preamps with tone controls.

ive been upgrading my rig again & im pretty much starting from scratch,i kept my speakers(never sell)but that was it,i replaced all my amps with a pair of mcintosh mc1201 monoblocks & i replaced the mac c2200 tube preamp with a mac c39 pre,the c39 does a fine job but i want more from a pre so im on the hunt for a pre that will make me feel the way my speakers & amps do,completely satisfied.

ive tried just about everything in sight from the mcintosh line & i would really like to try other brand preamps but a HUGE problem im having is finding quality preamps with tone controls,tone controls are a must for me due to the many different types of music i listen to plus i listen at different volume settings that range from obscenely loud to whisper soft & without tone controls its pretty hard to get a rig to respond the way i want.

my experience with pre's that do not have tone controls is limited but when i did try out a highly acclaimed preamp that did not have tone controls i hated every last thing about it & i knew that for my tastes these controls will be a must.

if anybody knows of a killer preamp that has tone controls please list it,it would also be a huge plus if the pre has a loudness control but that isnt a must,i also do not have a preference between tube & solid state i just want to try some different preamps other than mcintosh before i commit to another mac c2200.


Your MC1201 amps are stellar and telegraph your sonic preferences, so what's wrong with a C2200? If you want something a little more incisive than the 2200, a C46. The 8 band EQ in the C46 is comprised of the most benign tone controls I've heard on a consumer preamp.

Audio by Van Alstine offers two that look identical. The Omegastar EC; and the Ultra EC.

The new versions mentioned above are not on the website yet but you can read about them on the AVA forum @ Audiocircle.
big joe.....i've been a mac guy also, but recently i came accross an accuphase C200(cherry) and jeez its a great, 'beyond full feature' pre. have both a c22 ll and a marantz 7, and could never find anything ia enjoyed more until this. the newer accuphase stuff matches well with mac, but this thing is a friggin classic. absolutely neutral unless you want some action taken to enhance those vintage recordings.
Try Quad.
I second the 5 and 8 band EQ versions of Mac equipment, Only a Bass and Treble know will get you a 100 hz and like 12 khz adjustment or something, and the 5 band Mac's normally also come with a Loudness control that can be contoured to your taste, not just a Loudness on/off button with no control.
hi Joe
I hope you are having fun w/ the 1201s. If you could stretch for an Accuphase preamp, I think you would be very happy. I just bought a pair of Accuphase M2000. They blew away my Krell. Take care my friend.
Nick T.
You really ought to give the C46 a try, it is a great pre amp, I have had mine for about 6 months and yes I do use the controls.
thanks for the suggestions guys,i will be trying these pre's very soon.


there wasnt anything wrong with the c2200 that i was running infact i loved that preamp & it is what i plan to hold all others against,i thought the tone controls were a little weak but overall its a fantastic preamp & if after i try some different pre's i havnt found one that is better i plan to go back to it,the c2200 was a fantastic preamp but i always felt there should be more.


i have often thought of going to a c45 or c46 but what im really looking for is somthing new,i love mac gear but at this point ive tried so much of it that i really want to explore other gear,even though mac has changed many things within their preamps they all have pretty much the same flavor & with the exception of the c2200 i was running none of the mac pre's ive tried have ever really grabed me & made me feel like'yeah this is it'.

when i first heard my speakers (xrt 22) i knew on the spot that they were the end of the line in speakers for me,they had everything i wanted & the way they sound still amazes me,the same thing has happened with my new amps,the way the mc1201's handle the xrt's is nothing short of amazing & thats what im looking for in a preamp.

nick & jaybo,its funny that you both mentioned accuphase as i have often wondered about them,there has always been something that has drawn me to that gear but for one reason or another i havnt got around to trying any out,ive also heard that accuphase is killer gear that works well with mac,i really like the idea of going with accuphase.

there have been several pre's recomended to me from trusted friends but none of them really drew me in,i know its a shallow reason but i feel that i must love the look of my gear as much as the sound & i love the accuphase look so hopefully it has the sound im looking for but i will be trying them out for sure.

btw nick,i think you already know how much i love the 1201's,im having a ball with them & i cant thank you enough for selling them to me,between the xrt 22's & the mc1201's i have solved 2 peices of the puzzle & in this hobby thats no small acomplishment,im going to start researching these preamps & accuphase is on the top of the list.

your new accuphase has got to be great to beat out the krell so soon & thats exactly what im looking for,a preamp where from the first day its in my rig i know its the one.

thanks guys.

needless to say, whatever pre you decide on, you won't be worried about beaks and room tunes, and you will be able to enjoy tens-of-thousands of recordings, and not just worry about getting 'famous blue raincoat' to sound right. god have mercy on this hobby of ours.
There are some interesting digital options as well.