Mcintosh C15 - Your Impressions and Matching Power Amp

Dear All


I would very much appreciate your advise. I have been looking for C15 reviews but I could not find much on the net, so hope to get your opinions here.

I have been offered an irresistible deal for a Mcintosh vintage C15 preamp in very good condition and recently serviced. I understand the amp has smooth delivery, a good grip on bass and pretty detailed with the usual Mcintosh house holographic or tube like sound from the few reviews I have read that were available. I intend to replace my current Schiit Freya preamp with the C15.

Being new to Mcintosh, I hope those who know about this C15 amp or own it could give your impressions of its sound quality which would be helpful. Always wanted to own one hearing so much about various models of Mcintosh amps.

I am also looking at a matching power amp and would appreciate suggestions. Currently I own a class D - XTZ A2 300, 150 watt per channel power amp. Would this be a good match with the C15? Or should I be looking at something else. My speakers are Klipsch RP 6000f which are not really bright as most might think. More clean sounding.

I welcome your thoughts.



Haha. Thanks for your forthright  views and suggested price range.  I have some room to negotiate I guess.


Cleaver username.  

I trust your ears (and brain) and your observations may be spot on.  

This is a great example of why we do audio forums.  Somebody has a question, then others with real hands-on experience share their thoughts.  Then the inuquirer (OP) takes that information and makes an informed decision.

There are no "right" or "wrong" decisions by the OP.  The solution picked by the OP is the "right" one for the OP.  Everyone, expecially the OP, is happy.  

I own the C15 preamp and am very happy with it. I've owned many Mac pre's, including the C48, but the C15 is still my choice because of it's simplicity and looks, and sounds great to my old ears. Paid $800 for it many years ago. My amp is the MC7200, a non autoformer amp  200 wpc. That amp is my favorite of all the Mac amps I've owned, the last of the Gordon Gow era before he passed away. BTW, the C15 was the preamp that Roger Russell had in his own system, which should tell you something. If you buy one at the right price, you can always sell it and get your money back if it's not to your liking. @oddiofyl gave some good thoughts to consider!

It is a good preamp, no doubt   $1500 msrp was a good chunck of change when introduced.   But when I see them places asking $1800 I have to scratch my head.  

I paid $750 back then and it served me well.  Never one issue .  

@sid42 Thanks for the feedback.  Glad that the C15 served you well. I have done as much research as I could, on balance, the MC C15 has received good reviews despite its simple form factor. This also echoes the views of experienced members here and in relevant forums. Appreciate also the tips given by members such as comments shared by @oddiofyl which are very useful. 


I will be pulling the trigger on the C15. Am now looking at the 100 watt per channel  MC 7100 vintage power amp to match.  Its kinda of a similar make to C15 as in no bells and whistles (no autoformers) and also relatively  low on cost.

My current amp is a Class D 150 watt channel power amp, an XTZ A2 300 which has served me well too. Its  rather detailed, clean and  has bass punch in terms of  delivery, though it  can have a tinge of sharpness at upper range frequencies at times. Nothing too distracting.  On the whole it is good (!/EDGE-A2-300/p/405983841).

Though 50 watts lesser, I am wondering if the 7100 can be smoother and richer yet retaining details and bass slam,  particularly enhancing the very  involving Mcintosh sound  when paired with the C15 as compared to my XTZ amp.  Or should I just stick to my  Class D XTZ as the power amp to mate the C15. My speakers are Klipsch RP 6000f which are highly sensitive, about 96db.

Appreciate your thoughts.