McIntosh C 33 – High End Stereo Equipment We Buy

McIntosh is one of the most dependable brand names when it comes to high-end audio systems. For years the brand has been recognized by audiophiles throughout the world as equipment that delivers clear and consistent quality in music. McIntosh is probably best known for its amplifiers and preamps, but the company produces many other components and parts for stereo and home theatre.

What are the specs for the McIntosh C 33?

Frequency response:
20Hz to 20kHz
Total harmonic distortion:
0.01%
Input sensitivity:
2mV (MM), 250mV (line)
Signal to noise ratio:
90dB (MM), 100dB (line)
Output:
10V (Pre out Max)
Semiconductors:
31 x transistors, 76 x FET, 35 x IC, 107 x diodes
Dimensions:
16 x 5.4 x 13 inches
Weight:
26 lbs

What else to know about the McIntosh C 33?

"I have had the opportunity to test two very different but excellent preamplifiers in my stereo system. These preamps are: 1) the McIntosh C33, a solid state unit from the early 1980s, recently recapped and restored by Terry DeWick; and 2) the PrimaLuna Prologue 3, a tubed unit of more recent vintage. This post consists of a comparison and contrast between the performance of the two preamps.

The remainder of my system, for the purposes of testing, consists of a McIntosh MC2105 amplifier, McIntosh MS300 music server as source, Vienna Acoustics Haydn Grand bookshelf speakers, Audioquest Golden Gate interconnects, and Mapleshade Clearview speaker cables. (The McIntosh C33 has a reputedly excellent phono stage as well, but it will not be considered for the purposes of the present review.)

The McIntosh C33 seems to excel particularly with providing a warm, tonally-rich, full-bodied presentation. With the McIntosh unit, the sonic spectrum, or range of sounds, being conveyed seems more comprehensive or complete. This creates a full-bodied quality to the sound, as if there are layers and layers not only to the music as a whole, but even to the individual instruments contained therein. These qualities are particularly beneficial to the enjoyment of well-recorded classical music and also of rock music with multiple guitars. For the former, it feels like I am hearing more natural, organic, refined instruments than with the PrimaLuna. With rock music, there is a ""wall of sound"" quality to the string instruments that gives it a particularly appealing depth.

On the other hand, the McIntosh has a slower presentation than the PrimaLuna. It does not excel to the same extent as the PrimaLuna at conveying the music's dynamics. And the music conveyed sounds perhaps slightly more recessed, with the instruments less fully separated, than with the PrimaLuna.

The PrimaLuna's best qualities are its abilities to separate the instrumental components of music and the overall tonal balance of its presentation. While the instruments do not sound quite as rich as with the McIntosh, there is an incredible smoothness to the Primaluna's presentation that is non-fatiguing and allows the listener to appreciate the overall coherence of the music. Individual guitars on the Primaluna have a three-dimensional quality that is not as prominent with the McIntosh. The PrimaLuna has a slightly more forward sound than the McIntosh.

Music sounds faster with the PrimaLuna and more like a live show at a small, acoustically sound music club. There is a symphony hall like quality to the music being conveyed by the McIntosh--rich and warm and full-bodied.

I hope this review is useful or interesting or both. I am still undecided as to which unit is, overall, better, but I do know they are both excellent and highly enjoyable. Note that these are only my subjective impressions, not based on any rigorous blind testing or expertise." - AudioAsylum: Preamp Shootout: McIntosh C33 vs. PrimaLuna Prologue 3, Posted by mike555 (A) on August 4, 2013

Brief History of McIntosh

Long mapped-to Binghamton New York – the current headquarters and manufacturing center for McIntosh Labs – not many people know the brand was originally launched outside of the Nation’s Capital in Silver Spring Maryland, in 1949. In 1956, the brand built their original facility in New York, according to the official brand website.

Other McIntosh Products We Often Buy

Typically, StereoBuyers purchases mostly used amplifiers, especially the vintage amps and high-end McIntosh models such as the MC202 or MC252, and the C220 preamp, for example. We have also purchased many pre-owned tuners from McIntosh over the recent years, including the MR67 and MR78 models, for example.

StereoBuyers has purchased tens of thousands worth McIntosh brand equipment since 2014, with individual buys ranging from $100 to well over $50,000. If you are moving, ready to upgrade, or have McIntosh equipment you do not or will not be using, why not contact us today to find out if it is worth good money?

If you are interested in selling your used McIntosh equipment to us in the greater NYC area or Colorado, please click here to fill out a Free Quote Form and we will get back to you. If we agree on terms, we come to meet you where you want, and pay cash.

The following images show actual McIntosh equipment purchased by StereoBuyers.