McIntosh C2800 Preamplifier


Crafted for discerning audiophiles and music enthusiasts alike, performance has been woven into the very fabric of this audio treasure. The C2800 has proudly earned the McIntosh name.

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McIntosh C2800 Preamplifier

  • 16 inputs: 7 analogue, 2 phono, 7 digital
  • 4 Vacuum Tubes: (3) 12AX7A and (1) 12AT7
  • Dedicated Subwoofer output
  • Controllable by McIntosh Connect app
  • Includes Processor Loop
  • Supports 24-bit/192kHz and DSD512 files
  • Roon Tested

The McIntosh C2800 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier is a masterpiece of audio passion and engineering precision.

Crafted for discerning audiophiles and music enthusiasts alike, performance has been woven into the very fabric of this audio treasure. The C2800 has proudly earned the McIntosh name.

McIntosh C2800 angle

At the heart of the C2800 lies methodically designed vacuum tube circuitry.

Leveraging the latest designs to all but eliminate noise and distortion, the McIntosh C2800 preamplifier reduces them to minuscule levels.

Its four vacuum tubes, or valves, deliver a listening experience that transcends expectations.


With its 9 analogue and 7 digital inputs (16 total inputs), the C2800 will become the nucleus of your home audio system.

There are 3 balanced and 4 unbalanced analogue inputs, plus 2 phono inputs that can be configured for either Moving Coil or Moving Magnet phono cartridges to connect your turntable(s).

Both phono inputs feature adjustable Gain in 6dB steps from 40dB to 64dB as well as RIAA equalisation.

Their DA2 Digital Audio Module houses the 7 digital inputs and is powered by an audiophile-grade Quad Balanced, 8-channel, 32-bit Digital-to-Analogue Converter (DAC).

The DA2 offers a variety of inputs, including an audio-only HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC)1 input that will give your TV sound new life when played through your home stereo system.

Multi-channel audio formats from Dolby® and DTS® will be expertly converted to two-channel audio for an enthralling listening experience.

The DA2 has 6 other digital inputs: 2 coaxial, 2 optical, 1 USB, and 1 MCT.

The coax and optical inputs decode digital music up to 24-bit/192kHz for high resolution audio playback, while the USB input supports DSD512 and DXD 384kHz.

And to get the best sound quality from the high definition audio on your SACD collection, the MCT input offers a secure, custom DSD connection when paired with our MCT series of SACD/CD Transports.

The entire DA2 module is upgradeable and could be replaced by a future module should new digital technologies become available.


Offering advanced connection flexibility, there are 3 stereo sets of variable balanced and unbalanced outputs to connect the C2800 to your power amplifier(s).

All sets of outputs can be active simultaneously, and each can send the audio signal from the source component to 3 separate audio systems.

McIntosh C2800 rear

Bi-amping a single speaker system can be accomplished using the Main output and Output 1 and their built-in adjustable High Pass and Low Pass filters.

In this configuration, the High Pass outputs could be connected to a vacuum tube amplifier, and the Low Pass outputs could be connected to a solid-state amplifier.

Then the adjustable crossover would let you optimise the performance of your amplifiers to your speaker’s specifications and to your listening preferences.

Output 1 offers trim level control, which allows two different amplifiers to be volume balanced when bi-amping.

Additionally, Output 2 can be configured as either mono or stereo to allow it to send audio signal to a stereo audio system in another room, to a single mono subwoofer, or to 2 separate stereo subwoofers.


The C2800 features the return of the processor loop, something not available on the last few generations of McIntosh preamplifiers.

The Processor Loop allows you to insert an external signal processor (such as their MQ112 Environmental Equaliser or MEN220 Room Correction System), dynamic range expanders, or other devices without having to place it between the preamplifier and power amplifier(s).

This is usually more convenient and can allow for better performance.

The processor loop is also the perfect place to connect an analogue tape recorder, a high-end cassette deck, or a 3-head reel deck that allows you to record from a source component and hear the recording just seconds later so you can monitor your recordings.


