Cary CD 306 SACD player vs newer Marantz SA 10 CD/SACD player

I'm a current owner of an older Cary CD 306 SACD player (non professional version) and have been very happy with the sound quality of it. The CD 306 SACD is Cary's flagship CD/SACD player. This model along with its professional version both have received praises and spectacular reviews from both professional reviewers and users. And the build quality is superb and this player weighs about 45 pounds. The player has been working flawlessly aside from having to replace a new laser assembly last year which was done by Cary Audio itself which is very common with older CD/SACD players or transports. And I think the CD 306 SACD has been discontinued since 2015/2016.  


But I'm curious if the newer Marantz SA 10 CD/SACD player, which is also Marantz's flagship CD/SACD player, would sound better or the Cary CD 306 SACD would sound better than the SA 10. Seems like the Marantz SA 10 is most of the time is being offered at discounted price and it makes me want to pull the trigger on one. 


What do you guys think? Both the Cary and the Marantz players can used as a standalone DAC and have various digital audio inputs on the back. 

Advises, thoughts, suggestions are welcome. Thanks in advance.


I would simply buy from someone that accepts returns, try/keep/return

Here is an Open Box that popped up


I don't know the seller, but they have 30 day returns. Use payment methods that protect you.

Cameras, if open box, the receipt is the initial date of sale, and you get maker's full factory warranty. I would clarify that with the seller.


another, seller, 100% rating, says comes with 3 yr factory warranty, takes returns



your Cary, IF you keep it, you might keep your eye out for parts, belts, lasers, ....seems not much is available worldwide now


My Sony, belts aplenty, and a few seller's have the entire laser assembly available, one of the reasons I chose it


If your Cary is in good working order you'd be better off getting a new separate DAC.

Looking at the guts of the Marantz it doesn't look impressive.


I believe that @elliottbnewcombjr presented some excellent options for you. 30 days return policy is plenty of time for a relaxed snd thorough home audition. Ideal opportunity to compare to your Cary directly and just listen then decide. There’s no better scenario than to hear the components yourself.


True. Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts, advises and suggestions.



The picture of the laser or disc transport assembly that you posted here was that of the older CD 306 that does not play SACD, it plays only Redbook CD. Mine is the latest model of the CD 306 SACD player that plays both Redbook CD & SACD and has completely different transport than the earlier models of the CD 306 that can only play Redbook CD shown in your picture attachment. These two players are completely different design internally, they are totally different machines.


Cary Audio does not repair or service or replace the laser assembly of the older CD 306 models like the one shown in your picture attachment due to the age of the unit and they no longer stock up the laser assembly for those earlier models. However, Cary Audio still stock up on the laser assembly of the CD 306 SACD like the one I have (the latest 306 model). As a matter of fact, I have sent my player in to Cary last year to get a new laser assembly.


I know it can be very confusing and confuses a lot of people regarding the CD 306 earlier and older models that can only play Redbook CD (earlier and older model) and the latest model of the CD 306 SACD (both non pro and pro versions) that play both Redbook CD and SACD like the one I have. The earlier 306 models and the latest 306 SACD like mine are completely different machines and different design and engineering internally. They look different too aesthetically and different build quality. The perform differently too. The latest model like the one I have sounded much better than the earlier and older 306 models.


I will try to get a take home demo or audition of the Marantz SA 10 player and compare it directly to my Cary in my own setup. However, there’s a dealer here in my city that happens to be Marantz and Cary dealers and according to him that my Cary would still sound better and more musical than the Marantz SA 10. He said sure the SA 10 has newer DAC chip but that doesn’t mean anything when it comes to overall sonic quality of the player.


My Cary CD 306 SACD player runs kinda hot or warm due to its class A analog output stage design. That’s the only complain I have.

Wonder if the Marantz SA 10 runs hot too?

You certainly know what you have inside and out, and the maker still works on it, that's a bit of luck.

Despite the words of someone else, even someone you respect, I would get a Marantz I could return at home and compare them myself.

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Marantz has had a House Sound that gets the mid range right but tends to roll the treble off  and be a bit I’ll defined in the bass.

Thank you all for responding. I’m currently using Cary power amp with Classe preamp that will soon to be replaced with the Cary SLP-05 vacuum tube preamp. So I’m not sure if the Marantz will have a good synergy with my other Cary components. But I will give it a shot and try to get the marantz SA 10 with a 30 day return policy so that I can return it if I found my current Cary CD 306 SACD player to be a better sounding or a better match with my other Cary components in my setup. I believe in system synergy.

The SA 10 currently retails for $7500 brand new after all this crazy inflation but its original retail was $7k before this crazy inflation, whereas my older Cary CD 306 SACD player (non professional version) did retail for $7k when it was still in production back in around 2006 to 2008. But then when the professional version of this CD 306 SACD player was introduced in 2008 to replace the non-professional version of this CD 306 SACD its retail price got bumped up to $8k, and the professional version of this player got discontinued in around 2015 or 2016.

The Marantz SA 10 is a much newer disc player and is a current model. I have been looking for the professional version of the Cary CD 306 SACD player but so far have no luck finding a used one in used markets. The professional version sounded better than the non-professional version like the one I have but is a marginal improvement and it isn’t like night and day difference according to reviewers and users who have heard both players and compared them side-by-side in the same setup.


Like I said, before, I have been very happy with the sound quality of my Cary CD 306 SACD player, it is a great sounding and highly musical sounding unit but it’s getting old so just in case if someday it stops working so I will have a back up and know which one to get to replace it but sonically the new one will have to better my current Cary CD 306 SACD player or at least performs on the same level as my current CD 306 SACD player sound quality wise.



Excellent follow up. I agree that the SA-10 would be a nice upgrade from the older Cary Audio 306 player. I look forward in reading more about your impressions and thoughts.


Happy Listening!


I’m not so sure if the Marantz SA 10 would be a nice upgrade sonically from my current older Cary CD 306 SACD. The SA 10 might be an upgrade sonically from the earlier and even older models of Cary CD 306 that can only play Redbook CD but not SACD. Mine is the 306 SACD non pro version which is the latter model in the CD 306 iteration and is a completely different machines and different design internally then the earlier and even older models of the CD 306. My CD 306 SACD shares nothing in common internally and topoly design wise with the earlier and even older of CD 306 that does not play SACD. Not only Cary added the SACD playback with the 306 SACD like the one I have but they completely redesigned internally. These are completely different machines, the only thing they share in common was the name of the 306 iteration. 



I have always enjoyed the presentation and sound of Cary Audio players, 303T, 306 SACD and 308.


Happy Listening!