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!


Good suggestion @immatthewj on contacting McIntosh.  I thought about that too.  In fact, the dealer that sold me the Mac told me that the previous owner had sent in his warranty registration card, so therefore, the warranty is transferrable.   Again, I took his words for it.   I was going to contact McIntosh to verify that.  Maybe one day when I have some spare time.

Sorry for side tracking,  😀.   Will still welcome any tubes recommendation for the McIntosh!




I previously owned a Mc C1100 and replaced stock tubes with Telefunken 12AX7 and 12AT7. Telefunken is much better than stock tubes. Once you hear them, you don't want to revert back to stock tubes. 

FWIW, I replaced the stock 12AX7 tubes in my C220 preamp with Mullard reissues.  I got a lower noise floor, smoother highs without losing detail, and slightly expanded soundstage.  A great low cost upgrade.