McIntosh MCT450 SACD/CD Transport Product Tour

Ready to rediscover your CD collection? The MCT450 CD transport is based on the rave-reviewed MCD550 CD player, minus the built-in digital-to-analog (DAC) converter section. Most new McIntosh integrated amplifiers, preamps, and processors already have a DAC built in, so the MCT450 is designed to fit in with perfectly with the rest of your gear. 

When connected via a single digital cable (as opposed to a left-and-right channel analog cable pair) to a McIntosh model with a built-in DAC, you get top-notch performance without duplicating the DAC circuits — and at a lower price than McIntosh’s MCD550 CD player.

The MCT450 is also now available in a smaller version: the MCT80. It’s the same machine, but in a narrower chassis so it can be used wherever space is limited or with McIntosh’s Compact System.

Check out the video below to get my full take on the MCT450!

Video transcript

This is McIntosh's MCT450 CD Transport. It's actually not a CD player. A CD player has two parts inside. One is the mechanical part that has to spin the disk very precisely, the laser has to be able to read all the information on the disk, and that's going to spit out ones and zeroes computer language.

And that goes to the other half of the CD player, which is the digital-to-analog converter section, or the DAC. The DAC has the job of turning the ones and zeros into music.

Well, things are starting to change in the audio industry. It used to be that CD players were the only digital source in the typical system. Well, today most sources are digital. You might have a cable box. You might have a TiVo, I have one of those in my system. You might want to play CDs. You might have a streaming device. So manufacturers have started to put DACs, or digital-to-analog converters, in amplifiers. In fact, almost every McIntosh pre-amplifier and every McIntosh integrated amplifier made today already has a DAC built in.

So McIntosh saw the need to build a player that did not have a DAC built in, hence the term CD transport because it's the mechanical part of the CD player. So this does not connect to your system with a left and right analog cable. This connects to your system using a digital cable. Either an optical cable, a coaxial cable, or if you have a McIntosh system, a special proprietary cable that comes in the box with the MCT450. So that allows McIntosh to offer a CD playing device at a significantly lower cost than before.

So the MCT450 is a CD transport that when connected to a system that already has a DAC inside, allows you a lower price point to get McIntosh CD-playing capability into your system with absolutely no sacrifice of sound quality, reliability, or performance.

McIntosh MCT450 SACD/CD Transport McIntosh MCT450 SACD/CD Transport

McIntosh MCT450 SACD/CD Transport

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