Anyone heard the new Cary CAD-500MB monos ?

There has been a great review at - the reviewer actually preferred them to his CJ 350SA.

Anyone heard/owns them ?
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i have owned them for the last several months and like them very much, theey replaced cary slam 100s in my system. they come very close to tubes for solid-state amps ands will power any speaker out there. i'm using them with magneplaners. i believe there are a couple pairs available here on audiogon.
Great amps which sound much more refined than their price tag may suggest. Lots of healthy current, rich and lush midrange with smooth but detailed top end.
Here's what I posted on AA about these amps:

In addition to the Cary SLP-05 preamp, I have also had the opportunity to audition two of Cary’s recent solid state amplifier products – the A-306 and the CAD 500-MB’s.

Again, to save my lazy fingers, here the blurb on the A-306 – “This new CARY DESIGNER SERIES A 306 stereo power amplifier has the latest digital design circuits in it. It is conservatively rated at 600 watts per channel at 8 ohms and 1,100 watts per channel at 4 ohms. Each channel has a separate power supply complete with its own with power transformer. The power amplifiers control circuits have their own transformer and power supply. The all aluminum chassis has custom machined aluminum cone feet for system leveling. The speaker terminals are CARDAS designs. The A 306 power amplifier has one each balanced of an XLR and a single ended RCA input with an input selector switch for each channel. The back panel includes a remote turn on trigger input for system remote control. This power amplifier will be capable of running low impedance loads with ease, such as electrostatic designs. The chassis size is 18" w x 5" h x 15" d. The weight is 50 lb.”

These amps have been my first extended listen to solid state amps in over ten years. Things have certainly changed in those ten years. For the better!

First the A-306. This is Cary’s first Class D amplifier. Class D is commonly referred to as a “digital” amp, but it is not. The input signal modulates the power supply through PWM (pulse width modulation). For more details, refer to

This amp outputs a whopping 600 watts per channel @ 8 Ohms, 1,100 watts per channel @ 4 Ohms and on up to over 2,000 watts per channel @ 2. Ohms. The A-306 got well over 150 hours play time and another 150 hours on standby. It takes quite a bit of break in to come in to its voice.

Grab your speakers and head for cover! That’s a lot of power to unleash. The most power my system has had is around 250 Watts with bi-amping. All I can say is – power corrupts. I was completely blown away with the sound. Subterranean bass with complete control. Every musical impulse was imbued with energy. Every musical nuance had a voice, life. With orchestral recordings, it was easier to hear the resonance of the floor under the cello and double bass strings. Organ music was unreal, loud, deep, controlled. Piano recordings had the weight and heft in the lower octaves that only get conveyed with gobs of acoustic energy (fueled by gobs of electrical energy driving the speakers).

The A-306 had the exact same soundstage as my other amps, and as the CAD 500-MBs. The incredible thing to experience with all this available power was how the soundstage would not only fill to the upper extreme corners of the soundstage, it would fill with palpable sound.

As with the SLP-05, I mostly listened to the A-306 with balanced cables. On occasion I connected the phono stage with RCA cables. The RCA (single-ended) connection was smoother sounding and had more texture. This could be due to the phono stage, cables or other interactions.

Overall, I was impressed by the power. At times, the high frequencies had a little too much edge. This was ameliorated by switching to the RCA/single-ended interconnects.

The A-306 also maintains the Cary sound – characterized by a sweet, palpable mid-range that goes right to the heart and soul of the music. Amazing that the sonic signature was so present in a Class D amp.

On to the CAD 500-MBs.

As with other Cary gear, these took well over 100 hours play time to come in to theur own. And come in to their own they did.

From the Cary write up – “1 x 500 watts per channel @ 8 ohms, 1 x 1,000 watts per channel @ 4 ohms, Class A/B solid state design, Toroidal power transformer, remote turn-on trigger, RCA or FET discrete Pure Balanced Inputs, audiophile design mono power amplifier, silver anodized aluminum front panel standard, black front panel optional, black painted steel chassis. Dual WBT speaker terminals for bi-wire operation.”

