The Weekly Update – McIntosh Goes Portable, Rocky Mountain Soars Into View

McIntosh announces the portable MHA50 DAC/AMP.

Inboxes were all a flutter this week with the news of an upcoming portable DAC/AMP from McIntosh. The MHA50 will retail for around $700US and is somewhat akin to earlier efforts in this category by Oppo and Meridian. With inputs capable of handling iDevices and Android options, the direction here towards the growth sector of personal and mobile audio is clear.

In a bit of ironic twist for audiophiles (but almost a must have for the rest of the populous), the device can also serve as a bluetooth source for wireless headphones. Luckily, the highly convenient transmission is also smartly supported by Bluetooth 4.1 with aptX for some of the best opportunity for fidelity as we currently have established. A two way gain switch, DSD256 and a 3,000 mAh battery top out the list of tech. You can check out more of the specs from the press release at the end of this post.

Marriott in Denver

Rocky Mountain Audiofest is coming.

Rocky Mountain Audiofest is just a few short days away and announcements are starting to pour in. Peachtree is announcing a new “120 watts per channel of power with common sense features” called the Decco Sky ($1,199, $999 w/o wireless). The sky bit represents Peachtree’s new approach to wireless, fully decc’d out (see what I did there) with a control app, streaming and room to room control. To round out the system, Peachtree is also introducing a pair of powered speakers called the M24 and M25 that look similar to some of the Audioengine offerings, but also include oodles of connectivity with a built in phono preamp, digital coax, bluetooth and USB. The final offering is an update to the Deepblue line that has always impressed with its amazing bass for a bluetooth speaker. Now the Deepblue3 ($399) the latest offering adds treble (and bass) control, updated guts and increased wireless distance.

Budget friendly NAD (who also made a killer pair of headphones) is unleashing three new C-series components into the ether – the C 268 Power Amp, C 328 hybrid digital integrated amp and a C 558 turntable. Audio Technica will have a new pair of flagship headphones and an “ultra high end” phono cartridge called the AT-ART1000. More details to come next week.

On the high end of things, room 3000 will feature SotM’s first digital master clock and Anthem will debut a new STR pre and power amp in room 9007. Zesto is unveiling a step up transformer called the Andros Allasso ($3k), and MartinLogan will be demoing their top hybrid electrostatics in 1107 and 1000. Zu Audio is also preparing the official release showing of their new Druid Mk. 6 model ($10k) that we reviewed here.

This is just a small sample of the many options at the show, let us know in the comment section here or on social media if you would like to see more information on anything in particular.

McIntosh MHA50 PR release:

“The MHA50 includes wired inputs for Apple® iOS devices as well as Android devices that are compatible with USB On-The-Go technology plus Mac® and Windows® computers. It can also wirelessly connect to these devices via Bluetooth® 4.1 with aptX™ technology that ensures you receive the highest possible sound quality from your Bluetooth source device. Featuring a high-performance 32-bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC), it decodes music files from almost any digital source and outputs audio that is superior to what your device alone can produce. It supports 32-bit/192kHz hi-res audio, DSD256 and DXD384 files as well as asynchronous USB audio. Its 3,000 mAh rechargeable battery provides up to 6 hours of playback on a single charge when connected via Bluetooth; playback can last even longer when using the wired connections. 

Comparably sized to smartphones, the MHA50 is compact and lightweight for easy portability with a beveled case that fits comfortably in your hand or pocket. Its sleek design features a glass front panel with a touch sensitive volume control knob inspired by the classic knobs found on countless McIntosh products. It’s built primarily from durable extruded aluminum which also has some inherent noise shielding properties to help block external interference. Two gain settings allow the MHA50 to work with all types of headphones from small in-ear models to large over-ear studio type designs like the McIntosh MHP1000 Headphones​ (sold separately); it can drive headphones with impedances ranging from 8-600 ohms. Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD®) brings added dimension to your music in a natural sounding way and can be easily turned on and off depending on your preferences. All audio is output via a gold plated 3.5mm jack. This jack can also connect to a pair of powered desktop speakers, allowing the MHA50 to serve as a desktop DAC. 

The MHA50 comes complete with three USB adapter cables to connect various devices, a leather carrying case, and a wall mount charger with USA plug and adapters for Europe and Japan.”


5 thoughts on “The Weekly Update – McIntosh Goes Portable, Rocky Mountain Soars Into View

  • September 27, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    I wonder when NAD will release a new headphone? Paul had promised a more upscale model than the HP50.

    • September 27, 2017 at 7:20 pm

      They have a new wireless headphone called the NAD HP70 Wireless Active Noise Cancelling Headphone.

  • September 27, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    When will the MHA50 be released?

    • September 28, 2017 at 11:46 am

      They are taking orders now with shipping beginning in November.

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