Guest post by Ken Zelin, Director of US Sales Training, McIntosh

This week, I had the pleasure of visiting the Seattle Showroom to listen to music with several of Definitive’s customers. 

Being involved with McIntosh Labs for nearly 48 years, I am quite familiar with the McIntosh philosophy of only replacing models when there is a genuine improvement to incorporate. You can imagine my shock as McIntosh announced two new home theater processors, two new home theater amplifiers, a new integrated amplifier, and two new preamps all within a few months.

No, McIntosh did not intend to revamp half their lineup all at once. However, several of their long-term project investments that all came to fruition around the same time – which leads to an exciting time to be traveling and demoing new products!

The new C53 and C2700 Preamps at Definitive

These two products are based on the previous C52 and C2600 preamp, and are, frankly, 95% the same, but with one BIG difference. They both have the new upgradable DAC2 module.

Let me explain what that means.

The part of a preamp that goes out-of-date the soonest is the Digital-To-Analog (DAC) section. You can think of DACs as little digital computers, each year getting faster. With an upgradable DAC2, the owner will be able to get a newer, upgraded DAC in the future, without need to replace the whole preamplifier. These Preamplifiers will serve in your home audio system for many years – even decades – all while delivering unmatched audio quality.

In addition to your standard connections (2 coaxial, 2 optical, 1 USB and 1 MCT), McIntosh engineers also added another input called HDMI (ARC). Now you can integrate your current hi-fi setup and hook it up to your TV – bringing a new level of audio performance to your television and movie watching. The new preamps also convert immersive multi-channel audio formats from Dolby and DTS.

What is the difference between the C53 and C2700?

McIntosh is unique in the HiFi industry because they well respected for both their Solid State models and their Tube circuits.

The new McIntosh C53 is all Solid State (transistorized), while the C2700 uses tubes. Otherwise, the units are almost identical. Most listeners will praise the smoothness, and palpable sense of presence the tubes tend to convey, while appreciating the wide frequency extension of solid state. Because their goal is to make optimal sound, regardless of technology, their solid state is praised for being “tube like” and their tube units have unmatching low distortion and wide response. McIntosh does not take a stance to which type of circuit is better, they let you decide.

It’s fun to listen to both models and hear for yourself which prefer. Definitive has them set up through either the MC462 solid-state amp or the MC275 tube amp – a model that McIntosh has produced since the 1960s, and is now in its 6th generation. Stop by and check out McIntosh at Definitive’s showrooms, you won’t regret it.