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The McIntosh MCD12000 Might Be Your Last CD Player and DAC

$12,000 is a lot of money for a CD/SACD Player and DAC. The McIntosh MCD12000 might be one of the few actually worth the asking price.

McIntosh MCD12000 SACD/CD Player Lifestyle

The CD is dead. Long live the CD. The new McIntosh MCD12000 retails for $12,000 USD and while that is certainly on the higher end of the spectrum, it is also a high-end PCM and DSD DAC.

We’ve covered the current state of the CD player a lot over the past two years and we still firmly believe that the CD is a viable platform for a lot of people; a quick look at my office reminds me that I own almost 2,000 CDs and I listen to them almost daily.

McIntosh MCD12000 SACD/CD Player Front Left
McIntosh MCD12000 SACD/CD Player

McIntosh customers are likely to see the McIntosh MCD12000 as the final piece of the puzzle when building out a system and it’s unlikely that the $12,000 asking price will deter them; especially when you’re already spending $25,000 to $35,000 on a power amplifier and pre-amplifier.

While classified as a CD player, the MCD12000 serves as a reference level digital-to-analog convertor (DAC) that includes reference level SACD/CD playback capabilities. Music played through MCD12000’s digital inputs or compact discs is processed by professional grade 8-channel DACs, designed for premium audiophile performance. 

McIntosh MCD12000 SACD/CD Player Rear Angle

The MCD12000 offers both balanced and unbalanced fixed analog outputs in both solid-state and vacuum tube configurations. This abundance of output options offers flexibility based on music selection, the configuration of your home audio system, and personal sound preferences. 


  • (2) ESS SABRE PRO ES9038PRO 32-bit/8-channel DACs, with (1) DAC dedicated to the left audio channel, and (1) DAC dedicated to the right audio channel 
  • ESS’ patented HyperStream® II architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator 
  • Separate digital and analog power supplies to keep power and audio signals free from cross contamination 
  • Specially constructed R-Core power transformer to minimize noise radiation 
  • (7) digital inputs: (2) coax, (2) optical, (1) USB (Type B) for computer-based audio, (1) AES/EBU, and (1) MCT input 
  • Coax and optical inputs support up to 24-bit/192kHz and the USB input supports up to 32-bit/384kHz, as well as DSD512 and DXD384kHz 
  • All outputs are driven by discrete amplifiers or a blend of vacuum tubes and discrete amplifiers 
  • 1) 12AT7 tube and (1) 12AX7A tube are assigned to each the left and right audio channel 
  • Solid-state output is via a discrete balanced op-amp 
  • Included digital coax and optical output for added system flexibility 
  • The disc transport has a precision die-cast aluminum tray that provides smooth and quiet disc handling, while an advanced digital servo provides fast, quiet, and accurate operation. 
  • Roon Tested designation from Roon Labs 
McIntosh MCD12000 SACD/CD Player Angle

The MCD12000 embodies the classic McIntosh styling, boasting stainless steel with hairline brushed black titanium that matches the company’s C12000. The front of the unit features the brand’s timeless black glass panel, illuminated logo, control knobs and controls, moving meters, as well as custom machine-brushed aluminum handles.

McIntosh MCD12000 SACD/CD Player Top

The top includes a glass panel listing performance specs and a block diagram of the audio signal path. A pair of 60dB output meters show the signal level that’s being delivered from the analog outputs of each channel. While the volume is controlled by your preamplifier, integrated amplifier, or other control device, the meters on the MCD12000 will respond to the music being played through it and move back and forth accordingly. 

McIntosh MCD12000 SACD/CD Player Front
McIntosh MCD12000 SACD/CD Player Rear

Price & Availability

Orders for the MCD12000 can now be placed with Authorized McIntosh dealers.

Shipping is expected to begin in May 2022 to the United States and Canada, and to the rest of the world shortly thereafter. Suggested retail price (VAT, shipping and any customs duties related to current standards of individual countries are excluded): $12,000 USD

For more information:

McIntosh MCD12000 with C12000 Preamplifier and C12000 Controller
Top to Bottom:
McIntosh C12000 Controller,
McIntosh C12000 Preamplifier
McIntosh MCD12000 SACD/CD Player

Related reading: The World According To McIntosh: All Roads Lead To Binghamton

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  1. Bradley P

    May 11, 2022 at 8:25 pm

    Hilarious! It looks like McIntosh is now changing its inscrutable model numbering system simply to the price on release. MCD12000 = $12000. That will save a sentence in every review.

    • Dennis Hill

      May 12, 2022 at 10:41 am


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