Cary Cinema 12 - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 378 Old 05-28-2011, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
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gbaby: You're welcome.

BTW it would be better if you didn't quote entire posts; it makes things more difficult to read the thread.
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post #32 of 378 Old 05-28-2011, 11:10 PM
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Some familiar things youve listed Blem . 1 rings a bell ;2 I mentioned for the 11a iirc but ces is the poor substitute for pl2/x so didnt complain too much [its good enough for mpeg2 from the pvr but not much else] ; hopefully you get somewhere with them . 3. Sounds like they have to tighten the muting again for the delay ; its a function of the cirrus chipset [emotiva had the same problem]

4. Familiar and it happens rarely to my 11a when switching inputs too quickly 5. That doesnt sound good 6. 2 steps forward 1 step back with a new model 7. I have multiple relay switch noises [could call it crackles] when my cinema 5 is turned off via 12v .Hope its not serious.

They are quick with the firmware upgrades so look forward to your progress ; hdmi- seems they work out the kinks for one version and its back to the drawing board again
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post #33 of 378 Old 05-29-2011, 12:44 AM
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ahem

seems these guys just dont learn from their experience do they

this is the third iteration of this thing, and seems just same old ..... same old

What is it with Cary that they continue to bring stuff out thats buggy

I really do hope they fix this one this time around. otherwise what will be yet another model of theirs buggy from outset and remains buggy

"Technology is a drug. We can't get enough of it."


Welcome to my lounge room :)
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post #34 of 378 Old 05-29-2011, 12:54 AM
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Thanks Blem.

It it appreciated that you're being so thorough on this.

Do keep us updated.


alebonau.....and a major thanks for your comment. Having been burned before (another company), I sure don't want to get burned again. I'll wait for them to fix these problem and if something else comes out better while I'm waiting, I'll get it instead.

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post #35 of 378 Old 05-29-2011, 03:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alebonau View Post
ahem
seems these guys just dont learn from their experience do they
this is the third iteration of this thing, and seems just same old ..... same old What is it with Cary that they continue to bring stuff out thats buggy
I really do hope they fix this one this time around. otherwise what will be yet another model of theirs buggy from outset and remains buggy
Wont be getting one Al; if history repeats it will be a few firmware upgrades before things change
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post #36 of 378 Old 05-29-2011, 05:34 AM
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Thanks heaps blem for the write up

Was just about to place an order for one today after all the initial great comments but this afternoon when i read your faults/bugs list (luckily i waited) and some of the same faults are present from the previous models i have decided to retreat and hold off and see how things go.

damn shame as it takes me forever to pull the trigger,(will i, won't i, shall i, should i, what if etc etc) i do hope they fix it all for i really don't want to have to start all over again.
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post #37 of 378 Old 05-29-2011, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian13 View Post

Was just about to place an order for one today ... i have decided to retreat and hold off and see how things go

Quote:
Originally Posted by cwt View Post

Wont be getting one Al; if history repeats it will be a few firmware upgrades before things change

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimP View Post

I sure don't want to get burned again. I'll wait for them to fix these problem and if something else comes out better while I'm waiting, I'll get it instead.

I certainly didn't intend to put folks off from buying this unit, but equally didn't wish to with-hold any issues that may sway decision-making.

However it's worth keeping these 'problems' in perspective; my assessment of the sound quality stands (and if you don't have a phantom centre that removes one of the 'problems') so Cary are building on a solid foundation. If they provide a patch to help with the signal locks/muting then it's difficult to see another unit competing in the same price range...

The likes of Marantz, Pioneer, Onkyo have great features for great prices (due to economies of scale - a combination of mass market sales and buying power) but don't have the kind of musicality/neutrality I think folks considering the Cary are into.

The Anthem AVM 50v and Denon AVP A1HDCI are at the 5.5k mark, and the Arcam AV888 is even more at 7k, but you're paying for room correction and video circuitry so not all the value is going into maximising the audio path. That said their sound is good and worth considering if you need/want the bells and whistles. In fact the only audio-unit that Cary seems to be competing with in this 4-7k range is the Classe SSP-800 and the difference in sound quality between that and the Cary 12 is now much smaller than it was when it was the SSP-800 vs the 11a.

