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Cary Cinema 6 AV Processor Review

by January 14, 2006
Cary Cinema 6 Processor

Cary Cinema 6 Processor

  • Product Name: Cary Cinema 6 AV Processor
  • Manufacturer: Cary Audio Design
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarhalf-star
  • Value Rating: StarStarStar
  • Review Date: January 14, 2006 18:00
  • MSRP: $ 2500

Decoding ability: Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic IIx for movies and music, Dolby Digital EX, DTS ES 6.1 Discrete, DTS NEO 96/24 for movies and music, Matrix Surround for 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1, Dolby Pro Logic II for movies and music for 5.1 system installations

Inputs: 4 S-Video, 4 Composite video, 3 Component video, 5 analog audio stereo pairs, 4 RCA coaxial digital, 4 TOSLINK digital
Surround Sound Modes: 7.1, 6.1, 5.1 for movies or music with dual 7.1 analog bypass input sets for SACD or DVD Audio multichannel playback

Outputs for speakers: Main Front pair, Center Front, Surround Back pair or Center Surround, Surround pair, Sub Woofer, can have 5, 6 or 7 speakers & sub.

Detailed Features: Analog Stereo Direct switching, 4 music modes for stereo surround, live sports viewing, RS-232 port on back panel for custom install system control, IR repeater input and output, 3 remote DC triggers, Bass and Treble controls with bass management circuit, Variable crossover from 40-140 Hz, in 10 Hz steps, 300 mHz video bandwidth for high definition DVD or Hi-Def cable or satellite video switching in the component video section, can upsample 2 x Fs for digital audio inputs, dedicated remote control handset for Cinema 6 operation, Second zone audio and video outputs, 1 Component video output, S-Video and composite video On Screen menu displays outputs, all analog inputs and outputs are with RCA jack connections

Video Signal Resolution: 540 TV Lines

Signal Format System: PAL (625/50, 525/60), NTSC (525/60, 625/50)

S-Video Output: Luminance Signal: 1 V p-p (75 Ohm load), Color Signal: 0.286 V p-p (75 Ohm load)

Component Video Output: Y Output Level: 1V p-p (75 Ohm load), Cb Output Level: 0.7V p-p (75 Ohm load), Cr Output Level: 0.7V p-p (75 Ohm load)

Frequency Range: 2 Hz - 96 kHz

Amplitude Linearity: +/- 0.2 dB (20 Hz - 20 kHz)

Phase Linearity: 3 degrees(20 Hz - 20 kHz)

Dynamic Range: 115 dB (1 kHz)

Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 115 dB (1 kHz)

Channel Separation: >100 (1 kHz)

Total Harmonic Distortion: 0.008% (1 kHz)

Rated Output Level: 1.0 V rms (8.0 volts maximum)

Power Input: 120 or 240 Volts AC, 50-60 Hz

Power Consumption: 25 Watts


  • "No compromise" audiophile quality analog pre-amplification
  • Perfect handling of 0dBFS+ levels in digital playback
  • Support for Dolby Pro Logic IIx and DTS NEO 96/24 formats
  • HDCD and 2x upsampling support
  • Support for 192 kHz optical/coaxial digital input


  • Mediocre digital playback
  • No support for HDMI or IEEE1394 AV input or switching
  • No digital line level outputs
  • Zone 2 outputs are fixed level and switches the analog inputs only (no conversion of digital inputs to analog)
  • No THX certification
  • No support for Dolby Headphone or Virtual Speaker
  • No digital room correction
  • No digital processing available on analog inputs


Cary Cinema 6 Introduction

Cary Audio is company probably better known for their SET (single-ended triode) power amplifiers and vacuum tube pre amplifiers (and lately, some remarkably fine sounding CD players). But it seems Cary wants to be considered in the highly competitive home theater market as well, releasing a line of DVD players, processors/preamplifiers and multi-channel power amplifiers.

The Cary Cinema 6 is the latest surround processor/preamplifier from Cary, and is currently the only AV pre/pro that Cary sells as it's older and bigger brother the Cinema 8 has recently been discontinued (although there are rumors of Cinema 11 and Cinema 9 coming out soon). The Cinema 6 has been a long time coming - originally announced during CES 2003, and announced again at CES 2004 with a promised shipment date of January 2004, the model was further delayed and initial units were not shipped until March 2004. But the delay has been worthwhile, for the Cinema 6 was one of the first pre/pros on the market that supports the Dolby Pro Logic IIx matrix decoding format, as well as DTS NEO:6 and DTS 96/24.

About the author:

Christine Tham has always been a keen "hi fi" enthusiast, which is an affliction she inherited from her father. She has a degree in Computer Science and a Master of Applied Finance from Macquarie University. In Chris' spare time, she contributes not only to Audioholics but also maintains her own web site.

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