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McIntosh Announces MC830 Solid State Amplifier and C8 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier

Matching units feature an open chassis and retro-styled industrial design.

Following in the footsteps of it retro styled MA252 and MA352 integrated amplifiers, which took design cues from the MC275 vacuum tube amplifier, McIntosh has introduced two more models with similar styling: the MC830 solid state amplifier and C8 vacuum tube preamplifier.

According to McIntosh, when a pair of MC830s are combined with the C8, they can form the foundation of system that can deliver a lifelike home audio experience.

MC830 Solid State Amplifier

The MC830 is a 1-channel solid state amplifier that has a similar footprint to the MA252 integrated amplifier. The MC830 is a direct coupled output design that is rated at 300 watts into 8 Ohms or 480 watts into 4 Ohms. A Dual Scale Watt meter gives an accurate readout of power output for both speaker impedances. McIntosh Monogrammed Heatsinks add visual appeal and will keep the MC830 running cool for optimum performance. Both a balanced and unbalanced input are included for connecting it to the rest of your music system.

To protect your speakers and overall system, the MC830 includes two of McIntosh’s cornerstone home audio technologies. Their patented Power Guard technology monitors the amplifier’s output signal to protect your speakers against being over driven; if necessary, it makes real time micro adjustments to the input signal to prevent clipping that could damage your speakers. Another level of protection is Sentry Monitor, their fuse-less short-circuit protection circuit that will disengage the MC830’s output stage before current exceeds safe operating levels, and then will reset automatically when operating conditions return to normal.

McIntosh’s patented Solid Cinch speaker binding posts secure the speaker cables to prevent them from coming loose and possibly causing a short. The binding posts are gold-plated to prevent corrosion.

C8 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier

The C8 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier is also similarly sized to the MA252 integrated amplifier, and is powered by four 12AX7a vacuum tubes housed inside stylish protective cages. The C8 comes with one balanced and two unbalanced analog inputs, plus one Moving Coil and one Moving Magnet phono inputs with adjustable loading to play vinyl collections. All inputs can be given user-friendly names in order to simplify user control. Bass and treble tone controls help fine tune the music. For outputs, it has one balanced and two unbalanced; one 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 from the factory, 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 seven digital inputs: two coax, two optical, one USB, one MCT (for use with McIntosh’s line of SACD/CD Transports), and one audio-only HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) 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 384 kHz, and the coax and optical inputs can decode digital music up to 24-bit/192 kHz.

For personal listening, the C8 comes with McIntosh’s High Drive headphone amplifier that has plenty of power and flexibility to drive a wide range of headphones. Home Theater Pass Through allows the C8 to be integrated into the 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.

Common Features

Both the MC830 and C8 include Power Control ports that allow for easy system power up and shutdown by sending power on/off signals to other connected McIntosh components. Both also have a user selectable Auto Off feature will turn them off after 30 minutes when there’s been no user input or if no audio signal has been detected.

A die-cast aluminum name badge is affixed to each side of the chassis on each unit, and the front, top, and rear of the chassis is polished to a mirror finish. Each unit features a black glass front panel with silver trim, a blue Watt meter (on the MC830 only), an illuminated logo, and control knobs.

Pricing and Availability

Orders for the MC830 and C8 can now be placed with authorized McIntosh dealers with shipping expected to begin in September 2020 to the United States and Canada, and to the rest of the world shortly thereafter.

Suggested retail price (VAT, shipping, and any customs duties related to current standards of individual countries are excluded):

  • MC830: $4000 USD
  • C8: $3500 USD

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