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post #1 of 377 Old 05-21-2011, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
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The Cary 12 comes with a couple of manuals, two remotes, aerial for FM radio...
Attachment 212590
Only takes an hour or so to unpack, plug together, and run through the usual speaker setup/distance/levels procedure...
Attachment 212591

So, what's the story ?

I wanted a pre-amplifier/processor to listen to 2 channel music that can also decode the latest HD formats for movies (minimum of 5.1 but preferably 7.1). My reference points are pre-amplifiers from the likes of Ayre, BAT, VTL and Audio Research. I'm not interested in video processing/scaling or room EQ (my room is acoustically treated with bass traps and absorbers at first-reflection points).

For several years I've used a Bryston SP1.7 which - at the time - was *by far* been the most musical PrePro I'd ever heard, comfortably beating the likes of Arcam and Meridian (which I'd owned before). But more recently I've been interested in moving into HD audio and, as good as the SP1.7's 6 channel pass-through was, listening to SACD or DTS-HD as decoded by my Oppo 83 was not *that* much better than CD or Dolby Digital.

After reviewing the market the decision came down to the Arcam 888 and the Cary 12 (they are approximately the same cost in the UK). However as I didn't need all the video processing or EQ circuitry, and was looking for all the cost and effort to be focused on sound quality alone, I went for the Cary. At the time of purchasing, the best PrePro I've ever heard is a Classe SSP-800 so I was hoping that the Cary would be as good, but for less cash !

My goal is to hear a naturalness and musicality to the sound. This is a complicated thing to achieve but requires the accurate reproduction of things like harmonics, decays, ambience, dynamic range, the sense of space (depth as well as width), timbre etc etc, and doing so while also making it intelligible no matter how complex/busy (!)

I've now had the Cary Cinema 12 for 24 hours and had chance to listen to a wide range of music. For consistency all tracks were 44.1kHz/16 bit FLAC, streamed from a NAS via a Logitech Duet and digital coax, thereby entirely in the digital domain before it reaches the Processor's own DAC (a 192kHz/32 bit Burr-Brown 1795). The pre-amplifier is fully balanced internally sending the signals down studio-grade microphone xlr to a Theta Dreadnaught power amp, and from there via 4x6mm Van Damme cable to Vandersteen Quatros.

We all have our favourite demo tracks, and also those which allows us to unpick the nuances (and limitations) of the gear we're auditioning. You might want to jump to the conclusion but, for those that are interested, here a sample of my usual tracks and what I'm looking for:

It's Probably Me (Sting, Best of) - snap and decay of the click, definition of the guitar strings, a well defined vocal, able to hear the kick-drum and the bass at the same time, strings placed way back in the soundstage

Sixth Sense (United Future Organisation, first album) - door slam, whistling, running water, spoken vocals, showers of bells... lots of familiar sounds to present realistically, then, once the music kicks in, especially the bass, has to keep all those layers of sound coherent

Trust in Me (Holly Cole Trio, Blame it on my Youth) - able to present vocal, bass and piano without confusion, tangible plucks of the acoustic bass, the decay of the piano notes, able to 'hear the room' that it was recorded in

Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes (Paul Simon, Graceland) - able to hear and place separate individuals in the group vocal at the start, Paul is placed centrally and in front of the group, once the music starts there's a real swing and texture to the percussion, should be able to follow the bass line throughout

Repo Man (Ray Lamontagne, God Willin' and the Creek Don't Rise) - able to tell the type of strings on the guitar and follow both it and the bass at the same time, there's a real 'weight' to the bass and a 'bite' to the electric guitar, the placement of the tambourine and shaker in space, manages to deliver musical rhythm once all the instruments are playing (including two guitars), the vocal then cuts through everything cleanly without compression

End Credits (Bruno Coulais, Coraline) - able to cope with swirling strings and choral voices, insanely deep bass and closed-mike lead vocals, able to convey a real sense of fun

Take a Look Around (Limp Bizkit, Mission Impossible II) - crispness of the cymbals and the variation in how they are played, separation of notes on the bass (not just a vague rumble), differences in the texture of the drums, successfully pulls the vocals out of the mix, there's a real power to the distorted guitar but also doesn't lose it's grip on the music

Sleeping Beauty/Mission Impossible (Danny Elfman, Mission Impossible) - one of my favourite pair of test tracks; the former having to cope with prepared piano, placement of percussion and strings, able to hear the difference between the electric and acoustic bass; and with the latter, the musical energy of the orchestra should come through, especially the brass (notoriously difficult to do well)

And so on and so on...

