McIntosh C52 Solid-State Preamplifier $7000 Review

June 15, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“One of the secrets of the Benchmark’s stellar performance is that it re-clocks the signal to eliminate jitter and timing errors. McIntosh addresses this issue with its own set of proprietary protocols. The C52’s digital engine deploys premium ESS chips configured in a fully balanced mode of eight DACs (four per channel) with fanatical attention to regulating power-supply voltage so precisely that it doesn’t deviate from the exact value the DACs require for optimal performance. I have no means of measuring this, but I did try to confound the C52 by replacing my audiophile-grade coaxial cable (of superb construction and shielding) with a cheap, no-name RCA interconnect. The result? Absolutely no discernable effect upon the reproduced sound. Still not satisfied, I went for the jugular, unbending a coat hanger and using it for the coaxial connection. Same difference: no effect upon the sound quality whatsoever. Suffice it to say that you can safely banish all worries about the C52’s ability to deliver a bit-perfect signal. (The coat-hanger stunt was to simulate a worst-case scenario of timing errors and jitter, but you should never use anything except a shielded cable for all digital connections owing to the sheer amount of RFI digital radiates—enough, say, to interfere with an FM tuner or other equipment used within ten to twenty feet of an unshielded connection.)”


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