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Cary Audio Design SLA 70
6 Reviews
rating  4.83 of 5
MSRP  1095.00
Description: Pure Class A Pentode Push-Pull Tube Amp - 35 Watts


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Reviews 1 - 5 (6 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Glen a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: November 14, 2012

Bottom Line:   
I picked up an SLI 70 Sig about a month ago along with an old Mac MC 110 (1969) tube tuner-pre. $1800 (for both) I have been using A Naim full system for a few years. It was a try into a solid state and synergy in a whole system approach. I have to admit after many tube systems over the years it was a hard pill to take the Naim Sound. I eventually got to the point where I was not listening to music anymore. Well Along came some tube gear on the cheep so to speak and its nice to be back.

I was pleasantly surprised with the SLI 70 Sig its running 6550. They look like NOS RCA's I'll have to see if some one can ID them. I didn't expect the sound I'm getting from it to be honest I've owned some Carry amps in the past SLM 100 mono blocks, etc and to be honest I'm happy with the great mids and highs of the SLI 70 even the bass is dam good for the 40w. I'm running an Oracle Turntable and still the Naim Cd player and Sonus Faber monitors. I could tell you all about what I hear but the end results all that matters. I'm listening to music once again and I'm finding the hours going by unexpectedly. This amps very Musical and easy to just sit back and relax into the music.

Yup there's better out there but for the $600-1000 price range its a killer. add on top the ability to change the sound by tube swapping its a buy and enjoy deal for budget minded Audiophiles.

oh ps: the MC 110 is a great buy as well its a wonderful classic pre that surprised the hell out of me for the age.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1996

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Cheeflo a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: November 25, 2010

Bottom Line:   
I got the SLA 70 in second hand market. I have had it for more than 6 years now and it's still working great.

The amplifier was modified a bit with Auricap and Jensen oil caps installed. I also changed the power cable and some internal wiring to better ones and replaced all the tubes. (partly because of the age of the amplifier)
I have found that using a pair of NOS 6087 rectifier (Military version of the 5Y3 rated usage at up to 60,000ft.) a pair of RCA Red Base 5691, and four JJ KT77 sounded best with my system. The sound is full, very detail and warm driving a pair of Sony SSM-3 speakers. I tried the amplifier with different pre-amplifiers and speakers. It sounded just as good.

It sound great with a pair of Signet SL 260 - very full tube sound; Clean & detail with lots of punch with a pair of Platinum Studio One; very airy and realistic with Monitor Audio MA-800; Superb all-round with a pair of TAD TSM-300; and just as good through a pair of Ho's LS 3/5A from China.

It is one giant-killer power amplifier in terms of cost versus quality.

The best part is that by changing the tubes it will sound different.
It will sound like a totally different amplifier when you change any set of tubes.
Even just the rectifiers : different 5Y3's, GZ34's, 5V4's will change the character & sound of your amp.
It sounds great with other 6SL7 type tubes and EL34 equivalent. Other great sounding power tubes on the SLA70 are EI fat bay 6CA7, the remake of the Tung Sol EL34
So it is really easy to swap tubes, and find your favorite sound out of it.
If you have different tubes to swap, this is a real fun & revealing amplifier to try your tubes on.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by loony a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: September 28, 2002

Bottom Line:   
I purchased this amp on the advice of a friend. Me, MR Solid State, has had brief flings with toobs in the past but am not (yup still) a big maven of therm-ionic devices. Still I was talked into giving it one more spin.

So here's what I find.
Preface: This amp is substitued into a system using a T-Hold 300 II for the top and a Muse 160 II on the subs.

The Cary did a very cerditable job of driving the 4 ohm load that my monitor present to the amp. The highs were not overextended but very very accurate. Not toob sweet but just dean neutral. Hmm this amp sounds good. The bass in full range no sub, doesn't plumb the bottom like the subs with the Muse, but the then I didn't expect a pair of 6.5" drivers to do that. The mids a not lush and sweet. Just plain neutral and accurate.

So it doesn't sound all that tooby, but --- it didn't sound all that tooby either in a good way. The sound was crisp, not hard, and never sluggish. The cymbals are near perfect.

So what's missing: The dynamic punch of a great SS amp. Can a $1500 retail amp compete with a $5000 SS brute. Pretty much.

I was frankly surprised and amazed. 95%/110% of the Threshold. 95% in that it sounded right, only missing a minor amounts of microdynamics, and macrodynamics. That is the little changes in loudness of the music, and of course the ultimate SLAM just wasn't there.

However, the Threshold can some times present a soundstage depth that is a touch hemispherical in depth. Width is stellar but the depth can sometimes be just a tad less defined in the rear corners. The CARY flushed out the corners, there was a touch more depth and information back there.


Was it a competitor for the super expensive Threshold, well, actualy yes.
Will I go back to the Threshold. Yes.

My point: Thresholds and other great SS amps, and there are a lot of expensive ones but only a few great ones, can present a sound that is riveting. However you might have to pawn your car to make the entrance dollars.

If you haven't got 1000's or even if you do, you may want to seek out and hear this little gem. Those 30 tube watts are huge.

I'm still amazed at the sound of this little amp at the price. If you find one in good shape in the $600 range and pass it up, it's your loss. Rush thy bleeding hardened ears from you low buck SS amp out there and pick one of these beauties up now. Time to

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Price Paid:    $650.00

Purchased At:   From Original Owner

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Potter Lance a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: May 4, 2002

Bottom Line:   
Like Bryan Ruben, my SLA-70 has been modified a bit. MIT caps, silver wire, TKD pot, etc. Mine, too, was an early model and a bit experimental. I bought it in Cary, NC.

Until I had this component, I never appreciated the effect of interaction among components. That aside, I've heard and owned really big name amps (Adcom, AR, Mark Levinson) in systems that were priced in multiples of my modified Cary-amped system (power amp is a Cary Sweet 807). I don't have quite as deep bass response, but for hearing the real beauty of music and clarity of sound nothing I've heard even comes close for it's price. The sound has been literally breathtaking to people who hear it.

I don't recall what I paid for mine, but if you take the time and spend the money to make the mods, you will be amazed at what this component will deliver. You will have a giant killer at one-third the price and a very satisfying piece of equipment that will please you for years. Now that's a bargain!

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Purchased At:   Cary, NC

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by J. Feith a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: September 16, 1999

Bottom Line:   
I finally went tube. Replaced my Aragon with the Cary. Was concerned with the lower power rating. The Cary sounds just as loud. The difference is that the Cary sounds more real, more relaxed, no treble edge like the Aragon (and I thought the Aragon was good for solid state!). The bass is fuller sounding on the Cary. The mids are much more 'there' and the treble is very natural. This amp is great and allows me to listen into the music and enjoy it without feeling like upgrading. This is a feeling i am not used too. For that reason alone it was worth every penny! I also think it looks beautiful, as well. Thank you Cary for producing a wonderful product for me and my whole family to enjoy! Five big stars!!!!!

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Duration Product Used:   an Audiophile

Reviews 1 - 5 (6 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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