trying to decide between Cary 303/300 and BAT CD

Does anyone have an opinion after hearing these two CD's. I use the Cary V12r and the First Sound Deluxe with Sonus Faber Grand Pianos soon to be Audes orpheus. I love tubes but fear that too much tubes could be muddy. I like the way you can switch to SS with the Cary, but I also hear Bat CD is out of this world. Any opinion?
I found that a nice solid state preamp did wonders. Try to borrow something
Having owned both the BAT VKD5 and VKD5SE I can say that both are quite musical and make a great addition to your system. I have not heard the Cary 303/300 however the Cary gear I have listened to is quite good also. You have a tough decision ahead.

I can say that the VKD5 with the 6922 tube has a rounder, more tubey sound than the D5SE, the D5SE has more resulution and a touch better bottom end.


Paul :-)
The older BAT VKD5 I liked less that some much cheaper competition (Arcam fmj23 for example). Sounds like from the above description, with the SE they might have cured what I didn't like about the original.
In any case, my reason for chiming in is that I really think you gotsta go take a listen to make a decent decision about high quality cd playback. There are many good players out there, and unless you are dead set to spend 5,000 you might find happiness closer to 500.
The other thing, happiness fer me on the cd side ended up being two mid priced playback options with different voicing to accomodate different recordings. Sort of the same tack as the Cary but not all in the same box.
Good Luck!
While I cant comment on the BAT, I do own the Cary 303/300 and have a pair of Cary V12R's. In my system the two are very dynamic, musical and three dimentional. Certainly not muddy. I really like the tube output stage, esp. with better tubes, such as Tele's, Siemens,etc.. Things get even better when one drives the amps directly from the CDP via balanced cables.Occasionally on some rock recordings the SS stage seems better. All in all, the two Carys seem to really mate well together, as one would expect. I love this player. Hope this helps, Jim
Jeff I agree with you, unfortunalty I live in Alabama and there is very little chance to demo any equipment. that is why I started a company that deals in high end equipment of all sorts not just Audio and Video that caters to the southeast. It will be a website as well as a retail location that will allow you to sell your own goods, we will sell them on consignment, or if you are the original owner and have a service history we will buy it from you. The name is Audiolexis and the site is Audiolexisonline to launch in two weeks. Anyway I have purchased a Jolida CD that I did get the chance to demo and liked well enough to put it in the chain for now.

Jim do Iunderstand you that you changed the V12r tubes or the CD?
I was talking about the 12AU7's in the 303/300, however I have NOS tubes in my V12's as well. Jim
synergy with one brand
Jim or any one else who would care to comment, what tubes did you go with on the amp change? I noticed in the manual the 6550's were an acceptable replacement. Any opinion on the change to those?

I am using SED el34's for the power tubes, Tele el84's and RCA 12BZ7's for the small tubes. Jim
I haven't heard the Cary 303/300 so I can't comment on it...
But I recently bought a BAT VK-D5.I had been looking to replace my Jolida JD-100( which I truly adored but wanted to improve upon the Detail)..
I purchased the Audio Aero Prima based on rave reviews by trusted ears...
and although it provided the detail I was looking for I found it Dry sounding and one-dimensional. I am definitely in the minority opinion regarding this player's sound...I assume it was not synergenic with my system...

Enter the BAT VK-D5....I have owned it for several months now and I have not had even one moment of "uh, oh" is sweet sounding without being mushy and brings out the most incredible, layered Detail...especially in large convinced me that the Source is capable of manipulating Soundstage width and depth...
every time I listen I get goosebumps and am thanful that I took a chance on an older player like this...I can only imagine that the SE version must be quite amazing...
If you can get your hands on a well taken care of VK-D5 and try it in your system you may find nirvana too...
Tube CD is interesting, and can be good, but I find the most real sounding and very high build quality is in the Wadia, try what you can first, but with anything there is good and not so desirable with any type of equipment, build quality and sound go wadia for digital, the Bat is a close second for a different sound but will be softer on the bass, cary is good but a little bit pricey I think used in comparison and not the same build quality as the other two transport wise.
I just posted a review of a Resolution Audio Opus 21 GNSC Modified. I am a dealer for RA as well as for GNSC modified units, so please keep that in mind. But this is the best digital I have ever heard.....I have not heard everythign out there, but I urge you to check this out.

