McIntosh introduces two new interesting pieces of gear: the D1100 digital preamplifier ($7,000 SRP) and the MP1100 phono preamplifier ($8,000 SRP). Orders are now being accepted for both units, with shipping anticipated to begin for D1100 here in December and MP1100 in January 2017.
The D1100 digital preamplifier is a reference-level stereo preamp and digital-to-analog converter (DAC). Its 8-channel, 32-bit DAC is used in Quad Balanced mode, with half of it dedicated to the left audio channel and the other half to the right channel. It’s said to be the most advanced DAC McIntosh has ever used so that all digital music is reproduced with accuracy and authenticity.
Nine inputs are included to keep even the largest digital system connected, as three optical, three coaxial, and one each of MCT, AES/EBU, and USB inputs are onboard. The USB input accepts up to 384kHz/32-bit signals and supports DSD64, DSD128, DSD256, DXD 352.8kHz, and DXD 384kHz playback. All other inputs accept up to 192/24. Three sets of balanced and unbalanced stereo outputs connect the D1100 to the rest of the audio system.
The D1100 is designed for ease of use: all inputs can be renamed; its four data ports and four power control triggers are fully programmable; and it has both IR and RS232 external control. It’s housed in a beautifully polished stainless steel and hairline brushed black Titanium stainless steel chassis. Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD) is said to bring a new depth and spatiality to music.
The D1100 is a full featured, fully functional self-contained unit that can be used independently of any other preamplifier. It can also be connected to and used in tandem with its analog equivalent, the C1100 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier. Combining the two together with the included umbilical cable creates the definitive analog and digital stereo preamplifier. When connected, the C1100 takes over all control of the D1100 resulting in a single and easy to use interface.
MP1100 Phono Preamplifier Details
The MP1100 phono preamplifier is said to be intended to give vinyl lovers a new level of musical enjoyment and exhilaration, as it’s filled to the brim with everything needed to not only play records, but to get every last musical note and nuance out of them – including some that may have never been heard before.
The MP1100 phono preamp is designed for analog audio and utilizes four 12AX7A vacuum tubes, with two tubes used per channel in a fully balanced configuration – making it the company’s very first fully balanced vacuum tube phono stage. It has three sets of RCA phono inputs, with XLR connectors also available on one of the inputs. All phono inputs allow for adjusting both resistance (six settings) and capacitance (eight settings). For ease of use, it comes pre-programmed with profiles for Moving Coil and Moving Magnet cartridges as well as the McIntosh MT10 and MT5 turntables. Five additional profiles are included that are fully customizable, and can be assigned to any phono input.
RIAA, LP, NAB, AES, and 78 analog equalization curves are included. Two fairly rare but highly useful analog filters are built-in: a Rumble Filter helps remove noise that may have seeped into a song during the recording process; while a Scratch Filter can help restore the sound of frequently played records that may have become a little worn, or records that may have some damage. Adjustable gain from 40 dB to 64 dB allows for further customization, while a Mono setting permits proper playback of mono recordings. In addition, there’s a pair each of balanced and unbalanced high-level inputs for connecting other sources. A pair each of balanced and unbalanced fixed outputs round out the connections.
On the digital side of the coin, the MP1100 has optical, coaxial, and USB outputs. They can be set to either 192/24 or 96/24. When used with a properly configured conversion program, the USB output can be used to rip albums to a computer. The digital-output clipping indicator will notify the user when distortion caused by loud sections in a song is being recorded to the file, allowing settings to be adjusted in order to assist in creating pristine, distortion-free digital versions of the album.
To combat noise, the MP1100 features a dual mono design. It can be paired with any preamplifier, integrated amplifier, or home theater processor that includes volume control. An ideal match is the company’s C1100 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier, which also has a dual mono design; both also share the same polished stainless steel and hairline brushed-black Titanium stainless=steel chassis to create a cohesive system appearance.
For more on McIntosh Laboratory, visit www.mcintoshlabs.com.