McIntosh unveils flagship CD player/DAC with valve and discrete amplifiers

McIntosh MCD12000 flagship CD/SACD player/DAC
(Image credit: McIntosh)

McIntosh has just launched the MCD12000, a new range-topping SACD/CD player that doubles as the company's "reference-level" DAC

The beefy spinner, which is based on two 32-bit/8-channel DACs (one for each channel), promises to eliminate jitter and reproduce a wide dynamic range. It's also Roon Tested, so it'll slot into any Roon system (but may not support the highest audio quality). 

Up to seven digital devices can be connected to the MCD12000 and benefit from its internal DAC. There are two coaxial and two optical digital inputs, both of which support 192kHz, plus a 384kHz-supporting USB with DSD 512 and DXD 384 kHz playback.

Prefer your hi-fi with a side of tradition? The MCD12000 features both solid-state and valve outputs, naturally. The hybrid output option aims to use the amplifiers, plus the 12AT7 and 12AX7A valves assigned to the left and right audio channels, to produce a sweeter sound.

As we've come to expect from McIntosh, the exterior is a mix of stainless steel and brushed black titanium, complete with 60dB output meters, rotary control knobs and the famous illuminated logo. The disc transport – a die-cast aluminium tray powered by a digital servo – promises "smooth and quiet disc handling".

Ready for the price? Sitting down? The MCD12000 SACD/CD player can be ordered through your nearest authorised McIntosh dealer for £13,995 / $12,000 / AU$22,995. Shipping is expected to begin this month in the US and Canada, followed by the rest of the world shortly thereafter.


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Tom is a journalist, copywriter and content designer based in the UK. He has written articles for T3, ShortList, The Sun, The Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph, Elle Deco, The Sunday Times, Men's Health, Mr Porter, Oracle and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include mobile technology, electric vehicles and video streaming.

  • F8lee
    Wowsers - I can't wait for someone to explain to me how the valves (tubes) will add back the ever-elusive warmth that analog lovers proclaim makes all the difference, when the source material is digitized to start with. Why, it's like magic!

    And only US$17.5K? I'll order two - one for my living room and another for my garage!
  • 10basetom
    What Hi-Fi? said:
    Meet the US hi-fi giant's new flagship MCD12000 flagship CD/SACD player/DAC complete with digital inputs

    McIntosh unveils reference-level CD player/DAC : Read more
    The biggest irony in audiophile world is by the time most people are rich enough to afford $20k CD players or $2k speaker cables, their hearing will likely be degraded enough in old age to not be able to discern any differences in sound quality 😅.