Cary CAD-120S MkII vs VAC Signature 200 iQ


I have narrowed my search down to the two amps in the title, and I am wondering what (and why!) people's opinions might be if they were to choose one of these two for themselves.

These amps will be powering, for now, Focal Sopra No 1s. 

Pros of the VAC:
http://www.vac-amps.com/productPages/Signature200.html
iQ technology is probably unparalleled, perfect bias at every volume
VAC build quality
Can be paired with another 200 iQ down the line to form a pair of monoblocks
Compatible with KT120s and KT150s
Has a 12v trigger
Better resale value, I assume

Pros of the Cary:
https://www.caryaudio.com/products/cad-120s-mkii/
Better looks
20 more watts (120 vs 100)
Ability to engage Triode mode (60 watts) for jazz and vocals
4 year warranty (compared to VAC's 2)

While the extra 20 watts does not sound like much, I do hope before too long to convert my Sopra 1s into floorstanders, and at that point the extra wattage would likely come in handy.

So, which would you choose, and why? They are quite similar in many regards.
gmercer
Does the 200 iQ (and VAC in general) bring the goods in the bass department?
The VAC at nearly 3 times the cost of the Cary it better be a clear winner.
Jump on the VAC its got the goods big time.
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I’ve just about settled on VAC. I hope to have my bass question solved when I go to axpona next week, where vac will have 3 or 4 rooms. I assume they extend low, but I have seen a couple of posts suggesting maybe not. Cary will be represented too (and I saw something along the lines of 20% off Cary products if you buy at axpona...).
Is it really fair to compare these two amps considering the massive price differential?  I own a Cary CAD120S MKII and am happy with it for the price but if price were no object I would much prefer the VAC.  
Having owned a VAC, the wattage will not mean a thing. Solid State wattage requirements mean nothing when compared with tubes and speaker wattage requirements are always stated in terms of solid state. And triode is not required for vocals and jazz. VAC any day versus Cary! And are you suggesting that Cary is selling direct to you at 20% off? If price is an issue....
http://www.axpona.com/expospecials.asp
"For Axpona show attendees, we will offer a 20% discount for all Concierge Price Levels during the show."

threeeasypayments, these two amps are very highly comparable, as far as i can see. They are both: a stereo, tube amplifier, producing about 100 watts per channel, using KT88 tubes, made by highly respectable brands that have been around for a while, and both brands have loyal followings. I imagine there are people out there who would take the Cary, maybe because they prefer its sound. I have heard people say Cary makes a warm sound. On the topic of warm, I have also heard that this amp in particular can run very hot. Have you had that experience?
I would take a Ferrari over a much more expensive Bugatti any day... or bread and butter over the foie gras...just trying to make a point that VAC being more expensive means little to nothing to me in terms of what is best.

dobnbav, thanks for the input! 100 watts will be more than sufficient for the Sopra 1s, but I wonder about powering, say, Sopra 2s. did you enjoy your VAC amp?
I bought a used Cary 120S MK ll  for $2,200 in Sept '18. It had
8 ea. Golden Lion Tubes upgraded. I believe retail was $4,500 or so.
As I am both value and musicality oriented I think the purchase made sense.
Thoughts?
Have you considered or listened to Canary amps, the M100 Stereo Power Amplifier is also in the same class as the 2 amps you have listed. M100 Stereo Amplifier
Firstnot, really looking for your thoughts on whether the purchase made sense...

Alucard I have neither heard nor considered, will take a look.
@gmercer 

On the topic of warm, I have also heard that this amp in particular can run very hot. Have you had that experience?

I think it runs as warm as you'd expect from eight KT88 tubes.  It's warm if you hover your hands directly above the tubes but not in an unusual or unexpected way.  Heat has never posed any issue with this gear.  I run the Gold Lions and I'm definitely happy with the sound especially for a $4K amp. I ordered mine upgraded with the Mundorf SilverGold caps and Hexfred rectifiers.


I just bought the primaluna dialogue premium hp integrated at Axpona this past Friday for $3,750.00 it comes with the EL34 tubes but I will be putting in some Electro Harmonix KT90 tubes which are very highly ratedI am getting the tubes cryo treated from upscale audio.I purchased the amp from Saturday Audio Exchange in Chicago, since I am from the area.If you can afford it you might want to look into Raven Audio amps, I listened to them at Axpona and they sounded fantastic, USA made in Texas.
I love my Vac 200iq Amp. It replaced a Diablo-300.
It has more than enough power for my 87 dB Magicos. I had avoided tubes because of the maintenance issues reason why I got the Diablo-300.
But after home demoing side by side with Vac equipment I realized that I just love the tube sound.
Now 5 months later or so I’m rolling tubes when after 15 minutes of inserting some old 6sn7s it starts sputtering and one tube is out. I pulled out bad tube and popped in a new one and back in business. No harm done and eBay credit coming to me, simple as that.
I run kt150s in mine. The sound is huge and the bass is massive compared to stock Kt88’s and some Kr KT88S I tried.
The Vac gear is a little more expensive but well worth it. Also note the rarity to see any current gear up for sale.
Gmerce,
Let me try to address your question more aptly.
I have had some valued compliments from people whose "ears"
I respect when listening to my Cary. Now I only paid $2,200
for it used. The Vac must have amazing SQ at its price.
I recently tallied up what I paid for my system which I have
assembled over the past 12 months. About $12k total.
I think I might possibly get that today or more if liquidated.
Ha you say!
Here it is: Cary (above) $2,200, Audible Illusions Preamp L3B $2,000,
Tannoy Walnut FSM's $3,200. Oppo 205 $1,400. Roon $1,400.
Two dedicated circuits $300. 12 each  2' x 4' x 2" sound absorbing panels. $300. XO rebuild $200. Assorted Interconnects and power cables $1k. Some obscure stuff there I'm sure but the Cary stays.
Are you kidding, Cary sounds very nice and I could live with it, but put a VAC up to it on the same system and A/B them.
Jabber- Yes but at what cost? Is this a money no object search?  How does Ultralinear sound comparable to triode? How much is the VAC?
Would the difference buy a good room correction device? and so on...

Firstwhatnot,

No where in the original posters question does $ appear. I applaud you on purchasing a nice stereo, but there are better systems. This is AudioGon, the place were we purchase systems we can not afford by purchasing used instraments. Champagne taste on a beer budget.

Thanks for making my point.