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Details about  McIntosh C28 Preamp in Fantastic Shape w/Low Reserve

A Great Example of The Most Popular Mac Preamp Ever

McIntosh C28 Preamp in Fantastic Shape w/Low Reserve
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Stereo Exchange Inc

Item Information

Item condition:
--not specified

great condition. tested. McIntosh box for safe shipping, manual copy included

May 19, 2014
Winning bid:
US $660.00
Approximately C $802.73(including shipping)
10 bids ]
US $116.42 (approx. C $141.60) UPS Standard To Canada | See details
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Item location:
New York, New York, United States
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Item specifics

Seller Notes: great condition. tested. McIntosh box for safe shipping, manual copy included
Brand: McIntosh  
Stereo Exchange Inc

Stereo Exchange Inc

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Visit Store:   Stereo Exchange Inc

We’re Stereo Exchange, located in New York City. We've been in business since the 1970s and are a major high-end dealer. We have all the current top brands including the full line of McIntosh on display in our huge showroom.


Here we have the perfect preamp for your dream McIntosh system…a C28 Solid State preamp with that warm, McIntosh sound.


Every once in a while we take a trade-in that is in such nice condition that you almost wonder if time stopped.


This is that piece.


---It works beautifully.

---It has no significant blemishes

---The glass looks super

---The rear panel jacks look amazing

---The end caps look very nice

---Everything works as it should


On the top panel you’ll see two silver stickers.


Those are from the McIntosh clinics that were run for many years.


McIntosh would send “Dave” (DOB) around the country to test and repair, if necessary, any piece of McIntosh that anyone wanted to bring into the clinic…for free.


This one was in clinics in 1974 and, I believe (its hard to read) 1981.


It wears those clinic stickers like badges of honor.


The fact that Dave “blessed” this C28 twice only adds to its legendary history. It was the most popular preamp model McIntosh ever made.


In short, if you have always wanted a great example of McIntosh’s wonderful C28 preamp, your ship has come in.


On top of all that, this C28 is a bit special.


The C28, when it was built, had about the best volume control McIntosh could find, and it was not great, at least by today’s standards!


It needed cleaning periodically, and it “mistracked” at low volumes, meaning that, at the beginning of its rotation, the channels would not be perfectly equal.


Other preamps of the same era had the same issue. Better volume control with power switches attached were only “so good” back then.


Years after the C28 went out of production, McIntosh convinced ALPS to make a batch of custom-designed volume controls for the C28, with the exact original impedance, the right power switch on the rear, quadruple wipers (largely self-cleaning), and a precision resistance element which would give close-to-perfect channel balance at all settings.


Boy did Alpine deliver the goods!


This limited-edition upgraded-quality control also has a super-smooth rotation that made changing volume a pleasure.


Soon after, Alpine refused to make more; I assume they lost money on the project!


This preamp has one of those volume controls.


The volume control is as smooth as silk, both in “feel” and in operation, with no noise or imbalance at any volume I tried.


This preamp is ready to give its new owner many years of musical pleasure.


I cleaned all the controls and switches, and this C28 already had the “phono grounding modification” for reliable phono operation. All the lamps work.


I tested both PHONO inputs, all high level inputs, every output, and every control and switch for proper operation.


The C28 was built for many years. It was the most popular preamp McIntosh ever made. It sounded so nice, looked so nice, and had so many useful features that it took the company a long time to design a better model.


C28s have lots of INPUTS. There is PHONO1 and PHONO2 (only for turntables), TUNER, AUX, TAPE MONITOR1 (on a pushbutton) TAPE MONITOR2 (again, a button), TAPE HEAD (only used in professional recording studios) and MIC (microphone). Almost anything can be plugged into the TAPE1, TAPE2, TUNER and AUX inputs including CD players, DVD players, TV’s and IPODS.


The input sensitivity of the two PHONO inputs can be adjusted to match almost any MM-type cartridge in your turntable.


There are TWO SETS of left and right preamp outputs. This is a useful addition and enables you to bi-amp or run two amplifiers to power two rooms. Additionally, there is a pair of LINE OUTPUTS with their own set of secondary level controls (on the top apron) for powering an amplifier a great distance away. This output has greater output and super-low output impedance to prevent losses in long lines.


There are also two CENTER CHANNEL outputs, also with a level trim control. Originally it was designed for adding a center speaker when the left and right speakers had to be too far apart (in particular, with Klipsch corner-horn speakers).