So my conclusion ?

The Cary Cinema achieved all of the above and more. It delivers a realism and emotional engagement that only the very best gear achieves. Dynamic range ? check. Definition at the low end and detail at the high ? check. Realistic decay and sustain ? check. That 'brittleness' that is so typical of digital artefacts is gone and in it's place is a sound that is fabulously lifelike and engaging.

And is it as good as the Classe ? Yes, I think so. OK, to be strictly accurate it'd need to AB them in the same room but all of the clarity and emotion and space and nuance that I remember the Cary also delivers, and delivers in spades, which makes me a happy bunny

I should add that I'm also impressed by how good the Bryston SP1.7 was after all this time; yes the Bryston did a lot of what I have described above but the Cary does it all but better... more dynamism, greater soundstage (especially depth), more coherent musically, and with people and instruments a little more 'solid' in 3d space.

Next I'll listen to HD audio followed by some movies, and post my findings...

...'til next time - cheers !
LL
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post #2 of 377 Old 05-21-2011, 03:56 PM
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I find this review somewhat troublesome. For one, you are comparing the Cinema 12 with brand names rather than the models within the brand names. What are the model numbers of these pre-amps you are naming and comparing the Cinema 12. Secondly, in talking about the Bryston 1.7 analog bypass, you state that as good as it is, through the Oppo 83 analog outs, HD audio and SACD sounds no better than Dolby Digital or CD. Well I guess not. The D/A converter on the Oppo 83 is not heralded by anyone. You cannot properly gauge the analog passthrough section of the Cinema 12 or any other pre/pro unless you have a CD player or blu-ray player with reference quality D/A coverters or at least D/A converters that rival or betters your pre/pro.
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post #3 of 377 Old 05-21-2011, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry but I don't understand the relevance of either point you make.

1. I mentioned those manufacturers as an indicator of the kind of audio-focus I'm looking for, not as a direct comparator. In other words I'm aspiring to find a pre-pro that can provide the kind of musicality associated with the likes of the Ayre K-1x or the VTL 7.5 (two of my all-time favourite pre-amps).

2. You seem to have completely misunderstood the point I made with regard to HD audio. Because the Bryston doesn't decode HD audio I was in the market for a PrePro that would do this but also provide a significant step-up in two-channel musical terms. The Cary's pass-through isn't of interest to me as I'm using it's internal DAC(s). I did consider the alternative, external DAC route (liking the Bryston BDA-1), but decided that it made more sense investing that money in the central PrePro where more sources would benefit.
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post #4 of 377 Old 05-21-2011, 10:27 PM
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Thanks for the starting of this thread.
Keenly awaiting this for some time now and am extra keen to read your comments on its HT/Movie audio performance.
cheers
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post #5 of 377 Old 05-22-2011, 07:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blem View Post

Sorry but I don't understand the relevance of either point you make.

1. I mentioned those manufacturers as an indicator of the kind of audio-focus I'm looking for, not as a direct comparator. In other words I'm aspiring to find a pre-pro that can provide the kind of musicality associated with the likes of the Ayre K-1x or the VTL 7.5 (two of my all-time favourite pre-amps).

2. You seem to have completely misunderstood the point I made with regard to HD audio. Because the Bryston doesn't decode HD audio I was in the market for a PrePro that would do this but also provide a significant step-up in two-channel musical terms. The Cary's pass-through isn't of interest to me as I'm using it's internal DAC(s). I did consider the alternative, external DAC route (liking the Bryston BDA-1), but decided that it made more sense investing that money in the central PrePro where more sources would benefit.

The relevance of my point is you mentioned as reference points for pre-amps the likes of Ayre, BAT, VTL and Audio Research. You also mentioned Arcam and Meridian. All of these brands have different model numbers so I could not tell which model number of these brands you were writing about. At least in your response you clarified the models Ayre K-1 and VTL 7.5. I still can't determine which Meridian, Audio Research or Arcam model you are referring too although I can guess when speaking of Arcam you were writing about the Arcam AV888. Also, when you wrote about the pass through on the Bryston 1.7, its hard for me to determine if your focus is on the D/A converter of the Cinema 12 or the D/A converter on the Oppo or whatever player you are using. Its a little confusing to me. I am interested in the Cinema 12. I currently own an Arcam AV9, but I use it mostly for its analog inputs which betters its digital inputs. However, my source players are the analog outs of Sony SCD-XA5400ES for CD and SACD and for DTS-MA and True Dolby Digital HD I use the analog outs of the Sony BDP-S5000ES. Again, I remain confused as to whether you focus was on the Cinema 12s analog or digital inputs. While you say the analog input on the Cinema 12 was not important, it should be important to you as you may find a CD/SACD player or Blu-ray player which betters the D/A converter of the Cinema 12. That is what happened to me with the Arcam AV9. In other words, the analog section and pass through section of a pre/amp processor is ALWAYS important.
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post #6 of 377 Old 05-22-2011, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Apologies for the confusion ! I've owned both 5x series and Gx series Meridians and the Bryston (and Cary) units better them all in terms of musicality. OTOH Meridian gear is superbly made and have fabulous flexibility and a multitude of decoding and input designation options. And yes I'd considered the Arcam 888 - a fabulous piece of kit btw -but it didn't fit what I was looking for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaby View Post

