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Introducing DMS-550 & DMS-600 streaming audio players to European audiences

Cary Audio’s two new products, DMS-550 and DMS-600, are innovative crossover digital sources bridging hi-fi sound quality with the convenience of streaming music via Internet or local network. Proprietary software and hardware network streaming solutions are integrated with a high quality pre-amp and DAC, making DMS-550 or DMS-600 a turnkey digital source for any existing stereo system.

As a direct replacement for our award-winning DMS-500, the new DMS-550 incorporates the newest AMK4493EQ DAC chips. The AK4493EQ adopts much of AKM’s VELVET SOUND architecture, achieving higher performance than the previous AK4490EQ. Through this new circuit architecture and design, the subtle acoustic details and musical expression is outstanding. Unlike the DMS-500, the new DMS-550 has a built-in powerful discrete headphone amplifier that’s capable of delivering an outstanding headphone sonic performance driving even the most difficult headphones. Bluetooth has also been upgraded to include aptX™ HD over standard aptX™, producing high resolution 24-bit 48kHz audio via Bluetooth. MQA has also been given our makeover treatment. The MQA decoder includes recent optimization to provide superb rendering up to 768kHz using the AKM DAC. Even the Wi-Fi has been updated to the latest MU-MIMO protocols to allow for greater speeds over 5gHz even while network demands are high by multiple network users.

The DMS-600 builds upon all the same features of the DMS-550 with a few enhancements. Most notable is its “no-compromise” and true reference level sound quality taking the DMS platform’s musicality to an entirely new and elevated level. This is achieved using the flagship VERITA Series AKM4497EQ VELVET SOUND architecture premium 32-bit DAC. This chip is reserved for use only in the most refined and expensive audio products. The DMS-600 includes special anti-resonate feet, anti-resonate all extruded aluminum top cover and sides, matching the same color as its faceplate, as well as an enhanced shielding material on the chassis. While concentrating solely on the sound quality as a source unit, it does not have a headphone amplifier like the DMS-550. However, it does include a Bluetooth output for use with Bluetooth headphones or Bluetooth speakers.

Like their predecessor, the DMS-500, the new DMS-550 and DMS-600 can also be used as a digital preamplifier to connect directly to an amplifier. They also include the same USB, SD card, SPDIF inputs and outputs, true balanced designs with both RCA and XLR outputs, same UI, IR remote, and free iOS and Android apps. All are Roon Ready and include the same internet music services as the previous DMS-500. However, the DMS-550 and DMS-600 also include the Qobuz streaming service.

Australian print mag reviews Cary Audio integrated amp

Jordan Baker, reviewer for Audio Esoterica, takes a close look & listen at Cary Audio integrated amp/DAC Si-300.2d (issue 119).

Download this review as a PDF File or read the excerpts below:

“Cary Audio’s new SI-300.2d Integrated amplifier/DAC is so retro-looking that for a while we thought that Cary must have gone back to its roots and built a valve amplifier… or at least a hybrid. But no, the SI-300.2d is a fully solid-state unit, with a rated power output of 300 watts per channel into 8 ohms (increasing to 450 watts when driving 4-ohm loads).
Despite becoming famous for its valve amplifiers, Cary is not a company that dates back to the 1950s, when the valve was king. It was founded in 1989 by Dennis Had (but now owned by Billy Wright), and was so successful that the company is often credited with responsibility for having popularised the use of single-ended triode (SET) valve amplifiers in North America.”

“It was immediately obvious at the outset that we would not be needing any more power than the SI-300.2d was easily able to deliver. It simply belted out the watts, and despite the fact that the power output meters were dancing away merrily towards the iddle
of the dials we never once feared for our loudspeakers because the sound was so clear and clean, and without distortion”.

