McIntosh C39 Preamplifiers

5/5 (4 Reviews) MSRP : $4000.00


Product Description



Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jinho Park a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: October 26, 2001

Bottom Line:   
First off I fell in love with this unit back in 1994 when Stereophile originally reviewed it. I knew I had to have it, and then when I saw it on sale at a local dealer I jumped at the opportunity to get it.

Now 7 years later, along with the 6 channel input upgrade this unit is still my control center of my home theatre. It's still as stunning as the day I had it! The THX Prologic processing is still amazing, even by todays digital standards.

I love how many inputs/outputs it has, since you can never have too many of those. Although at the list price of $4000 back in 1998 it is no bargain, I've seen it on Ebay going for much less. I figure if you buy the C-39 with 6 channel input upgrade for $1500 and the MSDS-4 for $1000, you would really have a cheap version of their famed MX-132 (minus the tuner and balanced outputs). Personally I love my MR-78 tuner, and so I really didn't care for having the tuner part of the pre-amp, although I really would have liked having the balanced outputs...

I have a friend who bought the C-39 and had www.msbtech.com upgrade him to the 6 channel input and he didn't even lose his balanced outputs...go figure! Not sure why McIntosh did the upgrade and took out the balanced outputs.

Anyways, I love it... and I only hope that McIntosh upgrades their MSDS-4 surround processor which will incorporate the 6.1 DTS-ES and Dolby Digital THX-EX processing.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $2800.00



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Fantomas a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 12, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I wanted to get out of the neverending need of upgrading,
the neverending circle of new "reference" models being born every other day, putting the last "reference" piece behind in every aspect, and I wanted to end the pointless search for the unachievable, creating live-like atmosphere with a pair of speakers...
I wanted a steady system, I wanted to start spending money on software rather then hardware. I wanted a preamp that would take care of my two-channel listening as well as my home cinema. I now have a 40" Fujitsu Plasma TV, EAD TheaterVision P DVD player, McIntosh 7205 5-channel amp and Soliloquy front rear center and subwoofer speakers in my home theater and in my 2-channel setup I have a Theta Miles, Theta Gen. V., and a VPI TNT with a Pentagon, into the C-39 and Grado RA-1 headphone amp and RS-1 headphones.
I don't feel that I have to move this preamp out of the picture. I feel that now I have the best I should have and
I will not try to take this any further. If I would, I wouldn't have time to listen to music or funds to buy software. A killer piece of equipment.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1997



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by CHRIS NICHOLSON a Casual Listener

Date Reviewed: April 14, 2001

Bottom Line:   
SINCE PURCHASING THIS I HAVE BEEN VERY SATISFIED WITH BOTH THE SOUND AND VALUE. IF YOU CAN AUDITION ONE TAKE THE OPERTUNITY YOU WILL FIND IT REWARDING.I DON'T KNOW ANY OF THE TECHINICAL TERMS I JUST KNOW WHAT SOUNDS GOOD TO ME. MY WIFE ENJOYS THIS AS WELL.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Casual Listener

Product model year:   1996

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   STEREO ONE



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by JJD a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: February 25, 2001

Bottom Line:   
The C39 comes in different guises. The normal model has 2 balanced outputs. These can be replace by 6 (5.1) analog inputs from a processor. A THX card can be added. The version that I have (and am reviewing) has the 6 analog inputs and the THX card.
This is truly a superb piece of purely analog audio equipment. The clarity of sound is really extraordinary.
I bought this as an analog preamp to go with my digital one (Golden Theatre GTX-1). While the GTX-1 (see my review) is a great digital home theater preamp, it converts analog signals (fm, phono, etc.) to digital and then back with inevitable loss. When DVD-audio became available, a preamp with 6 analog inputs was needed. The combination of the two, together with some good pricing on ebay, convinced me to try the C39. (I will review the Technics DVD-audio player later (not enough software available for a fair review).
I have all my digital inputs going through the GTX-1 (which goes into the C39) and the analog inputs going directly to the C39 which outputs directly to the amps.
Sonically, this is one the best preamps I have heard. The fm (from a magnum dynalab etude) is extraordinary. Much better than the Revox it replaced (which was quite good).
The 6 inputs allow you to use DVD-audio or another format that might require D to A converters that have higher resolution than your digital preamp has. For example, the GTX-1 has 24/96 DAC's but DVD-audio can go to 192. For this you need to use the on-board DAC of the DVD-A and an analog input. One problem is that there isn't much available in this format (192). Nevertheless, the protection schemes will not let many disks output 24/96, so you need the 6 inputs even for this. If you use an external DAC with protected software, it degrades to normal CD digital output.
In addition to the above, there is a completely separate second zone that can be used. This requires an IR receiver or keypad to turn on (not included). I haven't bought one yet.
The one drawback is the remote which does not include some functions.
These can be purchased new or almost so from dealers or on ebay for a very reasonable price. Be careful when buying to be sure you know which version (5.1 inputs or XLR in/out, and whether it has THX option).

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1995




Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating



Axiom Audio:



Award-Winning Axiom: