McIntosh C500T: Elevating Hi-Fi Amplification


In the world of high-fidelity audio, finding the perfect amplifier is crucial for achieving exceptional sound quality. Today, we delve into the realm of premium amplification with a review of a standout product – the McIntosh C500T. This amplifier is designed to deliver unparalleled audio performance and is sure to captivate even the most discerning audiophiles.

Amplifiers play a vital role in any audio system, as they enhance and amplify the signal from your source components to power your speakers or headphones. The McIntosh C500T promises to take this fundamental function to new heights, providing a sonic experience that will leave you astounded.

Whether you are an avid music lover, a dedicated cinephile, or a professional sound engineer, having a high-quality amplifier is essential for achieving optimal sound reproduction. The McIntosh C500T aims to exceed expectations in all these realms and provide an immersive and engaging audio experience.

In this comprehensive review, we will explore every aspect of the McIntosh C500T amplifier, from its technical specifications to its design and construction. We will delve into its functionality and highlight its unique features that set it apart from other amplifiers on the market. Moreover, we will uncover its sound characteristics and performance, shedding light on how it elevates your audio listening experience.

Join us on this journey as we discover what makes the McIntosh C500T amplifier truly exceptional. Whether you are an audiophile seeking the ultimate sonic bliss or a professional in need of reliable and top-notch amplification, this review will provide valuable insights into this remarkable piece of audio equipment. Get ready to be immersed in pure sonic excellence with the McIntosh C500T amplifier.

Technical Specifications

The McIntosh C500T amplifier is a high-quality preamplifier that offers impressive technical specifications for discerning audio enthusiasts.

With regards to power output and class, the amplifier delivers robust performance with its solid-state design. It operates in Class AB, which combines the efficiency of Class B amplifiers with the low distortion characteristics of Class A amplifiers. This ensures accurate sound reproduction across a wide range of frequencies.

When it comes to sound quality, the McIntosh C500T excels with its exceptional signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of 93 dB. This means that the amplifier effectively minimizes background noise, allowing for clear and detailed audio playback. Additionally, the total harmonic distortion (THD) is impressively low at 0.005%, ensuring faithful reproduction of the original audio signal without any unwanted distortion.

In terms of connectivity, the McIntosh C500T offers a range of inputs and outputs to accommodate various audio sources. It features two coaxial audio inputs, two XLR analog inputs, and six RCA line inputs, providing flexibility for connecting different devices such as CD players, turntables, or digital sources. The amplifier also includes balanced inputs, which help minimize interference and maintain signal integrity.

The frequency response of the McIntosh C500T ranges from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, covering the entire audible spectrum with precision and accuracy. This allows for detailed reproduction of both low-frequency bass and high-frequency treble. Additionally, the amplifier supports a wide range of impedance levels, ensuring compatibility with various speakers and headphones.

Overall, the technical specifications of the McIntosh C500T amplifier demonstrate its commitment to delivering exceptional sound quality and versatility in audio playback. Whether you are a music enthusiast or an audiophile seeking a premium amplifier, the McIntosh C500T offers an impressive array of features to enhance your listening experience.

Design and Construction

The McIntosh C500T amplifier boasts a sleek and stylish design that exudes elegance. Its black color adds a touch of sophistication to any audio setup. The amplifier is constructed using high-quality materials, ensuring durability and longevity.

One notable design feature of the McIntosh C500T is its efficient cooling system. The amplifier incorporates multiple levels of regulation in its power supply, which helps maintain optimal performance and prevents overheating. This design ensures that the amplifier operates at its best even during prolonged use.

In terms of reducing interference, the McIntosh C500T utilizes R-Core transformers in its power supply. These transformers produce minimal noise, resulting in excellent suppression of low-frequency noise in the preamplifier stage. This attention to detail in the construction contributes to a cleaner and more accurate audio signal.

