Cary is one of many companies that manufacture good sound equipment, and have a good customer service. Both amp and preamp are good and will drive your Proac 2.5 speakers.
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Hi Amwarwic, I had the 805s for almost 2 years and enjoyed it very much. The 805s and the Proac 2.5 is a very musical combination. The Cary preamp would not be my first choice for these amps. It is just my opinion but I do not think the 98 is in the same league as there amps. The 805s, with a few mods will improve on this already excellent amp.
i had a cary slp98 pre for a while, & it was wery nice - better than the magnum version of the rogue 99. customer service is also excellent. but, my current melos music director is in another league altogether than the cary.
re: the cary amp, i haven't heard it, tho i've heard folks who enjoy driving proacs w/it. my opinion is that the proacs wood do better w/as much power as ewe can give 'em, so i'd tink the mac amp wood be a better match.
Ive had Cary 805's for many years.You didn't specify B or C series. It makes a difference because the amps sound much better with NOS Output tubes. In the C series you use an 845 output. The problem with is that the 845 NOS tube for that application is the RCA 845 and they go for $800-1300 /pr on the used market. Too prohibitive for someone with ProAc 2.5's and Ive only seen two sales in last ten years. The Series B on the other hand uses 211 outputs. NOS GE 211's can be readily had for about $200-250/pr. The 805B with NOS outputs is far superior to the Series C with the stock 845 (Which I think are Chinese). As a bonus, the 805B is cheaper used ($3800-4000) than the 805C used ($6000). On the ProAc's: yes they are a nice match: very rich, large liquid soundstage, somewhat rolled. (The NOS GE 211 - or RCA 211 that I use - helps dynamics considerably,extends energy into the top end & tightens bass, without losing the "magic" of the amps, which is the art of the matter). You will like the combo, but the right cables will make a difference here. Since the combo excells at mids and space, a cable that can translate this is important. NBS & Purist are no-brainers here. Expensive, but something to consider down the road. On 98 pre: No, it is euphonic and will make the system too remote, slow and creamy. If you want to stay with richness but without the blurring, go to a Joule Electra LA-100 MkIII ($1700-1900 used). If need more delineated but still exceedingly liquid, then no brainer: Supratek Syhra. Unknown right now but not for long. Imported from Australia & gorgeous. They have a website. If want to stay with known component, then CJ 16LS - but it will still cost you. Last things: make stands for 805's, replace rubber feet with good cone types (Walker best, but Black Diamond #3 ok), NOS Brimar inputs best (yes, better than RCA...), and WE 300B's critical for driver tube (if go for 805B, get one with WE's because stock tube was Cetron and they were horrible. Sovtek 300B, a common replacement, is vibrant w/ good pace but a little lacking in finesse, especially when amps pushed). Also, Custom power cord #11 great value ($150 used) Good luck.
i found the cary pre extremely neutral, tight & fast - not at *all* tubey. but, this was in direct comparison w/the rogue 99, which was *very* coloured, imho... amplification was a pair of electrocompaniet amps im biamped mode, driving meret re's, w/a pair of bridged adcom 555's driving vmps larger subs below 60hz.
Don't overlook the the Cary SLI-80. I have owned Mesa, Jolida, VTL and (2) Sonic Frontiers amps. The SLI-80, IMO, is more musical and capable of a more realistic soundstage than any of the others I mention. Guess it depends on how much power you need and what you want to spend. I have Silverline SR15's on loaded stands and I'm utilizing the stereo sub-outs into an old Muse 18 right now, with outstanding results. I'll probably sell the Muse and go with a REL pretty soon. I've had tube amps matched with floorstanders and electrostats but find the tube/monitor/sub combination the most satisfying.
My local Cary dealer is also a ProAc dealer. I heard the 805Bs powering 3.8s with the Cary pre and it was MAGIC - on jazz and chamber it sounded like the musicians were in the room. The speakers totally disappeared. The audition room was a bit live, high ceilings/hardwood floors and the ProAcs were pulled well out into the room, but the sound was not "tubey"...I don't remember which CDplayer was being used, I think it was the 303. Since this wasn't my audition, I didn't hang around too long, but for the 20 minutes I heard it...I would have to say YES, Cary and ProAc mate very well indeed. You would probably be upgrading the speakers long before the amps.
i forgot to mention that proac recommends the arc ls-16 or ls-25 pre along with their s/s 100.2 amp, to go w/the proac 2.5's. my brother-in-law has the ls-16/100.2 driving 2.5's in a smaller room, & it's wery nice. rumor has it that this set-up is what arc's owner uses in his house. now, if my brother-in-law wood yust take the plunge into winyl... ;~)