Epson Home Cinema 3800 Projector, madVR ENVY Extreme, Stewart Studiotek 144 ST100 16:9, McIntosh MX170, Apple TV 4K 2021, NVIDIA Shield Pro, Datasat RA7300 Amps X 2, DirecTV 4K, Oppo UDP-203 4K Player, Samsung UBD-K8500 4K Ultra Blu-ray player, Furman Elite-20 PFI, Monster Power HTS 5100, AC INFINITY Component Coolers, Speakers: MARTIN LOGAN ILLUSION Center, IMPRESSIONS (Left and Right), VANQUISH (HEIGHTS & ATMOS & Top), AXIS (Backs), Subwoofers- Martin Logan BalancedForce 212 X 2, Seatcraft Equinox Seating with Sound Shakers, Remote: Harmony 1100, HARMONY ELITE. Cables: Audioquest shorter HDMI cables top to bottom. Audioquest (Cinnamon & Forest) HDMI with latest Cherry Cola 48 Optical 8K/10K Ultra High Speed 10 meter cable...
I am finally getting around to writing my thoughts on the new McIntosh MX180. It's been a crazy Summer and finding the time has been difficult but after things began to settle somewhat here I am. On a personal note our son Dallas was diagnosed with Fibrodisplaysia Ossifica Progressive (FOP) which is so rare and he's one of the if not the youngest at 20 months old in our country with it currently. Actually it's a 1 in 2.5 million ultra-rare condition. FOP is a very rare genetic connective tissue disorder characterized by the abnormal development of bone in areas of the body where bone is not normally present (heterotopic ossification), such as the ligaments, tendons, and skeletal muscles. We are just hopeful that with treatments in development and given his young age maybe he will have a chance to be a beacon of hope to others in the future. Okay enough personal jargon let's get to the MX180. Take a look at the back:
First thing to mention is the big difference with the MX170 (reviewed here) most notably is HDMI inputs and outs. We lost two outputs and a few inputs but on the up side we gain: 8K/60Hz & 4K/120Hz; HDCP 2.3; Rec. 2020; 4:4:4 color spacing; Dynamic Lip-sync, HDR (static HDR); Dynamic HDR; HDR10+; HLG; Dolby Vision Quick Media Switching; Auto Low Latency Mode; Quick Frame Transport; and Variable Refresh Rate. Now I will say the HDMI handshaking was the fastest I have ever witnessed and no matter which source everything was ludicrous (madVR Envy word) speeds! The Lip sync was super easy to dial in. It's almost as if it knew where to adjust itself? Now getting it to recognize my IP Address was interesting. Lesson learned here. Upon the first few bootups it was non-existent but then I switched the ethernet cable and it was there instantly. It was an older cable. To test 8K I plan to use my madVR Envy and a JVC NZ9 next month. I was able to get the newest AudioQuest Cherry Cola 48 10 meter HDMI cable to test it out as well. As for 4K/60 HDR everything was perfect and went through the 180 with lightning speeds. No matter what the source...
Set Up was exactly the same as the 170. Room Perfect experience was very similar. Results may seem better in my room but that could be either by accident or possibly placebo? So how did the 180 ultimately perform in my room? Let's continue and find out!
Doing my favorite scenes for distinct sound and ambience I was able to determine the MX180 rated one of the best I have heard in my room. It's been a little bit since I had the 170 here but I do know another owner who switched his 170 for the 180 the same day and he said the 180 was definitely better. Now from what my ears remember the 180 is at least every bit as good if not slightly better. Of course I would love for a couple more to go from a 170 to 180 to help make sure I am not having a honeymoon placebo effect. I was told from McIntosh the hardware is the same so DSP (including Room Perfect) could be different. I just wanted answers since I do not
recall the 170 being so damn good. We did a family evening which included Dallas's first ever movie in the theater with Minions: Rise of Gru. He actually enjoyed and watched the entire movie. Many times we heard activity in all the speakers. The imaging is tactile precise and surround sound is clear and focused in each speaker. The room sounds as good or better than an actual commercial movie theater which is the highest compliment I can give. With the McIntosh MX180 being built with the newest HDMI specs it is safe to say it is great to have for the long haul.
For more details on the MX180 check out the MX170 Review. Since they share most of the same hardware their performances are more similar than different. Also we have been enjoying Pop Weaver's new Butter Burst popcorn! Get some!
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Special thank you to Noah and the guys at Audio Video Interiors of Chicago for helping me obtain the MX180. All equipment is so hard to get these days! Its great having a good team to work with. Call them or stop in and see them. Tell them hello from me!
Audio Video Interiors – Chicago
1S550 IL Route 83, Unit C,
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
The Dark Knight with the Envy Extreme and JVC NZ9.