, center, and right where the Mac has a smooth Spread all the way from extreme Left to Right. The Mac also has very good front to back presentation. Some of Miles recordings and Buddy Rich you'll think they are sitting in your lap, where some of Chandos recordings sound as if the microphones were placed out in the entry and not in the concert hall. The Mac really reveals Deutch Grammaphone short comings, overly using accent mics and mics with resonant high-ends. Capitols re-engineered recordings of Frank Sinatra are revealed to be much inferior to those of the Reprise label. Its like the difference between a Grace F9E cartridge and a Shure V-15 or Stanton 881s. The smooth ness and freedom from fatigue with the Grace when playing LP is similar to enjoyment you get from the MVP861. We sold Yamaha, Dennon, Marantz, B&0, Pioneer,Sony, and Mcintosh players over the years. I'll choose a Mac every time, even though the early models weren't superb, they were still listenable. I wouldn't let a Yamaha through the door. The dependability of any thing Yamaha makes with mechanical parts was very poor in our experience and B&O wasn't much better. .

    That all said I would love to have a MCD 500, some day. Its reputation extends far & wide as to making less than perfect CD's sound as best as they can be. If you'll look the pre-owned price is accelerating upwards, too.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2016
  20. Guest113

    Guest113 Well-Known Member

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    Love mac equipment. Would never spend the money to own a Mac CD player. Just not necessary.
     

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