Inexpensive amp for a McIntosh C46 Preamp

I have been jones'n for MA6900 Integrated, however when I went to a local dealer, I fell in love with the C46 pre. I can't afford to get the MC252 at the moment, so I was wondering if I could mate it with a cheap amp, perhaps a used NAD272 or something like it. Any suggestions? Is this a bad idea? Should I stick with the MA6900?

i don't believe you would feel compromised with the ma 6900. it has a great control, as well as big power. the phono section alone is better than many separates. mac integrateds historically are good, the the new ones are great.
You don't mention what your budget would be for the
amp. I would try to find a good used Mc Amp here on AG. I have a MX135 and 2 Mc amps and think they belong together. What speakers will you be driving? I see MC162s listed all the time here on AG. One thing to keep in mind, a used Mc amp you settled for today will always return a larger portion of the purchase price upon resale than most any other amps.
Jaybo is right the 6900 is a great piece but so is the C46
, I think the C46 would offer a better foundation to build upon in the future.
Just my opinion of course.
Also check out other models availible say from and tell them what you like about the C46 and see which 90's era pieces (maybe the C42) could be gotten with the features you want for less used.Or even the C46.Hate to say buy all used after you have worked with dealer (up till I left shop 4 years ago I sold Mac for 6 years.There is also a McIntosh historical site which includes infor about all things Mac from 40's till now run by former Mac employee).
I personally know of your dillema since I have been doing tubes and have thought about going back to Mac and just don't know if I weant tube or SS or a mix.Of course with seperates you have options that you don't have with integrated.You will get in all their amps for instance power guad and the patented autoformer cicurtry whether it's seperates or integrated.The three issues are: power,flexibility and price.
With and integrated you'll love what you have but be restricted,depending on the model,to the power it has.Seperates affgord you to get bigger amp if your next speaker selection needs more juice than 150 or 300 (and more is always beter).A great modern combo (on market within last 10 years) is forgoing balanced circuts and geting the pre I had (and wish I had't sold it and my Mesa Baron tube amp hurt the most of the dozens of stuff I have flipped) the MC 712 (or replacement model which wasn't quite as nice the C15) which can be had for a mere $750 used.It has XLR outputs to use a long cable run but is not "tru balanced so over a long run can distort) and Match it with the MC300 an amp that deliver 300 wpc,sounds great and can be had used for $2K.Most folks will say "go balanced when ever you can" which I suppose is true.But I know what you DON't want to do is go balanced to unlbalnced to balanced etc.You want to keep it all the same so with these pices I would not put the pre across the room and run a long wire to the amp sitting with speakers.But with a C42 or C46 and a 252 I would cosider doing that.But if you can stack the two (pre and map) in a rack and have the speaker wire not go more than 15 feet or so that's what I would do.You'd get the McIntosh sound in the two components bot amp and pre for the price of just the balanced 252 and have more curent to boot.Depending on the speakers you have and size of the room the extra power may nullify and percieved increase in quality of balanced circuts (many very expensive hifi peices are not balanced).Then again if you want to flip them they will hold their value and you can upgrade to a balanced piece one at a time.You'd be thrilled to have one of thier intergrateds for feel,look and mostb importantly sound.But seperates give you flexibility.Maybe when your shipp came in you could get the BEAUTIFULL (and excellently reviewed in Stereophile-check on line archives)C2200 tube pre with a solid state amp.Me I would go for what I could aford now and update when I could.Also I would choose the MC 352 used before I bought the MC252.It was first of the new series and replaced the Nonbalnced MC300 with a 300 watt banlanced model.Given how well made they are why spend the money full retail on the 252 (which they put out removed 300 watts from line and nextr went to 400 watt MC452).Yes that's it.Get a used 353 and pick what your budget will allow C712,C41,C42,or C46.I have freinbds who have bought all of these models and they will outlast most of my freionds except maybe a blown light bulb over the next 20 or 30 years.If you can swing it go sperates since it will allow you options.Me I lust after another Mac pre the C200 and even though I can still get tthem from my ex boss for 50% off it's still expnsive since it's only reported weakness is it's phono stage.Funny thier old top of the line m,dels used to have some of the best sounding phono sections but this tube beauty would require a $1K to $4K section to match it's quality of the rest of the rig.Buit glass for it's sweet euphonics and solid state amp for it's bass control and speed would be just the ticked.Lot's of great out there but once you owned Mac you alwys miss it even if what you have is more percise or somehow stste of the sart.Mac is not the last word in resolution but is so damned musical you don't care.
Confusing but have fun in any case.
I think you have made the better choice. I would get a MC162 and be set for a while. I have seen them post here for less then $1200 on a couple occasions. I have owned the C712 but you are way better off with the C46 (actually, there is no comparison). Arthur
Good suggestions above to be sure but here is one for you, I own the C46 with a 252 and its a great combo but I have a few systems, a great amp for the money is the Linn lk 100 I have one and have used it with the c46 with fine results, a nifty,small amp, can be had used for around 450-500, the 252 is better, but this little amp is no slouch, alot of good sound for short money.
If you really want to go cheap, the Adcom 545 mk2 is remarkable. It kills the bigger 555 (I have compared both in my system) and rivaled my McIntosh amp, all for $275! It is the highest value amp I have ever heard.

Finding a good preamp is much harder than finding a good amp. You should take advantage of your situation by experimenting with as many amps as you can on your way to owning an expensive 252. There is lots to learn about hi-fi in low-cost territory and with careful purchases, you can go out on a limb and experience rare electronics without any risk. You may even find your own pearls. Arthur
Thanks for everyone's advice.

Arthur, that is great advice, thanks. Have you, by chance, had a chance to a/b the C46 and the C220?


Disregard my question about the C220 - I see that you responded to my other thread.


Another amp you may consider is Sherbourn, that company was started by some ex-McIntosh guys. That is a very good amp for the dough.
Thanks for everyone's suggestions. I just bought a MC162. Hopefully, it will work well. Thanks again.
Great! Let us know what you think of your new system.