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McIntosh C47

Stereo analog and digital preamplifier

Item # 958C47

Like other longtime audiophiles here at Crutchfield, I nearly flipped when I heard that McIntosh was coming on board.

Like other longtime audiophiles here at Crutchfield, I nearly flipped when I heard that McIntosh was coming on board.

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Discontinued item
11 questions - 22 answers

Item # 958C47

Need help?
Contact our Virginia-based experts.

About the McIntosh C47

A state-of-the-art stereo preamp for the way we listen now

Like other longtime audiophiles here at Crutchfield, I nearly flipped when I heard that McIntosh was coming on board. And as I dug into the details of their audio gear lineup, one component I kept coming back to was the C47 stereo preamp. One of their newest models, the C47 is designed to deliver world-renowned McIntosh sound quality whether you're listening to your favorite analog sources or the latest high-res digital audio formats.

A state-of-the-art stereo preamp for the way we listen now

Like other longtime audiophiles here at Crutchfield, I nearly flipped when I heard that McIntosh was coming on board. And as I dug into the details of their audio gear lineup, one component I kept coming back to was the C47 stereo preamp. One of their newest models, the C47 is designed to deliver world-renowned McIntosh sound quality whether you're listening to your favorite analog sources or the latest high-res digital audio formats.

Along with its stellar sonic attributes, the C47 boasts the classic McIntosh look — black glass front panel, big metal knobs, and illuminated logo. And this gorgeous preamp is designed and built right here in the USA.

Hear everything at its best, from high-res digital files to vinyl

McIntosh C47 back panel

With multiple analog and digital inputs, and XLR and RCA outputs for two amplifiers, the C47 can handle sophisticated stereo systems.

With connections for up to 12 components, the C47 is one of the most versatile stereo preamps we know of. For your analog audio gear, you'll find two balanced XLR and three unbalanced RCA inputs. The high-quality built-in phono preamp lets you plug in a turntable with either a moving-magnet or moving-coil cartridge.

Your digital sources are covered, too, with an array of inputs that give you access to the C47's advanced digital-to-analog converter (DAC). It's a great way to seriously upgrade the sound from your computer, disc player, music streamer, or TV. The USB Type B input handles the highest-resolution digital files: up to 32-bit/384kHz for PCM, as well as DSD and DXD formats.

And speaking of DSD, the C47 is one of only a handful of components with a digital DSD input. It means that you can play SACD discs on the McIntosh MCT500 SACD/CD Transport and send the DSD bitstream to the C47's superb DAC for decoding.

Plays nicely with your other equipment

McIntosh C47 angled view

Like a talented musician, the C47 seems to raise the performance level of the players around it. Balanced XLR inputs and outputs ensure that your music remains as pure as possible from your compatible XLR-equipped sources all the way to the balanced inputs on your power amp(s). That's right, the C47 has dual balanced and unbalanced outputs, making it easy to bi-amp your system, if you choose. One easy amplifier recommendation is McIntosh's MC152.

With this preamp at the helm of a high-end audio system, you'll experience music with 3D immediacy and impact, and the sense that you're sharing the studio or stage with your favorite musicians. And the C47 has a few other tricks up its sleeve. The full-size headphone output features McIntosh's Headphone Crossfeed Director circuitry, which reduces the common trapped-inside-your-head quality of headphone sound and adds spaciousness and depth. And a Home Theater Pass Through feature lets you make the C47 part of a multichannel surround sound system. The right and left front channels from an A/V processor or surround decoder can pass through the C47's analog inputs/outputs and on to its associated power amplifier.

A world-famous audio heritage, made in America

Since its founding in 1949, McIntosh has defined the meaning of high-quality sound reproduction, while setting industry standards for superior performance and reliability. The company is based in Binghamton, New York, where its high-end components and speakers are still individually handcrafted by a team of skilled experts. This uncompromising dedication to quality has made McIntosh one of the most recognized and respected audio manufacturers in the world.


