McIntosh MCD85 CD/SACD Player/USB DAC Lab Report

Lab Report

McIntosh Labs offers a surprisingly modest specification for its SACD-playing/USB DAC combination player which is at least partially inspired by the larger MCD600. The combination of Crystal's CS8421 sample-rate converter with tried-and-tested ES9016S DAC from ESS Technology limits all LPCM streams to 192kHz although the frequency response peaks upwards to +0.3dB/20kHz with CD/48kHz inputs and +0.6dB/45kHz with 96kHz media. The higher-rate 192kHz files roll off to –8.1dB/90kHz while SACD/DSD64 media reach out to –0.4dB/40kHz, –7.2dB/60kHz, –19dB/80kHz and –31dB/100kHz. Incidentally, the digital filter for LPCM data is a steep roll-off linear phase type offering a superb >115dB stopband rejection with CD. The resolvable range, however, is limited to –96dBFs with CD data and –104dBFs with 24-bit LPCM feeds as inputs are truncated below these levels. The 'step' is clearly visible on the distortion versus digital signal level traces [Graph 1] which also illustrate the unexceptional – though acceptable and usefully uniform – circa-0.01% THD over the top 40dB of the player's dynamic range. Interestingly, SACD/DSD64 is not truncated and offers a far superior low-level resolution of ±0.2dB down to –120dBFs.

The top-line figures for the MCD85 are as expected – maximum (balanced) output is 4V from a 100ohm source impedance, increasing to 333ohm/20Hz via the capacitor-coupled analogue stage, while the A-wtd S/N ratio is a fine 114dB with 24-bit LPCM and 109dB with SACD/DSD64 sources. Correlated jitter is low at 115psec via USB and coaxial inputs and very low at 30psec with SACD, although a broad uncorrelated noise is also evident [see Graph 2, below]. PM


Distortion versus digital level – 1kHz at 24-bit/48kHz over USB (red),1kHz at 16-bit/44.1kHz via CD (black) and 20kHz via CD (blue)


High res. jitter plots using 24-bit/48kHz data (USB input, black with markers; SACD, red)

Maximum output level / Impedance 4.01Vrms / 99-349ohm (XLR)
A-wtd S/N ratio (LPCM / CD / SACD) 113.5dB / 110.5dB / 108.8dB
Distortion (1kHz, 0dBFs/–30dBFs) 0.011% / 0.010%
Distortion & Noise (20kHz, 0dBFs/–30dBFs) 0.002% / 0.011%
Freq. resp. (20Hz-20kHz/45kHz/90kHz) –0.0 to +0.3dB/+0.6dB/–8.1dB
Digital jitter (LPCM / CD / SACD) 115psec / 265psec / 30psec
Resolution @ –100dB (LPCM / CD / SACD) ±0.3dB / ±0.8dB / ±0.2dB
Power consumption 15W (1W standby)
Dimensions (WHD) / Weight 309x197x413mm / 9.3kg
Price £4995

McIntosh Labs
Binghamton, NY, USA
Supplied by: Fine Sounds UK
01592 744710