Cary's Network Player

In addition to the Cary Audio AiOS, Cary Audio Design was showcasing its elegant DMS-500 network audio player/digital music streamer ($4999), which they claim, is virtually "future-proof." It streams native PCM up to 32-bit/384kHz, and DSD64, 128, 256, 512, plus any files from any Mac or PC computer, NAS drive, or Internet Music Service. More importantly, you may connect it directly to USB hard drives, thumb drives, or SD Cards, which allows for "computer-less" playback of digital music.

The DMS-500 uses TruBit™ PCM and DSD technologies to convert PCM to DSD 64, 128, 256, or up to 768kHz in PCM. (Excuse me . . . after I write a sentence like that I need to rest and read some Emily Dickinson poems—just to "convert" my ADHD back to ADD. You know what I mean?)

Being young (not) and naive (mostly), I have tended to rate most digital streamers on the charm and intelligibility of their displays. Well, the 5" full-color DMS-500 display wins my nomination for "Best at CES." A screen on a box will never (in my mind) replace a cotton rag paper LP cover, but . . . the one on this new Cary streamer really made me feel user-friendly comfortable. Just think; your high-end audio world could be as simple as a Cary DMS-500 and a pair of powered speakers. Like that ol' Checkered Demon always says: "Nice!"

Cary was also showing the SI-300.2 integrated amp (price tba), which features a 300Wpc at 8-ohms output stage and a DAC. I like Cary's new faceplates a lot—they remind me of classic Kenwood tuners made back in the 1970s. The loudspeakers—which, when powered by the SI-300.2, played with notable drive and precision—were Totem Element Metal ($13,000/pair).