Someone made reference to the Benchmark DAC Pre and yes, it is a cracking unit (the latest version also has a remote) but the reason for me investing in a quality Processor is in order to use the onboard DAC(s), not simply as a glorified Preamp with passthru.

So if folks are now pausing/considering, then what else *is* on the market at this price point with the kind of sound quality we're collectively after ?

...'til next time - cheers !
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post #38 of 378 Old 05-29-2011, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Oh, and my offer to audition particular tracks / artists / genres still stands if you're undecided and want a bit more (detailed) info on how the 12 handles itself...

...I've got just under 2,000 cd's ripped to FLAC (with another 1,200 still to do) covering most styles, so can likely find something close to what you're into.

...'til next time - cheers !
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post #39 of 378 Old 05-30-2011, 06:29 PM
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Blem, for the cost of this unit, no one would want to purchase it with all the small problems it has no matter how good it sounds. We are in a recession here in the States so money comes more difficult. I live in North Carolina less than two hours from Cary's corporate head quarters and the only way I'd buy this unit is if I could get it for cost. In fact, I worked in Durham, North Carolina at an audio shop called Vicker's Audio in the '70s when Cary first started their company. I believe their first headquarters was on a street I lived on named Bacon Street. In any event, I'll stick to my British product for now, the Arcam AV9.
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post #40 of 378 Old 06-01-2011, 10:42 AM
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Blem....any new developments????

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post #41 of 378 Old 06-05-2011, 02:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Still no news from Cary as to the date of the firmware fix. Am starting to get annoyed now, especially as further details of the problems emerge... so here's an update on those 'faults':

"1. phantom centre doesn't work on 5.1 decoding formats on blu-ray" needs to say "1. phantom centre doesn't work on various decoding formats". I'm finding there are all sorts of circumstances when I lose the centre signal, such as applying Dolby Prologix IIx to a Dolby Digital 2.0 signal from a satellite source.

"2. limitations of CES (Cirrus Extended Surround) 7.1" isn't a fault but a lack of documentation. Apparently there are three 'matrix' options:

a. Dolby Prologix II turns 2 channels into 5.1 and Prologix IIx turns 2 into up to 7.1. One button on the remote toggles between them and no matrixing
b. DTS Neo 6 does the same as Prologic providing 5.1 or 6.1 (multiple backs are effectively mono). Remote button toggles on/off
c. CES 7.1 provides up to 7.1 from 2 channel. Remote button toggles on/off

I can't assess their quality because of fault #1, so instead I'll add a different problem as #2:

2. Insufficient gain
Playing discs, streaming music, or watching tv on my previous pre-amps, no matter the material, hasn't needed me to increase the volume past about 40% of maximum, certainly never past halfway even when demoing. Having had the Cinema12 for a couple of weeks several times now I've had to increase the volume to 100% and still wanted more. It seems to have far less gain than any pre I've ever used. I don't understand why this is and so am actually hoping that it's a fault that can be fixed

"3. the unit takes a while to lock onto a signal, routinely missing the first second or so of music" should instead be "3. the unit takes a while to lock onto a streamed digital signal, routinely missing the first second or so of music"
I can't find any reliable way of avoiding this from happening, apart from using a disc transport which doesn't seem to suffer from this fault. However as I listen to 95% of my music, and all my tv, from streamed digital sources it has a major and annoying impact on my listening

"4. the unit also loses the lock on signal while changing tv channels/music tracks" should be "4. the unit freezes/hangs when a streamed digital signal is interrupted"
In practice, this is proving to be the worst problem. Whenever I fast forward my recorded tv show - eg. skipping through the adverts - the unit freezes and displays 'no signal' and have to wait a full 30 seconds before it wakes up again. During those 30 seconds it won't respond to *any* remote commands, it's simply stuck. What's worse is if I get the timing of pressing 'play' again slightly off then I go into a second 30 second freeze. As you can imagine having to wait a full 30 seconds *every single time* I fast forward isn't just annoying but makes the unit almost unusable...

