I auditioned a V12 connected to a pair of B&W Nautilus 803 speakers. I hoped the amp would sound as good as the pictures of the amp look in magazines. I planned to trade my Cary SLM-100 monoblocks on a V12 if the V12 met my expectations.
Unfortunately, I was very disappointed in the amp. The demo at my local dealer did not have the build quality I have come to expect from Cary. The tube sockets were crooked,
causing the tubes to point off in different directions.
The sound, too, was a disappointment. I auditioned the amp in triode mode, and the sound was much harsher and thinner than I expect from a Cary amp. I have always loved Cary's for having a warm, rich, full sound, and this amp didn't seem to have any of that.
After hearing the amp, I suspected that it could just be a poor set-up, so I had the dealer substitute 805c's for the V12 in the same set-up. The 805c was pure heaven. I have never heard and amp as good as the 805c, and it is still my favorite.
I read the review in Stereophile, and I admit that it is possible that my dealer got a bad V12. Unfortunately, the sound of the V12 was so bad that I don't plan to give it a second chance. I am going for 805c's even if it means I have to wait for a while until I am ready to spend the extra money.
My advice??? Spend the extra money for the 805c. That's what I plan to do. I know that the 805c's are double the money, but they are worth every extra penny.