Cary 805 vs v12

I really enjoy my janszen speakers and have powered them with six PAC el34 triodes for almost a year. I tried a mcintosh mc275 for a time, but found I prefer the el34 to the kt tube family. I was considering finding a used v12 with the ultralinear switch to get more out of my system. But, then I thought, " hmm...I wonder what the 805ae would sound like?"

Anyone care to compare the 805ae to the six pacs to the v12? I lean towards warm and full bodied sound and do not care for the hyper detailed krell sound.

Emotive Sira pre
Sony hapz1es
Svs stereo subs
Six PAC mono blocks
Janszen za2.1
I have not owned the Cary 805 but I have listened to it a number of times for many hours in different venues both business and private homes. I do own the superb Cary V12 which does have the warm, full sound you like. Before purchasing the V12 I had a similar dilemma such as you stated. Ultimately my decision was to go with the V12. Save the money and upgrade other aspects of your system, or buy more music; the difference between the two amps is not far apart with regard to how it sounds. The V12 has plenty of power and with the right speakers you won't need it. The V12 is a vastly underrated great amp, thanks, Dennis Had. If I remember correctly, in the owner Manuel it states it is a smaller 805. Also, better than the Six Packs. Best, Rob
I don't think you'll gain anything by moving to a (stereo) V12...and you'll probably be taking a step backwards. I owned the SixPacs and loved them (but sold them because I couldn't take the heat they produced, and my neuroses over tubes got in the way of just enjoying the music). If I recall correctly, the SixPacs are (basically) a V12 split in half. The 805 is another animal altogether (from a design perspective). I've never heard it, but always wanted to hear a pair in my system (when I was into tubes).
Yes the six pacs are essentially the basis of the v12 from what I have heard. I believe the v12 has better caps, wiring, etc and I think the transformer may be better. I also like the ultralinear switch.

However the 805 is a halo product that makes me wonder. I have not heard an 845 or 211 tube but I have audidory visions of luscious female vocals that wrap around me! Unfortunately 7-10k to find out is a little daunting.

Less tubes in the 805 is appealing as well since the six pacs are indeed little furnaces! I would entertain the v12 monoblocks but holy smokes they must be unbearably hot to live with anywhere other than an igloo!
You may want to chat with a few people that know this line well, like a John Rutan @ Audio Connection or Kevin Deal @ Upscale Audio. A half-dozen EL34s aren't going to sound like a single 211, but perhaps a bit of tube rolling may give you more of what you seek. Also, you may want to pull out a role of blue painter's tape, a laser pointer, and a measuring tape and experiment with speaker / chair position. It's sometimes amazing what a bit o' geometry (and dealing with reflection points) can do for the soundstage. Otherwise, drop the coin and report your findings. :)
I bought my v12 from John Rutan at Audio Connection. Spoke with Dennis Had many times about these various units many times. The best advice you gave was to talk to John Rutan, one of the good guys in Audio. Same for Kevin Deal with whom I've a lot of experience.

SgtBrad, I guess you have heard a lot of hear-say, but didn't really want to hear from people who actually owned the product.

Nrenter, nice to see you upgraded from lamp cord to Ayre. Nice quantum leap. Best, Rob
Before my Ayre system, I had the SixPacs driven by a AES AE-3 DJH pre-amp (loved that pre-amp). Speakers were B&W N805 / REL Strata III. Turntable was a Teres monkeywood belt-driven 255 / OL Silver / Shelter 501. Phono stage was a Wright WPP-200c. Lots of tubes. Lots of heat. Lots of fodder for my OCD.
I owned the 805AE and the V12R at the same time and was able to compare them. I had Quad ESL-988 speakers. The 805AE did not work very well with them. The amp was dull and lifeless compared to my V12R. Although the 805AE is rated at 50 watts a channel, I think it works better with a speaker with higher sensitivity and impedance. The V12R was a great sounding amp. It got very hot, though, and I had tube rush through the speakers that I did not hear from other amps.
Thanks everyone for the posts. I have purchased from Kevin deal and have spoken with John rutan in the past. I try not to pester the dealers too much but I may have too in this regard. I was just hoping someone had a direct comparison between either the six packs and the 805 or the v12 and 805. Fwiw I have spent a lot of time tweaking my set up and absolutely love the sound. But isn't there always better sound to be had?😜
Oops. Somehow I posted before my browser refreshed and I didn't get to see the last two posts. Thank you again for the replies. And thank you for the direct comparison. "Dull and lifeless" is definitely not what I am looking for. It would be my exact description of the mc275 in my system. It's funny how system synergy comes into play. I hate to hear it though. I was secretly hoping to hear how stunning the 805s were so that I could justify a trial. As it stands I will probably sit tight and look for a v12 to try.
The Cary 805 is capable of providing stunning results IF paired with the correct speaker. The 805 is a single ended directly heated triode amplifier, therefore, don't ask it to do something that it was not optimally designed for. You don't buy a sports car to haul wood.
Brad, the last few posts give good advice. It's all about the speaker match and your Sensitivity: 87dB /1W/1m
Impedance: 6 ohms nominal
doesn't sound like a good match for the 805s. In general, 211s, 845s, etc. will go better with >90db and >8ohm loads.