In other words, the analog section and pass through section of a pre/amp processor is ALWAYS important.

Actually I will disagree with you there. It is only important to *some* people - such as those using turntables or reference quality transports - where, as you mention, the quality of their outputs is better than the PrePro. As it happens I've been down that route before but have since changed direction and now I put the emphasis on the quality of the PrePro instead, using the sources simply as 'dumb' transports from which to get a digital feed. I no longer have any analogue sources and am only interested in the Cary's digital inputs and ability to decode, D2A and preamplify.

As an aside, the architecture you decide on is simply a choice (there's no 'right' or 'wrong') and there are then consequences for the whole setup chain from source thru amplification to speakers following that decision. However I would suggest folks take a moment to think about the bigger picture; it's very easy to end-up with a setup that is unbalanced or not cost-effective.
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post #7 of 377 Old 05-22-2011, 09:39 AM - Thread Starter
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OK so I've had a second 24 hours and can report back on the build and HD audio.

Construction


The unit is solidly made and much heavier than you'd expect. The quality of the finish on the front, including volume dial and the various buttons, is excellent. The back is just as well constructed with a clear layout, well labelled and with quality connectors.

Unfortunately the same can't be said for the remote control, which I really don't like. It has a cheap plasticy feel with 'squidgy' buttons that provide no user response so it's not at all clear if the key press has worked or not. Worse still, the user interface is shockingly badly designed, often requiring the navigation through multiple screens to perform the simplest of tasks.

For me, this is quite a misstep by Cary; I don't know whether they believe there is a market for programmable remotes like this, but I would have much preferred a basic 'turn on - choose source - volume up/down- turn off' kind of remote. And for this kind of money I would have expected something far more robust... it doesn't feel like it's going to last for years to come.

I'm also not happy to think that a proportion of the unit's costs has gone on this monstrosity; given that Cary are selling this remote separately for $395 I would rather they either knocked that off the price or else put the money into a simpler but sturdier remote.

HD Audio

Using a combination of the Spears and Munsil HD Benchmark and the AIX Records Audio Calibration blu-rays I was able to confirm that the unit happily plays DTS HD Master and Dolby TrueHD at 24 bit/96kHz resolution across 7.1 channels, as well as the usual PCM, Dolby Digital and DTS decoding. The display in each case is clear, examples being things like "dts-HD MA 3/4.1 96k" or "DOLBY TRUEHD 3/4.1" or "PCM 2.0 48kHz".

Playing a range of music confirmed what I'd already found from my listening to streamed FLAC files - the Cary sounds wonderful !

DVD-Audios included Porcupine Tree's Fear of a Blank Planet and Fleetwood Mac's Rumours with superb presentation of vocals, guitars and other instruments. As it happens both albums have excellent surround mixes and the Cary played both without a problem (in the case of the 96kHz/24 bit Rumours album correctly displaying "PCM 2.0 96kHz" or "PCM 5.1" respectively) providing a wonderfully immersive listening experience. Like or loathe surround mixes of favourite albums, units of this quality at least allow you get really close to the vision of the Engineer and/or Artist(s).

As for SACD the unit happily played both DSD and PCM versions of stereo and surround mixes (switching using the Oppo 83) without a hitch. Albums included The Police's Classics, Beethoven Symphonies 1-9 (Haitink & LSO), Beck's Sea Change, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, Bryan's Ferry's Boys and Girls, etc, etc (I have alot more SACD's then DVD-A's!)

In all cases, as you'd expect, there was an even greater clarity, nuance, ambience and three dimensionality to the performers/performances. This was turning out to be one cracking unit.

Alas, it was not to be all plain sailing...

