Cary-280SA "V12" - worth its weight in gold

Simply put, this dimunitive, class A, triode 50 watter blew me away with its majestic sound! It imbues every CD I play with life and vitality! And don't get me started with anologue; wheeewww!!! It's soundstages like a MOFO with dynamics galore! Don't let that low wattage fool you, this baby can drive the most inefficient speakers to ear-deafening levels. I've had divers amps from Plinius, BAT, Audio Research, etc.., none of them hold a candle to these magic Cary's in major areas of sound reproduction. So V12 owners..., what do you think?
I upgraded my very old system last fall with a Cary V12 amp, Cary SLP 2002 preamp, Virgo II speakers, and a California Audio Labs CL-20 CD player. My experience and knowledge of hi fi equipment is limited.

I compared the Cary V12 with a Krell solid state amp in about the same price range, with a more expensive Audio Research tube amp, with a much less expensive Creek solid state amp, and with the Crown solid state amp I replaced. The V12 blew me away, as compared with those amps. I had never heard a tube amp before. The Krell (which I found to be the best of the amps I compared to the V12) had tighter, deeper and more prominent bass, and for lack of a better way to describe it, a punchier sound. But the Krell sounded more analytic. The V12 had much better soundstage, and the sound was warmer and more engaging, with a more natural timbre.

I listen mostly to acoustic Jazz. The V12 provides plenty of power for the Virgo speakers. The sound of the horns and piano, and the vocals, are particularly lifelike and engaging. With the V12 in ultralinear mode, the bass is tighter and more prominent, which to my ears improves the bass (referring to the musical instrument) and drums but at some sacrifice to the horns, piano and vocals in triode mode. Nevertheless, and despite the suggestion I have read that the triode mode generally is better, I find that I listen mostly in the ultralinear mode. I like having the choice between triode and ultralinear mode, and the ability to switch modes while the music is playing and to use a hybrid between triode and ultralinear.

In short, I am exceptionally pleased with the Cary V12, although I have a limited basis for comparison.

Best regards,
Bobj, you must post more often. Your description of the V-12 is excellent. I am a SET and OTL lover. I bought the V-12 to have a more powerful amp around. I would go into more detail but i would be repeating much of what Bobj said.
Bobj, you may think you have limited knowledge but you sure don't sound like it. Great post!