Cary Audio CD 306 SACD player (non Pro version)

I purchased a used Cary CD 306 SACD player about 2 months ago. This is the one that was released right before the CD 306 SACD Pro version. My unit was manufactured in 2006. 
I have been enjoying the sonic quality and musicality of this machine and everything have been going smoothly with few minor quirks every once in a while but nothing major and does not affect playbacks or performance. 

Anyways, I've been playing CD & SACD discs with no issues except for this newly acquired Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here SACD that I recently purchased. My Cary simply wouldn't read this particular SACD disc. It said "no disc" on the front panel display. I took it out of a disc tray and put in other SACD disc and the Cary was able to read and play it just fine. All other SACD & CD discs were played just fine except for this particular Wish You Were Here SACD disc. I found it pretty odd.

Anyone having the same issue or problem with this Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here SACD with either the Cary CD 306 SACD player or any other CD/SACD players? Or does anyone know what seems to be the issue? 
Thanks in advance. 

I've looked and found the strangest thing STOP a disk from being read.

LOOK real close, and make sure a good cleaning isn't the issue. Does it read in a different, player?

Maint. 101, clean, clean, clean.

 Try cleaning the disc. My player will not read any sacd from MOFI unless I clean the disc. After that, works fine,. No idea why.
I owned that unit. I bought it new from a place called higher-fi.
From the day I received it, it would not read several discs and eventually started to not eject the disc’s. I had to open it up to get the disc out!

Anyway, under warranty Cary said I was using bad disc’s and it just needed the sled to be re greased. I sent it to them a couple of times. Eventually, it wouldn’t read hardly any of my discs but now it was out of warranty. (At the time it was a 1 or 2 year warranty, I can't remember exactly)
This time however, Cary said it needed new board’s at a very high cost. (somewhere around $1500).
Cary refused to give me consideration based on previous repairs when it was under warranty.

I ended up getting it fixed, sold the unit, and decided I would never buy another Cary product again. I also believe that the seller had an arrangement with Cary. I had the serial number checked and though it was a new unit it was a couple of years old when I received it.

I have near the same story as Ozzy with this same player.  The board comes from China.   Terrible experience ☹️
I own that Acoustic Sounds SACD and my Esoteric player reads it very fast.  If your system is 2 channel like mine, be sure to use the SACD stereo layer, NOT the multi-channel layer. 
My Cary CD/SACD player is a 2 channel player, It isn't a universal disc player like the Oppo. And it's default to stereo layer of SACD discs. 

All my SACD & CD discs are read & played just fine except this Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here SACD disc that I recently bought brand new and the disc is clean as it is a brand new disc. 

I do own couple MoFi SACD discs and they play just fine. Everything else play just fine but this particular Wish You Were Here SACD that I recently purchased from Acoustic Sound. 

I will try to unplug the player and plug it back in again tonight when I get home to see if that would solve it. 
Do you know someone who has a SACD player you can try it on to see if it is fact the CD?
I sent it to them a couple of times. Eventually, it wouldn’t read hardly any of my discs but now it was out of warranty. (At the time it was a 1 or 2 year warranty, I can't remember exactly official site  
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My newly purchased Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here SACD is the only disc that my Cary player fails to read and play. It says "no disc" on the front panel display. But all my other SACD & CD discs are able to play just fine. I found it very odd.

However, yesterday I tried playing that exact same Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here in my Oppo 105 universal disc player and the Oppo was able to play it just fine. But of course sonically the Oppo 105 does not perform on the same level as the Cary CD 306 SACD player. No comparison. The Cary is in completely different league and the two are at different price points too. The Cary CD 306 SACD original retail price was $8k whereas the Oppo 105 original retail price was only $1200. Not to mention that the Cary is a dedicated stereo audio only player whereas the Oppo is a multi-format universal player (AV player).

Yet the Oppo is able to read and play any media discs I threw at it, including this Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here SACD disc that my Cary failed to read and play. It said "no disc" on the front panel display. That’s the only SACD disc that my Cary fails to read and play. I found it very odd.

Seems like the laser needs replacement. Pretty common issue with an older disc player. I would contact Cary Audio and see what they have to say.

@dilatante  do you still have your Cary SACD 306?  I am looking for one.  Let me know please.