The most common way to "go ballsier" is with pentode beasts using your EL34, 6550s etc. Many including me are partial to triode magic, so be sure to demo before buying any pentode amps based on reviews, etc.

It's always a trade off of priorities and personal preferences! cheers,
Are you only interested in the Cary line up or would you try a VAC,VTL, or perhaps Manley?

I believe when first released the Cary 805 monos had a real 805 directly heated triode single ended transmission output tube (which have the white top cap for the anode), which had more power than the 845 or 211, and it was taller.

Cheers George
I am only talking Cary because it's what I have experience with in my six pacs and cdp. I have reviewed Manley and think that the snappers will be drier than my taste. I am open to vtl and vac. Please educate me. Fwiw I had once considered the rogue Zeus, but worry that it too will sound too clinical for my taste. I just love the warm enveloping syrupy sound of my six pacs. I just hate the heat and limited power.
I forgot to mention that I had also considered joule but the reviews I read talked of being able to,roast marshmallows over them. Yikes I can barely stand the six pacs. I wish I could have more power, less heat and more extension on top and bottom with no loss of the glorious triode mid range. I guess that sums up what a lot of people are looking for and might as well be called the unobtanium amp!
The Cary 805 was never released with an 805 tube. The original 805 had a 211 output tube.
Are you sure about that? I believe the original version of the amp used 805 output tubes accompanied by 6SL7's with EL34's for drivers.
The Cary 805 was originally designed with a 805 output triode driven by a EL34 with a single 6SN7 for the input. From memory it was never put into production that way because of the top anode cap and the safety implications it brings, therefore for initial production release of the CAD 805 the 211 triode was chosen as the output tube.

In its second release (CAD 805-B) the 300B was chosen as a driver tube in place of the EL34.

Later on the possibility of tube rolling Output tubes between the 845 and the 211 was introduced, this happened in the mid 1990's

Early CAD 805 Review

Amazing staying power this beautiful amplifier have - still in production 25 years later, now as the CAD 805AE

Good Listening

"more power, less heat and more extension on top and bottom with no loss of the glorious triode mid range. I guess that sums up what a lot of people are looking for and might as well be called the unobtanium amp!"

Yeah, it's tough because for more power you need more tubes and that equates to more heat. Having lived with VTL, BAT, Dehavilland, Atma-Sphere and more, I've been there! SS hybrids like my Lamms run hot to touch, but don't warm a room like the big tube amps do. Whatever you decide, keep the speaker matching a top priority.

Recent conversation with some audio club friends led to pondering about the newer room A/C systems that run quietly and might address from the other end of the problem. Just a thought...Cheers,

Long time ago I may be wrong but the Stereophile issue that had first released Cary 805's on the front cover along with massive Krell Monoblocks, and the title said:

"If one of these amps is right the other must be wrong"

From memory I think the pic of those Cary's had the real 805 tubes in them

Cheers George
George, that was Stereophile's January 1994 issue which featured the Cary 805 with the 211 output tube. As previously mentioned, Cary never produced a production/retail CAD805 with an 805 output tube.
I'm sure I saw a pair somewhere then. And I said to myself wow! that's a 10th of the price of the Wavac 805 monoblocks.

Cheers George

Did some search on this Cary 805 with an 805 output tube, and yes it was used at first like I thought, but I think due to hard to find NOS only supply of the 805 tube at the time, it got changed to the 211 because they were being made new, and then in 97 to the 845.

Quote:"The original Cary CAD-805 was named after its output tube: the 805. The amp had a 6SL7 input tube (which has remained constant through various design changes) and an EL34 driver tube. The 805 output tube was soon switched to a 211."Quote:

Cheers George
George, I am not disputing the fact that the Cary was original designed around the 805 tube, but it never went into retail production with the 805 tube. The first retail version was offered with the 211 tube. Perhaps you saw the prototype? In any event, it's a great amp.
There's one pair in Australia with 805 tubes, maybe it was modded to take them? owned by Robert ? the guy who bought the Eichmann cable and bullet plugs rights from Eichmann then on sold it. Maybe it was the prototype who knows?

Cheers George

More info delving into the history of this fine? tube amp, I found this quote from Sam Tellig this time when he talked to Dennis Had of Cary.

"The original CAD-805 had four tubes—three in the signal path. Starting as the signal came in, a single 6SL7 dual-triode input tube provided voltage gain. This was coupled to the control grid of an EL34 pentode tube wired as a triode. The EL34 produced about 4W of audio power to drive the control grid of the 805 or 211 via an interstage transformer"

Chees George

After all the hype back then on these, I decided to make my own pair of monoblocks way back then, at back breaking 35kg each even with aluminium chassis, also feedback adjustable, and very high quality transformers, power, output, chokes, and interstage.

