OK here goes.
I have experimented with various things under the CDP. Now have it sitting on a granite slab with Finite Elemente Ceraballs underneath. It makes a slight difference but not enough for me to bother doing it again.
The player has a true balanced audio output. Four DAC's per balanced output (two for PCM, two for DSD). This is extravagant and unusual, and you should take advantage of the balanced output. The difference is huge, much bigger than any other tweak.
Cover the window with a CD cover when you are spinning a disc. This improves resolution and soundstage. This is free and yields an improvement in my system.
The player also has switchable upsampling modes on PCM, from 44.1kHz to 768kHz. There is a difference between 44.1kHz and 512kHz, but minimal difference between 512 and 768. I leave mine on 768kHz.
Have fun with your player. I love mine :)
Watch your cables - power and IC. You have the type of system where you can get good benefit from proper matching. You should be able to hear differences easily enough. If you don't care for the sound madly, then try one or two different power cords and IC cables as it will tweak the sound nicely. Go with very high quality on the cdp to amp connection. This will influence the result more than any tweak.
Amfibius, your comment re the balanced outputs is well taken. The Halcro is true balanced, which is one of the reason I bought the Cary.
Douglas, I will start with the XLR Anticables I have. No aftermarket pc yet. As I have never really experimented with other IC's or pc's, can you make some specific suggestions that might have the right synergy. Frankly, I would prefer to buy my way up the food chain (diminishing returns and all that - or buy better used) rather than immediately dropping a pile of money on new exotic stuff. I have been reading some about the Jena Labs V which is a $175 pc from a very reputable mfg. Again, any suggestions would be appreciated.
I had a friend selling his 306 and could get it for a great price. I wanted it bad. Doing an A/B comparison with my Trivista SACD made me pass on it. It has even more output at a lower impedance than my Trivista which is nice in my passive setup. Listening tests quickly confirmed one player better than the other. While SACD playback was similar on the two the Trivista smoked it on redbook. I didn't want that to happen! Image and soundstage were similar, bass a little more or better on the Cary but the mids and HF were so much better on the Tri. The Cary had a digital edge and harshness. Bummer! I wanted that player. I want to hear a 306 Pro as I know when my Tri transport goes it becomes a very big DAC. There are no more transports or parts for it.
Deliberate1, you will find aftermarket cables, including power cords an "ear-opening" experience! Some Impressions of cable sets I have reviewed (you can find extensive descriptions of them on Dagogo.com) Note that this is a summary of working with a suite of one or two models of each of these brands, not entire line. However, the cables I have tested (both privately and with Dagogo.com) which I have worked with successively higher models of cable have been consistent with the manufacturer's house sound.
Jena Labs Jazz and Java - laid back, slightly smaller sound stage; not "in your face" (This was confirmed by Jena Whitewolf Crock stating that they voice the cables to their ideal of the Jazz club).
Tara Labs RSC Air Series - clean and neutral, but having what to my ears is a slightly compressed frequency range. i.e. slightly rolled off at far ends of treble and bass. Might be a consideration for those with single driver, high efficiency speakers.
Magnan Signature and Reference : Surprising wire; extremely forgiving of solid state electronics. Almost a tube-like sound from a cable. Still, very detailed.
MIT AVt MA and Z Stabilizer: "Power-cables" as in fiercely dynamic, makes music sound more like a close mic recording. Favors immediacy of the note from the instrument vs. the extension of soundstage. Do not overdo it with daisy-chained network (passive electronics) units in the cables & power conditioners or else clarity will suffer.
Wire World Equinox 5 Squared: Extremely well balanced in terms of tonality, frequency extension, clarity, etc. A high degree of precision and finesse. Due to their geometry they operate as a passive filter, negating the need for power conditioning. I agree that they sound much better without additional power conditioning.
(To brand loyalists: I'm not interested in debating/arguing my findings of these cables. My opinion is set based on months of usage with different systems. I'm expressing characteristics of these exact sets of cables, not giving them a yea/nay vote; I could put any of them into a high end rig achieving a particular goal and achieve excellent results.)
Douglas, I am obliged for your recommendations which I will devote some time to. Seems that the current popular flavors are the Tel Wire vs. Lessloss in generally the same price range. Any comments on either? And as a pratical matter, are there specs one should consider (gague, copper, silver, etc) for an amp pc vs source?