...'til next time - cheers !
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post #8 of 377 Old 05-22-2011, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blem View Post


Actually I will disagree with you there. It is only important to *some* people -such as those using turntables or reference quality transports - where, as you mention, the quality of their outputs is better than the PrePro. As it happens I've been down that route before but have since changed direction and now I put the emphasis on the quality of the PrePro instead, using the sources simply as 'dumb' transports from which to get a digital feed. I no longer have any analogue sources and am only interested in the Cary's digital inputs and ability to decode, D2A and preamplify.

The only problem with this kind of thinking is that you truly limit yourself to the D/A converter of the preamp/processor when digital technology is constantly improving. By way of example, If my Arcam AV9 did not have such a good analog section, I would not be able to appreciate the sound or D/A converter of my Sony SCD-XA5400ES which by all accounts punts well out of its price range and is listed as A+ on Stereophiles recommended components along with units costing 17 and 18 thousand dollars. I would love to have a new processor that can play the new surround codecs. I still get the new codecs from the Arcam AV9, but I get them from the CD/Blu-ray player using the analog pass through on the AV9 and the analog outs on the source component.
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post #9 of 377 Old 05-22-2011, 02:02 PM
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I received My Cinema 12 Wednesday last week and spent the morning Saturday hooking it up. The owners manual is not a fun read but has everything you need and set up wan not that bad.

I bought the cary for 2 channel use with the intent of adding the other 5 amp channels later. I currently have two systems in my dedicated listening room and a pioneer Elite VSX23THX handles the 6.1 theater duties.

I use a Audia flight CD2 player on the balanced pass through of the Cary. A stock Sonos A90 using the coax digital out as a second source. A mighty Krell Evo403e running balanced is used for stereo amplification and currently Totem The One signatures for loudspeakers augmented with a PBN Audio custom shop 18" sub in a quarter wave transmission line enclosure built into my room.

The room is treated for reflection and measures 14'6"w X 21' deep x 9' high.

My initial thoughts on the Cary is that it has their warm house sound and is a good value. In pass through stereo, you have to give up features and go with expensive separates to better the transparency offered here. The bass is quite good and the highs sweet. I will wait for a little more breaking before commenting on the sound staging as sometimes that changes with time. So far imaging in 2 channel is very good but not stunning like a Krell 202 Pre.

I have owned the Krell Audio Video Standard, Mcintosh MX135, Classe SSP75 and a Lexicon MC12B. so far the Cary is their equal in all things and sounds better than all but the Krell (yes I have sweet memories of that old clunky thing). I am a happy camper thus far and will most likely recommend the 12 after I have tested the dependability, stability and "surround bubble" it should cast.

For me it is a fun 2 channel pre with a nice sounding DAC. Not bad for 5K when i get the matching 7 channel amp the true test will begin!
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post #10 of 377 Old 05-22-2011, 03:11 PM
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I appreciate the reviews from both Blem and Nick. However, from Nick's statement on the 2 channel sound of the analog pass through, this may not be the "Giant Killer" that I was looking for in a pre-amp/processor. I was looking for a processor that has a similar D/A sound of a Classe 800 or Classe SSP processor and with a comparable analog pass through of the Classe units for 5k, the selling price of the Cinema 12. I guess you get what you pay for except for Sony ES products that mostly punt well out of their price range. Thanks fellows for saving me some money. I'll keep my Arcam AV9 until I hit the lottery and can buy the Classe.
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post #11 of 377 Old 05-22-2011, 04:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blem View Post

For several years I've used a Bryston SP1.7 which - at the time - was *by far* been the most musical PrePro I'd ever heard, comfortably beating the likes of Arcam and Meridian (which I'd owned before). But more recently I've been interested in moving into HD audio and, as good as the SP1.7's 6 channel pass-through was, listening to SACD or DTS-HD as decoded by my Oppo 83 was not *that* much better than CD or Dolby Digital.

I just did a limited research on the Bryston 1.7, and its analog stage is very highly regarded. If you were using the standard Oppp 83 without the SE version, you may not have gotten every ounce of sound from the Bryston. Maybe I'd be satisfied with a processor with the Bryston or Classe analog section and with the Classe CT-SSP's D/A converter.
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post #12 of 377 Old 05-22-2011, 08:30 PM
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Blem

Please comment on home theater application.

Thanks.

