Though it was a brief session, I actually heard a McIntosh C2300 preamp yesterday. It was feeding a pair of MC601s and fed by a MCD1100. The speakers were Adam Audio (I forget the model). I didn't pay much attention to the cabling but did notice some balanced Kimber (Hero?) sticking out the C2300's rear going to the amps. It looks nicer in person than the photos I've seen. And the alphanumeric display is green, not blue; they must photoshop all those photos I see, in which the display is blue. The 2300 was warm to the touch, but not hot. It should definitely have more room than my rack can give it. The stock tubes were installed.
The track I heard was by the Fairfield Four, an a cappella gospel group. I know not to invest too much in what I heard, but the voices sounded pretty realistic, with a nice touch of dynamics and detail. Overall, it was a bit more neutral-sounding than I'm used to. The last time I heard Adam Audio speakers (at my 501 audition) I was turned off by how bright they sounded. But this time, though different material and a different system, things weren't too bad. These particular speakers have a built-in sub, so the 601s were driving only the mids and highs.
Leaving the store, however, I began developing a bit of a headache. Could this have been due to the sound of the system, perhaps the speakers? I can't blame the 2300. So, the 2300 is back on my radar a bit, I suppose.