Is the Cary SLP-05 still relavant?

Given the history and reviews of this preamp with its ability for tube rolling and its "Ultimate" upgradeability, Where does it stand as a premium offering vs something like the PS Audio BHK? Is it still relevant? It still gets sporadic press, but has fallen out from Stereophile recommended equipment list.
Thanks. Some swear by them but I am skeptical in a power supply. Glad I didn’t have any high $ ones in there anyway I guess since I blew several.
I have to tell you. The bottom line is the SLP-05 is still near the top when it comes to pre-amps. I also did the the full upgrade to include a new set of tubes. It took over 200 hours to fully break in and now I can say it is what my ears were looking for. Everyone always talks about his brand has this particular sound. I’m not a believer in that statement. To much is demanded upon the different components that you use or I use. Although I must admit that I compared Macintosh pre-amp with SLP05. My wife walked in the front door and had one comment….Take the MAC out, it sounds terrible. I have had a number of people from all over the USA a d all have smiled and flat said I have a lucky home as the music playing was ver enjoyable doing all the right things. My music room has a slopping ceiling from 10 up to 26 ft and it opens sides to the kitchen area and then to the upstairs loft another 28 ft. Down stairs or upstairs the music is darn good. And my 2 two subs (svs) blend very well. We all like to think we have the best but I look at the sound as it does my ears well so I am pleased. If you come by and like it… we’ll that is nice. We can’t please every one only areselves and that is what we should be doing. Very ones ears and residents are different. If you enjoy what you have why change? I retired back in ‘93 and I get weak kneed once in a while and then I say to my self is the change for me or so,e one else? Just food to think s out. I don’t know what you have to complete your system but the sop-05 is a very fine pre-amp and the Cary boys can do many things to make you happy before jumping ship!
good luck!Rich

The SLP05 is the best pre-amp I have heard (has the ultimate upgrade). For me, it beat out several pre-amps, even one that retails for $9k more. It's not only a work of art, it has a sound that is very addictive. Added a NOS Mullard Rectifier and rolled in some NOS Pope 6sn7's...fully end game. So yes, it is relevant, even in 2022. It's one amazing piece of HiFi and for what it costs new with upgrade right now, I consider it a bargain for what it is and offers. 


Steve I just read your review, so thorough and inciteful. I hope you do a video on the SLP-05.

Loving mine for over a year with a Pass XA-25 and Harbeth SHL5+ speakers.

One thing, the ’05 does have gain control. The two knobs on the right for left / right continuously variable adjustment. It was fairly easy to dial in the best sounding gain including a slight trim to adjust for a minor channel imbalance in my room.

Bingo on the Mullard rectifer, big difference. If you get a chance try a combo of KEN-RAD VT231 in the first 4 positions and a pair of Sylvania 6SN7 GTA 50’s date codes in the two balanced connection tube positions 3 and 6.

A nice balance between old school liquid richness (KR’s) and modern day detail and dynamics (Sylv’s).

BTW definitely continue to use balanced connections for sources and amplifier, the balanced circuitry runs through another set of tubes vs. single ended and the sound stage is more open and spacious in all directions.

Mine is sans the ultimate upgrades and I love the sound so much I am afraid to risk it changing- at all !

peace, Tony

Had my SLP-05 for 2 years. Bought it with all the upgrades because I knew I would eventually make the changes. It came with Electro-Harmonix tubes that are considered average. I rolled in Psvane 6sn7-se "tennis balls". Wow, it sounds great. Comments about the high gain are puzzling. It has gain level adjustment right on the front panel. Once adjusted to your speakers, all is good.