McIntosh C22 III Reissue Thoughts

Discussion in 'McIntosh Audio' started by Bushikan, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. Bushikan

    Bushikan New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY and Milton, PA
    Hi, this is my first post. (I hope I'm doing it correctly.) I have a McIntosh C22 III, in combination with a McIntosh MC275 VI, MR78 tuner (Modafferi updated), vintage Denon TT and Denon 103, Oppo BDT 101CI, Grado GS-1000, and modified Klipschorns, with dedicated lines and mostly Audioquest cables. Everything has stock tubes.

    I'm curious to discuss the C22 with others who own it, since I've seen very little out there besides the TAS review last year and a few assumptions posted asserting it's just like the C2300--which is not true. (I asked Ron at McIntosh and he assured me the C22 is completely different; he also said they are running low on a few parts for it and that it will probably be discontinued because of that; but that they will probably reissue yet a new one in a few years.)

    The C22 and MC275 replaced my McIntosh C504 preamp and MC502 amp--'80s era SS equipment. (Before I go further, I compared the MC275 to the MC152 and MC240--on Klipschorns at Audio Classics. The MC240 was too dark for me. The 152's bass was punchier, deeper, and tighter, but the 275's bass was fuller, more natural, and more three-dimensional--less discotheque-thumping-exciting but more believable, especially with voices, stringed instruments, percussion, and piano.)

    Back to the C22: I compared the C22 to a C2500, and found that the 22, though a tiny bit less full and liquid, was zippier and much more dynamic--like someone had just slapped the rear end of the horse I was riding--so much so that the salesperson brought in his boss to hear the very noticeable differences. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the 2500, but it seemed sluggish compared to the C22, which had us tapping our feet. (Before I came in, neither salesperson had listened to the new C22, which had been merely on display and hadn't yet been turned on, and we all very much preferred it straight out of the box to the broken-in C2500.) This was on Focal Sopra No. 2 speakers with an MC275 and, I believe, an MCD550.

    I've now lived with the MC275 for a year and a half and the C22 for a little over a year. I'm interested to hear others' opinions. I very, very much LOVE my beautiful new C22, with its dusk-light-blue illumination, on most material--especially vinyl with my MC cartridge. It is airy, natural, transparent, and silky. More often than not it has me swooning. I'm hearing instruments I'd never heard before, and nuances--on vocals, keyboards, percussion, strings, etc.--I never imagined were there, in familiar material. Nothing separates out. Everything is of a piece. I have not heard a better preamp in my system.

    But, of course, in audio you rarely if ever just move up: with every trade up there are trade offs. And I've gone from SS to tubes... I sometimes find the C22, with some CDs, a little bit thin. The vocals, which used to be very forward and front-and-center--though now they are much more melodic and revealing--are not always as dynamic and seemingly "live" (that is: not as emotionally involving) as they were with my old Mac SS equipment. Granted, I'm listening on Klipschorns, which are extremely sensitive and temperamental.

    Any thoughts are welcome.

    Thank you for listening.
     
    ron-c likes this.
  2. joeinid

    joeinid AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    676
    Location:
    NY
    Welcome to the forum!

    I almost bought the C22 several times. :) But I am holding out for a C1100 or something new (full solid state version) if it happens soon.

    Have you experimented with different/better tubes in the C22? You may love it more with a new set of tubes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
    Don Bocadill likes this.
  3. Don Bocadill

    Don Bocadill Obsessed, who me???!! Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,050
    Location:
    Central Ohio
    You might want to take a look at a pre-owned C500T. If you’re not to far from AC they have one in stock I believe. There would undoubtedly be some benefit to moving to a dual chassis fully balanced tube pre-amp. I have owned the original C22 and more recently a C2200 both of which I liked. I was recently in he market for a preamp and didn’t want a one box dac/pre and really wanted a balanced design to compliment my MC452 but as a digital only (just bought a TD124 ugghh) I felt $7000+ to use one input and the tubes /power supply was excessive.
     
  4. Don Bocadill

    Don Bocadill Obsessed, who me???!! Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,050
    Location:
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    @Bushikan Great first post by the way, love to hear from people passionate about their system and music and a warm welcome to my favorite Audio / McIntosh forum! I’m sure you’re goning to feel right at home here!! Nice setup too!! :music:

    Ps. If you hadn’t considered it yet you might want to look at becomeing a subscriber, giving access to the members marketplace, nice gear, parts and media is regularly available within the AK community...(got my Thorens there his week :))
     
    louisjames and 62caddy like this.
  5. Bushikan

    Bushikan New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY and Milton, PA
    Thank you, Joe and Don. Tubes are stock. Someday I'll roll them. Will consider becoming a subscriber. Will hopefully audition the C500 and compare it to the C22 at some point (my brother has the C200/MC275 IV, and is tube rolling the 275 with Gold Lions, after he buys, puts them into, and then removes the Gold Lions from his stocking this Christmas). Although the C1100, which I've heard, is certainly something to consider--perhaps after the C1200(?) is announced...

    Best,
    Lance
     
    joeinid likes this.
  6. JWJW

    JWJW Bun E. Carlos

    Messages:
    637
    Location:
    IN
    Lance....
    No brainer.....C22 for sure. Had one, and "upgraded" to the C1100. JMHO....the C22 was better. The C1100 was just a little quitieter, but the C22 was just as musical. Tone controls and loudness switch are just an added bonus. I ran my C22 with a MC275VI and Klipschorns.
    Good luck with your decision. You can't go wrong with the C22, C500, C1100, or a used C2300. All are great pieces.
    :)
     
    Don Bocadill and joeinid like this.
  7. joeinid

    joeinid AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    676
    Location:
    NY
    Love that endorsement for the C22 reissue.

     
    Don Bocadill likes this.
  8. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Smart Ass Sponsor Subscriber

    Messages:
    23,522
    Location:
    San Francisco Peninsula
    Welcome to AK and the mac forum Bushikan

    I'll assume here you tested these amps at home and the preamp you had at this time was the C504? because you got the C22 latter?
    If you haven't yet and still have it you might want to try comparing the C22 & C504 with the system as you did with the power amps.

    Do the testing above and also remember not all recordings, and masterings are equal no matter what format.
     

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