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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post #13 of 377 Old 05-23-2011, 12:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaby View Post
The only problem with this kind of thinking is that you truly limit yourself to the D/A converter of the preamp/processor when digital technology is constantly improving. By way of example, If my Arcam AV9 did not have such a good analog section, I would not be able to appreciate the sound or D/A converter of my Sony SCD-XA5400ES which by all accounts punts well out of its price range and is listed as A+ on Stereophiles recommended components along with units costing 17 and 18 thousand dollars.
Its a prudent thing to consider the whole including the analog stages gbaby for sure
What comes after the d/a ? The analog stages . I considered a 12 for a moment to replace my 11a but considered a new oppo95[to replace an 83 ] to be more cost effective [ as i wanted more robust usb streaming ] . The upgraded ess dacs and better analog stage hopefully a nice match for the carys analog passthrough.

Either way ;digital or analog; the new model is a cut better than the 83 [better isolation between boards;toroidal transformer etc) I am satisfied after reading some reviews that the cary benefits from a high quality input and is why so many mods exist for the 83 The cary is much more reasonably priced than the ssp800 down here as well.
Posted this before but still a good indication of the cary analog/digital prowess .

http://www.hometheater.com/content/c...7125-amplifier
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post #14 of 377 Old 05-23-2011, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwt View Post

Its a prudent thing to consider the whole including the analog stages gbaby for sure
What comes after the d/a ? The analog stages . I considered a 12 for a moment to replace my 11a but considered a new oppo95[to replace an 83 ] to be more cost effective [ as i wanted more robust usb streaming ] . The upgraded ess dacs and better analog stage hopefully a nice match for the carys analog passthrough.

Either way ;digital or analog; the new model is a cut better than the 83 [better isolation between boards;toroidal transformer etc) I am satisfied after reading some reviews that the cary benefits from a high quality input and is why so many mods exist for the 83 The cary is much more reasonably priced than the ssp800 down here as well.
Posted this before but still a good indication of the cary analog/digital prowess .

http://www.hometheater.com/content/c...7125-amplifier

Thanks.
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post #15 of 377 Old 05-23-2011, 09:34 AM - Thread Starter
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So, what about Home Cinema ? I lined up examples of...
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 (The Last Samurai, Saving Private Ryan)
  • Dolby Surround EX 6.1 (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Highlander: Collector's Edition)
  • DTS 5.1 (The Fifth Element, Pulp Fiction)
  • DTS-ES Discrete 6.1 (Blade 2, The Lord Of The Rings: Extended Editions)
  • Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (Star Trek XI, The Matrix Trilogy)
  • DTS HD Master Audio 7.1 (Tron Legacy, Alice in Wonderland)
and worked my way through every disc picking out favourite and/or difficult moments...

In a word: wow !

I'm used to hearing detailed imagery and sound staging from the front stereo pair, but what is astonishing is the immersion and sense of space and depth that this PrePro also delivers from the surrounds. And the qualities that brought out those detailed highs (bringing nuance and ambience), solid midrange (for vocals of great quality) and well defined bass (delivering power and depth) to music reproduction, it does exactly the same for movie soundtracks, but writ large.

And with that sense of realism comes the emotional engagement that means that the minutes turn into hours and what was supposed to be a few tests ends-up watching entire films - as was the case with The Fifth Element, The Matrix *and* Tron Legacy (Yup, I didn't get much done this weekend!).

I'm sure there are ways and means of improving the surround still further (Krell anyone !?) but I'm having a hard time thinking how, and at what cost... The Cinema 12 is an emotional rollercoaster and delivers as satisfying a home cinema experience as I've ever heard, and - if sound quality is paramount - at what is a very reasonable cost.

Yes Cary have done a cracking job on this PrePro; now if they'd only produce a great remote and properly written manuals to go with it...

...'til next time - cheers !
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post #16 of 377 Old 05-23-2011, 11:59 AM
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Gbaby,

I am not sure I was clear in my short bypass and 2 channel digital impressions of the Cinema 12.

It is a giant killer indeed

You have to spend HUGE sums of cash to better this sweet little rig. The classe is quite good i'm sure, but the SSP75 was good too and I found it a little dry sounding if memory serves me (I sold it after 6 months of use) I just couldn't fall in love with it. The 12 is voiced almost perfectly IMOP. Colors and resolution just bloom very naturally and it is not even broken yet!

Time will tell, but after listening last night the Cary is not the weak spot in my system. I am going to sell my Totems (The One signature's) and finish an open baffle GR research project I have had on hold for a few months. The preamp is a keeper for sure!
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post #17 of 377 Old 05-23-2011, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nick743 View Post

The 12 is voiced almost perfectly IMOP. Colors and resolution just bloom very naturally and it is not even broken yet!

Nicely put Nick.

