Cary Audio Design Cinema 11a Home Theater Processor Reviewed

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The Downside
Despite the fact that this is an "audio only" surround processer, as Cary states in the manual, I would like to see more than two HDMI inputs. This is certainly no deal breaker given the Cary's sound quality, but I'm of the opinion that any current surround processor should have a minimum of four HDMI inputs.

The remote control is also a bit of a downer as it looks and feels no different than the remotes you see paired with low-budget gear. That said, most of the people in the market for this caliber of processor are probably going to be using universal remotes and bypassing the included remote completely as I did.

Conclusion
It takes a hell of a combination of solid amplification, processing, cabling and source material to have a truly transformative listening experience. This is what I found with the Cinema 11a and 7.125 amplifier and it's what high-end audio is all about. Spending dedicated time listening to components of this quality reminds me of why I got into this business. This is the type of processor that will put a smile on your face every time you fire it up. Whether you're listening to your favorite CD, an MP3 that's been compressed to within an inch of its life, or watching a film on Blu-ray, the Cinema 11a shines. One of the best compliments you can pay to a piece of home theater gear is its ability to make you want to dig through your collection, to find familiar music and movies and figure out what you've been missing. This is exactly what I've been doing with the Cary. If $4,000 for a processor seems a little rich for your blood, go find a Cary dealer and audition the 11a. My guess is the experience will justify a budget increase. That said, if you want to hear what this processor is capable of, be sure to bring a high quality amp to the party.

The bottom line is that I simply cannot find many sonic faults with the Cinema 11a as it's the best sounding, most musical home theater processor I've auditioned yet. To do better would cost you dearly.
Additional Resources


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HTR Product Rating for Cary Audio Design Cinema 11a Home Theater Processor

Criteria Rating

Performance

4

Value

4

Overall

4

Disagree with our product rating? Email us and tell us why you think this product should receive a higher rating.


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