Faults 5-7 remain but there's isn't anything to add/amend:
5. sometimes the lock is only partial and I get sound out of only one speaker
6. pops and crackles appear occasionally when changing music tracks/tv channels
7. unsettling sound when the unit is powered off (a 'crackling')


I'll post an update as soon as I hear from Cary
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post #42 of 378 Old 06-05-2011, 03:16 AM - Thread Starter
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I posted my findings regarding the musical ability of the Cinema 12 at the start of this thread. The tracks I listened to in the first 24 hours were:
  • It's Probably Me (Sting, Best of)
  • Sixth Sense (United Future Organisation, first album)
  • Trust in Me (Holly Cole Trio, Blame it on my Youth)
  • Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes (Paul Simon, Graceland)
  • Repo Man (Ray Lamontagne, God Willin' and the Creek Don't Rise)
  • End Credits (Bruno Coulais, Coraline)
  • Take a Look Around (Limp Bizkit, Mission Impossible II)
  • Sleeping Beauty/Mission Impossible (Danny Elfman, Mission Impossible)

Now that I've had the unit for a lot longer I've been able to widen the tracks and genres covered. In case it's of any interest here are some more findings (all from albums released in 2011...)

What She's Lost/Pittburgh's Tough (Danny Elfman, The Next Three Days) - manages the combination of strings, delicate piano notes and electric bass well, however it seems that the lack of gain reduces the soundstage, making it somewhat more congested (either that or the quality of the recording is compromised, but this seems unlikely)

The Wound and the Bow/Wooden (Sarabeth Tucek, Get Well Soon) - double tracked vocals, shaker, acoustic guitars, harmonica, are all rendered beautifully with accurate timbre and placement, even when the guitars and drums kick in

Chasing the Storm/Prologue (Patrick Doyle, Thor) - great soundtrack with the full size of the orchestra presented well, conveyings the foreboding from the strings at the start and then the power and energy with the brass / tympani; integration of electronic music is unusual but works and the unit keeps it all in proportion

Love is Won (Lia Ices, Grown Unknown) - floaty vocals over acoustic piano, lovely ambient decay, real impact to the kick drum and deep DEEP bass notes have a great definition; sounds fantastic

Finisterre (June Tabor, Ashore) - very moving with a remarkably subtle vocal pulled out over a notoriously-difficult-to-reproduce-well accordion; brilliantly done

and then for some older stuff...

Flying through the Smoke/You Weren't There (New Model Army, Eight) - quite difficult to bring out their 'live' energy from their studio albums but this is the best I've ever heard the first track managing to balance Justin's vocal with driving percussion, never feeling overwhelmed; as for the second - wow ! extraordinary impact of the kick drum and I'd never heard that the vocal is doubled in places before. cracking result...

Badhra (Anouar Brahem, Thimar) - stunning. ok you might think players of this quality (Brahem on Oud, Surman on bass clarinet and soprano saxophone, Holland on double-bass) will sound good regardless but this presentation is amazing, immersive, and witha palpable sense that they are sat in front of you playing 'live'.

Fit Song (Cornelius, Sensuous) - sure it's a ridiculous track but a great way of investigating timbres and timing and depth of the detail that the DAC is able to pull out; the Cinema 12 manages it brilliantly with placement and rhythm and engagement

Diablo Fast (Tango Siempre, Tangets) - action packed syncopated instrumentation, most pre-pros make a right mess of this, but not the Cinema which kept a tight rein of the musical rhythms not once feeling it was struggling to cope

Block Rockin Beats (Chemical Brothers, Dig Your Own Hole) - from the opening swirl of sound to the seriously funky bass/drum combo this is another difficult track to get right... and then there's that occasional insanely deep bass note - ok you need speakers that go low enough but also a prepro can keeps it in perspective. another great job.

Roots Bloody Roots (Sepultura, Roots) - manages to pull out Max's growling vocals from the distorted guitars and driving drums, but there are times when it's not as clear as other units I've heard... suspect that it might be that gain issue again

As you might be able to tell, I'm having a great time listening to stuff and remain cautiously optimistic that the fixes will elevate this prepro into the 'great' category...

