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  1. #1

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    Default Kudos To Cary Audio....Shame On Sony

    I was fortunate to find a good deal on a dealer demo Cary Audio CD 306 SACD player in August '06. The CD 306 SACD offers the best digital playback I have ever heard and it has been compared very favorably to the state-of-the-art EMM Labs/Meitner DCC2 processor and CDSD transport, which costs $20,000. [See footnote 1] After a couple of weeks, as I purchased more SACD's, I began to experience playback problems with some of them:

    1. The player would not recognize some discs, in other words, when I loaded a disc, I would get a "No Disc" message on the display.

    2. Some discs would just stop playing in the middle of a song.

    3. Some discs would skip badly.

    All of the SACD discs that had playback problems with the Cary player would play perfectly in my Sony DVD-S9000ES DVD/CD/SACD player, so I knew the discs weren’t at fault.

    I had no playback problems when the CD 206 SACD was playing redbook CD's or the redbook layer of hybrid CD/SACD discs.

    I did an Internet search and could find no mention of the problems I was experiencing. [See footnote 2] I emailed Cary's technical support and asked them if they had any idea what was going on and if other units had been returned with similar malfunctions. The repair technician I corresponded with was somewhat evasive in his answers and only said that the unit needed to be sent back for service. When I inquired about turnaround time, he said they would get it back to me as soon as possible.

    I sent the unit back to Cary in mid-September of '06 and it was received by them on 09/20/2006. On 09/26/2006, I received the following email from a Cary repair technician:

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    "HOPEFULLY THEY WILL HAVE THE PARTS HERE SOON FOR ME TO DO THE SERVICE WORK ON THE UNIT. I HAVE DETERMINED THAT IT HAS CORRUPT SOFTWARE ON THE BOARD THAT COMMUNICATES WITH THE LOADER WHICH HAS SOME ISSUE. THIS HAS BEEN THE CONCERNS YOU HAVE BEEN EXPERIENCING. THIS IS A SIMPLE FIX. AS SOON AS I RECEIVE THESE COMPONENTS TO DO THE SERVICE WORK. I WILL TURN THE UNIT AROUND IMMEDIATELY. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE."

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Note: I cut and pasted this from the email I received. The Cary technician always types in all caps in his email messages.

    After receiving the email above, I would email the repair tech every couple of weeks to inquire about the repair status. The answer was always the same: "WE ARE STILL WAITING ON PARTS. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE."

    On the morning of 11/27/2006, after my SACD player had been in repair for over two months, I sent the following email to Cary Audio:

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    "I am again inquiring about the status of my CD 306 SACD repair. Your last email at the beginning of November stated that you were expecting the required part shortly and that a two week test process would follow. I assumed the unit would be shipped back to me near the end of November. Is this assumption still valid?

    My CD player was received by Cary Audio on 9/20/06. I cannot ever recall having to wait over two months for an audio equipment repair. I would appreciate it if you, or someone from Cary Audio, could help me understand why this has been such a long and difficult process.

    Also, I would like to know if you have been receiving a lot of these players back for issues similar to mine."


    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    My mindset at that point was that I was ready to arrange to have the unit sent from Cary back to the dealer so that the dealer could issue a full refund...and I would never deal with Cary Audio again. That afternoon, I received this reply from Dennis Had, president and founder of Cary Audio:

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    "Greetings. I hope all is well with you today. In regards to your CD-306/SACD player, we are having your unit up-dated with a new servo board and new software along with a new Sony chip set that operates at the specified ratings. We have just under 500 of the CD 306/SACD players out in the field. We have had problems with approximately 70 units. Since we are a licensed Sony SACD manufacturer, we had the Sony engineers in Japan correct the chip problem along with a software update. The chips manufactured by Sony were spec’d at 85 degrees C. We find that a number of these chips will not function beyond 50 degrees C. Dealing with Sony has been ever so frustrating. We ended up waiting over 2 months for parts that should have taken a couple of weeks. Your machine is at our assembly factory in Hong Kong. I anticipate about 2 more weeks and we should have your player ready to ship. As a side note: as we go back into production with the updated CD 306/SACD players, they will have a price of $7500. [See footnote 3]

    I appreciate your patience and understanding.

    Talk to you soon and have a great evening ..............

    Dennis

    PS: The CD 306/SACD player is the best sounding player on the face of the earth ... my opinion as well as others .... thanks again."


    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hopefully, if the stars align just right, my (upgraded) SACD player will be back home before Christmas.:)

    I assume that this post will be of general interest to forum members who are owners of any type Cary Audio gear and of particular interest to other forum members who own the CD 306 SACD player.

