Cary Audio SLP 98P Formula One with HT Bypass & Moving Coil Step-up Transformers
Beautiful Anthracite Black high-gloss metallic chassis with silver faceplate. Unit is factory-sealed.
All right... we all know that the SLP 98 is rockin’. We know it’s one of Uncle Kevin’s fave preamps. But we can’t leave well enough alone...
Our customers know that whenever possible, we try to get special features or options available to fine-tune your system to taste.
So it started with customers asking for capacitor upgrades. We use Audio One output and Jensen Oil/Copper coupling caps. Both of these will make the preamp breathe even more.
Next up, the diodes can be upgraded to Hexfreds. This upgrade will give you better bass and clarity of pitch especially when music becomes complex. Wiring the output taps with Kimber internal wiring makes it even more resolving.
So we put them all together and made a special F-1 Limited Edition version exclusive to Upscale Audio that makes it perfect for YOU.
The F1 version will have the all features listed above. Upgraded capacitors, hexfreds, and wiring. Next, we can get yours either with coupling caps or direct coupled. The typical SLP 98 you have read about in reviews has coupling caps. If you make it direct coupled, you will get more pop and snap at the top and bottom and the preamp will be extremely fast. While still tube, it will give you better bass slam. Better than any solid state preamp and will kick the snot out of these $10,000 "reference" preamps from other companies. Want a smoother, more textured sound? Keep the coupling caps and you will be in heaven.
The stock moving magnet phono stage is absolutely incredible with enough gain to handle even high output moving coils to about 2.5mV. If you're using a low output cartridge... we've got that covered too! We can have the factory install Lundahl step-up transformers. This kicks the gain up to about 55dB, and sets the loading to 100 Ohms. Coupled to the 20dB found in the linestage, this gives enough gain for about 95% of low output moving coil cartridges, without the need for an external phonostage!
But wait! There's more...
So now that we have confused the heck out of you, I'll add another option into the mix:
Home Theater Pass-Thru with ZERO signal degredation. It's a perfect way to keep you prepared for the future. Some guys want to integrate their SLP-98 into a home theater system, but don't want to switch cables around and all that. So if you don't mind losing an input (or output) to get a true home theater bypass circuit, we can do it.
Here's how the pass thru works:
In the SLP-98P, one pair of output taps is converted into the pass-thru circuit. Cary labels the RCA jacks as "input" and you simply take the line outs from your processor and plug them into that pair of jacks. Then, same as on the 98L, when you want to watch a movie, just turn off the SLP-98 and it kicks over to pass-thru mode.
Just how good is it?
A good customer had bought a Sonic Frontiers Line 3 from us years ago. That preamp was a great one, but pretty complex and today would sell for at least $10,000. So his broke a couple times. He was at the end of his warranty, so it was time to make a change. This dude used to work in the audio biz and has now gone on to real-estate and has done well… has Avantgarde Duos so he was prepared to spend big. He has a good ear and is extremely knowledgeable.
I told him to use the SLP-98P F-1 DC. He didn’t want to because it cost less than what he had. The dude has bucks now and wanted to move up. But I asked him to put faith in me and he did. Here is his (slightly shortened) e-mail:
Kevin my brother,
I will never doubt your ears again. As a pretty experienced 'phile, I was confident in thinking there was no way swapping out my SF Line 3 to this Cary preamp would be a substantial upgrade. And that there were several other more logical upgrade paths to take in my Duo-based system.
Well, color me wrong... Dubya-strength wrong! Now that I'm past 100 hours, except for a slight remaining sibilance problem, the system has never been more warm, technicolor, soulful, kickin', harmonically ripe - but also simultaneously more resolving (and all of the other standard 'phile crap to boot). Of course, the bass is so much more developed I've had to back off the Sub225s' level controls. The forte of the Avantgardes - laying bare the musicians' intent - has been brought into even bolder relief. Ungodly. All this with Electro-Harmonix 6SN7s, haven't even begun NOS tube-rolling yet.
You probably don't even bother reading the mags anymore, but I still do and noticed that Art Dudley had an SLP-98 in his "associated equipment" list last month in Stereophile, which means that a review is most likely imminent. I sure hope he gives it at LEAST 75 - 90 hours before listening seriously, or he'll be as underwhelmed as I was to begin with; this component has taken longer to go from sounding like absolute sh** - phasey, glary - to nirvana, than anything in my experience.
You da MAN.