Product highlights:

    • stereo preamp with analog and digital inputs to handle a variety of music sources
    • high-quality built-in phono preamp for exceptional vinyl playback
    • digital inputs let you connect sources like a computer, disc player, media streamer, or TV and enjoy superior sound
    • accepts and plays high-resolution digital audio sources, including PCM, DSD and DXD files
    • asynchronous USB (Type B) input for reduced timing jitter and better sound when connecting to a computer
    • fully regulated power supplies and R-Core Power Transformer ensure stable, noise-free operation
    • Home Theater Pass Through lets you seamlessly integrate this preamp into an existing multichannel home theater system
    • full-size headphone output with McIntosh's Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD®) circuitry for sound with greater spaciousness and depth
    • bass and treble controls
    • fluorescent front-panel display with adjustable brightness
    • remote control
    • handcrafted at McIntosh's Binghamton, New York factory
    • 2 sets of stereo balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA outputs for connecting two power amplifiers (for bi-amping)
    • set of fixed-level unbalanced RCA outputs for sending an unaltered signal to a recording device
    • 2 sets of balanced stereo XLR inputs for connecting compatible sources
    • 3 sets of unbalanced stereo RCA inputs
    • 2 phono inputs for connecting a turntable (one for use with moving-magnet cartridges, one for moving-coil cartridges)
    • 2 Toslink optical digital audio inputs and one coaxial digital audio input (supports music files up to 24-bit/192kHz)
    • USB (Type B) input for connecting a Mac® or Windows® computer
      • supports PCM music files up to 32-bit/384kHz, plus DSD64, DSD128 & DSD256, as well as DXD 352.8kHz & DXD 384kHz
      • USB audio driver required for playback on a Windows PC (free USB driver download available from McIntosh's website)
    • proprietary digital DSD connection for playback of SACD audio when paired with the McIntosh MCT450 SACD/CD Transport
    • 12-volt outputs (1 main, 2 trigger)
    • RS-232 port for automated control systems
    • IR input for connecting an IR receiver
    • 4 data ports allow basic remote control of connected McIntosh source components
    • detachable power cable
    • If connecting to a TV, please make sure you can select "PCM" output in its audio menu — the preamp's DAC cannot decode multichannel Dolby® Digital signals
    • total harmonic distortion: less than 0.003%
    • signal-to-noise ratio: greater than 100 dB
    • 17-1/2"W x 6"H x 18"D
    • weight: 23 lbs.
    • warranty: 3 years
    • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
    • MFR # C47

    What's in the box:

    • Stereo preamplifier
    • 6' AC power cord
    • Remote control
    • Owner's Manual

    Featured video:

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    More details on the McIntosh C47

    Stacey B.

    Features & specs

    RCA Inputs 2
    XLR Inputs 3
    3.5mm Inputs 0
    Phono Inputs 2
    Phono Input Type Moving Magnet/Moving Coil
    Optical Digital Inputs 2
    Coaxial Digital Inputs 1
    Digital XLR Inputs 0
    USB Type A ---
    USB Type B ---
    Ethernet Port ---
    RCA Outputs 3
    XLR Outputs 2
    Optical Digital Outputs 0
    Coaxial Digital Outputs 0
    Digital XLR Outputs 0
    Subwoofer Outputs 0
    Discrete Sub Outs
    Headphone Output Yes
    Audio Features & Specs
    Frequency Response 10-20k
    S/N Ratio (Phono) 0
    S/N Ratio (Line) 100
    THD 0.003
    DAC Bit Depth 32-bit
    DAC Sample Rate 384 kHz
    Home Theater Bypass No
    Wireless Features
    Bluetooth N
    Bluetooth Formats Supported N/A
    Wi-Fi N/A
    Frequency Bands N/A
    Apple AirPlay No
    DTS Play-Fi No
    Chromecast built-in No
    Roon No
    HEOS No
    MusicCast No
    BluOS No
    Music Services
    Amazon Music No
    Apple Music No
    Pandora No
    Qobuz No
    SiriusXM No
    Spotify No
    Tidal No
    TuneIn No
    YouTube Music No
    Apple Control App No
    Android Control App No
    Amazon Alexa No
    Google Assistant No
    12 Volt Trigger In-2/Out-2
    IR Control In
    RS-232 Yes
    Other Specs
    Width (Inches) 17.5
    Height (Inches) 6
    Depth (Inches) 18
    Parts Warranty 3 Years
    Labor Warranty 3 Years

    Product Research


    Stereo Preamplifier: The McIntosh C47 is a versatile solid-state stereo preamplifier with an expansive set of inputs (12 total inputs) to connect virtually any of your analog and digital music sources. The C47's multiple outputs have the ability to drive multiple power amplifiers (sold separately). The McIntosh preamplifier's reproduction is sonically transparent and absolutely accurate.

    Classic McIntosh Design & Specially-Designed Power Supply: The C47 stereo preamplifier incorporates classic McIntosh design cues, including a black glass front-panel, rotary knobs, illuminated logo, and brushed aluminum end-caps. Fully regulated Power Supplies and a special R-Core Power Transformer ensure stable noise free operation even though the power line varies.

