I have these amps, with the jensen cap upgrade, purchased them from Kevin @ Upscale Audio.
I had wanted to try tube amps, and I am glad I did. I love my amps. Very nice neutral, detailed presentation, no sloppy bass, pushes my Merlin TSM-MX's easily. Not overly tubey, but has the bloom, smoothness and ambiance of tubes. I think they are nice looking too, I got the silver ones.
From my understanding, the Cary V12R has the same circuitry as the Six Pac's, but on one chassis and better cosmetics (and more $$$). I would say the Six Pac's, due to their mono design, would have more oomph though.
Give Kevin a call to get his thoughts (he likes them obviously).
I'm a happy owner for over a year now. I moved from solid state amps (Krell & Pass labs) to tubes over a year ago. The first tube move was a Manley Stingray integrated which was nice, then I moved to separates with the Sixpacs, and I'm not looking back. I concurr with Matty's comments above regarding sound qualities. I know several owners of these amps on Agon and everyone is impressed. Certainly, not the most widely held amp around here, but a very nice cost/performance ratio. I'd recommend the Jensen cap upgrade as well as binding post upgrade if you do order a pair. You also call Cary directly to discuss specifics, they are great folks. I see them for sale every other month or so on Agon. Good luck with your decision.
i demoed a pair direct from aes. they will let you return them if you are not satisfied. just asked before you commit to buy. the sixpacs didn't have enough punch for my 87dB efficient gershmans so i ended up buying a used pair of cary slm-200 monos. i really loved the sound of the sixpacs, they just couldn't control the bass like i wanted. i listen to a lot of metal / industrial (among many things) which is very bass heavy. if your listening tastes aren't as extreme, i think the sixpacs would be an excellent choice.
Though there is a lot in the way of rumor that the AES Sixpacs are in essence a lower cost version of the Cary V12, on mono chassis, they are not.
I was also under the impression that this was the case, but a thorough audtion will reveal the sonic differences between the two.
The Sixpacs are less resolving, more tubey, with less bass control and ability to drive a loudspeaker. The V12 is more refined and open sounding. Both products are excellent in absolute terms, just that one should be aware that you are not getting a V12 for a lower price when you buy the Sixpacs. Personally, I heard the Sixpacs to be kind of a product to place between the Rocket 88 and V12, one should give a listen to find what flavor they like best and what present the best value to them.
John at Audio Connection in NJ has the Six Packs. In fact he has just about anything you want from Cary. He is a real brick and mortar store. Lots of good equipment. He'd probably ship to your location as well.
web site: http://www.audioconnect.com/
No - I am not affiliated in any way. I was in his place once checking out some gear.
Thanx to everyone who responded about the Sixpacs.I will have to call AES and do some inquiring...
My speakers are Vintage Infinity RS1B's and I have been using the Manley Mahi's on the mid/tweet towers which I have set to go down to 200hz ,and then the Bass towers(using SS mono amps) take over from there and go down to 22hz.Since the sixpacs only have to power mid/tweet towers and not work hard to power full range speakers,by everyones comments highs,mids,and especially bass should be awesome.
The little 20wpc in triode mode Manleys really kick butt....I think I will be in tube heaven since the Sixpacs are wired for 50wpc triode vs the 20wpc of the Manleys.....It would be nice though if they had the Triode/UL switch!
Thanx again to all
FYI - Rolling the stock 12BZ7 for a RCA or GE NOS 12BZ7 is a nice improvement.
Sorry to have to disagree. The Sixpacs are very comparable to the V12R. I have heard both back-to back at the Cary factory. The Sixpacs and V12R share the same circuit and parts (per Kirk O. at Cary). Dennis H. indicated, in his interview on Positive-Feedback, the sixpacs sounded better than the V12i and it was "embarrasing." Therefore, he had to upgrade the V12i to the "R" specification by adopting the 12BZ7 input tube (like the pacs). Both amps make great music, that's for sure.
Love the Sixpacs....and love the AE-3 DJH pre-amp as well.
Very under-rated hardware.
Thanks for your perspective, Sburton.
Were I at the Cary factory, perhaps my experience would have paralled yours. However, with the Cary CDP, preamp, and DeVore Fidelity speakers I heard them with, the sound between the two amplifiers was markedly different. I am not sure if the statement quoted to you was 100% true, as the only component changed out was the amplifier itself. Perhaps they are more load dependent via transformer and coupling cap differences, etc., and the speaker I listened to showed that more than what you one heard? Again, nice to have your insight.
When you compared the Sixacs and V12R was the V12 by chance running in UL mode? That would definitely sound different. I did not get to hear the v12r in UL so I can't offer opinion, but it should sound less tubey with tighter bass as you described. If triode vs. triode then I can't account for the difference you heard. But then again I only got to compare them for a short time. Perhaps they do indeed sound less alike than I thought during that brief comparison. Makes me want to hear the v12r again. Thanks for your thoughts. Happy listening...
I don't know how technical it would be,but has anyone owning the Sixpacs looked into putting a Triode/UL switch into the amp.AES states on their site it is not available for the sixpac but does offer that upgrade for 125.00 on the smaller AE-25 amp.Has anyone asked AES about it???
It sure would be a nice upgrade vs that zero feedback switch.
I would run the amp in zero feedback all the time anyway.The Manley MAHI's that I am messing around with have a feedback switch showing MIN,STD,MAX..3db,6db,10db respectivly.. sounds the best in MIN 3db and nasty at MAX 10db.
Hmm, Sburton, excellent question. Actually, I have to plead stupidity and say that I do not know.
Though, with my own Granites, which I can also switch between triode and ultralinear, and as you pointed out, the differences are immediately obvious. And, I am much more keen on the sonics in triode; very much sweeter, more immediate and alive, taking only a step back in power (more noticeable on some speakers than others - again, load may play a role here). Also, I much prefer the bass in triode mode, which very much goes against conventional wisdom, but there I go again...
If I had to venture a guess, I would say the V12 was in triode, as I found its sound to be immediately superior to the Sixpacs, but again, this goes against your experience. The resolution, refinement, and openness really jumped forward when we tried the V12, and ultralinear NEVER does that for me. My dealer and one of his assistants felt this was just the way they always heard it as well. He was willing to sell a demo V12 for something very much in the neighborhood of the list price of the Sixpacs, though he also would give me a nice deal on the Sixpacs.
In the end, I ended up with the Granites, as I felt them to be soncically superior to both of them, though I still recommend the V12 highly, as well as the Sixpacs. Also, from the one complaint I have heard regarding the V12 was from people trying to run it with KT88, and the Granites do so swimmingly.
Thank you again for this discourse!
The V12i I own performs nicely in triode. I was interested in the Six Packs at one time, but since I got a real good deal on a pre-owned V12i I went in that direction. I have played with two-thirds triode and the sound is a little less sweeter than triode, but much better than ultra linear, which I thought had the oomph, but not much more. A little flat actually.
As for tubes, I could not stomach KT-88s in the V12i. I am now using Siemens NOS EL-34s from the 70's. What a difference. Greatly improved the sound, especially in the bass. Much cleaner.
I'm going to disagree about the "upgrade" to the 12 series tubes in the Cary line - 6922's in the Rocket are much more linear, balanced and less euphonic. Many tube gurus I have talked to agree that the reason for the change was the circuit became easier to work with as a result of the change.