Again, this is serious power. Fortunately, the Ruarks soaked it up. My friends and I had loads of fun listening to “The Vikings” by Arthur Wills (Reference Recordings HDCD Sampler and Pomp & Pipes). The bass ports moved enough air to create a draught in the room. Ah organ music and a fresh breeze.

I never heard these amps run out of steam, never heard them get harsh, never heard anything but effortless sound. The dynamics were powerful, lots of bass slam, deep powerful bass with excellent control, orchestral swells that did not run out of steam, fully fleshed out soundstage with energy and palpability in all locations.

But the most amazing thing about the CAD 500-MB is how akin to the finest Cary tube amps they sound. The harmonic presentation and timbral character is so close to the 211 AE’s that it is amazing. The 500-MB’s do not have that last degree of burnished glow in each and every instrument or voice, but then again they cost less than half of what the 211’s cost.

I really could not detect any soundstage difference between the CAD 500-MB, the 211AE’s or the 1610’s. They were that close.

Compared to the A-306, the 500-MB’s had a more musical sound, more refined high end (upper frequencies) and a more liquid ebb and swell with the music. They just got out of the way and sang. The A-306 always sounded like they had more power, more reserve, always raring to go. I preferred the more effortless sound of the 500-MBs.

Now to get my hands on some attenuators so I can bi-amp with the 500-MB’s on the woofers. That should be something else. Tubes on top, outstanding solid state on the bottom.

Bottom line: the CAD 500-MB’s are staying, the A-306 goes back.

System: see post on Cary SLP-05.

Enjoy the music.
I am cosidering the Cary MB500's for my Maggie 20's, but I find it hard to believe they can pump out this kind of power and current for their rather civilized size/weight. Where are the behemoth heatsinks? The heavy transformers? Are compromises being made somewhere? Unfortunately I can't get any to audition, and there are no "mainstream" reviews, so I have to go on faith and all the enthusiastic endorsements out there, including Oldvinyl's.
There is a review in a recent issue of "inner ear" magazine you may find helpful. It's a very positive review. Its either this months or last months. I hope you can find it. I am still very happy with mine and will be buying some 3.6's to upgrade from my 3.5's. good luck.rudge
Anyone else had a chance to listen to Carys in the past months ?

I'm thinking about selling my Lamms M1.2 for them.

Since you live in Europe, try to get and have a listen to them first and ask what transformers they have in them.

Me I have had nothing but problems with mine living in Australia. First the transformers the used were insufficient in quality to work properly on 240 vlts. (it gets up to 250vlts down here at night) The tranformers buzzed and noise came thru the speakers. Worst of all pops like lightening bolts came thru the speakers anytime a light or oven was switched on or off.

Cary eventually sent replacements with better rated transformers they got from Germany. I received them a couple of weeks ago.
They are a lot better, however I have send one of the monoblocks back to the importer this week as the transformer still buzzes and he is going to replace the transformer with a new one.

So I have had mine since April, but only played music for about a month.

Sound wise they are very good

I know how you feel - my Lamms also buzz a bit, but at least not through the speakers.

It seems that I will have to check at Cary if the problem has been solved.
I've had a pair of 500MBs for about four months now driving Maggie 3.6's on MYE stands. You can't go wrong! They are quite powerful and have a warmth about them that I've only heard from tube amps. Actually they sound very similar to the Counterpoint NP-220 they replaced. Just tighter bass and faster transients in the highs but the warmth is still there which is what I was really looking for and amazed to find. I occasionally pop the midrange fuse because it's hard to find that threshold where the sound degrades at very high volume. These things just get louder but with the same sound quality through out almost the entire range of volume. Once they are broken in I think you'll be very impressed.

I just wanted to add that I finally traded my Lamms for the Carys. They are a far better match for may system (much more flesh on the bones), and at least as good as the Lamms overall. It comes as a surprise, since they cost only 1/3 of the price of Lamms !

I have also to add, that their full potential was ONLY realized after placing them on Finite Elemente Cerapuc footers (200$ a pair) bypassing the original rubber feet.

For whatever reason, those footers elevate the sound quality of Carys beyound disbelieve. The microdynamics, resolution, low level details retrival are miles better with theose footers placed under the amps.

I highly recommend this upgrade to any CAD-500MB owners.