    32-Bit/384kHz DAC: The McIntosh C47 utilizes a 32-bit/384kHz DAC for exceptional high-resolution audio reproduction. The C47's internal DAC (digital-to-analog converter) circuitry is designed to decode 2-channel PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) and DSD (Direct Stream Digital) Digital Signals.

    Note: Other digital audio signal format types than 2ch PCM or DSD will cause the audio outputs of the C47 to be muted and the front-panel LCD will indicate an error message.

    Electromagnet Input Switching w/ Naming: Electromagnetic input switching is used in McIntosh C47 preamplifier to switch the variety of source components connected. Rather than the commonly-used mechanical switches that will deteriorate with wear, electromagnetic switches are high tech switching nodes that allow very long, trouble-free operation. The default Input Names can be changed to match the name of the component connected to it or any other custom name desired (up to 10 characters).

    Analog Inputs: The McIntosh C47 Preamplifier is fitted with balanced & unbalanced analog inputs, plus MM & MC phono inputs.

    • Balanced & Unbalanced Analog Inputs: The McIntosh C47 Preamplifier is equipped with two balanced stereo XLR inputs and three unbalanced stereo RCA inputs. The Balanced Inputs allow the connection of a source component using longer cable lengths without a loss in sound quality. The analog inputs can be matched in level, preventing abrupt changes in volume levels.
    • MM/MC Phono Inputs: The C47 has two precision Phono Preamplifier Circuits, one for Moving Coil (MC) Phono Cartridges and the other for Moving Magnet (MM) Cartridges. Both Phono inputs have selectable loading (MC: 25-1,000Ω) / MM: 50-800pf).  The Phono preamp circuits used provide the lowest possible noise and distortion. The close tolerance resistors and capacitors used in the RIAA Correction Equalization Circuitry provide an extremely flat frequency response.

    Digital Inputs: The McIntosh C47 Preamplifier features optical & coax digital inputs, a USB-B input for computer audio, and a proprietary MCT port for SACD playback.

    • Optical & Coaxial Digital Inputs: The McIntosh C47 Preamplifier is fitted with two optical (toslink) digital inputs and one coaxial (RCA) digital input. The optical and coax digital inputs will decode 2ch stereo PCM music files at up to 24-bit/192kHz for high resolution audio playback.
    • USB-B Input: The McIntosh C47 can decode and play back high res PCM & high fidelity DSD files from your Windows PC (7/8/8.1./10) or Mac (OS 10.6.8+) computer via its USB-B input. The preamp's USB-B input will accept 2ch stereo PCM signals up to 32-bit/384kHz and supports DSD64, DSD128 and DSD256 along with DXD 352.8kHz and DXD 384kHz. A Windows PC will require the installation of McIntosh's USB Audio Window Driver (available on the McIntosh website).
    • MCT Port: To enjoy the high definition audio found on SACDs (16/24-bit; 32-192kHz), you can connect the C47 to McIntosh's MCT450 SACD/CD Transport (958MCT450, sold separately) via the MCT input on back of the preamplifier to create a secure and custom DSD connection.

    Analog Outputs: The McIntosh C47 Preamplifier is fitted with balanced & unbalanced outputs, a front-panel headphone jack, and a fixed output.

    • Balanced & Unbalanced Outputs: The McIntosh C47 is equipped with two balanced stereo XLR outputs and two unbalanced stereo RCA outputs. Balanced & Unbalanced Inputs & Outputs can be mixed. For example, you may connect signal sources to Unbalanced Inputs and send signals from the Balanced Outputs; or vise-versa. You can also use Balanced and Unbalanced Outputs simultaneously, connected to different Power Amplifiers.
    • Headphone Jack w/ HXD: The C47 offers a front-panel 1/4" headphone jack for connecting a set of low-impedance (100-600Ω), dynamic headphones, so you can enjoy your music in private. The C47's Headphone Crossfeed Director Circuitry (HXD) improves the sound localization for headphone listening. HXD restores the directionality component of the spatial sound stage normally heard with Loudspeaker listening. You can choose for the preamp to mute the audio outputs when a headphone is connected or have both the audio outputs and headphone jack live at the same time.
    • Fixed Output: The audio signal present at the stereo RCA "FIXED OUT" jacks is unaffected by the preamplifier's equalizer circuitry, so you can send an unaltered audio signal to another zone amplifier.

    Gold-Plated Connectors: The Input and Output connectors contacts are gold-plated for superior corrosion resistance and high electrical conductivity.

