Prepress McIntosh C 500 C / C 500t

The outstanding McIntosh C-500-team (together 12900 euro) can be combined without any limitation and still boasts its relatively cheap price/sound ratio.

  1. Prepress McIntosh C 500 C / C 500t
  2. Data sheet

Control is everything

His concept lends a special duo C 500 in the exclusive district of more expensive preamplifiers: in one of the two housing with dimensions of full-blown AV receiver, McIntosh housed only the extensive control unit the controller C to 500 C with digitally-controlled electronic volume control that directs their commands via a separate channel 13-pole cable to outsourced preamp section. What is exactly in the other case, depends from the preferences of the owner, between a tube Assembly (C 500 T) or transistor technology (C 500 P) can choose.

We decided – the experience with the similarly designed big brother C 1000 (12/06), at the time combined with the transistor-mega-amp MC 2 KW AC – this time for tube-power from front to rear. So chose the T model, which brings the eyes of annealing piston supporters to light from the front with two blue glowing displays output voltage plus two Windows to the glistening inner workings for the full hearing and laboratory tests. On the back of generous pragmatism ruled: just three balanced XLR inputs and four outputs – two of them fixed – keep contact with the rest of the audio system along with a bevy of RCA connectors. The controller can be controlled remotely and waiting with two trigger outputs to activate additional components and a whole series of data outputs for remote control devices of McIntosh.

Who plays a reference tone – for example a 1-kHz sine of the AUDIO CD listening course 1 – about its various sources, can use the output voltage indicators of the preamplifier to the meticulous Level adjustment of the individual inputs. Among the practical adjustment possibilities are the resistance and capacity of MM and MC phono sections. The McIntosh engineers lost not sound relevant issues from the eyes at all variability. The 500 C convinced in this regard by fully balanced dual mono construction with separate R-core transformers, which combine compact dimensions with low electromagnetic scattered fields.

Giants behind bars

The monaural power amplifiers not just stack deep: respect Hissing U.S. Design, connect Size XXL category. With this performance the two bring each about 50 kilo heavy metal purist, Europe affine HiFi fans around the barricades. Who is on prime beef, muscle cars, or Harley Davidson, is likely be tempted at this sight, however, promptly to resolve the contractor in advance and to invest in this abundant immobile despite huge grab handles gain block.

After many hours of relaxed listening with new insights into older recordings like “Born in the United States,” or Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road” editors far later than was originally turned to planned again the actual order of the sober quality analysis. To the classification in the leaderboard categories pre and power amplifiers the C-500 team such as the MC-2301 duo had to prove individually as opposed to third-party components.

Live in Technicolor

The McIntosh preamp stage painted in lush Technicolor, the itself against the excellent, ultra-neutral and precise Accuphase C-2810 (test in issue 9/06) had to say. The special class of the two dream devices ensured that small peculiarities were character. The American dream team had a slightly more alive and full, without seeming intrusive even in the most distant, perfumed, chubby. Contour, focus, fine and coarse dynamics and incredible bass punch at a capacity of differentiation and a firmness, which are exceptional for tube – with such a balance, even President Obama may become jealous of these flagship products of his country.

And the fascination held small voltages down to the shine, say: even as phono amplifier with fantastic contoured, airy spacious and pulling heavy sound made the McIntosh C class a top figure.

This rousing performance was sometimes almost “large as live”. It represents absolutely seen at comparable level playing Accuphase C-2810 precursor a particularly emotional alternative to the meticulous, so. The Japanese acted as catch tuna sushi in addition to the juicy Ribeye grilled.

Team player

Now the question arises as always in the absolute high end – and that undoubtedly belong the McIntosh – the team ability of single players. Or vice versa: how much are you dependent on cues from the own stable? The outstanding team of C-500 can be combined without any limitation and still boasts its relatively cheap price/sound ratio. The tube preamplifier in conjunction with the own power amplifier like alone under transistors – and their shine the most diverse sources. A comparison of football – not football, to seek sorry America -: Also an average Federal League force in international competitions to lead is capable of the C 500 C / T. In the team with probably familiar players at the same level, the Champions League victory is almost just a formality.

McIntosh C 500t

Manufacturer McIntosh
Price €12900.00
Rating 130.0 points
Test procedure 1.0

Technical data and test results

Dimensions (W x H x D) 44.5 x 30.4 x 58.0 cm
Weight 33.3 kg
Front panel Black / Silver / champagne / /
Front panel other color.
Remote control / remote control / Adaptive / /
Tone controls / switched off /
Monitor switch
Recording selector switch audio
Input phono MM / MC /
High level RCA inputs / XLR 4 / 3
Digital inputs RCA 0
XLR / optical 0 / 0
Digital outputs RCA / optical / XLR 0 / 0 / 0
Recorder connections (a / from) 2
Processor input
Pre-Out subwoofer 0
Preout XLR 2
Headphone Jack
Measured values
Immunity gaps (A weighted) Line RCA / XLR 100.0 dB(A)
Noise phono MM / MC 76.0 dB(A) / 77.0 dB(A)
Line RCA / XLR 187 ohm / 447 ohm
Fantastic stage with all the advantages and no disadvantage of tube technology. Superb phono stage.
Takes the place of
Sound MM 115
Sound MC 120
Sound RCA 125
Sound XLR 130
Facilities Very good
Operation Very good
Processing outstanding
Sound judgment well over 130
Price / performance –
tested in issue: 6 / 10