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Cary 306 SACD Review


I have owned the following Sony SCD1, Accuphase DP77 and I just received my Cary 306 SACD player, great review my oldvinyl! I played it for about an hour in red-book-HDCD and SACD mode, just to make sure things were working ok, my Jazz At The Pawnshop have all three formats so I could check each format out.

My impressions. The Sony SCD1 is just outstanding on SACD, Good on Red-Book (no mods needed on the SCD1)it a very good player on it's own.

The Accuphase is a superb player also, as a red-book player playback is a touch better than the SCD1, it does up-sample which could explain why it does sound better on some red-book cd's, on some it did not, up-sampling is not always a good thing on some discs where brick-wall filtering was used, once you hear the sound becoming thin it is time to go back to 44.1 setting, even jumping to 96kH can make things thin and noisy due to digital noise being brought forth from expanding band with.

The Cary gives me the best of both units, it is musical, looks good, and though no where near the built quality of the Sony SCD1, then what is. Like the Sony the Cary keeps DSD in its pure form, does not reverted back to PCM, though I still felt it sounded better then red-book even when converted, regardless of what others say, they were trying to keep the noise from the DSD processing out of the signal and reverting it does so, good move by them, it is the lesser of two evils, if there SACD design is noisy.

The Cary is a bit more complicated to use then any of the other units, no knock, but it is not as user friendly, but once I get used to it, it will be just fine. The Cary is well built, looks good, uses good parts and sounds superb. $6,000 is a few bucks, more then the Sony was in 1999-2002, but less then the Accuphase and it combines the best of those two units, so I guess you could say it is priced fairly.

On the down side the Cary has a very short warranty 1 year, Sony ES line is 5 years, plus there repair rates are cheap if you send your unit to them. Accuphase 3 years. Both are work horses that will last for 10 years if you kept them that long.

If the Cary is reliable then I would say the Cary 306 SACD is a best buy at this moment in time. You would not go wrong buying one, it is very, very good right out of the box, I like it enough to buy one and that says it all I guess, because I am not unhappy with the Sony or the Accuphase.

Cary is musical as all get out, good depth and music has body to it, Jazz at the Pawnshop sounded great, warm, detailed, you could feel the clubs atmosphere, even on red-book, SACD just increases that 2 fold, it gives you more of everything, what a great format SACD is.

I am letting the unit run while I am at work, tonight I will put on some newer 24/96 discs and give a listen, then try to up-sample and see what effect it has.

Well that is my take on it so far. I give it a few weeks to settle in and see what changes if anything.

Keep these three players on your short list of some of the best CD players made regardless of prices, because these all are so good you start to get into the area of diminishing returns.

The Cary should end your search for a great cd playback system. That in the end is what we are all searching for, Right?

Enjoy the music that also is what this hobby is about. The Cary 306 SACD is the end of the rainbow for many of us.

You also should look for the Accuphase DP77 or Sony SCD1 on the pre-owned market if the $6,000 is to steep, you can't go wrong with either.


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Topic - Cary 306 SACD Review - PhillyB 06:05:50 10/26/05 (26)

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