“But it should never be the meters that you watch for signs that an amplifier might be running out of power: you should be using your
ears to listen for any signs of distortion and/or clipping. And no matter how hard we drove the SI-300.2d we just didn’t hear any of either. While experimenting with this, we also noted that the sonic character of the Cary Audio SI-300.2d remained constant across all power levels, which is an ideal performance characteristic, and also that character was a true representation of whatever we played: the SI-300.2d did not add unwanted tonal warmth to the sound or smooth off any rough edges. Nor did it exaggerate any part of the audio band: the level of the bass was in perfect balance with the midrange, which was in turn in perfect balance with the treble. Lovely!”

CONCLUSION
“Cary Audio’s SI-300.2d looks fabulous, sounds great, is very well designed, and is built to an extremely high standard — and that build, mind you, is entirely in the USA. It’s also extremely high-powered and able to be controlled via its own remote or its own app and it will play pretty much anything you can throw at it — wired or wirelessly. Full marks, Mr Wright!”

Hi-Fi Choice magazine reviews Cary Audio AiOS

Ever dreamed of a compact system to stream everything audio from TIDAL or your local network? Cary Audio AiOS is here to fulfill your dreams and more: All-in-One-System, which is integrated amp, high resolution DAC and streamer united in one box.

Cary Audio’s all-in-one system is an interesting take on a hi-fi credible style system, but does it have enough in its locker to win us over? Asks David Price in his review published in Hi-Fi Choice Magazine issue 437. This review is online on HFC website in an abridged version. You can also download the full review PDF here.

We add a few excerpts here though:

Billy Wright, the President of Cary Audio, says that he hopes both
audiophiles and young people will look at the AiOS with interest. “By reaching the younger generation of music lovers, we want to introduce them to the appeal of higher performance playback.”
It’s certainly a laudable aim, as is offering older people downsizing from large separates systems a respectable route to something smaller.
[…] A Look closely and it is clear the company has made an effort to lift the AiOS into proper hi-fi territory. The power amplifier section boasts 75W RMS per channel into 8ohm – and,
unexpectedly for something so petite, it doesn’t use Class D power modules, but Class AB MOSFETs. There’s a welter of facilities on top of this, centred around the AKM4490EQ, the same DAC chip used in its reference DMS-500 network player. As an aside, I have never heard a poor-sounding DAC or CD player with this fitted. An in-house designed streaming platform is used. “We don’t believe in using off-the-shelf solutions by third-party vendors,” says Wright. “We have the engineering prowess to do so whereas many competitors don’t, hence why they use third party platforms…”

[…]

Sound quality
I may have some reservations about the ergonomics of the AiOS, but there is nothing to complain about, in the way it plays music. This is an extremely nice sounding one-box system, with an audio quality that totally belies its small size and modest price. It delivers a big, bold and vibrant sound, yet is a long way from being uncouth. Indeed, it’s surprisingly polished, subtle and detailed in the way it plays even plain vanilla Red Book CD from a disc transport. Even
the Bluetooth sounds great.
Whatever input you choose, there is power, musicality and poise – plus a pleasingly fulsome tonal balance, too. It’s quite easy to confuse this for a full-sized hi-fi separate, so good is it.
For example, Wings’ London Town is a silky smooth recording from the late seventies, done at Abbey Road under the watchful eye of George Martin. On a poor system it can sound flat and lacklustre, because the recording itself is so butter-smooth. Via the Cary system, however, the result is vivid yet fulsome. The most striking thing is the vast soundstage; it’s far wider left to right than I would expect from such a device, and not only that, images are located with surprising precision within the recorded acoustic. True, depth perspective isn’t quite up with serious high end hi-fi,
but the expansive soundstaging more than compensates and the result is a broad, room-filling performance that beams effortlessly out of the loudspeakers.
[…]

Master of rhythm
All good so far, but this system’s real talent is its handling of rhythms, and the AiOS delivers a really bouncy and engaging sound.
[…]

Here’s the verdict:

And here is coveted Recommended Badge for our Cary Audio AiOS lifestyle audio system:

