McIntosh rolls out DA2 DAC upgrade with HDMI ARC and High Res Audio DSD512 boost

posted on Wednesday, 27th November 2019 by Steve May

High-end  High Res Audio  Media Rooms 

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McIntosh is rolling out a digital audio DAC upgrade kit, for owners of hardware sporting the brand’s original DA1 module. The new DA2 Digital Audio module has an expanded feature set which includes an audio-only HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC), for users with TV system integration, and support for multichannel audio formats from Dolby and DTS, which will be down-converted to stereo.

The unit is also compatible with CEC communication, allowing owners to use a TV remote to control the power and volume of any connected McIntosh unit.

The DA2’s USB input can support native playback of up to DSD512 (plus DXD up to 384kHz), eclipsing the DSD256 limit of the DA1, thanks to a Quad Balanced, eight-channel, 32-bit digital-to-analogue converter.

The DA2 offers the same connections as the DA1 (two pairs of coaxial and optical digital audio inputs,) one USB and one proprietary MCT. The coaxial and optical inputs can decode digital music up to 24-bit/192kHz, while the proprietary MCT input offers a secure, custom DSD connection for playback of high-definition SACD audio, when paired with McIntosh's MCT series of SACD/CD transports.

The upgrade can be applied to the MA9000, MA8900, MA7200 and MA5300 integrated amplifiers, MAC7200 receiver and C49 preamplifier. The upgrade is an optional dealer-installed upgrade that must be performed by an Authorised McIntosh Dealer or Authorised McIntosh Service Agency.

The DA2 Digital Audio Module Upgrade kit will sell for £1,295, with deliveries expected in December.
DA2 Back Hi Res

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and Ideal Home (amongst others).

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