In my opinion, the STOCK Opus 21 easily beats out the BAT in transparency and detail, PRAT and that hard to find analog quality. The only thing it does not have is the rich midrange that tubes bring. With the mods, it is in a totally different league...........
Different price ranges, but if you go for the BAT D5SE, get it with the SuperPak option. Big difference as it is with all the BAT products with SuperPak.
Fat Cat, just wondering what players you've compared to the Opus GNSC?
Allegro12, did you buy the 24 Bit version of the VK-D5, or the older 20 Bit version?
I am very un-techy so I am not sure the answer to that...
Here are the specs:
but I do know that after the 6 months or so that I have owned this player I am still thrilled every time I listen...
as with everything audio, as we all know, there is no one clear cut best...
(I have a trusted audio friend that loves Cary CDP's),every set of ears are different, and system synergy is ultimately a huge variable...
(case in point:I seem to be the only one on this planet that didn't like the
Audio Aero)...
One can access reviews forever but until you listen for yourself in your own system I don't think anyone can know for sure what will be wonderful...
the good thing is...not decision needs to be forever...
if it doesn't provide the musical nirvana you are looking for...
it's just a "thing" that can be replaced....
I must add....The person I bought this player from felt that the SE version is even better....I would love to hear it...I love this player so much if/when I do upgrade I will focus on the BAT VK-D5SE...

Did you buy brand new or used? When did you buy it?

If there's a manufactoring date on the unit, that should be an indicator. I believe any unit after 2004, is the 24 Bit dac, and any unit from 2004 and back is the 20 Bit units. But I'll have to double-check the exact year BAT started using the 24 Bit.....I could be off by a year or so.
I bought it used,,it was definitely manufactured well before 2004....
I owned a VKD5se for years...nice organic sound...I switched last year to a Consonance Droplet....cost half as much and I liked the bass and soundstaging better, no loss of detail....
Having heard the BAT several years ago, I have a hard time believing that the Cary won't whoop it's ass. The BAT is definitely getting long in the tooth, while the Cary is a recent design taking advantage of more recent lessons in digital technology.

IMHO, the BAT was just OK, and was easily bettered by a Wadia 860x, which was easily bettered by my VSE modded Sony.
One of the nice things about the Cary 303/300 is its ability to be "tuned" to your listening preferences in different ways. You have the obvious choice between SS and tube output as well as multiple upsampling choices - all on the fly, which is very nice. In addition, the tube options for this player are both plentiful and affordable. And finally, you can choose to run the Cary direct to the amps or through a pre, which provides more options.

I have found that in my current system, I prefer the sound direct to the amp, tube output and lower or no upsampling. For some music though, I prefer the SS output and upsampling.
I chose the Cary 303/300 before I had a chance to audition the BAT VK-D5 and there was some regret as I heard how euphonic, warm, and sweet the BAT was, even though the Cary seems more resolving. I enjoy the older, lush, more Romantic sound of old hi-fi, and the BAT certainly has that. Plus, it demonstrated fine control and extension in the trebles with the massed, choral voices of Renaissance polyphonic music--not an easy thing to do by any means. The Cary, on the other hand, is switchable in sound via its many DACs and SS v. tube outputs. As resolving and versatile as the Cary 303/300 is, however, it's never as warm and lush nor does it exhibit the fine treble extension and separation in massed, high-register voices like the BAT. I may switch to it.
the bat vk d5 was upgraded a while ago. i own one.

i also owned the cary player.

notice, i said owned the cary. i sold the cary because it did not respons to changes in tubes and did not sound like there was a tube in it.

the bat player has the same problem. it sounds like solid state.

in contrast, my audionote cd2 sounds like there is a tube in it. it has a "tube" sound. the other players have a solid state sound.

i made a mistake buying the bat because i did not audition it before buying it.
Does anybody have experience with both the Cary 303/300 and the Bryston BCD-1? I am looking at both and yes, I know there is a price difference but is the extra $$$ worth it?

I would appreciate some advice. I want to upgrade from my old original owned since new HK HD7600 bitstream unit that is near mint. (9/10, finger print shine on power and eject buttons) Thanks, Rick
I owned a Jolida for quite awhile. While I liked it the Cary 308 beat it handsdown. Imagine what a better Cary will do?