I have owned both the cj 17I and the 16II the 16II is more detailed with better resolution. I have no experience with Cary.
I have owned the cj prem 16 and upgraded it to series 2. then sold it - to go to VTL 7.5 - mistake. I never like the prem 17, just seemed to have no life in the thing. I find the prem 16 musically more enjoyable than the ACT2/CT5.
I have own the cary 98P that I bought as a stop gap at the beginning of the year and it sounds very good.
the cj prem 16 sounds better to me ( slightly tighter bass, quieter) and its build quality and steps in the volume control are light years ahead of the cary.
The cary is very good thou and is cheaper than the pre 16 s/h so a VERY good deal.
I am looking to sell the cary as I have a new pre amp - hopefully the last one
Not too many responses, which is strange. I would have thought that many have tried the slp 98 and a CJ in their decision.
I have a Cary SLP 2002 and compared to an earlier CJ (PV10) the Cary is notably more open and airy with a bigger soundstage. The CJ appeared to roll off the high frequencies, and sounded a little slower in pace.
Both people preferred the Cary with their sound tastes.
I'd be interested in what people think of at CJ 16 or 17 versus an earlier CJ as well.