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McIntosh C32

Solid State Stereo Pre Amplifier

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McIntosh C32


The McIntosh C32 preamplifier provides the most comprehensive range of functions and control options. Many of these are new in a preamplifier.

The C32 is a dual stereo preamplifier with a built-in monitor power amplifier. There are two totally independent left and right stereo program lines running through the preamplifier. One program line is the listen program line. the other is the record program line. Each program line can select its own program source from any connected input signal i.e. phono, tuner, aux or tapes 1, 2 or 3 without interference with the other program line.

The output of the listen program line is affected by all the front panel controls (except the record switch) and is fed to the main output and/or output 1 and 2 jacks as selected by front panel push buttons. The output of the record program line is not affected by front panel controls (except the record switch) and is fed to all output record jacks.

The monitor amplifier program may be selected from either the listen or record program lines. Separate gain controls for left and right monitor amplifier are located on the top panel. The signal selected for the monitor amplifier is fed to the front panel headphone jacks and the rear panel output line and monitor output connectors.


Frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz

Total harmonic distortion: 0.05%

Gain: 62dB (MM), 20dB (line)

Input sensitivity: 2mV (MM), 250mV (line)

Signal to noise ratio: 90dB (MM), 100dB (line)

Output: 250mV (line), 2.5V (Pre out)

Semiconductors: 67 x transistors, 35 x IC, 62 x diodes, 2 x field effect transistors, 1 x SCR

Dimensions: 406 x 138 x 330mm

Weight: 11.79kg

Finish: front panel is anodized gold and black with special gold/teal nomenclature illumination


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Reviewed Oct 01st, 2017 by rrsmck

I am an electronics and acoustical engineer, MSEE. Acoustics: This preamp provides a huge accurate soundstage. Detail is quite softened, but not as much as in the newer units. Soundstage is due to correct time basing (preserving the distance from mic to instrument to speaker separation) from source to microphone, Designed so, with slower harmonic responses slightly trailing in time and phase from the primary frequencies, passing or slightly altering sounds recorded by different microphones/recorders. Some of the op amp selections and transistors come this way adding to the design. Other brands such as Rotel or at worst the shrill Krell actually retard the lower frequencies/phasing to pronounce the higher harmonic components for sharp detailing (real or not). The C32's design availability to then advanced semiconductors introduced a lot of this roundness and hifi ort of glowing sound, which can at times sound like modern autotuning, but is certainly not (AT is phase locking of performed notes and harmonics to synthetic crystal note frequencies-artificial ). The C36, as measured, is amplifying the recorded primary frequency with slightly delayed harmonics. The C32 is the middle model after which design tweeked these delays using later available chips to shape the Mcintosh roundness. Great sound. As usual the legendary Mcintosh shielding and over grounding and superior components, particularly tantalum capacitors and metal resistors and excellent transformer materials that don't degrade and metal that does not corrode set the electronic voltages against change. Worth the money for good refurbished gear. The sound staging only appears in Sansui gear in the tube stuff (9090) and a little in two c12s. Note: newer models like the new 1000 phono amp with reissue vinyl.new cartridge through the 303 amp provide measured (spectrum analyzer captures and curves, senheiser 4000 mics)) 1.5 to 4 times the soundstage and detail of the C32 , especially with martin logan electrostatics, or the Magnapan 3.7's. The old Quad speakers are good with extreme caution on wattage (25w max). Hard to beat for a $600 refurb unit.

Reviewed Oct 24th, 2016 by Dannysjones

After a year of listening thru this C-32, it's clear why it is so well regarded.
Clean & crisp.
Excellent quiet switching.
Perfect control array.
A pleasure to use and a treat for the eyes when lit in low light.

Find one & BUY IT.

Reviewed Dec 10th, 2015 by hvg

love the sound and the box!!



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