In addition to using the included remote control or the front panel controls, the C2800 can be connected to your network which will unlock control options offered through their complimentary Connect app.

Designed for both Android and Apple devices, the Connect app can be used to control key functions of the C2800 including volume control as well as input and output selection.

Select McIntosh source components that have a data cable connected to the C2800 will be partially controllable via the app’s Source Control feature.

With Source Control, users will be able to control many of the source unit’s functions from the app, such as changing radio stations on a tuner, or playing a disc in a CD Player. Source Control will bring added convenience to setups that have a secondary system connected to one of the C2800’s outputs, such as an outdoor system where you will no longer be forced to go inside to control its basic functionality.

When connected to your network, the C2800 will also be able to receive periodic firmware updates.

These firmware releases can add new features or provide important performance updates.


McIntosh C2800


  • Electronic bass and treble circuitry allows for adjustments of low and high frequencies in precise 1dB steps. The C2800 remembers your tone control circuitry bypass setting for each input.
  • High Drive Headphone Amplifier with Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD®) technology brings an added dimension to headphone listening.
  • Home Theater PassThru for seamless integration into your home theater system.
  • Has received Roon Tested designation from Roon Labs.
  • Power Control lets you easily turn other connected McIntosh components on and off.
  • Data Ports can send remote control commands to connected source components.
  • Electromagnetic Input Switching for reliable, noiseless, and distortion-free switching.
  • Level Trim Adjustment for matching analog input levels to prevent abrupt changes in volume levels.
  • Precision balanced, digitally controlled attenuator system for accurate volume control with 0.1dB accuracy.
  • Fully regulated power supplies and a special R-core power transformer for stable, noise-free operation.
  • Eco-friendly Power Management System that will turn the unit off after 30 minutes of inactivity (can be disabled).


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
Sensitivity Phono (Moving Coil) – 0.45mV
Sensitivity Phono (Moving Magnet) – 4.5mV
Signal To Noise Ratio (High Level) – 100dB
Signal To Noise Ratio (Moving Coil) – 75dB
Signal To Noise Ratio (Moving Magnet) – 75dB
Voltage Gain (High Level) – 15dB
Voltage Gain (Moving Coil) – Selectable 40dB, 46dB, 52dB, 58dB, or 64dB
Voltage Gain (Moving Magnet) – Selectable 40dB, 46dB, 52dB, 58dB, or 64dB
Input Impedance (Balanced / Unbalanced) – 44K ohm, 22K ohm

Vacuum Tube – (3) 12AX7A and (1) 12AT7

Unit Dimensions (W x H x D)
17.5″ (44.45cm) x 7.625″ (19.4cm) x 16.5″ (41.9cm)
Unit Weight
28 lbs (12.5kg)
Shipping Weight
43.5 lbs (19.7kg)



McIntosh Heritage Founded in 1949 by Frank McIntosh and Gordon Gow McIntosh is known for offering distinguished home audio systems that deliver the ultimate experience in music and film. Offering products for two-channel stereo sound systems and multi-channel home theaters with surround sound, McIntosh continues to define the ultimate home audio entertainment experience for discriminating listeners around the world. Their iconic blue Watt output meter is globally recognised as a symbol of quality home audio. With a McIntosh home stereo system or home theater, listeners have the ability to create their own luxury audio experience – and truly live their music. McIntosh products are designed and handcrafted at their Binghamton, NY factory by their dedicated employees who share a passion for music and the McIntosh heritage. Since their inception, McIntosh has been powering some of the most important moments in music history and pop culture. From President Lyndon Johnson's inauguration speech to Woodstock to the famous Grateful Dead "Wall of Sound," McIntosh has not only witnessed history, they have shaped it.
Sound is not just a product of what they create; it is the core of their being. Their dedication to its engineering goes beyond performance. It flows through every element of their company and drives our unwavering commitment to sound excellence. Embedded in every aspect of our craftmanship, it is the heartbeat that resonates within our products, connecting music lovers to the soul-stirring power of sound.


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