Tubes Recommendation for McIntosh Preamp

Hi,  I recently purchased an used McIntosh 2-chassis C1100 tube preamp.   So far I'm pretty happy with it.    

I'm thinking about replacing the line level stock tubes.  They are 2 12AT7 and 1 12AX7A per channel.   

I'm looking for recommendation from fellow members here.   I would like something on the warm side (definitely not bright sounding), and good solid and tight bass.   

Also I wonder if I need matching.  e.g. do I need 2 matched pairs of 12AT7, with each matched pairs for each channel.  Or do I need matched quad of 12AT7 for both channels.   Same question for the 12X7A.  Do I need them to be matched.   I don't seem to see any information available in the user manual on tube replacement.

Thanks very much in advance!


I have a C2700 with similar tube complement, 2 for line stage, 2 for MC, 2 for MM, I replaced them with NOS tubes and its much much better then the stock JJ tubes mac uses (way to bright, toneless). 

matching is cheep, why would you not get them matched.  

 tube depot, tube store have tube kits for these preamps you may want to check that out first as a starting point. New production tubes in the kits but NOS tubes are all over the internet some good some bad. google is your friend. 

Hi @glennewdick, may I ask you which NOS brand did you get?

Most comments I read from the internet is that NOS tubes are better than new production. I don’t mind buying NOS. In fact, I got some NOS for my other preamp (Cary SLP-05) and quite like them. But I'm also curious about how much longer can the inventory of NOS tubes last. I would think they eventually run out,


How do you know that these tubes a seller claims are NOS aren't just pulls/used? For example a lot of Tektronics scopes used Telefunken 6922/6DJ8's. When those scopes were scrapped those tubes appeared on the market, fraudulently being sold in factory boxes as NOS at premium prices.