I am looking forward to your next Cary over-haul(Modding).


Happy Listening!



Yes, I still have the Cary CD 306 SACD player / DAC (non professional version). 
I’m thinking to trade it in for the professional version of this player. I love this player and would imagine the professional version of this player would sound even better. 

@dilatante I picked up a used Cary 306month ago. Modified the power supply section close to 100 capacitors and resistors. New laser and Redbook sounds awesome. Not impressed with the unit in stock form at all. For solid state it is simply amazing now. Happy listening


Which CD 306 did you get? The 306 SACD professional version or the original 306 SACD non professional? 


The CD 306 SACD (professional version) and the regular CD 306 SACD (non professional version) both have same DACs and DAC configurations and implementation and same analog output stages. However, the HDCD filter or decoding chips are different for these two models and the DSD filter or decoding upsamplings for SACD playbacks have been upgraded in the professional version. But the main difference between these two models (professional & non professional versions) are the power supplies and power supply capacitors banks (capacitance). The professional version (latter version) has upgraded power supplies and numbers of capacitors and capacitance banks compared to the non professional version. 

@dilatsnte correct. I have never had the pro model but it would have to sound a whole lot better the the non pro unit as the non pro unit was nothing special to our ears. Not sure what the price differential is either. Once we got one in yo upgrade that's when I found one for myself 


Which non pro unit were you referring to? Because Cary had made several different CD 306 models prior to the CD 306 SACD player (both non pro and pro). The earlier models prior to the CD 306 SACD non pro were just called the CD 306 that can only play Redbook CD and not SACD and these were completely different design internally compared to the CD 306 SACD (both non pro and pro models). And these earlier models that cannot play SACD were inferior design and did not sound as good as the ones that can play SACD. They are completely different machines.


So, I don’t know which one you have? Does yours play SACD? The 306 SACD one has SACD logo on the front faceplate. And aesthetically they look different as well.

@dilatante - The two we modified were Cary 306 SACD players. I have never had the pro version or any other version you mention.  Cannot imagine that the difference would be that significant to what we did to the non pro version.  In stock form that unit was ho hmm, nothing special.  Once we upgraded the parts in the power supply section, it was WOW.  A huge difference on Redbook only.  SACD no real improvement.  I purchased the second unit for my personal usage in a second system.  Keep in mind that we manufacturer R2R DHT DACs.  I am not a big fan of SS gear but this was exceptional once we upgraded the unit.  If memory serves me correctly, 100 parts went into the unit.

Happy Listening.


The only and major upgrades with the CD 306 SACD pro unit over the the CD 306 SACD non pro unit were in the power supply and power supply capacitors as well as the DSD upsampling filters and HDCD decoding chips. Everything else remains the same. Both pro and non pro 306 SACD players have identical analog output stage, disc transport mechanism and exact same DACs and DAC configuration and implementation, etc. same grounding implementations, etc. Oh….and the pro version has ventilation slots on the top cover whereas the non pro 306 SACD version dos not. Mine is the non pro version of CD 306 SACD and doesn’t have ventilation slots on the top cover and runs somewhat hot after couple hours of use because the analog output stage of both the non pro (like the one I have) and pro units run in class A. 

And the price difference between the CD 306 SACD non pro and the CD 306 SACD pro version was between $1k to $2k. 

And you mentioned that the sonic improvement after you modified and upgraded the parts in the power supply section was only when playing Redbook CD, and SACD no real improvements. How so? My understanding is if you upgrade the power supply it should have improved sonic qualities when playing everything (both Redbook CD & SACD) as well as when used as a standalone DAC since both these units (both pro and non pro) have digital audio inputs on the back : AES EBU, coax digital spdif (RCA single ended) and optical digital, therefore can be used as a standalone DAC. But it can only receive PCM digital audio signals through its digital audio inputs, it doesn’t support DSD when used as a standalone DAC. But both non pro and pro versions of the 306 SACD players have 4 DACs dedicated for PCM playbacks and another separate 4 DACs dedicated for DSD for SACD playbacks only when playing SACD disc but not when fed DSD signal through its digital audio inputs on the back. They don’t accept DSD signal through their digital audio inputs when used as a standalone DAC. 


