McIntosh C39 Preamplifiers

C39

User Reviews (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7  
Audioquest   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 10, 2016]

The one review that bashed this unit as is somewhat right, if you buy it for HT duty alone you are wasting your money as it doesn't decode any newer formats. However if you buy it for a 2 channel preamp you won't find anything that compares near the use price point. It's smooth, detailed and very layered. I've owned a ton of gear over many years so I do have a solid foundation on which to draw conclusions. Get the one with the XLR outs, the other with the the card is a waste. On top of this the phono is absolutely stellar if you are into vinyl. Blows any $1000 mc phono stage out of the water

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Danny Noonan   AudioPhile [Sep 01, 2015]

Some People have no Idea of McIntosh Equipment and the Quality that goes into there Stereo Systems.The people who leave negative are the ones who can not afford to buy there Audio.I'm talking to the one who left the remark I wouldn't pay more than $ 500 is one who most likely buys japan made stereo from best buy.He hasn't a clue of what he's talking about.What an A hole.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Mateo Decaprio   AudioPhile [Mar 03, 2015]

Of course this a well built piece of audio machinery. Fit and finish are great. Sound is good too. However, the most important part of a pre-amp are the inputs and this unit is totally outdated. It pairs well with a VCR! It is not old enough to be a classic and not new enough to be relevant. What is a THX card anyway? All of this proprietary junk is obsolete and unavailable now.

PROs: If you can find one of these cheap enough it will match your other Mcintosh gear. The volume knob works great. It can select from many analogue sources.

I would not spend more than $500 bucks on one of these units.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
CHRIS NICHOLSON   Casual Listener [Apr 14, 2001]
Strength:

BUILD QUALITY - PLEASING BOTH TO THE EYES AND EARS

Weakness:

MY 17 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER SAYS IT UGLY - NO WEAKNESS FOUND AS OF YET

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.

Similar Products Used: PROTON 1100
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Jinho Park   Audiophile [Oct 26, 2001]
Strength:

McIntosh look and quality. So many inputs!!!

Weakness:

No component video switching, and no conversion between composite and s-video.

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.

Similar Products Used: Proceed AVP, Lexicon MC-1, & Adcom GTP-750.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Fantomas   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 12, 2001]
Strength:

Built quality, sound.

Weakness:

none-dts

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.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
JJD   Audiophile [Feb 25, 2001]
Strength:

Well built, clean clear sound, 5.1 analog inputs

Weakness:

remote does not control all functions

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).

Similar Products Used: Revox, Golden Theater
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-7 of 7  

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