McIntosh Laboratory, Inc. has announced three new preamplifiers, all made at the company's factory in Binghamton NY factory, and all featuring the company's signature cosmetics, with black glass front panels, blue meters, knobs, stainless steel chassis, illuminated logos and machined brushed aluminum end caps.

The C1100 (shown at top of story) utilizes a two-chassis design where the control and power sections are completely separate from the audio section. According to McIntosh, the C1100's high-level inputs have the lowest noise of any McIntosh preamplifier ever produced.

The C1100 is comprised of the C1100 controller and the C1100 vacuum tube preamplifier. Inside each, the left and right channels are electrically and mechanically isolated from each other to allow true dual-mono operation. The two units are connected via a pair of specially designed umbilical cables that are shielded to prevent outside noise from leaking into the audio signal.

While they are two separate units, when connected they act as one; and can be operated the included remote control or the C1100 controller front panel. Both units' chassis are made of polished stainless steel and hairline brushed black Titanium stainless steel.

All power control, data ports and external control connections are located in the C1100 controller. The introduction of a dual microprocessor allows for an improved robustness of the control system, the company says. The C1100 vacuum tube preamplifier houses the audio connections and circuitry, featuring six balanced and four unbalanced line-level inputs, plus an adjustable loading moving-magnet and a moving-coil phono input. There are two sets each of balanced and unbalanced outputs.

Twelve vacuum tubes (six each of 12AX7a and 12AT7) power the tube preamplifier. Compared to the previous-generation C1000 preamplifier, which had eight tubes, the additional four tubes in the C1100 lower its dependency on any solid-state support. The amplifier circuit has much higher common-mode rejection, so any noise introduced by interconnect cables is significantly reduced.

The C1100 ships in September. McIntosh does not provide Canadian pricing. U.S. retail for the C1100 controller and C1100 preamplifier is US$6,500 per chassis.

McIntosh's two new-single chassis preamplifiers, the C52 and C47, have built-in DACs and phono preamps with MC and MM inputs.

The C52 (September, US$7,000, shown at right) includes three balanced and four unbalanced fully assignable inputs, along one USB, three optical, two coaxial inputs. The C47 (October, US$4,000) has two balanced and three unbalanced fully assignable inputs, plus one USB, one coaxial and two optical digital inputs. Both preamps can accept PCM streams to 24 bits/192kHz on their optical and coaxial inputs. Their USB inputs support PCM to 32/384, plus DSD64, DSD128 and DSD256, and DXD 352.8 and 384kHz.

They also have a unique proprietary MCT input, intended for use with McIntosh's MCT450 SACD/CD transport. This allows high-resolution DSD to be streamed from player to the preamp when playing SACDs.

All inputs are available all of the time on each unit, even if you assign certain inputs to certain devices, giving you more freedom to configure your system the way you want. The outputs have also been updated to be easier to operate when bi-amping or tri-amping so that highs and/or lows are not inadvertently turned off. The C52 incorporates an eight-band analog equalizer, while the C47 includes bass and treble tone controls.

The C1100, C52 and C47 all feature McIntosh's Headphone Crossfeed Director circuitry for adding depth and spaciousness during headphone listening. The Home Theater Pass Through feature allows for seamless integration into your existing multi-channel home theater system.

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