McIntosh C2500 Tube Preamplifier, Complete and Like New


The C2500 is one of my favorite preamps McIntosh ever made.

I used this exact listed preamp in my main system for many years until I replaced it with the flagship two-piece C1100.

While the C1100 is a formidable piece and probably the best measuring unit we've tested, the C2500 comes pretty close. I do miss the convenience of the built in DAC for streaming which the C1100 eliminated.

The C2500 is also a gorgeous unit with its visible glass tube window on top and the highly polished stainless chassis. It also has a fully tubed phono section for hooking up even the most demanding of MC (Moving-Coil) phono cartridges.

If you're considering the new C2700 and don't want to wait for eternity until the massive back order is cleared, then this might be your best option with little to no compromise.

This will ship in its original special McIntosh double carton which is the only safe way to ensure safe travels.

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 - Coaxial Digital Interconnect

Kimber Kable - Optical Digital Interconnect

Kimber Kable - 14AWG (Gauge) Power Cords

More from McIntosh:
The McIntosh C2500 Tube Preamplifier is one of the finest Preamplifiers ever created with connections for both analog and digital sources. The C2500 Outputs have the ability to drive multiple Power Amplifiers. The C2500 reproduction is sonically transparent and absolutely accurate. The McIntosh Sound is “The Sound of the Music Itself.”

Performance Features Include:
• Electromagnetic Input Switching with Level Trim Adjustment
Digital Logic integrated circuits drive Electromag- netic Switches on all Inputs and operating functions for reliable, noiseless, distortion free switching. All eight Inputs on the C2500 can be matched in level, so there are no abrupt changes in volume levels between the different Inputs.

• Moving Coil and Moving Magnet Phono Inputs
The C2500 contains two different precision Phono Preamplifier Circuits. One for low output Moving Coil Phono Cartridges with selectable resistance loading, the other is for Moving Magnet Cartridges with select- able capacitive loading. Both circuits use the latest designs to provide the lowest possible noise and dis- tortion. The RIAA Correction Equalization Circuitry utilizes close tolerance resistors and capacitors for an extremely flat frequency response.

• Digital Audio Inputs
The C2500 has Coaxial, Optical and USB Digital In- puts to Decode PCM Signals from an external source. The C2500 Up Samples the Digital Signal to 192kHz with 32Bit resolution before the Digital to Analog process begins.

• Balanced Inputs
The Balanced Inputs allow the connection of a source component using long cable lengths without a loss in sound quality.

• Precision Tracking Volume Control
Volume levels are controlled by a new Multi-Stage Precision Digitally Controlled Attenuator System with superb tracking accuracy.

• Variable Rate Volume and Balance Controls
The C2500 Tube Preamplifier’s Volume and Balance Control Circuitry provides an ideal rate of change with control rotation.

• Remote Control with External Sensor Input
The Remote Control provides control of the C2500 operating functions and McIntosh Source Components connected to it. Enjoy your McIntosh System from another room in your home by connecting an external sensor.

• Special Power Supply
Fully regulated Power Supplies and a special R-Core Power Transformer ensure stable noise free operation even though the power line varies.

McIntosh C2500 Tube Preamplifier - Owner's Manual

Technical Specifications
Frequency Response
+0, -0.5dB from 20Hz to 20,000Hz
+0, -3dB from 10Hz to 100,000Hz

Total Harmonic Distortion
0.08% from 20Hz to 20,000Hz

Rated Output (Main)
2.5V Unbalanced, 5V Balanced

Maximum Output
8V RMS Unbalanced, 16V RMS Balanced

Sensitivity (for rated output)
High Level, 450mV unbalanced, 900mV balanced
Phono MM, 4.5mV
Phono MC, 0.45mV

Signal To Noise Ratio (A-Weighted)
High Level, 100dB below rated output
Phono MM, 75dB below 5mV input Phono MC, 75dB below 0.5mV input

Input Impedance
High Level, 22K ohms unbalanced, 44k ohms balanced
Phono MM, 47K ohms; 50 to 750pF, in 50pF steps
Phono MC, 25, 50, 100, 200, 400 or 1,000 ohms; 100pF

Maximum Input Signal
High Level, 8V Unbalanced, 16V Balanced
Phono MM, 80mV
Phono MC, 8mV

Voltage Gain
High Level to Record Output: 0dB
High Level to Main Output: 15dB
Phono MM to Record Output: 40dB
Phono MC to Record Output: 60dB

Output Impedance
220 ohms

Headphone Impedance
20 ohms to 600 ohms

Digital Input Sample Rates
Optical: 16Bit, 24Bit - 32kHz to 96kHz
Coaxial: 16Bit, 24Bit - 32kHz to 96kHz
USB: 16Bit, 24Bit, 32Bit - 32kHz to 192kHz

Power Control and Trigger Output
12VDC, 25mA

General Specifications
Power Requirements
Field AC Voltage conversion of the C2500 is not possible.
120 Volts, 50/60Hz at 50 watts
Standby Power, less than 0.5 watts

Overall Dimensions
Width is 17-1/2 inches (44.45cm)
Height is 7-5/8 inches (19.37cm) including feet Depth is 18 inches (45.72cm) including the Front Panel, Knobs and Cables

30.5 pounds (13.8 kg) net
46 pounds (20.9 kg) in shipping carton

Shipping Carton Dimensions
Width is 27 inches (68.6cm)
Height is 14 inches (35.6cm)
Depth is 25 inches (63.5cm)

The SkyFi Testing Process for Preamplifiers:
We start with a visual inspection of all internal components to make sure there are no signs of stress or aging. Capacitors are checked for telltale sings of bulging or leaking, resistors are checked for signs of overheating or cracking, and transistors are checked for signs of stress or damage. Special attention is paid to the power supply which is the most common source of failure for preamps. We then power up the unit and run a simple 1k sine wave while monitoring the low voltage output on an oscilloscope for signs of distortion or noise to get a baseline.

At this point we will lubricate and clean all switches and potentiometers (that are not sealed) with a high quality contact cleaner, and then re-test all functions for any signs of noise or scratching.

We also test all tubes for output gain and leakage on our calibrated modern and professional tube tester against the original manufacturers specifications.  If needed, the tubes will be replaced from our vast NOS  (New Old Stock) vintage or modern inventory.  

Final testing involves putting actual music through the preamplifier. We have learned over time that some issues are only noticeable to a trained ear while listening to a familiar source material. Our test bench has reference vintage KEF speakers that we are super familiar with which will quickly reveal any discrepancies. Some preamps will then move into the listening room where they will be tested with our in-house reference system.



Original McIntosh Carton







Yes - Power

Physical Condition


Working Condition


Recently viewed