I'd like to know if anyone has heard the new MAC universal player at all?
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The reason I'm so curious about the Mac universal is that it is reported to incorporate a number of proprietary circuits that will overcome the compromises that cause most universal players to sound less good on certain formats, like SACD, for instance. Perhaps this is the player that will fulfill Shane Buettner's desire for a universal player that will be "reference quality" on all formats.
I listened to the 861 for about an hour Sunday at Audio Encounters (Dublin OH) - had the 851 in my system to demo and liked it best of the five serious contenders since Oct. 04. But it was a lame duck so I wanted to wait and hear the 861 - on redbook the two were definitely of the same voice even right out of the box - there is something about the sound that really appeals to me - liquid is the best way I can describe it. Didn't have time to listen to the SACD or DVDA but I would mainly use it for redbook in the near future - I only have vinyl in my system now - the transport mechanics on 861 is vastly improved (smoother, quieter), the readout is nicer and dimmable, dics load faster, it is a heavier machine, has a nifty front panel switch to toggle the CD/SACD layer on hybrid discs - the remote is much nicer with a soft finish, rounded feel, and nicer buttons- still has balanced outputs - all told, acts more like a $4K player than the 851 imho - my top contender right now. Versus the DV-50 - which is built like a tank - it is less $ and,in my system, sounded nicer.
I wonder the same thing, Pardales. A large number of 'goners' don't like McIntosh. I beleive this is a 'silly' attitude. Too many 'high-enders' Mac stuff is for Doctors, Lawyers, and other rather staid rich folks, but not for "serious audiophiles'. They seem to forget that Mac has given us some of the most innovative products the industry has produced, like the MR-78 tuner, for instance. If this player has new and innovative circuits, and allows the user to switch from the SACD layer to the standard 'redbook' layer from the front panel without the use of a video monitor, then I really want to hear it and compare it to the vaunted DCS,Meitner, and other exotic, ultra refined (and priced) gear. We may be in for a surprise.
I've had 3 MCD 205's, 2 MVP 851's, and most recently an MVP 861. Every single one of them (including the MVP 861) has had very significant problems tracking my CD's...all new and unmarked. I was in possession of my MVP 861 for 3 days when it started to crap out and yesterday I took it in for servicing in the Vancouver-area service depot. MacIntosh had kindly shipped a new transport mechanism for replacement on an urgent basis. I just got a call from the service tech who told me that the new transport is equally as faulty as the one it replaced and that it still will not read my CD's.
I am truly unhappy about this. I absolutley love the Mac sound and the MVP 861, when functional, sounds superb. It blows everythin else I've listened too out of the water. CD, SACD, and DVD Audio have never sounded so good. Video performance is equally astounding. But there is something truly wrong with this series of machines. I don't have a clue what the problem is (hardware or software) and I am disheartedned as hell ATM.
I am really sorry to hear about your expereince Dokter Doug, but am glad to hear that the sound was good when it did work. I have the 205 changer (which I bought new) and have had no problems with it. My dealer who sells MAC said they have gotten many 205's back with problems. If you get your 861 back and decide to stick with it, or if you keep having problems, do let us know. It is disheartnening to hear of such problems with MAC gear and I hope it is not a symptom of larger problems at MCINTOSH LABS.