    Footnotes:

    1. The Absolute Sound, September 2006.

    2. At the beginning of November, I did a search on Audio Asylum and found that a few CD 306 SACD owners had posted messages in October '06 where they described problems like the ones I was experiencing.

    3. Current MSRP is $6,000.
    Last edited by DarqueKnight; 11-30-2006 at 03:29 PM.
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  2. #2

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    It appears Cary and their customer is a very small time player in Sony's eyes. Cary needs a lesson in customer respect, statements like "best on the planet" are hype but not really alot of hearburn about it as they are in business to sell their gear, I dont really like the "its not are fault" blame Sony excuses in your case. Who chose Sony as the chip manufacturer? Although it does not specifically say I guess Cary is going to leave the "bad chipset" in other units until the owner has a problem. I have always thought of Cary as one of the solid companies in audio, I now think a bit less of them.

    One high end company I deal with prides itself on having repaired gear out of an owners rack for an average of seven days including shipping, amazing, and of course expensive for them. But they do it.

    Hope your unit makes it back for Xmas as promised.

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  3. #3

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    I have another story with Cary service...and I think I know who that technician is..
    I bought an AES-AE3 signature preamp from Audiogon a couple months ago; sent it to Cary to have the volume remote installed; it was supposed to be a quick install.
    Sent the unit on Oct. 18
    Got it back on Oct 31; later than I expected, but this is the good news; the bad news is that the right channel was not working :(
    Long story short, got the unit back last week, working (and making my system sound as never before)...but...they forgot to ship the remote back. Should be here today or tomorrow....

    Cary has great gear, but they definitely need to put a little more attention to their CS and how they communicate to customers.
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    Shame on Sony? Does Cary not spec the parts they order from Sony (and other Mfgs.) BEFORE installing them into their gear? At $6,000 each it seems to me they should verify the parts they ordered meet their specs. Poor Q/C if you ask me.
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  5. #5

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    So, based on the info in this thread alone, Cary offers excellent SQ but the trade off is poor CS, TS, & QC. If that's correct I don't see myself ever dealing with Cary (new or used). My $.02
    Better to have and not need than to need and not have!

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by shack
    Shame on Sony? Does Cary not spec the parts they order from Sony (and other Mfgs.) BEFORE installing them into their gear? At $6,000 each it seems to me they should verify the parts they ordered meet their specs. Poor Q/C if you ask me.
    What he (Dennis) says is that the chips are specified to work at 85 degrees, but some of them don't...this is clearly a Sony issue, not a Cary issue... Cary should test "some" of their components to be in specs, not all of them. No inspection standards require 100% testing (at least for the audio industry...)
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    It's nice that the president himself e-mailed you, but they should offer you something in return for your patience. Bottom line is that Cary (not Sony) screwed up, so they should make up for it. Sending your CDP back in good working order after three months is not enough. You should think about what you want that would satisfy you, then request it from Dennis.

    Plus, your CDP is currently in Hong Kong? Yikes.
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by HTrookie
    What he (Dennis) says is that the chips are specified to work at 85 degrees, but some of them don't...this is clearly a Sony issue, not a Cary issue... Cary should test "some" of their components to be in specs, not all of them. No inspection standards require 100% testing (at least for the audio industry...)
    Total BS. Even a random sampling would indicate problems since by their own admission 14% of the units they shipped (70 out of 500) have reported problems. I still say this is evidence of poor quality control on Cary's part.
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  9. #9

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    Never Mind
    Last edited by Ricardo; 11-30-2006 at 09:59 AM.
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  10. #10

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    I never said Sony was blameless in this issue...just that Sony is providing a component that costs maybe a few dollars and Cary is shipping a $6,000 unit. Cary has the responsibility to make sure it is right before it goes out.
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  11. #11

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    I doubt Sony is to blame at all. The whole bad chip story sounds like bull. Do you really think Sony makes a special chip for Cary? For 500 units? No way they would set up fab facilities for even a few thousand, the cost per chip would be more than the retail for the Cary player.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by shack
    Total BS. Even a random sampling would indicate problems since by their own admission 14% of the units they shipped (70 out of 500) have reported problems. I still say this is evidence of poor quality control on Cary's part.
    I agree, it sounds like a design issue with Cary mostly, with Sony a convenient target. 50 degrees Celsius is still pretty hot inside for a consumer audio product, and failure of the design to work properly points to a design defect related to inadequte heat dissipation or ventilation within the unit, especially when tubes are put in the case as well. Cary is at fault for not testing the logic boards to figure out what operating temperature their design could really handle in their application, especially on a piece of gear sold for $6K (or more). Some companies, like Perreaux out of New Zealand, used to burn in every unit they made for a week or so before they'd sell it, just to make sure everything worked properly before they exported it.

