The C52 is the most advanced, single chassis solid state preamplifier we’ve ever made. This feature packed stereo preamp lets you connect virtually any of your analog components and digital music sources – including those that play the latest high resolution formats such as DSD files – to one easy-to-use device to enjoy them all.
“You will rule your world with the C52. Cool as all this is, it sounds fantastic too. No one combines just the right amount of bling and performance as McIntosh – that’s why they are a legend.” – Tone Audio
“I can’t think of another component that manages to do so much so superlatively well, with no compromises in any ways that matter to me as an audio critic and music lover.” – The Absolute Sound
For connecting analog devices, it includes 3 balanced and 4 unbalanced fully assignable inputs plus 1 each of Moving Coil and Moving Magnet phono inputs for connecting a turntable and enjoying your vinyl collection. On the digital side, it has 3 optical, 2 coaxial and 1 USB input. The optical and coax inputs will decode digital music at up to 24-bit/192kHz for high resolution audio playback. The C52 is also capable of decoding and playing back DSD files for the latest in high fidelity performance; the USB input accepts PCM signals up to 32-bit/384kHz and supports DSD64, DSD128 and DSD256 plus DXD 352.8kHz and DXD 384kHz. An MCT input offers a secure, custom DSD connection for playback of the high definition audio found on SACDs when paired with the MCT500 SACD/CD Transport to deliver the purest possible sound quality from your CD library. The C52 features a 24-bit/192kHz, DSD digital-to-analog-converter (DAC).
“Smooth? You bet. Realistic timbre? Check. Instruments and voices sound staggeringly realistic with no edge or glare whatsoever? Got it.” – Tone Audio
“While this preamp provides a tidal wave of sound, it also shows off a good amount of detail… I keep hearing more stuff packed into the crevices of the music.” – New Record Day
New to the C52 is that all inputs are available all of the time – even if you assign certain inputs to certain devices, giving you more freedom to configure your system the way you want. The outputs have also been updated to be easier to operate when bi-amping or tri-amping so that your highs and/or lows are not inadvertently turned off. An 8 band analog equalizer allows you to fine tune your various music sources just the way you like. For headphone listening, an added dimension can be brought to your music with the addition of Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD®). The Home Theater Pass Through feature allows for seamless integration into your multi-channel home theater system.
This “battleship of a preamplifier” has all the connections one could want “and then some… McIntosh has taken the term ‘comprehensively equipped’ and run with it, for maximum flexibility and future proofing… If you’re looking to indulge in your music instead of the sound it makes, then the C52 and MC301 are ‘strongly recommended.'” – Hi-Fi+
The C52’s classic black glass front panel, blue meters, knobs, illuminated logo and brushed aluminum end caps are all housed in an attractive polished stainless steel chassis that delivers a timeless look. It can be paired with a variety of amplifiers, speakers, room correction devices, CD players, turntables, tuners and other source components to make a complete home audio system.