    Home Theater Pass Through: When the C47 preamplifier is part of a home theater or multichannel audio system, the Right and Left Front channels from an AV processor or surround decoder can pass through the C47's analog inputs/outputs and onto its associated power amplifier.

    Front-Panel & Remote Control: On the front-panel of the preamplifier are Input & Volume rotary knobs, Output 1 and Output 2 buttons, Tone button, Mute button, and Standby/On button. The McIntosh C47 also includes an IR remote control for wireless operation of the preamplifier. In addition, the remote operates other McIntosh audio components. The IR remote offers the following button functions - Power On/Off, Input Selection, Volume Up/Down, Setup/Menu, Numeric Keypad, and Playback Control.

    • Precision Volume Control: Volume levels are controlled by a precision balanced digitally controlled attenuator system with an optical encoder rotary control. This assures a 0.1dB tracking accuracy between channels. There are 225 individual 0.5dB volume level steps with no noise as the volume level is changed.
    • Bass & Treble: Bass & treble tone controls allow for some fine tuning of your audio sources.  The Bass & Treble controls provide up to 12dB of boost or cut. The C47 remembers the Bass & Treble Setting for each input.
    • Balance Left/Right: You are also able to balance the output level of the preamplifiers left & right output channels.
    • Stereo/Mono Mode: By default the Stereo mode is active for all input sources. However, any input source may be assigned to Mono mode. Mono mode combines the Left and Right channel signals for Monophonic Sound.

    Fluorescent Display: The C47's front-panel, fluorescent display indicates the Source Selection, Volume/Balance Levels, and Setup Mode Selections. The display intensity is also adjustable.

    Custom Integration: The McIntosh C47 offers advanced connectivity and control features often required for custom home integration using premium control systems.

    • Power Control Connectors: The C47 has the ability to automatically switch power on or off to source components via the Power Control connections. The C47's "Main, "Trigger 1/2", and "PASSTHRU" Output Jacks (3.5mm) send power on/off signals (+12 volt/0volt) when connected to other McIntosh source components. The Power Control outputs can be assigned to activate when a given input or output is selected.
    • Data Ports: The C47's four Data Out Ports (3.5mm) send remote control signals to McIntosh source components. These Data Port connections allow for the remote operation of basic functions using the C47's Remote Control.
    • IR Input: The 3.5mm IR input allows the connection of an external IR receiver. With an external sensor connected to the C47, remote control operation of the system is possible from another room and/or when the C47 is located in a cabinet with the doors closed. The signal from a connected external IR receiver will have priority over the signal from the preamp's front-panel IR sensor.
    • RS-232C Port: The preamplifier's RS-232C port requires a 3.5mm stereo minijack to a subminiature DB 9 connector cable (sold separately) to transmit and receive RS-232 commands.

    AC Power Cord + Auto Power Off: The McIntosh C47 stereo preamplifier features a detachable AC power cord with 3-pole IEC connector. The C47 incorporates an Auto Off feature, which automatically places the preamplifier into the Power Saving Standby/Off Mode after approximately 30 minutes of inactivity or no audio signal.

    Mounting Options: The McIntosh C47 can be placed upright on a table or shelf, standing on its four feet. It also can be custom installed in a piece of furniture or cabinet of your choice. The four feet may be removed from the bottom of the C47 when it is custom installed. Always provide adequate ventilation for your C47. Allow at least 2" above the top, 2" below the bottom, and 1" on each side of the preamplifier, so that airflow is not obstructed.

