McIntosh Preamps

I have a pair of Sonus Faber Grand Piano Home speakers (about 18 years old and in fine shape) and an old NAD RECEIVER (about 30 years old) that recently went kaput!

The NAD never allowed me to listen to the full potential of the Grand Pianos, so I want to power the speakers to their peak.  Specs say they are rated up to 200 watts.  I have a friend who has offered to sell me his McIntosh MC452 power amp (450 watts).  It is way more than I need at the moment, but it might be good to build on into the future.

I cannot afford NEW McIntosh equipment, so if I purchase it, I have to find a suitably matched USED pre-amp.  What preamp model from McIntosh would best match the 452.(assuming I could find a used one in good condition)?  


What is your budget? The MC452 is a great amp so congratulations if you decide to buy it. 

I want to encourage you to upgrade your speakers, then change equipment.

IF you keep efficiency in mind when selecting speakers, then you would never need that much power.

One day, you will want to try tubes, perhaps both preamp and amp or integrated tube unit. Efficient speakers will be your friend then as well.

It’s about smaller: cost, unit size, unit weight, heat produced, placement options, it all makes a difference, including number and length of cables.

As for recommended preamp, I absolutely love my McIntosh mx110z tube tuner/preamp from the 1960’s, recently overhauled by Audio Classics.

It's MM Phono (2 inputs) stage sounds terrific, I use a SUT for MC, and I get remote volume from the amp.


I have a lot of Mac gear. I like all the old stuff, the issue for me is the remote. :-)


I like my C2500, Yup. Love that remote



I have a C2600 with that amp. I bought it as a demo for a fairly reasonable price. A C2500 or C2700 would also work nicely. All are relatively new and commonly available. 

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Any McIntosh preamp will be a good match for the MC 452 and there are a lot of non-McIntosh stuff that would work as well.

What are your sources?  And do you prefer solid state or tube?

The C2600 I bought as a demo was awesome - tube preamp with phono stage and DAC.  There's also solid state preamps like the C47 that are an option.

Good luck in your journey.

Thanks to ALL responders.  I have read so many reviews of various Mac equipment and yesterday was finally able to make the 4 hour trip to my nearest Mac Dealer to actually listen to some of it.  Depending on when Mac (and the dealer) can actually get the equipment to me I have decided to go SS (and new instead of used).  In making that choice I am compromising somewhat.  I have decided on the C49 Preamp and the MC312 Power Amp (300w instead of the 450w on the used MC452).  I really loved the Integrated MA9000 which (new) cost the same as the two (new) pieces I selected.  I just felt it was more important to me to separate the equipment into to pieces.  Just so much more flexibility and I have the space for both pieces.  The only thing that me off is McIntosh.  It is highway robbery in that you have to buy the NEW Preamp with the DA1 and then also buy the DA2 separate and have the dealer change it out.  Having to pay for both DAC pieces (when you don't want the DA1) is not a good way to do business if you wish to cultivate repeat customers.  And to add insult to injury, nobody will buy the DA1 now that the DA2 is out there, so that is a complete waste of $1,000 that goes straight into the pocket of McIntosh.  That makes them a common thief in my book.  Given the fact that I have virtually no hearing in my right ear, and it gets worse every year, I think this will be more than I can fully appreciate probably for the rest of my life.

@mr04654 Why pay Mac for an average (thats being generous) dac? Why not stick to your separates are better strategy?

I think you will be pleased with the MC312. I have the MC 302 and it's very satisfying. 

I would consider an external DAC/streamer.  

And enjoy your new system 

Nice stuff, I was playing with a C49 the other day..   I contacted  McIntosh .  Got a nice reply from Chuck Hinton of McIntosh .    He told me they are working two shifts , 6 days a week !!!   So be patient they are working hard to crank out those babies.  Enjoy

Enjoy in good health ;-) i write this as i listen to a seriously upgraded 1961 MC240 ....sublime fun....