We wish you a Cary Christmas

Happy Holidays!
We wish you lots of musical enjoyment and take a liberty to remind that Cary Audio strives to bring best music into your home. To do so we make a wide range of top class audio: from Internet-connected streaming devices to powerful amps to drive your speakers, from tube headphone amplifiers to DACs and phono stages. Take a minute to browse our extensive product catalogue and may your Holiday season be merry and bright!
HH-1 Headphone Amp Click For More Info





CAD-211

Fresh Off the Press: CAD-805RS in Stereophile January 2019 issue

The new issue of Stereophile is out and our favourite reviewer Art Dudley shares his thoughts about Cary Audio CAD-805RS monoblocks.
More info to follow but he concluded his reviews with this:
“Through that last day in my listening room, the sound of Cary Audio’s CAD-805RS monoblocks was thoroughly engaging: I enjoyed every record I played through them”.

We definitely agree.

This review is now online on Stereophile’s website.

Stereophile reviews SLI-100 integrated amplifier

Many thanks to Herb Reichert of Stereophile magazine for his thorough review of our new valve integrated amp. SLI-100 is a new baby and is so precious.
Herb’s review was published on Stereophile’s website on 13 December. Read it there or scroll down for a slightly abridged version. Cary Audio SLI-100 is priced at €6255 in the EU.

Cary Audio SLI-100 integrated amplifier

My Russian neighbor’s blind grandfather, Vlad, has very discriminating ears—but only when I tell him what to listen for. If I don’t, he just bitches about my choice of music. And he refuses to listen to “weak” American orchestras.

Not surprisingly, Vlad worships Mikhail Glinka. “Herb! Play Russlan and Ludmilla!” When he asks for “Pyotr Ilyich,” I groan and quietly put the vodka back in the freezer.

A week ago, after an intense back-and-forth about Stravinsky, Leonard Bernstein, Sergei Diaghilev, and the Ballets Russes, I persuaded Vlad to perform a blind comparison of two fairly similar push-pull tube amps: Rogue Audio’s Stereo 100 power amp ($3495), which uses KT120 tubes to output 100Wpc, and Cary Audio’s new SLI-100 integrated amplifier ($5995), which uses KT150 tubes to produce 100Wpc.

Through the Harbeth Monitor M30.2 speakers I played Stravinsky’s fierce mystery The Rite of Spring, in a recording by Valery Gergiev conducting the Kirov Orchestra (16-bit/44.1kHz FLAC, Decca/Tidal). I asked Vlad to tell me which amp—both operating in Ultralinear mode—reproduced Stravinsky with the greater ease and power.

Vlad jabbered for a couple of minutes—he didn’t seem to be focusing. Eventually, he got into it. After the Sacrificial Dance, I stopped and forced him to commit. Vlad swore on Trotsky’s grave that the second amp I’d played (the Cary SLI-100) was “more smooth and clear—just leave it—don’t change anything!” I was pleased. And, of course, the Russian Grandfather approved of Gergiev’s distinctly macho rendering of The Rite—”not like that messy Bernstein one!” Vlad knows that I favor Leonard Bernstein’s more poetically evocative interpretation with the New York Philharmonic, especially on “six-eye” vinyl (LP, Columbia Masterworks MS 6010).

Description
The Cary Audio SLI-100 ($5995) is an all-tube, stereo integrated amplifier that looks massive and businesslike. It’s finished in what appears to be an extremely durable, black, crinkle powder-coat with a large blue-and-white Cary logo stenciled atop its 8.8-lb tube cage. The SLI-100 measures 17.25″ W by 7.8″ H by 16″ D and weighs 42 lb without tube cage.

On the SLI-100’s rear panel are four pairs of single-ended line-level inputs (RCA), and right- and left-channel pairs of five-way binding posts for speaker cables. Adjacent toggle switches let you select between the 4 and 8 ohm taps on the output transformer’s secondary winding. A fifth pair of RCA jacks is labeled Subwoofer Output.

