Cary CPA-1 Preamp... anyone?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by terzinator, Jan 24, 2023.

  1. terzinator

    terzinator boots lost in transit Thread Starter

    Intrigued by this little $1000 preamp.

    I have a pair of Schiit Audio Aegir amps in my den that I've run with different things, including a Freya+ and the pre-amp section of my Audiolab 8000A integrated... right now just using a Matrix Mini-i Pro 3 (streamer/dac/pre), which sounds fine, and is a nice simple setup, but the analog inputs (from my phono stage) turn the signal to PCM, which doesn't particularly appeal.

    Just playing around with the idea of a different preamp, and stumbled upon the Cary. Looks cool; I like the vintage vibe. Balanced input and output. Multiple outputs; seems to me that I can run a sub from those. Correct me if not.

    No DAC. No phono stage. Neither is an issue, as I have multiple options for those.

    Wondering if anyone's ever used/tried/tested, etc... haven't seen many reviews on it.

    Upscale has it, 60 day trial, no-hassle returns, etc...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2023
  2. trd

    trd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Berkeley
    Interesting. I don’t see much out there on this but given the price point and the return policy its gotta be worth trying out
     
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  3. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    Location:
    U.S.
    I’d just be wary of Upscale’s alleged “no-hassle” returns. I’ve read more than a few accounts of people encountering headaches when attempting returns to Upscale.

    Also, it appears it might have only 1dB of gain, so about as much gain as your Freya+ in its JFET buffer mode.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2023
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  4. terzinator

    terzinator boots lost in transit Thread Starter

    Yeah, like hardly any reviews... but looks like a much lower-level line from Cary Audio. There's supposedly a power amp, integrated and CD player too.
     
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  5. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    Looks like you have to peel apart your RCAs a foot to connect to terminals on the opposite sides...

    A switchbox with a volume control. You can run stereo subs (or sub with stereo RCA inputs) off one of the outputs, but would have the same bass frequencies reproduced in your main speakers unless you also insert a crossover before your main amp.
     
  6. terzinator

    terzinator boots lost in transit Thread Starter

    Not too concerned about the terminal distance, as most of my RCAs are separate anyway.

    But isn't the crossover frequency an issue with running a sub off pre-outs, too?
     
  7. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    Powered subs will have a crossover built-in to remove the high frequencies from the subwoofer's amp.

    That doesn't address the main speakers, though. A typical hi-fi receiver with sub output will not give you bass management, still outputting full frequencies to the mains. (bass redirection and high-pass filtering is found more in home theater receivers)

    A preamp is flexible, and allows you to use an external crossover of your choosing (included, with explicit sub outputs, would be nice). Its output can also be sent to a full-featured subwoofer that includes high-pass filtered outputs for your main amp. Genelec:

    [​IMG]

    Or go crazy. If you don't have 6.1 preamp outputs, you can hook three completely separate systems through the same subwoofer:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2023
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  8. Naka9

    Naka9 music first audiophile

    Location:
    Portugal
    I would try it for sure... and return it if it doesn’t work. Couldn’t be simple than that :)
    Also a similar pre-amp, with balanced outputs, from Rogue (for example) will cost double, at least.
     
  9. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    I'm wondering where Upscale found these. I mean, does Cary still make them? They were initially produced nearly 20 years ago when the early ICE modules were in vogue.
     
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  10. terzinator

    terzinator boots lost in transit Thread Starter

    Yeah, that's the weird thing... Cary Audio web site only has support/downloads/manuals for it. Not finding an active product page.

    I wonder when they discontinued the line...

    And ICE modules are more associated with amplifiers, right? Class-D and whatnot? Not preamps, right? (I don't know much about much.)
     
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  11. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    Back in the early 2000s, Cary's budget line included the CPA-1 pre, CAA-1 amp, and CAi integrated amp. These products were similar in price and performance to the PS Audio Trio series, and Bel Canto's first e.One series. Upscale must've found them hidden in their warehouse while they were searching for classified documents.

    Look at the Wyred4Sound mPre if you need a pre with these features.
     
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  12. terzinator

    terzinator boots lost in transit Thread Starter

    Yeah, it all really just seems like a silly lateral move for me.

    Part of me wants to just get one and try it, but part of me thinks my little Audiolab 8000A works just fine in there.

    (Audiolab doesn't have balanced outs tho, so I can't run the Aegirs as monos... can only use one in stereo. But it's plenty of power for the den, so...)
     
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  13. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
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  14. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    looks like a nice design, dual mono layout including power supplies, gain 26.8 db which is high so ideally you may need low or adjustable gain on your amp.
    fully balanced design, lots of inputs.
    i bet it would sound excellent.
     
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  15. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    Location:
    U.S.
    Second the Wyred4Sound recommendation. They know how to build a great circuit.

    Also, there’s a good guy on Audio Mart selling a Bel Canto Pre5 which is another stellar performer.
     
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  16. terzinator

    terzinator boots lost in transit Thread Starter

    yeah, that BCP5 is definitely a possibility
     
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  17. Ilusndweller

    Ilusndweller S.H.M.F.=>Reely kewl.

    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio

    Good call! :edthumbs: While I didnt do research on it, it had me puzzled as the styling seemed to step back a decade or 2 and it reminded me of my 2001 Arcam C30 pre. Would make a good pre for a Raiders fan! :laugh:
     
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  18. nutsfortubes

    nutsfortubes I never met a transistor I liked.

    Location:
    New Jersey

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