New from Cary: DMS-550 and DMS-600 Network Audio Players; SLI-100 Integrated Amplifier

On static display: three products from Cary that just started shipping earlier this year.

Both the DMS-600 ($6995) and the DMS-550 Network Audio Players utilize AKM DAC chips, which appear to be less widely used in the industry than Sabre chips; Cary’s Bill Wright told me that Cary always preferred the Burr-Browns until that company was bought by AKM.

The 550 uses the AKM 4497 chip, while the more expensive DAC exploits the AKM 4497eq, which supports 32-bit / 768kHz PCM and DSD up to 512. Both accept both wired (RJ45 Ethernet) and wireless connections, and both are Roon and MQA certified. Both Players also add AptX-HD bluetooth, which delivers Bluetooth audio up to 24- bit / 48kHz. I don’t know the format well, but my early experience suggests it’s at least close to CD quality. With AptX-HD winning support from high-end brands like Cary and Mark Levinson, it may be time to rethink Bluetooth.

Also on display was the new SLI-100 integrated amplifier ($5995), which uses four KT-150 output tubes (two per channel) from Tung-Sol to produce a specified 100 W/channel. Compared to the older SLI-80, the SLI-100 gains power but loses some flexibility: The older amplifier allows audiophiles who are so-inclined to roll the supplied Electro-Harmonix KT-88s. For those who care, Cary products are American-made; even the transformers are wound in a rust-belt factory. The tubes are imported though, since, apart from a handful of boutique tubes, none are made in the United States.

Two of the three new components are on active display in the Fyne Audio room at a nearby hotel. If I make it over there, I’ll report on the sound of the new Carys.

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