Established in 1949, McIntosh is renowned for providing outstanding home audio solutions that deliver an exceptional audio-visual experience. Boasting two-channel stereo and multi-channel home theater systems with immersive surround sound, McIntosh has been the go-to brand for music and film lovers who expect nothing but the best.
Handcrafted in the USA, their C20 Stereophonic Preamplifier lives up to the McIntosh name: anodized in shining black and gold, this system amplifies weak electrical impulses, corrects tone balance, and switches seamlessly between sources separately or in combination without batting an eyelash. In other words, the C20 makes for a beautiful control center in any stereophonic sound system.
But let us begin with the best part - the tubes.
Tubes are the hallmark of true vintage systems. When it comes to preamplifiers, the use of tubes can create an enriched, colored tone that you would miss out on from a modern digital audio system.
The McIntosh C20 is one of the best tube preamps ever made. It’s complete with eight vacuum tubes (six in the middle panel of the unit, two on the side in the power supply section), including a 6X4 rectifier tube. These tubes create a deeper warmth of musicality different from most Solid State preamps. If this doesn’t have you itching to check out a vintage tube preamp, nothing will!
The C20 also boasts impressive technical specifications. This system features a 20Hz to 20kHz frequency response, a less than 0.2% harmonic distortion, and a gain of 60dB (MM) / 20dB (line). It has a respectable signal-to-noise ratio of 85dB (line) and an output of 250mV (line) / 2.5V (Pre out).
Weighing roughly 18 pounds, this system measures 15.63" by 12" by 4.88" (length by width by height).
The front of the system is a feast for the eyes with its luxurious black and gold panel, as well as its black and silver knobs… but its functionality also makes it a feast for the ears. It features a tape compare switch, which allows an instantaneous “off-tape” comparison of the program with the recording. You also get two front panel tape jacks for an additional tape recorder; this makes it more convenient for the recording, copying, or playback of tapes.
Plus, it offers independent bass and treble controls, so balance can be maintained at even the lowest levels of sound.
The back panel has five auxiliary AC outlets (one unswitched - red - for a turntable, four switched - black - for other systems). It also has a range of connectivity options, including two phono hookups for your turntable(s). It even features low frequency trim switches - one left, one right.
The McIntosh C20 is known as one of the greatest tube preamplifiers for a reason. This king of stereophonic and monophonic systems has been chosen by music lovers and professionals alike as the epitome of vintage control centers.
If you’re interested in owning or learning more about this rare piece of audio history, you can check it out on our website here: https://spencertified.com/collections/all-electronics/products/mcintosh-c20-stereophonic-preamplifier