McIntosh Unveils $5,000 Digital-Ready, Future-Proof Preamplifier

Swappable module enables the McIntosh C49 preamplifier to handle today’s and tomorrow’s digital technologies.


Just when you think you have all your digital bases covered, something new comes along. It’s the nature of the technology business. McIntosh feels your pain and has developed a new preamplifier designed to handle the digital formats of today then be easily updated for formats of the future.

The company says it accomplishing this through an integrated DA1 Digital Audio Module. This module can be replaced by newer McIntosh digital audio modules that support new digital technologies and formats.

The C49 offers many analog and digital I/Os.

For analog there are two balanced, three unbalanced, one moving coil and one moving magnet.

For digital there are six inputs are housed in the DA1 module which include two coaxial, two optical, one USB, and one proprietary MCT for use with McIntosh’s MCT series of SACD/CD transports.

The C49 is powered by an 8-channel, 32-bit DAC; it supports up to DSD256 and DXD 384kHz for playback of high-resolution audio.

Output wise, the C49 has two balanced variable outputs, two unbalanced variable outputs, and one unbalanced fixed output.

The outputs are designed for easy use when bi-amping speakers so that neither the highs or lows are inadvertently turned off. Audio sources can be fine-tuned via the bass and treble tone controls.

C49 Features Home Theater Pass Through 

The C49 can be integrated into a home theater system via its Home Theater Pass Through.

Power control ports allow for easy on and off of other connected McIntosh components. Data ports can send remote control commands to connected source components.

Related: McIntosh Rolls Out New MS500 Music Streamer and MCD600 CD/SACD Player

The C49 features the classic McIntosh design, including a black glass front panel, knobs, and illuminated logo and aluminum end caps. It is designed to be paired with McIntosh amps, turntables, CD players, tuners, and more. 

The suggested retail price of the C49 is $5,000 and it is available this month.

About the Author

Lisa Montgomery:

Lisa Montgomery has been a member of the CE Pro and Electronic House editorial teams for nearly 20 years; most of that time as the Editor of Electronic House. With a knack for explaining complex high-tech topics in terms that average consumers can understand, her style of writing resonates with people who are interested in adding electronic systems to their homes, but are unsure of the steps involved and the solutions available. From basic lighting control systems to full-blown automation systems, Lisa understands the home electronics market well, and is able to point consumers in the right direction on their quest for a smarter, more convenient, efficient and enjoyable home.

Over the years, she has developed close relationships with key manufacturers and seasoned custom electronics professionals, giving her a keen sense of what home technologies are hot now and what is on the horizon. She shares this wisdom regularly through feature stories, product roundups, case studies technology spotlights and comprehensive guides and books.