The front panel is simple: At far left is a Power button illuminated by a blue ring. To its right is a smallish, four-position Input knob. The big center knob is for Volume, and to its right is a small Balance knob (I love a balance control). Farther right is a ¼” headphone jack, and farthest right is another blue-ringed button that conveniently switches the SLI-100’s output between headphones and speakers.

Under the tube cage is Cary’s signature array of transformers and tubes. Instead of vintage-looking KT88 output tubes, as in Cary’s 80Wpc SLI-80 integrated, the 100Wpc SLI-100 sports modern-looking KT150s to squeeze another 20W of Ultralinear power into 8-ohm loads. (Strangely, while the SLI-80 has a switch that lets the user toggle between Triode and Ultralinear operation of its output tubes, the SLI-100 is Ultralinear only.) The SLI-100’s KT150s operate in class-AB1 with a fixed bias, and, according to the SLI-100’s webpage, with only 4dB of global negative feedback!

A few days after my night with Vlad, I thought, Damn! The blind Russian really nailed it. This thing sounds clear and nonmechanical.

Then, in preparation for writing this review, I studied that webpage. I discovered that the SLI-100 splits the signal phase for its push-pull output stage in a way hardly anyone uses anymore: the “split load” or cathodyne phase inverter. Even more than interstage transformers, I prefer the sound of split-load inversion because I believe I can feel its superior balance. I also believe that this better balance translates into what Vlad said: “more smooth and clear.” To my ears, split loads sound more relaxed and flowing than the long-tailed pair/dual-differential stages used in almost every other tube amp.

I read further, and noticed something else that probably contributed to my and Vlad’s impressions of more clear and smooth. The SLI-100’s voltage amplifier stage has a shunt-regulated push-pull (SRPP) architecture, but instead of the ubiquitous high-mu 12AX7 twin-triode tube, which is very low in transconductance, it uses the medium-mu, high-transconductance 6DJ8/6922—a nine-pin twin-triode tube (footnote 1) originally championed by Mike Moffat (formerly of Theta Digital, currently of Schiit Audio) and Roger A. Modjeski (of Music Reference/RAM Labs).

For our purposes here, it will suffice if you think of tube mu as a voltage-in/voltage-out ratio, and of transconductance as a tube’s sensitivity to small-scale signal fluctuations. High-mu, low-transconductance tubes like the 12AX7 are efficient voltage amplifiers, but to my ears tend to generalize, simplify, and skip or jump over small-scale signal information. In contrast, the transconductance of a 6DJ8 (11,000 micromhos) is almost 10 times that of the 12AX7 (1200–1600 micromhos), and, to my ears, transmits 10 times more texture and inner detail. The SLI-100’s 6DJ8 SRPP voltage amplifier is likely stable, quiet, and linear—but its sonic effect is like listening through an aural magnifying glass to instrument strings, vocal cords, and piano soundboards.

Listening
In evaluating an audio component, sequence is everything. Last month I wrote quite favorably about the above-mentioned Rogue Stereo 100. I’d had no previous experience at home with the amp’s KT120 output tubes, but ended up being impressed by the Stereo 100’s enjoyably neutral sound, especially in Triode mode from its 4 ohm taps. When I boxed up the big, black, 60-lb Rogue and installed Cary’s big, black, 50.8-lb SLI-100, I naturally wondered how similarly or differently they’d sound.

My formal comparisons began with “Allein! Weh, ganz allein! (Alone! Woe, all alone!),” an aria from Richard Strauss’s opera Elektra, with Birgit Nilsson in the title role, and Georg Solti conducting the Vienna Philharmonic (24/96 FLAC, Decca/Qobuz). I know Diana Krall and Joni Mitchell sing beautifully, but if you want to know if your hi-fi is really worth its full price, feed it something more demanding: like Nilsson singing Strauss. With only a day of break-in hours, the Cary SLI-100, driving the relatively insensitive (83dB/W/m) Harbeth P3ESRs from its 4-ohm taps, got me totally by the ears and started rearranging my audio-critical chromosomes.

