Ask yourself this. Could I really spend my hard earned dough on a pre called "Juicy Music Peach".
Now it's narrowed down to 2 pre's.
Now it's narrowed down to 2 pre's.
You can never go wrong buying Mac equipment. Your non-audio friends will be impressed. But after about 6 months you will start to second guess your decision and sell the Mac on Audiogon and buy a demo Cary slp-98 in "minty" condition. After rolling all kinds of NOS tubes for about 2 months and then doing the power cord thing you will become disenchanted and sell it on Agon. You will then buy the Peach out of default just because if you never tried it you will never know if it was the best. After about 2 weeks of trying different speaker cables and interconnects, you will sell it on Agon and purchase a new Mac preamp because there are no used ones available at the time and you just can't wait anymore. Ahh--the life of the audiophile.
I had a Mac 7270 hooked to a Carver C-1. Then went to the Cary SLP98P what a difference. Then I got a Cary V12R and it sounded great. Now I have a new Cary CAD120S and it sounds better to me than a Mac 275 that was hooked up to Wilson Sophia II's, and I do not have speakers as good. I will not knock Mac, but if you get an SLP98P or L get the CAD120S, it is an unbeleiveable combo. Good luck.
The Mac and Cary units are very, very different beasts. Different features, different sound, one might say designed for a different audio lifestyle. Which unit fits your system? And more importantly, which unit sounds best with your other gear?
I have no direct experience with any Juicy Music product and can't comment except to say that I have talked to several guys who are wildly enthusiastic about their Juicy units.
The sound of an Octal in thie case of the CARY use of 6SN7 and SL7s produce the fabled big tone type sound. I think its great but the joke about rolling tubes is in fact not a joke.
Those octal tubes are plentiful on the old tube market and remain reasonably priced for less than the holy grail tubes. I have purchased believable true NOS tubes such as the abundant RCA GT at affordable prices.
Here is the problem they sound great but they are almost always microphonic to some degree. Silent phono grade as they say quiet tubes are rare. You may not need totally silent i mean dead silent tubes however.
I have a large collection of them. One of the most POPULAR TUBEs are the Sylvania early GT Chrome domes and the holy grail Sylvania W another extra support rod early JAN CHS tube with the monster chrome. I found these to be my favorite but that is nothing unique everyone and their brother thinks they are the tube for them. despite spending a small fortune on so called guarunteed silent tubes that never were if Ws and a few of the Ws that are very slightly different which have an A in the shield etch are sort of quiet but not totally. not GTAs even though the GTA was first made using almost the same construction as the W types but no rod. In two years of buying what my depressed income will permit I bought a pair of 1948 Chrome Dome GTs not Ws but similiar for 14$ a tube matched pair same batch the whole matching thing. And as usual I see if I ended up with microphonic tubes I heard no noise not when tapped no noise. I kept thinking impossible do they work lets crank up to listening volume medium loud not loud tap tap no noise. Thus the only pair of these tubes that sound great and are phono quiet.
Otherwise every other pair has some degree of microphonics . Most don't feedback only the very bad ones so you won't hear the potential ringing or high pitched whine that may occur.
The other issue is simple baseline noise . Some older tubes especially the most popular have been played to death, good test scores or not, they can and do make spurious noise .
These are useless expensive and rarely returnable if from a epray dealer. Good tubes tested and backed as sort of quiet "line grade" cost a lot.
It's a problem but there is no need to buy a million of them a couple of quiet ones that suit your preference and your set.
Cary is my cup of tea.
Macs always sound like SS even the tubed ones.
Juicy peaches I never heard.
If your power amps are known to work with CARY preamps try that first.
I have the Cary and am enjoying it very much, it is a wonderful preamp. I have never heard the Mac or Juicy music. You can get a used Cary for $1,500.00 and get that or close to it if you don't like it and resell it, so your out very little to give it a try. Having said that, I would probably lean towards a Mac to match my amp.