Sam did not mention the pop problem the 205 had or has when hooked to an external DAC. Maybe this has been fixed.
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I had the MCD205 in my system for about a month. I let it burn in and then used it extensively. I wanted to really like it because I appreciate the convenience of changers and I have a Mcintosh integrated amp. Although the changing mechanism seems robust, I did not like the fact that you had to stop playing all CDs to change only one CD. I came to the conclusion that the sound of my rega Jupiter was smoother; the mcintosh player sounded edgy. I then upgraded to an Electrocompaniet EMC-1 and that has been great! There is someon else on this board who has a MCD205 connected to an Electrocompaniet DAC and loves that combination. However, there are others who love their MCD205s.
Sam's article was informative, but he does not go into detail about sound of the MCD205; he only speaks in general terms. I like his style of writing and reviewing (I appreciated his comments on the autoformers in the Mcintosh MA6900), but the downside is that you don't the thoroughness of a detailed review.
I think the MCD205 is a fine product, certainly better than any other changer, but it can be improved by adding an external DAC. I settled with an excellent single-disc player and kept my old Technics carousel CD changer for dinner parties, etc.
In the early produced 205's a static pop could be heard when using the digital output to a stand alone DAC. Mac has sinced fixed the problem on current production and I am told they will fix older models if sent in. You can get verification from member Goodsie in another forum thread about this changer problem.
I wrote a review of this changer a couple of months ago in this forum here at audiogon. Do a search under Mcintosh in the "digital" forum and it should come up. I thought it an excellent sounding changer for those not interested in hyper-detail and the ultimate high-end. It is smooth, clear, and coherent. However, ultimately I believe that those looking for outstanding digital sound will want to use an external DAC. I have mine connected to an MSB Platinum Plus and the combo delivers a sound I could live with for a long time. BTW: I had no static-pop problem and am not worried about it because I know MAC would fix it if it happened (they have really good customer service).
To the person who asked for a comparison to the Anthem CD-1: I used to own the CD-1as well. The CD-1 sounded great, and I loved that it had HDCD (the 205 does not) and an XLR digital output. In the end though, I used it as a transport for the Perp. Tech gear. As a transport I did not like the internal magazine it had. It was noisy and slow. The 205 is internal as well but is is less noisy, and actually very fast. I do wish I could change discs while playing one, but only carousels seem to be able to do that.
I hope this is helpful, good luck,
I disconnected the MSB DAC to remind myself what the 205 sounded like. You know, it sounds great. Really. I don't think the DAC was a big enough of an improvement to warrant keeping it, and in fact, I think the sound of the 205 is more open and less dark than with the Platinum. I have sold the MSB and am thinking of putting the money toward an upgrade of speakers or maybe a SACD player.
This just goes to show you that you have to live with your equipment for a while to get to know it and fully appreciate all you can do.
I have had nothing but grief with the goddamn MCD205. I've had three of them in the last 7 weeks and they've been nothing but trouble. The first and third simply refused to play certain discs. The second ate four of my discs and refused to give them back. I'm still waiting to get them back from the McIntosh folks.The disc change mechanism is noisy and slow, and changing out discs is a frustrating and time consuming process.
I'm writng this on Xmas eve, having waited 3 weeks to get my "holiday" player returned to me, and within 24 hours of its return its once again refusing to play certain of my discs (which play in all my other players). I love the sound, when it works. Given my experience with its reliability, however, I'd say this product was a piece of shit.
Just spoke with McIntosh Service Manager. Apparently there are two problems with this unit. One is a tracking (hardware) problem. The other is a software problem that makes random play truly random (sometimes it plays and sometimes it doesn't), causing the machine to switch to a new CD, fail to start play on the selected disc, and then switch again. They're exchanging the unit.
This'll be the fourth MCD205 I've had in 2 months. Kudos to the service dept., but as far as I'm concerned the jury's still out on the quality of this CD player.
I wanted to build my whole system around a MC 2102 tube amp and I really liked the idea of using McIntosh for everything. It is designed to work best with the one remote.
I just couldn't talk myself into it. I almost bought Tannoy speakers, but finally opted for Kef Referance. My Cd player is Audio Aero. I think that McIntosh makes terrific amps and tuners, but the other stuff just doesn't excite me.
I've had an MCD205 for 9 months now and been very happy with it. The first one I got had a few tracking issues, but the second has worked great for the most part. There have been 1-2 dirty disks that skipped where they didn't in some others, but as long as the disks are in good shape the sound is fantastic. I'm running it with an Audio Magic Illusion Power cable and Illusion interconnect into a Rogue 66 LSR and Rogue 88 amp, then MartinLogans. I also have a Denon DVD2900 for SACD/DVD-A that I run in 2 channel mode, and I've found that the Mac sounds as good in redbook as the SACD and DVD-A do in the Denon, which I think speaks volumes about the quality of the player. If SACD and DVD-A take off, I think I'll try for a Teac Esoteric, but I still prefer vinyl to everything. However, I like the convenience of a changer for CD playback and I think the MCD205 is as good as it gets.