    This isn't the first application of the SCD-1 drive/logic board having problems though. The original Sony version had similar problems not being able to track discs properly, but I'm not sure if they were heat related. I'm starting to notice more digital processing gear with fans built in, including the current Toshiba HD-DVD players which use a Pentium chip inside for its processing.
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Early B.
    It's nice that the president himself e-mailed you, but they should offer you something in return for your patience.
    They were originally just going to replace the bad chip set, which would have solved the problems I was having. This repair would have been done at their Cary, North Carolina facility.

    They decided to go ahead and do a complete Ver. 3 upgrade which required the unit to be sent to their Hong Kong manufacturing facility.

    Quote Originally Posted by Early B.
    Bottom line is that Cary (not Sony) screwed up, so they should make up for it. Sending your CDP back in good working order after three months is not enough. You should think about what you want that would satisfy you, then request it from Dennis.
    The Ver. 3 upgrades add $1500 in retail value to my player, which comes out to $500/month in compensation. I feel that this adequately compensates me for my inconvenience and for the shipping charges I incurred sending the unit back to them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Early B.
    Plus, your CDP is currently in Hong Kong? Yikes.
    Yikes indeed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by shack
    Total BS. Even a random sampling would indicate problems since by their own admission 14% of the units they shipped (70 out of 500) have reported problems. I still say this is evidence of poor quality control on Cary's part.
    As I stated, I only had playback problems with certain SACD's, all of which were produced by smaller record companies. The majority of my SACD's were manufactured by Columbia and none of the Columbia discs experienced playback problems. I once thought that all digital media (CD's, SACD's) had to follow the same mastering standards. I have since learned that it is possible to slightly deviate from the CD and SACD mastering standards established by Sony and still produce a disc playable on most players. Unfortunately, some of the smaller labels deviate from the mastering standards in order to cut costs. The Cary player is designed to compensate for such mastering deviations, but apparently, that portion of my player's playback mechanism was malfunctioning.

    Of those discs that did experience playback issues, the problem only occured sporadically.
    The first public exhibit of the CD 306 SACD was at the January 2005 Consumer Electronics Show. The CD 306 SACD was placed on the market in March of 2005. Since this player has been on the market for over a year without serious playback issues being reported, and since the playback issues appear to be a recent occurence, and since the player has received numerous rave reviews in the audio press, I can accept Cary's explanation that they received a batch of bad parts from Sony. It happens. As to whether their quality control should have or even could have caught the problem...I don't know. I didn't "catch" the problem until I started playing SACD's produced by small, obscure record companies.
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    Mr. Dennis (look how big my balls are) Cary President: should do the right think and send you a new unit!
    Your a better person than I. If it were me, this story would be on every audio site I could think of.
    Bad CS!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emlyn
    I agree, it sounds like a design issue with Cary mostly, with Sony a convenient target. 50 degrees Celsius is still pretty hot inside for a consumer audio product, and failure of the design to work properly points to a design defect related to inadequte heat dissipation or ventilation within the unit, especially when tubes are put in the case as well.
    The CD 306 SACD is an all solid state design, so no tubes inside. I agree that 50 degrees C (122 degrees F) and 85 degrees C (185 degrees F) is pretty hot for a consumer grade audio product, but some digital gear runs that hot. The case temperature of my Sony TA-E9000ES digital preamp/processor gets up to 125 degrees F after it has been running for a couple of hours. Its case temperature when idling is 104 degrees F. The case of my Sony CDP-XA7ES CD player gets up to 102 degrees F after an hour of continuous playback. You can imagine how hot it gets inside the XA7ES since there are no ventilation slots in the player.

    Like the XA7ES, the CD 306 SACD does not have ventilation slots either. Cary's literature states that the entire aluminum case is designed to act as a heat sink.

    Quote Originally Posted by Emlyn
    Cary is at fault for not testing the logic boards to figure out what operating temperature their design could really handle in their application, especially on a piece of gear sold for $6K (or more).
    Cary knew that their design required parts rated at 85 degrees C. Sony delivered some parts which were rated at 85 degrees C, but only performed at 50 degrees C. Bad...bad...Sony.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ninerbj
    Mr. Dennis (look how big my balls are) Cary President: should do the right think and send you a new unit!
    I was thinking along those lines, until I understood what the problem was. Even if they had sent me a new unit, it could have the same bad chipset as my current player...then I would have been right back at square one.

    Quote Originally Posted by ninerbj
    Your a better person than I. If it were me, this story would be on every audio site I could think of. Bad CS!
    I'm waiting to see how this turns out. If I don't get my player back in December as promised or if I get it back and it has the same or some new issues, I assure you that I will demand a full refund and my story will be widely distributed.

