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  1. #1

    McIntosh C52 vs. C1100

    Has anyone heard a direct comparison of the McIntosh C52 and C1100 preamps on the same system? I have the C52 coupled with the MC452 and have been very happy with it so far. My sources are all digital - PS Audio Direct Stream DAC and Bridge II streaming Tidal and Qobuz, and PS Audio DS Memory Player. My speakers are restored 1982 Klipschorns with complete Volti Audio modifications. System also includes twin SVS SB-16 subs. I keep reading that the KHorns would benefit from a tube preamp and wonder if the 2X price difference will be worth it. Any thoughts on this comparison would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Re: McIntosh C52 vs. C1100

    I’ve had both preamps at different times in my system. Both are awesome. In my humble opinion the C1100 is better. It has a little more bloom and air and is slightly warmer. If you can justify the price difference, it’s well worth it.
    Wharfedale Linton w/ stands, Avantgarde Duo XD, Klipsch RB-75, Klipsch RP-160M.

    Luxman 590AXII (incoming), Job INTegrated

    Conrad Johnson GAT2, Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE Stage 2, Misho Myronov Wooden pre.

    Misho Myronov Wooden amp, First Watt SIT-3 (x 2 - one as backup), First Watt F7 (incoming), Job 250 Monos, Valvet E2se, NuForce STA200, AkitikA GT-102 amp, ASL Wave monos, Dennis Had 45 monos.

    RME Audio ADI-2 DAC FS, Lumin U1 mini, ModWright Ultimate Sony XA-5400ES, Audio Mirror Tubadour III NOS R2R Tube Dac w/ SE upgrades.

    Burmester 948, McIntosh MCLK12, Kimber Kable, Siltech, Cardas, Avanti Audio cables.

  3. #3
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    Re: McIntosh C52 vs. C1100

    If your in NJ why don't you see if Backert Labs is still allowing in-home trials and give the Rhumba 1.3 a try.
    Main - JVC QL-Y7/Denon DL-301 Mk II, Gold Note PH-10, Nuprime CDT-8, Auralic Aries G1, Aqua La Voce S3, Supratek Chardonnay, Van Alstine Vision SET-400, Fritz Carrera Be, (2) Rythmik F12SE, Audio Envy IC's & PC's, Triode Wire Lab PC's, USB & SC's, PS Audio Stellar P3, PI Audio Uberbuss, Timbernation rack

    Family Room - Oppo UDP-203, Teac NT-505, Audia Flight FL Three S, Reynaud Abscisse Jubilee, (2) Rythmik F-12G, Audio Sensibility SC & IC's, Neotech PC's, SurgeX SA-1810

  4. #4
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    Re: McIntosh C52 vs. C1100

    This is not the comparison you were looking for, but you may be able to gleam some insight none the less.

    Having moved from a C 2500 to a C 1100 about 6 months ago yes, there is a difference certainly a cleaner, fuller sound. Before purchasing the C 2500, I did listen to the solid state counter part at the time, it may have been a c50 but not sure. I very much preferred the smoother sound of the 2500.

    The best thing is to listen to the two together. The folks at Audio Classics in Vestal, NY would be able to easily facilitate this. Depending on where you are in NJ, it could be a day trip. They may even have a pair of the Khorns around as well.
    McIntosh C-1100, MC 75's, MC 275 (lows), MR 85, MCD 205.
    Legacy Focus SE's. VPI Classic 1 w/ Denon 103R. Bryston BDP-3 & BDA-3.

  5. #5

    Re: McIntosh C52 vs. C1100

    Thank you, Joe, I appreciate your input.

  6. #6

    Re: McIntosh C52 vs. C1100

    Thanks John. A trip to Audio Classics is a good idea and probably a fun day!

  7. #7
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    Re: McIntosh C52 vs. C1100

    I wish the price differential was less. The C52 is a superb preamp and I loved the dac inside.

    For ultimate satisfaction and enjoyment, I really need/love tubes and what they bring to the music.

    Sure, there are other options and some were mentioned above, all great recommendations. I love the look of an all McIntosh system though and the visual appeal is undeniable.

    Please let us know what you decide.
    Wharfedale Linton w/ stands, Avantgarde Duo XD, Klipsch RB-75, Klipsch RP-160M.

    Luxman 590AXII (incoming), Job INTegrated

    Conrad Johnson GAT2, Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE Stage 2, Misho Myronov Wooden pre.

    Misho Myronov Wooden amp, First Watt SIT-3 (x 2 - one as backup), First Watt F7 (incoming), Job 250 Monos, Valvet E2se, NuForce STA200, AkitikA GT-102 amp, ASL Wave monos, Dennis Had 45 monos.

    RME Audio ADI-2 DAC FS, Lumin U1 mini, ModWright Ultimate Sony XA-5400ES, Audio Mirror Tubadour III NOS R2R Tube Dac w/ SE upgrades.

    Burmester 948, McIntosh MCLK12, Kimber Kable, Siltech, Cardas, Avanti Audio cables.

  8. #8

    Re: McIntosh C52 vs. C1100

    My thoughts exactly, Joe. I just need to hear it to make the price difference judgment. Thanks again.

  9. #9

    Re: McIntosh C52 vs. C1100

    Thanks for the tip on Backert Labs, Jack. I will check into that as well.

  10. #10
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    Re: McIntosh C52 vs. C1100

    One more thing, the C 1100 does not have a built in DAC. But... you already have a well regarded DAC so no issue.
    McIntosh C-1100, MC 75's, MC 275 (lows), MR 85, MCD 205.
    Legacy Focus SE's. VPI Classic 1 w/ Denon 103R. Bryston BDP-3 & BDA-3.

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McIntosh C52 vs. C1100

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