C46 or C220

I'm new to McIntosh, but have decided to bite the bullet. I have had a chance to listen to the C220, but not the C46. I like the idea of the 8 band tone control of the C46, but the lower cost of the C220 is appealing. Any thoughts?> Anyone had a chance to compare them? Either way, I would most likely mate the preamp to an MC252. I would appreciate your thoughts. Rest of the system is a pair of JM Reynaud Twin Signature speakers and currently a CEC CD player, although that will need an upgrade as well. I'm also shopping for an analog front-end that will most likely be a VPI Scout.


both are sonically close, and both have great phono sections. the 5 band equilizer is a great feature, but for the most part you'll run it flat with the mc252
I sold Mac for 6 years and left just before the 2200 came out but heard C46 quite abit and have given a few hours to 2200 since I stop by shop and say hello from time to time.Main thing is while (as with gear in general) the new Mac glass has stributes of solid state and newer solid state sounds more like tubes but still they are different sounds.One really nice feature of the C2200 that I don't believe is availible on the C46 is the ability to have microprocessor set different levels for each of the componets soi when you sit down your CD,tuner,CD-R or whatever is going to require same placement of volume knob and if you forget to turn volum down after your done and you turn it on and go from a say a lopw outut LP or tuner if you put it on and switch right to CD you won't damge your hearing or equipment.Very trick.The semi parametric are nice but my beliefe is that if you need to keep them changed to setings other than flat excepot for certasin recordings you have the wqrong speaker foir your ears/room.Yes it nice but should not come into play that often.BTW many "audiophiles" scoffed when I showed them the Mac gear fro 6 years when they so tone controls of any kind because "They cause noise and screw things up more than they ehlp".This may have been rtue for other manufaturers whose atention to detail,proper design and quality parts allowed for use of bass and treble and the semi paremetric of the are built well enough to not detract and sometimes with certain recordings I was glad it was their.BNut normally I left things flat.So as nice as the C46 is I would opt for the warmth and nice euphonics of the C2200 and combine it with aused Mc 351 which was and update from their previous amp the unbalanced MC300.I think the Mc 351 (or was it 352) was same basic design of the MC252 and MC452 removing the 300 wats from the line up.I'd save money by geting the slightly older amp used and get tthe MC2200 new or used depending on how much time your dealer has put into this with you etc.I would have flipped my curent gear (I havbe had a lot of Mac,Krell and other products we sold but when I was there up unitll 3 + years ago they had no tube gear except special edition remakes for the early 60's 275 and matching era pre.My only fault ,or the one I have heard reported that the phono section wasn'tt up to snuff (funny because in years past their MC100 had one of the very best.So I'd have shell out even used betwen $1K and $2500to get a good section.But not mater what you get once witth Mac your a fan for lfe and even if sold and got into the next big thing the memory of the pices alkways makes you melancholy that you sold it all.Not the last word in precision and resolution but they defintely don't sound like laboratory equipemnt.They sound like music.Therfore not mater which you'' choose you'' be happy but I think the 2200 would be the way to go m,atched with a MC351 to save some money.
I have the C46's predecessor, the C42 which is basically the same. I have heard the C46 and 2200 (but not 220) serveral times now. I have to say that the C46 in direct A/B comparison with the 2200 is a tad more transparent and for me, that takes the cake since no other issue is readily obvious.

But all that will depend on your room, music, tastes, personality, lifestyle, etc. because the differences are not huge. What is objectively different is the available EQ and that is a big bonus for me. I find that the mating equipment doesn't need the 8-band EQ nearly as much as the room and some recordings. This point is often missed by scoffing audiophiles. In any case, I have found the EQ to be more effective than room treatments I have tried. If good tonality is important to you, I would suggest you seriously consider the C46 or C42.

The 352 (it isn't 351) is a great amp but after hearing the 252 on a few occasions, it feels like a toss up. Both are truly excellent.

By the way, the C42, C46, C2200, and C220 all have input trim adjustment which is indeed a very useful feature as Chazzbo states. I have come back to Mc preamps for these little details that really make the preamp a joy to use every day. It is a "control center" afterall and as such I have come to fully appreciate this type of feature. Same goes for the mute and mono buttons, intelligent volume taper, display options, and use of relays for balance and input switching. Arthur
I having owned both the C2200 and the C200, matcheded at the time with an MC2000 tube amp. Or run direct to ATC Anniversay 50's speakers.

Both Mcintosh pre amps are Sony ES sonics at best.

I am trying to be some what polite, but they really are easily out classed. I have found worlds better !!!

If I wanted a very very good main stream I would buy a VAC Renaissance, or Supratek. If you want the best I have heard it is a Nick Doshi.

But if you must have a Mac get the C2200.