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Thread: Cary SLP-98 pre

  1. #1

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    Default Cary SLP-98 pre

    Anyone have or heard this unit. There's a local one on Agon and the unit's dimensions fit my space nicely
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    Haven't heard it personally, but I still drool over the 05.

    Don't think you can go wrong with any of their pre amps as long as the right tubes are used. Thing is, the more tubes in a pre, the more expensive it will be to tube roll so keep that in mind.

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    This is only the line stage. Plan on keeping the Jolida for the TT
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    Very nice units. Some where made with upgraded capacitors so if this one is the standard there is some upgrade paths available. The one I heard was a little on the warm side of neutral which falls in line with most of the Cary tube products in my experience. Very musical. Not sure what the output impedance is and how it compares to your NADs input impedance. A good match would be greater than a 10:1 ratio. (Amp to preamp).
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    I believe the Doc gave a fair assesment of Cary pre amps. Most are on the warm side with some saying a tad too warm. Depending on tubes of course. Just be careful not to pair them with an overly warm speaker and you should do just fine. Personally I find them warm too but musical to please most any ear.

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    output impedance is 440 ohm, input on the amp 10k ohm. I have no clue about ohms but it looks like >20:1
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    This looks to be a good combination and I will correct myself in that the general thought is 10x minimum, but 20x could be better.
    a quote from the VTL company site:

    "This is not to say that the components would not work together. The audio industry does have open architecture and a common interface between components. However what can happen with disparate impedances is that there could be substantial frequency response roll-off between the two components, particularly in the low frequency bass region. This is only potentially a problem when considering a tube preamplifier to drive a solid state amplifier, as many tube preamplifiers have very high output impedances, (designed to drive high input impedance tube power amplifiers) and most solid state amplifiers have low input impedances. Sometimes a high output impedance preamplifier can be very sensitive to the capacitance of the interconnect cable, which tends to roll off the high frequencies also.
    The combination of tube front end for voltage amplification and a solid state power amplifier for current demands can work very well in delivering the best that both technologies have to offer. This is provided the preamplifier is designed to drive the lower input impedance that solid state amplifiers typically present to the preamplifier."

    The Cary's low impedance makes it a very good match with your amp.
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    Correct me if I'm wrong Doc, but doesn't a buffer stage make up for some of these differences ? Even the playing field between gear so to speak.

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    That is correct and actually one of the jobs of a buffer stage. One of the shortcomings of many "passive" preamps or volume controls is the lack of impedance matching or control and many employ a buffer stage in these setups. Using an active preamp, SS or tube, the buffer is most likely not needed, though some use one in an all SS setup just to add some "tube warmth".
    Last edited by doctor r; 11-29-2012 at 10:23 AM.
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    Thanks for the explanation Doc. Will be helpful in my pre search. You have any experience with the Rogue Athena
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    Quote Originally Posted by doctor r View Post
    Very nice units. Some where made with upgraded capacitors so if this one is the standard there is some upgrade paths available. The one I heard was a little on the warm side of neutral which falls in line with most of the Cary tube products in my experience. Very musical. Not sure what the output impedance is and how it compares to your NADs input impedance. A good match would be greater than a 10:1 ratio. (Amp to preamp).
    I agree. Over the summer, I picked up the good "Sweet Little Pre" . . . SLP-98 line stage. This is not one of the F1 upgraded units and it does not have a HT by-pass, but you can get both upgrade modes from the factory for about $400. I'll prolly send mine in for the HT by-pass ungrade but not the hexfred rectifiers or the oil capacitors. Why? Because I have no issues with the 98, in fact, last night it sounded magical. So much so that I didn't get to bed til after 3! It must be the Tung Sol GTBs hitting the sweet spot. I say go for it! I bet you end up loving it . . .

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    How does $1900 sound with Baldwin 6SN7 GTB matched quad ~150hrs. 2nd owner
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    GlennDog is giving you the scoop straight from a user, though it does sound like he may be sleep deprived There is one on AudiogoN with the capacitor and diode updates (F1 version) listed for $2150 so this is not too far off depending on condition. Baldwin did not make tubes but usually selected very low noise tubes for their organ amplifiers from manufacturers and had their label applied. The 6SN7 family of tubes can be some of the most linear available and were produced in large quantities due to TV circuit use. Many great tubes to try if you go this direction.
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    Did you see the VAC on the 'gon for 1500. ? It's a tad older, but I'll bet it still carries their signature characteristics.

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    Nice unit that was upgraded and fully gone through at the Factory less than a year ago. As I mentioned before when we invest this much money in a piece of equipment I like knowing that there is the ability to have it well serviced by the manufacturer. This unit, though old, was completely in spec and ready to perform at today's level depending on the upgrades performed. If you are actually interested the seller recommends calling VAC and talking with Brent. Great guy and you will get the information as to what has been done and the condition the unit was in when benched. I have had the privilege of visiting at VAC and spent a few hours with them. A lot of fun and Brent took the time to explain what they were working on and how they were revising approaches, redesigning systems and moving forward. It was a great time. The owner Kevin Hay is amazing also and will take the time to talk.
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    Saw that Doc, very nice.

    Anything you've heard lately in pre's that made you turn your head and listen ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by doctor r View Post
    GlennDog is giving you the scoop straight from a user, though it does sound like he may be sleep deprived There is one on AudiogoN with the capacitor and diode updates (F1 version) listed for $2150 so this is not too far off depending on condition. Baldwin did not make tubes but usually selected very low noise tubes for their organ amplifiers from manufacturers and had their label applied. The 6SN7 family of tubes can be some of the most linear available and were produced in large quantities due to TV circuit use. Many great tubes to try if you go this direction.
    If you like bass ( which I do), it seems like the F1 direct coupled may be the way to go

    From Stereophile measurements

    "The SLP-98P's line stage inverts signal polarity and has a maximum gain of 21.1dB, higher than specified. The volume control's unity-gain setting was 11:00. The input impedance was a usefully high 45k ohms across most of the audioband, dropping to 36k ohms at 20kHz—still high enough not to present source components with any problems. The output impedance in the midrange and treble was usefully low, at 370 ohms, but this rose at 20Hz to 6.8k ohms, due to the limited size of the output coupling capacitors. This will prematurely and audibly roll off the bass with power amplifiers having an input impedance of much less than 20k ohms."

    Full page here
    http://www.stereophile.com/content/c...r-measurements

    Your thoughts?
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    Toni - Heard a few units that were interesting, but for me completely unaffordable. I attended the Axpona show in Jacksonville and will possibly be in Chicago in March for the next one. There were some amazing systems at some amazing prices.

    I still love the VAC sound and will probably not part with mine. Kevin Hays, themowner of VAC, told me to keep it and bring it to him so he can make sure to maximize it. He still likes this design and thinks it is a solid part of any system. I asked about using it to drive his $78,000 450 watt kt88 tube based monoblocks and he said the pre would be fine. ( what a pipe dream that would be )

    Jonicont - As far as the Cary I have been told the upgrades do positively improve the base. I had a AES PH1 phono preamp (made by Cary) that had the Jensen Oil capacitor upgrade. I compared it to the base model and there was a positive musical improvement. It did not have the available hexfred upgrade that could have helped the bass even more from the information I read. Any of these tube preamps will be a little softer on the bass slam compared to SS but usually the bass is more tuneful and fleshed out IMO and more pleasing.
    Last edited by doctor r; 11-30-2012 at 11:32 AM.
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