And I agree

BTW my Supplier suggested a break in of 100 hours and I would anticipate the result will be the usual 'opening up' of the sound, especially in the (currently to my ears) everso slightly congested mid-range.

But it's certainly a cracking sound already, so any improvements over time will be a bonus.
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post #18 of 377 Old 05-24-2011, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nick743 View Post

Gbaby,

I am not sure I was clear in my short bypass and 2 channel digital impressions of the Cinema 12.

It is a giant killer indeed

You have to spend HUGE sums of cash to better this sweet little rig. The classe is quite good i'm sure, but the SSP75 was good too and I found it a little dry sounding if memory serves me (I sold it after 6 months of use) I just couldn't fall in love with it. The 12 is voiced almost perfectly IMOP. Colors and resolution just bloom very naturally and it is not even broken yet!

Time will tell, but after listening last night the Cary is not the weak spot in my system. I am going to sell my Totems (The One signature's) and finish an open baffle GR research project I have had on hold for a few months. The preamp is a keeper for sure!


You are making my ears water.
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post #19 of 377 Old 05-25-2011, 05:50 AM
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Alas, it was not to be all plain sailing...

...'til next time - cheers !

Blem, you have got me wandering what the above quote was in relation too?

Did you come across some aspects of the cinema12 that were giving you trouble?

please tell us the suspense is killing me

cheers
Ian
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post #20 of 377 Old 05-25-2011, 06:11 AM
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Yes Blem...speak up. Inquiring minds with their credit cards in their hot little hands want to know.

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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post #21 of 377 Old 05-25-2011, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian13 View Post
Blem, you have got me wandering what the above quote was in relation too?

Did you come across some aspects of the cinema12 that were giving you trouble?

please tell us the suspense is killing me

cheers
Ian
I did not pay attention to the quote, but it appears Blem did leave us out their hanging. Something appears to have happened, but for some reason, he did not disclose it. Whats up Blem?
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post #22 of 377 Old 05-26-2011, 09:15 AM
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On the Cary website, it says that the Cinema 12 is now shipping.

A Cary dealer just told me that they're not shipping here in the States.

Does anyone know if they're shipping here in the States or not?

....and Blem, where are you.

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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post #23 of 377 Old 05-26-2011, 09:54 AM
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Theres a chance[in the context of the post] that Blem was referring to the remote ? Or the less than comprehensive manual in his next post. Just conjecture of course; Blem will no doubt elaborate in due course
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post #24 of 377 Old 05-26-2011, 02:43 PM
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Theres a chance[in the context of the post] that Blem was referring to the remote ? Or the less than comprehensive manual in his next post. Just conjecture of course; Blem will no doubt elaborate in due course

I hope so because what he said about the unit has my interest.
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post #25 of 377 Old 05-26-2011, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimP View Post

On the Cary website, it says that the Cinema 12 is now shipping.

A Cary dealer just told me that they're not shipping here in the States.

Does anyone know if they're shipping here in the States or not?

....and Blem, where are you.

I ordered mine today. Dealer says it should arrive in about a week...
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post #26 of 377 Old 05-27-2011, 09:39 AM
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Its been several days with no response from Blem.
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post #27 of 377 Old 05-27-2011, 01:30 PM
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Threads like this remind me that among audiophiles we all have our own taste, and what sounds great to one sounds less so to another. I say this having owned a Cinema 11 at one time and finding it disappointing both as a HT processor and as a 2 ch preamp. For the record I have owned several "high end" pre/pros, including the Bryston SP-1, Lexicon MC-8, Proceed AVP-2, among others, and for years I used the venerable Citation 7.0 for it's superb analog performance, in conjunction with digital processors. It seems to me that one has to decide if they want to hear exactly what is on a recording (true high fidelity) or if they want it to sound close enough but mostly sound "good" whatever that means to them. IMO for ultimate fidelity there is no better DAC on the planet than the Benchmark, and no better preamp than the Benchmark. Unfortunately the base Benchmark DAC-1 preamp is not user friendly (no remote) and the DAC-1 HD with remote has too few inputs to easily integrate into a surround system. So for me the trick was to use a pre/pro with the best 2 ch bypass I could find, and to my surprise it turned out to be the JBL Synthesis AV-1 that I was already using for my HT processing. I compared it to the "straight-wire-with gain" sound of the Benchmark preamp and heard very little difference, and far more transparency I heard with every other pre/pro I tried, including the Cinema 11, which sounded strangely colored. The JBL AV-1 has the full-bodied live performance sound of the great Citation 7.0 but with even lower noise floor and greater detail. The JBL Synthesis AV-1 is a black-faced clone of the Lexicon MC-4, for those not familiar with it.

