A digital module is the star at the heart of a new pre-amplifier by McIntosh Labs.
The C49 pre-amp’s digital audio module features a selection of digital inputs, which is nothing unusual. However, McIntosh points out that the module is replaceable as new digital technologies become available, effectively future-proofing the pre-amp.
For now, the DA1 module offers two coaxial RCA, two Toslink optical and a USB input, as well as McIntosh’s proprietary MCT interface for use with its own MCT disc transports. The DAC is an eight-channel 32-bit design operating in quad-balanced mode, and supports high-res music data up to DSD256 and DXD 384 kHz.
That’s in addition to the pre-amp’s analogue inputs, which comprise a pair of balanced XLR, three single-ended RCA and both moving magnet and moving coil phono inputs. All inputs can be renamed.
The output array consists of two balanced XLR and two single-ended RCA variable-level outputs, as well as a fixed-level RCA output set. Other features include bass and treble controls, a home theatre pass-through function, and a built-in headphone amp.
Unmistakably McIntosh, the C49’s cosmetic treatment includes the trademark black glass fascia, green-illuminated logo, and aluminium end caps.
The new McIntosh C49 should become available in South Africa in the second half of the year, with local pricing to be confirmed. The pre-amp retails for US$5 000 in the United States.