McIntosh has revealed the DA2 Digital Audio Module Upgrade Kit, its newest and most advanced module for processing digital audio. It comes standard in the C53 and C2700 Preamplifiers, allowing both of those units to take advantage of some of the latest innovations in digital audio technology.
McIntosh products equipped with the DA1 can now be upgraded to the newer DA2, including the MA9000, MA8900, MA7200, and MA5300 integrated amplifiers, MAC7200 receiver, and C49 preamplifier. All of these models will continue to come with the DA1 installed, with the DA2 offered as an optional dealer installed upgrade that must be installed by an Authorized McIntosh Dealer or Authorized McIntosh Service Agency.
The DA2 Digital Audio Module builds on the DA1 with an expanded set of capabilities. In addition to having all the same connections as the DA1 (two coaxial, two optical, one USB, and one MCT), a new audio-only HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) connection is included on the DA2. This allows it to be connected to TVs with a compatible HDMI (ARC) output. ARC functionality can provide two-way communication between the DA2-equipped McIntosh unit and TV, allowing for volume control and lip-syncing functions to ensure the audio and video are synched. Popular multi-channel audio formats from Dolby and DTS are supported and will be converted to two-channel audio for proper playback through the DA2 equipped unit. When CEC communication is enabled in both the DA2 equipped unit and TV, the TV remote can control the power and volume of the connected McIntosh unit.
Additionally, the DA2's USB input can support native playback of up to DSD512, surpassing the DSD256 limit of the DA1. This increased DSD playback support is thanks to the next generation, Quad Balanced, 8-channel, 32-bit Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) that powers the DA2. This audiophile-grade DAC is highlighted by both an improved dynamic range and total harmonic distortion compared to the DA1. The USB input also supports DXD up to 384kHz. The coax and optical inputs can decode digital music up to 24-bit/192kHz for high resolution audio playback.
Rounding out the DA2 is a proprietary MCT input that offers a secure, custom DSD connection for playback of the high definition audio found on SACDs when paired with McIntosh's MCT series of SACD/CD Transports to produce the best possible sound quality from a SACD collection.
Orders for the DA2 Upgrade Kit can now be placed with Authorized McIntosh dealers with shipping expected to begin to the U.S. this month and the rest of the world shortly thereafter. Suggested retail price is US$1,000.