Would you be able to upgrade the power supply section of my Cary CD 306 SACD player (non pro version)? I can send it in to you if you can and you can let me know the costs. Thank you. 

FYI, Cary also made CD 302T SACD player (pro version) with tube analog output stage and the front faceplate of this CD 302T SACD player looks the same as those CD 306 SACD players (both non pro and pro versions) but the top cover is different. There’s a small section of the top cover of this CD 302T SACD player that we can remove in order to roll in tubes. The CD 306 SACD players (both pro and non pro) still have superior overall build quality compared to that of the CD 302T tube SACD player. But they share same disc transport as those of the CD 306 SACD players. 

And from what I’ve heard from reviewers who have reviewed both 306 SACD and 302T SACD tube players that the 302T with tube analog output stage sounded warmer fuller and more lush than those SS 306 SACD both pro and non pro units. They sounded different. The 306 SACD (both non pro and pro units) sounded more resolved but a bit leaner compared to the 302T SACD with tube analog output stage. According to the reviewers they both sounded great, just a matter of personal tastes and preferences. 

One note of caution on the Cary 306 PRO. I owned one and it needed repair. Cary could not fix it and the impacted new board had to be shipped from China. It took well over a month and cost me around $1000 many years ago. I doubt these boards are available any longer. Before spending a lot of money upgrading these older players you should take this into account. Power supplies can be bypassed or repaired, but the DAC and other board issues may not be repairable.

@grannyring - everything is repairable, well almost.  Depending on the damage to the board, we have been successful running wires under the circuit boards to connect broken solder traces.  It is work but it can be done.  Bill reach out to me regarding your preamp project if you want.

@dilatante - yes I can do yours.  The two we did were awesome sounding.  I have mine because of doing the first one upgrade.  Replaced the laser and 100 parts.  I will take a look at the parts to see what they cost and get you a quote.



I understand pretty well what can be fixed, but Cary themselves could not even fix the board. They designed the unit and repair their stuff. Certainly reason for caution!

@granyring thanks but my partner Karl has a masters in electronics.  He has repaired components that other so called repair people have given up on.  Since he is a designer and not just a electronics tech person.


But we don't know until we get it in to look at.

My Cary 306 SACD player is working properly so far. I had the laser assembly replaced last year because it failed to read the SACD layer of many of my CD/SACD hybrid discs. But ever since they replaced the laser assembly it's been working flawlessly. 



The Cary 306 is a very fine player. Where/Whom replaced the Laser Assembly ?


Happy Listening!



Thank You for the follow up. Good to learn that Cary Audio has Critical parts for these vintage players.


Happy Listening!

As of now Cary still has the laser assembly in stock for the CD 306 SACD player both non pro and pro versions but they don't have any more laser assembly stock left for the older CD 306, the one that can only play Redbook CD but not SACD. 



I look forward in reading more about your impressions and thoughts on another Player.


Happy Listening!

Greetings. I know this is an older post, but I am hoping to connect with somebody in the know, for my Cary problem. I bought a Cary CD 306/200 player last year. It was non working, but I figured I'd take a shot. It would not play at all. So I took it in to my electronics shop, that does lots of good work for me, to have a look. The tech replaced the laser unit, and my Cary came to life. But, it seems it did not like my home made CD's, and even some standard Redbook cd's. I took it back to the shop, and got some flat patch cable replaced, along with some solder work. Again, the player came to life, but not on all CD's. When I took it back this time, it stopped playing all together. It seems to read the CD's, but will not produce a signal out. My tech has asked me to help him find a schematic diagram, so he can troubleshoot. He physically spoke to Cary direct, but they did not offer Any assistance. As far as they are concerned, the player is obsolete, and they don't support Anything towards it. I find this very arrogant, when you consider that this was an $8,000 machine, ranked among the best of the best. I get it, they don't make parts for this unit any more, but a schematic ? That is something that is in a file somewhere.

If anyone has a schematic for this Cary CD 306/200, please contact me. Also, if anyone is confident they can fix the machine, I would like to talk to you as well. I am now a couple G's deep in this player, have heard it play, and loved the sound. I don't want to abort the mission, if there is a way to save it. Else, I might sell it or trade it down the road. Many thanks in advance for your help.



Contact bigkidz ( as above. Keep me posted on your repair Journey.


Happy Listening!