The sound was both precise and easy flowing. Unfortunately, the little Harbeths choked noticeably in the high-energy, low-frequency opening, and gurgled some in the ensuing deep-bass passages. But O mein Gott! Nilsson’s irresistible powers throttled my soul, as Strauss’s opera force-fed high Teutonic sentiment and Reactionary Modernism directly into the dark parts of my mind.

Above 100Hz, the shoebox-sized Harbeths generated a smoothness and richness of tone that well expressed the poetic abilities of Strauss and Nilsson, but not the artistic and sonic force of Strauss’s Elektra. At low volumes (below 90dB peaks), Birgit Nilsson’s top octaves (the ones she owns) were exemplary in texture and tone. That was nice, but I wanted more Strausskraft!

Needing to hear what I was missing with the P3ESRs, I swapped in Harbeth’s larger two-ways, the Monitor M30.2s. Voilà! Having more clean energy in the 50–100Hz octave made a HUGE difference. More cone area and box volume made more bass, which in turn made bigger images in a bigger space, with more copious room tone. Into the M30.2s, the Cary integrated’s 100Wpc seemed more forceful than the Rogue amp’s 100Wpc. A difference in power-supply topology? This fine 1967 opera recording by Decca/London is by necessity big and powerful; the Cary SLI-100 and Harbeth M30.2s sailed easily, sang beautifully, and made timpani poundings something to look forward to.

Cary Audio SLI-100 integrated amplifier Page 2

I then played the first recording of the Sarasate I’d ever responded to, one I love and know well: by Ruggiero Ricci, with Pierino Gamba conducting the London Symphony Orchestra (16/44.1 FLAC, Decca/Tidal). This fantastic recording was first released in 1960, on one of the greatest LPs of all time: Decca SXL 2197. I’ve played it often on million-dollar hi-fis with some of the world’s finest cartridges, but even via Tidal streaming, Ricci’s violin tone remains the gold standard for tear-your-skin-off texture and supersaturated string tones. But after an hour of repeated plays, I realized that Ruggiero’s Carmen Fantasy on Tidal into Schiit’s Yggdrasil Analog 2 DAC feeding the Cary SLI-100 via Triode Wire Labs Spirit interconnects and driving the Harbeth Monitor M30.2s via Auditorium 23 speaker cables was not quite tearing my skin off. For that, I need the LP. But it did speak volumes about the quality of my Cary-Harbeth pairing, which delivered almost the full-intensity Decca midrange, plus the searing beautiful highs. The masterful subtleties of Ricci’s playing were easy to discern and savor.

Fully intoxicated, I now craved master violinist Joseph Szigeti playing his buddy Béla Bartók’s Romanian Folkdances, arranged by Zoltán Székely, with the composer at the piano (16/44.1 FLAC, Hungaroton/Tidal). The SLI-100 displayed Szigeti’s extreme sweet/sour, dark/light lyricism in a manner I thought impossible without 300B or 211 triode tubes. Bartók’s piano and Szigeti’s violin were relatively close-miked in this recording from January 1930, but vividly present and musically intense. I thought I could hear inside Szigeti’s violin.

Performances like these masterpieces by Mutter, Ricci, and Szigeti are why our world needs fine amplifiers—like the Rogue Stereo 100, the Pass Labs XA25, the Cary SLI-100—and loudspeakers they can drive. Via the Harbeth M30.2s, Mutter’s art ascended highest with the Pass Labs XA25, Ricci’s violin was its most skin-tearing with the Rogue Stereo 100 wired in Triode, and Szigeti playing Bartók produced more tear-jerking texture and presence when the Harbeths were powered by the Cary SLI-100.

With headphones
My favorite headphone amp is no headphone amp. I know it’s illegal, but I like connecting headphones directly to the speaker binding posts on the backsides of power amplifiers. The resulting combination of high-gain, high-voltage, direct connection to a big power supply and extra-low-output impedance seems to trick headphones into doing fantastic things, the most obvious of which are preternatural transparency and super-duper density. When the stars align, the sound seems to leave the headset entirely to float, unsettlingly ghostlike, out into the room around me. This surprising level of out-of-head transparency is very exciting, but takes some getting used to.

