McIntosh marries valve with digital in new C2700 preamplifier

McIntosh marries valve with digital in new C2700 preamplifier
(Image credit: McIntosh)

McIntosh has launched a new 16-input, seven-output preamp that utilises both its 70-year history in vacuum tube technology and its latest, new-and-improved DA2 digital-to-analogue converter.

The second McIntosh product to feature the replaceable DA2 module, following the C53 preamp announced earlier this summer, the C2700 is more than well equipped for the job at hand, with USB (native DSD512/DXD 384kHz), coaxial, optical (24-bit/192kHz) and nine analogue (balanced and unbalanced) connections at its rear.

(Image credit: McIntosh)

Additional moving coil and moving magnet phono inputs cater for the hook-up of any turntable, while a HDMI ARC output enables the passthrough of audio (including Dolby and DTS surround formats) from a connected TV. Support for HDMI CEC means the C2700’s own remote can be set-up to control the TV’s power and volume, too.

Last but, for owners of McIntosh kit anyway, not least is a MCT port, which offers a secure, quality connection between the C2700 and the brand’s MCT series of SACD/CD transports for SACD playback.

Its outputs span three variable balanced and three variable unbalanced, plus a fixed unbalanced connection and 6.3mm headphone output apiece, the latter driven by McIntosh’s proprietary High Drive headphone amplifier.

(Image credit: McIntosh)

The downside to having both analogue and digital circuitry in one box is potential interference and, thus, signal distortion – but McIntosh has worked hard to prevent that by implementing a dual-chassis design.

Hand-built “to last” in McIntosh’s New York factory, the C2700 costs £10,495/$8000, and is expected to begin shipping to the UK in September following US availability a month prior.


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Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.