Cary SLI-80 mated with Spendor S3-E


Hello fellow A'goners:

A while back I have switched gears, sold my Dynaudio Contour S3.4s and other front end equipment. I did however, at that time pick up a beautiful pair of Spendor S3e's. I don't want to derail the main point of this thread, which is about cary sli-80 compatibility, so i'll keep my impression of the spendors short: I love them; they have a way of conveying musical realism that still surprises me.

I am currently driving them with a friend's Aragon 8002 power amp, a McCormack TLC-1 deluxe volume controller, and my source is the amazing squeezebox touch (i've had a bel canto dac3 twice along the years, as well as other high end digital players; the Touch with upgraded power supply, while not the last word in sheer resoultion, is immensly enjoyable).

I think there may be a wonderful synergy in the Spendor/ Cary SLI-80 integrated, but I am looking to you to let me know your experiences are with this combo, or close to it (ie other spendor speakers mated to the sli-80).
I don't get the sense that the S3es are power hogs (pretty benign 8 ohm impedance curve) and i don't listen all that loud. The aragon 8002 at 125 wpc into 8 seems more than enough, and the sound is very focused and has good musical presence.
I think that swapping the TLC-1/Aragon combo for the sli-80 would advance the quality of sound in many aspects-- especially in complementing the excellent midrange tone if the spendors (voices are reproduced with incredible realism). What do you think?

Thanks for your time.
dpac996
Can't speak to the spendors but I run an SLI-80 into a pair of focal 1007be monitors in triode mode and have plenty of volume .. Listen mostly to classical and female jazz vocals ..

Chuck
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I have to disagree with above post. I have owned many spendors 8se,6se and 3/5's and they all sound magical with tubes!
Bob,

Yes you are correct. I meant to say 8 ohm nominal. I do understand that impedance is a function of frequency, which gives rise to the curve. The S5e has an additional parallel driver in addition to a more comples impedance mathcing network. I'm sure that the S55's present a more challenging load for any amp than the S3e's. That being said, i've been surprised on many occasions when, on paper, a given combination seems unlikely to create good sound, but in practice the combo sounds fantastic.

Thanks all for the posts so far.

Regards
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Hello Dpac -

I have the S6E's and I did auditioned the SLI-80. My impression was that it was an absolutely gorgeous sound when listening to Jazz, female vocals, acoustic or music in the ilk of Jack Johnson.
Problems? Well after a week of listeing when I played some rock -Incubus, Kings of Leon, or any music needing some slam I felt it was lacking.... a bit in the bass as well.

I returned to my SS Classe CA-101, missing the musicality of the SLI-80 but in the long run I felt I needed a more punch and bass.
The SLI-80 is precisely as you describe, in my personal experience Lougiants. I have had solid state or hybrid ss/tube amps in my home that offered far more grip in the bass and made rock&roll very enjoyable as compared to that of the Cary SLI-80, or for that matter, other all tube vintage systems such as my older Conrad Johnson systems.

But I so love the beauty of the sound of the all tube systems on jazz, female vocals, acoustic, etc.

Decisions decisions. Well I live in a condo where playing rock and roll at enjoyable volumes in a large room is out of the question, so for me retaining the SLI-80 is a good solution. I blast rock in my car and iPod at gym.

I also use a REL sub at low volumes to provide that sonic bass foundation. Oddly, the sub seems to add color to the entire range of music. I always wonder why.

Art
Thank you for the responses. Now, how reliable and user friendly is the cary? I have had two arc vt100mkii's over the years. When biased properly those amps sing, but one of them blew a plate resistor that resulted when a new tube arced. Long story short the arc tube amps I had drove me nuts. More downtime than listening time. I just about swore off tube amps for good but I have heard some positives about the cary in terms of ease of biasing, less picky about matched tube sets, not eating tubes as fast as the arc (relative I know),etc. So what is your experience? How does this cary model rank with the rest of the pack? Thank you
I haven't owned an SLI-80, but I always wanted to try one. The easy solution is to buy a used one at a fair price, try it, if you don't like it, sell it.

I have owned 2 cary components, & love them, & also an arc vt100mkii. A vt100 is a totally diff. animal from a SLI-80. I liked the vt100, but changing tubes & biasing was a bear. One suggestion would be to buy a tube pre-amp, maybe a cary, or C-J, name your poison, & use your SS amp.

Lots of diff. ways to go with this, but I am a cary fan. You can "fall in love" with cary components. Whether an SLI-80 will work with those speakers, I don't know.....
The SLI-80 is a nice amp but personally i rather have a more powerful and incisive amp than that to drive the Spendors.
Spendors are already warm per se and I would prefer something neutral & more powerful to get them to wake up.
Yup, I agree. Spendors (at least the S series)need an amp with some snap to make them sound their best IMHO.
I have not heard the F1 version of the SLI-80, maybe that has more kick to it.