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.


@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.


@oddiofyl your comment about the C15 being overpriced is in my opinion typical of used prices for all Mac products. Having owned many Mac items, and being a fan since 1978, I knew what they cost at the time. Used prices today are insidious, costing way more than they originally were sold for. Being retired, I would never purchase Mac's new stuff either, especially their amps. 

ram18, the MC7100 is also a good choice, similar in design to my MC7200, but without the meters. Both those amps might be considered "simple" compared to having autoformers which Mac loves ( I don't like them) but they sound great to me. Good luck!

The 7100 is a very good amp, it was often paired with the C15.    They play well together 


Thanks for sharing. That's good to hear.



Just curious to know sid. I gather you had the C15 for sometime. Any servicing needs you had to undergo with the amp.  Did it give you any hassles  in this aspect? Just preparing myself for the servicing needs down the road  since the amp has been around for sometime.  Also can I stack a power amp say MC 7100 if I do get it on top of the C15? Any heat issues? I saw some models where Mac amps are stacked on top of each other.


I purchased my current one in 2012. Prior to that I had a C48 for awhile, and prior to that a C15 also. In my opinion, the C15 sounded as good as the C48, so I went back to my current C15. I have had no issues with any of these pre's. I did change out the lights last year, not because I needed to, but I changed the lights on my MC7200 and thought I might as well do the C15 at the same time. It is very easy to change the lights out; all you need is a flat blade screwdriver. I also had purchased led's for the C15 but they didn't fit quite right, so I stayed with the originals.

You can probably stack the amp on top of the C15, but I personally never do that. The C15 doesn't get hot at all, it is slightly warm to the touch. Like I said previously, if you buy it and aren't happy with it, you can sell it easily. In fact, should you want to sell it, contact me first.