Cary 303/300 vs. 306/200?

I'm interested in these two CD players (along with the Opus 21) and am wondering if anyone has made a comparison between the two? I'd like to hear subjective thoughts on what one does better than the other, etc.

I'm thinking of going direct to the amp, so this is a consideration, but I'll take comments from anyone who has done a comparison.

Does anyone know if the 306 SACD has variable output? I don't see it in the specs anywhere.

Lastly, how might the Opus 21 fit with these players?

Michael, I owned both the 306SACD and the 303/300. first of all, the 306SACD does not have volume control. Overall, I liked the 306SACD more. It had much better bass and a more refined sound.
At the time that the 303/300 came out, and shortly thereafter, there was a lot of conversation comparing that unit to the older 306/200, since the latter's used price was in the ballpark or slightly less than the formers new price. I think if you search the discussions on audiogon and also at you'll find comparisons. My memory is that most but not all preferred the 303/300. BTW I researched this a lot and ended up deciding to get a used 308T and I love it. It has a real tubed output state and it the most natural sound of any cd player I've ever heard. It is not the most detailed, and, I've never heard the newest top of the line like 306 SACD.

My searches on this forum did not show many (if any) threads that compared the sonic characteristics of the two units. I'll look over at AA, but I have found that there's a lot of useless conversation over there to wade through, so I generally avoid it.

I suspected that the 303/300 would probably be preferred, but wanted to see if that was the case.

Try searching for abecollins (one word although the fellow's name is Abe Collins). My memory is that there were adherents to both but more to the 303/300. However, some people (like Abe) prefered the 308T because of it's pure tube output stage, over either the solid state or the tube output stage of the 303/300.


OK, thanks, I'll check out the posts over there. I've read a lot of posts about the 303/300, and it seems there are a number of people who like the SS output better, which comes as a suprise to me.

Going for a 308T might be a great option. I'll have to look into it a bit.

I tested the 303/300 and loved the tube output section -- and I am not a big promoter of tubes. I ended up with the 306SACD, but the 303 is special.
I have have heard the 306/200 its an outstanding warm detailed
player but I would recommend a Sony SCD-1 or Wadia 860 unless you get the new 306 sacd player that is built upon the sony scd-1 but at 6k you'll be better of with sony SDC-1 for $1700 and if later you wish to upgrade you can upgrade the sony to practically surpass units that range from 6k and up.
I HAVE to chime in. The Sony SCD-1 is awful for redbook! The 306/200 will kill it and with todays prices you can get a used 306/200 for about $1400. To this day the 306/200 is one of the best players I have owned, and I now own the 306 Pro.