Detailed Look at Cary Audio 306/200 CD Player

Thought Cary 306/200 owners and fans might enjoy taking a tour of the inside of a 306/200 courtesy of Abe Collins:

Once you reach Abe's page, click "next" to advance tour.
I have cracked a Cary 306/200 before, and the build quality is first rate. My only problems with the unit are Cary's rather limited 1 year warranty. With such high build quality, why only warrant the product for 1 year? Another issue I had was getting the case/top back on. Removing the top is not too hard... Screwing back in the screws is a nightmare (take my word for it, I think one needs a special screwdriver to do it properly/effectively). My final issue with this player had to do with the whoping 6v it outputs through XLR outs. This can pose serious system matching problems depending on one's preamp (and rest of the system to some degree). If you have a stepped preamp that does not have really fine control over the volume, this can be a big issue.

One more thing... the glaring display on the unit is about as ugly as blue displays come (and I love blue lights and displays). The same with the overall aesthtics of the player. My theory is if you are going to design a $5k player, you should at least make it look cool (IMHO).

Sonically, I think the Cary competes well with the EMC-1 mk2, but I think other newer technological players have surpassed the Cary.

KF-I agree with everything you have written more or less. The bright blue light thing is a turn off and I am also not fond of the warranty. And, I know the Cary has worn out its welcome on Audiogon. Yet, I'm compelled to keep loving it! One new player that's getting a lot more love than the Cary right now is the Ayre. I recently brought it home for a comparison. The Ayre is fantastic. It seems to do a better job with the highs and the lows. The lows are particularly well defined. But one thing that really bothered me was the Ayre's lack of speed. One reviewer characterized it as "dynamics," or lack there of. The Cary has much speed (or dynamics), which I really think speak to its musical nature. And, the fact that its built like a brick makes me feel better about that damn warranty.
Hififred, what AC cord are you using on the Ayre? I have had both players. The Ayre is very AC cord sensative. My Ayre can sound absolutely divine to so-so depending on the AC cord on it.

The Ayre has an amazing amount of dynamics. All it takes is the right AC cord. I kid you not... The Cary seemed to me to have an enhanced and almost exagerated midrange (very liquid). It seemed to be rolled off the top and bottom. However, this could have been an AC cord issue. I really did not get a chance to use some real high quality AC cords on the Cary when I had it. The best one I used was a Shunyata Black Mamba, and I would only consider that a bit above a stock cord.

If you want to get outstanding performance from the Ayre the AC cords I recommend (from most to least) Omega Mikro LCX active AC cord (you must hear to believe), Omega Mikro passive AC cord (about 85% of the sonics of the active for 50% of the price) Elrod 3 Signature, Kimber Palladium PK10, Virtual Dynamics Nite, BMI Shark, Audience Power Chord.

Stock AC cord on the Ayre IMHO gets you only about 60% of sonically of what it can do.

Sorry if I sound like a fanatic, but the OM AC cords make the Ayre sound like a $10k+ player (not kidding).

I wonder what they would do for a $10K+ player.
KF-I did use the stock cord when auditioning the Ayre, but I've also been using the stock cord with the Cary. Still like the Cary, but I understand your points. The guy who sold me the Cary speaks volumes about the neccessity of a PC upgrade. He's suggested the Elrod for the Cary. I hope to audition it soon. At some point, I'll plan to grab the Ayre for another head to head.

And yes, you are a fanatic, but if I decide to keep, and eventually pay for that expensive PC, I'll consider myself one too.
I have tried a lot of power cords and interconnects with the Cary 306/200 and find the FIM Gold AC power cord and Quattro Fil interconnects work best in my system (Cat Ultimate MKII preamp, Cary CAD 280 V-12 200w Monoblocks and Piega P-10 loudspeakers with a Rel Storm subwoofer. Not even an NBS Statement AC cord or the Nordost Valkjra interconnects did as well. The FIM Gold adds transient speed and heft while removing a touch of congestion and providing more soundstage depth and air and the Quattro Fil helps in some of these same regards, while not impeding others.