Is there a pre amp inside MCD500???

Discussion in 'McIntosh Audio' started by ngocdj, Oct 25, 2009.

  1. ngocdj

    ngocdj New Member

    Hi all!
    I just want to ask a quick question. Is there a pre amp inside the MCD500? I'm planning to buy it soon. I have a MCD301 now and connect direct to MC402 without a preamp. It's sound ok. But i think if there is a pre amp inside MCD500. It will sound better. I've asked my Mcintosh dealer in my country but they have no idea about it. Thanks
  2. chuckworkb

    chuckworkb AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I copied this from the McIntosh Site

    • Drive a Power Amplifier Directly
    The Variable Output Connections provide up to 6 Volts. This is more than enough signal to drive any Power Amplifier directly; forming a high quality SACD/CD Disc Playback System.

    Here is the whole list -

    MCD500 Features

    • Twin Laser Pickup
    The MCD500 incorporates two laser elements, with different wavelengths, that are focused through one lens assembly. This unique design allows reading both the CD and Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD) Discs Formats.

    • Advanced Transport
    The MCD500 has a new transport with a Die Cast Mechanism Base and Disc Tray. It has the latest in advanced digital servo for faster, quieter and accurate operation. The SACD and CD Audio Data is read into memory from the disc at twice the normal rate. The fast read speeds help to insure better disc tracking and error correction processing.

    • Super Audio Disc Playback
    The MCD500 plays the higher resolution SACD Discs with extreme precision and musical elegance.

    • Quad Balanced Digital to Analog Converter
    The 8 channel 24-bit, 192kHz Digital to Analog Converter is used in a Stereo Quad Balanced mode. All levels of music are reproduced with a wide dynamic range and extremely low distortion.

    • Digital Audio Inputs
    The MCD500 has both a Coaxial and an Optical Digital Input for using the internal Digital to Analog Processor Circuitry to Decode PCM Signals from an external source.

    • Digital Audio Outputs
    There are Coaxial and Optical Digital Outputs for external decoding of the PCM Signal.

    • Front Panel Level Control
    With headphones connected to the MCD500, the Level Control allows varying the volume level of the music. It can also be used for matching the volume level of the MCD500 with other components in the system.

    • Multi-Function Front Panel Display
    The MCD500 Front Panel display indicates the current disc playback status, digital input status and the variable audio output volume level.

    • Drive a Power Amplifier Directly
    The Variable Output Connections provide up to 6 Volts. This is more than enough signal to drive any Power Amplifier directly; forming a high quality SACD/CD Disc Playback System.

    • Balanced Outputs
    The MCD500 has both variable and fixed Balanced Outputs, permitting long cable lengths without a loss in sound quality.

    • Power Control
    The Power Control Input connection provides convenient Turn-On/Off of the MCD500 when connected to a McIntosh System with Power Control. The Power Control Output connection can control a McIntosh Power Amplifier in a high quality disc playback system.

    • Full Function Remote Control
    The Remote Control provides complete control of the MCD500 operating functions including adjustment of the volume level. The push-buttons on the Remote Control are illuminated.

    • Special Power Supply
    The Linear Power Supply has both a special R-Core Power Transformer and Multiple Regulators to ensure stable noise free operation even though the power line varies.

    • Extruded Side Panels
    The sides of the MCD500 are extruded aluminum panels with a bead blast textured surface and a black anodized finish. In the recessed area of the Top Panel is a screened glass panel with a block diagram of the MCD500 Circuitry.

    • Fiber Optic Solid State Front Panel Illumination
    The Illumination of the Glass Front Panel is accomplished by the combination of custom designed Fiber Optic Light Diffusers and extra long life Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). This provides even Front Panel Illumination and is designed to ensure the pristine beauty of the MCD500 will be retained for many years.
  3. gmartan

    gmartan Member

    It's the same so it sounds OK too. I find it just a touch grainy. If your amp and speakers are really transparent you'll want a good pre-amp in the mix.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2009
  4. TSmith8605

    TSmith8605 Senile Member Subscriber

    Sunnyvale, CA
    The specs say:

    Audio Specifications:
    Fixed Output level
    2.0Vrms Unbalanced
    4.0Vrms Balanced
    Variable Output level:
    0 - 6.0Vrms Unbalanced
    0- 12.0Vrms Balanced

    I think this implies a preamp stage is built in to get from 2 volts fixed to UP to 6 volts variable.

    Are you saying that the MCD500 sounds better when using the fixed outputs with a good preamp vs the variable output with no preamp?

    If so, this would imply that the MCD500 has a preamp stage built in and that it does not sound as good as your main preamp.

    So if you already have a good preamp, you should use it. If not, the MCD500 can be used without a preamp.
  5. ngocdj

    ngocdj New Member

    Thanks for quick replies. I have Mcd301, Mc402 and b&w804s. So my system only sounds best if i have good pre-amp? I don't have a preamp at this moment. Does a C220 will make the sound better than run direct MCD500 to the amp?
  6. gmartan

    gmartan Member

    1) To me my C2300 sounds more musical.
    2) I don't get listening fatique when the C2300 is in the chain.
    3) Some people really like the MCD500 directly into an amp.

    Bear in mind that the C2300 is a tube preamp and I have heard solid state preamps in my system that I didn't like much for the same reason I don't like the MCD500 direct.
  7. pagpc

    pagpc Active Member

    i go straight from my 500 to my amps with balanced. sounds perfect.

  8. Talk2Me

    Talk2Me Member

    I have a MCD500 and have tried it with and without a pre. Since my amp is SS and not a McIntosh (Hegel H10) I prefer to use it with my BAT 52SE. But if I had a pair of awesome MC2301's, I might change my mind.:smoke:
  9. SomeNoise

    SomeNoise New Member

    Interesting post, I am also having the same approach as you're having now.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2009

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