McIntosh MSD4 A/V Preamplifier

MSD4

home theater sound decoder

User Reviews (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7  
Pete   Audiophile [Jul 30, 2000]
Strength:

Minimalist approach. Superb audio quality.

Weakness:

Bass management could be better. Losing volume control
lock when changing Sat channels or CD tracks with Toshlink.

Using the Toslink connections I am losing lock on the volume control and am wondering if it is better using Coax.?
By far, the cleanest sound from this audio only surround
processor. Haven't had an opportunity to compare it with
the CAL or Bryston.

Similar Products Used: CAL 2500, Bryston SP1
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
bob b   Audiophile [Jul 09, 2000]
Strength:

audio quality

Weakness:

only one analog input, in dvd mode is tardy in locking yo cd signal and cuts off first notes.

sound quality is totally like awesome. seen it used on on ebay for under 2 large. i paid $2900 for mine at the dealer and have no buyer's remorse. see below review as i
have nothing more to add.

Similar Products Used: acurus act-1
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Jay   Audiophile [Jul 17, 2001]
Strength:

GREAT sound, minimalist approach - very easy to use, has both coax and toslink digital for each input

Weakness:

only one analog inout...but easily fixed by adding MVS3 a/v switch box and lack of balanced outs

This is my first hi-end purchase. The sound is PHENOMENAL!!! The sound is crystal clear and very accurate, but warm at hte same time. I just don't get tired of listening to music and watching dvd's, especially those with dts soundtracks. Also considered the Sunfire Theater Grand and the Proceed, but neither were as warm as the Mc. Only things I wish it had are balanced outs, at least for the front 2 channels (but cna add Mc stereo preamp and use processor loop) and if you have more than 1 analog source, you have to get a separate a/v switch box. No big deal, but would be nice to have at least one extra analog input built in.

Aside from those minor gripes, everything is great. I love it! And the analog pass-through for analog sources is nice to have for future inclusion of SACD player. HUGE step up from the Kenwood bookshelf system I've had for the last 10 years!

System:
MSD4 pre
MC-7205 amp (5x200)
Sony S7700 dvd
B&O S75 fronts (soon to be upgraded to B&W, Proac, or Mc)
Kenwood bookshelf surrounds (will be replaced wiht B&O's when they are upgraded)
Kimber 8pr speaker cable
Kimber DV75 coax digital cable
Monster 400 interconnects

Similar Products Used: Kenwood bookshelf system
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
george arzymanow   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 13, 1999]
Strength:

exceptionally high quality sound decoding and no superfluous features so its easy to use .

Weakness:

Does not come with its own remote

Having owned the DSPA1 for little under a year I was becoming painfully aware of its limitation in both sound decoding and sound quality through my mirage om6 et al speaker set up. The MSD4 provides outstandingly clear decoding with no sound crossing over to other channels , picking up every detail in the most refined way . DTS decoding is superb. Dances with Wolves on DTS is just incredible . Powered by my new Parasound HCA2205 it makes an incredibly SMOOTH system unattainable with the DSPA1 . Under no circumstances can you afford budget interconnects for this system. You know I just don't miss all those features and complexities of the DSPA1 . Give me PURE SOUND any day.

Similar Products Used: yamaha DSPA1 integrated amp
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Engineer Bill   Audiophile [Aug 02, 2001]
Strength:

Way clean, dynamic sound. DTS kicks Dolby Digital buttisimo if the masterng is worthy. No extraneous functions to perplex.

Weakness:

Damn, I'm broke now...Paucity of analog inputs. Takes too lock to to digital when playing music.

I bought the Mac4 because of the sound quality as well as the support for DTS. Plus, my local shop had a sale where I could take it home with the MVP-831 DVD and have no payments/no interest for one year:>) (Yes, I paid them off before $1000+ interest kicked in...whew!)

Where was I?...oh, yeah...the Mac4 sounds just peachy. As the owner of the store said "The last processor you'll ever have to buy." He is correct. It continues to perform flawlessly. It's simple to operate. No nasty onscreen menu thingies. I didn't realize it but the interference patterns on my big screen for the 2 years I used the ACT-1 were caused by the ACT-1 even when the menu screens were turned off. Duh!

Very clean, dynamic sound. I don't find it particularly warm sounding on music. Then again, the MVP-831 isn't warm, either. Then moment or two it takes to lock on a digital input irritates the hell outta me as the digital inputs sound slightly better to me than the analog input.

But, the MAC4 wasn't intended to be a music only piece. It's a home theatre component and performs that function to my ecstatic and complete satisfaction. So there!

If you can find a MAC4 at discount then the value rating rises to a solid 5. I rate it a 4 at full price because $3200+7.5%tax grounded me for several weeks...I'm not rich.

Similar Products Used: Acurus Act-1
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Ruben Garcia   Audiophile [May 14, 2001]
Strength:

minimalist style, clean sound

Weakness:

more analog inputs, has only one.

After months of looking for the perfect multichannel preamp i came across this jewel. Thanks to the advice of my dealer I bought this sound decoder. I love the way it decodes DTS. Very clean. But I also love the analog pass through. I have a Sony SCD777ES hooked to the analog input. The sound is great at all volumes. Together with the McIntosh 7205, five channel amp I am in heaven. Maybe, maybe one day I will upgrade to the McIntosh MX132. But in the meantime I am not missing anything thanks to the MSD4.

Similar Products Used: Marantz
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
John   Audiophile [Sep 01, 2001]
Strength:

Well built; sounds great; dependable

Weakness:

no 5.1 analog pass-through inputs for dvd audio. No remote included.

To me this processor sounds detailed, warm, dynamic, and great with 2 ch. music as well as 5.1 HT. Music is more important to me so that was important. Some other reviewers said that it's one analog input was pass-through, but mine is fed into a 24/96 A D converter. All the outputs (5.1 analog) use 24/96 D A converters. I asked my sales person and he said that you can have the choice between pass-through or a 24/96 A D converter for your one analog input. I currently have my VCR hooked into the analog input and it can output it in stereo or pro-logic surround. I have very happy with it in every respect and wouldn't want any other processor. The only thing I wish it had was a set of 5.1 analog pass-through inputs. I have a dvd audio player and it would have been nice but oh well. Even so, I like (no, love) this processor so much that I give it 5 stars across the board.

My other equipment:
Studiotech equipment rack on spikes.
Loven sand-filled Trisolator platform.
Mission Isoplat platform.
Cinepro Powerpro 20 line balancer/conditioner.
All Straightwire digital and analog interconnects and speakerwire.
Pioneer Elite DV38A DVD audio/video player.
Mitsubushi VCR (model ?).
Dual CS5000 turntable (currently not using).
Linn Wakonda analog preamp w/ slimline ps and MC phono input.
Linn LK100 bass amp (Keilidh Aktiv bass x-over).
Linn LK100 treble amp (Keilidh Aktiv treble x-over).
Linn LK85 amp (for center channel).
Audire Crecendo amp (for rear channels).
Linn Keilidh speakers on granite spiked bases (actively biamped).
Linn 5120 center channel speaker (passively biamped).
Klipsch Forte speakers for rear channels (I know, a gross missmatch for HT.)
2 Velodyne CT120 active subwoofers.
Niles IRP 2, MS2, and floodflasher for IR.
Hometheatermaster universal remote.
Acoustic foam completely covering the wall behind my front speakers, and the front half of the side walls.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-7 of 7  

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