Bottom line, if the OP likes what he hears then congratulations on finding a good fit for his taste. We each like what we like, and that is all that matters. Good listening.

"The truth is out there!"
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post #28 of 377 Old 05-28-2011, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by dsmith901 View Post

Threads like this remind me that among audiophiles we all have our own taste, and what sounds great to one sounds less so to another. I say this having owned a Cinema 11 at one time and finding it disappointing both as a HT processor and as a 2 ch preamp. For the record I have owned several "high end" pre/pros, including the Bryston SP-1, Lexicon MC-8, Proceed AVP-2, among others, and for years I used the venerable Citation 7.0 for it's superb analog performance, in conjunction with digital processors. It seems to me that one has to decide if they want to hear exactly what is on a recording (true high fidelity) or if they want it to sound close enough but mostly sound "good" whatever that means to them. IMO for ultimate fidelity there is no better DAC on the planet than the Benchmark, and no better preamp than the Benchmark. Unfortunately the base Benchmark DAC-1 preamp is not user friendly (no remote) and the DAC-1 HD with remote has too few inputs to easily integrate into a surround system. So for me the trick was to use a pre/pro with the best 2 ch bypass I could find, and to my surprise it turned out to be the JBL Synthesis AV-1 that I was already using for my HT processing. I compared it to the "straight-wire-with gain" sound of the Benchmark preamp and heard very little difference, and far more transparency I heard with every other pre/pro I tried, including the Cinema 11, which sounded strangely colored. The JBL AV-1 has the full-bodied live performance sound of the great Citation 7.0 but with even lower noise floor and greater detail. The JBL Synthesis AV-1 is a black-faced clone of the Lexicon MC-4, for those not familiar with it.

Bottom line, if the OP likes what he hears then congratulations on finding a good fit for his taste. We each like what we like, and that is all that matters. Good listening.

I agree with this post. But, may I add that to me, the best preamp processor is one with no sonic signature at all; one that has a neutral sound. That way one can be assured that the resulting sound from the recording is the sound the recording engineer intended us to hear.
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post #29 of 377 Old 05-28-2011, 10:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi Guys

Apols for the AFK but I wanted to give Cary a chance to response to my concerns before posting.

The good news is there is a firmware upgrade in the works, though I don't know what will be in the fix, nor when it will arrive.

I have tried to be thorough in my testing so not all of the problems I have encountered will impact on everyone interested in the this unit; nevertheless for the sake of completeness this is the latest version of my 'fault' list:

1. phantom centre doesn't work on 5.1 decoding formats on blu-ray.
Yes DVD's are fine, stereo (tv) is fine, even 7.1 on blu ray is fine, but there's a bug which means that if you don't have a centre speaker - and so use a phantom across the front stereo pair - you get NO dialogue or other centre sound when the blu ray is a 5.1 mix. As 95% of all blu discs are 5.1 that means 95% of them don't work! Cary have admitted to the fault and the fix will definitely be in the patch.

2. limitations of CES (Cirrus Extended Surround) 7.1 (?)
It works nicely on matrixing stereo (eg. tv/music) into a full surround mix but it doesn't work at all on mixes like blu-ray 5.1. Not sure if this is related to the decoding problem identified in (1) but as I specifically bought a 7.1 processor in which to matrix sound for the back channels this is a 'bug' for me.

3. the unit takes a while to lock onto a signal, routinely missing the first second or so of music
This is the most annoying of the faults as it affects my listening constantly. If I'm switching between music tracks losing the first half a second or so at the beginning is really not acceptable and I have yet to find a way of reliably preventing this. I can only assume the unit is muting any pops or crackles but it should be able to 'unmute' so quickly that the listener doesn't notice. It's certainly not a problem I've ever encountered on any other processor before and probably is the one fault that would cause me to return the unit as 'not fit for purpose' if it isn't resolved.

4. the unit also loses the lock on signal while changing tv channels/music tracks
Which may be related to problem 3, but worse, it sometimes doesn't seem able to 'find' the signal again. The only way to get the sound back is to manually change of input (eg. from 3 to 4 and then back to 3) in order to force the unit to find it and lock on again. No, it's not a show-stopper, but it is inconvenient/frustrating.

5. sometimes the lock is only partial and I get sound out of only one speaker
This too may be related to the same synchronisation/locking problem, or it may be something else. As it happens it's always only the right speaker that works (the left is dead during this time), though I'm not sure you can read anything into that... I have to change inputs and then back again to get the sound to return to both left and right.

