McIntosh launch C53 preamp as first product to feature next-gen DA2 hi-res DAC

C53 Lifestyle HDMI hi res

McIntosh has announced the new C53 preamplifier, which is the first product to debut it’s new seven-input DA2 Digital Audio Module.

Offering 16 inputs, the new C53 high-end preamplifier can be connected to all audio products including turntables, USB devices and, for the first time, HDMI (ARC)-compatible TVs.

The new DA2 Digital Audio Module can be replaced as digital audio evolves and will be available as a separate upgrade for compatible McIntosh products. It also now includes a new audio-only HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) and native DSD512/DXD 384kHz playback over USB, courtesy of a next-generation, Quad Balanced, eight-channel, 32-bit Digital-to-Analogue Converter (DAC). 

Expanding on the ability of DA1, the DA2 offers both improved dynamic range and lower total harmonic distortion. Dolby and DTS multichannel formats are also supported and converted to two-channel. When CEC communication is enabled in both the C53 and the TV, the C53’s remote can control the TV’s power and volume. 

As well as the DA2’s seven digital inputs, the C53 also has nine analogue inputs, comprising of three balanced and unbalanced connections, plus Moving Coil and Moving Magnet. Outputs include three variable balanced and unbalanced connections, along with one fixed unbalanced connection.

The preamplifier features an eight-band analogue equaliser with each band adjustable by ± 12dB to fully integrate with varying room acoustics. 

Home Theatre Pass Through integrates the C53 into a home cinema system and Power Control ports turn other connected McIntosh components on and off; the Data Ports can send remote control commands to connected source components, too.

The C53 preamp will start shipping in the USA in July and the UK and the rest of the world will begin shipping shortly after. It is priced at £9,995.