The McIntosh C12000 Preamplifier

"Cover McIntosh," Jim Austin wrote by text. "Sure," I replied. "But I don't see them listed in the show guide." "They're behind the escalator," Jim replied.

And there they were. Against a wall, with comfortable couches facing the system, McIntosh's Ken Zelin had set up a lovely system headlined by the new, two-piece McIntosh C12000 preamplifier ($16,000, pictured below). Released just a few months ago, it's a completely balanced, dual-mono design with an external power supply. Replacing a preamp that had specific MM and MC cartridge settings, the McIntosh C12000 has two configurable phono settings. Using the remote control, you can change loading, capacitance, and resistance on the fly until you discover which combination works best with your cartridge and sensibilities.

The remote also allows you to choose either tube or solid-state output. There's an all-important pass-through for home theater integration.

What's most interesting about the preamp's design is its use of complementary tubes to cancel tube noise. "There's no noise from the tweeter," Zelin said. "We believe it's the quietest preamp ever built."

As I write these words, I castigate myself for not, at the least, putting my ear up to the tweeter. But the closing hour was approaching, and I still had rooms to cover.

Glotz's picture

despite of the location in the hall. All of that blue and green glow... so familiar yet unique.

Very cool approach to tube noise cancellation!

Dr Z's picture

the C12000 is the preamp you saw, it replaced the C1100 (also a dual chassis design) in late 2021...

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Thanks so much for pointing out the error in model name. I've requested a copy correction.


Jason Victor Serinus's picture

thanks for the humor.