Cary V12i to r Upgrade

I recently picked up a V12i which I am enjoying very much. I have not owned a tube amp for many years and probably not as nice as this one, which has me reading everything I can online to learn more about this amp, such as it seems the V12r is the amp to have and some say the V12i was actually a step back from the original V12 in sound. I am really enjoying this amp and I am wondering if I should send it in to Cary to have it upgraded.


I reached out to Cary and in a couple days they responded back which was promising with all that is going on in the world today. They asked me to send pictures of the inside so they could send me back a proper proposal based on what power transformer, caps and etc my amp has. Sent the pictures in today and in a few hours I had a response with the cost which with everything they are proposing the number is reasonable, but it is real money and I question it makes sense to invest this much into this amp, or maybe do a partial upgrade keeping it a V12i but only change out the caps and not the power transformer as that is the largest single cost on the upgrade? Or possibly I could just send the power transformer to Cary and pay the cost for the heavier repotted one... assuming they would just do that which that alone is still over $500 without shipping figured in.


Amp is in great shape and I can see keeping it for a long time and not to flip as I am not sure I would recoup the cost anytime soon. Curious what other Cary V12 owners think and especially those that have gone from the i to the r? All but the transformer I could do myself, but am I wasting my time as that is the weaker part of this amp? The amp sounds very nice and I am surprised how well it drives my current speakers even in all triode mode, but I am curious what this amp is capable  of too.


Lastly, any original owners that have kept their V12's? I see keeping it for the long haul as I doubt I could replace it for what I paid or even what they go for on the market. 



I am an original owner of a V12i that was bought 10 or more years ago when my main amp went in for service.  I loved it.  When the main amp returned from service, I had the V12i upgraded to a V12r.   The V12r was now even more enjoyable.  More impact.  More feeling of power.  Just more.   I never second quessed the upgrade.  Still have the amp.   It is in the closet.  Will never sell it.

I have a V12R I've listened to the oricinal V12 and then the I. I've heard 2 that have had the better Transformers, Caps and Hexfres installed.


I did all the upgrades along with cleaning up the factory rats nest for what passed as wiring. It is one of the most versitile, and easiest to voice amps I've EVER owned.

You can run either 2, 4 or 6 valves equal on both sides and bias using the health lights or 25-35ma per valve. They just have to be installed, all in the front or all in the back. 2, 4, or 6 valves. 3 or 5 per side won't work and no skipping. I BIAS at about 180ms with 6 valves per side.

I run everything but KT90 or 99.

6V6, 6L6, KT66, KT77, EL34, 6550, KT88, KT90, KT99

Stock Ruby EL34 are just perfet for that amp.. KT66 or 77s are next on the List.

Fat Bottle 6L6 are a real sweet sound too. I just run 2 per side of FB wonderful sound. About 15-20 watts in single ended mode, 30-35 in UL. 

IF the 4 560mf filter caps haven't been changed or your not sure.. Change them no matter what.. Single best way to cool them down. I swapped at least 6 set of Carys. They all cooled right down.  

I have a pair of Six Pacs that are fun too. I tricked them all out.. With copper foil caps throughout and a PS upgrade. I did a little resistor and cap swapping in the small valve section too.

Same valves in both. What fits in one fits in the other including most of the PS parts.. The caps are a little different on the signal and the power valves.. 


The mono blocks V12s are cool too.. I'd love to own a pair..