McIntosh C-2200 or C-46 with MC-402???

Okay, a question for McIntosh users (or those familiar with the gear) out there -- need some advice and input!

You're setting up an MC-402 in your system and feeling awfully good about life. Now, you decide to chuck your other (very nice) preamps and put together a matching set. Why not, right?

The obvious choices are the 2200 tubed preamp and the 46 solid state preamp.

I've heard all these pieces, but have not been able to audition them as above (switching preamps, that is).

I generally like the "euphonic" quality of tubes, but always notice the trade-off in fine detail when you move back to solid state. Apples, oranges. I'm wondering if the 2200 is one of those rare pieces that gives you tube joy without the losses? How about matching up to the amp? Big money, big decision, so I'd appreciate your answers!
Ok, I guess it comes down to what do you like to hear? I don't mean in music but the overall sound that is produced between the amp and the Pre.

I have owned all three and have had them in my system.
The only remaining unit is the 402. When I had the C2200 it was with the 352. This was 2 years ago so I am going by memory. I had no real issues at the time as I do recall being overall satisfied with what I was hearing. I felt the drive of the solid state amp along with the tube pre would produce a warmer almost laid back sound. Which it did.

Little did I know what I was missing: I had made changes after that set up but we will skip to just this last month of "AUDIO TURMOIL" and how I screwed up.
I might get some flack from some Mac die hards but I have owned my share of Mac over the last 35 years so I feel I can share my experience of "Defeat" with you.

Last month I bought a 402 & the C-46. From there my system went to hell in a hand basket. I don't have all the answers and I don't pretend to know it all. I do no for a fact that my system sounded as if a blanket had been placed over the speakers. I had lost some detail, clairity & resolution was a thing off the past.
At this point depression set in: I changed power cords, Interconnects, added tweaks which I knew would not help but in desperation we try it all.
A very good audiophile friend of mine told me it has to be the C46, get it out of the system and try something else in it's place. So be it, another local audiophile friend brought over 2 pre amps. One was a 250.00 Passive unit. We put that in place and the blanket was gone.
We then put his First Sound Presence pre in the system and I got back 90 percent of what I lost with the C46.
The C46 for me was just not going to cut it. My friend left his First Sound for me to use until I could find a replacement.
My other friend that first told me that my problem was the C46 convinced me to try the Audio Researdh LS25 MKl.
He had heard this a couple times in a system and knew what he was talking about.
This did not take long: I found and purchased the AR as he mentioned and I mean to tell you it is one of the most detailed pre amps you will ever own.
I now have deeper tighter bass, mids and highs to die for and higher resolution then I have ever had.

I guess the bottom line for me would be that if I were in your position I would match the C2200 with the 402.
You have the hard drive of the solid state with the warmth of tubes in the pre. This is a great match.

However, you want more of everything and have it done right, check out the AR Pre you will not be sorry my friend.

If you care to discuss any part of this via phone send me a e-mail and I would be more then happy to call you.

That was my 2 cents worth, maybe even more,
I heard both the 352 and 402 with the Cary slp2002 preamp (now discontinued) it was a fantastic matching (for my tastes also for others). With the c46 the "blanket" really exists but it may need some burn-in. If it was me I would go with a good tube-pre and the 402. Never heard the 2200.
I hate to say I had the same problem with the C40, If you read my system post, I had said there was a sense of vailed about it. I thought it may be power or cables, as soon as I took out the C40 and used the MDA1000 directly into the MC352 it was clear as day. I have heard some good things about the C200 that soon will be replaced by the C1000. Once the C1000 comes out I am hoping the prices's on the C200 drop and I can test one out.
The combination of C2200 (tubes rolled to Mullards) and MC402 (now replaced with MC501 monoblocs) provides exactly the combination of warmth and detail that I've been looking for. This is an example of Mcintosh synergy that makes music happen--in my room, for my ears. Good luck to you!
im running the c2200 with a pair of mc 252's & im completely happy with the system.

my c2200 replaced a c38 which was an awesome preamp & at first i found the c2200 to be lacking in not only depth but the tone controls seemed weak too,after close to a year with the c2200 & the 252's the c2200 has smoothed out & really opened up,even the tone controls seem to have more depth,for me the c2200 is perfect.

i would think the mc402 c2200 combo is a perfect match just give your stock tubes a good long burn in before you buy big $$$ tubes from anybodys "private stock".

I have read these responses and wow do I ever get a different reaction. I own both the c2200 and the c46, I also have the 252 and the 2751v. I totally enjoy them all,veiled is not a word I would use to describe the c46,but we all hear what we hear. 1st off I have found with Mac gear if you use balanced interconnects the "life" just goes out of the music. To me without question single ended sounds much better....and I am using cheap interconnects.

Yes the c2200 gives you the "tube" thing and does it very nicely. I also find the C46 to be very musical and involving. Lately I have been using the c46 with the 252 and the c2200 with the 275...all with great results.

I can honestly say I like both sets eqaully and yes they do different things. Sometimes I feel like the tube thing, othertimes I feel like listening to the SS thing.

Ultimately you need to hear both in your home ( I know maybe tough to do) but all I can say is just last night I was listening to the c46/252 and when I was done I just stood back and that sounds good.
Great comments -- I really appreciate it.

The other contenders that come to mind (used) would be a Mac C-100 or an ARC Ref II Mk II (or LS25). I understand the C-200 is basically the same thing.

Any comments on these, or comparisons to the above?

The thing is, I'm not a tweaker. I had one system for years and years, and now I'm looking to "finalize" another system that I'll have while my hairline does some serious receding.
i demo'ed the c100 in my home & i hated every single thing about it,call me old fashioned but to me tone controls are a must,in my rig the c100 sounded allmost "tinny",if your local mac dealer is any good he shouldnt have a problem arringing for a few in home demo's of the current preamps.
I also own a MC402 amp that I use in a 2-channel and home theater set up that are in the same room. I am typically a tube guy all the way when it comes to 2 channel. I have a pair of Viva Aurora SET amps which I love, but the MC-402 is very very good. I found excellent results with an Air Tight ATC-2 pre-amp (tubes) which is my long term keeper preamp. I have not owned any of the Mac preamps to comment, but have had many solid state pre's in my system which all seem to lack the magic I get with a good tube preamp.
I'm in exactly the same boat. Took delivery on my 402 last week and had the C2200 in house for audition wtih it over the weekend. I previously had the 402/C46 combo in house for audition and that's what I based my purchase decision on.

I found no veils (Stereovox and AU24 interconnects, Stereovox speaker cable)....only a very tough decision. In my room and system, the C46 seemed to present a larger soundstage (the 402 that I listened to with the C46 was the dealers, thus was well broken in and mine now only has 20 hours on it).

The C2200/402 renders vocals fantastically.

Both are relaxed....I couldn't detect any substantive difference in detail between the two and didn't perceive any lacking.

I'm leaning toward the C2200.
I am new to the tube thing and I have found a C2200 for sale for $3000.00. Is this a good deal or is 2500 a better deal. The unit is 6 months old.
Thanks Colin
Well, things changed: just as I was going to0 pull the trigger on the 402, I ran into a pair of MC-501s and took them.
hi colin,$3,000 for a 6 month old c2200 is a nice deal,im pretty sure your chances are slim at getting a lower price than that.