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The C8 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier has an open chassis industrial design similar to the popular MC275 Vacuum Tube Amplifier, and MA252 and MA352 Integrated Amplifiers. When combined with an amplifier (like the matching MC830 Amplifier), source components such as a turntable, CD player or streaming music player, and a pair of speakers, it can help deliver a lifelike audio experience in your home.
Similarly sized to the MA252 Integrated Amplifier, the C8 is powered by four 12AX7a vacuum tubes housed inside stylish protective cages. For inputs, the C8 comes with 1 balanced and 2 unbalanced analog inputs, plus 1 Moving Coil and 1 Moving Magnet phono inputs with adjustable loading to play cherished vinyl collections. All inputs can be given user-friendly names in order to simplify user control. Bass and treble tone controls help fine tune your music to your personal preferences. For outputs, it has 1 balanced and 2 unbalanced; 1 of the unbalanced outputs can be configured as a subwoofer output for use with a powered subwoofer to further enhance low frequencies.
While the C8 does not come equipped with any digital inputs, it is digital-audio-ready as McIntosh’s DA2 Digital Audio Module can be installed in it. Adding the DA2 is an optional dealer installed upgrade. The DA2 has 7 digital inputs: 2 coax, 2 optical, 1 USB, 1 MCT (for use with the MCT500 or MCT80 SACD/CD Transport), and 1 audio-only HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC)1 connection. The DA2 is powered by a next generation, Quad Balanced, 8-channel, 32-bit Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC). Its audiophile-grade DAC is highlighted by improved dynamic range and improved total harmonic distortion. For high resolution audio playback, the USB input can support native playback of up to DSD512, the USB input supports DXD up to 384kHz, and the coax and optical inputs can decode digital music up to 24-bit/192kHz.
For personal listening, the C8 comes with Mc’s High Drive headphone amplifier that has plenty of power and flexibility to drive a wide range of headphones. Power Control ports allow for easy system power up and shutdown by sending power on/off signals to other connected McIntosh components. The user selectable Auto Off feature will turn the C8 off after 30 minutes when there's been no user input or if no audio signal has been detected. Home Theater Pass Through allows the C8 to be seamlessly integrated into your home theater system, and Data Ports can send remote control commands to connected source components.
Input selection, bass, treble, tone bypass, balance and input offset levels can be adjusted using the front panel knobs or the included remote control; all settings, volume level, and input selection will be shown on the front panel display. The C8 sits atop a stainless steel chassis that's polished to a mirror finish; classic McIntosh-styled die cast aluminum name badges are attached to each side. It has a black glass front panel with silver trim, an illuminated logo, and rotary control knobs.
5 analog inputs (1 balanced, 2 unbalanced, 2 phono)
(4) 12AX7a vacuum tubes
High Drive headphone amplifier
Optional dealer installed upgrade to DA2 Digital Audio Module available
Number of Channels: 2
Total Harmonic Distortion: 0.08%
Frequency Response: +0, -0.5dB from 20Hz to 20kHz / +0, -3dB from 15Hz to 100kHz
Maximum Volts Out (Balanced / Unbalanced): 16V RMS / 8V RMS
Sensitivity High Level (Balanced / Unbalanced): 900mV / 450mV