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    Customer Q&A

    11 questions already asked

    How do i incorporate the c47 for surround sound and can I use my existing 2-speakers and amp?
    [ Rocky  Sep 16, 2019 ]
    1 answer
    The c47 is a Stereo preamplifier, and is designed for Stereo sound, not surround sound. If it was an amplifier, you could send it the processes surround sound signal for your front two speakers, since it is just a pre-amp, you wouldn't incorporate it into a surround system, as it's capabilities would be wasted. There would be no meaningful way to incorporate a stereo pre-amp into a surround sound system.
    [ Calvin  Oct 10, 2019 ]  Staff
    Can you please tell me if both outputs are full range or does the C47 have an internal electronic crossover for the sub amp? Thanks
    [ Ken  Apr 25, 2019 ]
    2 answers
    I run 2 balanced out to 2 separate amps to power 4 speakers. There is a 3rd unbalanced out that feeds signal to my powered sub. I love this preamp!
    [ David C.  May 06, 2019 ]
    All of the many outputs are full range.
    [ ROBERT  May 06, 2019 ]
    Will it play through both outputs (1 and 2) simultaneously? I need second output for powered subwoofer in 2.1 setup.
    [ PATRICK  Nov 13, 2018 ]
    5 answers
    [ Michael  Nov 14, 2018 ]
    [ WILLIAM T  Nov 13, 2018 ]
    Yes you can! If you can afford it, you will love the Mac C47.
    [ David C.  Nov 13, 2018 ]
    The C47 is a stereo preamplifier. Both stereo outputs can be played simultaneously. However, I cannot vouch that the C47 wilt handle a powered subwoofer signal.
    [ CHARLES  Nov 13, 2018 ]
    Yes, both OUTPUTS 1 and 2 can play simultaneously. By default OUTPUT 1 and 2 are set to go On/Off by using OUTPUT 1 and 2 push-buttons (switched). OUTPUT 1 and/or 2 can also e set to be always On regardless of the OUTPUT 1 and 2 Push-button settings (unswitched). In addition, one output can be balanced, the other unbalanced. A great sounding preamp for the price for every input, as correctly detailed in "Absolute Sound" review. You shall be pleased!
    [ WILLIAM  Nov 13, 2018 ]
    I currently own A Mcintosh Ma6600 Integrated amp, can I use the C47 preamp with the Ma6600 using integrated amp just as an amp?
    [ TIMOTHY  Aug 25, 2018 ]
    3 answers
    [ WILLIAM T  Nov 13, 2018 ]
    yes you can. you will love the c47, it makes everything sound better.
    [ David C.  Aug 30, 2018 ]
    If the MA6600 has AMP OUT connections, it should work with the C47 AMP IN.
    [ CHARLES  Aug 30, 2018 ]
    What DAC CHIP is used with the McIntosh C47?
    [ Russ  Jul 13, 2018 ]
    2 answers
    Charles, seeing this amp has 4 digital inputs, it very clearly does convert digital to analog. Unfortunately, I do not know the answer to Russ's question as to which specific DAC chip is included.
    [ Michael  Jan 01, 2019 ]
    [ WILLIAM T  Nov 13, 2018 ]
    C47 has a set of fixed-level unbalanced RCA outputs for sending an unaltered signal to a recording device. Can I change bass and treble in this signal?
    [ Szymon  Jun 03, 2018 ]
    3 answers
    [ WILLIAM T  Nov 13, 2018 ]
    Hi, so far I have only used the basic settings. I wish I can tell you more. Thank you.
    [ Gregory  Jun 10, 2018 ]
    from the manual:The C47 remembers for each selected Input whether the Tone Control Circuitry is active or bypassed. Note. The audio signal present at the FIXED OUT Jacks is unaffected by the Equalizer Circuitry.
    [ Stephen  Jun 10, 2018 ]
    Is this preamp quiet when there is no source playing.? Meaning if I put my ear near the speaker, can I hear some buzz/hiss.
    [ Toan  Feb 21, 2017 ]
    1 answer
    The McIntosh is as quiet as pre-amps can be. Any noise you hear from the speakers would be due to the source, the amp, or dirty AC power. I hope that helps. My Bio:
    [ Ryan  Mar 03, 2017 ]  Staff
    McIntosh C47...can the USB input accept the Sony HAP 1ZES USB ? new Sony firmware allows the HAP to use an external DAC. I tried and it doesn't work. Thoughts?
    [ Timothy  Feb 21, 2017 ]
    1 answer
    The manual states the C47 USB Input is compatible with PC Computers (Windows 7.1, 8.1 and 10) and Apple Macintosh (OS 10.6.8 or later). If using a Windows PC, you need the McIntosh USB Audio Software Driver. So your Sony media player may not be supported, even with the new firmware. When I first got my C47 I struggled with how to leverage the C47 DAC since most CD/media players have an internal DAC. First I used the digital optical output of my CD player, then I ended up getting a Mac mini - ripped all my CD's and use Audirvana as my music player. Very happy with the current setup. Good luck.
    [ DAVID  Feb 22, 2017 ]
    What does the 'MCT' acronym stand for in the Mcintosh C47 preamp DIN digital input?
    [ David  Apr 03, 2016 ]
    2 answers
    I'm pretty sure it means Mcintosh Cd Transport. It seems to be dedicated for playing SACDs - For example, the MCT450 SACD/CD Transport, when playing SACDs, could use the MCT DIN connector to "deliver the purest sound quality".
    [ DAVID  Apr 04, 2016 ]
    That is an special input to connect the SACD CD transport MCT450. Others pre amps, like the C52 and D150 have the same input.
    [ Alberto  Apr 04, 2016 ]

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