McIntosh launches Bluetooth upgrade for legacy Hi-Fi

posted on Friday, 21st May 2021 by Steve May

High-end  High Res Audio  Bluetooth 

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McIntosh has launched the MB20 Bluetooth Transceiver, designed to bring wireless streaming to legacy McIntosh home audio systems. The MB20 Transceiver not only brings wireless functionality, but allows music to be sent and received.

In receiver mode, music lovers can stream to the MB20 via Bluetooth from any compatible device, including smartphones, tablets and laptops. In transmitter mode, users can stream from the MB20 to any Bluetooth headphones, for wireless listening of CD and vinyl.

The MB20 uses Bluetooth v5 and supports a wide range of transmission codecs, including AAC, DSD (up to DSD128), FLAC, MP3, WAV and WMA, and Qualcomm aptX HD for Hi-Res Audio playback. It also features Qualcomm aptX Low Latency, for improved audio transmission speed to deliver sound in sync with applicable devices.

MB20 Bluetooth

As a transmitter, the MB20 claims a range 10x greater than a typical Class 2 Bluetooth device. It also employs an extremely sensitive receiver said to offer better reception, even from Class 2 devices.

When used as a receiver, the MB20 deploys a high-performance on-board 32-bit/192 kHz DAC. The device can also be used with existing DACs, too (the MB20's digital output is then fixed at 96 kHz for compatibility).

The MB20 is also unusual in that it offers audiophile grade balanced connections (pictured), making it suitable for adding high-performance Bluetooth to higher-fidelity home audio systems, as well as conventional inputs and outputs.

The MB20 comes in a black, custom-aluminium chassis with a black-glass top-panel to match any existing McIntosh system. Priced at £649, the MB20 is expected to be available from June.

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology specialist who also writes for T3TechRadarHome Cinema Choice, Trusted Reviews and The Luxe Review.

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