Cary Audio SA-500.1 ES Monoblock Power Amplifier Review

February 27, 2020 § Leave a comment

“Resolution of fine detail was well integrated with the amplifier’s tonal balance and rhythmic timing, and thus tended to a “greater whole” sort of presentation rather than one of crystalline clarity of minute details. I am not altogether sure if much higher overall resolution would necessarily fit with the 500.1’s mid-hall listening perspective or with its generally flowing, warm, and solid-foundation personality, for that matter. An attempt to increase its resolution could result in the amp’s sound becoming forced or unbalanced. For example, if there is an abundance of bow-on-string sounds (suggesting a relatively near listening position), but the general tone of those same instruments also have more rich, burnished qualities (indicative of a more distant listening position), the end result could be a mélange of inconsistent spatial cues. Massed orchestral string sections had enough information to suggest individual players but not to the extent I am used to with the other—admittedly more expensive— amplifiers I had on hand (covered below). Singers’ lip sounds were evident on closely miked recordings, but they were not out of proportion with the general presentation.’

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