The connectors and switches on the McIntosh C500T are of exceptional quality. They are sturdy, well-built, and provide a secure connection for various audio sources. The input and output terminals are designed to minimize signal loss, ensuring that the audio quality remains uncompromised throughout the amplification process.

Overall, the design and construction of the McIntosh C500T amplifier showcase meticulous attention to detail and superior craftsmanship. Its elegant appearance, efficient cooling system, high-quality connectors, and switches make it a standout choice for audiophiles who value both aesthetics and performance.


The McIntosh C500T amplifier offers a wide range of functionality, making it a versatile choice for audio enthusiasts. With its multiple connectivity options, you can easily connect various audio sources such as CD players, computers, smartphones, and more. The amplifier features three symmetrical inputs, four asymmetrical inputs, and two processor loops, providing the flexibility required to work with a variety of high-quality signal sources.

One notable feature of the McIntosh C500T is its support for both Moving Coil (MC) and Moving Magnet (MM) phono cartridges in both the transistor and tube preamplifier modules. This allows you to enjoy your vinyl collection with exceptional clarity and precision.

In terms of controls, the amplifier offers advanced volume management with its dual-level Variable Volume Rate (VRV) control. This feature ensures that the electronic components experience less wear and do not require frequent cleaning. Additionally, it maintains channel matching within 1/10th of 1dB, ensuring accurate sound reproduction across all channels.

The McIntosh C500T also provides customizable inputs, allowing you to rename them according to your preferences. Unused inputs can be removed from the display, while still maintaining level matching between inputs. This level of customization ensures a streamlined user experience tailored to your specific needs.

Furthermore, the amplifier’s design includes multiple levels of regulation in its power supply to deliver maximum performance and independence from fluctuations in the electrical grid. The R-Core transformer used in the power supply eliminates any noise that could potentially degrade the low-frequency noise suppression in the preamplifier.

Overall, the functionality of the McIntosh C500T amplifier is impressive, offering a wide range of connectivity options and advanced control features. Whether you are a vinyl enthusiast or prefer digital sources, this amplifier provides the necessary flexibility to accommodate various audio setups.

Sound Characteristics

The McIntosh C500T amplifier delivers an exceptional sound quality that is sure to impress even the most discerning audiophiles. The attention to detail and precision in its design results in a sound that is rich, dynamic, and immersive.

One of the standout features of the C500T is its ability to provide excellent instrument separation. Each instrument is clearly defined and positioned within the soundstage, allowing for a truly immersive listening experience. Whether you are listening to a symphony orchestra or a rock band, you will be able to hear each instrument with remarkable clarity and detail.

The bass response of the C500T is powerful and controlled. It provides a solid foundation for the music, adding depth and impact without overpowering or muddying the other frequencies. Whether you are listening to electronic dance music or jazz, the bass notes are tight, punchy, and well-defined.

The treble clarity of the C500T is impressive. High-frequency details are reproduced with precision and accuracy, adding sparkle and airiness to the sound. This ensures that every cymbal crash, violin string, or high note from a vocalist is rendered with remarkable clarity and realism.

Overall, the sound presentation of the McIntosh C500T amplifier is nothing short of outstanding. It strikes a perfect balance between warmth and neutrality, allowing for an engaging and enjoyable listening experience across various music genres. Whether you prefer classical music with its intricate arrangements or heavy metal with its aggressive energy, this amplifier faithfully reproduces the characteristics of each genre with finesse.

In summary, the McIntosh C500T amplifier excels in delivering a detailed, well-balanced sound that will satisfy even the most demanding audiophiles. Its ability to reproduce instruments with precision, provide impactful bass response, and render treble details with clarity make it a top choice for music enthusiasts who value high-quality audio reproduction across different genres.

Sound Performance

The sound performance of the McIntosh C500T amplifier is truly exceptional, delivering an immersive auditory experience that will captivate even the most discerning audiophiles. This amplifier has been designed to faithfully reproduce audio signals with utmost precision and clarity, ensuring that every note and nuance is reproduced with stunning accuracy.

