McIntosh C8 2-Channel Vacuum Tube Preamplifier



The C8 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier is a compact-footprint design, complementing the MC830. It is powered by four 12AX7a valves, housed inside stylish protective cages. 

The C8 is highly flexible for the modern music lover and benefits from both balanced and unbalanced inputs, plus Moving Coil and Moving Magnet phono inputs with adjustable loading. Bass and treble tone controls help with different environments around the world. The C8 also benefits from nameable inputs, plus it’s possible to connect a powered subwoofer.

With many music lovers already owning high-performance standalone DACs, the C8 is supplied digital-ready: McIntosh’s optional DA2 Digital Audio Module can be installed by McIntosh dealers for a supplement, bringing seven digital inputs: two coaxial, two optical, one USB, one proprietary MCT (for use with McIntosh’s line of SACD/CD transports), plus one audio-only HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) connection. 

For personal and late-night listening, the C8 is specified with McIntosh’s High Drive headphone amplifier which effortlessly drives a wide range of headphones. The C8’s Home Theater Pass Through allows the C8 to be seamlessly integrated into home cinema systems, plus its Data Ports can send remote control commands to connected source components.

Input selection, bass, treble, tone bypass, balance and input offset levels can all be adjusted using the front panel knobs, or the included remote control; all settings, volume level and input selection are shown on the front panel display.



  • Number of Channels: 2
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: 0.08%
  • Frequency Response:
    +0, -0.5dB from 20Hz to 20kHz
    +0, -3dB from 15Hz to 100kHz
  • Maximum Volts Out (Balanced / Unbalanced):
    16V RMS / 8V RMS
  • Sensitivity High Level (Balanced / Unbalanced):
    900mV / 450mV
  • Sensitivity Phono (Moving Coil): 0.45mV
  • Sensitivity Phono (Moving Magnet): 4.5mV
  • Signal To Noise Ratio (High Level): 95dB
  • Signal To Noise Ratio (Moving Coil): 75dB
  • Signal To Noise Ratio (Moving Magnet): 80dB
  • Voltage Gain (High Level): 15dB
  • Voltage Gain (Moving Coil): 75dB
  • Voltage Gain (Moving Magnet): 55dB
  • Input Impedance (Balanced / Unbalanced): 44K ohm, 22K ohm


  • Balanced Input: 1
  • Unbalanced Input: 2
  • Phono Input Moving Coil: 1 (adjustable)
  • Phono Input Moving Magnet: 1 (adjustable)
  • Upgradeable Digital Audio Module: Yes; DA2 can be installed
  • Digital Coaxial Input: 0
  • Digital Optical Input: 0
  • Digital MCT (DIN) Input: 0
  • Digital USB Input: 0
  • HDMI (ARC) Input: 0
  • Digital AES/EBU Input: 0
  • Balanced Fixed Output: 0
  • Balanced Variable Output: 1
  • Unbalanced Fixed Output: 0
  • Unbalanced Variable Output: 2
  • Headphone Output: 1/4" High Drive
  • Input Level Match: Yes, +/- 6dB
  • Home Theater PassThru: Yes
  • Unbalanced Analog Connector Type: Standard
  • Service Port: 1


  • Tone Controls: Bass and Treble
  • Tone Bypass and Input Assign: Yes
  • RS232 Control Input: Yes
  • Power Control Output: 1 Main, 2 Trigger
  • Rear Panel Data Port: 2
  • Rear Panel IR Sensor Input: Yes


  • Multi-Chassis or Single: Single
  • Output Meters: No
  • Vacuum Tube or Solid State: Vacuum Tube
  • Power Consumption (On): 50 Watts


  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 31.2cm x 19.4cm x 41.3cm
  • Weight: 8.2 kg
  • Shipping Weight: 11.3 kg