McIntosh MHA50 Portable Decoding Amplifier

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by Emerald Core, Sep 28, 2017.
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  1. Emerald Core
    Introducing the New
    MHA50 Portable Decoding Amplifier

    Now available to order
    at your local dealer.

    Shipping expected to begin in October.
    US MSRP: $700*


    Listen to your music with McIntosh sound quality no matter where you go. Your headphones will thank you.

    Nearly everyone walks around with most if not all of their music library in their pocket or bag where it’s readily accessible via a pair of headphones. While convenient, it likely doesn’t sound as good as it could. The new handheld MHA50 Portable Decoding Amplifier from McIntosh can make your music sound its best – and likely better than you’ve ever heard it before – through your headphones.


    MHA50 shown with MHP1000 Headphones (each sold separately).

    The MHA50 includes wired inputs for Apple®iOS devices, Android devices compatible with USB On-The-Go technology plus Mac® and Windows® computers. It can also wirelessly connect to these devices via Bluetooth® 4.1 with aptX™ technology that ensures you receive the highest possible sound quality from your Bluetooth source device.


    Featuring a high-performance 32-bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC), it decodes music files from almost any digital source and outputs audio that is superior to what your device alone can produce. It supports 32-bit/192kHz hi-res audio, DSD256 and DXD384 files as well as asynchronous USB audio. Its 3,000 mAh rechargeable battery provides up to 6 hours of playback on a single charge when connected via Bluetooth; playback can last even longer when using the wired connections.


    The MHA50 comes complete with three USB adapter cables to connect various devices, a leather carrying case, and a wall mount charger. Click here for full details and specifications on the MHA50 or contact your local dealer to learn more.
  2. TSAVJason
    The Source AV TSAVJason Stay updated on The Source AV at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.

  3. Emerald Core
    I meant to make this a discussion thread. Mods kindly change title.
  4. TSAVJason
    Good idea but not much to discuss since only the McIntosh Group engineers and I are the only people that have played with the final version ....Mid to Late October is the production and shipping schedule. There have been a few dealers that have seen the pre-production. We will be showing it at RMAF this year.

    Good luck with your thread!! :)
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017
    The Source AV TSAVJason Stay updated on The Source AV at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.

    miceblue likes this.
  5. Emerald Core
    Thank you very much for the blessing. I know for sure Mac enthusiasts will make this thread lively with positive impressions.

    Probably it's going to pull Focal and Audeze headfi'ers !
  6. TSAVJason

    Let’s hope for the best of discussions rather than comments based on nothing like some of the other threads. We have 16 pre-orders and I’m sure your thread will get activity as soon as RMAF happens and our pre-orders are delivered. McIntosh says we are the only McIntosh dealer with an order in. I’m sure others like Listen Up will order products soon.
    The Source AV TSAVJason Stay updated on The Source AV at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.

  7. dolstein
    I read on the McIntosh site that this will have crossfeed, so that’s a big plus. I also like the iDevice compatible USB port. On the downside, there are several missing features I wish had been included, like MQA decoding, balanced output and AptX HD. Perhaps if this version is successful, they’ll make a higher end version too.

    Any word on whether it includes tone controls? I haven’t seen any mention of it, so I suspect not. But that would be a great feature to add and, like crossfeed, would help differentiate McIntosh’s device from ithe many competing devices in this category.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017
  8. doggiemom
    Sorry if this is a dumb question, but I've been burned by a few "iPhone compatible" cables and such that stop working with a new iOS update or require a $30 Apple camera kit adapter that starts cutting out after 4 months of use.......... is this MFI certified? I'm stuck with an iPhone because of work, so this is very interesting indeed.
    leftside likes this.
  9. dolstein
    Does anybody know what DAC is in the MHA50? I couldn’t find the info on the McIntosh. Also no discussion regarding the amp circuit. If ever there was an area where McIntosh could seek to differentiate itself from the competition, it’s in the amp section. After all, McIntosh is best know for it’s amps. So far the only real differentiator is the crossfeed circuit and the McIntosh logo and design.
  10. dolstein
    Also odd that McIntosh hasn’t used this opportunity to introduce a more affordable McIntosh branded headphone. They’re crazy if they think a lot of people are going to use this with the MHP1000,which I think still retails for around $2000. Not exactly the kind of headphones you throw into a backpack before hitting the road.
  11. TSAVJason
    I’m not sure which DAC they are using but it’s a current mode amp.
    The Source AV TSAVJason Stay updated on The Source AV at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.

  12. dolstein
    Interesting. Do you know if this is an in-house design? Other than Questyle and McIntosh, is anyone using current mode amplification in their portable digital audio devices?

    So that means there are three differentiators - crossfeed, current mode amplification, and McIntosh “look”.
  13. TSAVJason
    There are a number of portable DAC/amps and players that incorporate current mode amplification including A&K. It’s a small efficient way of delivering higher power at high impedance. It isn’t a McIntosh design entirely. It’s a collaboration of McIntosh group teams. The McIntosh Group is a number of companies like Audio Research, Sonas Faber, McIntosh Labs, Sumiko and Wadia. It’s my understanding that McIntosh is mostly involved in software function/GUI, amplification type and audio signature as all things they build.
    The Source AV TSAVJason Stay updated on The Source AV at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.

  14. topx
    I'm intrigued but think you missed out by not somehow including a lovely blue meter.
  15. dolstein
    I had a similar thought. Though i’d trade the meter for tone controls.
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