The volume control is extremely smooth and effortless. My c45 exhibits no sound (ie hum) from any source including the internal mm phono when turned to high volumes. My owners manual says that volume levels are controlled by a new Multi-Stage Precision Digitally controlled attenuator system with a trackng accuracy of 0.1 db. You should read about the volume control engineering on the mcintosh labs website. All sources on the c45 are gain adustable for seamless volume matching. I can't comment on previous models but the c45/mc352 provides all the volume my 85db/m/w speakers need using 1 to 3 watts on the vu meters to provide a wonderful listening experience.
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