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McIntosh Labs MB100 connects cloud services to local libraries

  • A blue glow and dancing VU meters set against a high gloss black fascia have been synonymous with McIntosh Labs for over sixty years. The look is unmistakable – a real draw card for those who dig the retro-futurist aesthetic. I know I do.

    In late 2012, McIntosh Labs was acquired by Italy’s Fine Sounds group to sit alongside Wadia, Sonus Faber and Audio Research. Esteemed company. And a new owner means new, more forward-thinking products. Products that remain hand-made at McIntosh’s factory in Binghamton, NY.

    McIntosh has embraced the world of digital streaming with their MB100 Media Bridge, finally arriving down under after debuting at CES in January.

    The MB100 packs 64Gb internal SSD (for OS and music buffering) and a 1TB hard drive for music storage. Insufficient? Four USB ports and a single eSATA port out back allow for storage expansion via external HDDs and flash drives.

    Balanced and unbalanced analogue outputs connect the M100 direct to your amplifier whilst S/PDIF outputs present for those who’d prefer to bring their own D/A conversion to the party. DVi and HDMI outputs allow for connection to a TV or computer monitor.

    MB100_rear

    Playback and navigation of the locally hosted song library can be controlled via a host of options: iOS/Android app, web browser and TV. The M100 supports PCM playback up to and including 24bit/192kHz.

    The MB100 can also stream music from the cloud. Support for Pandora, Spotify, Rhapsody, TuneIn and SiriusXM come pre-configured whilst remaining territory and subscription dependent.

    However, the smarts arrive with McIntosh’s patented TuneBridge which bi-directionally connects streaming services to your local music library and to each other. TuneBridge allows you to start a Pandora radio station from a single track in your library or, if you discover a killer new tune on Pandora, serve up the entire album via Spotify. That’s something we’ve not seen before.

    The MB100 Media Bridge sells for US$6500 in the USA. In Australia it’s AU$8800.

    Further information: McIntosh Labs

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

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