C500 2-Channel Preamplifier

The C500 stereo preamplifier is a luxurious two box design where the power supply control section is separate from the audio processing chassis. By keeping the control and sound processing separate, this innovative design produces the purest audio performance possible.

The C500 consists of three separate modules: a C500C control unit, a C500P solid state preamplifier and a C500T vacuum tube preamplifier. Inside each module, the left and right channels are electrically and mechanically isolated from each other to allow true dual mono operation - resulting in the ultimate in stereo separation and sonic purity. You can choose to have your system configured with either the solid state preamplifier for the absolute finest crystalline sound quality, or with the tube preamplifier to produce that warm, organic tube sound. If you’d like the option of having both preamp sections, see our C1000 stereo preamplifier.

Featuring the famed McIntosh blue output meters, the C500 also includes a powerful headphone amplifier, both moving magnet (MM) and moving coil (MC) phono sections, and home theater pass through capabilities.


Electronic Specifications

Total Harmonic Distortion

C500P: 0.002%
C500T: 0.05%

Frequency Response

C500P: +0, -0.5dB from 10Hz to 40,000Hz
C500T: +0, -0.5dB from 10Hz to 20,000Hz

Maximum Volts Out (Balanced / Unbalanced)

C500P: 25/12 V RMS
C500T: 20/10 V RMS

Input Impedance (Balanced / Unbalanced)

C500P: 44K ohm, 22K ohm
C500T: 44K ohm, 22K ohm

Phono Voltage Gain

C500P: 60dB
C500T: 60dB

High Level Voltage Gain

C500P: 15dB
C500T: 15dB

Signal To Noise Ratio

C500P: 100dB
C500T: 93dB

Dual Mono Power Supply


Dual Mono, Fully Balanced

C500P: Yes
C500T: Yes


Balanced Input

C500P: 3 Stereo
C500T: 3 Stereo

Unbalanced Input

C500P: 4 Stereo + 2 Phono
C500T: 4 Stereo + 2 Phono

Phono Input Moving Coil

C500P: 1 (adjustable)
C500T: 1 (adjustable)

Phono Input Moving Magnet

C500P: 1 (adjustable)
C500T: 1 (adjustable)

Digital Coaxial Input

C500P: 0
C500T: 0

Digital Optical Input

C500P: 0
C500T: 0

Digital MCT (DIN) Input

C500P: 0
C500T: 0

Digital USB Input

C500P: 0
C500T: 0

Digital AES/EBU Input

C500P: 0
C500T: 0

Balanced Fixed Output

C500P: 1 Stereo
C500T: 1 Stereo

Balanced Variable Output

C500P: 3 Stereo
C500T: 3 Stereo

Unbalanced Fixed Output

C500P: 2 Stereo
C500T: 2 Stereo

Unbalanced Variable Output

C500P: 2 Stereo
C500T: 2 Stereo

Headphone Output

C500P: 1/4"
C500T: 1/4"

Record Processor Loop

C500P: Yes
C500T: Yes

Input Level Match

C500P: Yes, +/- 6dB
C500T: Yes, +/- 6dB

Home Theater Pass Through

C500P: Yes
C500T: Yes


Tone Controls

C500P: No
C500T: No

Tone Bypass and Input Assign

C500P: No
C500T: No

RS232 Control Input


Power Control Output

2 Main, 2 Switched

Rear Panel Data Port


Rear Panel IR Sensor Input


General Specifications

Multi-Chassis or Single

Multi Chassis (C500C plus C500P or C500T)

Output Meters

C500P: Yes
C500T: Yes

Vacuum Tube or Solid State

C500P: Solid State
C500T: Tube, 8 ea. 12AX7a

Power Consumption (On)

75 watts

Weights & Dimensions

Dimensions (W x H x D)

Each chassis:
17.5" (44.45cm) x 6" (15.25cm) x 23" (58.42cm)


C500C: 30.1 lbs (17.7 kg)
C500P: 25.1 lbs (15 kg)
C500T: 26.4 lbs (15.4 kg)

Shipping Weight

C500C: 46.5 lbs (27.9 kg)
C500P: 41.5 lbs (24.3 kg)
C500T: 42.8 lbs (24.8 kg)

Featured Products In This Category


2-Channel Vacuum Tube Preamplifier

  • Separate audio & control sections
  • 12 analog inputs including MC & MM phono


2-Channel Digital Preamplifier

  • Reference level digital preamp and DAC
  • Use as standalone unit or with C1100


2-Channel Preamplifier

  • Supports DSD64, DSD128 & DSD256 files
  • 8 band analog equalizer; 16 inputs


2-Channel Vacuum Tube Preamplifier

  • Supports DSD64, DSD128 & DSD256 files
  • Upgraded tube circuitry design


2-Channel Preamplifier

  • Supports DSD64, DSD128 & DSD256 files
  • 7 analog and 5 digital inputs


2-Channel Vacuum Tube Phono Preamplifier

  • Fully balanced phono stage
  • 5 equalization curves; 2 noise filters


2-Channel Phono Preamplifier

  • Moving Coil & Moving Magnet inputs
  • Analog outputs + USB for ripping to computer


2-Channel Vacuum Tube Preamplifier

  • Retro styling, modern performance
  • 10 inputs, 4 outputs


2-Channel Digital Preamplifier

  • Supports DSD and DXD
  • 2 Coax, 2 Optical, 1 USB Input


2-Channel Preamplifier

  • Configurable Tube/Solid State/Controller
  • Dual-Mono design


2-Channel Preamplifier

  • Tube or Solid State; MM and MC Phono
  • 3 outputs per channel for tri-amping


2-Channel Vacuum Tube Preamplifier

  • Combines legendary McIntosh tube sound with digital high resolution audio playback


2-Channel Preamplifier

  • Advanced digital inputs including USB
  • USB DAC with 32bit, 192kHz (96kHz) interface


2-Channel Preamplifier

  • 5 band tone controls
  • Analog inputs


2-Channel Digital Preamplifier

  • 2 Coax, 2 Optical, 1 USB Input
  • Advanced Quad Balanced DAC
Recommended Products


1-Channel Amplifier

  • 1,200 Watt Quad Balanced Monoblock
  • Remote Power Control


2-Channel Precision Turntable

  • Belt drive; MC cartridge
  • Illuminated speed meter


Room Correction System

  • Works on 1/12 Octaves
  • 2-Way Electronic Crossover for Bi-amping


Power Controller

  • Isolation Transformer to Shield Components
  • Connect up to 12 components


Floor Standing Loudspeaker System

  • 1,200 Watts Power Handling
  • Ported, 3-Way design