When I played Collocutor’s Black Satin EP (16/44.1 FLAC, On the Corner/Tidal), the Cary SLI-100 did all of those exciting “illegal” things—with HiFiMan’s Susvara headphones ($6000) connected not to the speaker outputs, but to the Cary’s front-panel headphone jack! This surprised and impressed me. Integrated amps usually have headphone amps that sound like afterthoughts.

Needing more evidence, I put on Vlad the blind Russian’s favorite: The Rite of Spring, with Gergiev conducting the Kirov, and listened again. It sounded much more see-inside transparent through the Susvaras than from the Harbeth M30.2s. The Rite completed, I hauled out my secret four-pin, balanced-to-twin-bananas headphone cable and connected the Susvaras to the SLI-100’s speaker binding posts, switched to the 4-ohm tap. The purity, transparency, and tactility of the Cary exploded into my head. It was some of the best headphone sound I’ve ever experienced.

Next, with the Susvaras still connected to the speaker outputs, I played “Félenko Yéfé,” from Momo Wandel Soumah’s Afro Swing (16/44.1 FLAC, Fonti Musicali/Tidal), which was also pure and transparent. I could not tell that the sounds were coming from the headphones—at all! The title track of Black Satin was solid and present in a way I doubt many of us have experienced. I repeat: The pure, coherent sounds emanating from the Susvaras were not stuck inside my head. They were out in the room. Their transparency exceeded anything I have experienced from floor-standing speakers at any price.

Hoping to substantiate these results, I switched to my reference headphones, JPS Labs’ Abyss AB-1266 Phi ($4495). Guess what? Corporeality and transparency increased even more. Bass was superpowerful. Saxophones and percussion sounded as I imagine they did coming from the monitors in the studio. I felt I was hearing everything the mastering engineer heard—maybe more. As a headphone amp, the Cary’s speaker outputs had no equal.

Or did they? When I switched from the SLI-100’s speaker posts to its front-panel headphone jack, I thought the Kirov Orchestra was playing in a darker, less transparent space. I thought maybe the instruments seemed lighter in weight, and that maybe the highs were less extended. But if any of that was true, the differences were extremely slight. Overall, the SLI-100’s headphone output was powerful and delicate and musically effective in ways I had never before experienced from the headphone jack on the front of an integrated amplifier. Later, Cary Audio’s president and design chief, Billy Wright, told me that the SLI-100’s headphone output is taken from its own tap on the output transformer’s secondary winding.

Conclusions
The Cary Audio SLI-100 brings something uniquely satisfying to the high-powered tube-amp party. Until I listened to it for this review, I’d thought we needed low-power, directly heated triode tubes to unveil this much purity, presence, vivid texture, and colorful tone. Actually, we do—but the SLI-100 sounded more like a high-quality single-ended 211/845 amp than it had any right to. I enjoyed every minute I spent with it. Highly recommended.

In Depth: SA-200.2 ES and SA-500.1 ES Power Amplifiers (White Paper)

OVERVIEW
The introduction of the original SA-200.2 and SA-500.1 solid-state amplifiers represented a departure from traditional Cary Audio amplifier design and was a clean sheet design from the ground up. They embodied a new modular approach that ensured consistency in performance, and ease of manufacture and serviceability. In
implementing the new design, we dramatically improved performance and current-handling capacity over previous models while still maintaining the highest levels of sonic quality. The new SA-200.2 ES and SA-500.1 ES amplifiers represent the next generation
of these high-performance amplifiers. Like other Cary Audio products, these amplifiers are designed and built at our factory in North Carolina.

