Cary DMS 700 - any thoughts?

Cary recently came out with their flagship network player, the DMS 700. It’s an all-in-one digital source / DAC unit using AKM’s latest R2R chips, and I’m intrigued. While I love my DSD Sr in my primary system (and I have the Edcor 4400 transformers and Farad LPS ready to install for the mods), I am also considering an all-in-one unit like the Cary in my second system, which is more compact.

I’m wondering what opinions and expertise folks may have in its engineering. At $8K, it’s quite pricey, but if the sonic and user experience is as good as Cary claims, it might be worth it.

I’m also intrigued by the Modwright modifications to the Cambridge CXN V2 unit. This employs Lundahl transformers and Dan Wright’s tube output stage and power supply wizardry to transform the unit into something magical. I did get a chance to review it in my system and it was pretty good considering a total price range of about $2500.

I just wonder if the Cary might be that much better. I’m interested in hearing what folks think, down to the chassis separation of the unit / noise floor, which is what sparks debate on having separate streamer / DAC components.

I know PS Audio isn’t planning to make an all-in-one unit like this - even the next DirectStream won’t have an internal bridge - which is why I thought to ask this community.

I know it doesn’t directly answer your question, but this might factor into your decision:

There are lots of great “all-in-one”systems worth considering, the Hegel H390 comes to mind.

And of course, with the addition of a raspberry pi (for about $100), the field becomes very large. Since you like the PS audio gear you have, something like the stellar strata could be worth a shot.

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Thanks for that - I’ll have to look into that a bit more. It’d be unfortunate if Cary was indeed lacking integrity in their work.

Yes, there is lots of selection out there, but I’m looking for something with no amplifier and preferably with no preamp stage. If the unit does have one, like the Modwright-modded CXN v2, it at least needs to have the option of being bypassed.

The DSD Sr. will continue to live in the second system. Maybe if I haven’t made a decision in a number of months, I’ll just wait for the TSS and put the DSD Sr. in the second system.

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I just looked at the CaryDirect website and noticed that they have cut the price of the DMS-700 by $2000?! They must not be selling very well… Anyone know what’s going on? Think it might be that MPD issue, which seems to have been resolved?

I’ve had a couple Cary components, “Rocket 88” power amp and “SLP98” preamp and I loved them; actually really regret selling.
But when Dennis Had, who designed those things, sold the company and was subsequently and sadly shown the door by the new owners, I lost any affection for the company.
Dennis is up there with the best of the creative thinkers in the biz.

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Cary never sells its products at full price on MSRP only happens when you buy through a retailer. $5999 is the normal price they are selling through the website.

Either way, I instead opted to go the route of the Modwright-modded CXN V2 for my primary system. While I loved the idea of the DMS-700, the reality of Cary updating the FPGA in any way near the was Ted does for PSA is slim to none. Dan Wright / Modwright has strong skills in the analog and power stage circuit designs, so I trust the mod implementation is quite good and for a total $2600 will rival or surpass the DMS-700 at double the price.

I’m saving the extra dollars to get the TSS for my primary system when it comes out next year :grin:

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Very cool - let us know how it sounds! :grin:

Well for what it’s worth, I did try my buddy’s Modwright CXN in my second system a few weeks back. It’s very, very good, but I didn’t have any aftermarket fuses and I did not tube roll. That said, it bested my previous DAC/Streamer combo (Modwright Transporter), which I preferred over my DirectStream DAC (in that setup - I very much prefer my DSD in the primary system). I’m sure once I get mine dialed in, it will be incredible.

I can attest that Dan Wright and the ModWright crew are among the best in both genius and customer service similar to PS Audio. I have equal amounts of gear across the two, although I use pimped put Cary 805 AE monoblocks in my primary system.


You learn something new every day! Modwright is about a 2 hour drive from my house. I’ve heard of them but don’t know anything about them. Equipment looks cool. Does anyone have experience with their gear?

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Well of course I do based on my last post. I’ve owned almost everything Dan has made. I’m a huge fan, especially once everything is dialed in with the right tubes.

I use his Modwright LS-36.5 DM in my primary system with 6H30 Reflektor super tubes and Philips 5R4GYS. Preferred it over an Audio Research Ref 6, the BHK preamp and others.

I own the Modwright PH9.0X phono stage. It is 3-4 levels above the Stellar Phono, and has also bested others like the Zesto Andros, Herron VTPH-2A, and Allnic L-1202. I’ve recommended it to three other buddies and they are ecstatic with it.

I’ve owned his KWA-150 SE. very good for the money, but I never compared it to another high power amp like the BHK monos. I sold the amp and went the lower watt tube amp route instead.

You should absolutely give them a visit one day!

I’ve also owned some of his older preamps and phono stages, but I decided not to list them since his later stuff is just that much better. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the quick reply! You are definitely the expert. I’m not in the market for an upgrade at this time, but I suspect my recent reintroduction to vinyl will inspire some purchases in the not so distant future.