McIntosh announces the launch of three new preamplifiers – the C1100, C52, and C47, all handcrafted at the company’s Binghamton, New York factory. The C1100 and C52 are available in September, the C47 in October.
The C1100 preamp ($6,500 per chassis) is said to have the lowest noise of any McIntosh preamplifier ever produced. It utilizes a two-chassis design wherein the control and power sections are completely separate from the audio section. Absolute isolation of a preamp’s two main functions — control and sound — is achieved by this unusual but effective design.
The C1100 is comprised of the C1100C controller and the C1100T vacuum tube preamplifier. Inside each, the left and right channels are electrically and mechanically isolated from each other to allow true dual mono operation. The two units are connected together via a pair of specially designed, high-performance umbilical cables, shielded to prevent outside noise from leaking into the audio signal. While they are two separate units, when connected, they act as one and are easy to control and operate from the included remote control or the C1100 controller front panel. Both units’ chassis are comprised of polished stainless steel and hairline brushed-black Titanium stainless steel.
All power control, data ports, and external control connections are located in the C1100C controller. The introduction of a dual microprocessor allows for an improved robustness of the control system. The C1100T vacuum-tube preamp houses the audio connections and circuitry, featuring a total of 12 analog inputs: six balanced and four unbalanced, plus adjustable-loading Moving Magnet and Moving Coil phono inputs. There are also two sets of balanced and two sets of unbalanced outputs.
Twelve vacuum tubes (six each of 12AX7a and 12AT7) power the tube preamp. Compared to the previous-generation C1000 preamp, which sported eight tubes, the additional four tubes in the C1100 lowers its dependency on solid-state support. The amp circuit has much higher common-mode rejection, so any noise introduced by interconnect cables is said to be significantly reduced. The C1100 employs fully balanced circuitry to match the level of performance achieved in any of the company’s Quad Balanced amps.
The C52 ($7,000) is said to be McIntosh’s most advanced, single-chassis solid-state preamp. Thanks to its 16 inputs, this stereo preamp lets you connect virtually any of your analog components and digital music sources to one device. For connecting sources, the C52 includes three balanced and four unbalanced fully assignable inputs, plus three optical, two coaxial, and one USB input.
The C47 ($4,000) boasts 12 inputs, including two balanced and three unbalanced fully assignable inputs along with two optical, one coax, and one USB.
Both units include Moving Coil and Moving Magnet phono inputs, and both play many of the latest hi-res digital formats, including DSD files. The optical and coax inputs on each unit will decode digital music at up to 192/24 for hi-res audio playback. For outputs, the C52 has three pair of balanced and unbalanced outputs; the C47 has two pair of each.
As noted, both models are capable of decoding and playing back DSD files. The USB input accepts PCM signals up to 384/32 and supports DSD64, DSD128, and DSD256, plus DXD 352.8 and DXD 384. In addition, a proprietary MCT input on each offers a secure, custom DSD connection for playback of the high-def audio found on SACDs when paired with the McIntosh MCT450 SACD/CD Transport.
All three units proffer classic McIntosh black glass front panels, blue meters, knobs, stainless-steel chassis, illuminated logos, and custom-machined brushed-aluminum end caps. Any of them can be paired with a variety of McIntosh amplifiers, speakers, room-correction devices, CD players, turntables, tuners, and other source components to make a complete home audio system.
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