Which preamp Dodd or Cary slp-98L

Would like some feedback on which preamp would best suite my McCormack DNA-500 SS amp. Source is Audio Aero Capitole MKII and speakers Usher Be-10 with Focal Utopia sub. I have a Melos SHA-1 and would like to upgrade.
I use the Modwright 36.5 with my McCormack DNA-500.
No comparison. IMO
Nice rig but away.
Be prepered for an eye opening experience.
I have heard many that better Cary for less.
Nice gear but overpriced IMO.
Modwright, Supratek, Blueberry could work very well in your rig as well.

I have owned and used both the Dodd and Cary SLP-98L. Both very nice however the (new) Dodd wins hands down. Dodd betters the Cary in all areas IMO.
Never heard the Dodd, but am no fan of the 6922 tube. The Cary is a superb preamp for the money; be sure to hear the F1 version (direct coupled with oil caps), it's more extended and has superior bass compared to the basic '98.
Cary SLP-98L...works very well with my vintage pair mcintosh mc-225....SLP-98 with 2 out puts....cheers!
Thanks for the info, hope to get more opinions.
Cary sounds dark, slow and anemic next to Dodd.
If you compared Dodd to lets say Supratek or Modright, it would be a lot more interesting then Cary. What qualities are you looking for? Your system and preferances would help others help you.


Thanks Mrjstark, like I mentioned I have a McCormack DNA-500 powering the Usher Be-10s and a Focal Utopia subwoofer.
My source is the Audio Aero Capitole MkII and I think it is terrific. I listen to mostly smooth jazz. Just purchased a couple of XRCD with bossa nova and it sounds great. I have an old Melos which replaced a Bel Canto pre2. I really injoyed the tubes in the preamp and figured on a better pre.
I saw a Joules 150 on audiogon, don't have a fortune to spend, still paying the Ushers and trying to modify the living room for better sound.
The Dodd is a winner!

I've previously owned Cary 2002, Joule 100mk3, Joule 150, Herron 1/166a, CAT SL1mk3, Atma-Sphere MP3, a couple of Audio Research pres, and some others.

Go with the Dodd. Cheers,
Thanks Spencer, I think I will wait because I am redoing my living room. Once this project is over, making it acoustical, I will probably take your advise on the Dodd.
Dodd won over Modwright in shot out yesterday. Better tone and middle range. Modwright sounds almost SS-ish next to Dodd. Dodd is still on the top in my book. Who is next???? Maybe.....Audio Horizon ??? Anyone in NY area up for a head to head blind test with independent jury ??
Whatever the outcome might be , I am up for it....so is Dodd.

Is this the thread where the shootout is covered or is there more info in another thread? http://www.audiocircle.com/circles/index.php?topic=54625.msg501613;topicseen#new
I will post it here if you want. There is also some in RWA Sig 30 and Dodd both battery powered thread and more coming on AC thread - Dodd , first impressions.

Hey Mrjstark, I'm in Staten Island and have an Supratek Sauvignon and wouldn't mind hearing your Dodd IMS.
Not really into the blind listening thing, but having a enjoyable listening session between the two pre-amps with good tunes would be nice.
The Dodd was the other Pre choice when I sold my Aleph P for a tubed unit. I can have about 3 people over for the shoot-out, let me know.

Just wait for the wait for the Red Wine Audio Isabella. It is coming out any day now and 6moons already has the preview up:

This is the one I'll be ordering for my RWA 30.2!

Joe, no problem. My place or yours. I will have John Rutan over in few weeks time to play around with my Quatros. That should be fun as long as it is OK with John - of course after he will finished dialing in the Quatros. Or your place makes no difference. Should have Dodd almost broken-in by then.
Send me the PM.

As to RWA Isabella,
yes, I would like to hear it as well. It was on my short list of preamps to audition but the long wait made me go with Dodd which was on promo-sell + Walters trade-in program worked for me better. Most of all, I have no regreds while it does what is needed for my system and does it with grace.