6. pops and crackles appear occasionally when changing music tracks/tv channels
I've always been bemused when reading about this kind of thing happening with other processors (such as the 11a) as I've never had a problem with meridian or bryston, but now I have heard it I can see why folks get concerned (ie. could it damage the rest of the system?). The noise occurs sometimes at the same time as it loses the left signal (see point 5) but not always, and it's far from every time - perhaps 1 in 20 times.

7. unsettling sound when the unit is powered off (a 'crackling')
This one may not be a 'fault' as such (perhaps just relays switching) but it doesn't sound healthy, not unlike the kind of crackles/shorting you get when electronic components are not earthed properly. I'm less bothered by this one and so am only after a reassurance that it won't affect the longevity of the unit.

As and when I hear more I'll provide a further update; in the meantime I understand that the President of Cary is on the case so they are certainly taking the issues seriously. I would also add that I don't have an issue with a company that releases products with minor faults provided they then seek to address them quickly and efficiently.

...'til next time - cheers !
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post #30 of 377 Old 05-28-2011, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blem View Post

Hi Guys

Apols for the AFK but I wanted to give Cary a chance to response to my concerns before posting.

The good news is there is a firmware upgrade in the works, though I don't know what will be in the fix, nor when it will arrive.

I have tried to be thorough in my testing so not all of the problems I have encountered will impact on everyone interested in the this unit; nevertheless for the sake of completeness this is the latest version of my 'fault' list:

1. phantom centre doesn't work on 5.1 decoding formats on blu-ray.
Yes DVD's are fine, stereo (tv) is fine, even 7.1 on blu ray is fine, but there's a bug which means that if you don't have a centre speaker - and so use a phantom across the front stereo pair - you get NO dialogue or other centre sound when the blu ray is a 5.1 mix. As 95% of all blu discs are 5.1 that means 95% of them don't work! Cary have admitted to the fault and the fix will definitely be in the patch.

2. limitations of CES (Cirrus Extended Surround) 7.1 (?)
It works nicely on matrixing stereo (eg. tv/music) into a full surround mix but it doesn't work at all on mixes like blu-ray 5.1. Not sure if this is related to the decoding problem identified in (1) but as I specifically bought a 7.1 processor in which to matrix sound for the back channels this is a 'bug' for me.

3. the unit takes a while to lock onto a signal, routinely missing the first second or so of music
This is the most annoying of the faults as it affects my listening constantly. If I'm switching between music tracks losing the first half a second or so at the beginning is really not acceptable and I have yet to find a way of reliably preventing this. I can only assume the unit is muting any pops or crackles but it should be able to 'unmute' so quickly that the listener doesn't notice. It's certainly not a problem I've ever encountered on any other processor before and probably is the one fault that would cause me to return the unit as 'not fit for purpose' if it isn't resolved.

4. the unit also loses the lock on signal while changing tv channels/music tracks
Which may be related to problem 3, but worse, it sometimes doesn't seem able to 'find' the signal again. The only way to get the sound back is to manually change of input (eg. from 3 to 4 and then back to 3) in order to force the unit to find it and lock on again. No, it's not a show-stopper, but it is inconvenient/frustrating.

5. sometimes the lock is only partial and I get sound out of only one speaker
This too may be related to the same synchronisation/locking problem, or it may be something else. As it happens it's always only the right speaker that works (the left is dead during this time), though I'm not sure you can read anything into that... I have to change inputs and then back again to get the sound to return to both left and right.

6. pops and crackles appear occasionally when changing music tracks/tv channels
I've always been bemused when reading about this kind of thing happening with other processors (such as the 11a) as I've never had a problem with meridian or bryston, but now I have heard it I can see why folks get concerned (ie. could it damage the rest of the system?). The noise occurs sometimes at the same time as it loses the left signal (see point 5) but not always, and it's far from every time - perhaps 1 in 20 times.

7. unsettling sound when the unit is powered off (a 'crackling')
This one may not be a 'fault' as such (perhaps just relays switching) but it doesn't sound healthy, not unlike the kind of crackles/shorting you get when electronic components are not earthed properly. I'm less bothered by this one and so am only after a reassurance that it won't affect the longevity of the unit.

As and when I hear more I'll provide a further update; in the meantime I understand that the President of Cary is on the case so they are certainly taking the issues seriously. I would also add that I don't have an issue with a company that releases products with minor faults provided they then seek to address them quickly and efficiently.

...'til next time - cheers !

This is a great update. I appreciate your candor.
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