...'til next time - cheers !
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post #43 of 378 Old 06-05-2011, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blem View Post

3. the unit takes a while to lock onto a signal, routinely missing the first second or so of music

4. the unit also loses the lock on signal while changing tv channels/music tracks

5. sometimes the lock is only partial and I get sound out of only one speaker

6. pops and crackles appear occasionally when changing music tracks/tv channels

7. unsettling sound when the unit is powered off (a 'crackling')

Uh oh........

Same as the 11a. Don't count on any of these to ever be fixed
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post #44 of 378 Old 06-05-2011, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blem View Post

2. Insufficient gain
Playing discs, streaming music, or watching tv on my previous pre-amps, no matter the material, hasn't needed me to increase the volume past about 40% of maximum, certainly never past halfway even when demoing. Having had the Cinema12 for a couple of weeks several times now I've had to increase the volume to 100% and still wanted more. It seems to have far less gain than any pre I've ever used. I don't understand why this is and so am actually hoping that it's a fault that can be fixed

I dont know what the db default of the 12 is blem but just check in the advanced settings if you have a max volume out setting.That was added to the 11a and isnt in the manual so have a hunt .I set mine to 5db ;-10db though loud just didnt cut it volume wise You should have a setting for master volume that presets the turn on volume as well .

I can easily see the 12 losing lock when you ff the tv;its almost like it needs a fairly constant signal. Do you have a configurable ad skip button ? I set my ad skip to 1 min and tend to have dropouts when I do skips in quick succession sometimes. Our pvr's [if you buy a freeview one] are hobbled by ff/rw only- non freeview models get ad skip.Do you have another way to navigate your tv files that cuts down the time?A % jump for example.I think Cary must have trouble communicating with the Hong kong? programmers
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post #45 of 378 Old 06-05-2011, 01:46 PM - Thread Starter
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...check in the advanced settings if you have a max volume out setting

Thanks Colin ! "Menu / Advanced Settings / Max Volume Out" does indeed exist on the 12 and was set to 0 so I've increased it to 15 (the highest it goes) and it's made a massive difference. The rubbish manual/lack of explanation strikes again !

Not sure about 'ad skip' options but will look into it; I only installed my Humax Freesat unit today (replacing a Sky+ HD box as I refuse to keep paying Sky/Murdock) and am quite impressed so far, especially the ability to watch BBC iPlayer [I have now watched 5 out of 7 Dr Who Confidentials... a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon ]
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post #46 of 378 Old 06-05-2011, 03:39 PM
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blem...in other words, does it loose lock when you do a 30 second skip forward on something like a Tivo or Satellite DVR????

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post #47 of 378 Old 06-05-2011, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmike186 View Post

Uh oh........

Same as the 11a. Don't count on any of these to ever be fixed

The problems reported on the Cinema 12 are so many that it is unacceptable as a pre/pro. In the U.S, they would be sued for breach of warranty of mechantibility. I have in the past purchased a BMW automobile, brand new, that had a problem with the motor racing in idle. The problem was never fixed. It was a lemon. In fact, it was a 1985 318i that was made only two years, and it has to go down in history as the worst automobile BMW ever made. The problem was known by the manufacturer when the item was released. I'd say that the problems with the Cinema 12 were also known when it was released. Blem, you may need to return you unit before its too late.
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post #48 of 378 Old 06-06-2011, 12:42 PM
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I just talked to Cary's tech support. I was told that they're working on a software/firmware upgrade to resolve all the issues blem mentioned. Hopefully, all the issues will be fixed fast.
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post #49 of 378 Old 06-06-2011, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimP View Post

blem...in other words, does it loose lock when you do a 30 second skip forward on something like a Tivo or Satellite DVR????

No, you just need to press fast forward (or rewind for that matter) for a brief moment and the unit freezes for 30 seconds and there's nothing you can do to unfreeze it. You can imagine how frustrating that becomes when skipping ads can be done within 10 seconds or so and you have to wait for another 20 seconds before you can carry on...
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post #50 of 378 Old 06-06-2011, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sharok View Post

I just talked to Cary's tech support. I was told that they're working on a software/firmware upgrade to resolve all the issues blem mentioned. Hopefully, all the issues will be fixed fast.

