Categories: AmplifiersNews

Introducing the New McIntosh C8 and MC830

New open chassis McIntosh duo combines valve luxury, solid-state power and timeless industrial design
C8 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier and MC830 Solid State Amplifier: stunning looks, legendary McIntosh sound quality

September 17th, 2020, Binghamton, NY, USA: Following in the footsteps of McIntosh’s retro-styled MA252 and MA352 integrated amplifiers, (which themselves took design cues from the MC275 Vacuum Tube Amplifier), McIntosh has launched two more ‘open chassis’ amplifiers, the C8 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier (£4,295) and MC830 Solid State Amplifier (£4,995 each). 

With style cues that nod to their 1950s and 1960s aesthetic design heritage, both the C8 and MC830 are full of modern-day technology, with a feature set that’s perfectly suited to the modern music lover. The duo offers direct turntable connectivity, thanks to MM and MC phono inputs, digital readiness for McIntosh’s (optional) multi-input DA2 DAC module, plus a high-quality McIntosh headphone amplifier for late-night and personal listening.  

C8 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier

The C8 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier is a compact-footprint design, complementing the MC830. It is powered by four 12AX7a valves, housed inside stylish protective cages. 

The C8 is highly flexible for the modern music lover and benefits from both balanced and unbalanced inputs, plus Moving Coil and Moving Magnet phono inputs with adjustable loading. Bass and treble tone controls help with different environments around the world. The C8 also benefits from nameable inputs, plus it’s possible to connect a powered subwoofer.

With many music lovers already owning high-performance standalone DACs, the C8 is supplied digital-ready: McIntosh’s optional DA2 Digital Audio Module can be installed by McIntosh dealers for a supplement, bringing seven digital inputs: two coaxial, two optical, one USB, one proprietary MCT (for use with McIntosh’s line of SACD/CD transports), plus one audio-only HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) connection. 

For personal and late-night listening, the C8 is specified with McIntosh’s High Drive headphone amplifier which effortlessly drives a wide range of headphones. The C8’s Home Theater Pass Through allows the C8 to be seamlessly integrated into home cinema systems, plus its Data Ports can send remote control commands to connected source components.

Input selection, bass, treble, tone bypass, balance and input offset levels can all be adjusted using the front panel knobs, or the included remote control; all settings, volume level and input selection are shown on the front panel display.

MC830 Solid State Amplifier

The MC830 (monoblock) is a massively powerful solid-state amplifier that belies its compact footprint (similar to the MA252 Integrated Amplifier). Its distinctive ‘open chassis’ design gives unrestricted access to its fast-responding Dual Scale Watt meter, which delivers an accurate readout of power output; the MC830’s direct-coupled output design offers 300 watts (8 Ohms). 

The MC830’s distinctive McIntosh Monogrammed Heatsinks™ add visual appeal and keep the MC830 running cool for optimum performance. The amp also benefits from both balanced and unbalanced inputs, and features several proprietary McIntosh technologies. To protect speakers and systems, the MC830’s patented Power Guard® technology monitors the amplifier’s output signal to protect against overdrive; if necessary, the amplifier makes real-time micro adjustments to the input signal to prevent clipping (distortion). 

Another level of proprietary protection is Sentry Monitor™: fuse-less short-circuit protection that disengages the MC830’s output stage before the current exceeds safe operating levels; it reset automatically when operating conditions return to normal.

The MC830 also features McIntosh’s patented high-quality Solid Cinch™ speaker binding posts which are gold-plated to prevent both corrosion and ensure a top-quality signal is transferred to the loudspeakers.

Common features

Both the C8 and MC830 include Power Control ports which allow for easy system power-up and shut down, by sending power on/off signals to other connected McIntosh components. Both also feature a user-selectable Auto Off feature, switching the power off after 30 minutes if either no signal or no user input has been detected.

A die-cast aluminium name badge is affixed to each side of the chassis (on each unit) and the front, top and rear of the chassis is polished to a mirror finish. Each unit features a black-glass front panel with silver trim, blue Watt meter (MC830), an illuminated logo and control knobs.

Pricing and availability

Orders for the C8 and MC830 can be placed now with Authorised McIntosh dealers with shipping expected to begin in October (UK); September (USA and Canada).

  • C8: £4,295, $5,575 USD
  • MC830: £4,995 (each), $6,484 USD (each)
Jay Luong

Mr. Audio Bacon himself. An open-minded electrical engineer and software developer by trade. I have an obsession with the enjoyment of all things media - specifically in the realm of music and film. So much heart and soul (and money) go into the creation of this artistry. My aim is to find out which products get me closer to what the musicians and directors intended.

View Comments

  • Why oh why did McIntosh drop a preamplifier into the old chrome power amp chassis?
    It reminds me of those "Cheese Heads" that show up for Green Bay football games wearing a giant chunk of fake cheese strapped to their heads.
    Absolutely ridiculous.
    So stupid and ugly I would never even give a listen to junk that was sech a blatant self referential plagiarized tipoff of their own very different heritage product.
    A PREAMP that looks like a POWERAMP?
    A transistor POWERAMP that looks like an old TUBE power amp?

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