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McIntosh C220 Stereo Preamplifier Print E-mail
Friday, 01 June 2007
Article Index
McIntosh C220 Stereo Preamplifier
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The Downside
Sonically, I have no complaints. I am a big fan of tube preamplifiers and I have not heard one that I liked more anywhere near this price range. In comparison to the better solid-state pre amplifiers in the C220’s price range, it does not have the most extended highs (although the C220’s high end is very sweet and smooth) and one always has to wait for the tubes to warm up to hear the best sound reproduction possible.

Feature-wise, I would like to see more balanced inputs, a pass-through for a home theater processor and dB meters. After all, McIntosh means big blue meters on the front panel. I must note that these features can be had for an additional $1,800 on McIntosh’s C2200 amplifier. This gives the consumer the choice of paying a very reasonable price for a reduced feature set that still has high performance, or spending a bit more to get it all. I agree with McIntosh’s decision not to compromise the C220’s sonic performance to hit a price point.

If the C220’s feature set meets your needs and you enjoy the lush midrange magic of a tube, the C220 deserves a close listen and serious consideration. Pairing the C220 up with a quality, powerful, solid state amplifier, such as the MC602 (previously reviewed), will result in the best of both worlds. The $3,300 price tag is not insignificant, but it is most definitely a bargain in the world of high-end audio, as the sound quality of this unit is equivalent to that of other units I have heard that cost quite a bit more.

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