Thanks Sharok (BTW I'm an ex ML owner - fabulous speakers!)

I also got the same reassurance earlier today so fingers crossed that we can move on soon and start talking about the important bit - the sound quality!
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post #51 of 378 Old 06-06-2011, 02:52 PM
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Hi blem,

I truly hope they'll fix all those issues since I'd very much like to buy one of those units.

Thanks again for all the time you spent testing this unit and all the updates you gave us.
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post #52 of 378 Old 06-06-2011, 03:11 PM
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I would caution anyone who thinks that they'll go ahead and buy one with the assumption that the manufacturer will issue a firmware update to correct the outstanding issues to wait until the issues are resolved. Can't say this about Cary per se, but other companies have made promises that they never fulfilled.

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post #53 of 378 Old 06-06-2011, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimP View Post

I would caution anyone who thinks that they'll go ahead and buy one with the assumption that the manufacturer will issue a firmware update to correct the outstanding issues to wait until the issues are resolved. Can't say this about Cary per se, but other companies have made promises that they never fulfilled.

I think you're absolutely right. Some of the issues that Cinema 12 has are identical to the issues with Cinema 11. They did not fix those for 11 model. I hope they'll fix it this time. I wont purchase this unit until I see all the issues been resolved.
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post #54 of 378 Old 06-06-2011, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by sharok View Post

I think you're absolutely right. Some of the issues that Cinema 12 has are identical to the issues with Cinema 11. They did not fix those for 11 model. I hope they'll fix it this time. I wont purchase this unit until I see all the issues been resolved.

I completely agree. I owned an 11a for 6 months, all the while waiting for Cary to fix these exact same issues. Had they been able to fix them, this would have been the perfect prepro for me, but ultimately I found the unit to be unusable, particularly in conjunction with my primary sources (iTunes and Tivo which both had the signal lock problem in spades).

Cary not only proved themselves not only incapable of fixing these problems, but also incapable of carrying on a meaningful dialog with their users. If they were smart they'd take a lessen from Oppo and beta test these complex digital products before calling them done.
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post #55 of 378 Old 06-07-2011, 02:42 AM
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I completely agree. I owned an 11a for 6 months, all the while waiting for Cary to fix these exact same issues. Had they been able to fix them, this would have been the perfect prepro for me, but ultimately I found the unit to be unusable, particularly in conjunction with my primary sources (iTunes and Tivo which both had the signal lock problem in spades).

Cary not only proved themselves not only incapable of fixing these problems, but also incapable of carrying on a meaningful dialog with their users. If they were smart they'd take a lessen from Oppo and beta test these complex digital products before calling them done.

Same here regarding being a previous and a frustrated owner. I'm not surprised that the glitches are there and is/was similar to what plagued the useless 11A.

Sorry to say guys, but I think it's the same ol' same ol'. The 11, 11A and now the 12.

blem,
Did you check out the 11A thread before buying the 12?

Jose.
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post #56 of 378 Old 06-07-2011, 04:17 AM
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Anyone else who was serious about buying the Cary 12 feel like they dodged the bullet?

We are lucky that blem came out and told us about the negatives which stimulated the discussion from previous Cary owners.

We can all hope that Cary will comes out with a firmware fix but how likely is that given that they still have these same problems unresolved on the previous two generations. If they could fix it, wouldn't they have already done that on their other models ???

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post #57 of 378 Old 06-07-2011, 03:27 PM
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What i don't understand is WHY, WHY, WHY would a high profile company even think about releasing this model when surely with all their pre testing and the likes would obviously know that it had the same problems as its last two models.

So what over the last how many years have Cary been doing as far as R&D to eradicate these issues. its one thing acheiving great sounding equipment (which i think nobody denies) and having the odd glitch on a new release item but to have the same old problems plaguing the 3rd generation, man, no wonder there are those who will never go back.

