McIntosh continues its pursuit of high quality audio combined with prestige retro design and introduces the C8 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier and MC380 Solid State Amplifier.
Taking the open chassis design cues from the MA252 and MA352 integrated amplifiers, which themselves looked back to the MC275 Vacuum Tube Amplifier, the latest C8 and MC830 hardware nod to the 1950s and 1960s design heritage while implementing the latest in modern technology. For today’s music fan that means availability of MM and MC phono inputs for turntable connectivity, digital readiness for McIntosh’s (optional) multi-input DA2 DAC module, plus personal listening using the incorporated high-quality McIntosh headphone amplifier.
C8 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier
With a compact footprint, the C8 Vacuum Tube preamplifier is designed to complement the MC380 and is powered by four 12AX7a valves, housed inside cylindrical protective cages.
The modern music lover benefits from both balanced and unbalanced inputs, plus Moving Coil and Moving Magnet phono inputs with adjustable loading and the ability to name these inputs too. There’s also the option to connect a powered subwoofer.
Supplied as ‘digital ready’, the optional DA2 Digital Audio Module can be installed by McIntosh dealers for a supplement which brings two coaxial, two optical, one USB, one proprietary MCT (for use with McIntosh's line of SACD/CD transports), plus one audio-only HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) connection for a total of seven digital inputs covering a range of input sources and requirements.
The Home Theater Pass Through allows the C8 to be seamlessly integrated into home cinema systems and Data Ports can send remote control commands to connected source components. For late-night and personal listening McIntosh's High Drive headphone amplifier can easily drive a wide range of headphones.
The front panel knobs and the included remote control can be used to adjust input selection and offset input levels plus bass, treble, tone bypass and balance. All settings, volume level and input selection are shown on the front panel display.
MC830 Solid State Amplifier
Matching the compact footprint of the C8 tube preamp is the powerful MC830 (monoblock) solid state amplifier and its direct-coupled output design offers 300 watts (8 Ohms). The fast-responding Dual Scale Watt meter, which is clear and accessible due to the open chassis construction of the MC380, delivers an accurate readout of power output. To help keep the system running cool are the company’s distinctive McIntosh Monogrammed Heatsinks.
Like the C8, there’re both balanced and unbalanced inputs but the MC380 also benefits from several proprietary McIntosh technologies. These include MC830’s patented Power Guard which protects speakers and systems by monitoring the amplifier's output signal to protect against overdrive while real-time micro adjustments to the input signal prevent clipping.
Other protective systems include Sentry Monitor which uses fuse-less short-circuit protection that disengages the MC830's output stage before the current exceeds safe operating levels. Once operating conditions return to safe levels, it resets automatically.
To ensure a top-quality signal is transferred to the loudspeakers and also to prevent corrosion, the MC830 features McIntosh's patented high-quality, gold plated Solid Cinch speaker binding posts.
Among some of the features common to both the C8 and MC380 are Power Control ports which allow for easy system power-up and shut down, by sending power on/off signals to other connected McIntosh components. There’s also a user-selectable Auto Off feature, switching the power off after 30 minutes if either no signal or no user input has been detected.
The distinctive McIntosh look is typified by a die-cast aluminium name badge affixed to each side of both units’ chasses which are polished to a mirror finish while both feature a black-glass front panel with silver trim, an illuminated logo and control knobs and in the case of the MC380 the blue Watt meter.
Orders can be placed now with authorised McIntosh dealers with shipping expected to begin in October (UK); September (USA and Canada).
The C8 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier is priced at £4,295, while the MC380 Solid State Amplifier comes in at £4,995 each.
Source: Press release
Image Source: McIntosh