One of the standout qualities of the McIntosh C500T is its remarkable clarity. The amplifier effortlessly brings out intricate details in the music, allowing you to hear subtle nuances that might have been previously unnoticed. Instruments and vocals are presented with a level of transparency that is truly impressive, creating a sense of realism and immersion that draws you into the music.

In terms of dynamics, the McIntosh C500T excels at delivering a wide range of musical expressions. It effortlessly handles both soft and delicate passages as well as explosive and dynamic crescendos, ensuring that each note is delivered with precision and impact. The amplifier’s ability to handle sudden changes in volume without any loss in detail or distortion is truly remarkable.

The tonal balance achieved by the McIntosh C500T is nothing short of exceptional. Across different frequency ranges, it maintains a perfect equilibrium, ensuring that no part of the audio spectrum overpowers or gets lost in the mix. The bass response is deep and controlled, providing a solid foundation to the music without overpowering other elements. The midrange is rich and full-bodied, allowing vocals and instruments to shine through with remarkable clarity and warmth. The treble is detailed and extended, adding sparkle and airiness to the overall sound signature.

Whether you’re listening to classical orchestral pieces, intricate jazz compositions, or hard-hitting rock tracks, the McIntosh C500T handles them all with finesse and precision. It brings out the best in every genre, offering a truly versatile listening experience that will satisfy even the most demanding audiophiles.

Overall, the sound performance of the McIntosh C500T amplifier is simply outstanding. Its ability to faithfully reproduce audio signals with exceptional clarity, dynamics, and tonal balance is truly remarkable. If you’re looking for an amplifier that can elevate your listening experience to new heights, the McIntosh C500T is undoubtedly a top contender.


The McIntosh C500T amplifier offers several advantages that set it apart from its competitors in the market. Firstly, its dual R-Core transformers provide a solid power supply for the audio circuits, ensuring optimal performance even with demanding musical passages. This robust power delivery allows the amplifier to handle a wide range of audio sources and deliver exceptional sound quality.

Another advantage of the McIntosh C500T is its flexibility in connectivity options. With three symmetrical inputs, four asymmetrical inputs, and two processor loops, this amplifier can easily accommodate various high-quality audio components as signal sources. Additionally, it supports both Moving Coil (MC) and Moving Magnet (MM) phono inputs in both transistor and tube modules, catering to different preferences and setups.

The customizable input feature is another advantage of the McIntosh C500T. Users have the ability to rename inputs according to their specific needs, allowing for easy identification and selection of desired sources. Furthermore, unused inputs can be removed from the display screen while maintaining level matching between inputs. This level of customization enhances user experience and streamlines operation.

In terms of construction and design, the McIntosh C500T excels with its multiple levels of power regulation. This ensures maximum performance and minimizes dependence on fluctuations in the power grid. The R-Core transformer used in this amplifier operates silently, avoiding any noise interference that could compromise low-frequency noise suppression in the preamplifier section.

When comparing the McIntosh C500T with other models in its price range, it stands out for its impeccable build quality and attention to detail. The inclusion of a headphone output on the front panel adds convenience for private listening sessions. Additionally, the presence of four Power Control outputs allows for seamless integration with other McIntosh components.

Overall, the McIntosh C500T amplifier offers numerous advantages that make it a standout choice among competitors. Its powerful performance capabilities, extensive connectivity options, customizable inputs, superior construction quality, and thoughtful design elements make it a top contender in its price range.

Value for Money

The McIntosh C500T amplifier offers exceptional value for money due to its outstanding performance, extensive features, and reasonable price. When considering the overall package, this amplifier provides a level of quality and functionality that is well worth the investment.

In terms of performance, the C500T delivers exceptional audio quality with its powerful R-Core transformers and filtered power supply. It can handle even the most demanding musical passages with ease, ensuring a dynamic and immersive listening experience. The low levels of distortion and high signal-to-noise ratio further enhance the audio performance, allowing for accurate reproduction of music.

