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This review first appeared in the August 2009 issue of hi-end hifi magazine High Fidelity of Poland. You can also read this review of the McIntosh 1000 Series digital separates in its original Polish version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with publisher Wojciech Pacula. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of High Fidelity. - Ed.

Reviewer: Wojciech Pacula
Review system: Go here
Review component retail: 29,000 and 33,000 PLN respectively for transport and DAC

The McIntosh company is an institution. Its products quickly turn collectibles and those who use them have a good chance that the products will outlive them in good health. That’s because the people working for that American firm share the philosophy that the foundation of solid construction and good measurements is the most important thing, not mumbo jumbo.

The digital source of MCD1000 drive and MDA1000 DAC on review is no exception. The quality of manufacture and the ideas behind the product are exceptional in every aspect. The external design may not appeal to everybody but please do remember that it has changed little since the late 60s to have proven its timelessness.

It is also worth noticing that the company joined the digital wave quite late. In the mid 80s, Gordon Gow, a big fish in the Mac pond, discussed preparations for build a turntable. The cartridge was prepared by the Japanese specialist Mark Corporation, the tone arm by Bob Graham, the phono stage by Ron Evans and the deck by SOTA. Not much came of the project brief but it reminds us how McIntosh engineers considered the CD format immature for a long time. The first digital player carrying the McIntosh logo was the MCD7000 of 1985. By 1998 the first digital separates appeared by way of the MDA7000 DAC and the MCD751 drive. This is the set I knew well. During the period it was available in Poland, I worked for the first McIntosh distributor Audioholic where this player was our reference. In the thirteen years separating today’s review machines, only five new players were introduced  and none of them was another transport/DAC combo. 2005 witnessed another small adaptation, the MCD201 being the company’s first SACD player. Despite the 24 years which have passed since the original MCD7000 progressed to today’s MCD1000 + MDA1000, the latter is only the second digital offering McIntosh has sponsored to be so technologically advanced.

Discs used for testing:
Dire Straits, On Every Street, Vertigo/Universal Music Japan, UICY-93734, SHM-CD; Gerry Mulligan & others, Jazz Giants ’58, Verve/Universal Music Japan, POCJ-2732, CD; Thom Yorke, The Eraser, XL Records/Warner Music Japan, WPCB-10001, CD; Eva Cassidy, Imagine, Blix Street, G2-10075, CD; The Doors, L. A. Woman, Elektra/Warner Music Japan, WPCR-12721, CD; Wes Montgomery, Incredible Jazz Guitar of,,,, Riverside/JVC, VICJ-41531, K2 CD;  Genesis, …Calling All Stations…, Virgin Charisma/EMI Music Japan, TOGP-15019, SACD/CD+DVD-A; The Red Michell & Harold Land Quintet, Hear Ye!!!!Hear Ye!!!!, Atlantic/Warner Music Japan, WPCR-25159, CD; Depeche Mode, Wrong, Mute, CDBONG40, SP; The Andrew Sisters, Greatest Hits, Going For A Song, GFS285, CD.