Personnaly I would go Solid State McIntosh on the pre with tube amps. But that is my ears.
16 responses Add your response
Both the solid state and tube Macs are known to sound good. The tradeoffs are the usual ones. Solid state has better more powerful bass while tubes have that midrange magic so many people love. You cant go wrong either way but the tube Mac will keep more of its resale value because all tube preamps are in demand. Hope this helps.
I have an MC275 and was considering a C220 or a C2200. Both are great and I loved the sound they put out with my amp and speakers. Whether that combo is too tubey will probably depend on what speakers you drive.
However I ended up getting a Lamm LL2 Deluxe preamp. To my ears it sounds a lot better than either of the Mc preamps. The downside is poorer ergonomics: no remote, no meters, no electronic input level matching, etc. So I opted for a unit that deployed all the budget on the sound rather than other features. Not everybody's cup of tea.
But the sound is fantastic!
I hope this helps.
I had the C2300 with both the MC275 and the MC402. I agree with the poster above to change the stock tubes. If you aren't doing vinyl, then you only need to replace the two line stage tubes. I preferred Telefunkens for the line stage and MC phono stage.
I think the C2300 & MC275 combination sounded the best. I used it with Quads and it was a really nice system. The solid state amp was a little more veiled, by comparison.
The C2300 has a lot of flexibility, including changing cartridge loading on the fly, defeatable tone controls, stereo/mono, etc. I never had any use for the meters and could have done without them. Overall the preamp is transparent, doesn't have its own "tube" or "solid state" sound, is dynamic and very quiet. And it is built very well.
Alberto, to answer your question, there are things I liked about the older system. But overall I like the C2300 & 402 combo the best. Lower noise, much better bass, convenience (amp tubes v. SS). When I think back on the C2200 & 275 combo there were a few records that system gave a richness and liveness to that I don't get with the new system.