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 45?
- Frequency response:
- 20Hz to 20kHz
- Total harmonic distortion:
- 55dB (MM), 15dB (line)
- Input sensitivity:
- 4.5mV (MM), 450mV (line)
- Signal to noise ratio:
- 86dB (MM), 96dB (line)
- 2.5V (Pre out), 8V (Pre out Max)
- 17.5 x 6 x 16.5 inches
- 21 lbs
What else to know about the McIntosh C 45?
"The C45 gave the immediate impression of a clean and open sound. Bass was more than adequate and fully extended, but the revelation of upper strings and brass was, with the right source material, quite attention-getting. A good example of the latter was a wonderful DVD-A of Wagner overtures and preludes performed by the Robert Schumann Philharmonie, Chemnitz, under the direction of Oleg Caetani (ARTS 45004-6). The orchestra has been around since 1833, and Caetani, their music director since 1996, studied with Nadia Boulanger, Igor Markevitch, and Kiril Kondrashin. They play the leather out of these familiar pieces.
ARTS' recording, from 24-bit/96kHz originals, is super-transparent and, despite a closer, more intensely immediate perspective than is usual for multichannel recordings, there's sufficient rear-channel ambience to transport the listener. Listen to the delicacy and detail of the violins in the Prelude to Act I of Lohengrin, or the spikes of brass in the overture to Der Fliegende Holländer or The Ride of the Valkyries. The lower strings and percussion have sufficient weight and power that, along with the transparency and treble dynamics of the Mac C45, I felt as if I were in the front row of a highly exciting concert.
While its calling card is in the upper half of the frequency spectrum, the C45 is no slouch when it comes to the bottom end; it's just that it's a bit less remarkable. I popped in the powerful and dynamic Un Segundo Una Vida, by Romero (SACD, 333entertainment 333ESA001), a studio mix of flamenco-derived world music that relies heavily on close-miked acoustic guitars and percussion. Immediately, I was struck by the force of the guitars' resonance, which on most tracks sits right in the plane of the main speakers. Add to that the varied drums and Romero's warm voice, and I heard a powerful presence via the C45. This disc ranges from solos to ensembles with added instruments and voices, and makes pointed if subtle use of the rear channels for palmas (clapping) and other details. True, this is a more immersive mix than I generally prefer, but the use of the surrounds for details as well as ambience is less gimmicky than musically engrossing and satisfying.
At $3600 including phono stage, the C45 sits between the Bel Canto Pre6 and the McCormack MAP-1 in price and in sound. It seemed a bit brighter than the Pre6 at the upper end, but was equally formidable at the bottom. The transparency of the C45 and the Pre6 seemed equal, although the difference in balance may cloud that issue in the absence of A/B comparisons. Pending critical auditions in my main stereo system, my feeling is that the Bel Canto is more neutral than the C45 or the MAP-1. The C45 and MAP-1 sounded even more alike. Their balances are similar, but the MAP-1 is a bit tighter at the bottom and, depending on the amp and speakers, could be just right or lack requisite bloom.
The C45, however, is more a two-channel preamp that can accommodate and switch two multichannel inputs but that lacks interchannel balancing for multichannel sources, or even L/R balancing for stereo. The Bel Canto and McCormack preamps, on the other hand, are true multichannel devices with facilities that permit interchannel trimming. The McCormack can even synthesize a surround mode from stereo inputs. Nonetheless, for overall ease of use and convenience, the McIntosh C45 is a clear winner." - Stereophile
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.