CES 2013: Cary Audio

Cary Audio brought one, two, three new digital toys to the show at CES this year! The first is the DMC-600 Digital Music Server ($4,995), shown above, which includes a CD transport, 384kHz sampling on all interfaces including its asynchronous USB interface. That interface also supports DSD! A user-selectable output stage can flip between tubes and solid-state. Did I mention it also supports Bluetooth?

The DAC 100 ($2,495) and DAC 100t ($2,995) are 24bit/192kHz converters are listed as being a joint collaboration between Cary Audio and Wavelength‘s Gordon Rankin. The difference is the “t”, and yes, this means “tube”.

None of this was in the main system, which was a huge pair of Tannoy Kingdom Royals fronted by a pair of CAD-211 monos, a SLP-5 preamp, and a 303t SACD/DAC. WyWires cables were used throughout.

In the adjoining room, gear from Audio Electronics by Cary (Cary’s low-cost, entry-level, direct-to-consumer line) was on display, including a Hercules amplifier ($1,895), a Constellation preamp ($1,495), and a Lightning DAC ($1,295). The Lightning DAC is solid-state only, but does come with the same Wavelength-sourced 24/192 support found in the other new converter products.

All of this is very exciting, and it’s especially interesting to see Cary try a dual path-to-market, leveraging dealers for its high-end gear and creating a manufacturer-direct program for its offshoot brand. We’ll have to check in on them in a year or so to see how this channel works out for them.

Getting around to the sound in the room — I couldn’t really say. This is another of those “I want to hit folks with a hammer till they shut up” rooms — which is another way of saying there was lots and lots of traffic in and out. I think the big room was making great sound, but without my mallet, I really couldn’t say for sure. Ah, well.

Cary Audio is one of those brands that’s been on my to-do list for years … perhaps we can make 2013 the year. What say, Cary Audio?


  1. I was in that room off and on 5-6 hours a day for 4 days and it sounded very clean, clear and dynamic with a big D.even with the challenging room and NO acoustic treatments. All the rooms on the 35th floor were bass shy, IMO. Piano and female vocal reproduction were flawless, however. Virtually all the comments we received were glowing. Tannoy’s are not for everybody but if you like that punchy, slightly forward and bigger than life presentation, they are a very worthy contender. The Cary 211’s although an unusual pairing did a fine job of driving the Kingdom Royals.

  2. 211 amps w/ Tannoys? Interesting pairing. Only wish something was said that was definitive on the sonics, to make a trip to a dealer worthwhile … w/ that pairing.

  3. Can you really tell how good the electronics are when they using such different, ‘super highend’ speakers. It seems, not on your part, a bit disingenuous. Just saying, as usual:)

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