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Cary Audio Design CD-308
3 Reviews
rating  3.67 of 5
MSRP  1500.00
Description: <ul> <li>Power Consumption: 35 Watts</li> <li>Digital/Analog Converters (DAC): Burr Brown PCM1704u (24 bit 96 kHz)</li> <li>Digital Filter: Normal 44.1 kHz, upsample 96 kHz or HDCD® decoding</li> <li>Audio Output Level: Single-Ended 3.0 Vrms or 6.0 Vrms</li> <li>Variable analog domain output level, standard</li> <li>Analog Outputs: (1) pair single-ended via RCA connectors</li> <li>Digital Outputs: (1) Coaxial RCA output</li> </ul>


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Reviews 1 - 3 (3 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by clay a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: March 1, 2012

Bottom Line:   
I listen mainly to vinyl but while I was purchasing a Cary SLI-80 Signature F1, I thought I'd grab a CD player too. I just assumed the CD player would be of the same quality as the amp. But I was wrong. Right out of the box, the player had issues; wouldn't even play. I called Cary, boxed it up, shipped it to them and got a replacement. No questions asked. But I was out the money for shipping. Now, it turns itself off and on. Only it won't come all the way on. And it's holding a CD hostage. I've probably only used it a couple hundred times. Honestly, it's not worth the trouble of shipping it back to Cary. I'll probably pick up an Oppo so I can watch blurays too. FYI, the Cary CD players are made in China; at least mine was. Again, I assumed it was american made like their amps. I don't get spending all that dough on something made in China. Paying for a name I guess. I love the SLI-80 though! And NO problems with it.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by 2out2sea a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: January 24, 2008

Bottom Line:   
well i wrote a long review of this player, but somehow it disappeared into the ether. suffice it to say that i didn't realize how much i was missing with my current but aging parasound front end. i've listened to many systems that made me feel that i had good synergy with my system. i've heard krell, audiophysic, martin logan, etc. that all sounded clinical to my ear. there was lots of detail, but it was harsh and fatiguing.
enter the cary. i decided it was time to start searching for an upgrade after hearing some passages become congested on my current set-up. it didn't happen often, but enought that i felt that there were some improvements to be had.
i originally started with a sub-500.00 budget. i figured i could ride the modding wave and improve the sound as budget constraints allowed. the more i researched, the more i began to realize that i'd be better off just biting the bullet and buying something higher in cost. i figured i'd spend more to never have to ride the modding merry-go-round.
i narrowed things down to the arcam fmj23 and the cary 308. i almost pulled the trigger on the fmj23 since the arcam was a bit less expensive used. but correspondence with a fellow agonner who'd owned both led me to the cary.
775.00 may seem chicken feed to those that spend thousands of dollars on their front ends, but for my budget it was sky high!!! but, boy was it worth it.
comparing 44.1 redbook playback to my parasound cdp/dac combo the cary wins. those congested passages are much airier and imaging is much improved when the music starts to get busy with lots going on. the presentation is slightly more forward and lifelike as well.
once the upsampling or hdcd kicks in it's no comparison. the cary throws such a huge soundstage that there are times that it's not only larger than the speakers, but larger than the room!!!
different people gravitate towards different qualities in equipment. some are sticklers for detail. some demand pinpoint imaging. my taste leans toward soundstaging. i'll forgive other flaws for a large as life soundstage. the cary delivers it in spades. but, it does so while also delivering detail, imaging and bass control that is stellar in my system.
it's too bad that cary has stopped production as i feel the 308 is about as good as it gets at this price point. it's also built like a tank and has the remote volume control. if you feel that you're missing some of the live presentation in your cd collection i'd highly recommend the cd308.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2005

Price Paid:    $775.00

Purchased At:   audiogon

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

Date Reviewed: January 7, 2005

Bottom Line:   
I'm suprised that I'm the first reviewing this truely high-end CDP. Prior to this unit I owned, in order, the following units. Rotel RCD 975, Linn Karik III, Micromega Stage 3, and Jolida CD-100.

The Rotel is good for the $ but veiled in comparison to modern units. It uses an 18 bit dual DAC with too many OP amps in the anologue stage for its own good. It tried to be smooth for its time of release.

The Karik and Micromega sound very similar, with the Micromega having a smoother top end and the Karik having stunning build an a better detail. Both are known for their musicality. They use 1bit DAC's which offer great detail retrival and air, but sound dated by the better units today.

The Jolida is tubed and very good, but flat sounding and not as staggering as all the hype makes you believe. Ever wonder why so many units come up for sale. It uses the lesser Burr Brown 1716 24bit DAC, like the older Rotel 1070, Exposure 2910, etc. A bit harsh but tubes tame it. In fact it sounds like a newer Rotel on tubes. All the mods in the world will not overcome this DAC.

This leads me to the Cary CD308. It uses the awesome Burr Brown 1704u 24bit DAC like the better units today by Linn, etc. But it is what Cary does in the analogue stage that is remarkable. The give it the warm Cary sound without concealing the details. This non-tube version just stomped all over the tubed Jolida in detail and creaminess. It is warm, musical, with a very 3D soundstage. The sounds are revealed at a wider range of volumes and dynamics, unlike the Jolida, which sounded flat-just didn't have the depth that the Cary has. The bass is deeper and round like it sounds live, not too tight an restricted like a lot of detail CDPs. The highs are creamy and extended, like tubes, but with better detail than the Jolida. Bells and cymbals sound musical, not strident and sizzally. And, oh, the midrange! Womens voices sound sensual and mens voices sound authoritative. There is much detail, but it isn't thin like Musical fidelity, or veiled like the Planet 2000. The Cary 308 sounds like the stage is in front of you with the musicians performing live.

The key to this is to leave it on all the time. I do this with all my CDP's and they sound substantially better. The Cary also has HDCD processing for the better HDCD-20 bit CD's. It has 24/96 upsampling, selectable on the fly from the remote or front panel. And the real bargain is that it is upgradeable to the full tube output(308T) for the difference in cost between the 2 units.

This player is highly recommended.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2002

Price Paid:    $725.00

Purchased At:   Used on Audiogone

Reviews 1 - 3 (3 Reviews Total)

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