    I was an engineer in two of AT&T's telephone equipment plants for a number of years. AT&T set the world's standards (Bell Standards) for telephone and some other types of electronics manufacturing and quality control. Both of the world famous quality control gurus, W. Edwards Deming and Joseph Juran, came out of the Bell System. However, even with Bell Laboratories' world class designs and AT&T's world class manufacturing and quality control techniques, sometimes we would get some out-of-spec parts that would pass our rigorous QC but would fail for various reasons in the field. It happens.
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    I think your approach to this is correct. Cary is trying to make it right by doing the full version upgrade for your trouble. Sounds respectable to me.

    Sounds like you'll have one heck of a SACD soon.

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    I have to agree with Steve here...
    $1500 of audio equity for a three month hassle seems rather fair.

    I wouldn't want to go through it, but I assume you had a servicable fall-back component to use in the meantime?
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    Oh yeah. I just put my trusty Adcom GCD-750 back in the mix.
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    Then think of your prolonged headache as an "investment".

    Unless, "prolonged" turns into "infinite".

    Not to excuse Cary. Their handling of the matter up this point has been lamentable. And to be honest, you're not really out of the woods yet.

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    Default Look Morris...your new and improved SACD player is back!

    My Cary CD 306 SACD player was here when I returned from a brief vacation today. The Ver. 3 upgrades made a substantial improvement in SACD playback and a spectacular improvement in Redbook CD playback. The playback issues I was having with some SACD disks seem to be gone, at least for now ;). Seems that my troubles were a blessing in disguise...$1500 in upgrades for the price of return shipping to Cary.

    I'll do a full review sometime in the future.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emlyn
    I agree, it sounds like a design issue with Cary mostly, with Sony a convenient target. 50 degrees Celsius is still pretty hot inside for a consumer audio product, and failure of the design to work properly points to a design defect related to inadequte heat dissipation or ventilation within the unit, especially when tubes are put in the case as well. Cary is at fault for not testing the logic boards to figure out what operating temperature their design could really handle in their application, especially on a piece of gear sold for $6K (or more). Some companies, like Perreaux out of New Zealand, used to burn in every unit they made for a week or so before they'd sell it, just to make sure everything worked properly before they exported it.

    This isn't the first application of the SCD-1 drive/logic board having problems though. The original Sony version had similar problems not being able to track discs properly, but I'm not sure if they were heat related. I'm starting to notice more digital processing gear with fans built in, including the current Toshiba HD-DVD players which use a Pentium chip inside for its processing.
    yes i have a lexicon mc-1 pre pro that uses a fan when dts tracks are being played. i utilize a small fan myself that helps cool everything in the area where my audio gear is at. it seems that the life of almost all components audio wise and computers also seem to be longer if kept in a cool area if possible. also i see in the last post here you have got your player back and its working well now so congrats and happy listening. DARQUEKNIGHT regards SNOW
    Last edited by snow; 12-21-2006 at 02:12 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snow
    regards SNOW
    licky boom boom down!

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    I thought I had managed to go this whole year without hearing "Informer" playing in my head. So much for New Year's resolutions.. Thanks Pthuggy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PolkThug
    licky boom boom down!
    INFORMER!I haven't heard that in a loooong time. Probably because I don't have a tape deck in my rig.

    Congrats on getting the CDP back Raife :)
    Last edited by halo; 12-21-2006 at 11:01 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PolkThug
    licky boom boom down!
    huh?

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_%28musician%29

    btw congrats Raife on what must be a most stellar player. Can't wait to hear your impressions.
    Last edited by zombie boy 2000; 12-21-2006 at 02:19 PM.

  29. #29

    Member Sales Rating: (10)

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Saginaw, Texas 76131
    Posts
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    three months!! that's nothing, my philips sacd 1000 was in the shop a total of 8 months the first year waiting on parts. now they don't even make the part that would fix it. it only plays redbook now and maybe dvds but i have never tried dvds. there were a lot of these units sold ($2000 retail) by tweeters at the closeout $400 price.
    marvin
    Main system
    http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr...pin&1162599347 Freelance reviewer for StereoMojo

  30. #30

    Member Sales Rating: (3)

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    Oct 2004
    Location
    Mid-Michigan
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    Quote Originally Posted by snow
    huh?
    It's from an early 90's rap song by Snow
    Speakers:SDA2a, sub:Atlantic Technologies 172 PBM
    Pre:B&K PRO-10MC(2ch)
    Amps:Parasound HCA 1000a
    SourcesOppo DV-970HD, Xbox360, Kenwood KT-5300
    Cables:Philips/RCA/Monster

    Life's short, Listen to SDA's
    Life is short live Sui Juris
    Where did SOPA go?

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