The recently-released McIntosh C53 is the first product to feature McIntosh’s new DA2 Digital Audio Module (DAM) which is upgradeable. [Click on images to enlarge]

The DA2 Digital Audio Module builds upon the DA1 already fitted to many McIntosh products because in addition to having all the same connections as the DA1 (2 coaxial, 2 optical, 1 USB and 1 proprietary MCT for use with McIntosh’s MCT series of SACD/CD Transports), it also has an HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) input (audio only). This allows it to be connected to video components with HDMI (ARC) output to bring screen sound to a new level. The HDMI input converts multi-channel Dolby and DTS audio to stereo for proper playback through the C53.

The DA2’s USB input can support native playback of up to DSD512, surpassing the DSD256 limit of the DA1. This increased DSD playback support is enabled due to McIntosh’s use of a Quad Balanced, 8-channel, 32-bit DAC in the DA2. ‘This audiophile-grade DAC is highlighted by both an improved dynamic range and total harmonic distortion compared to the DA1,’ said Philip Sawyer, of Synergy Audio Visual, which distributes McIntosh in Australia. ‘The USB input also supports DXD up to 384kHz and the coaxial and optical inputs can decode digital music up to 24-bit/192kHz for high resolution audio playback.’

The new McIntosh C53 has 16 inputs for connecting music sources including three balanced and four unbalanced line-level analogue inputs and both moving-coil and moving magnet phono inputs. It also has multiple outputs, including three variable balanced and unbalanced connections along with a fixed-level unbalanced connection. Tone controls include an 8-band analogue equaliser with each band adjustable by ±12dB. The headphone output has ‘High Drive’ circuitry that McIntosh says will power virtually any pair of headphones, and the circuit is fitted with a Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD).

Although it’s built into the McIntosh C35, the DA2 Digital Audio Module is also available as a separate component that can be used to upgrade to all products using the earlier DA1 module, which includes the MA9000, MA8900, MA7200 and MA5300 integrated amplifiers, the MAC7200 receiver, and the C49 preamplifier.

When it goes on-sale next month, the McIntosh C35 will retail for $14,995. The DA2 Digital Audio Module will also go on-sale next month, at a price yet to be announced.

For more information, contact Synergy Audio Visual