I just bought a cj TEA2MAX and it is pretty fantastic. But I can't help you with the comparison you seek as I have not auditioned the Cary.
12 responses Add your response
As long as alternatives are being suggested I'll add the Fosgate Signature currently available for about $2M. All tube. No transformer or transistor in the signal path. Variable cartridge loading. Tube rectification and more gain than the CJ. Same gain as Cary. No need to match tubes when rolling. TAS (and HiFi+) have reviewed both it and the CJ, both online.
The reason I recommended the Herron VTPH-2 is because I directly compared it to the Audio Research reference phono stage at the time. The Herron was very close in performance and the AR was a $10K reference level phono stage. So I bought the Herron. Keith offers a free in home trial all you pay is the shipping if you send it back.
I went through the same dilemma before deciding to buy my cj. It is not slways possible to hear any of these things, much less compare them. So each of us knows only a slice of information, specifically about the unit we have. I will say this about the cj TEA2MAX. There is no bloat or artificial warmth at all. It just sounds right, just like cj says in their promotional materials. Very right and far better than the few I was able to beg, borrow, or steal for audition.