Try to buy vintage McIntosh audio gear, famed for its rich sound and durability, and you’ll pay more now than when it was new -- if you can find it. But the esteemed American soundsmiths have gamed the system by reissuing two beloved 1960’s tube components, the C-22 preamp and MC75 mono amps. The pre-amp controls switching between your CDs, tuner, and turntable, then pumps the sound into the monaural amps. You’ll need two amps, one for each channel, which increases stereo separation and improves soundstage, a kind of aural 3-D effect. Slightly modernized with things like a protection circuit that stops dying tubes from wrecking your system, the MC75 delivers classic tube sound — known for a smooth, resonant sweetness — without the analog-tech headaches. You'll still pay for it — but if you're looking to bring out the best of your modern music, there's nothing better. $6000 (C-22) and $7,500/pair (MC75); mcintoshlabs.com
The C-22 Preamp and MC75 Mono Amps are boosted with modern touches to make your digital music shine.