They consisted of 13d3 Birmar input tube (same Audionote used in their top preamp) then a 12BH7 strapped RCA blackplate driving a Sylvania 300B which then drove the interstage transformer which drove the 805 RCA black plate tube.
These just drove the ESL section of the Martin Logan Monolith III's It was nice even good, they lasted about 6mths before I sold them. I may still have the circuit diagram on an old backup HD somewhere if anyone wants to make a pair, mind you these are lethal!!!!!

Cheers George
I have owned the 805's (two different pairs and vintages), the V12's, and the SixPacs outfitted with upgraded parts. And quite a number of other Cary amps to boot. :) "Sbank" offered some really sound (ugh) advice on the 805's -- they are NOT a good match for your speakers. Please don't infer that I'm bashing the 805's. Anything but, as they will likely go down in history as some of the best sounding amps of all time. BUT...they must be mated with a speaker load they can handle, and 87 dB sensitivity is too low. They need at least a 93 dB (preferably higher), and they need a fairly benign impedance load in the 8+ ohm range.

The V-12 would be a nice step up from the SixPacs, and won't put out any more heat (same total # of tubes). But before that, have you tried rolling any tubes? You didn't mention what brand of output tubes you're running. My favorite current production tube in the Six's was the Electro Harmonix EL-34, and my favorite NOS tubes were the GEC KT-66's. The latter are a bit price prohibitive right now, but the difference in sound over the EH's was substantial. I haven't tried any of the new manufacture GEC's, but they may be worth a look.
I had a brief listen to the Cad 805 in one of its earlier lives and it was certainly beguiling but as a V12 owner I can't sing its praises enough. So it runs hot... Its music IS "Hot". One of my favorite amps of all time and when you throw in its incredible tube flexibility as well as its triode options it's a real keeper and well worth seeking out. As a final bonus in a darkened room it is THE sexiest looking piece of metal and glass ( better than the hottest looking piece of a s s...). I heard the six pacs were a great sounding value for the $$$$ but I'll bet the V12's a worthwhile step up. FWIW I've actually moved up the amp ladder [ into some bigger & pricier monos] but I honestly don't have the heart to part with my V12 yet as I can't think of anything else I'd rather have its money value become... Too weird huh? Every few months I put it back into play and bask in all its "musical flow and glow...".
Great comments. Thank for the clarification on the potential incompatibility of the 805 with my speakers. I love my janszens. They are so much better than I had expected them to be that I am keeping them as a cornerstone of my system. I grew up with a set of janszens from the 60s that were my fathers. He just sold them a couple of years ago as his hearing is gone.

I may try the v12. It has always piqued my interest. I would really love to hear what differences there are between the six pacs and the v12. Having the ultralinear switch would sure be handy.

I just retubed a few hours ago with Mullard el34 reissues that were recommended by Kevin Deal. Honestly though the stock rubys had low hours and I didn't notice a marked difference. The mullards were more forward and immediate. They brought instruments to the front of the soundstage. But I didn't notice a gain in detail or extension.

Thanks again everyone. I genuinely appreciate the input and advice. Now to find a v12? Hmmm...
I inquired my old friend Dennis Had, one of the true visionaries this industry has been blessed with, about the output tubes used in this truly remarkable amplifier. i.e., we are talking about this 25 years after its original release, here is what he had to say --

"The original prototype that appeared for a couple days at the CES Show in 1991 was with the 805 output tube driven by an EL34 with a front end pre-driver of a 6SL7. A major concern was involving the exposed high voltage (900 vdc) utilizing the plate cap required for the 805. There was an easy solution with the use of the 211. Since the plate capacitance is of little concern at audio frequencies the 211 was the choice for an audio amp in home audio listening rooms. Soooooooo the first formal production CAD-805's (1992) had the tube line up of the 211 output driven by an EL34 utilizing interstage coupling to the 211 with the 6SL7 up front as the pre-driver."

So this pretty much settles it, please see my initial post on this above.

I was fortunate to have the privilege to work for Dennis Had for a short period 1994/1995, he taught me a lot about this industry, for which I'm very grateful.

Good listening

Bccowen, Lissnr, Pbnaudio,
Great comments all. Pbnaudio, great visiting your shop a long, long time ago, I forgot what I bought??? For the OP, I also went for KT66s after discussing with Had and Rutan my tastes in listening at the time. Very pleased. I still own the V12, never a problem, except Ruby tubes failing. Currently running them with NOS Reflector 6n3ce (6L6) or Shuguang Black Treasure 6CA7 (EL34). I love this amp in Triode with efficient 8 ohm speakers. Best, Rob