McIntosh C220 tube pre-amp Thoughts or advise vs.?


I am looking for a tube pre-amp that sounds great, has excellent quality and will last without going to the shop and has a reasonable number of features including a tape monitor loop. For now, I will mate to a solid state amp. I have heard some excellent things about the new Mac. How does it compare to the CJ, Hovland, First Sound or other candidates? Thanks for your help. Other equipment includes:

JM lab Mini Utopia Speakers
Cary 303 CD player
McIntosh solid state amp (for now)
Harmonic Technology cable and interconnects
I just bought one and I am not sure how it compares to the ones you listed but I am smiling! I have it paired with SS and tubes in a biamp situation with a pair of VMPS RM 40's. It is so natural sounding and improved my situation which was already extremely good. I highly recommend it - it is very exciting to have it in the system. My amps are also Macs - the 352 and the 2102. I used a Mac C42 before which I felt was the best preamp before the 2200. I have also tried Levinson, Krell, and Musical Design preamps in the past.
After spending mucho bucks and years with the big-gun high end preamps (ARC, Levinson, VAC etc.)' I decided to sample this Mac 2200. So far I am delighted! The sound is crisp and clear without being hard, and bass is tight and deep. There is precise imaging, lots of depth, and the soundstage is transparent. I am persuaded that "high-end audio politics" prevents this preamp from being lauded as have been recent offerings from ARC, CJ, Levinson, Hovland etc. I even had one dealer who sells Mac, and a number of the above units tell me that the Mac is "OK", but is a Caddy or Lincoln Town Car by comparasion with the "real" high end stuff. I think the attitude of McIntosh feeds into this with their emphasis on realistic performance descriptions, and unwillingness to get involved in the "Mk II, Mk II Ultra, MkII Ultra Signature" upgrade nonsense. Mac also has always been suspicious of magazine reviewers, and has therefore been put down by the divine Harry (HP) crowd. To sum-up, I think the Mac C-2200 is one of the very best high-end preamps currently available. - Irishdog.
I recently purchased a C220, replacing a Cary SLP98. I like the ease of use and the whistles and bells quite frankly. No minimalist approach here. But the sound is amazing, it reminds of the days in my youth when I became fascinated by the sound of good equipment. The depth and stage size is incredible not to mention the placement of voices and instruments. Images absolutly float in the air with weight and a sense of dimension. The Cary was good and the C220 may not have that untimate extension that the Cary had but it is still a magical piece of equipmnet that any serious audiophile should sample. It does more things right then wrong and when it breaks in I will then start rolling. I can't wait. I know the sound will improve even more and then it is going to be a Class A+ product. I no longer listen to reviewer's, I listen to my ears and to equipment in MY system before giving an opinion. Try this unit and let me know what you think, and the extra bonus? Remote everything including balance which is just amazing since many recordings are not balanced properly. Don't strain your ears, adjust the balance, adjust your attitude. There are reasons that companies stay in business for almost 60 years.
Just bought the c220 a few days ago as well. Warm with great imaging, lush mids, easy to use, good remote functions and pretty darn handsome. Until recently I haven't had chills up my spine and been covered in goosebumps in a while. I can't see selling it anytime soon.

I see you may replace your Mc amp. You'll want to consider a replacement before buying a pre.

Good luck
goose- i had the levinson 320s pre for awhile and i felt i was missing through the levinson was nice, always nice, but never great...decided to give the c2200 a try and haven't looked back...the sound field really opened up and the music became sooooo much more enjoyable....thanks to the 2200, i'm real close to being is by far the best that i have heard yet....
I have the C220 with two MC 2155 SS amps (BIAMP) and the sound stage is wonderful, I did replace the CD, turntable tubes with smooth plate Telefunken’s and that made it better with mid range. The best upgrade to my system making sound “smooth tube like” was upgrading my DAC with Burson Op Amps and the digital clock in my Theta CD player; I found out that it takes a village to raise a HIFI, not just one component.