McIntosh C52 to C53 Upgrade

I had a McIntosh C50 pre-amp/DAC that I replaced with a C52. Now thinking about upgrading to a C53. For those of you that have gone down this path, is this a worthwhile/noticeable upgrade? Any noticeable change in SQ? I can't say in all honesty it was noticeable to me going from a C50 to the C52.


Wasting your hard earned money.  The new one may look different but the sound quality will be the same.  Bad move. 

I concur with previous posts. I own many Macs. Don't upgrade just because it is a new model.

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I'll play the devil's advocate.

Go for it.  Screw the reviews, worthiness of upgrade or sound quality.  This is why you worked so hard to earned and have the money.  Upwards and onwards. The only American way to go.  Gloooory glory halleluuujah   

Ooo.  My neighbor just yelled shut the f up with the singing. 

All together now!

Mine eyes have seen the glory
Of the coming of the Buy....

I have the C2600 that I got as a demo barely used unit and a fabulous price. I have been tempted to upgrade to the C2700 so I know your pain. I do not stream so the DA2 is not something I would use. But I am still tempted. I would say go with your feelings. Sometimes the urge to upgrade will not go away regardless of the need. 

If your upgrade itch is FOMO over SQ, try some cortisone cream. The units will sound the same, just like your C50.  McIntosh Labs engineering doesn’t suffer from audiophilia nervosa. When they’re done with a design they’re done. The next project looms. 

Many thanks for everyones excellent advice, I am certainly going to take it. Stick with the C52 it is then.

@mgattmch I think stay with the C52 as long as you can.  I had C2600 and listened to the C2700 and the DAC module was the primary difference.  And the DAC wasn't the key value for the unit to was a it's function as a preamp with a phono stage. 

The C52 is a good unit - wait for a step change upgrade and I expect your C52 will be easy to sell with good resale.

Enjoy your system!



There are 2 questions to ask yourself. Do you need HDMI/ARC? Yes or No. If No then save your money: Question 2: Do you have FOMO? If the answer is yes, then upgrade: The other alternative is try and compare to see if the D2 module sounds that much better than the D1 module. Also, keep in mind that most of these companies are in 5 year recycle path. So if you have FOMO, its a bad idea to make a purchase if a unit is 4 years into its lifecycle. The other issue is how good is the upgraded model and is it worth the COVID penalty that has hit the audio industry. I am in the retail side of the industry and there has been a been a 10 to 40% price increase across the board. I did my upgrade 4 years ago and luckily I don't have FOMO.

Pleased to report I don't need the HDMI/ARC option, optical connection is just fine. Secondly I don't have FOMO, so, like I said. I am going to follow everyones excellent advice and stick with the C52.