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The C53 Preamplifier is ready to serve in your home audio system for many years – even decades – all while delivering unmatched audio quality. Following the digital audio precedent set in our current solid state integrated amplifiers, the C53 stereo preamplifier features an upgradeable digital audio module. But unlike our integrated amplifiers that use our DA1 Digital Audio Module, the C53 is the first to use our new, more advanced DA2 Digital Audio Module.
"Competes with the best I’ve heard despite the complexity of its design… I rate the McIntosh C53 as one of the best preamplifiers I’ve ever heard or used in my system." Named 2020 Best High-End Stereo Preamplifier. - Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
The DA2 builds upon the DA1 with an expanded set of capabilities. In addition to having all the same connections as the DA1 (2 coaxial, 2 optical, 1 USB and 1 proprietary MCT for use with our MCT series of SACD/CD Transports), a new audio-only HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC)1 connection is included on the DA2. This allows it to be connected to TVs with a compatible HDMI (ARC) output to bring your TV sound to a new level of audio performance by listening to it through your home stereo system. Popular multi-channel audio formats from Dolby® and DTS® are supported and will be expertly converted to 2-channel audio for proper playback through the C53. When CEC communication is enabled in both the C53 and your TV, your TV remote can control the power and volume of the C53.
The C53 is a "fundamentally well designed, well behaved" preamplifier that offers "fantastic sound quality." Considering price, build quality and service "the C53 simply checks all boxes and then some" while punching "far ahead of its asking price… Highly recommended, A+++!" - Audiophile Style
Additionally, the DA2’s USB input can support native playback of up to DSD512, surpassing the DSD256 limit of the DA1. This increased DSD playback support is thanks to the next generation, Quad Balanced, 8-channel, 32-bit Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) that powers the DA2. This audiophile-grade DAC is highlighted by both an improved dynamic range and total harmonic distortion compared to the DA1. The USB input also supports DXD up to 384kHz. The coax and optical inputs can decode digital music up to 24-bit/192kHz for high resolution audio playback. Rounding out the DA2 is an MCT input that offers a secure, custom DSD connection for playback of the high definition audio found on SACDs when paired with our MCT series of SACD/CD Transports to produce the best possible sound quality from your SACD collection.
The MC462 Amplifier and C53 Preamplifier named 2021 "Stereo Pre-Power Amplifiers of the Year Over AU$20,000." - Sound+Image
In addition to the 7 digital inputs found in the DA2 module, the C53 also has 9 analog inputs, giving it a nearly inexhaustible number of 16 total inputs for connecting all your music sources. The analog inputs consist of 3 balanced and 4 unbalanced connections, plus 1 Moving Coil and 1 Moving Magnet phono inputs for plugging in your trusted turntable. Outputs include 3 variable balanced and unbalanced connections along with 1 fixed unbalanced connection.
"The C53 replaces a whole shelf-full of components by rolling linestage, phonostages, DAC, equalizer, and headphone amp into a single elegant box that, while not small, is hardly large in view of everything it does. I can’t think of another component that manages to do so much so superlatively well, with no compromises in any ways that matter to me as an audio critic and music lover." - The Absolute Sound
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