Cary Audio SLI-80 Signatureand how it evolved to the SLI-80 Signature F1
Then to the All-triode F1 version
Back in the day, the Cary SLI-80 was $2995. Then they made it the Signature model by adding remote for $3495. Good stuff. What we wanted to do was address some of the units shortcomings. The first one was the output transformers. They are good, but nobody out there says the SLI-80 Sig had incredible bass. So to give it more "pop" we put hexfreds in the power supply. Then to smooth out the mids we upgraeded the capacitors to Jensen Oil and Copper, and much-needed improvement. Nest, we needed to address a problem. Selector switches. They don't have great contact, and they leak signal in from other sources or from transformers, RF from anything in your home or nearby radio stations. So we put in Grayhill switches. Don't buy one without this improvement. Then we used Kimber Kable to wire the CD input instead of the standard stuff.
The result is the SLI-80 Signature F-1.
I'm a fan of Formula One racing where every single nut and bolt is special and nothing is looked over to increase performance. So like a Formula One car, we added the following:
Jensen oil and copper capacitors: Gives you the midrange we crave by giving you a more pleasing midband, while increasing clarity & texture.
Hexfreds in the power supply: Results in better pitch and definition especially when music becomes complex, and is most helpful in the bass arena.
CD input wired with Kimber Kable: We could actually do all of them, but it could get quite expensive. So we did one input and you put your most critical component there. Want them ALL done that way? Call me to get one special-built.
WBT Speaker terminals: Other folks will always refer to "WBT Style" terminals. These are the real ones which cost many times more, but hey dude… it's where your speakers get the music. Don't cheap out.
Grayhill Selector switch: All the music goes through the selector switch for the components you plug in. Grayhill makes gold plated premium switches that are typically pretty expensive but when we put it in our super mondo-cool package, it isn't so bad.
Special finishes: If you go to all this work making a super-cool amp, why not have a super-cool finish? Remember… this is going in home-boy Kevin's office and I don't want to look like a schlub. So we had my personal unit done in anthracite gloss black instead of the regular flat black, and we had a nice silk screening done in silver leaf. Add a silver faceplate and you have something really special. I even had a new script done just for us that is similar to the script on the big 805C and 211 mono power amps and makes the amp look like it costs $10,000.
There is another solution
The PrimaLuna DiaLogue Premium integrated amp was built from the ground up to avoid any and all shortcomings we see from other products. It has custom-built output transformers for incredible bass and bandwidth. No more needs for matched tubes, or for biasing. SuperQuiet inputs eliminate switches and noise them introduce. Go to our page on them but the PrimaLuna website is even more detailed. And the DiaLogue Premium is only $3399, while the flagship HP is $4399. Both Stereophile Class A rated.