I have never owned a piece of Cary equipment but had heard of their reputation for producing awesome sounding gear and was really wanting this Cinema12 but after reading previous owners threads on the Cinema11 and 11a and now this, i'm glad as the comment above stated that i dodged a bullet. I will definately sit this one out and see what transpires and hope it does'nt follow the old path and i haven't given up on this unit, not yet.
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post #58 of 378 Old 06-10-2011, 08:31 AM
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One of the things I found most surprising (and disappointing) about the Cinema 11 I owned was that I heard absolutely no difference between DPLII- movie and DPLII-music when listening to 2 ch sources in surround. Zero, nada. I even contacted Dolby Labs and asked if some manufactors implemented DPLII differently, and they said "no."

That said, what I really like about the JBL AV-1 is that differences between DPLII-movie and music are indeed easily discernible (also TV), not to mention even more differences between DPLII and Logic 7. Logic 7-music is especially satisfying; the only format that compares to it is the old Six Axis format that Jim Fosgate put on the Citation 7.0.

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post #59 of 378 Old 06-14-2011, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose View Post

Did you check out the 11A thread before buying the 12?

Yes I did; also the Arcam888 and several others and they all appeared to have issues when first released but, following firmware updates, appeared to be resolved.

As for where we are with Cary, I have received copies of old firmware for the Cinema12 and successfully re-flashed the unit (taking the software version back from being dated Apr 1 2011 to being Nov 23 2010 instead). It hasn't resolved the problems of course but it has demonstrated that the process works and I've offered to beta test the next release; hopefully I'll get the code soon.

As an aside I've been doing further testing in order to help Cary track down the specifics of the problem(s) and so here, if anyone's interested, is a brief update on those problems:

1. phantom centre doesn't work on 5.1 decoding formats on blu-ray.
the fix for this has been confirmed as being in the new release

2a. matrixing to 7.1
is the same problem as #1
2b. insufficient gain
there's an adjustment under advanced settings to increase output to +15

3. the unit takes a while to lock onto a signal, routinely missing the first second or so of music
I've now connected a variety of sources using coax and optical digital, hdmi and analog. For all digital connections, regardless of source - eg. streamed or disc transport - the first half a second or so is missed every time. Analog sources play flawlessly.

4. the unit also loses the lock on signal while changing tv channels
This is no longer an issue for me as I've switched from Sky HD to a Humax FoxSatHD and the Cinema 12 no longer freezes, suggesting it was garbage being sent down the optical digital that was screwing with the Cary unit. As a consequence I can't state whether your box (eg. Tivo) will or won't work right now.

5. sometimes the digital lock is only partial
I thought that I was losing a speaker occasionally, then I thought perhaps specific frequencies were missing... turns out neither was true, instead the signal was being played in such a way that the front speakers were 'out of phase'. Re-start the track and it will play properly.

6. pops and crackles when changing music tracks
This happens to a very minor extent and only when the unit trying to find a lock on the digital signal. Doesn't happen at all with analogue.

7. unsettling sound when the unit is powered off (a 'crackling')
Happens consistently; might be switches.

As a consequence issues 3, 5 and 6 are all to do with the Cary's ability to realise that there is a digital signal arriving, lock on, work out what it is, and then start to play it. Adjusting the sources to introduce a small delay before starting to play doesn't help.

On the positive front I've now had chance to play with the analogue connections and they all work flawlessly, and sound fabulous. Furthermore the hdmi pass through is also superb with no discernible loss of picture quality [I use a JVC HDA-1 projecting onto a 108" screen so I can usually tell ] so it's increasingly looking like the only issues with this unit are around digital audio handshaking.

...'til next time - cheers !
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post #60 of 378 Old 06-14-2011, 11:57 AM
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Thanks for the update blem.

Look forward to hearing about any firmware updates you are privy to trying.

Samsung 64F8500, Panasonic 65VT50, Oppo 95, Tivo Roamio for OTA, Dish VIP722, Marantz AV8801 preamp, Rotel Amps, Atlantic Tech 8200 speakers, Seaton Submersive HP, Calman 5, Chromapure, Accupel DVG-5000, i1Display3pro, i1pro2, eecolor colorbox.
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