I think AA capitole is very superior, but I heard the two players with diferents equipments.
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The AA capitole MKII SE is vastly superior to the CARY in either output. The Cary can sound very clinical in SS and definitely sounds better in tube output mode but it really is no match for the AA player which can sound much better if using the Symposium Rollerblocks series 2+ in double stacked configuration with the grade 3 tungsten superballs or the SRA Ohio XL base as an alternative. Only downside in the AA player is that it takes over 1000 hours to fully break in and it sounds best when left turned on all the time. One session with the Capitole and I knew it was the one! ... never replaced it!
The comments above, versus my own opinion, reflect differences in taste and system matching that makes it hard to say how you will react to any component in your system.
I like the AA Capitole player a lot. It is quite musical and has a remarkably clear and grain-free presentation. But, in the system I heard it in, it was a touch lean in the midbass which made it sound a bit dry, and with poorer quality sources, this can translate to a harsher sound. I found this lean quality to be exacerbated by using rollerblocks and/or a Symposium Ultra shelf under the player. But, don't misunderstand me, this is one of those players that had that hard-to-explain, something special about it that makes it a joy to listen to for extended periods.
I found the Cary player to be MUCH better through the solid state output than the tube output. True, the tube output does smooth out the sound a little, but it sounded muddled and lifeless in comparison to the SS output. I also tended to not like the highest levels of oversampling with that player.
If you are looking for smoother, relaxed and musical (vs. detailed and hyper kinetic) you might want to look into a transport coupled to an Audionote DAC. This can be a bit pricey, but they do sound wonderful.
I don't think you necessarily have to have a tube output to get a smoother, less edgy sound. There are some pure solid state candidates to look over. The Esoteric DV-50 sounds like a candidate, as would be some of the current Linn line and Ayre line.
I agree with you Larry on the Audio Note gear, they make some wonderful electronics but they don't come cheap.
I cannot share your experience of lean mid bass with the AA player that I have. I use the symposium rollerblocks described above with an HRS M2 platform underneath which sits on a 1" granite block. If anything I find the bass is very articulate and clean with plenty of weight to it, albeit sometimes scary. I use the cardas golden reference ic's which although not the best out there, have given me the most pleasure in the long run. Powerconditioning is Shunyata (a hydra 4) with power supplied to it by a Revelation Audio Labs Precept 20 powercord (20 amp IEC).
My comments are surely biased because I love this player, perhaps because I find that it is very forgiving with most non-audiophile recordings ... which comprise the majority of my collection.
I've heard both the Esoteric DV-50 as well as their top of the line player in Montreal this year, and I also had the opportunity to hear the Ayre player at the same show. I find that the Ayre setup was by far my favorite, despite the Esoteric runnning through YBA passion gear with the JM Lab Grande Utopia Be's (perhaps the YBA preamp and YBA powercords and conditioning were the weak links here). I also have a friend who owns the Linn CD-12 and I like it a lot. Too bad he never uses the analog output it has, he finds that digital out into his reference Levinson processor sounds better in his system. But that's why this is an open forum an all suggestions are welcome.
I do love my AA player though, but I also heard that the Reimyo is better, it all depends on the system of course. My system has its limitations and I can't say this or that for sure, but I love the emotional involvement it provides when I listen to music.
Thanks for all of the input thus far.
For those of you who have the AA, please breifly explain the potential function capabilities without using a separate pre amp.
I understand that this unit has a volume control and therefore can run directly to the power amp. However, I also have a pioneer cdr recorder, which I use the RCA ins & outs to my pre. Would I still have the ability to record from the AA to the CDR's via RCA output, and would I be able to monitor/playback from the Pioneer CDR recorder, through the AA to the power amp?
Furthermore, if the AA has the capabilities to accommodate the Pioneer CDR unit as described above, would there still be additional inputs if I ever wanted to add another source, such as a turntable?
Regardig the AA remote...I assume it can contol the volume as well as the cd functions? Does the remote have a phase selector as well? I have that on my current pre and have grown accustommed to having it.
Thanks again for all of your thoughts.
As far as regards your questions about the versatiltity of this player, I can tell you that the SE version can satisfy some of the demands you have posted.
It has both RCA and XLR outs (hence you can use the RCA outs into your Pioneer CDR recorder and the XLR out to an amp). However, to reach standard output voltage, you need to bring the volume of the capitole SE's preamp to -7 db (which will output very high db levels if your amp can handle them without distortion, but will also damage your ears, so care is required here but if you have adjustable gain on your amps then this issue can be avoided).
You can also return signal via RCA analog inputs back into the preamp, however I'm not sure you'd be able to monitor your recorded sound if you're using XLR out to the amp since I've never used this option. For clarification here, you'd be best off emailing your questions to Globe Audio, they're always helpful.
As far as the turntable goes, the answer is no. There is no phono input here. The preamp section on the SE has 2 RCA inputs and an XLR input as well.
The remote has both volume control and phase inversion options (though there are a variety of models out there, mine is about 3 years old, and don't get the LCD one if you consider this player ... have only heard negative things about it).
Hope this answers some of your questions.
Now you are asking the right questions about the AA Capitole. I Bi-amp, using the XLR outputs feeding my McIntosh 2102 amp in my living room and the RCA outputs feed another system in my office. Works great.
Also, I use the toslink feed from my Satellite into my AA Capitole while the coax feeds through my DVD player. The newest version of the Capitole can receive an analog feed from the tuner. There are other inputs, too.
About the only thing you might need a pre for is a turntable. . Once you have broken the habit of using your pre for anything else you will learn to trust the Capitole's ability to work with the CD engineer's mixing of the CD and you won't be adding bass, etc. About the only somewhat downside to this is that you will be discovering how poorly engineered some CDs are. You will begin to pay more attention to the label, such as Rhino and Chesky as these are better mixed and will compliment your Capitole.