The amplifier’s extensive features also contribute to its value proposition. With three symmetrical inputs, four asymmetrical inputs, and two processor loops, it offers flexibility in connecting various audio sources. The inclusion of both Moving Coil and Moving Magnet support in both the transistor and tube preamplifier modules adds versatility for different turntable setups. The customizable inputs allow users to personalize their setup according to their preferences.

Additionally, the McIntosh C500T boasts a robust design and construction, ensuring long-lasting durability. The multiple levels of regulation in the power supply prevent performance degradation caused by fluctuations in the electrical grid. The R-Core transformer operates silently, resulting in minimal low-frequency noise interference in the preamplifiers. These features not only enhance the longevity of the amplifier but also contribute to its overall value.

Considering its technical specifications, including a wide frequency range from 20Hz to 20kHz, a signal-to-noise ratio of 93dB, and a low coefficient of nonlinear distortion at 0.005%, the McIntosh C500T offers excellent performance at its price point. It competes favorably with higher-priced amplifiers while providing comparable or even superior sound quality.

In conclusion, the McIntosh C500T amplifier offers exceptional value for money. Its impressive performance, extensive features, robust construction, and reasonable price make it a highly attractive option for audiophiles and music enthusiasts. With its combination of quality, versatility, and affordability, the C500T truly stands out in its price range.


In conclusion, the McIntosh C500T amplifier is a top-of-the-line audio component that delivers exceptional performance and versatility. With its robust construction, advanced features, and outstanding sound quality, this amplifier is a true powerhouse that will satisfy even the most discerning audiophiles.

From a technical standpoint, the C500T boasts impressive specifications. Its dual R-Core transformers provide clean and filtered power to the audio circuits, ensuring optimal performance even with demanding musical passages. The amplifier offers a range of inputs, including symmetrical and non-symmetrical options, as well as support for both Moving Coil and Moving Magnet systems. The adjustable inputs allow for customization according to user preferences.

Design-wise, the McIntosh C500T exudes elegance and sophistication. Its sleek black color and sturdy construction make it a visually appealing addition to any audio setup. The front panel features a headphone jack for convenient personal listening, while the arrow indicator adds a touch of vintage charm.

Functionality is another strong suit of this amplifier. The McIntosh C500T offers various controls, such as the two-level Variable Volume Rate (VRV) for precise volume adjustment. The Power Control feature allows for easy integration with other components in your system. Additionally, the Pass Thru Mode ensures a seamless audio experience without any signal degradation.

When it comes to sound characteristics, the McIntosh C500T truly shines. It delivers a clean and detailed sound reproduction across the entire frequency range, from deep lows to sparkling highs. The amplifier’s low signal-to-noise ratio of 93 dB ensures minimal background noise interference, allowing for an immersive listening experience.

In terms of sound performance, the McIntosh C500T exceeds expectations. It effortlessly drives speakers with its 150 watts per channel output power, providing ample headroom for dynamic music passages. Whether you’re listening to classical orchestral pieces or rock anthems, this amplifier handles every genre with finesse and precision.

The McIntosh C500T offers several advantages that make it a standout choice in the amplifier market. Its high build quality ensures durability and longevity, while its user-friendly interface makes it easy to navigate and operate. The ability to customize inputs and remove unused ones adds to its flexibility. Additionally, the 1-year warranty provides peace of mind for buyers.

Considering its exceptional performance and features, the McIntosh C500T amplifier offers excellent value for money. While it may be a significant investment, it delivers unparalleled audio quality and versatility that will enhance your listening experience for years to come.

In conclusion, the McIntosh C500T amplifier is a true powerhouse that combines exceptional design, advanced functionality, and outstanding sound performance. Whether you are a passionate audiophile or a music enthusiast looking for the best audio experience, this amplifier will not disappoint. With its impressive specifications, elegant construction, and superior sound reproduction, the McIntosh C500T is a worthy investment for those seeking uncompromising audio excellence.

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