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McIntosh C45 Preamp - All Analog with Phono Input - Fiber Optic Lighting

Sale price£2,822.00
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Pickup available at SkyFi 479

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Mcintosh C45 Preamp - All Analogue With Phone Input Fiber Optic Lighting Preamplifier

McIntosh C45 Preamp - All Analog with Phono Input - Fiber Optic Lighting

SkyFi 479

Pickup available, usually ready in 24 hours

479 South Broad Street
Glen Rock NJ 07452
United States


This the of the last "Audio Control Centers" from McIntosh before they started including a DAC in every preamp. 

It's therefore an all-analog design for the purists out there, including a very capable phono stage along with abundant single ended and balanced inputs and outputs.

It would cost you about $6.5k today to buy the latest entry level version from McIntosh.

The optional TM1 AM/FM Tuner Module and RAA1 Remote AM Antenna are likely still available from McIntosh if you're interested. Simply drop us a note before purchasing so we can give you a quote that includes this upgrade.

This model features fiber optic LED lighting (see photos) which means you'll never need to replace any light bulbs behind the glass.

This C45 will be packed in an authentic McIntosh double box (only way for these to travel safely), with the manual and a brand new modern remote from the factory.

A Small Sampling of Performance Features Include:
• Precision Tracking Variable Rate Volume Control 
Volume levels are controlled by a new Multi-Stage Precision Digitally Controlled Attenuator System with a tracking ac- curacy of 0.1dB. Levels change in 214 individual 0.5dB steps. The Variable Rate Volume Control Circuitry provides an ideal rate of change with control rotation.

• Electromagnetic Input Switching with Level Trim Adjustment and Title Reassignment
Digital Logic integrated circuits drive Electromagnetic Switches on all Inputs and operating functions for reliable, noiseless, distortion free switching. All eight Inputs on the C45 can be matched in level, so that there are no abrupt changes in volume levels between the different Inputs. Any of the eight Inputs can have their Input Title reassigned to match the sources in the system.

• Moving Magnet Phono Input
There is a Precision Phono Preamplifier for Moving Magnet Cartridges.

• Precision Parts
Only the finest precision 1% tolerance resistors are used throughout.

Cosmetic Notes:
This preamp features fiber optic faceplate lighting. Light wear is present on the top cover on end caps. The front VFD window has a light dust halo.

Technical Notes:
During bench testing we factory reset the unit and assigned the inputs as follows for maximum flexibility.

CD = Balanced Input, DVD = 6 Channel Input 1, PH/AUX configured for MM Phono.

This preamp can accept an optional AM/FM tuner module (NOT INCLUDED or INSTALLED).

C45, power cable, brand new current McIntosh HR093 remote, owner's manual, and a McIntosh official double shipping carton.

Some thoughts/and review from Kalman Rubinson over at Stereophile:
"While sound quality is our greatest concern, operational comfort is also important. The C45 was the most intuitive and pleasant-to-use preamplifier I have yet encountered. Push a button on the remote and the unit switches silently. Operate the volume control from the remote or the front panel and the preamp and display respond briskly. Want to change or trim any of your settings while that unit is in operation? No sweat. There are no surprising mutes or reboots, just results. The phono stage is quiet and clean but, of necessity, only two-channel; all I'll say here is that it worked well with an old Grado moving-magnet and a high-output Dynavector moving-coil."

Brand Background:
McIntosh Laboratory is an American manufacturer of handcrafted high-end audio equipment based in Binghamton, New York. The company was founded in 1949 by Frank McIntosh. The company designs and produces audio amplifiers, stereo tuners and other consumer electronics products.

Single Owner

XLR and RCA inputs and outputs. Detachable power cord,

Cosmetic Condition:
7/10 = Good. One or two minor scratches. Well Maintained. See our detailed rating description here.

Working Condition:
Working perfectly and tested in our lab and listening room.

Frequency Response
+0, -0.5dB from 20Hz to 20,000Hz

Total Harmonic Distortion
0.002% maximum from 20Hz to 20,000Hz at rated output

Signal To Noise Ratio
Phono: 86dB below 10mV input (A Weighted)
High Level: 96dB below rated output (A Weighted)

Rated Output Voltage
2.5V Unbalanced Outputs (Main) 
5.0V Balanced Outputs (Main)

Maximum Voltage Output
8V Unbalanced 
16V Balanced

Output Impedance
250 ohms Unbalanced 
500 ohms Balanced

Input Impedance
Phono: 47k Ohms, 65pf 
High Level: 22k Ohms Unbalanced, 50k Ohms Balanced

Sensitivity for Rated Output
Phono: 4.5mV
High Level: 450mV Unbalanced, 900mV Balanced

Maximum Input Signal
Phono: 50mV 
High Level: 5V Unbalanced, 10V Balanced

Voltage Gain
Phono to Tape/VCR Out: 40dB 
Phono to Output (Main): 55dB 
High Level to Tape/VCR Out: 0dB 
High Level to Output (Main): 15dB

Tone Controls
Bass Control: ±12dB at 30Hz 
Treble Control: ±12dB at 10,000Hz

Width is 17-1/2 inches (44.45cm)
Height is 6 inches (15.24cm) including feet
Depth is 16-1/2 inches (41.91cm) including the Front Panel and Knobs

21 lbs.

Link to Manual:
Click Here

Recommended Cables:

Kimber Kable - RCA Interconnects

Kimber Kable - XLR Interconnects

Kimber Kable - Power Cords

Testing Process:

We start with a visual inspection of all internal components to make sure that there are no signs of heat stress or damage. Capacitors are checked for telltale signs of predictive failure including bulging, shrunken wrappers, or physical leakage. We also inspect the PCB’s for discoloration from resistors or transistors that may have been running hot. On vintage units we often spot check select capacitors for value and ESR.

When we first power on a preamplifier we connect its RCA output to a Sencore PA81 Power Analyzer which simulates real world loading conditions and gives us an oscilloscope interface. The first order of business is checking that the volume control works smoothly throughout its entire range with acceptable channel balance. This is accomplished by feeding a 1KHz sine wave into one of the preamp’s line level inputs while monitoring the preamp’s output on an oscilloscope. We then switch to a 1KHz square wave to test the tone controls, loudness function, and filters where applicable. During this step we are watching for equal alteration of the test signal by both channels. This also helps us identify dirty controls that will need treatment. Once the basic line stage functions are verified, we test each input individually. This is especially important for devices that use relays to select their sources. If the preamp is equipped with a phono stage we test that as well. We use an inverse RIAA filter which allows us to feed a reference test signal into the phono input with the proper RIAA equalization and level. A square wave or sine sweep is used to verify that the device’s phono stage is faithfully reproducing the RIAA curve. If the preamp under test has balanced inputs and/or outputs these are tested as well.

We finish up our bench testing with a listening test with our bench amplifier and reference speakers. During this test we check for hum or hiss that may not have shown up in earlier testing. We also check that all of the tone controls and filters perform as expected. If the preamplifier has remote control functions these are also tested. Preamps with tube circuits or complicated power supply topologies are connected at our long term test rig for extended stress testing under real world conditions.

SKU: 104882
Mcintosh C45 Preamp - All Analogue With Phone Input Fiber Optic Lighting Preamplifier
McIntosh C45 Preamp - All Analog with Phono Input - Fiber Optic Lighting Sale price£2,822.00