McIntosh MS500 Music Server $6,000 Review

August 7, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Ethereal vocals are something I genuinely vibe on. That and vocal overdubs, gated mics and hyper-realistic studio-space decay to instruments or voices during playback. I love that sense of the space of the recorded event being captured on a track or album. it adds an atmospheric layering to the cuts that imbues you-are-there realism to listening sessions because of the sense of placement attached to each performer. Invitation by Heather Woods Broderick (TIDAL, FLAC 16-bit/44.1kHz) is just such a listening experience for me through my system with the 500. Hearing it through a dCS Rossini or totaldac spoils me for the big, spacious sound that each of those models is capable of relaying in my system. But, even though the MS500 clocks in at about a third to a quarter of the price of those two DACs, it is capable of giving you a taste of what those who can afford to invest heavily in a music-playback device like the aforementioned are getting. It would be foolish to say it sounds close, it doesn’t, but it sounds so fun, energized and smooth that it puts you in mind of those heavier hitters because of the sheer enjoyment it elicits when listening through it. The fact that it presents instruments and vocals in a rocksteady image with fantastic pitch accuracy certainly helps the McIntosh digital cause. ”

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