Visit Audiokarma Mcintosh forum. Plenty of comparisons & you can post for opinions.
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I believe the C2300 is $6000 MSRP & the C220 is $4000 MSRP. I have a C2200, predicessor to the C220/C2300. You get a few more features with the C2300 vs C220 - on the fly phono cartridge impdence change, meters, to name a few. The line stages of both of these pres uses 2 tubes; my C2200 usues 4 tubes. I did prefer the sound of the C2200 vs the C220/C2300. I got it for a steal, gently used for $2700. My first foray inot McIntosh and have nto looked back.
"I just listen to CD & Internet radio streaming, do I need c2300 at all?"
Uhhh...I don't know, but I'm feeling your pain!
I also have a 275 + 804S, so very similar setups, and also listen to digital only. So, do we need a preamp or a DAC with a good volume control? I dunno!!!
Lately I've been drifting towards using a good albeit simple preamp. I love tubes. Now the C220 and C2300 are too expensive for what I feel you get, especially these aren't balanced designs and have too many bells and whistles that I don't need...I guess you pay for the McIntosh nameplate.
My current short list includes a couple hot rods like Lamm LL2 and First Sound Presence, and others like Joule-Electra LA-100 or LA-150, and Aesthetix Calypso. I have not auditioned these though.
Thought I'd share my confusion and maybe add you to the list!! ;-)
The original designer of the C2200 was Sidney Coderman (sp?) a long time McIntosh designer. The sound of the c2200 was more on the warmer side with a top end thatwas not as bright as the C220. I did my research and also spoke with people Audio Classics prior to making my decision. The C2200 was about $1200 less than the C220 and $3200 less than the C2300 (the C2200 was a used unit - an easy 9/10). If I were to upgrade it would be to the C2300 due to the phonostage - C2200 has MM only; C2300 has MM/MC which is adjustable via the remote. Stereophile has an excellent review on the C2200 and The Absolute Sound still picks the C2200 as the >$10000 pre to own even though it is not longer in production.
I have owned all 3, and presently have the C2300. The phono section alone in the C2300 is worth the difference. I can tell you that the C2300 is the better performing amp in both sound and function.
I really liked my C2200, and on line level signals (SACD/CD) it would be a closer call. But when I play records the C2300 has superior detail and sound quality.
However, if you are never going to play vinyl, and cost is a factor the C220 is very, very nice for the money.
I currently use a Rega P7 with a DV20X (high output) MC and a Graham Slee Era Gold V phoono stage. I have been very curious about the phono stage in the C2200 - have you any personal experience with the C2200 MM stage? I am using stock tubes but have some that Jim McShane recommended to em to use in the stage. Curious what your experiences are.
If McIntosh ever comes back with the trade-up program I will probably give the C2300 a try.