McIntosh Labs C2600 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier

Model: C2600 UPC: 101220161004 Item: 167197

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C2600 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier

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

The C2600 is a versatile 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 the 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. 

The C2600 features a 32-bit/384kHz, DSD digital-to-analog-converter (DAC). The optical and coax inputs will decode digital music at up to 24-bit/192kHz for high resolution audio playback. The C2600 is also capable of decoding and playing DSD files; the USB input accepts PCM signals up to 32-bit/384kHz and supports DSD64, DSD128, and DSD256 plus DXD 352.8kHz and DXD 384kHz. When paired with the MCT450 SACD/CD Transport, the proprietary MCT input offers a secure DSD connection for playback of the high definition audio found on SACDs in order to deliver the purist possible sound quality. 

With the C2600, all inputs can be renamed to your preference and are available all of the time, giving you more freedom to configure your system. The outputs have also been updated to be easier to operate when bi-amping or tri-amping so that your highs and/or lows are not accidentally turned off. Bass and treble tone controls can adjust individual sources as needed. For headphone listening, the addition of Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD®) brings an added dimension to your music. The H?ome Theater Pass Through feature allows for seamless integration into your multi-channel home theater system. 

The C2600 features classic McIntosh design cues that not only blend with existing systems, but also with any room décor. It can be paired with a variety of amplifiers, speakers, room correction devices, CD players, turntables, and tuners to make a complete home audio system.




  • Total Harmonic Distortion: 0.08%
  • 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: 100dB


  • Headphone output: 1/4" high drive with Headphone Crossfeed Director
  • Inputs balanced: 3 stereo
  • Inputs unbalanced: 4 stereo + 2 phono
  • Variable outputs balanced: 3 stereo
  • Variable outputs unbalanced: 3 stereo
  • 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 coaxial input: 2
  • Digital optical input: 3
  • Digital MCT input: 1
  • Phono moving magnet input: 1 (adjustable)
  • Phono moving coil input: 1 (adjustable)
  • Input level match: Yes, +/- 6dB
  • Home theater pass-through


  • Tone controls: Bass and treble
  • Tone bypass and input assign
  • RS232 control input
  • Power control output: 1 main, 4 trigger
  • Rear panel data ports: 6
  • Rear panel IR sensor input


  • Power consumption: 50 watts
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 17.5" x 7.63" x 18"
  • Weight: 29.5 lbs.

What's in the Box

What's in the Box:

  • C2600 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier

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