McIntosh MP100 brings vinyl playback to Devialet Phantom


The MP100 is McIntosh’s first standalone phono stage. On its front panel (above) we note switchable MM and MC loading options – six for each – and a mono toggle that does what we might expect: “decrease noise and play the signal correctly”. The press release also confirms the existence of balanced and unbalanced outputs. Price? US$2000.

This story gets more interesting with news of the MP100’s internal ADC, one that outputs 24bit/96kHz PCM over USB for archiving vinyl rips to a PC/Mac or via S/PDIF for on-the-fly digitisation. ‘Hi’ and ‘Lo’ settings allow the end user to tailor the MP-100’s digital output so that clipping is avoided.

Real-time digital encoding of vinyl playback might make hardcore turntablists wince but it’s generally the only way to keep one’s wax in the game when bypassing a traditional analogue pre-amplifier in favour of going DAC-direct into a power amplifier. That’s how I played it with the PS Audio NuWave Phono Converter some eighteen months ago.

Both the PS Audio and McIntosh phono digitisers spill ones and zeroes over coaxial. The NPC one-ups the MP100 with DSD support and an I²S output.

However, McIntosh return fire with the presence a Toslink output, making the MP100 a rare beast indeed: one that links your existing turntable to the Devialet Phantom whose ONLY hard-wired digital input is Toslink.

Game on.

Further information: McIntosh Labs


Written by John H. Darko

John lives in the NOW + HERE = NOWHERE. He derives an income from the ad revenues of DAR. John is also an occasional staff writer for Stereophile, 6moons and TONEAudio.

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    • Unlikely. I suspect everything phono signal related is handled as analogue before being digitised.

  1. I’m kind of shocked that it’s taken McIntosh this long to make a phono preamp. Their first preamp from 1950 had a phono stage in it of course – what else where you going to play other than radio in those days, but I still would’ve thought that they would make an outboard phono pre between then and now. Still, better late than never, and props for the capacitance loading options (often completely MIA on high-end pres where it’s assumed that customers will all be using LO MCs) and also props on simple front panel controls rather than microscopic dip-switches which are buried on a PCB somewhere inside the case. After all, who doesn’t want to pull an expensive phono pre out of the rack, get out the screw driver, pull the case off, and reach inside with a pen light and a needle nose pliers in order to flip a switch from 100 Ohms to 200 so you can cart swap? Seriously, why is this a thing that people tolerate?