BACKGROUND
Cary Audio has been in the forefront of vacuum tube amplification for over a quarter of a century, and over the past twenty or so years branched out into solid-state and digital audio. The SA-200.2 ES and SA-500.1 ES are our latest offerings and are fully in keeping with our proud heritage. The SA-200.2 ES is a 200 watts per channel stereo amplifier (into 8 ohms, 350 w/channel into 4 ohms) with both balanced and single-ended inputs. The SA-500.1 ES is a 500 watts per channel mono-block amplifier (into 8 ohms, 1000 watts into 4 ohms), and is essentially a bridged SA-200.2 ES with a balanced or single ended input. Both models exhibit very high current capability, are stable into low impedance loads, and feature 3dB of dynamic headroom.

DESIGN PHILOSOPHY
Dependability When we designed this amplifier one of our primary goals was to create a product that would give years of consistent and reliable use without any maintenance. To achieve that goal, we took a hard look at the design and choice of components. For example, we use high-precision metal film resistors in almost all our circuitry, even in places where their use is not required. We have overbuilt the output stage and increased the heat dissipating capabilities of the amplifiers by as much as 50% over our previous
designs. The changes encompass almost every part of the design, down to the choice of thickness of the chassis sheet metal. The monolithic front end brought major advantages to the amplifier design with improved temperature stability, low offset, and a substantial reduction of all types of distortion across the full frequency spectrum.

Sonic Quality
Cary Audio has been known for over a quarter of a century as a producer of some of the finest and most musical tube amplifiers in the world. Based on this heritage we have paid special attention to the sonic qualities of these new generation solid-state amplifiers, voicing them to have the proven attributes of the “Cary Sound” and testing them hundreds of hours with many different speakers. In our quest to dramatically improve them over our previous efforts we compared them to some of the best of the competition, often at much higher price points. This took months of research and development but we would not rest until we were satisfied that we had surpassed our previous models by a wide margin. The improvements in the power supply have brought gains in bass performance, which is now much more visceral and controlled even into difficult loads. Reducing the noise floor, increasing the isolation between the channels, and especially redesigning the sensitive front end of the amplifier has improved imaging, sound staging and depth retrieval. The midrange is now more lifelike and palpable. One area of which we are particularly proud is what we have achieved in transparency, and the way images now hang in three-dimensional space. The amplifiers were designed to be equally at home in a high-performance music system or a home
cinema setting.

Flexibility
One of our major goals and challenges was to improve the flexibility of the design. What are we talking about when we say flexibility? In this case we mean ease of manufacture and service, and the ability to perform upgrades in a cost-effective manner. We decided to take a modular approach with this new design, allowing us to more efficiently build the amplifiers and reducing potential service time to a fraction of what it used to be by making it possible to simply field-replace a defective module. Each module and board is a self-contained entity, and should service or an upgrade be required it is as simple as removing the amplifier’s top cover and replacing the module without affecting the rest of the amplifier. This philosophy will reflect in our future designs and products.

FEATURES
• Overbuilt Power Supply. These amplifiers employ a massive 850VA low-noise toroidal transformer with separate windings for the regulated input board. This transformer was custom manufactured for us by a manufacturer of high-performance toroids.
The SA-500.1 ES amplifier employs in excess of 98,000uF of capacitance per channel. The SA-200.2 ES employs in excess of 57,000 uF of capacitance per channel. This is much more than most comparable designs. Power supplies are often neglected and designed to meet a minimum specification. In truth, the power supply can contribute to almost half of the sonic signature of an amplifier, so we paid a great deal of attention to its performance.
• The input stage is designed around a monolithic device that ensures extremely low distortion, low offset voltage and emperature stability. The device is attached to a custom heat sink and extreme care is taken in bypassing and isolating its power supply. All traces on the printed circuit board are kept extremely short to reduce noise and distortion. A ground plane is used around sensitive components to further reduce noise pick up.
• The power supply capacitors reside on the amplifier boards where they can do the most good. We went a step further by adding bypass capacitors right at the output devices themselves. Our research showed us that reducing the distance between the power supply capacitors and the amplifier circuitry produced substantial sonic gains. Large capacitors suffer from several problems including higher ESR (Equivalent Series Resistance) and diminished high frequency performance. We got around this issue by using multiple smaller high-quality capacitors.
• Each chassis uses sixteen high current 150-watt bipolar output devices chosen for their reliability and performance, which ensures the amplifier’s stability into difficult loads. To keep this passive stage cool we designed a new heat sink with a larger radiating surface and fin structure.
• Passive components like resistors and capacitors can have a huge effect on the sound of an amplifier and we spared no expense where it was warranted. Extensive listening tests were employed in selecting these components.
• The amplifiers are designed on a modular concept and can be disassembled quite easily, in the unlikely event a service issue should arise. The modular approach has allowed us to improve the consistency and reliability of these products. The circuitry of each amplifier resides on four easily-replaceable fiberglass printed circuit boards.
• These amplifiers employ thermal as well as DC-offset protection. We do not use traditional voltage and current limiting as they can adversely affect the sound under demanding drive conditions. Our protection circuitry is totally non-invasive and employs a simple high-current relay to disconnect the speakers should a fault condition arise.