Today most folks use it as a subwoofer output, since it is a summed left-and-right signal. Now you can adjust the level of your sub right from the preamp!


The BASS and TREBLE “controls” are actually selector switches with precise adjustment. When placed in the 12-o-clock position, that tone control is completely out of circuit. There are separate adjustment knobs for the left and right. This allows you to, say, take boominess out of just your right speaker if it’s in a corner.


There are two filters. The HIGH FILTER is useful to reduce whistle noise on AM. The LOW FILTER is great with turntables. It’s a second-order 12dB-per-octave active filter that removes “howling” in turntables without killing off all the bass.


The PHONO section is fantastic.


It’s a differential-amplification design notable for low noise, accurate equalization, and it’s almost impossible to overload. It can handle ½ of a volt without any overload…amazing! There are TWO turntable inputs, and each has a level adjustment on the top panel.


There is also a FRONT PANEL TAPE input and output jack (it takes a ¼-inch phone plug), which is very hand for plugging something in temporarily (like an IPOD) without needing to reach around the back.


There are also TAPE COPY buttons (1-to-2 and 2-to-1) so you can copy from tape-to-tape even while you listen to something else.


The mode switch is very handy. It has positions for STEREO and MONO, plus REVERSE for recording where the channels are reversed (great for many classical-music recordings done the wrong way). The LEFT-to-L&R, RIGHT-to-L&R, L&R-to-LEFT and L&R-to-RIGHT positions will come in handy some day.


A stereo is simply two mono systems on one chassis. If any connection fails along the path, the sound stops, whether it’s caused by the source, preamp, amp, or any of the interconnection cables.


The most common symptom in a stereo system, therefore, is “one channel is out”. But where does the problem lie? This mode switch will tell you right away. If one of the first two positions is dead, it’s the source or its cable. If one of the last two positions is dead, then the problem is in the amp or speakers.


Dealers LOVE this switch, since, without it, customers would haul in their entire system if one speaker were not producing sound. I hope you never need it, but it’s great to know it’s there.


When we listen at lower-than-live-performance volume, we do not hear BASS sounds well and the sound can be “thin”. LOUDNESS buttons, common on preamps, provide a bass boost to compensate for this. Way too much, usually.


The C28 has AUTOMATIC VOLUME-CONTROL-RELATED LOUDNESS COMPENSATION. When switched on, it adds more bass, progressively, as the volume control is turned down. Above about 2-o-clock on the volume control the circuit is disconnected.


There is also a PRESENCE switch. When activated, it boosts up the voice range to make speech easier to understand, and makes you feel “closer” to the performance. This feature was useful back then, and GREAT now if you plug your TV sound through your stereo system.


There many power outlets on the rear for convenience.



There is also a headphone jack with its OWN AMPLIFIER inside for plenty of output. There are even level-trim controls for that. There is also a pair of BASS TRIM controls (on the top apron) that can give you a small “kick” to VERY LOW FREQUENCIES.


If you have an older McIntosh amp without a power switch, there is a separate AC receptacle for it, with a switch on the top apron for turning off the amp for when you use headphones.


If you want to run two pairs of speakers off your main amp, you can find SCR2a and SCR2 speaker control relays on EBAY sometimes. This connects to the amp and the preamp and allows the MAIN and REMOTE pushbuttons on the preamp to control the speakers. The SCR2a is very high quality and has minimal losses.


This is one great preamp, and it deserves a new owner who will cherish it for many years.


I wonder who will be enjoying great music through it 20 years from now?




It will be carefully packed for shipment by a McIntosh packing expert in a proper McIntosh box-with-a-box for safe travel.


Things to know…

This item is USED with no warranty, refunds, or exchanges.

It has been tested.


We will accept PAYPAL or major charge cards for sales to the US.

We accept PAYPAL ONLY for sales to Canada.


We will ship this item to the US and Canada ONLY.

We will NOT ship this item overseas.


Canadian buyers are responsible for all customs duty and UPS charges.


Sales tax will be charged if the unit is shipped to / sold to within New York State, or if it picked up at the store.


The above words are the property of KZ Consulting and are NOT to be copied.






Questions and answers about this item

No questions or answers have been posted about this item.

Seller assumes all responsibility for this listing.

Shipping and handling

Item location: New York, New York, United States
Shipping to: United States, Canada
Excludes: Africa, Asia, Central America and Caribbean, Europe, Middle East, Oceania, Southeast Asia, South America
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Seller charges sales tax for items shipped to: NY*(8.875%).
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