McIntosh C100 Two Chassis Analog Preamp with Superb Phono Section


To get into a modern two-piece preamp from McIntosh today would set you back as much as a new budget car.

This brilliant and rare C100 can do just as much and as well as the modern version.

Splitting the noisy power supply from the audio section yields the highest level of performance from a preamp.

Plus it has a super capable phono section able to connect even the most demanding catridges. Can even do two turntables or two tonearms.

Check out our photos showing off the unique internal moving coil section - complete with McIntosh + Ortofon branded MC step up transformers.

Features both single ended and balanced connections, as well as actual AC outlets that allow you to power on other components the old fashioned way.

Both units are in very good cosmetic condition and working absolutely perfectly. We changed each and every bulb in both units to make sure they shined like new. Both chassis light up bright and look incredible in action.

Your purchase includes the two units (chassis) that equal the C100, the special McIntosh branded 25-pin shielded chassis connecting cable, the original remote control, and a link to download the owner's manual.

In addition we've ordered a pair of brand new double boxes from McIntosh, the only way to transport these beauties without damage.

More from McIntosh:
The C100 embodies the expertise of famously uncompromising engineers. It is a fully balanced design with a separate chassis for total isolation of the audio signal. It uses the finest one-percent resistors and capacitors and internal gold-plated contacts with solid-soldered joints. No details are overlooked in the design of a preamplifier virtually devoid of any measurable noise. The McIntosh C100 awaits those who may be searching for their last preamplifier.

Featured Technologies
The extraordinary C100 is fully balanced from input to output – a configuration that essentially cancels all distortion. The precision volume control has four matched sections and the main gain stage uses four matched amplifiers oper- ating in push-pull. Even unbalanced signals are converted to and processed as balanced signals. The Preamplifier chassis, which contains only audio circuits and inputs/outputs, is completely isolated from the power supply and the microprocessors, ensuring total noise rejection. The Controller chassis contains the selector switches, digital display, all control microprocessors, and the power supply. After any switching operation, the control circuits are automatically turned off to eliminate any possibility of microprocessor noise reaching the audio circuits. The only connection between the Preamplifier and Controller is a 25-pin shielded cable.

If McIntosh electromagnetic switching brings the switch to the input, then the C100’s volume control brings the attenuator to the input. The volume knob actually operates an optical rotary encoder with 128 steps; it sends instructions at the speed of light to the digitally controlled attenuator located near the inputs. Together they provide 0.5dB resolution with 0.05dB accuracy.

Phono inputs are provided for both moving magnet and moving coil phono cartridges. The MC inputs have a dedicated RIAA preamplifier and double mu-metal-shielded step-up transformers wound with silver wire.

In a conventional preamp, an input signal travels to a switch, and then travels to the input circuitry. Unfortunately, the farther a signal must travel, the more distorted it becomes. And this says nothing of what detritus a dirty switch can add to the signal. McIntosh Silent Electromagnetic Switching literally brings the switch to the input. The distortion-free switch consists of a glass tube containing oxygen-free gas and two signal leads separated by mere thousandths of an inch. The tube sits in a multilayer copper coil and the entire assembly is encased in shock-absorbent plastic. When DC voltage is applied to the coil in response to a switching command, current flow creates a magnetic field that causes the leads to bend and contact one another, completing the circuit. The inert gas eliminates corrosion of the contacts, ensuring a low-resistance, distortion-free switch that never needs cleaning. Another benefit is that non-selected inputs are truly “off,” eliminating potential sources of interference.

McIntosh C100 Preamplifier/Controller - Original Sales Brochure

McIntosh C100 Preamplifier/Controller - Owner's Manual

Click below to add our recommended matching cables from Kimber Kable, all brand new as SkyFi is an official Kimber dealer.

Kimber Kable - RCA Interconnects

Kimber Kable - XLR Interconnects

Kimber Kable - Power Cords

Frequency Response
10Hz to 40kHz, +0 / -0.5dB

Rated Voltage Output

Maximum Voltage Output
Balanced: 25Vrms
Unbalanced: 12Vrms

Output Impedance
50 ohms balanced and unbalanced

Total Harmonic Distortion
0.002% maximum from 20Hz to 40kHz

Input Sensitivity
Phono: 4.4mV for rated output
High level: 450mV for rated output

Maximum Input Signal
MM phono: 50mV
High level: 5V balanced and unbalanced

A-Weighted Signal-to-Noise Ratio
Phono: 86dB
High level: 100dB

Input Impedance
MC phono: 10 ohms
MM phono: 47k ohms, 65pf
High level:
44k ohms balanced
22k ohms unbalanced

Voltage Gain
MC phono to tape: 70dB
MM phono to tape: 40dB
High level to tape: 0dB
High level to main: 15dB

AC Outlets
4 switched, 1 unswitched

Power Requirements
120V 50/60Hz, 30W

Dimensions (h x w x d)
inch: 5.375 x 17.5 x 17.5 for each chassis
cm: 13.7 x 44.5 x 44.5 for each chassis
Controller knob clearance: 1.125" (2.9 cm)

70 lbs. (31.8kg) shipping total in two cartons



McIntosh Boxes

Yes - Brand New


Online Only




Yes - McIntosh Connecting Cable + Power Cable

Physical Condition


Working Condition


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