IF your Christmas shopping list includes a preamp, here’s one to tempt you – the new two-chassis McIntosh C12000 preamp, which has everything non-digital that you could possibly need on an analogue preamp.
“The C12000 preamplifier is the next generation of our acclaimed two-chassis preamplifier design. The two-chassis design allows the audio section to be completely separated from the control and power sections. The absolute isolation of a preamplifier’s two main functions – control and sound – is achieved by this unusual but effective design. Splitting these primary purposes of a preamplifier up into separate chassis will deliver the purest sound reproduction possible,” McIntosh tell us.
“The C12000 comprises the C12000 controller module and the C12000 preamplifier module. All power control, data ports, and external control connections are located in the controller. Dual isolated power supplies drive the left and right channels, while a dual microprocessor gives robustness to the control system.
“The preamplifier houses the audio connections and circuitry. Inside each, the left and right channels are electrically and mechanically isolated from each other to allow true dual mono operation, resulting in the ultimate stereo separation and sonic purity.
“The two units are connected together via a pair of specially designed, high performance umbilical cables that are shielded to prevent outside noise from leaking into the audio signal. Although they are two separate units, when connected, they act as one and are easy to control and operate from the included remote control or the C12000 Controller front panel.”
The preamplifier section offers both vacuum tube and solid-state output, allowing the user to decide which to use based on the music being played and sound preferences. All outputs are driven by discrete amplifiers.
For vacuum tube output, six tubes power the preamplifier section with two 12AT7 tubes and one 12AX7A tube assigned to each the left and right channel. Solid-state output is via a discrete balanced op-amp.
As for the phono section, whether you choose the vacuum tube or solid-state output, it uses two 12AX7A tubes per channel in a fully balanced configuration that incorporates RIAA equalisation.
In all, the C12000 has six balanced and four unbalanced high-level analogue inputs, including the two phono inputs that can be configured as either MC or MM with adjustable capacitance, resistance and gain. There’s also a headphone output that uses a “High Drive headphone amplifier with Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD)”.
The separate audio and control sections, with the left and right channels electrically and mechanically isolated from each other, mean true dual-mono operation.
The C12000 retails at US$16,000, and can be ordered now. Shipping is expected to begin to the United States and Canada in December, and to the rest of the world, early next year.