Our goals in designing these new amplifiers were quite extensive, and we believe we met or exceeded all of them. As a company we strive to be on the cutting edge of our industry, which requires a lot of research and dedication on our part to bring you the best products possible. We are confident that the SA-200.2 ES and SA-500.1 ES are superb amplifiers that will meet the tests of musical accuracy, dynamic performance,and long-term reliability.

Introducing the SA-200.2 ES & SA-500.1 ES Power Amplifiers

The introduction of the SA-200.2 ES and SA-500.1 ES solid-state power amplifiers represent the next generation of the SA design. They embody a modular approach that ensures consistency in performance, and ease of manufacture and serviceability. In implementing the new designs, we have dramatically improved performance and current-handling capacity over the previous models while still maintaining the highest levels of sonic quality.

The SA-200.2 ES is a 200 watt stereo amplifier into 8 ohms, (350 watts into 4 ohms), with balanced and single ended inputs. The SA-500.1 ES is a 500 watt monoblock amplifier into 8 ohms, (1000 watts into 4 ohms), with balanced and single ended inputs. Both amplifiers exhibit very high current capability, are stable into low impedance loads, and feature 3 dB of dynamic headroom.

When we designed the SA-200.2 ES and SA-500.1 ES power amplifiers, one of our primary goals was to create a product that would give years of consistent and reliable use without any maintenance. To achieve that goal, we took a hard look at the designs and choice of components. For example, we use high-precision metal film resistors in almost all our circuitry, even in places where their use is not required. We have overbuilt the output stages and increased the heat dissipating capabilities of the amplifiers by as much as 50% over previous designs. The changes encompass almost every part of the designs, down to the choice of thickness of the chassis sheet metal. The monolithic front end brought major advantages to the amplifier designs with improved temperature stability, low offset, and a substantial reduction of all types of distortion across the full frequency spectrum.

Cary Audio has been known for almost three decades as a producer of some of the finest and most musical tube amplifiers in the world. Based on this heritage we have paid special attention to the sonic qualities of these new solid-state amplifiers, voicing them to have the proven attributes of the “Cary Sound” and testing them hundreds of hours with many different speakers. In our quest to dramatically improve them over our previous efforts, we compared them to some of the best of the competition, often at much higher price points. This took months of research and development time, but we would not rest until we were satisfied that we had surpassed our previous models by a wide margin. The improvements in the power supply have brought gains in bass performance, which is now much more visceral and controlled even into difficult loads. Reducing the noise floor, increasing the isolation between the channels, and especially redesigning the sensitive front end of the amplifier has improved imaging, sound staging and depth retrieval. The midrange is now more lifelike and palpable. One area of which we are particularly proud is what we have achieved in transparency, and the way images now hang in three-dimensional space. The amplifiers were designed to be equally at home in a high- performance music system or a home cinema setting.

Both amps are available now and priced €5530 for the SA-500.1 ES monoblock and €5450 for SA-200.2 ES stereo power amplifier.