The C2300 was one of the most admired McIntosh vacuum tube preamplifiers ever made. Its successor the C2500 has been even more popular. Building upon those successes is the C2600 which incorporates the best of the previous models while adding our advanced digital audio section and upgraded tube circuitry design.

The C2600 is a versatile vacuum tube preamplifier with an expansive set of 16 inputs to connect virtually all your analog or digital music sources. For audio purity, the analog and digital sections are housed separately in our dual chassis design to prevent signal corruption. Analog inputs include 3 balanced, 4 unbalanced plus 1 each dedicated Moving Magnet and Moving Coil phono inputs. Digital inputs consist of 3 optical, 2 coax, 1 USB and 1 McIntosh exclusive MCT connection. Three sets of balanced and unbalanced analog outputs will connect the C2600 to your amplifier.


  • Total Harmonic Distortion
  • Frequency Response
    +0, -0.5dB from 20Hz to 20,000Hz
    +0, -3dB from 15Hz to 100,000Hz
  • Maximum Volts Out (Balanced / Unbalanced)
    16/8 V RMS
  • Input Impedance (Balanced / Unbalanced)
    44K ohm, 22K ohm
  • Phono Voltage Gain
    Moving Magnet: 40dB
    Moving Coil: 60dB
  • High Level Voltage Gain
    To Main Output: 15dB
    To Fixed Output: 0dB
  • Signal To Noise Ratio
  • Dual Mono Power Supply
  • Dual Mono, Fully Balanced
  • Balanced Input
    3 Stereo
  • Unbalanced Input
    4 Stereo + 2 Phono
  • Phono Input Moving Coil
    1 (adjustable)
  • Phono Input Moving Magnet
    1 (adjustable)
  • Digital Coaxial Input
  • Digital Optical Input
  • Digital MCT (DIN) Input
  • Digital USB Input
    1 (accepts PCM signals up to 32-bit/384kHz; supports DSD64, DSD128 and DSD256 plus DXD 352.8kHz and DXD 384kHz)
  • Digital AES/EBU Input
  • Balanced Fixed Output
  • Balanced Variable Output
    3 Stereo
  • Unbalanced Fixed Output
    1 Stereo
  • Unbalanced Variable Output
    3 Stereo
  • Headphone Output
    1/4″ High Drive with Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD®)
  • Record Processor Loop
  • Input Level Match
    Yes, +/- 6dB
  • Home Theater PassThru
  • Unbalanced Analog Connector Type
    Premium gold-plated solid brass




I am very, very impressed by the McIntosh C2600. Lately, I’ve reviewed a few preamplifiers that are priced much higher than this preamp, but when I put the McIntosh C2600 in my system I was pleasantly surprised. I was not only surprised with its sonic performance, but that this performance comes with so many features. Its number of inputs, tone controls, programmability, not to mention high-performance internal DAC and superb phono section, all for $7000. I recommend the McIntosh C2600 for all audiophiles who love tube sound, and are looking for a true preamplifier – not just a simple linestage – at a relatively affordable price. Add to this the reputation of McIntosh, which will allow one to upgrade in the future, and as a bonus own a preamplifier that retains much of its purchase price. But I have a feeling that this preamplifier will be thought of as more than just an heirloom. Instead, I think any owner of a McIntosh C2600 will be too busy enjoying music through this preamplifier. For a lifetime and longer.