One thing that Isabella excels over Dodd (sonics a side) is build-in DAC that might be a killer IMO. Other the that , it is a crap shooting game as long as someone can compare the two and report the results. It is a great idea that would benefit all audiophiles interested in either preamp. I am personaly all for it.

I am sure that Vinnie will succeed by adding Isabella into his line of products. It sure will have strong following of satisfied audiophiles around the World.


Dodd vs Modwright notes later tonight.


I read through the thread on the circle and I really don't see a "shoot out", I did see a bunch of guys sitting around and listening to music but no real comments of "Dodd vs Modwright". Could you point me to the shoot out?? I'd like to read the results of the shoot out.

PS-I disagree with your remarks about Cary but we all have our opinions, perhaps products are differnt rather than better or worse.
Here , see this link - from another Dodd thread

I would also like to add , that to it is based on my experience and preferences of the sound that is closest to my taste.
What I look in the gear in general is musicality that is reflection of emotions, engagement, window to the soul of the performers and the place where music sleeps.

Modwright, being very detail, crisp and transparent failed in the very essence of music reproduction - middle range. Besides, the overwhelming domination of treble and upper bass I felt the overly bright, edgy and often - ear piercing heights were the Modwright's biggest flaw. In contrast, Dodd had better tonality, background, inner detail and most of all - very rich, intimate and seductive middle range that was realistically maped within the listening space. Vocals on Modwright seemed to be pushed back at least few feet back and behind the main speakers.
Beig sensitive to overly bright, harsh and edgy sound. I must say that it is the Dodd that made the music as a whole. Great overall sound........and the battle was won by Dodd by small margin IMO.

Take care

I thought from your earlier post there was a thread somewhere about the shootout where all the participants had shared their take on the comparison. Both are great Pre's to be sure, I've owned a couple different Dodd pieces in the past and Gary makes terrific stuff. I was more curious to read more about the comparison from multiple points of view, not just yours as a Dodd owner, especially from a veteran group like the New York Audio Rave.
I've never heard the Dodd but recently listened to a Cary SLP-98L and was very impressed. It certainly leans slightly warm compared to other pre's I've heard but not overly so.

I would say slightly dark is an accurate description depending on what you compare it to, but again not overly so.

It provides layer after layer of texture and is extremely musical. Vocals, strings, horns all sound magical through it.

I have no experience with either the Modwright or the Dodd but the Cary is a steal at what they are selling for here.
Thank you for the link but, I'm still not seeing a shoot out. However,I am seeing a VERY enthusiastic Dodd owner rave about how great his premap is vs others. Again, could you please point us to the thread where this "shoot out" took place so we can read the opinions of others at this event.

Please understand, I'm not attacking you but remarks such as "No comparison." are rather strong IMO.
If you love your preamp great, just don't see the point of pushing it so hard while slamming others preamps in the process. Like I said before; different yes but, not necessarily better or worse. Now of course better to your ears, in your system? Sure.

As a side note; Gary makes fantastic preamps and I'm quite familiar with them but I have yet to hear this incredible difference you are referring to.

You are right, it is my opinion and should be taken as such.
Cary is great. I thing that should put it to bed. For more on Dodd, contact other users and search the web for reviews. My ears might be different then yours .....same goes for preferances in music and gear that reproduce it. However , I am not the lone wolf with opinions regarding Dodd's performence. Does it work in my system? absolutly. Will it end your search for ultimate preamp? I don't know.
What I know......and I speake from my personal experience, is that this thing kicks butt. YMMV.


here's one of the guy's comments that was at the rave where the dodd and modwright were compared.