Electroid, that A/B test confirmed that you have a fine unit in the Trivista. I am not familiar with it, other than the fact that a used one here is listed for approximately 80% more than what I paid for the Cary SACD. If, as you say, they are equal in SACD performance (my primary purpose), with equality in soundstage/image and the ad to the Cary in the low end with RB, I believe I have done well. And if it breaks, I can have it fixed. Thanks for your observations.
Deliberate1, nope. No comments. Haven't worked with either one. Each company has its own "science" (some with what seems to be very sensible science, and some less so) behind their design.
Magnan Cables uses an extremely flat "sheet" of copper as a conductor. MIT uses passive networks. Jena Labs uses multiple stranded wires which are braided. Tara uses single rectangular solid core conductors in air dielectric. Wire World uses multiple small gauge conductors in individual dielectric. Everyone's got their thing!
Silver coated copper is not a must have, but definitely worth checking out if you have the means. If you have a silver conductor PC and a copper conductor PC definitely switch them around (say, on the cdp, pre, or amp) as that alone can yield an interesting difference in sound.
Douglas. many thanks for your time.
Deliberate1, just last night I had a chance to hear the Anticables for the first time. A very kind local audiophile allowed me to come over and hear his rig. He runs the introductory Prima Luna integrated, a Lector cdp and Von Schweikert VR-1 monitors, and sub. Clean sound from a compact system.
We moved a rug into the listening area to cut down on floor reflections from the hardwood floor. Also adjusted the output of the sub a bit.
I took along a set of Wire World Equinox ICs to try between the Lector and the Prima Luna. Huge difference which easily passed my Law of Efficacy. As to whether the difference was positive or negative, I felt it was 100% positive. The owner felt so as well.
I had wondered what the Anticables sounded like. To my ear they are the equivalent of the 40 year old vintage copper wire (which to my eye looks to be the same gauge) with a thin cotton dielectric that a manufacturer gave me to try. It (meaning the results of both the vintage wire and the Anticables) sounded OK, but when compared to contemporary, more advanced designs was fairly lacking. The Equinox 5 Squared had a much more exploded/expanded sound stage, as well as better depth, a very solid/higher "density" sound versus pixilated, and the voices of singers went from being created by a mouth to an entire torso.
People can draw their own conclusions. The distinction between the two sounds was so great as to be unquestionable, as I said, easily passing the Law of Efficacy. (Again, I'm not going to debate these things; these are my findings with direct comparisons, and no one is going to change my mind about it through their logic or argument.)
My host seemed surprised at just how much difference there was between the Anticables and Wire World ICs. I was not so much surprised at how much difference there was between cables, but that it was so easily discerned on an economical rig. One reason that may be is the fact that his system is streamlined - cdp/integrated/speakers. It's a great way to get primo results. Only one set of cables/link in the upstream components.
Douglas, perhaps IC's will be my next quest.
Del- you have indeed done well. It is a great player. I was grateful to have the chance to try out a 306. I would give it a try with a passive linestage if I were you. It certainly has the balls for it!
ET, how does a passive line stage work, and how does the additon of another componant benefit a cd player like the Cary which has its own volume control - which is one of the primary reasons I chose it. Tx D1
The Cary 306 SACD does not have its own volume control.
You must be referring to the Cary 306/300 which is not the same machine as the Cary 306 SACD.
The newest version yet is the Cary SACD Pro. All the similar numbering is confusing.
I used a APL Denon for years that had a modified volume control direct to my Pass Labs Amp with very good results.
Only now am I experimenting with a Preamp, because I now own the Cary SACD player.
Ozzy, all I can say about the volume control thing is "Doh." I suspect I would have figured that out for myself next week when it arrives. I looked at so many with (Wadia, Opus, etc) I forgot that small detail about the Cary. Still, I am very happy to have it. Just more desicions.
So what pre's you trying with the Cary? Thanks for the smack to the head.
Your welcome. No big deal, I could tell there was a little confusion.
I just got the New Pass Labs XP 10 since I have a Pass Labs X350.5 Amp, I am breaking it in now.
Let me know how you enjoy the Cd Player when you get it.
Ozzy, will do. But have to get the preamp first. Love that Pass gear. I have a Pass Aleph 5 with a Blue Circel 21 and Duevel Planets in my study system. On a cold winter's night, we all huddle around that little furnace. Best, D1