McIntosh introduces MHA200 vacuum tube headphone amp and MCD85 SACD/CD player

Looks like they’ve been mighty busy over in Binghamton, New York, as McIntosh announces the release of not one but two new products – the £2,800 MHA200 vacuum tube headphone amplifier and £5,000 MCD85 SACD/CD player.

Compact enough (15.6cm wide x 23.2cm deep) to be placed close to the listening position with long balanced cables connecting it to audio systems to negate signal loss, the MHA200 (pictured above) boasts advanced Unity Coupled Circuit transformers, which the company claims have been adapted so that it will work well with virtually any headphone.

There are three connectivity options: a pair of three-pin balanced XLRs (for dedicated left and right balanced output); a four-pin balanced XLR (for balanced stereo output), plus a 6.35mm stereo headphone jack. For connection to home audio devices, the MHA200 benefits from both balanced and unbalanced inputs.

The amp is driven by a pair of 12AT7 tubes and 12BH7A valves. The former amplify the incoming audio signal, while the latter provide the power to drive the output to headphones with low distortion. McIntosh says it custom-designed and manufactured the output transformers to match the valve amplifier section to the headphone output stage, in order to ensure maximum power transfer for various loads: “instead of having to adapt to the impedance of the headphones with voltage gain in the input stage, the Unity Coupled Circuit output transformers’ secondary windings ensure the full power of the MHA200 is available regardless of the impedance of the headphones. A custom, high-performance and highly efficient toroidal power transformer (with low mechanical hum and a low magnetic field to help reduce electrical noise), provides clean power to the amplifier.”

The MHA200 features a custom-formed stainless steel chassis with a polished-mirror finish and de rigueur vintage die-cast aluminium McIntosh name badge on the side.

Meanwhile, McIntosh’s MCD85 SACD/CD player, is a new compact, open-chassis device which offers – in addition to CD/SACD playback – a USB input supporting high-resolution audio (up to DSD256 and DXD 384kHz). The device’s advanced internal DAC enables playback from smart devices, computers and USB-equipped components while two coaxial and optical (192kHz-capable) digital inputs are also included.

The MCD85 SACD/CD player’s internal DAC is an advanced quad-balanced, eight-channel, 32-bit/192kHz chip with four pathways dedicated to the left audio channel and four to the right, which the company says is to ensure exceptional stereo reproduction.

For CD and SACD data, the MCD85 has 2x read speed and a buffer memory for error correction and tracking. Discs are placed in the die-cast tray with its new, custom front bevelled nose to match the angle of the chassis – designed for smooth and quiet handling. Disc reading is performed by a twin-laser optical pick-up (single objective lens, two laser units), each employing different wavelengths optimised for SACD and CD.

The MCD85 features both balanced and unbalanced fixed analogue stereo outputs. And the die-cast aluminium name badge is affixed to each side of the chassis. The front, top and rear is polished to a mirror finish and features a black glass front panel with direct LED backlighting, silver trim, an illuminated logo and rotary control knobs.

Both products are available to buy now and you can find out more about the MHA200 vacuum tube headphone amplifier here and the MCD85 SACD/CD player here.

Fine Sounds UK (UK distributor)