"When Mariusz arrived, he set up the Dodd preamp, RWA amp, and AAD 2001 mini-monitors. Steve and I provided el cheapo portable cd players for an all battery based system. The combo was smooth, but when the music got dynamic there was clipping. Chris brought his Butler monster of an amp and connected that to the Dodd, which solve the clipping problem. The sound just open up after that. The portable cd players did a decent job conveying the music, except for some lack of dimensionality and resolution, they were at least listenable. After Charles substituted a "real" cd player, the entire system really shine in my opinion. I heard all of the attributes that constitute a good musical system for me: proper note decay, articulation of voice and instruments, a sense of rhythm and pace, a sense of ease, a slight bit of warmth, and good tonal balance. Of course, these attributes have to be merge in combination with each other in a musical flow, otherwise, it will sound analytical to me. Anyway, I thought there was good synergy with the Dodd, Butler, and AAD 2001s. Speaking of the 2001s, I can't believe how low and clean the bass was on these mini-monitors, not to mention that I find them attractive (not in a sexual way!) Later, Chris substituted the Dodd for his Modwright preamp. The presentation change slightly, with a slightly cleaner sound. Steve remarked, that the fogg lifted, which I guess he means more transparency. He can chime in if I misinterpretated his comment. He liked that combo better, but I prefer the slightly warmer presentation of the Dodd. Different strokes for different folks. I find that ultra transaparency oftentimes introduces high frequency/treble hash, which produces grit to the sound, but I didn't hear that in this system."
I'm with Jeff! Wait for the Red Wine Isabella and then decide. i just read a post on vinnie's forum and it looks like it'll be ready in just a couple of weeks and the 6moons review will shortly follow. Based on how good vinnies products sound and his reputation i know it is going to be world class. Can't wait to give one a try!!!

I agree with last to posts......wait and listen for yourself.
I think Vinnie offers in home audition with money back guaranty for 30 days. Nothing to loose accept shipping costs.
Gary does't yet offer IHT , but hopefully he will.

As to one of the comments from the "Rave".......I agree with that statement. Modwright is very transparent and in my opinion with grained upper freq. It is true, I am very sensetive to coloration in that department. I had the same experiance with Supratek preamp. Yes, it was great......but no matter what I have tried to eliminate the edginess / grain - whatever you want to call it - it seemed to be there no matter what. I loved that preamp but had to let it go for that reason alone. Dodd is very sensetive to tube rolling and its character is very much influence by tubes you choose to pair it with. My choice were NOS Mullards and like most of you know it is a queen of middle range in 6922 family. It is not the most detail or transparent of tubes from that group and one can tweak Dodd's character by simplly swaping pair of tubes. If you want more detail use Amperex 7308 white label PQ or Amperex orange label 6922 round plate.
I like Mullard for its musicality, body, wonderful vocals as well as insrtuments articulation. Your preferances might be different from mine. All in all , it is very easy to forget that Dodd is even in the system and it doesn't draw attention to itself like some that I have own or auditioned.
Like I said , it is not "it" for everyone but at least worth a listen. But away, Gary makes only one preamp - the battery powered preamp that I am refering to.
i forgot to give a 'thank you' to Mrjstark for all the info regarding the Dodd. i am sure it is very good - - especially with the battery powerd RWA 30.2!

Thanks Nate. Well.....it is OK with RWA.....not exactlly my main rig but close enough to enjoy it. Both systems share the same characteristics and sound very alike. Of course both share the same preamp.....until TVC passive preamp arrives with 4ch for HT. AADs need a little more power.....maybe another RWA for Bi-amp in the near future. Who knows, I might even try new RWA Isabella preamp and compare it to Dodd. The only thing that scares me is that I might fall in love with it ............and my peace of mind will be back in the upgrade mode. :) Like I said, it would be very interesting to have these two going head to head at each other. Both battery powered with sweet, engaging and musical character ( I am guessing here based on my experience with RWA amp). Will have to find someone in NY area who is thinking about RWA preamp and ask for audition. I know tha Vinnie sometimes shows up at the Raves......so maybe there we could let them loose.....who knows. Its build in dac is the iceing on the cake. Costs more but within the reasons.

I have the RWA Sig 70.2 mono amps. If Red Wine has the Isabella preamp performing like they do their amps, then their preamp will be very good. Plus the built in DAC will give you other options, like putting all of your music on a Mac so you can put your cd's in storage.